Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Catholics in Colonial Delmarva

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Catholics in Colonial Delmarva

Article excerpt

Catholics in Colonial Delmarva. By Thomas Joseph Peterman. (Devon, Pennsylvania: Cooke Publishing Company. 1996. Pp. xi, 372.)

The story of the growth and development of the Catholic faith in Anglocolonial America is an exciting one, although works delving into this history are far from common. Certainly Maryland, where the majority of Catholics lived in the eighteenth century, has been the subject of numerous studies. These have tended, however, to focus primarily on the population which resided west of the Chesapeake Bay, to the exclusion of those who lived on the Eastern Shore (the work of Edward Carley is an exception). Catholics in Colonial Delmarva, therefore, is a most welcome addition to the literature on the colonial Catholic community. Its author does not limit himself to an examination of the counties of Maryland alone; rather, he considers the history of the entire peninsula. Drawing on a wide array of documentary sources and secondary literature, Peterman surveys the growth of the Church through a treatment of the first Catholic families to inhabit the area, as well as the subsequent development of the community through a variety of political and social transformations (the border disputes between the Calvert and Penn administrations being just one of these).The author's encyclopedic account of the growth and inter-mingling of the pioneer families is truly impressive, as is his firsthand knowledge of the geography of the Delmarva peninsula.These enable him to produce an in-depth account of the progress of the faith literally county by county, town by town, family by family-including a number of fascinating asides, such as the legend of the Trappist monastery at Chancellor's Point in Talbot county. …

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