Recollections of My Life and Reflections on Times and Events During It: A Memoir by Father W. J. Howlett

Page 41

would give me lessons in Latin. I had a room in the priest’s house and the arrangement suited us very well, only I was very slow in Latin. I also took some lessons in music from our church organist, Mr Schormoyer, but my success at music was about on a par with my Latin. Father Faure may have got some benefit from my lessons but they were mostly conversation, for his spare time was spent with a penknife and a glue pot making a model of the Cathedral of Santa Fe out of cigar boxes. He was very skilful [skillful] at this work, and years later I saw among the pictures and postcards a photograph of the model. There was no indication of who had made it but I recognized the masterpiece as his.

          I did not teach long enough to turn out any great scholars. The boys were not numerous anyway, and of those I had I remember but few names now. There was Johnny Vought, who became somewhat of a politician, and Johnny Kuykendall who became head of the Denver Cab and Omnibus Company, and Will and Alex Davidson, James F O’Hayre, Henry Keeler, Bernard Doyle, John Phillips and others whom I forgot. I don’t think my term lasted more than six or seven months, but in that time I came to know at least by eight many who became identified with commercial, industrial and social Denver, and I might add political, professional, financial and religious Denver also. But I will not trace them in their varied careers; it might be a humiliation for some of their descendants and it might be a source of pride for others. I know of no millionaires and no beggars; both classes came later making Denver a more metropolitan city but perhaps not happier.

          During the summer of 1867 Father Faure was taken down with typhoid fever. There were no professional nurses in Denver at that time, but it happened that a couple of Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati were staying for a time with the Sisters of Loretto, waiting a safe opportunity of going to Santa Fe to look up the prospects for founding a hospital there. These Sisters cared for the sick priest during the day, while I volunteered to act as night nurse. I attended to my school during the day, and it is probable that the extra work laid me open to infection more readily and I was the next victim of the disease. I went home to the ranch and for several weeks lay in bed with the fever. It was several weeks more before I was strong enough for any work, and then I concluded that my next work would not be teaching others but learning from others as a student in the seminary.

          My choice of St. Thomas’ Seminary in Kentucky was made definite by the [f]act that its president was an old friend of Father Machebeuf. They were both from the same Province in France, and had labored in the same province for some years in America, so with a letter from Father Machebeuf in Denver I felt sure of a welcome from Father Chambige in Kentucky.

          December 12, 1867, was the day of my departure from Denver. I did not this time make the trip over the plains in a slow wagon but by stage to Hays City, Kansas, and by rail thereafter.

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