Friday, January 4, 2013

My Business Was To Fight The Devil

I recently read "My Business was to Fight The Devil - Recollections of Rev. Adam Wallace Peninsula Circuit Rider 1847-1865" edited with notes by Joseph F. DiPaolo. As the lengthy title says, the book is a series of recollections about the Eastern Shore and being a Circuit Rider Preacher in that time period. It has many interesting subjects as it was right before and during the civil war but one part I will print out is one of his visits to Delmar. At this time Delmar was just being created but it had outside of town an existing church called Union M. E. Church. Now Rev. Wallace was born in County Leitrim Ireland in 1825 and he came to America in 1843 and ended up being a traveling preacher. In Delmar in 1859 were gangs of track workers who were mostly Irish and they were known for getting drunk on Sunday and fighting. Rev. Wallace relates this incident at the Union Church on a Sunday he was preaching there.

"the Irish laborers were then engaged in digging and grading the new railroad; when Sunday came around and they could obtain whiskey, they became fond of attending our service. We preferred to keep them outside for fear of a tipperary fight, but one Sunday evening, with the alter crowded and the prayer meeting moving on in a lively way, a gang of these tipsy fellows burst in to 'clane out' as they threatened, the whole concern. I had the assurance to mount a bench and address them in a few words of the original Irish tongue, which I had picked up as a boy. It surprised them completely to find the 'journeyman soul-saver,' as they called the preacher, a fellow countryman. I blarneyed them out of the church, where sundry bottles were produced to 'treat' such a 'broth of a boy'. I afterwards visited them at their work along the line; and when our quiet people were terrorized by their turbulent behavior, I always had some influence as a peacemaker."

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