November 30, 2020
Written by 
Luke McCusker

Horses with Names, or Not: Father Edward McColgan

Today's issue was inspired by several comments from those who enjoyed knowing about the role "Horse-and-Cart" men played in the care and feeding of our immigrant ancestors. Catholic Irish knew a few things about horses, or lack thereof. The Penal Laws that British authorities put into place to oppress them included a regulation that they could not own a horse worth more than five pounds, with a motivation of keeping the Irish in their modest place. Many came to America and made horses central in their development as men, and as a people.

Among those was Father Edward McColgan, who was ordained on September 1, 1839. Father McColgan was first assigned to serve at Boone’s Chapel, a historic structure built in 1710, just after the Catholic community was allowed to return to the practice of public worship. John Carroll, America’s first bishop, had been baptized there in 1735, and Rev. McColgan served there in 1840 and 1841[i] [ii]. It was located near the parishes of Prince George’s County. Marlboro and Piscataway were nearby, but the towns were some 17 miles apart. Each was a developed, affluent tobacco shipping port. Edward spent considerable time in the region on horseback, visiting parishioners and the large slave population who lived in rural plantation settings. It was there that he developed a love for horses, and the African American people.

Once becoming Pastor of West Baltimore's St. Peter the Apostle Church, he sported a horse and carriage as he traveled around Baltimore, and his congregation knew he was coming down the street from a distance: so much so that they thought of him and his horse as inseparable. That only went so far, it seems.

Father McColgan believed that others came first, especially the young boys of the Churches' tuition-free Male School across the street, and sold his rig to finance the addition of an additional Christian Brother to teach at the school. He announced his decision at a Sunday Mass, and loud gasps were heard throughout the santuary.

[i] http://www.booneschapel.net/church.html (Accessed 1/15/2013).
[ii] “Catholic Directories, 1833-1848”, Vertical File, St. Mary’s Seminary and University Associated Archives, Baltimore MD.

Elements and Elaboration

Daniel S. Shanahan Sr. was a horse shoer and veternarian of sorts for the Baltimore City Mounted Police, and must have been considered quite a catch. His profession was a lucrative one, and he was able to provide well for his family over the years. He married Johanna Feeley on May 29, 1896 (pictured) and they gave birth to little Rita Cecilia. Complications led to the loss of Johanna just a few weeks later, and Daniel raised his young daughter with the help of family, including Rita's godmother Mary Elizabeth Liberty.

One thing led to another, and Daniel and Mary Elizabeth were married on January 3, 1902. They had a son together.

The Shanahans were proud of their Irish heritage, and father and son rode a horse and carriage together in the 1911 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Daniel Sr. was quite successful, and his children received the best education. Rita attended Mount De Sales Academy, while Daniel Jr. went to Loyola High School and College. He was active in sports, and served at both institutions as Class President. He attended medical school at Georgetown, graduating in 1933.

Daniel Jr. became a prominent physician and surgeon in West Baltimore, and eventually head of the ob/gyn department at Bon Secours Hospital. He was there for forty years, and lived at 1945 W. Baltimore St. with his wife Laura. She was active in the Women’s Auxiliary of the Hospital until her death in 1974.

Photo Courtesy of Kathleen Hadaway, Daniel's Granddaughter

High Kings of Baltimore: Daniel McBride

Daniel John McBride Sr. was a Sergeant for the Baltimore City Mounted Police and a member of the National Guard who served on the Mexican border, at Eagle Pass, Texas.

He was born in the old 10th ward of Baltimore on December 28, 1896 and was baptized at St. John the Evangelist Church, the son of Thomas and Mary Ann (nee Clifford). His mother herself was one of the earliest baptisms at the historic Irish parish, being born of William Clifford and Anne McNamara on November 16, 1854. Daniel was one of five children that Thomas and Mary Ann baptized there in later years.

His father was a horse shoer, among other work, and may have "spurred" an interest in horses in his young son.

Daniel was recruited to join the National Guard on June 23, 1916 and headed to the border. While on duty, he was shocked to read in the newspaper that his mother Mary, seemingly in good health, had passed away on September 3, 1916.

He was a private in World War I, sailing on the Orizaba to Europe on July 9, 1918. He also registered in the “Old Man” Draft for World War II.

Daniel returned to Baltimore and married Margaret M. Farrell in 1924. They had three children, and he became a member of the Baltimore City Mounted Police, serving from 1926-1946. He and his mount “Easter”, a beloved horse, served along the Pratt St. waterfront for many years (pictured). Easter retired at age 14, but McBride continued to ride the gelding at Humane Society promotional events when his mount was 31 years old.

Sergeant McBride continued to distinguish himself on other horses, riding “Dixie” on his regular rounds. He was known as the "horse with a handshake" for anyone that offered him a good treat.

McBride began many of Baltimore’s parades by leading “Tony”, a show- off and high stepper that pranced to the beat of the music behind him.

Daniel passed away on April 7, 1952.

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