CATHOLIC CHURCHES. About 1831-32 Catholic priests began to visit New Castle, where they ministered to the wants of a few scattered families. One of the first Catholics in the county was probably a Mr. Doran, who was buried near Bedford before 1810. Nicholas Brian, another adherent of the Catholic faith, was also in the county at an early date. It is said that he came to America with Lafayette during the Revolutionary War. The date of his settlement in the county is not known. James Mooney lived about one mile north of Mount Jackson and the old man Brian used to attend mass at Mr. Mooney's whenever a priest visited the vicinity.
Lawrence O'Connor, who lived on the Mahoning in Union Township, had four sons and six daughters baptized by Father Rafferty, during one of his visits to this region. A colored man named William Arms, who lived in Union Township, a mile above Mahoningtown, had all his children baptized by Father Gibbs about 1840. Among the sponsors were James Mooney, Walter Flinn and Charles Kelly. The parents of William Arms always attended mass opportunity afforded at Mrs. O'Brien's. They were formerly slaves of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, Md., who manumitted them before his death. When the canal was put under contract from Beaver to New Castle, there was naturally a great increase in the Catholic population of Lawrence County, more particularly in and around New Castle.
The following are the names of the priests who visited New Castle and vicinity in early days, with the dates of such visits, so far as known: Rev. Father Rafferty in 1834, or perhaps a few years earlier; Father Garland about 1837; Father Gibbs, 1840; Father McCullough, 1843; Father Reed, 1845; Father Garvey, 1854; Father O'Farrell, 1856; Father Farren, 1860; Father Welch, 1862; Father Carnahan, 1863.
Source: Twentieth Century History of New Castle and Lawrence County, 1908, pages 218-219