From the 1921 history of the archdiocese of Cincinnati, on pp. 119-120.

A Cincinnati priest describes a frontier missionary trip:

“I have received several invitations from large societies of Methodists and other Sectaries to go and preach the Gospel to them. They have discovered that they have been deceived and led into error, especially with regard to our religion, and they are anxious to learn the truth. They have offered to pay the expense of my journey; and I hope to run over a hundred leagues of circumference of this country during the course of the summer.

“Our mode of conducting these missions may perhaps interest you. These establishments are composed of families amounting sometimes to the number of one or two hundreds, living in forests, across which they have opened a passage through the trees. Their cabins are made of the trunks of trees covered with boards. They principally live upon pork, bread made with Indian corn, and water. In some places the population consists of forty or fifty houses, situated here and there; but there is generally a sort of town-house, which serves both for a church, a school, and the general rendezvous of their meetings.

“When a missionary arrives, the news soon spreads about. Messengers are immediately sent in different directions, and it is astonishing with what rapidity they proceed, for before sunset whole crowds assemble round the spot where the missionary has taken up his abode; and they will absolutely receive some instruction before they retire, and if the priest were strong enough, they would willingly hear him till midnight.

“He then fixes a time to receive them the next day; and if there are any Catholics among them, he also appoints the hour for Mass; afterwards he hears confessions and baptizes the children; he then explains the Mass, and preaches again until noon for one or two hours, and does the same in the evening, when time permits; and if there is neither a house or barn large enough, he preaches in the open air, and mounts the trunk of a tree or a palisade, and harangues the people until he is fatigued.

“But they are not satisfied with this; several accompany him upon the road, propose their doubts, ask questions, and when they are convinced, demand baptism. We instruct them at the time, as much as possible, and leave among them some Catechisms, if we are able to procure any. After three or four visits, we receive them into the bosom of the Catholic Church.”

A few pages later, we hear how the Cincinnati priests eagerly agreed to minister to African-Americans from Protestant backgrounds, whom many white Protestant ministers in Cincinnati refused to see.

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