REMINISCENCES OF SARATOGA AND BALLSTON.
WILLIAM L. STONE.
Rev. John D. Moriarty .
"A plain good man, without guile or pride,
Goodness his aim, and honesty his guide,
Could all the pomps of this vain world despise,
And only after death desired to rise."
REV. JOHN D. MORIARTY – or, as he was familiarly called, "Father Moriarty" – the father of Mrs. Henry H. Hathorn and of Mrs. Crawford – himself a Methodist minister, and the son of a Methodist minister – occupied for a long series of years so prominent a position both as a citizen of Saratoga Springs and as a member of the Methodist denomination, that a sketch of his life in this volume seems peculiarly appropriate.
Rev. Mr. Moriarty came to Saratoga in 1831. Previous, however, to this period, he had been forced by chronic rheumatism to abandon the active duties of the ministry, and, on this account, had been made a "superannuate." Indeed, to such a state was he reduced by this physical infirmity, that on first coming to the Springs, he was carried to and from church in a chair, and was accustomed to preach in a sitting posture. Yet, notwithstanding this disability, the universal testimony is that no one ever exercised a better or a more enduring influence in the Methodist denomination than himself.
Mr. Moriarty came to the village from the "Stillwater Circuit," which then embraced Stillwater, Old Saratoga, Wilton, Greenfield, Malta, and Saratoga Springs, all of which towns belonged to the New York Conference, then extending to the Canada line. On his first arrival he opened a boarding-house, as being at that time the likeliest means of affording himself and family a support. This "boarding-house," however, soon grew into a large hotel; for the Methodist interest being large and influential, and Mr. Moriarty the most accommodating of hosts, every visitor of that persuasion flocked to it. Thus it happened that for many years Mr. Moriarty’s was the headquarters of the Methodists, as "Union Hall," under the proprietorship of the brothers Rockwell and Washington Putnam, was that of the Presbyterians and Congregationalists.
The gentleman who furnishes these facts – an old and highly-respected resident of Saratoga and one, moreover, who is thoroughly competent to judge, viz., J.B Fellshaw – estimates his preaching talent as greatly above the average. "I sat under his preaching for many years," writes Mr. Fellshaw to the author, "and during that time I never heard him preach a poor sermon." He possessed, also, strong common sense and good administrative ability, and it was entirely owing to his provident efforts that the site where stood the late Methodist church was secured to that society. Indeed, it may be safely said that whatever increase of strength accrued at that time to the Methodist church at Saratoga Springs – a strength which is to this day felt in the vitality and power of that body – was due solely, under God, to the shrewd and successful management of "Father Moriarty."
Nor was it long before his sterling qualities and helpful care of the interests of the society were recognized. Two years subsequent to his making Saratoga his home, he was given the "appointment" for a support, and this, too, in addition to his allowance as a "superannuate" or disabled preacher. His broad, catholic views, and enlarged and comprehensive ideas, so utterly opposed to sectarianism, made him very acceptable to other congregations in the village; and accordingly he frequently exchanged with Revs. Mr. Griswold and Mr. Fletcher, the pastors, respectively, of the Presbyterian and Baptist denominations. Indeed, having recovered from his rheumatism, he served the former church one entire winter in their temporary quarters in "Walton Row."
Mr. Moriarty was wonderfully methodical in business; constant in his religious duties – always at church service when he could possibly be there, and extremely regular in family worship. He had few, if any, enemies; and was ever considered reliable in business transactions, simply because he never deviated from his word, His wife, also, was a devoted Christian, and possessed of decided executive ability. Therefore, while, like Martha, "she loved her Lord," she was not like her in being "careful and troubled about many things." A zealous worker in her "Master’s vineyard," she labored effectively in strengthening the secular affairs of her husband – enduring much and protracted labor – often, during the busy season, rising at four and retiring at eleven o’clock. They, together, reared a large family (six daughters and two sons), and are among those who have left their imprint for good and sound morality on the community. "Being dead,; they yet live."
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