Tales of My Home
Stories about the Lower Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts
Above: My great-grandfather's nephew, the Rev. Daniel Webster Driscoll of Lawrence, circa 1950.
Back in the day, every very good Irish family in America was supposed to have a cop, a lawyer and a priest. The priest in my maternal grandmother's family was her first cousin Father Dan, who also was an Augustinian friar. He likely became attracted to the Augustinian order because of their notable presence in his hometown of Lawrence, Mass. Like most Augustinians, his vocation took him through Villanova, and then to postings in various places where the Augustinians had missions at that time: the Philadelphia suburbs, then Carthage, in upstate New York, then Flint, Michigan.
By 1940, he was back in Lawrence, serving as the head priest at St. Augustine's church in Lawrence. Later, he served at St. Mary's.
Incidentally, he is mentioned in the documentary evidence relating to the founding of Merrimack College in North Andover in 1947. That effort was led by Father Vincent McQuade, a Lawrence native who was prominent in the Augustinian order. As a professor and Acting Dean at Villanova, he convinced the powers that be of the need to establish a second Augustinian college in the United States, after Villanova, in the Lawrence area.
Father McQuade arrived in Lawrence on January 9, 1947 to take up his college-founding mission. Below is a copy from McQuade's journal from that day. Father Driscoll of St. Mary's, my relative, picked McQuade up at the train station in Lawrence and then drove him over to the planned site of the college in North Andover.
It's nice to know my relative, albeit not ancestor, had a part in organizing this important institution for the region, Merrimack College. My mother's sister's husband, a returning G.I., was in the first graduating class. Father Dan also apparently acted as diplomat in family disputes; for example he seems to have had a hand in helping to negotiate the sale of some Driscoll land along Route 114 near Den Rock Park, where the shopping center now is.