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Rev Jacob Ambrose Walter

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Rev Jacob Ambrose Walter

  • Birth 7 Dec 1827 Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
  • Death 5 Apr 1894 District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Plot Sec 36, Lot 71
  • Memorial ID 68713260

Father Jacob's childhood was spent in Baltimore. In 1844 he entered St. Mary's College (now Seminary). After his degree, he spent several years working with his father who was a leading jeweler. Finding this wanting, in 1851 with the consent of his parents, he returned to St. Mary's as a seminarian. He was ordained on September 6, 1854 by Archbishop Kendrick. He was appointed pastor of St. Ignatius and its surrounding mission churches in 1854.

For the next three years, he ministered at St. Ignatius, St. John and St. Mary's in Pylesville. He was appointed pastor of St. Patrick's in DC on April 09, 1860. He founded the parishes of Immaculate Conception, St. Teresa's and Holy Name to minister to Washington's growing Catholic population.

While at St. Patrick, he became the confessor of Mary Surratt, hung for her role in planning the assassination of President Lincoln. His heroic fidelity to the cause of Mrs. Suratt was well known. His reply to Colonel Hardy, who in giving him the pass to visit Mrs. Suratt on the eve of her execution, asking him to say nothing about her innocence, is very characteristic of his personality. "You wish me to promise that I shall say nothing in regard to the innocence of Mrs. Surratt. Do you know the relation existing between a pastor and his flock? I will defend the character of the poorest person in my parish at the risk of my life...Of course, I cannot let Mrs. Surratt die without the sacraments; so if I must say yes, I say yes."

He accompanied her to the gallows and remained with her to the end.

After a delay of 25 years, Fr. Walter gave a true statement of the facts of the Surratt case in a paper presented before the Catholic Historical Society in NY May 25, 1891.

Father Walter went on to establish the Little Sisters of the Poor in DC, providing a house on G Street, NW without charge. He remained Pastor at St. Patrick's for 34 years until his death.

HONORS TO FATHER WALTER
Monument Erected in Mount Olivet Cemetery to Be Unveiled. Gift of his Congregation.

The monument which was executed by Grier, of this city, is an artistic design in granite after the Gothic style. It is about 15 feet high and 6 feet wide, proportions which make it very imposing. It rests upon three blocks, is supported by four highly polished columns, upon which rests a cross with the familiar "I.H.S." inscribed thereon. On one of the blocks at the base is chiseled in large letters the name "Walter", while just above is carved the representation of an open Bible, on one of the pages of which is lettered the beautiful words: "Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and poor, for he shall be delivered in the evil day".

One of the central stones bears the inscription "J. A. Walter, pastor of St Patrick's Church, Washington, D. C. "
In addition to the monument in Mount Olivet, the congregation of St. Patrick's will shortly place in the church an additional token of their respect and love for their deceased pastor in the shape of a splendid tablet. A design 6 x 4 feet, on beautiful Gothic lines, which it is proposed to execute out of marble and French Cayenne stone, has been submitted by Mr. James F Early and accepted. The drawing represents a beautiful conception, with three spires resting on four pillars and a tablet which will be suitably inscribed. At the top will be a medallion of the deceased pastor, while at the sides will be statues of Sts. Vincent de Paul and Ambrose. Father McGee is very much pleased with the design and proposed to place the tablet, when finished, in the left vestibule of the church over the holy water font.


  • Created by: Maggie Mac
  • Added: 21 Apr 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 68713260
  • Maggie Mac
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Jacob Ambrose Walter (7 Dec 1827–5 Apr 1894), Find A Grave Memorial no. 68713260, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by Maggie Mac (contributor 46490509) .