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Clerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. online

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(Sacerdos Altonensis)



Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat eis
Requiescant in Pace


F recent years earnest and laudable efforts are being made of
rummaging through archives ami book shelves, newspaper
files, scrap-bcoks, etc., for the purpose of delving into the
past and of extricating therefrom such facts and figures as
are thought to be of importance, or at least oi interest to the present
and coming generation. Numerous historical societies, both in church
and state are founded for the purpose of conserving and saving from
oblivion and destruction such names, deeds and mementos of men of
action, who have generously contributed by their noble lives and un-
selfish endeavors to the betterment of society.

To this class of public benefactors >the deceased members of our
Catholic Clergy must be added ; hence it seems but just and meet, that
their names and achievements be perpetuated and handed down to
posterity. Though not all have met with equal success in their voca-
tional sphere of activity, yet, all were animated by the one and same
impulse, viz, to make the world better than it had been before. To
this end they ceaselessly toiled and moiled from early 'till late, for it
their noble, unselfish and Christ-like lives were spent.

It would appear that there were no time more propitious or more
opportune than the present that the publication of brief biographical
sketches of these indefatigable workers in the Master's vinyard of the
Diocese of Alton be launched forth in print. May they serve a source
of pious edification to the faithful and a powerful stimulant to their
surviving confreres.

Regarding the Alton diocesan clergy, however, the following bit
of history not generally known may here be adverted to, namely, that
prior to the erection of the bishopric of Chicago in 1843, the spiritual
jurisdiction over the Catholic population of Illinois had been exercised
by the bishops of Yincennes and St. Louis. The pioneer priests who
in those days ministered to the needs of the people living within the
territory of the present diocese of Alton received their "faculties" from
them. Many were recalled, however, by their respective Ordinaries to
their own dioceses as soon as the creation of the Diocese of Chicago
had become an accomplished fact. Our Catholic people of the State
were shepherded thereupon by the bishops and priests of Chicago from
1843 'till 1857, in which latter year a division of the extensive Diocese
of Chicago took place and the Diocese of Alton was called into being
Hence, in the list of these biographical sketches the deceased prelates
and priests of the former diocese up to the year 1857 must be accorded
space and attention if this work would claim merit of completeness.

Quincy Ittinoi. ZURBONSEN.

January 1, 1918.



First Bishop of Chicago,
March 10, 1844 April 10, 1848.

"Serve bone et fidelis, intra in gaudium
Domini tui".

During the fifth Provincial Council
of Baltimore which convened May 14,
1843, the Bishops present proposed to
the Holy See the formation of three
new bishoprics, namely, Little Rock,
Albany and Chicago. The pious and
zealous pastor of St. Mary's, New
York City, was appointed first Bishop
of Chicago. He was consecrated by
the great Bishop John Hughes in the
old Cathedral on Mott street, New
York City, on the third Sunday of
Lent, March 10, 1844.

With the coming of Bishop Quarter
to Chicago the southeastern portion
of our present diocese became elim-
inated from the jurisdiction of the
Bishop of Vincennes, whose valiant
clergy were likewise withdrawn, and
henceforth became subject to the new
Ordinary of Chicago. Some of our
older men served yet under him. Like-
wise did all jurisdiction of Bishop
Rosati of St. Louis cease over Illinois.

Bishop William Quarter was born
in Killurine, Kings County, Ireland,
January 21, 1806. When sixteen years

old he came to America, April 10,
1822. The vessel in which he sailed
landed at Quebec. He applied to the
Bishop of Quebec and Montreal to be
received as an ecclesiastical student
but his youth was urged as an objec-
tion. He then went to Mt. St. Mary's,
Emmitsburg, Md., where he was
gladly welcomed by Fr. Dubois, presi-
dent of that institution. His progress,
owing to a well-made preparatory
course was rapid. On Sept. 19, 1829,
he was raised to the dignity of the
priesthood by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Du-
bois, Bishop of New York under a
special dispensation, he not being 23
years old. He became at once pastor
of St. Peter's and on June 9, 1833,
pastor of the new St. Mary's parish,
which position he held till elevated to
the Episcopacy in 1844. The recall of
the priests by the Bishop of Vin-
cennes from in and around Chicago
and other portions of the eastern half
of the state beset the new Bishop with
unexpected difficulties. In conse-
quence he set about founding a col-
lege, the nucleus of the future Uni-
versity of St. Mary of the Lake, be-

Page Seven

ginning with six students and two
professors. Throughout his short
episcopal career he maintained the
same unflagging, zealous spirit which
had characterized him as pastor in
Xew York. He set out on a tour of
inspection of the diocese. A diocesan
visitation in those days was an ardu-
ous undertaking fraught with many
risks and hazards, at a time when the
vehicle was an ox-team or horse
wagon, or horse-back, sitting on the
quaint saddle-bags, journeying over
marsh or prairie or through the forest
for Illinois along her creeks and
rivers had in the forties her heavy
wooded sections. Add to all this his
mental work preparing for and hold-
ing his synod, publishing his excellent
pastorals to mission rectors and their

flocks, and above all that ever abiding
thought "The solicitude of all the
Church," of which an account is to
be handed to. the Shepherd of Souls.
No wonder, being anyhow of a frail
and delicate constitution, when he
was shouldered "with a load that
would sink a navy," he sank under the
weight writes Father Shaw in the
story of the La Salle Mission and
after four years strengthened by all
that is refreshing and hopef'il, passed
to his Lord, Whom he had served so
faithfully. Consummates brevi ex-
plevit multa!

Bishop William Quarter, who died
a rather sad and sudden death April
10, 1848, was buried in a vault under
the main altar of old St. Mary's Cathe-
dral, in Chicago. R. I. P.


Second Bishop of Chicago,
February, 1849^-November, 1853.

"Hie vir despiciens mundum et terrena
triumphans, divitias coelo condidit ore,

that the Holy See had found a worthy
successor in the person of Very Rev.
The calamity which by the sudden Oliver Van de Velde, S. J., a native
death of the energetic young Bishop of Belgium, born April 3, 1795. He was

Quarter had cast a pall of gloom and
sadness over the youthful diocese of
Chicago on April 10, 1848, was some-
what mitigated when it became known

Page Eight

a former president of St. Louis Uni-
versity and vice president of the
Order; a man of great moral force
and learning, well equipped for the

exalted though onerous and respon-
sible position. The brother of the de-
ceased Bishop who had been his Vicar
General and counsellor in many dif-
ficulties and perplexities, V. Rev.
Walter J. Quarter, had acted in the
meantime as Administrator of the be-
reaved diocese, receiving the appoint-
ment to that position from the Most
Rev. Dr. Eccleston of Baltimore.

The prominent position occupied
by Father Van de Velde in his own
Order, the important services ren-
dered by him to the cause of religion
in the United States and the acquaint-
ance which was thus formed between
him and many Prelates of the church
who entertained a high appreciation of
his talents, piety and zeal led to his
being selected as the successor to
Bishop Quarter in the diocese of Chi-
cago. Archbishop Eccleston received
from Rome the bulls appointing him
to that See Dec. 1, 1848. He was
consecrated by the Archbishop of St.
Louis, Most Rev. Peter Kenrick, as-
sisted by Bishop Loras of Dubuque
and Bishop Miles of Nashville, on
Sunday, February 11, 1849, in the
Church of St. Francis Xavier. at-
tached to the St. Louis University.
Bishop Spalding of Louisville
preached the consecration sermon.

The advent of the new Bishop into
his diocese was hailed with delight
by the clergy and laity of Chicago.
After spending a few months in ar-
ranging the concerns of the diocese in
Chicago and vicinity, he began his
first visitation July 25, 1849. These
visitations were journeys of severe
labor and unremitting zeal for the
spiritual improvement of his flock.
Besides administering confirmation at
all practicable times and places, the
distances were so great and the means
of traveling so inconvenient and un-
certain, that he had to pass through
the country as a missionary laboring

for the salvation of souls and per-
forming every kind of clerical and
spiritual service. Twice he made such
episcopal visitations throughout the
vast extent of his diocese within
whose confines the entire state was
embraced, hence also the territory of
our present Alton diocese.

Bishop Van de Velde's health had
not been good for several years; he
suffered severely from rheumatism
which was greatly aggravated by the
cold, damp and penetrating air of Chi-
cago. His health was still further im-
paired by the anxieties of his office
and by the hostility and opposition of
a small number of his clergy and
laity. A few disaffected persons can
accomplish much evil, and Bishop
Van de Velde found himself fre-
quently without adequate sympathy
or support in his charitable efforts.
(R. H. Clark in "Lives of Deceased

In consequence of his suffering
health and the unfavorable influence
of the northwestern climate he for-
warded a petition to Rome to be re-
leased from the burden of office. It
was during the second visitation of
his diocese that he finally received
from Rome the brief transferring him
to the vacant See of Natchez, agree-
ably to his own request. The transfer
dates from July 2, 1853. Bishop Van
de Velde departed for the South Nov.
3, 1853, and arrived at Natchez Nov.
23, where he was most joyfully re-
ceived by all the clergy and people
who had so often heard of his great
labors, noble sacrifices and heroic ser-
vices to religion.

He died November 13, 1855, on the
Feast of St. Stanislaus in whose honor
he had just finished a novena, aged 60
years and 7 months. His remains
were deposited in a vault under the
sanctuary of St. Mary's Cathedral in

Pagt Nine


Third Bishop of Chicago,

"Os justi meditabitur sapientiam
Et lingua ejus loquetur judicium''.

Bishop O'Regan was born in the
town of Lavalloe, County Mayo, Ire-
land in the year 1809. After complet-
ing his preparatory studies he spent
eight years in Maynooth going
through a thorough course of philos-
ophy, theology, church history and
sacred eloquence. Having completed
his ecclesiastical studies he received
Holy Orders and said his first Mass
in the chapel of the Maynooth Col-
lege. His superiors were anxious to
retain the talented young priest for
college work. With great success he
taught for ten years at St. Jarlath's
in Tuam, after which he rose to the
presidency of the institution; this po-
sition he occupied for five years with
the greatest distinction.

In 1849 Archbishop Kenrick estab-
lished his Seminary at St. Louis and
installed Father O'Regan, whom he
had induced to come to America, as
president. Under his regime the
Seminary soon began to flourish and
to send forth worthy laborers in the
vineyard of the Lord.

Page Ten

Since the bishopric of Chicago had
become vacant by the resignation of
Bishop Van de Velde, the unanimous
choice fell upon Father O'Regan as
the man eminently qualified to fill
the Episcopal office of that rapidly
growing diocese. His name for the
position was forwarded to Rome. The
Holy See, in consequence of the
strong recommendation and unani-
mous endorsement of Father O'Regan
nominated him for the Chicago dio-
cese and the bulls of appointment
were immediately transmitted to the
Archbishop of St. Louis. However,
the Bishop-elect strenuously opposed
the nomination and sent back the bulls
to Rome. But the Holy See had
spoken and did not withdraw its ap-
pointment. The papers were returne.l
to the Bishop-elect, who said: "I ac-
cept them only in the spirit of obe-

On July 25, 1854, the feast of St.
James the Apostle, the ceremony of
consecration took place in the Cathe-
dral of St. Louis, the Most Rev. Arch-
bishop Kenrick being consecrator. The
assistant Bishops were Rt. Rev. Oliver

Van de Velde of Natchez, Rt. Rev.
John Martin Henni of Milwaukee, Rt.
Rev. Mathias Loras of Dubuque, and
Rt. Rev. Bishop Miles of Nashville.
The eloquent sermon was preached by
Rev. James Duggan of St. Louis (who
a few years afterwards succeeded him
as Bishop of Chicago).

On the 3rd day of September, 1854,
the ceremony of installation took
place in St. Mary's Cathedral amid the
universal rejoicing of the clergy and
laity of Chicago. It is easily under-
stood that a vast field was opened to-
Bishop O'Regan on his arrival in his
See city, and mighty interests at stake
claimed his immediate attention, and
he lost no time in looking after the
pressing needs-of the diocese.

When making a visitation of the
diocese, he encountered as many
hardships as his predecessors, but
physically a strong man, he never
knew sickness nor fatigue, hence he
would frequently walk from one mis-

sion to another when the distance was
not too great.

( But Bishop O'Regan was by no
means a happy man under the weighty
burden of the mitre. He had accepted
the dignity of the Episcopacy under
protest, in obedience, and he could
never make the onerous duties con-
genial to his tastes. After a "trial", as
he called it, he determined to go to
Rome and place his resignation into
the hands of the Supreme Pontiff.
Bishop O'Regan's resignation was re-
luctaatly accepted and he was ap-
pointed Bishop of Dora in partibus

He passed the remainder of his life
in quiet retreat at Michael's Grove,

The third Bishop of Chicago died
November 13, 1866, aged 57 years.
His remains were conveyed to his
native parish of Cloufad, Archdiocese
of Tuam, where they found their last
resting place. R. I. P.


Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Quincy

Bishop of Green Bay, Wise.

"Justum deduxit Dominus per vias rectas
Et ostendit illi regnum Dei".

Whilst the first Plenary Council of
Baltimore was in session (1852) it
was unanimously decided by the pre-
lates assembled that the great dio-
cese of Chicago which comprised
within its jurisdiction the whole state
of Illinois, be partitioned and a sec-
ond diocese be created. A petition to
this effect was at once forwarded to
Rome. Pope Pius IX acquiesced in
the wishes thus expressed, and under
date of July 29, 1853, formally and
officially approved of the establish-
ment of the new diocese of Quincy.
The document which announced this
important decision was signed by
Cardinal Lambruschini. The territory
set apart for the Diocese of Quincy
comprised the counties of Adams,
Brown, C a s s, Menard,. Sagamon,
Macon, Moultrie, Coles and Edgar,

on a line from the Mississippi to the
Wabash river. It was to be a suf-
fragan bishopric of the archbishopric
of St. Louis. The new diocese had
at the time of its erection (rather at
the end of 1853) 51 churches, 34 mis-
sions, 23 priests and 42,000 members.
Bishop Van de Velde had always
manifested a great interest for
Quincy, yea even previous to the re-
ceipt of above mentioned papal bull
had already selected a convenient
spot for a future cathedral and epis-
copal residence there, in June, 1852.
Had his ailments and adverse local
conditions not influenced him to ab-
dicate and move south to Natchez,
.Quincy would have had i;s bishop
there and then.

Rome's selection for first Bishop
of the new diocese fell upon the Very
Rev. Joseph Melcher. priest and Vicar

Page Eleven

General of the Archdiocese of St.
Louis. However, Father Melcher de-
clined the honor, and refused to ac-
cept. Foreseeing the difficult task
which awaited him as Administrator
of Chicago, which duty was assigned
him since the resignation of Bishop

local conditions, moreover, aggravate 1
such opposition. At the Provincial
Council held in St. Louis, October,
1855, the opponents to Quincy were in
the majority, resolutions were adopted
by which the transfer of the See from
Quincy to Alton was urgently sug-

Van de Velde had been acceded to by
Rome, he became timorous. The
Quincy diocese sede vacante was
then placed under the administrator-
ship of Archbishop Kenrick of St.
Louis and that of Chicago under the
Bishop of Milwaukee till the appoint-
ment of Bishop Anthony O'Regan to
the vacancy of Chicago, who was con-
secrated in St. Mary's Cathedral of
that city on September 3, 1854.

And what became ultimately of the
See of Quincy? Remonstrances to its
continuance were sent to Rome based
on allegations that Quincy as a seat
of a Bishop was too far removed
from the center of the diocese, being
located almost in its extreme north-
western corner; prevailing adverse

gested to the Roman Propaganda.
Rome acted on this suggestion, the
Diocese of Alton was established
January 9, 1857, with the appointment
of Rev. Damian Juncker, of Dayton,
Ohio, as its first Bishop. The diocese
of Quincy became absorbed by that
of Alton.

Bishop-elect Melcher continued his
duties as priest and Vicar General in
St. Louis until his elevation to the
bishopric of Green Bay, Wis., July,
1868. He died in 1873.

A native of Vienna, he was born in
the Austrian capital March 19, 1806,
ordained a priest March 27, 1830, and
arrived in America in 1843, when he
at once set out for St. Louis, Mo.
R. I. P.

Page Twelve


First Bishop of Alton,


''Amavit eum Dominus, et ornavit eum,
Stolam gloriae induit eum".

Rt. Rev. Henry Damian Juncker,
the prelate chosen to preside as first
Bishop over the destinies of the in-
fant diocese of Alton, was a man dis-
tinguished for the sanctity of his life
and the devotedness to his mission-
ary labors. He was a native of Fene-
trange, Diocese of Nancy, Lorraine,
born August 22, 1809. He came to
this country when young, attached
himself to the Diocese of Cincinnati,
made his ecclesiastical studies in that
city and was raised to the priesthood
by Bishop Purcell on Passion Sunday,
March 16, 1834, at Cincinnati, being
the first priest ordained by that Pre-

He was appointed to Holy Trinity,
the first German church in Cincinnati
and in 1836 became rector of St.
Mary's Canton, attending it with its
numerous missions, for ten years,
when he was transferred to Urbana,
also a position of no little labor. In
1845, he was made pastor of the
Church of Emmanuel at D a v t o n.

Father Juncker had spent twenty-
three years in onerous missionary
labor until 1857, when he became
Bishop of Alton. The consecration
ceremonies were performed by Bishop
Purcell on Sunday, April 26, 1857, in
St. Peter's Cathedral, Cincinnati: The
assistant Prelates were Bishop Henni,
of Milwaukee and Bishop Young of
Erie. There were also present Bishops
Miles, Lefevre, Spalding, De St. Palais
and Carrell.

The work to be accomplished by
Bishop Juncker in a new and rapidly
growing country, then but imperfectly
supplied with priests, churches and
schools, was arduous and difficult. He
spared no effort to build up the church
around him, and to supply his flock
with the blessings of religion and
education. His visitations of the dio-
cese were long and severe journeys,
and laborious missions among the
people, in which the Bishop performed
every office of the priesthood.

At his arrival the Diocese of Alton
was supplied with 58 churches, 30

Page Thirteen

stations, 28 priests and a population
of about 50,000. The Bishop soon be-
came convinced that his diocese was
suffering for want of priests. Unable
to satisfy himself in this country, he
turned his eyes towards older lands
in the hope of recruiting available
subjects. Accordingly he left late in
the fall of 1857 for Franc<fe : Italy,
Germany and Ireland. In afi these
countries his efforts were crowned
with success. Accompanied by many
of his recruits he sailed for Havre in
June, 1858, eager to repair to his dio-
cese. On his return home he lost no
time to prepare his students for or-
dination. To the Franciscans he gave
charge of the important mission of
Teutopolis in Effingham county.

The statistics of the Diocese of Al-
ton in 1868, the year of the Bishop's
death, contain the proudest eulogy on
Bishop Juncker and his work. The
number of priests were increased to
one hundred, besides twenty-five cleri-
cal students, the churches to one hun-
dred twenty-three, the parochial
schools to fifty-six. He bequeathed to
his diocese also two colleges for boys,
six academies for girls, two hospi-
tals and an orphan asylum. He also
erected the present fine episcopal
residence, designed at the same time
to serve as his Ecclesiastical Semin-

After a long and severe illness,
Bishop Juncker died at his residence
in Alton on the Feast of the Guardian
Angels, October 2, 1868.


Second Bishop of Alton,

''Nou est inventus similis illi
Qui conservaret legem Excelsi".

E n s h e i m, in Rhenish Bavaria,
claims honor of being the birthplace
of the second Bishop of our diocese,
the Rt. Rev. Peter Joseph Baltes, D.D.
There he first saw the light of day

Page Fourteen

on April 7, 1824. When six years old
he emigrated with his parents to
America. The family settled in the
State of New York. At the age of
sixteen he took private lessons and
thereupon continued his classical
course at Holy Cross College, Wor-

cester, Mass. He studied philosophy
and theology at the Seminary of St.
Mary's of the Lake, Chicago, whilst
he himself was instructor in German
and acted as prefect of studies. On
May 21, 1853, he was ordained to the
priesthood at the Grand Seminary of
Montreal. His first mission was
Waterloo, in Monroe county, where
he remained till 1855, when he was
ordered to Belleville. Here his first
care was to place the parochial school
on a good solid basis. For this pur-
pose he called in the School Sisters
of Notre Dame. His next attention
was directed towards building a new
church. Everything went seemingly
well in spite of many oppositions and
difficulties when owing to some de-
fects in construction the grand edifice,
which was nearing completion, col-
lapsed. Undaunted and undismayed
by these reverses, Father Baltes re-
sumed work again only more com-
plete and secure. The dedication of
St. Peter's now the Belleville cathe-
dral was a day of triumph for the
indomitable rector. Archbishop Ken-
rick of St. Louis, preached during the
Pontifical Mass celebrated by Bishop
Juncker. and Rev. P. J. Ryan, the late
Archbishop of Philadelphia, delivered
in the evening one of his best lec-
tures, never to be forgotten by those
who had the privilege to hear it.

When, in 1866, Bishop Juncker
went to Baltimore to attend the Sec-
ond Plenary Council, his choice fell
on the Belleville rector as his theo-
logian. Upon the suggestion of Arch-
bishop Purcell of Cincinnati, he was,
on the way to Baltimore, made Vicar
General of the Alton diocese. When
Bishop Juncker died, Father Baltes
was appointed Administrator of the
vacant See. During his administrator-
ship he obtained from the Illinois
State Legislature the passage of a
law under which the Catholic congre-
gations and institutions of the diocese
could be incorporated, entitled: "An
Act to provide for the holding of
Roman Catholic Churches, Cemeteries,
Colleges and other property." It was

a wise and prudent move on his part,
as was repeatedly demonstrated soon
after the law's enactment.

On September 24, 1869, Very Rev.
Administrator Baltes was appointed

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Online LibraryAnthony ZurbonsenClerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. → online text (page 1 of 19)