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

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Father Martin was a man of stu-
dious habits a ripe scholar, modest
and unobtrusive. The welfare of his
various parishes constituted his chief
concern. And success attended his

efforts. Wherever he had labored,
there he left imprints of his unselfish
endeavors, hence his death appeared
all too untimely. He was taken away
when in the zenith of usefulness and
virile strength, both intellectual and

Father Martin was the son of John
Martin and Mary Kelly, born at
Champlain, Minnesota, November 27,
1857, and ordained by Archbishop
Edward Fabre in the Grand Seminary
chapel at Miontreal, Dec. 18, 1886.

His remains were buried at Beth-


"The Past's bright diadem had paled before
The starry crown, the glorious Present

One of the oldest parishes of the
diocese, next to Quincy and Ste. Ma-
rie, is Teutopolis. Its history dates
back to 1833. An organized body of
Catholic Cincinnatians, who had been
prospecting out west, had started a
colony there in 1837. They purchased
a tract of land comprising 10,000
acres at $1.25 per acre. With the first
settlers came a priest by the name of
Rev. Joseph Masquelet, a native of
Elsace. The first divine service was
held in this new settlement towards
the end of November, 1839. The fol-
lowing year, 1840, a small log church
was built, 32x28, and dedicated to St.
Peter. Frictions and dissensions,
however, soon broke forth which in-
duced the pastor to build a second
log church at a distance of 1^ miles

from the former. It was built on his
own land, on "Masquelet Place."
The internal parish dissensions were,
however, not allayed, on the contra-
ry, they continued to grow for many
a year, causing much discomfiture and
annoyance to the various pastors, and
making the parish rather notorious
for its stubborn opposition to the ef-
forts of the clergy. Father Masque-
let, tired of the ill-feeling and oppo-
sition manifested toward him, left
Teutopolis in 1842 for New Orleans.
There he was assigned a parish and
built a fine church. Twice he re-
turned on a visit to Teutopolis, in
November, 1855, and again in the sev-
enties, when he donated a set of cost-
ly vestments to the parish. After his
last visit he returned to his native
land, where he soon died. R. I. P.

Page Eighty-Six


"Fret not when grievous woes annoy,
Who sow in tears shall reap in joy".

A precious life was snuffed out at
St. Anthony's Hospital, of Effingham,
on Monday, March 20, 1916, when the
captive spirit of Rev. Jos. Maurer
broke forth from its temporary prison
cell and winged its flight to God's
holy throne. Deceased could join in

the simple and pathetic words of
Moses concerning his lonesome jour-
ney in Egypt: "I have been a stran-
ger in a strange land." Shakespeare
says of a certain king that in his very
look was writ a tragic volume. As
much may be said of our departed
one. His whole life seemed to have
been a continued tragedy caused by
self-imposed austerities and abnega-
tions, mortifications and penances,
especially, however, when we con-
sider it towards its close. The intens-
ity of suffering occasioned by the in-
'"iction of an incurable ailment, can-
cer of the throat, must have often
re-awakened in his heart an echo of
the words of world-weary St. Paul
who longed and prayed to be dis-
solved from "the body of this death."
This frightful affliction our subject
carried with him for months patient-
ly and submissively to God's in-
scrutable, holy will. For him it

meant a final God-given process of
purification ere entering the portals
of eternity. Days and nights of untold
misery and agony had been his por-
tion, for there seemed neither cure
nor relief for him anywhere, neither
north in Wisconsin's invigorating
clime, nor south in Texas, nor in
sunny California. Feeling the near-
ness of death he rallied in last effort
his waning strength that he might die
among friends. On the brink of utter
collapse he arrived from his long tire-
some California journey at the St.
Anthony's Hospital in Effingham. All
that the care of loving hands of the
good Sisters could do, was lavished
on him. Some of his clerical friends
and the community of Sisters knelt
in prayer around the bedside when
the end came, and the spirit of this
truly suffering Job was released from
captivity. Cardinal Newman's poetic
composition had often been his

"Lead, Kindly Light, amid encircling gloom

Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home

Lead Thou me on"!

This beautiful poem our friend had
always much admired and was often
heard to hum it to himself.

And sure, God's grace and power
had blest and upheld him during the
36 years of his priestly life and con-
tinued to uphold him now and lead
him on during the most critical of
all moments till the black night was
gone, and with the morn sweet angel
faces smiled upon him. Truly with
the peaceful passing of Father Maurer
we all had reason to exclaim: "Pre-
tiosa in conspectu Domini, mors sanc-

Fidelity to his priestly duties at all
times, in season and out of season,
characterized the otherwise uneventful
life of our departed one. Wherever
he displayed his sacerdotal functions
or acted as pastor over a parish, he
was unto all a source of edification.
His unselfishness had become rather
extreme. Hence he died as poor as
the proverbial church mouse, scarcely
having a dollar to his name. Our de-

Page Eighty-Seven

funct was a bright scholar and was
possessed of great retentive mental

Rev. Joseph Maurer was born at
Rauenberg in the Archdiocese of
Freiburg, Baden, February 12, 1858,
studied at the American College of
Louvain and was ordained to the
priesthood at Utrecht, Holland, Aug.
15, 1880. He landed on the American
shores Oct. 16, 1880, and. at once en-
tered upon his priestly duties, first
as assistant at St. Peter's church,
Belleville, and then for a short time
as pastor of St. Francisville. For up-
wards of 24 years he presided as pas-
tor over St. Stanislaus parish of

Macon, with Oconee and Moweaqua
as out-missions attached, which posi-
tions he reluctantly relinquished when
ordered to the rectorship of St.
Mary's of Quincy, January 1, 1905-
May 1906. Owing to impaired health
Father Maurer was successively as-
signed to the parishes of Brussels,
Brigton, Lillyville and Marine.

Solemn obsequies were held March
23, 1916, at St. Anthony's church of
Effingham, after which his remains
were escorted to St. Anthony's ceme-
tery, followed by 40 of his confreres
and a great concourse of sympathiz-
ing, sorrowing friends and former
parishioners. R. I. P.


''My God, I thank Thee, that my pain
Of day by day, and year by year,
Has not been suffered all in vain".

Adelaide Procter.

The galaxy of heroic missionary
priests of early days who labored so
disinterestedly in planting the seeds
of religion on the virgin prairie soil
of Illinois would remain incomplete
were the name of Father McCabe
omitted. This true old soggarth,
born, raised and ordained in Ireland
had come to Chicago when that dio-
cese was still in its formative process
He was one of the thirty-two priests
present when Bishop Quarter con-
vened the first synod on April 18,
1847. Three years later, in 1850,
Father McCabe was sent as pastor to
Shawneetown, and from 1852-'54 to
Mt. Sterling. Whilst he had charge
of this parish our veteran priest had
likewise charge of the parishes of
Pittsfield, Jacksonville and Beards-
town, to all of which he devoted most
conscientiously his best efforts. The
results soon became apparent as the
history of these missions show.
Father McCabe had popularized him-
self in the minds and the hearts of his
grateful people. At this time Cairo,
at the confluence of the Mississippi
and Ohio rivers, promised to become
a populous center. Church and pastor
were needed for the growing spiritual
demands. Father McCabe was sent
to Cairo. He set to work and built

Page Eighty-Eight

St. Patrick's church. Had the sun
been shining heretofore on the zeal-
ous priest's endeavors, now dark
clouds were to gather on the horizon
around him, pathetic were the years
to come. Out of all the difficulties,
false accusations and petty persecu-
tions which were let loose against
him, Father McCabe emerged a
broken-down man. Father Larmer,
writing of this episode in the poor
priest's life, says: "St. Paul labored
at tent-making to earn his own ne-
cessaries. Father McCabe worked as
common laborer on the railroads for
seventy-five cents a day, paid in
orders or store truck and said Mass
on Sundays for the few Catholics.
Jeans were his clothing, corn bread,
badly baked in the ashes and badly
cured hog meat, his food, for such
was the living in those days in
Southern Illinois. His niece, a bounc-
ing, vigorous Irish girl, started a re-
spectable boarding house , and for
three or four years after, while Father
McCabe lived, kept him in comfort he
never knew in the active life of a

Whole-souled, big hearted Father
McCabe, whose name was one to con-
jure by in every Irish cabin and
wherever he was known, died at Cape
Girardeau, in 1863.

The same historian, quoted above,

continued to say: "Illinois can be
proud of such an apostle. In zeal,
sufferings, labor and charity unseen.

Father McCabe has not been excelled
by anyone."

May his soul rest in peace.


Meeting instantaneous death by be-
ing ground under the wheels of a
fast speeding railway train, what
tragic, horrible ending for a talented
zealous, bright young priest! And
yet, such was the deplorable fate

which lurked in quest of Rev. James
J. McCarthy, when one rain-soaked
September day in 1915, he in company
with a good loyal parishioner crossed
the railway tracks near Paris, 111., in
a closed automobile. A thrill of
horror seized all when the news of
this terrible double accident became
known. Sorrow and grief entered
many a home, especially in old Ire-
land, where at Youghal, in County
Cork, the bereaved parents and rela-

tives of the 'unfortunate young priest
reside, and where he was ushered in-
to the world July 11, 1884.

When the day of the funeral ar-
rived, Friday, September 17, St.
Mary's Church of Paris, 111., was un-
able to accommodate the thousands
of Catholic and non-Catholic laity
who sought admission to the obse-
quies. All felt that in the death of
Father McCarthy they had lost a
distinguished young priest who had
endeared himself to them by his kind
and amiable qualities. Men, women
and children gathered sadly around
his bier and offered fervent prayers
for their stricken priest and friend
who was ever ready with a helping
hand in the face of trials and diffi-
culties. Xot the least conspicuous
among the mourners were his St.
John's sacerdotal friends and fellow
students of college days at Water-
ford, Ireland. The celebrant of the
Requiem Mass was the pastor of the
parish, Rev. Patrick Fallen, Paris;
deacon the Rev. J. Mee, of Jersey-
ville; sub-deacon, the Rev. B. Man-
ning, of Alton, and the Rev. W.
O'Sullivan of Marshall, master of

In an eloquent sermon, Rev. W.
Costello, of Charleston, touched on
the brilliant student career of the de-
ceased young priest and his remark-
able achievements in his first and
only charge as assisstant pastor of St.
Mary's church, Paris. Many things
conspired, he said, to enthrone him
in the hearts of the people of Paris
his Irish wit, his fluent oratory and
amiability, but these were only inci-
dental to the sacred character of the
priesthood since it was the duty of
the priest to become all things to all
men, etc. The following beautiful
poem "In Loving Memory," was
composed by (Mrs.) Isabel Burke, of

Page Eighty-Nine

Rocksavage, Cork, and published in
one of our Catholic papers:

That ever-smiling face is gone
To dwell where angels tread,

A sainted priest, a cherished one
Now mingles with the dead.

To do his Master's will,

Those soulful eyes are closed for aye,
That voice forever still.
Sudden the call, God loved him so,

This blossom passing sweet,
Too fair to bloom on earth, must go

To grace the Savior's feet.

Surely a touch of Heaven's Lord
Dwelt in that pure young heart,

His was the kind and soothing word
Why? Ahl So soon to part.

Far from his Emerald Isle he lies

Wrapt in the silent clay ;
Hearts o'er the sea 'neath Erin's skies

Mourn for that dead and pray.

Come! Twine the Shamrocks oe'r his grave,

Shamrocks of Erin blest ;
May the dear Lord Who died to save

Grant him eternal rest I


Arrtong the young cleric who were
elevated to the prieshood by the first
Bishop of Chicago, Rt. Rev. Wm.
Quarter, was Patrick J. McElherne.
The day on which he received Holy
Orders was June 8, 1845. At the first
diocesan synod, held in the chapel
of the "Holy Name," Nov. , 10, 1847,
Father MsElherne took prominent
part. Thirty-two priests were present
Among this number we meet with
sonne whose names have become
familiar in the history of the Alton
diocese: Revs. Brickwedde, Fort-
mann, Carroll, Prendergast, Hamil-
ton, Kuenster and McCabe. On
April 10, 1848, a great calamity over-
whelmed the young and prosperous
diocese of Chicago in the death of
Bishop Quarter. The Bishop had de-
livered a course of lectures during the
Lenten season, and on Passion Sun-
day, after a powerful discourse on
the Church, his whole frame visibly
trembled, his voice gave out, but not
until he said: "On next Sunday I
will conclude." Alas! that voice was
hushed in death on the following Sun-

Shortly before three o'clock on the
morning of the 10th of April, Father
McElherne, who was pastor of old
St. Mary's and resided with the
Bishop, was awakened by loud moans.
He hastened to the sufferer's room,
where he found him sitting on the
side of the bed pressing his head with
his hands. He soon grew worse and
signs of immediate dissolution mani-
fested themselves so rapidly that
Father McElherne administered the
Sacrament of Extreme Unction;
which was no sooner done than the

soul of the zealous, pious and disin-
teresited Bishop took its flight to
heaven, there to receive the merited
reward for his many achievements in
behalf of Holy Church in the State
of Illinois and the city of Chicago.
He expired in Father McElherne's

Under the second Bishop, Oliver
Van de Valde, Father McElherne was
transferred from Galena, where he
had built a church, St. Michael's to
St. Lawrence congregation of Quincj
(St. Peter's), as successor to Rev. 'F,
Derwin, who had been there from
1846 Dec. 1848, following Father
Tucker. Father McElherne served
the Quincy parish from 1849 Oct.
1852. During his pastorate he did a
great deal in pacifying a censorious
clement which had gained the uppei
hand in that city, and proved him-
self a true brother and counsellor to
Father Brickwedde. He became the
first resident pastor of Jacksonville.
Later on, from Oct. 1857 May 1862.
Father McElherne served the Quincy
parish a second time. Trouble had
likewise arisen in St. Lawrence church
Bishop O'Regan deemed him the
proper priest to straighten out the
difficulties as he was best acquainted
with existing conditions. He came
to Quincy from Springfield, where, in
1856, he had been pastor of the Im-
maculate Conception church. Father
McElherne filled the office of Admin-
istrator during the interregnum be-
ween the second and third Bishops of
Chicago. Larmer says of him: "His
personal dignity was inimitable, and
I had the greatest respect for him
and his acquirements. He was a
scholar of the old school. The ancient

Page Ninety

classics, French and the standard
writings, both of prose and poetry,
were ready on his tongue. Having
served the principal churches in his
time in Illinois, it was his custom to
write every sermon so that it was a
literary treat to hear them, although

his eloquence was not of the finest
sort. He could be exceedingly sar-
castic and was not always over civil."
From Quincy, Father McElherne
was appointed to the Rock Island
parish, 1862-1868. He died about 1870
at Apple Creek, Illinois. R. I. P.


"Then as daylight slowly vanished
And the evening mists grew dim,
Solemnly from distant voices
Rose a vesper hymn".

A most worthy man whose name
and memory remains in benediction
with the parishioners of St. Peter's
parish of Quincy, was Father McGirr.
For upwards of thirty-one years he
was the shepherd and guide of that

community. None more revered than
he has ever been at the head of that
congregation. Father McGirr's name
today is still a house-hold word with
the older Irish people of St. Peter's,
and many are the humorous stories
and well-intentioned puns and jokes
they delight in telling about him.
He had captured the hearts of his
people in an uncommon degree. The
trust and confidence they reposed so
entirely in his prudence and good

judgment was never known to have
been misplaced, as Father McGirr
was first, last and all the time watch-
ing over the spiritual and material
welfare of his parochial subjects.
Under his pastorate the parish rapid-
ly developed, its present status, finan-
cial and otherwise, is mainly due to
his continued efforts and unselfish
exertions. He was yet one of the
old school, sturdy, blunt and honest,
a rare type of those whole souled
Irish pioneer workers of whom we
occasionally read or hear spoken of
by older people, by those who have
still known the old silk-hatted "Sog-
garths" as they travelled about either
afoot, on horseback or on handcar.
That class of men is no more nor
ever will return as conditions have
changed since then, and the quondam
obligatory "silk tile" has been rele-
gated to the garret.

Well, our subject, Rev. Peter Mc-
Girr was born June 29, 1833, in Fan-
tona, diocese of Clogher, Ireland. In
1848 he and his brothers emigrated
to America, settling in Massachusetts.
Having determined to study for the
priesthood, our future Quincy pastor
entered Holy Cross College for the
classical course of studies and later
the Grand Seminary of Montreal.
Bishop Juncker ordained Father Mc-
Girr to the priesthood on April 22,
1862. Pittsfield, in Pike county, was
his first charge, but here he stayed
but a few months, till the following
October, when he was appointed to
the pastorate of St. Lawrence church
of Quincy. But is there a St. Law-
rence parish at Quincy? No, not any
more, for the original St. Lawrence
church was changed into that of St.
Peter's at the time when Father Mc-
Girr had the present structure erected.

Page Ninety-One

His first care was to open a school in
a room rented for this purpose.
Afterwards a new two story brick
building, which still serves its purpose
was constructed, adjacent to and
south of the church. Sisters of Notre
Dame from St. Mary's Academy
were engaged as teachers. The paro-
chial school at once grew into promi-
nence for within a few years after
its opening there were as many as 250
children enrolled as pupils. The next
step he took was to purchase a house
for parochial residence, after which
came the greatest of all propositions,
a new church. In this he encountered
however, much opposition from his
people. The pastor thought the build-
ing too old and dilapidated to serve
its purpose much longer, hence to
radically end the subsequent heated
controversy he ordered the old shack
to be torn down on Easter Monday,

1868. The new structure to be erected
a $70,000 one is the present St.
Peter's. As the people were neither
numerous nor rich, it is much to the
credit of Father McGirr that in spite
of vehement opposition he succeeded
to build and pay for such a costly
building. This shows the man's great
influence over the masses as such, his
determination and indomitable will

Father McGirr passed away in
March, 1893. For many years he had
been a sufferer from acute rheumatic
afflictions occasioned by the constant
dampness of his residence. As soon
as the financial conditions of the
parish permitted it he built a new and
elegant rectorate which he did not
live long to enjoy. His remains were
interred at Bloomfield, where many
of his friends and relatives were then
residing. R. I. P.


"Here, now, it is required among the dis-
pensers that a man be found faithful''. 1
Cor. 4, 2.

Father E. McGowan's pastoral life
was a busy and industrious one. He
never let an opportunity of doing
good pass by. Ever cheerful under
often trying conditions, he won the
love and veneration of his devoted
people, the well-wishes of superior
and fellow-priests. He found relaxa-
tion in work, and hard-telling strokes
he delivered during his long priestly
career in the various parishes over
which he was called to preside. Re-
sults are the best gauge by which
man's worth in the various walks of
life is measured. The work accom-
plished by Father McGowan testify to
his determined and resolute activity
in attaining results. Churches and
rectories in various parishes o-we
their existence to this indefatigable
priest. His first mission where he
displayed his industriousness and re-
sourcefulness was that of St. Patrick's
at Grafton. To this charge he was
appointed when first coming from
Ireland. He worked for his Grafton
people from Oct. 18, 1872-November
18, 1875, when the Ordinary, recog-

Page Ninety-Two

nizing the merits and ability of our
subject, assigned him to St. Stanis-
laus of Macon, where he labored
equally well from 1875-1883. A new
congregation was to be started at that
time at Dalton City. Father Mc-
Gowan was' chosen to do it and he
did it. How success crowned his ef-
forts is manifested by the pretty
church and rectory which, during the
nine years of his incumbency, he
erected there, (1883-'92). When this
new parish had been placed on solid
footing and become prosperous and
self-sustaining, our good man was
transferred to the neighboring con-
gregation of Bethany, where his stay
lasted from 1892-'97. Here he was
not less active than he had been in
previous places, for St. Cokimkill's
church of Sullivan is built and Father
McGowan ministers to the little flock
on alternative Sundays. Next he is
made pastor of Pittsfield, which he
soon exchanges, however, for the
parish of Murrayville, January 1, 1900.
How well this zealous pastor acquit-
ted himself of the various duties
which he performed to the very last
is known to everyone. When death

claimed him at Our Savior's hospital
of Jacksonville, the fruits of his active
and industrious life were ripe.
Peacefully he slept away June 26,
1905. His bier was surrounded by
Bishop, priests and people, all sorrow-
ing over the passage of God's good

and faithful steward. He was buried
at Murrayville, June 29, Father
McGowan was born at Ballinascreen,
County Derry, Ireland, March 9, 1842,
and was ordained at All Hallows
June 24, 1872. May he rest in peace.


Farewell friends 1 Yet, not farewell!
Where I am, ye too, shall dwell.
I am gone before your face,
A moment's time, a little space.

Germantown, Pa., a part of greater
Philadelphia, was the birthplace of
Rev. William McGuire, whose loss in
1914, the diocese, Bishop and priests,
greatly deplored. Deceased was born
in 1858 and had completed his studies
at Niagara and Allegheny. On the
feast of Corpus Christi, June 20, 1889
he was raised to the priesthood in the
Franciscan Seminary chapel of Alle-
gheny for the diocese of Alton and
at once assumed charge of his ap-
pointment as assistant to Rev. P. J.
Mackin of St. Patrick's church of De-
catur. Two years he was at Decatur
and thence was transferred for a year
to Virden. In 1892 Father McGuire
acted as assistant priest to Rev. Peter
McGirr of St. Peter's congregation
of Quincy, whence in 1894, he as-
sumed charge of St. Augustine's of
Ashland. Sickness and misfortune
the burning of the parochial residence
overtook him here. Having suffici-
ently recuperated after some months'
vacation which he spent in Eastern
watering places, decedent was ap-
pointed to the Parish of Franklin in
1898, where after years of fruitful
labor he passed away in 1914. His
remains were interred in the Catho-
lic cemetery of Franklin.

Of the worth and character of our
departed confrere, a friend wrote the
press of Decatur.

"Biographers and historians may

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Online LibraryAnthony ZurbonsenClerical bead roll of the Diocese of Alton, Ill. → online text (page 11 of 19)