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Charles George Deuther.

The life and times of the Rt. Rev. John Timon, D. D. : first Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo online

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THE REAR ADMIRAL
FRANKLIN HANFORD, U. S. N.

COLLECTION IN THE

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

• 1929 •



THE



LIFE AND TIMES



OF THE



RT. REY JOHK TIMON, D. D.



rL -



FIEST EOMAE" CATHOLIC BISHOP



DIOCESE OF BUFFALO.



By CHARLES G. DEUTHER,



PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR,

No. 184 WASHINGTON STREET, BUFFALO, N. Y.

1870.



4IHHM



MMttaakaa*



THI NEW TO«K

PUBLIC LIBBART

47i507A

ASTOR, LENOX A!**
TIJ-DEN FOUND.v'P P?*^

R 19SO ;i-



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by

CHARLES G. DEUTHER,
in the office of the Librarian of Congi-ess, at Washington.



The Saob, Soks 4 Co. LitU., Pricting & Manufac'e Co., Buffalo, N. Y.



TO THE MP:M0RY






OF HIS



Deceased Friend and College Companion,



REV. CHARLES B. MAGENNIS,



OF WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS,



AS A TRIBUTE OF FRIENDSHIP,



The pages of this vohime are affectionately dedicated,



BY THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE



Three years have transpired since I commenced to compile
the pages of this present vohime. Having had no time to devote
to this work, beyond my evening hours and a few holidays, I
have necessarily been delayed in bringing my labors to an ear-
lier termination. In justice to myself I must state that owing to
the extreme difficulty with which I obtained data, the compilation
of this biography has been accomplished under no small embar-
rassments. When it will be considered that Bishop Timon was a
man of a very retiring disposition, whose early history, until now,
has been buried in obscurity owing to his reticence, and that he
has left little or no record of his personal identity, the magnitude
of undertaking his biography becomes at once apparent. It has
been by dint of continual and repeated correspondence with
Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, some Sisters of Charity, and many
.aymen, that bits of incident and information have been put
together until they have swelled into the present sized volume.
Besides this, there must also be added a heavy cash outlay, aU
of which combined have assisted me to defeat the embarrass-
ments, in the beginning so threatening and dangerous to my
enterprise.

My most sincere thanks are hereby tendered to the following
kind friends for the generous aid they have given me :

Rt. B^v. Edward Fitzgerald, Bishop, Little Rock, Arkansas ;
Rt Eev. S. Y. Ryan, Bishop, Buffalo, IST. Y. ; Rev. B. Villiger,
S. J., Conevago, Adams Co., Pa. ; Rev. George Pax, "Williams-
ville, E". Y. ; Rev. Joseph Story, Brockport, N. Y. ; Rev. Father
Smarius, S. J., Chicago, 111. ; Col. Creed Taylor, Arkansas ; Mr.
Thomas Winstanley, Red Budd, Randolph Co., 111. ; Mr. Michael
Hagan, Wyoming, C. W. ; Geo. A. Deuther, Buffalo, K Y.;
Mother St. John, Philadelphia, Pa. ; Miss Sallie Lilly, Conevago,
Adams Co., Pa.



VI PREFACE.

For convenience sake, I have divided my volume into two
books: Book I comprises "The Early and Missionary Life of
Be V. John Timon. " Book II comprises " The Episcopacy of the
Et. Eev. John Timon, D. D. "

Each Book is subdivided into several appropriate chapters.

In Book I, it will be noticed that Bishop Timon had several
controversies with ministers of Protestant denominations, but
that the names of the contending ministers are not given. These
are no errata of mine. I have carefully perused such posthumous
writings of the Bishop as I could command, but could find no
mention any where of their names. These omissions, though
odious to many readers, will therefore be pardonable on my
part. Eor the verity of the incidents themselves, however, I
have the Bishop's own handwriting.

I now consign the result of my humble efforts — this book — to the
charity of the world, anxious to know the fate that will befall it.
In any event, I am candid to express the pride I feel in having
been the instrument of collecting together and presernng for
coming time the virtues of a saintly man, whose memory, like the
ivy, has been entwined with my heart's best affections since my
childhood.

CHAKLES G. DEUTHER.



INTRODUCTIOISr.



Perhaps one of the most interesting and distinguishing features
in the history of the Catholic Church, either on this continent, or
in Europe, has been the mysterious order of Divine Providence
in elevating to the ministry men who have been peculiarly fitted,
both by nature and education, to carry into oj)eration the pur-
poses of true revealed religion. Generally such selections have
fallen on persons of humble circumstances, or obscure parentage.
In the choice of His apostles and discij)les, our Divine Saviour
chose to ordain, as the disseminators of His heavenly doctrines,
men gifted by nature with talents and great powers of discrimi-
nation, but blessed with little or no education. During the long
and changing epochs of the world's history, what sublime exam-
ples have occurred of men revered for virtue, and esteemed for
learning, acquired under the holy discipline of the Church. A
great many of the Roman Pontiflfs sprang from parentage distin-
guished, perhaps, only for piety, and respectability among the
class to which they belonged.

These men have left after them memories that endear them to
the christian and to religion. Divine Providence, as it were,
seems to have delighted in making a bright example of an
unknown biit worthy human being, whose only credentials at
the court of religion were his intelligence, his virtue, and his
christian charity. Thus, age after age, new but splendid lights
in the history of the Church have appeared, whose lives have
been as varied as their characters. When persecution, dire and
bitter, assailed the Church, and threatened to destroy, root and
branch, the christian religion, how sublimely grand stood the
vicegerent of heaven, aided and supported by a subordinate
hierarchy of venerable men, before his enemies, as well as foes
to true liberty, law and order, to fight the good fight of faith.



Vlll INTRODUCTION.



Kor could the lusts, the pride, and the ambition of worldly
.Tilers, find an influence sufficiently potent to vanquish their
moral courage. Banishment, proscription, tortures, and even
death, had no terrors for them. Immovable in their principles,
firm and unfaltering in their faith, they trembled only before a
Supreme Being. Whether we admire more the courage that
enabled a St. Ambrose to deny admission into the church door
to a worldly ]30tentate, until he had done penance for having
unnecessarily dipped his hands in human blood, or, the meekness
and forbearance of a Pontiff* going into exile at Gseta at the
behest of a temporal power, our inferences, so far as the sublimity
of Cathofic doctrine is concerned, will still be the same. There
is a broad scope for thought on this point. It necessarily leads
us to inquire into the doctrines upon which have been predicated
the moral heroisms and holy courage that have endured even
death itself; that have given impulse to discovery, to invention,
and the progress of the sciences and the arts ; that have instituted
houses of refuge, and asylums for indigence and sickness ; that
have saved from the corroding tooth of time the links that bind
modern time to antiquity, in the vast accumulation of ancient
writings and manuscripts ; in fine, that have in their calendar so
many illustrious heroes, martyrs, and saints, long since enrolled
with the Church triumphant, ministering in eternal adoration
and praise to the Creator of the universe.

However, aside from any consideration of the mysterious influ-
ence that has, does, and will enable a true Catholic to endure
and to accomplish in the service of God, the question may be
asked : What is the value attached to a perusal of biographies
of these men, distinguished in the hierarchy of the Catholic
Church ?

It may not be a generally admitted fact, that biographies of
any class of men, in any way, are entitled to consideration ; and
yet, they are one of the most interesting forms of history. In-
deed, a due familiarit}'^ with the lives of great and good men
may not only be instructive, but also be an incentive to imitate
their example.



XNTEODUCTION. IX



" Lives of great men all remind us
We may make our lives sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time." — Longfellow.

From the histories of men commemorated for their virtues, we
may indeed gather food for reflection. We may meditate upon
their jDeculiar traits of character, either developed by the force
of necessity, or awakened into public recognition by some sudden
and unforeseen circumstance. We may admire the strict in-
tegrity of the one, weep over the heroic but unfortunate fate that
befell the other, and feel the sigh of sympathy in our bosoms for
human weakness, as it is developed in the lives of such men as
a David or a Solomon. Besides a certain interest that we feel
in the lives of sreat men, there is also a moral intuition that
moulds our thoughts and even controls our passions. With what
enthusiasm do we not read the histories of men around whose
names linger the memories of renowned institutions and great
deeds, even as the fragrance lingers around the vase after the
roses have been removed ; and, as we read, how imperceptibly a
spirit of emulation gradually animates us, until we almost
imagine we are participating in the very circumstances of which
we are reading.

Another value attached to a perusal of the lives of great and
good men, is that of example. Examples, indeed, are most potent
arguments either for evil or for good. If for good, expanding
our hopes and dispelling our fears, or swelling every vein of
principle or honor with an honest spirit of envy ; at other times
giving to our thoughts tints of beauty or the electric impulse of
imitation. But it is not our intention to enter into any lengthy
argument or disquisition on this point, to convince the reader of
the truth of what we claim, excepting so far as to place in bold
relief the fact that the lives of great and good men deserve the
recognition of candid minds, because of the instruction we may
derive from those God-like virtues, charity, religion, and truth
which, when effectively applied, transcend even the most magni-
ficent conceptions of man. Still, it is a difficult thing sometimes



INTKODUCTION.



to understand, how certain results are brought about, and how
mysterious are the wonderful workings of Providence. " Man
proposes, but God disposes."

Hence, in the order of circumstances and time, there are born
men possessed of talents peculiar to the various circles of life.
Whilst we may observe one aspiring to reach a conspicuous
position in the Parthenon of fame, either for science or for letters,
we may see another, the pious yet ambitious disciple of Chris-
tianity, straining every nerve to rescue from misery or oppression
the unfortunate and indigent of society. We may find him
erecting, ''''ad majorem Dei gloriam^'' not only elaborate and
finely furnished places of Divine worship, but likewise institutions
dedicated to sickness, to education, and to monastic discipline.

As an instance of this latter class of men, we may mention the
name of the late Eight Reverend John Timon, D. D., first
Eoman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N. Y.



CONTENTS.



BOOK I.



CHAPTER I.



Page



Birth-place of Bishop Timon. — Parentage. — Date of Birth and Baptism. —
Brothers and Sisters. — Incidents and Characteristics of the Elder
Timon. — Removes to Baltimore, Md. —To Louisville, Ky. — To St.
Louis, Mo. — Engaged in the Dry Goods Business. — John Timon as a
Clerk. — His Accomplishments. — Makes Acquaintance with Miss De
Gallon. — Engaged to the Young Lady, but never Married. — Death of
Miss De Gallon. — Crisis of 182.3. — Business Misfortunes. — Resolves to
become a Lazarist 17.. 25

CHAPTER IL

Joins the Community of the Lazarists.— Enters the Seminary of the Bar-
rens, Mo. — Meets Mens. J. M. Odin there. — Early Reminiscences of
the Lazarists in this Country. — The Seminary in 1824. — Incidents,
&c. — Industry and Zeal of young Mr. Timon. — Promoted to Sub-dea-
conship. — Correspondence of Col. Creed Taylor. — Promoted to Minor
Orders. — Joins the Order of St. Vincent de Paul 25.. 31

CHAPTER III.

Surroundings of the Barrens, Mo. — Mens. Odin and Timon as Missiona-
ries. — Hog Pen Converted into a Chapel. — Start for New Madrid,
Texas. — Dangerous Traveling. — Dialogue with a Lady. — Arrive at
the Port of Arkansas. — Quapaw Indians. — Their Belief. — Return to
the Barrens. — Mission in Illinois 32.. 37

CHAPTER IV.

Ordination of John Timon. — Called to see a Murderer condemned to
^eath. — Discussion with a Baptist Minister. — Defeats him. — Mission
in Cape Girardeau. — Conversion of Mr. Ralph Doherty. — Cholera. —
Mr. Doherty ill. — Father Timon called in too late. — Baptism of Mrs.
Doherty.— A Night with a Cholera Corpse. — Baptism of Children. —
Father Timon and the Irishman. — Confession on Horseback. — Happy
Denouement 38.. 46

CHAPTER V.

Mons. J. M. Odin. — Bishop Rosatti and the Barrens. — Embarrassments
of the Seminary. — Jleetmg of the professed Priests. — Father Timon
Speaker for the Community. — Bishop Rosatti responds. — Rev. J. B.
Tornatori Chosen Superior of the Missions. — Purchase of the
Doherty Estate. — The Sick Woman. — Her Conversion. — Incidents. —
Condition of the Missions. — Discouraging Prospects. — Father Timon
vanquishes six Ministers in a Di.*cussion. — Interview with a con-
demned Man. — Mr. Odin goes to France 46 . . 55



XU CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VI.



Page.



Father Timon named Visitor. — His Refusal. — Discouraging Circumstances.
— His Humility. — He Accepts. — Convocation of Priests. — Remon-
strance against the Suppression of the College. — Debts, Mortgage and
Discontented Feelings prevail. — Improvements made. — Father Timon
goes to New Orleans, La. — Goes to Cape Girardeau. — Returns to the
Barrens. — Father Timon and the Bi.shop of St. Louis. — The Visitor
goes to Paris, France. — His Arrival there. — Results. — His Return. —
Nearly loses a large Sum of Money. — Reaches the Barrens in Safety. . 55. .65

CHAPTER VIL

Improvements in the Mission. — The Visitor goes to Texas as an Envoy of
Rome. — Meets Friends in Galveston. — Goes to Houston. — Opens a
Mission. — Results. — Poor O'Brien. — Scandalous Conduct of two Mex-
ican Priests. — Visitor returns to New Orleans. — His Report. — Arrives
at Natchez, Miss. — Reads Mass in Mrs. Girardeau's House. — Preaches
in the City Hall. — Enthusiasm. — Goes to St. Louis. — Religious Zeal.
— Proposed for an Episcopal See. — Declines. — Refuses to Adminis-
trate the St. Louis Diocese. — Further Developments G5..72

CHAPTER VIIL

Mr. Tornatori and the Drawing Master. — Mission of Oauchita. — Visitor
Timon appointed Prefect Apostolic of Texas. — Mons. Odin sent to
Texas as vice-Prefect. — The two Mexican Priests Silenced. — Visitor
with Bishop Flaget visits the Missions. — Visitor quells a Parish Strife.
— New Church for Cairo. — Evils at Assumption. — Visitor goes to
Texas. — Subscription for a new Church. — Funeral Rites of Minister
to Mexico. — Meets with General Henderson. — Preaches in the Capi-
tol. — A Church for Houston. — Goes to Austin. — Dangerous Travel. —
State of Texas. — Grand Reception by Judge Burnet. — First Mass in
Austin.— Dines with the French Minister. — Table Talk 72. .79

CHAPTER IX.

Petition to Restore Church Property. — Visitor Timon Preaches in the Sen
ate Chamber. — Public Complimentary Dinner. — Discussion. — Visitor
Timon explains.— Missionary Excursions in the Colorado River. —
Oysters. — Return to Galveston. — First Convert.— Difficult Travel. —
. Good Re.sults. — The Gospel in St. Augustine, Florida. — The Visitor
parts with Mons. Odin. — Arrives at New Orleans. — Bishoprics
Refused. — The Visitor in Paris. — His Return. — Incident on Board
Ship. — Burial at Sea. — Arrival at New Orleans. — Visitor Timon. —
Changes.— Appointed Bishop of Buffalo. N. Y 80. .90



BOOK n.



CHAPTER L

The Diocese of Buffalo.— Troubles of St. Louis Church. — Their Origin and

History 93.. 113



CONTENTS. . XIU



CHAPTER 11. *

Page.
Rt. Rev. John Timon as Bishop. — Rev. Bernard O'Reilly, Y. G. — Their
Arrival. — Reception. — Magnificent Demonstrations. — Te Deum at St.
Louis Church, — Bishop Timon' s first Consecration. — Told to Leave
St. Louis Church. — Begins St. Patrick's. — Hard Work. — The Metho-
dist and Hell. — The Irishman and Confession, — The Viaticum and
the Presbyterian. — Upset from a Sleigh. — Father McEvoy taken for
a Lawyer and the Bishop for a Priest 11.3. .120

CHAPTER III.

History of the Troubles of St. Louis Church under Bishop Timon's admin-
istration, gathered from the Posthumous Pajjers of the Bishop 120.. 157

CHAPTER IV.

The Bishop and the Mendicant. — Bishop Timon visits Baltimore to get
Sisters for an Hospital and Asylum. — Resources. — Sisters arrive. —
Hospital Opened. — Attacked by Rev. John C. Lord, a Protestant
Minister. — Defended by Rev. B. O'Reilly. — The Orphan Asylum 157. .168

CHAPTER V.

Bishop Timon and the Act of Incorporation. — St. Joseph's Orphan Asy-
lum. — Correspondence. — Bishop Timon travels through Mexico, &c. —
Learns Spanish. — Returns Home. — Lectures on Mexico. — Nuncio
Bedini arrives. — His Dealings with St. Louis Church 169. .197

CHAPTER VL

The Church Property Bill. — Hon. Mr. Putnam and Hon. Mr. Babcock. —
Bishop Timon's Reply. — The Foundling Asylum. — Ground devoted
by Louis S. Lecouleulx. — Cottages secured. — Cholera — Bishop Timon
carries Infants in his Arms to Places of Safety. — Buys a Farm for a
Cemetery and other Uses. — Sentence of Excommunication against
the Trustees of St. Louis Church. — Father Weniger Mediates and
restores Order 197.. 212

CHAPTER VIL

Education. — Convent of the Sacred Heart. — St. Joseph's College. — Oblate
Fathers arrive. — St Joseph's College. — Discouraging Circumstances.
It Fails. — Christian Brothers. — Miss Nardin's Academy.— Incidents. —
Sisters of the Good Shepherd. — A detailed Report. — Other Religious
Orders. — Provincial Synod. — Its Results and Importance. — Bishop
goes to Rome. — Dogma of Immaculate Conception 213.. 228

CHAPTER VIIL

Franciscan Fathers. — The "Immaculate Conception" at Rome. — Bishop
Timon's Return. — Pastoral on Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
— Church Property Bill again. — Bi.ehop Timon on Senator Putnam's
Poetry.— Favors from the Pope to the Diocese of Buffiilo 228.-244

CHAPTER IX.

St. Patrick's and other Churches. — St. Joseph's Cathedral. — Correspon-
dence. — Bishop Timon Travels the World for Help for his Cathedral. — •
Difficulties. — Corner Slone and Dedication. — First Diocesan Synod. —
A Carillon of Forty-three Bells. — Episcopal Visitations. — Bishop
Timonvisits St. Louis, Mo. — The Alleghany College. — Election Day.
—Juvenile Asylum 244.. 262



XIV CONTENTS.



CHAPTER X.



Page.



Niagara Falls Seminary. — Catholic Funerals. — Bishop Timon goes to
Rome.— His Journey.— His Return. — His Sermon. -Jubilee announced.
—Efforts for the Roman College — Jubilee Extended. — Catholic Fune-
rals again.— Zeal of Bishop Timon.— William B. Lecouteulx.— St.
Peregrinus 262.. 270

CHAPTER XI.

Public School System. — Bishop Timon's Views. — Bishop Lynch. — Provin-
cial Council. — Its Importance. — Signification of the Blood of St.
Janaurius. — Peter Pence. — Providence Insane Asylum. — B|shop
Timon's Sermon. — Dean Richmond 271. .281

CHAPTER XII.

Fall of 1860. — War. — Bishop Timon's Position. — Lincoln. — Flag raising.
— Bishop Timon's Remarks. — Second Provincial Council. — Bishop
Timon's Sermons. — Evidenc&s of declining Health. — St. Vincent's
Asylum. — Bishop Timon goes to Rome again. — Japanese Martyrs. —
Guest of the Archbishop of Tuam. — Arrives Home 281.. 291

CHAPTER XIIL

Public School Text Books. — Bishop Timon lectures at the Central School.
— Correspondence with the Sanitary Commission. — Anonymous Cor-
respondence. — Its Authors guilty Wretches. — Incident. — One Cause
of the Bishop's Death. — Depressed Spiiits. — Lectures at Dan.sville. —
Catches the Erysipelas. — Decline of Life, but does not expect to die
soon. — His last Sermon. — Confined to the House. — Predicts his
Death. — Death of Bishop Timon 291. .301

CHAPTER XIV.

Bishop Timon's Body Embalmed. — His Re.?idence draped in Mourning. —
Ninety thousand Persons visit his Remains. — The Funeral. — Proces-
sion. —The Body Depo.sited in a Vault of the Cathedral.— Bishop
Timon's Characteristics. — His Habits. — Letter from Father Smarius,
S. J 301.. 310

CHAPTER XV.

Review of the Bishop's Character.— His Spirit of Prayer.— His habitual

Peace of Mind.— His Humility ' 310.. 319



APPEXDIX.



Accounts of the Carillon 323.. 333

Extracts from Bishop Timon's Conference Sermons... 333



BOOK I.



THE EARLY AND MISSIONARY LEFE



OP



REV. JOHN TIM ON.



LIFE AND TIMES

OF THE LATE

RIGHT REV. JOHN TIMON, D. D.,

EIRST ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP
OF THE DIOCESE OF BUFFALO, N. T.



CHAPTER I.



Birth-place of Bishop Timon. — Parentage. — Date of Birth and Baptism. — ^Brothers
AND Sisters. — Incidents akd Characteristics of the Elder Timon. — Removes to
Baltimore, Md.— To Louis\aLLE, Ky.— To St. Louis, Mo.— Engaged in Dry Goods
Business.— John Timon as Clerk.— His Accomplishments.— Makes Acquaintance
WITH Miss De Gallon. — Engaged to the Young Lady, but never JIarried. —
Death of Miss De Gallon.— Crisis of 1823.— Business Misfortunes.- Resolves to
become a Lazarist.

In the retired but beautiful place of Conevago, Adams Co.,
Pa., situated at the distance of about one mile from wiiat is
known and called " Conevago Church," (under the care of the
fathers of the Society of Jesus,) stood, several years ago, a log
cabin, a kind of structure commonly found in the early days of
American settlements. This rude and humble dwelling was the
birth-place of the late lamented prelate of the Diocese of Buffalo,
Rt. Rev. John Timon, D. D. It is only a few yeara ago that
Bishop Timon paid a visit to Conevago, a place endeared to him
by many recollections of his childhood, and saw for the last time
the spot and log house in which he was born. Shortly afterwards
the cabin, situated on a farm belonging to a Mr. Reilly, was torn
down and removed, and thus the only remaining link that
connected his later years with those of his youth, was entirely
obliterated.

By birth. Bishop Timon was an American, although he him-
eelf. on more than one occasion, has asserted to many that he

(2)



18 LITE AND TIMES OF



was conceived in Ireland, and born of Irish parents, in this
country. His parents were James Timon and Margaret Leddy,
and as near as can be ascertained, emigrated from the north of
Ireland, from a place called Belthurbet, in Cavan Co. They
were poor but pious christians, and their household observances
were synonyms for -vnrtue and charity.

Although in humble circumstances when they landed in
America, by dint of economy and industry, they managed to
accumulate, in a very few years, no indifferent amount of wealth,
and at the same time support a large and increasing family.
Their marriage was blessed with ten children, three sons and
seven daughters. The sons were named James, John, and
Owen ; the daughters were called Ellen, Rose, Mary. Eliza, Ann,
Agatha, and Catherine.

Of the sons, James died early in life. John became a Bishop,
and was the only one of the family that rose to any degree of
eminence. Owen, the third and surviving brother, still resides
at St. Louis, is married, and is or was employed in some capacity
near the person of the Archbishop of that city.

Ellen married a Mr. Kennedy, of ]!^ew York city, and is now
dead. Rose was married to a Mr. Daly, of St. Louis, Mo. ; Mary
to a Mr. Ames, of Louisville, Ky. ; Eliza to a Mr. McGinnis, of
St. Louis, Mo. ; Ann to a Mr. Fox, also of St. Louis, Mo. ; Agatha
married a Mr. Douglas ; and Catherine a Mr. McDonough, of
St. Louis, Mo.

John, the subject of this biography, was born on the 12th of



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