Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLANCHET, Francis Norbert, R. C. archbishop, born near Quebec in 1795; died in Portland, Oregon, in 1883. He received his ecclesiastical training at the Petit seminaire, Quebec, and was ordained by Archbishop Plessis in 1819. He labored for seven years on the missions of the gulf of St. Lawrence, and was then appointed cure of St. Joseph de Soulanges at The Cedars, where he remained nine years. After John Jacob Astor established the trading-post of Astoria at the mouth of Columbia river, and after the organization of the Hudson bay company in Oregon, there was a great influx of Canadian Catholics, who intermarried with the Indians. In 1838 the archbishop of Quebec decided to establish a mission among them, and for this purpose selected fathers Blanchet and Demers. Father Blanchet made Vancouver his headquarters, and for the next four years he and his companion were the only priests in Oregon, which then included British Columbia and extended along the Pacific to the California boundary. In 1848 he was created vicar-apostolic and received Episcopal consecration from the archbishop of Quebec. At the close of 1844 he had converted most of the Indian tribes of the Sound, Caledonia, and the lower Oregon. He had founded nine missions *four in the Rocky mountains and five in lower Oregon. Eleven Churches had been erected, and two educational establishments founded*one for boys and one for girls. There were fifteen priests in the country, besides sisters. In accordance with the representations of Bishop Blanchet, the pope formed his vicariate into an ecclesiastical province. divided into three sees, over one of which, that of Oregon City, he was appointed bishop. In 1878 he received Bishop Seghers as coadjutor, and in 1881 he was obliged to retire, after a priesthood of sixty two years and an episcopate of thirty-six. He has been called the "Apostle of Oregon."
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