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Hugh P. Gallagher

GALLAGHER, Hugh P., clergyman, born in Killygordan, County Donegal, Ireland, in 1815; died in San Francisco, California, in March, 1882. He came to the United States in 1837 and completed his theological studies at the seminary of St. Charles Borromeo, Philadelphia. He was appointed professor of classics a few months afterward, and in 1840 was ordained priest. He was placed in charge of Pottsville, where he effected great reforms among the miners, and established a temperance society which soon had over 5,000 members. After having charge of another parish in Pennsylvania, he was made president of the theological seminary in Pittsburg in 1844, and also given charge of a large parish there. He founded and edited for some time the "Pittsburg Catholic," and in 1844 founded St. Francis's College for boys. In 1850 he introduced the Sisters of Mercy, for whom he established St. Aloysius's academy for girls. He also founded "The Crusader," at Summitville, Cambria co. In 1852 he was appointed theologian to the first plenary council of Baltimore, and in the autumn of the same year went to California. Here he built a Church at Benicia, aided in erecting the cathedral of St. Mary in San Francisco, and began a Church in Oakland. In 1853 he established the "Catholic Standard," the first Roman Catholic journal on the Pacific coast, and edited it for several months. He went to Europe in 1853, secured a large number of priests for the Californian mission, and placed fourteen students in ecclesiastical Colleges to be educated for the same purpose. While in Ireland he secured the services of Sisters of Mercy and nuns of the Presentation order for the schools and hospitals he intended to establish in California. After obtaining large donations on the continent he returned to California in 1854. The failure of Adams's express and banking company in 1855, by which large numbers of the working classes were impoverished, made it necessary for them to seek a safer place of deposit for their savings afterward. Father Gallagher was selected as their banker, and he acted in this capacity for several years, during which time several million dollars passed through his hands. His health suffered, and in 1860 he was obliged to retire to the northern part of the state, where he purchased a large building at Yreka, and converted it into a Church. In the same year he built Churches in Carson City, Genoa, and Virginia City. He returned in 1861 to San Francisco and at once set about building St. Joseph's Church, St. Joseph's free schools, and St. Joseph's hall. The schools formed the most important work of his life. In 1865 he founded the Magdalen asylum, which he placed in charge of the Sisters of Mercy. He had previously been instrumental in founding St. Mary's hospital. During the commercial stagnation of 1869-'70 he laid before the legislature a plan for the improvement of Golden Gate park, and obtained an appropriation for the purpose.

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