Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BYRNE, William, educator, born in the county Wieklow, Ireland, in 1780 ; died at St. Mary's College, Kentucky, in 1833. His parents were laboring people, and, although he had conceived the idea of becoming a priest at an early age, he was obliged to work for the maintenance of his younger brothers and sisters till his twenty-fifth year. Then he immigrated to the United States and applied for admission to Georgetown College, but was rejected, owing to deficient preparation. He was successful in gaining admission into St. Mary's College. Emmettsburg, and there began the study of Latin when thirty years old. After some years he was allowed to study theology in St. Mary's seminary, Baltimore, was ordained in 1819, opened a school in Marion County, Kentucky, in 1821, and then proceeded to erect St. Mary's College on Mount Mary farm. When he had made it one of the most flourishing institutions in the state, he transferred it to the Jesuits in 18:11, on the understanding that he was to remain president for a year, to enable them to become acquainted with the working of the College. He died of cholera contracted while ministering to the Negroes in the neighborhood of St. Mary's.
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