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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IRELAND, John, R. C. bishop, born in Burn-church. County Kilkenny, Ireland, 11 September, 1838. His parents emigrated to the United States when he was a boy, and settled in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he received his early education at the cathedral schools. He went to France in September, 1853, entered the Petit seminaire of Meximeux, and finished the course in four years, half the usual time. After studying theology in the Grand seminaire at Hyeres, he returned to St. Paul in 1861, and on 21 December was ordained by Bishop Grace. He served as chaplain of the 5th Minnesota regiment during part of the civil war, and was afterward appointed rector of the cathedral at St. Paul, which post, with that of secretary of the diocese, he held until his consecration as coadjutor bishop. During this period Father Ireland labored earnestly in behalf of every charity and every religious and educational institution of the diocese. In 1869 he organized the first total abstinence society in the state, and he has been successful in organizing" other temperance societies. In 1870 he went to Rome as the accredited representative of Bishop Grace at the Vatican council. In February, 1875, he was chosen to succeed Bishop O'Gorman in the vicariate of Nebraska, but through the efforts of Bishop Grace the appointment was cancelled, and he was then nominated coadjutor bishop of St. Paul, and consecrated, 21 December, 1875. After this Bishop Ireland undertook the work of colonization in the northwest, and as the founder of successful colonies, and one of the directors and workers in the National colonization association, his influence has been widely felt. In 1876 he made large purchases of land in Minnesota, which were taken up by 900 Roman Catholic colonists. The prosperity of this colony led him to buy 12,000 acres from the St. Paul and Pacific railroad in the following year with equally satisfactory results. He has been an active worker in the establishment of a Roman Catholic university, and on his visit to Rome in 1887 was engaged, in conjunction with Bishop Kean, of Richmond, in drawing up a report on this subject for the pope. He then went to England and Ireland, where his lectures contributed to a revival of temperance agitation. Bishop Ireland is an able orator and controversialist. He has been for several years president of the State historical society of Minnesota.
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