Michael O'Reilly, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Michael O'Reilly

MICHAEL O'REILLY, pastor of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church of Valparaiso, is a native of Clonmellon, Westmeath, Co., Ireland, and was born January 29, 1834. His father, John O'Reilly, a steward on Ross Mead for Capt. Robinson, of the Royal Naval, was married, in 1833, to Ann Bennett, and to this union were born one son and three daughters, of whom our subject and two sisters only are living. John O'Reilly died when Michael was bur seven years of age. His mother again marrying, Michael began life's battle on his own responsibility, and up to the age of thirteen made his home with an uncle, aiding him in his duties as salesman of timber. In 1846, he joined one of the secret rebel clubs denounced by the Government, and was in consequence, advised to seek a refuge in America. In 1848, he came over alone, and made his way to the home of an uncle in Utica, N. Y., and for a number of years was engaged in various pursuits in Oneida and Genesee Counties. He saved his earnings, sent over for tow of his sisters, and at sixteen began going to school. When unable to attend, his strong inclination for study led him to read all books of value that came in his way, and he thus acquired a good preparatory education. At seventeen, he began teaching in the winters, and with the money thus earned entered Oberlin College, (Ohio), where he remained until his Junior year. He then entered Notre Dame University at South Bend, studied mental philosophy and other branches pertaining to a classical course, and then entered St. Mary's Seminary at Cincinnati, went through a thorough theological course and a short time after came to Valparaiso and took charge of its Catholic congregation, then numbering fifty or sixty families, with a debt of about $4,000, and with neither house nor school. With commendable energy, Father O'Reilly went to work to remedy this unfortunate condition of affairs, and as a result of his zeal and persistency he can now boast of one of the finest congregations in the city, numbering about 2,000 souls, freed of all mortgages. He has also established churches at Hobart, Chesterton and Westville, and is now engaged in erecting a new church edifice at Valparaiso. He is untiring in his labors, is one of Valparaiso's best citizens, and is respected and esteemed by all her people, irrespective of sectarian differences.

Source: Goodspeed, Weston A., and Charles Blanchard. 1882. Counties of Porter and Lake, Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Illustrated. Chicago, Illinois: F. A. Battey & Company. 771 p.
Page(s) in Source: 264-265

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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