Francis Ridgley Cotton

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Francis Ridgley Cotton (September 19, 1895—September 25, 1960) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the first Bishop of Owensboro (1938-1960).


One of three children, Francis Cotton was born in Bardstown, Kentucky to Charles and Mary (née Moore) Cotton.[1] After attending St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana, he studied at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] He studied at the Sulpician Seminary at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. from 1919 to 1920.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood on June 17, 1920.[2]

Cotton completed his graduate studies at the Pontifical Athenaeum S. Apollinare in Rome.[1] Following his return to Kentucky, he served as a curate at St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, St. Cecilia Church in Louisville, and St. Francis de Sales Church in Paducah (1922-1926).[1] He also served as assistant chancellor (1926-1931) and chancellor (1931-1937) of the diocese.[1]

On December 16, 1937, Cotton was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Owensboro by Pope Pius XI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on February 24, 1938 from Archbishop John A. Floersh, with Bishops Theodore H. Reverman and Moses E. Kiley serving as co-consecrators.[2] He remained as bishop until his death at age 65.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Francis Ridgley Cotton". 

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Owensboro
Succeeded by
Henry Joseph Soenneker