Francis Xavier Gartland

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Right Rev. Francis Xavier Gartland
Bishop of Savannah
Bishop Francis Xavier Gartland.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
In officeNovember 10, 1850 – September 20, 1854
SuccessorJohn Barry
OrdinationAugust 5, 1832
ConsecrationNovember 10, 1850
Personal details
Born(1805-01-13)January 13, 1805
Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
DiedSeptember 20, 1854(1854-09-20) (aged 49)
Savannah, Georgia, United States

Francis Xavier Gartland (January 13, 1805 – September 20, 1854) was an Irish American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the first bishop of the Diocese of Savannah, Georgia, from 1850 until his death in 1854.


One of ten children, Gartland was born in Dublin to James and Mary (née Conroy) Gartland.[1] At an early age he came with his family to the United States, where they settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] He studied the classics and theology at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland,[2] and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Henry Conwell on August 5, 1832.[3] He then served as curate under Rev. John Hughes at St. John's Church in Philadelphia, becoming its pastor in 1838.[2] Made vicar general of the Diocese of Philadelphia in 1845,[4] he was Bishop Francis Kenrick's "chief lieutenant"[1] in the latter's attempts to restore peace and order following the Know Nothing riots, and became "the most popular priest in the city among all classes."[5]

On July 23, 1850, Gartland was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Savannah by Pope Pius IX.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 10 from Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, P.S.S., with Bishops Francis Kenrick and Michael O'Connor, S.J., serving as co-consecrators, in Philadelphia.[3] The new diocese (which comprised the state of Georgia and East Florida) contained 15 churches, eight priests, and around 5,000 Catholics.[4][6] During his tenure, he doubled the Catholic population in his diocese; greatly increased the number of priests, many of whom he recruited from his native Ireland; erected three new churches; and enlarged the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, which he dedicated in June 1853.[2] He also established an orphanage and several Catholic schools, and attended the Eighth Provincial Council of Baltimore.[4] As a bishop in the South, he considered "the freedom of the slave population" to be "untimely," saying, "All we have to do is mite their souls [so that] whether bond of free they may be saved."[7]

In 1854 Gartland made the nearer rounds of the city of Savannah, visiting victims of a raging yellow fever epidemic.[2] He died, a victim of the disease himself, at age 49.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b DeLorme, Rita H. "Humanizing a legend: Bishop Francis X. Gartland, the man" (PDF). The Southern Cross. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Clarke, Richard Henry. "RIGHT REV. FRANCIS XAVIER GARTLAND, D.D.". Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States.
  3. ^ a b c "Bishop Francis Xavier Gartland".[self-published source]
  4. ^ a b c Shea, John Gilmary. "Diocese of Savannah". History of the Catholic Church in the United States.
  5. ^ O'Connell, Jeremiah Joseph. Catholicity in the Carolinas and Georgia. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ "The Diocese of Savannah". The Catholic Church in the United States of America.
  7. ^ Gleeson, David T. The Irish in the South, 1815-1877. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Savannah
Succeeded by