Francis Xavier Gartland

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Francis Xavier Gartland
Bishop of Savannah
Bishop Francis Xavier Gartland.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
SeeDiocese of Savannah
In officeNovember 10, 1850 –
September 20, 1854
SuccessorJohn Barry
OrdinationAugust 5, 1832
by Henry Conwell
ConsecrationNovember 10, 1850
by Samuel Eccleston
Personal details
Born(1805-01-13)January 13, 1805
DiedSeptember 20, 1854(1854-09-20) (aged 49)
Savannah, Georgia, United States
EducationMount St. Mary's College

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


Early life[edit]

One of ten children, Francis Gartland was born on January 13, 1805, in Dublin, Ireland, to James and Mary (née Conroy) Gartland.[1] His family immigrated to the United States when he was a small child, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[2] Gartland studied the classics and theology at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland,[2]

Gartland was ordained to the priesthood for what was then the Diocese of Philadelphia by Bishop Henry Conwell on August 5, 1832.[3] After his ordination, Garland served as curate under Reverend John Hughes at St. John's Parish in Philadelphia, becoming its pastor in 1838.[2] Appointed vicar general of the diocese in 1845,[4] Gartland was seen as Bishop Francis Kenrick's "chief lieutenant"[1] in the latter's attempts to restore peace and order in Philadelphia following the Know Nothing riots. Garland became known as "the most popular priest in the city among all classes."[5]

Bishop of Savannah[edit]

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 November 10, 1850, from Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, with Bishops Francis Kenrick and Michael O'Connor serving as co-consecrators, in Philadelphia.[3] The new diocese (comprising the entire state of Georgia and eastern Florida) contained 15 churches, eight priests, and around 5,000 Catholics.[4][6]

During Gartland's tenure, the Catholic population doubled in the diocese; more priests were added, including recruits from Ireland; he erected three new churches; and enlarged the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, 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 American South, Ryan 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, during a yellow fever epidemic, Gartland travelled around Savannah visiting the sick.[2] On September 8th, a hurricane ripped the roof off of Gartland's residence. A few weeks later, Francis Gartland died from yellow fever in Savannah on September 20, 1854, 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. {{cite news}}: 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. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Savannah
Succeeded by