Samuel Eccleston

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The Most Reverend
Samuel Eccleston
Fifth Archbishop of Baltimore
See Archdiocese of Baltimore
Appointed March 11, 1834 (Coadjutor)
Installed October 19, 1834
Term ended April 22, 1851
Predecessor James Whitfield
Successor Francis Kenrick
Ordination April 24, 1825
by Ambrose Maréchal
Consecration September 14, 1834
by James Whitfield
Personal details
Born (1801-06-27)June 27, 1801
Chestertown, Maryland
Died May 22, 1851(1851-05-22) (aged 49)
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Parents Samuel Eccleston and Martha Hyson
Previous post Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Richmond (1835-1840)
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Samuel Eccleston, S.S. (June 27, 1801 – April 22, 1851) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who served as the fifth Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland from 1834 until his death in 1851.


Early life and education[edit]

Samuel Eccleston was born near Chestertown, Maryland, to Samuel and Martha (née Hyson) Eccleston and raised Episcopalian.[1] His grandfather, John Eccleston, was from Preston in North West England, and came to the Colony of Maryland in the middle of the 18th century.[2] His father, who had three children from a previous marriage, died when Samuel was a young boy.[3] Following his father's death, his widowed mother remarried a Catholic gentleman named Stenson.[4] Young Eccleston was sent to St. Mary's College in Baltimore, run by the Sulpician Fathers, to be educated, and converted to Catholicism on May 29, 1819.[5][better source needed]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Following his conversion, Eccleston decided to enter the priesthood, and enrolled at St. Mary's Seminary in July 1819.[2] He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal on April 24, 1825.[5][better source needed] Later that year, he entered the Sulpicians, and continued his studies at the Grand Seminary of Saint-Sulpice in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.[1] After visiting England and Ireland, Eccleston returned to Baltimore in July 1827. He became a faculty member and Vice-President at his alma mater, St. Mary's Seminary, and the institution's President in 1829.[2][4]

Archbishop of Baltimore[edit]

On March 4, 1834, Pope Gregory XVI appointed Eccleston Coadjutor Archbishop of Baltimore and Titular Archbishop of Thermae Basilicae.[5][better source needed] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 14th from Archbishop James Whitfield, with Bishops Benedict Joseph Flaget, S.S., and Francis Patrick Kenrick serving as co-consecrators, in the old Baltimore Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary.[5][better source needed] Upon Archbishop Whitfield's death on October 19, 1834, Eccleston succeeded him as the fifth Archbishop of Baltimore.[5][better source needed] At the age of 34, he became the youngest cleric to become Archbishop in the Archdiocese's history.[1] In 1835, the Holy See appointed Eccleston Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, an office which he held until the appointment of Richard Vincent Whelan in 1840.[5][better source needed] Because Richmond was thus a subordinate diocese, Eccleston received the pallium, a vestment worn by metropolitan bishops, on November 1, 1835, as his predecessor had six years earlier in 1829.[1]

Eccleston encouraged religious orders to establish houses in his diocese, particularly those who could provide social services to the growing number of Catholic immigrants in the industrializing cities. The Sisters of the Visitation increased the number of their academies in the city and archdiocese, the Brothers of St. Patrick came to direct a trade school near Baltimore, and the Redemptorists cared particularly for German-speaking immigrants.[6] The Brothers of the Christian Schools founded Calvert Hall School, (later to become Calvert Hall College, then Calvert Hall College high school) in 1845, at the northwest corner of West Saratoga and North Charles Street, on the site of the old St. Peter's Procathedral, (first Catholic congregation in the City from 1770 to 1841), and St. Charles College (a pre-seminary) was established in 1849 in Howard County, Maryland, near the Charles Carroll of Carrollton, (1737-1832), large family estate of "Doughoregan Manor" (later moved to near Catonsille and Arbutus, Maryland in southwest Baltimore County in 1911).[4] Between 1837 and 1849, bishop Eccleston held five Provincial Councils of Baltimore; he even invited the exiled Pope Pius IX, (1792-1878, served 1846-1878), to preside over the Seventh Provincial Council in 1849.[1] Several new churches were erected during his administration as well.[6]

Eccleston died in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., aged only 49. He was buried and entombed in the crypt (with predecessors and successors) of the old Baltimore Cathedral on "Cathedral Hill" in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood north of downtown Baltimore.-[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Most Rev. Samuel Eccleston S.S.". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. 
  2. ^ a b c Shea, John Gilmary (1890). A History of the Catholic Church Within the Limits of the United States: From the First Attempted Colonization to the Present Time. New York. 
  3. ^ Fuller, Horace W., ed. (1894). The Green Bag: An Entertaining Magazine for Lawyers. VI. Boston: The Boston Book Company. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Samuel Eccleston". Catholic Encyclopedia. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop Samuel Eccleston, P.S.S.". 
  6. ^ a b Clarke, Richard Henry (1872). Lives of the Deceased Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States. I. New York: P. O'Shea Publisher. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Whitfield
Archbishop of Baltimore
October 19, 1834 – April 22, 1851
Succeeded by
Francis Patrick Kenrick