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John Mullanphy

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Merchant, philanthropist, b. near Enniskillen, Co. Fremanagh, Ireland, 1758; d. at St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. 29 August, 1833. At twenty he went to France where he served in the Irish Brigade until the Revolution drove him back to Ireland. In 1792 with his wife and child he emigrated to Philadelphia, thence going to Baltimore where he remained until 1799. He next went to Kentucky where he opened a store in Frankfort, but left there in 1804, and settled finally in St. Louis, then a French settlement. His enterprise in business brought him large returns which he invested in real estate. He was in Baltimore during the War of 1812 with England, and took part in its defence, and later was with Jackson in 1815 at the battle of New Orleans. His business instinct prompted him to then buy a large quantity of cotton at low rates, which the ending of the war enabled him to sell at an immense profit. He had fifteen children, and spent his last years in dispensing much of his great fortune in charity. In 1827 he established the St. Louis Convent of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, the second in the United States. The following year he gave a hospital to the Sisters of Charity. A church, the Jesuit novitiate, and a convent for the Sisters of Loretto at Florissant, were also his gifts, and when he died 25,000 dollars was left in his will for education and charity. His children continued his benefactions. His only son, Bryan, who died in 1851, a bachelor, lived an eccentric life. He was mayor of St. Louis in 1847, and for four years judge of the County Court. His will left one-third of his estate (about 200,000 dollars) as a trust fund "to furnish relief to all poor emigrants passing through St. Louis to settle in the West." Changed conditions have frustrated that intention, and it is now devoted to charity. John Mullanphy's name is perpetuated in St. Louis by the hospital and orphan asylum so designated, and the name of his daughter, Mrs. Ann Biddle, is preserved in the Biddle Home and St. Ann's Foundling Asylum which she founded.


The Messenger (New York, July, 1908); Church Progress (St. Louis, February, March, 1906), files; DARBY, Recollections of St. Louis (St. Louis); BRACKENRIDGE, Recollections of Persons and Places in the West (1834); Encyclopedia of the History of St. Louis.

About this page

APA citation. Meehan, T. (1911). John Mullanphy. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Meehan, Thomas. "John Mullanphy." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by John Fobian. In memory of Janet Callander.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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