David William Bacon

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David William Bacon (November 5, 1813 – 1874) was the first Roman Catholic bishop of Portland, Maine.


Bacon was born in New York City. He majored in classical studies at the Sulpician College at Montreal and studied theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was ordained a priest in Baltimore, Maryland on December 13, 1838. Returning to New York he served on the mission at Utica and Ogdensburg, and then in New York City and at Belleville, New Jersey.

In 1841 he was sent to establish the third parish in Brooklyn, and for this bought the unfinished building begun in November 1831, as the "Independent Catholic Church" by the Rev. John Farnan, who had been suspended by Bishop John Dubois. It was completed and dedicated on June 10, 1842, under the patronage of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.

In 1855 he was named first Bishop of Portland, and consecrated in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City, on April 22, 1855. There were only six priests and eight churches in the Portland diocese, which at that time included the entire states of Maine and New Hampshire. At his death the diocese contained 63 churches, 52 priests, 23 parish schools, and a Catholic population of about 80,000.

In the summer of 1874 he started for Rome with Archbishop John McCloskey, but having fallen ill on ship-board was forced to remain in the Naval Hospital at Brest until the Archbishop returned, on his way home. Bishop Bacon was carried on board the steamer and barely reached New York alive. He was taken to a hospital on shore, where he died a few hours later. The bronze altar of the Sacred Heart, in St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, was erected by Archbishop McCloskey in thanksgiving for Bacon's life being spared until he got back to the United States.[citation needed]


  • "U.S. Cath. Hist. Soc. Records and Studies" (New York, 1900), II, pts. I-II
  • MITCHELL, "Golden Jubilee of Bishop Loughlin" (Brooklyn, 1891)
  • MULRENAN, "A Brief Historical Sketch of the Catholic Church on Long Island" (New York, 1871)
  • REUSS, "Biog. Cycl. Of the Cath. Hierarchy" (Milwaukee, Wis., 1898)
  • SHEA, "Hist. Cath. Ch. In U.S." (New York, 1904)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "David William Bacon" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

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