Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fr O'Reilly Saves Atlanta Churches on This Day

146 years ago, Fr Thomas O'Reilly, a Catholic priest at Immaculate Conception parish in Atlanta, is credited with saving several churches and residences in Atlanta from destruction by Federal troops that were occupying the city. The orders, from General Sherman, required the destruction of all structures in the city. A report filed by Confederate officials after the event stated.

"The City Hall is damaged but not burned. The Second Baptist, Second (Central) Presbyterian, Trinity and Catholic churches and all the residences adjacent between Mitchell and Peters (Trinity Avenue) streets, running south of east, and Loyd and Washington streets running south of west, are safe, all attributable to Father O'Reilly, who refused to give up his parsonage to Yankee officers, who were looking out for fine houses for quarters, and there being a large number of Catholics in the Yankee army, who volunteered to protect their Church and Parsonage, and would not allow any houses adjacent to be fired that would endanger them. As proof of their attachment to their Church and love for Father O'Reilly, a soldier who attempted to fire Col. Calhoun's house, the burning of which would have endangered the whole block was shot and killed, and his grave is now marked. So to Father O'Reilly the country is indebted for the protection of the City Hall, Churches, etc."
During reconstruction of the city, a new Immaculate Conception parish was planned under the guidance and direction of Fr O'Reilly. It remains one of the most beautiful churches in Atlanta.

Fr O'Reilly is truly one of Atlanta's early heroes.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps Fr. O'Reilly's bravery and solicitude in Atlanta make up for Mrs. O'Leary's carelessness in Chicago.