The fighting priest of the Nevada mining camps – by Sean M. Wright (Detroit Catholic – August 14, 2023)

Many Irishmen arrived in California during the California Gold Rush. Among them was the brawny Patrick Manogue (pronounced “Manigan”) — “Paddy” to his friends, one of seven orphaned children.

Born in County Kilkenny in 1831, the young man left college and emigrated to the United States, landing in the gold fields in Moore’s Flat, California. Many disputes occurred among the prospectors in the mining camp, and Manogue was never one to turn his back on a donnybrook. Although only in his early 20s, he stood a muscular six feet, four inches tall. A fair man, Paddy Manogue was often asked to arbitrate these disputes.

While prospecting by day, he studied philosophy and theology by night. Within four years Paddy had money enough, even after providing for his family in Ireland, to pay his way through Saint Sulpice Seminary, Paris.

In 1860, the Marysville vicariate was established by Blessed Pius IX. It included all of Northern California and most of what was then the Nevada Territory, with Bishop Eugene O’Connell in charge. Aware of his mining camp background, the bishop snagged the newly ordained Fr. Patrick Manogue in 1862 to pastor the many Irish families coming to Virginia City during the boom years of the Comstock Lode and its vast silver deposits.

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