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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1248~


Rev. Cornelius Stephen Regan


The popular young pastor of West Union parish of the Roman Catholic churches under his jurisdiction, is a native of Lycurgus, Allamakee county, Iowa, and was born on the 10th of June, 1864. He is a worthy son of Daniel and Mary (Devine) Regan, early pioneer's of Allamakee county, and both recently deceased on their old pioneer homestead at Lycurgus. These were people highly esteemed in the community in which most of their married lives were spent, and where their large family of children was born and reared to promising manhood and womanhood. Daniel Regan is characterized in the obituary notice in the Allamakee Journal as "the grand old man," which shows the estimation in which he was held by those who knew him best. From this notice we are pleased to copy sufficient details to give a comprehensive understanding as to his life career: He was born at the townsland of Derlis, near Castle Donovan, parish of Drimoleague, county Clark, Ireland, his birth occurring on the 1st of November, 1819. He left his native land on the 20th of June, 1848, and landed at Quebec, Canada, August 15th following. After a three months' sojourn in that northern city, he went to Vermont, and remained in that state until July 1, 1850, when he located at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. There, on January 6, 1853, he wedded Mary Devine, a native of his own country, born near Dingle, in county Kerry, in 1838. The young couple at once sought a home in the West and on the 17th Of May, 1853, settled on the old homestead in Center township, Allamakee county, Iowa, which was their home ever afterward, until both were called to their final reward. There they shared together the trials and hardships of pioneer life, grew prosperous, enjoying the love and confidence of many devoted friends and neighbors, reared a family of loving, and appreciative children, and after a sojourn of more than half a century together, surrendered to the inevitable within the short space of eighteen months.


Daniel Regan was a man liberally educated, having received a collegiate training in his native country, and throughout his entire lifetime he took an active interest in public affairs, was a deep reader and thoroughly well informed upon current literature and the general topics of the day. He was a patient and trusting sufferer for many months and finally passed away on the 5th of June, 1907. He bore his suffering with true Christian fortitude and such resignation to the will of God as to be characterized as sublime and ennobling. No murmur or word of complaint ever escaped his lips, and he peacefully fell asleep in the arms of Jesus. The cause of his death was probably mostly due to old age, combined with asthmatic trouble which hastened the end. Being in his eighty-eighth year, his physical constitution was simply worn out with the trials and vicissitudes of a long, and active life. The funeral was held at St. Mary's church at Lycurgus, the religious home which he had cherished as sacredly as life itself, and had sustained and supported throughout all the years of its existence, and in which his children had received the ordinance of holy baptism, and from whose walls they had gone out into the world to become worthy men and women in the land. The gathering of the people was the largest ever assembled there on a funeral occasion, thus evincing the high esteem in which this venerable citizen was held. Six of his grandsons, Charles E., Peter J. and Daniel Regan, and Daniel, James and William Whalen, tenderly bore the precious clay to its final resting place. The priests who took part in the office of the dead. and solemn high mass, were Father C. S. Regan, of West Union, celebrant; Father Gallahue, of Dubuque, deacon, Father Vaughn of Lycurgus, sub-deacon; Father Ryan, of _New Albin, Iowa, master of ceremonies: Fathers McCullough of Dorchester, and Garland, of West Ridge chanters. Father Walsh, of Waukon, delivered a most consoling and eloquent funeral discourse. The solemn requiem mass was sung by the little girls of the Lansing choir, assisted by D. A. Holmes, under the able leadership of Miss Lizzie Schach. Mr. Holmes, at the request of the deceased, sang as a solo "The Holy City," during the offertory, rendering the beautiful and soul-inspiring ballad "with the spirit and understanding also." This selection was an especial favorite of the departed.


On the 16th of December, 1908, "Grandma Regan" rested from her labors. Her death was very peaceful, like one going to sleep. Some months previous to her death she had suffered from a severe attack of bronchitis, from which she never fully recovered, though able to be about the house. She came to America in her youth and resided at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, at the time of her marriage to Daniel Regan, as previously intimated. The union of these early pioneers in northern Iowa was blessed with ten children, three of whom, Daniel. Katherine and Michael, died in infancy or childhood and seven of the family lived to years of maturity. Those left to mourn the loss of their cherished parents were Charles and Mrs. Patrick Whalen, of Lycurgus, Iowa; Eleanor, at home ; Peter J. of Great Falls. Montana ; Rev. Cornelius S., of West Union, Iowa: James who passed to his reward on the old homestead since the deaths of his parents, and Mrs. D. A. Holmes, of Lansing, Iowa. In addition to these sorrowing sons and daughters, this venerable couple had thirty-two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. As in the case of the grandfather, six grandsons acted as pall bearers at the burial of their grandmother. All of her children were at her bedside when the final summons came. The funeral services were conducted at the same place as that of her husband and under very similar circumstances and conditions. The priests who were present to assist in the sad rites were Rev. Father C. S. Regan, celebrant: Rev. Father G. L. Haxmeier, deacon; Rev. Father Campbell, sub-deacon ; the latter also delivering a most excellent and consoling sermon. The solemn requiem mass was sung by the Lansing young ladies' choir. with Miss Lizzie Schach as director and D. A. Holmes, chorister. Mr. Holmes sang the favorite hymn of the deceased-"Ave Maria!"


Rev. Cornelius S. Regan, whose name introduces this sketch, was reared to the age of seventeen on the parental homestead at Lycurgus. At that age-in the summer of 1882-he had finished his studies in the common schools and entered upon a course of higher studies in the fall of the same year at the Waukon Normal School. This was his first absence from the parental roof, and a young man of his temperament and filial affection must surely have suffered much by the radical change from home environments to the cold formality of strangers. After spending several terms in attendance at the normal school, he began teaching in the public schools of the county, and the succeeding five years of his life were spent in teaching and attending school. His school attendance was divided between the Waukon high school, the normal school at that place, the Allamakee County Teachers' Institute and the Decorah Normal and Business schools.

After completing his preliminary educational work, and closing his teaching career,-the latter covering many terms in Allamakee county public schools,-he entered upon a course of study in preparation for the ministry of the Catholic church. Ten days after completing his last term of teaching, he bade adieu to family and friends, and on the 22nd of March, 1888, he was enrolled as a student at St. Joseph's College, Dubuque, Iowa. He was graduated from this well known institution after six years of continuous study, with the class of June, 1893. The young man then took a much needed vacation of a few months amid the loved scenes of his boyhood years, when the archbishop under whose jurisdiction he had been pursuing his studies at St. Joseph, sent him to Montreal, Canada, to pursue his theological course. On the 20th of September, 1893, he began a four years course in the Grand Seminary. He was graduated and received the minor orders and was ordained. on the 19th of September, 1896, in the imposing St. James Cathedral at Montreal. The thoughts of the young clergyman naturally turned to his early home and its loved environments. He thought of the unpretentious little church at Lycurgus, where so many years before he had received the sacrament of baptism, and first holy communion and confirmation and he came home and made arrangements to say his first holy mass in the little church which was so dear to the family, as well as himself. In St. Mary's church at Lycurgus he said his first holy mass on the 23rd of December, 1896. He received his first appointment to pastoral labors as assistant pastor of St. Mary's church in Manchester, Iowa, February 7, 1897, and remained there in that capacity until October 16, 1898, when he was placed in charge of the parish of which Bryant, Iowa, is the center. He remained there in successful work for four years, when the larger field was opened to him at West Union. Father Regan has served the congregations at Fayette, Hawkeye and West Union since January 1, 1903, and has endeared himself, both to his parishioners and the people at large, by his unostentatious yet earnest Christian life. Nearly eight years have been spent profitably and pleasantly in the West Union field where everybody honors and respects Rev. Father Regan.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Cheryl Walker


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