New Hampshire

[seal of the state of New Hampshire] The 9th state to be admitted to the United States, 21 June 1788. Early Puritan prejudice against Catholics in New Hampshire was continued in the state constitution of 1784, which included a religious test that barred Catholics from office. Religious disqualifications were only finally abolished in 1877. The few Catholics who settled in the region were attended first from Boston by the Reverend Francois Matignon, a former professor at Orleans, and later by the future Bishop Cheverus. The permanent establishment of the Church in the state was connected with the conversion of Reverend Daniel Barber and his son, Virgil Horace Barber, both Episcopalian ministers, the former at Claremont, New Hampshire, and the latter the principal of an academy near Utica, New York. The son entered the Church first, 1817, and in 1818 he visited his father, who was contemplatIng the same step, with a Dominican from New York, Reverend Charles D. Ffrench. The latter preached to the Catholics of Claremont and said Mass for them in the home of Daniel Barber. Ultimately the entire Barber family became Catholics, the father joining the Society of Jesus, 1820, when his wife made her profession as a Visitation nun. In 1822 Father Barber was sent by Bishop Cheverus to Claremont, to erect the first Catholic church and school of New Hampshire. Many of the congregation of 150 were converts. In 1828 Father Ffrench was sent to Dover and by 1836 the church of Saint Aloysius was dedicated there. By 1848 Manchester had a resident pastor, the devoted priest, Reverend William McDonald, who built the church of Saint Anne. Ecclesiastically the state is governed by the diocese of Manchester.

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