Alerding, Herman Joseph

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Bishop, historian; b. Ibbenbueren, Westphalia, Germany, April 13, 1845; d. Fort Wayne, Indiana, Dec. 6, 1924. He was the son of Bernard Herman and Theresa (Schrameier) Alerding, who settled in Newport, Kentucky, during his infancy. He entered St. Gabriel Seminary, Vincennes, Indiana, in 1858, and continued his studies at St. Thomas Seminary near Bardstown, Kentucky, and St. Meinrad Seminary, St. Meinrad, Indiana. After he was ordained for the Diocese of Vincennes on Sept. 22, 1868, he did pastoral work in Terre Haute, Indiana, and Cambridge City, Indiana, until 1874. That year he was transferred to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he served as procurator of St. Joseph Seminary during the one year of its existence, and as pastor of St. Joseph Church. On Nov. 30, 1900, Alerding was consecrated as bishop of Fort Wayne by archbishop William H. Elder of Cincinnati, Ohio. The new bishop promoted secondary schools and furthered consolidation of the parochial system. During his episcopacy the Catholic population in the diocese almost doubled, largely because of the influx of foreignborn Catholics to work in the steel mills of northern Indiana.

Alerding gained recognition among Church historians with the publication of The History of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Vincennes (1883). It was the first general history of the Church in Indiana, and, although not scientifically written or well organized, it contained a wealth of material. He published a second work, The Diocese of Fort Wayne, in 1907.

Bibliography: History of the Catholic Church in Indiana, ed. c. blanchard, 2 v. (Logansport, Ind. 1898). j. f. noll, The Diocese of Fort Wayne: Fragments of History (Fort Wayne 1941).

[m. c. schroeder]