Ryan, Abram Joseph

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Poet, journalist, lecturer; b. Hagerstown, Md., Feb. 5, 1838; d. Louisville, Ky., April 22, 1886. Son of Matthew and Mary (Coughlan) Ryan of County Tipperary, Ireland, he was educated at the Christian Brothers' Cathedral School, St. Louis, Mo.; St. Mary's Seminary, Perryville, Mo., where he joined the Congregation of the Mission; and at Our Lady of Angels Seminary, Niagara Falls, N.Y. He was ordained in St. Louis in 1860, preached parish missions and was professor at various Vincentian seminaries until September 1862, when he was appointed to St. Mary's parish, Peoria, Ill.

Ardently in sympathy with the Confederate cause, Ryan sought unsuccessfully to be commissioned a military chaplain. He was accepted by the Diocese of Nashville, in which he labored from 1864 to 1867. From time to time he interrupted his pastoral duties to serve as a free-lance chaplain with the armed forces of the South. Following Appomattox, he wrote in Knoxville, Tenn., "The Conquered Banner," which was sent by a friend to the New York Freeman's Journal, where it was published June 24, 1865, over the pen name of Moina. This poem, with "The Sword of Robert Lee" and others, soon earned him the epithet Poet of the Confederacy.

In March 1868, having transferred to the Diocese of Savannah, he became editor of the Banner of the South (Augusta, Ga.). Adopted by the Diocese of Mobile in June 1870, he was assistant at the cathedral until 1877, when he was appointed pastor of St. Mary's parish, Mobile. From 1871 he was a member of the editorial staff of the Morning Star, New Orleans, serving as editor in chief (187275) though residing in Mobile. For reasons of health and to find some literary leisure, he retired in October 1881, to Biloxi, Miss.

Ryan's spirited poetry, prose, and oratory embody one aspect of the glamor and nostalgia of the Souththe

Confederacy and its heroes. His most prominent works are Father Ryan's Poems (Mobile 1879); Poems: Patriotic, Religious, Miscellaneous (Baltimore 1880); A Crown for Our Queen (Baltimore 1882).

Bibliography: j. p. mckey, History of Niagara University, Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, 18561931 (Niagara University 1931). i. dilliard, "Father Ryan, Poet-Priest of the Confederacy," Missouri Historical Review 36 (Oct. 1941) 6166.

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