Biography of Very Rev. Dean M. Barry
Oswego County, NY Biographies





Very Rev. Dean Michael Barry. - In the death of Dean Barry, Oct. 23, 1914, the city of Oswego lost one of its most outstanding religious and civic leaders. As pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church for almost half a century, he was one of the city's most beloved citizens and his passing was a distinct loss to the community in which he had spent so many years. Dean Barry was born in County Cork, Ireland, Aug. 15, 1831, and came to this country with his parents when he was very young. He was educated and reared in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., not far from the Canadian frontier.

At the age of 16 years Dean Barry went to Montreal, Canada, and there entered one of the largest mercantile establishments of that time. He soon, however, decided to seek the religious life and in 1858 was ordained to the priesthood, celebrating his first Mass in the Cathedral at Montreal. The northern part of New York was then in need of young and active men for the priesthood, and Father Barry's talents had not escaped the attention of his superiors. He became assistant pastor of St. Peter's Church at Saratoga, and after six months became pastor, in which capacity he served until 1861. He then was called to St. James Church, at Carthage, where he labored for eight years. Upon the death of Father Kelly in 1869, he was appointed pastor of St. Paul's Catholic Church in Oswego, and it remained for the citizens of Oswego to enjoy the fullest measure of his talents, devotion and success. For more than 45 years he labored in this community for the advancement of all concerned.

Two years after his arrival in Oswego, Dean Barry had built the present magnificent structure of St. Paul's, graceful in design and proportion, complete in its furnishings, and with an organ that has been the delight of the citizens of the community.

Dean Barry was the founder of the Priory of St. Paul, an organization which has hundreds of members at the present time. The parochial school also stands as a monument to his tireless efforts and as a tribute to his genius. Priory Hall, with a seating capacity of 2,500, is also another worthy movement which was planned and completed by him. The handsome rectory was the last work to be completed by him before his death. For many years he had also been interested in the improvement of St. Paul's Cemetery, which was developed into one of the beautiful resting places in this section of the State.

In speaking of the achievements of Dean Barry, mention must be made of his work in connection with St. Francis Home, a home for orphans, to which he devoted much time and thought.

It was also through the efforts of Dean Barry that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was organized in Oswego.

During all the active years of his life Dean Barry never dodged his civic duty as he saw it. While carefully eschewing as far as his earnest nature would permit him, all politics, he did not hesitate to grapple with problems of municipal reform and advancement when need be and in a way that left no doubt as to his sincerity and loftiness of purpose. To him, probably more than to any one man, the community is indebted for its present excellent system of municipal water supply from the lake. He was also an ardent advocate of a comprehensive system of sewers and pavements, and in all of these movements he had the unqualified support of the public. He lived to see all of the above projects well on their way to completion, failing only in realizing the fruition of a splendid water power at the new high dam, which some day he had hoped would furnish the city with its own municipal lighting system.

From:

The North Country
A History, Embracing
Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Oswego, Lewis
and Franklin Counties, New York.
By: Harry F. Landon
Historical Publishing Company
Indianopolis, Indiana 1932


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