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Church Memorials & Family Names

St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church
695 Fifth Avenue
Watervliet , New York

St. Brigid's Church Exterior

St Brigid's Church in the Port Schuyler section of West Troy (now Watervliet) was established in 1850, through the efforts of Father Thomas Kyle, pastor of St Patrick's Church (founded 1839). The first bishop of the Diocese of Albany, Most Reverend John Mc Closkey, laid the cornerstone of the church, first called St Bridget's, in Port Schuyler at its present site on October 27, 1850. Until that time, the Church of St. Patrick was the only Roman Catholic church in the village of West Troy. With this church experiencing difficulty in accommodating the rapidly expanding Catholic population of the village, the pastor of St. Patrick's Parish, Rev. Thomas Kyle, supervised the construction of the church in Port Schuyler to be dedicated to St. Bridget.

Stained Glass Window Over Main Entrance

The famine in Ireland (1847-1850) and the revolutions in France and the German States in 1848 resulted in large numbers of immigrants from those countries settling in this area. Many of these immigrants, together with some who came earlier to work on the construction of the Erie Canal and remained to work in the new industries, comprised the parishioners of the newly established St. Bridget's Parish in Port Schuyler.

The new church building was completed and dedicated on July ll, 1851. Until then and until the first resident pastor came in May of 1854, Jesuit priests from St. Joseph's Church in South Troy crossed the river to celebrate mass, at times in parishioners' homes.

In 1855, St. Bridget's Parish, which included all of Port Schuyler and a portion of Gibbonsville, received Canonical recognition. Reverend William Cullinan was the first resident pastor of St Bridget's (original spelling) Parish. He served the community from April 1854 to May 1883. William Cullinan was born in County Galway, Ireland in 1810. He attended Jarlath's College, Tuam, Galway and continued his studies at St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Kildare. Early in his pastorate, Rev. Cullinan established the first St Bridget's School, a one-room school, staffed by lay teachers.

St. Brigid’s School Class Photo – Circa 1888

Reverend James Andrew Curtin was appointed the second pastor by Bishop McNeirny on May 3, 1883, upon the retirement of Rev. William Cullinan. He served the parish community until June 26, 1900. Father Curtin added improvements to the church buildings almost from the first day of his service. Three dwellings located on the west side of Groton Street (5th Avenue) between Middle Street and Mansion Street (6th & 7th Streets) were purchased to provide space for the rectory and expanded space for the school, then known as St Bridget's Parochial School of the Sacred Heart. Renovations of the school building were completed in time for the opening of the school year on September 6, 1881. Father Curtin requested the Sisters of St Joseph to teach in the school together with two lay teachers. The third dwelling on the newly acquired property served as a convent for the sisters. Until the renovations to this building were completed, the sisters came each day from St Joseph's in South Troy, crossing the Hudson River by rowboat or by walking on the ice.

St. Brigid’s Church – Interior View

St. Brigid’s Church – Ascension Window

Other renovations in 1883 included addition of a sacristy, redecoration of the interior, mahogany pews to replace the original seats, a steam heating apparatus and the construction of a large shed to accommodate the country parishioners horses. The cost of the above renovations was $10,000. To offset the costs, a two-week fair was held at Union Place Hall on Buffalo Street and Broad ( 15th Street and Broadway) from November 14 to 27, 1883, netting the parish $7,000. A Meneely bell weighing 2,000 pounds was purchased on December 22 and was blessed by Bishop Mc Neirny on Sunday, December 23. The bell was rung for the first time on Christmas Day, 1883.

The life-sized statues of the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph gracing the front of the church were imported from Paris and were blessed by Bishop McNeirny on December 23, 1883. The statue of the Blessed Virgin is a memorial to Patrick and Mary Fitzgerald presented by their children. In 1885, a new convent was built for the Sisters of St Joseph to the north of the church.

St. Brigid’s High School The Watervliet Academy - Class of 1914

Stained Glass Windows In Memory of
Patrick and Nicholas Kane
(Note: photos of Kane memorial windows taken by Dave Oxford.)

Patrick and Nicholas Kane were brothers and parishioners of St. Brigid’s Both served in the Union Army during the Civil War.. Left photo is window donated in memory of Patrick Kane by his widow.  Patrick Kane enlisted in October 1862 and served as captain of Company D of the 175th New York Infantry Regiment.  On June 14, 1863 he was wounded at Port Hudson, Louisiana an on September 6, 1863 he died in Baton Rouge, LA.  Following the war, a GAR Post Kane was organized in Port Schuyler and named for him.

The right photo is window which was donated by Nicholas Kane. Nicholas Kane enlisted in 1863 and served in the Twentieth New York Cavalry which engaged in action in Virginia. He was honorably discharged in July 1865.  Nicholas Kane was then employed in the textile business and owned several knitting mills. He was also active in public affairs, serving for three years as supervisor of the town of Watervliet (note- the city of Watervliet did not exist until 1895).  In 1886 he was elected to the US House of Representatives. Congressman Kane died on September 14, 1887 at the age of 41 years.  His widow, Theresa, donated the main marble altar of St Brigid's church in his memory.

In 1886, the cornerstone was laid for a new school which was built to offer eight elementary grades. It was completed the following year. With the acquisition of an academic charter in 1898, St Brigid's was also the first school to offer a high school course (The Watervliet Academy) in West Troy (now Watervliet). The Academy was open from 1898 to 1923 and closed when Catholic Central High School opened in Troy.

Several parish societies flourished under Father Curtin's leadership. One notable example was his establishment of a chapter of the Total Abstinence Society (T.A.B.) at St Bridget's parish. At that time, the T.A.B. Society was a well-renowned international organization founded by Father Theobold Mathew, Ireland's 19th century apostle of temperance. During Father Curtin's pastorate, the composition of the parish began to change. At first, St Brigid's had been almost an entirely Irish parish as settlers from Ireland arrived to seek a new future and escape the Great Famine. In the latter part of the 19th Century, immigrants from France, Germany, Poland, Italy, and Ukraine became members of St Brigid's parish community.

Reverend Patrick Henry McDermott was appointed the third pastor of St Bridget's parish by Bishop Burke on June 26, 1900. He served the parish until December 13, 1911. Father McDermott's first project was the improvement of the church property. With the financial and spiritual suport of his parishioners, he had a large addition made to the Watervliet Academy to house a brand new science laboratory. He also instituted a drive that culminated in the erection of St Brigid's Hall to provide a recreational center for young people. In 1903, St Bridget's rectory was built at 608 5th Avenue, the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and 7th Street.

Stained Glass Window– St. Brigid

Reverend Robert M Reilly, assistant to Reverend Patrick McDermott, was appointed the administrator of the parish by Bishop Burke on December 13, 1911. Reverend Michael J Looney was appointed the fourth pastor of St Bridget's parish by Bishop Burke on February 10, 1912. Reverend John T Driscoll was appointed the fifth pastor of St Bridget's on Novemeber 14, 1915 by Bishop Cusack. He served the parish until August 27, 1916.

Reverend Peter J Donnelly was appointed the sixth pastor of St Bridget's parish on September 16, 1916 by Bishop Cusack, serving until May 24, 1936. In 1923, the spelling of the name of the church was changed from St Bridget to St Brigid, apparently because it was believed to be the correct spelling of the Irish Saint to whom the parish was dedicated (and that St Bridget was the name of the saint from Sweden). Actually, the name of the saint from Kildare, Ireland, has appeared in publications and in church names as St Bridget, St Brigida, and St Bride.

In preparation for the Diamond Jubilee of the Parish in 1928, Father Donnelly made extensive renovations to St Brigid's church. The entrance doors were replaced, the exterior and interior walls were resurfaced, the reredos of each side altar removed, and the skylight in the sanctuary eliminated. Also the original wooden altar rail was replaced by one of bronze and marble, a gift from Augustus L. Kelly, a trustee of St Brigid's Church for over forty years.

In 2005, six Catholic Churches in Green Island and Watervliet were combined into a new parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary. The new parish would be served by three worship sites, namely, St. Brigid’s, Watervliet, St. Patrick's, Watervliet and St. Joseph's, Green Island. These three worship sites will be used until such times that it is deemed appropriate to move to two or one worship site if circumstances warrant such an action.

After 161 years of service to the community, St. Brigid’s Church was permanently closed in June 25, 2011. The St. Brigid’s Church and school building is now the home of Wicked Smart LLC, a custom sportswear apparel manufacturing company.

The following Memorial Names that were found in the church were transcribed by TIGS volunteer Christine Connell. Photos and church history information were provided by Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Watervliet. Special thanks to Tom Hanley, parish archivist.

LIST OF NAMES

Name
Memorial
Location
Inscription
Church
Status
Busch, Joseph G., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Joseph G. Busch - Pastor 1994-2005
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Canton, Charles
Stations of the Cross - X.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Charles L. Canton - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Cullen, Johanna
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
In Memory of Mrs. Johanna Cullen - By Thos. Cullen
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Cullen, Thomas
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
In Memory of Mrs. Johanna Cullen - By Thos. Cullen
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Cullinan, William, Rev.
 
 
Rev. William Cullinan - First Resident Pastor - 1854-1882
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Curtin, James A., Rev.
Stained Glass Window
Right of Main Altar
Gift of the Rev. James A. Curtin, Pastor 1883-1900
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Denue, George E.
Outdoor Mary Shrine
Outside - To North of Rectory
Dedicated to All of Parishioners Who Served in the Armed Forces During World War II And in Particular the Four Who Lost Their Lives in Combat -  George F Denue, John H Diamond, John J Sheehy, Francis Turton
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Diamond, John H.
Outdoor Mary Shrine
Outside - To North of Rectory
Dedicated to All of Parishioners Who Served in the Armed Forces During World War II And in Particular the Four Who Lost Their Lives in Combat -  George F Denue, John H Diamond, John J Sheehy, Francis Turton
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Donnelly
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Donnelly
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Donnelly, Peter, J., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Peter J. Donnelly - Pastor 1916-1936
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Driscoll, John T., Rev.
 
 
Rev. John T. Driscoll - Pastor 1915-1916
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Dunlop Family
Stained Glass Window
Right Side Facing Altar
Gift of the Dunlop Family
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Dunlop Family
Blessed Virgin's Altar
Front - To Left of the Main Altar
To the Hand of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, This Altar is Erected by the Dunlop Family
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Farnum, John H.
St. Joseph's Altar
Front - To Right of the Main Altar
Pray for the Soul of John H. Farnum - In Whose Memory This Altar is Erected - By His Mother
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Flynn, Paul F., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Paul F. Flynn - Pastor 1969-1970
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Geiser, Joseph
Stations of the Cross - V.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Joseph Geiser - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Grabys, Joseph J., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Joseph J. Grabys - Pastor 1971-1991
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hannan, Anna
Stations of the Cross - II.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Anna Hannan - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hannan, John, Jr.
Stations of the Cross - IV.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John Hannan, Jr. - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hannan, John, Sr.
Stations of the Cross - I.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John Hannan, Sr. - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hannan, Mary
Stations of the Cross - III.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Mary Hannan - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hannan, Neil
Stained Glass Window
Right Side Facing Altar
In Memory of Neil Hannan - By his Wife and Son
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Hanrahan, James P., Rt. Rev. Msgr.
 
Msgr. James P. Hanrahan - Pastor 1936-1962
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Janis, Francis G., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Francis G. Janis - Pastor 1965-1969
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Kane, N. T.
Stained Glass Window
Right Side Facing Altar
Gift of N. T. Kane
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Kane, N. T.
Center Altar
Main Altar
Pray for the Soul of N. T. Kane - In Whose Memory This Altar is Erected - By His Wife Theresa
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Kane, Theresa
Center Altar
Main Altar
Pray for the Soul of N. T. Kane - In Whose Memory This Altar is Erected - By His Wife Theresa
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Karr, Patrick
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
In Memory of                  Capt. Patrick Karr - By His Wife
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Keating, Thomas
Stations of the Cross - VIII.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Thomas Keating Family - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Keefe, Catherine
Stations of the Cross - XI.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John & Catherine Keefe - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Keefe, John
Stations of the Cross - XI.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John & Catherine Keefe - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Kelly, Augustus L.
Bronze & Marble Altar Rail
Front of Church
Gift of Augustus L. Kelly - Trustee For Over 40 Years
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Kyle, Thomas, Rev.
 
 
Rev. Thomas Kyle - Founder of St. Brigid's Parish -  (Resident Pastor of St. Patrick's) - Pastor 1850-1854
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Lawlor, James P., Rev.
 
 
Msgr. James P. Lawlor - Pastor 1963-1965
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Looney, Michael J., Rt. Rev.
 
Msgr. Michael J. Looney - Pastor 1912-1915
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McCann, Anna
Stations of the Cross - VII.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Francis & Anna McCann - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McCann, Francis
Stations of the Cross - VII.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
Francis & Anna McCann - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McCullough, John
Stained Glass Window
Over Left Front Door
In Memory of John & Alice McCullough
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McCullough, Mary
Stained Glass Window
Over Left Front Door
In Memory of John & Alice McCullough
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McDermott, James, Rev.
 
 
Rev. James McDermott - Pastor 1991-1994
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McDermott, Patrick Henry, Rev.
 
Rev. Patrick Henry McDermott - Pastor 1900-1911
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McLeese, John
Stained Glass Window
Right Side Facing Altar
In Memory of John & Mary McLeese
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
McLeese, Mary
Stained Glass Window
Right Side Facing Altar
In Memory of John & Mary McLeese
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Mullin, Hugh
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
In Memory of Hugh & Mary Mullin
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Mullin, Mary
Stained Glass Window
Left Side Facing Altar
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Neary, John
Stations of the Cross - IX.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John & Sara Neary - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Neary, Sara
Stations of the Cross - IX.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
John & Sara Neary - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Partridge, Bridget
Main Altar
Center Front
In Memory of Bridget Partridge - By Her Husband Edward Partridge
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Partridge, Edward
Main Altar
Center Front
In Memory of Bridget Partridge - By Her Husband Edward Partridge
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Purcell, Margaret
 
 
 
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Purcell, Patrick
Stained Glass Window
Over Right Front Door
In Memory of Patrick Purcell and Daughter Margaret
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Reilly, Robert M., Rev.
 
 
Rev. Robert M. Reilly - Administrator 1911-1912
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Ryan, David
Stations of the Cross - VII.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
David & Margaret Ryan - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Ryan, Margaret
Stations of the Cross - VII.
Right Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
David & Margaret Ryan - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Sheehy, John J
Outdoor Mary Shrine
Outside - To North of Rectory
Dedicated to All of Parishioners Who Served in the Armed Forces During World War II And in Particular the Four Who Lost Their Lives in Combat -  George F Denue, John H Diamond, John J Sheehy, Francis Turton
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Thompson, Roland, Rev.
 
 
Rev. Roland Thompson - Administrator 1970-1971
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
Turton, Francis
Outdoor Mary Shrine
Outside - To North of Rectory
Dedicated to All of Parishioners Who Served in the Armed Forces During World War II And in Particular the Four Who Lost Their Lives in Combat -  George F Denue, John H Diamond, John J Sheehy, Francis Turton
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
World War Veterans
Stations of the Cross - XII.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
World War Veterans - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
World War Veterans
Stations of the Cross - XIII.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
World War Veterans - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011
World War Veterans
Stations of the Cross - XIV.
Left Side Facing Altar - Plaque in Front Vestibule
World War Veterans - 1918
St. Brigid's, Watervliet, NY
Closed - June, 2011

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