Hughes, John Joseph, 1797–1864, American Roman Catholic churchman, b. Co. Tyrone, Ireland. He joined his family in the United States in 1817 and on graduating from Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Md., was ordained (1826). He served mostly in Philadelphia until 1838, when he was consecrated bishop and became coadjutor to Bishop John Dubois in New York. In 1842, Hughes was made bishop, and in 1850 the first archbishop of New York. He obtained for the church complete control of its property by the clergy. A resolute and ardent defender of Catholicism, he engaged in debates, worked actively in behalf of Irish immigrants, and strongly urged the obliteration of European national affiliations in American Catholicism. His vigorous but unsuccessful attempt to secure state support for religious schools carried him into politics and led to the establishment of the independent Catholic school system. In the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln sent him to France to promote a friendly attitude toward the Union cause. He founded (1841) St. John's College (now Fordham Univ.) and laid (1858) the cornerstone of St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City.
See his works (ed. by L. Kehoe, 1864); biography by J. R. G. Hassard (1866, repr. 1969); study by V. P. Lannie (1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.