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Novelist, lecturer, and priest, well known under the assumed name of "Paul Peppergrass", born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1810, died in Worcester, Massachusetts, 2 January, 1864. His father was respectable and wealthy citizen, proprietor of the principal hotel in the town and a magistrate of of the county. John early manifested a taste for literary pursuits, and with the desire of studying for the priesthood, entered the preparatory seminary at Navan, County, Meath, and was graduated with the highest honours in rhetoric and philosophy. He completed his studies at the Royal College of Maynooth and was ordained priest in 1837. For eight years he laboured on the Irish mission, but in 1845 he resolved to share the lot of his countrymen in America. From Eastport Maine, the scene of his first missionary labours, he was transferred 14 November, 1847, to St. John's Church, Worcester, where he remained until his death. Father Boyce was an eloquent lecturer and gifted writer. His published works are: "Shanty Maguire, or Tricks upon Travellers" (New York, 1848), which was dramatized by "J. Pilgrim"; "The Spaewife, or the Queen's Secret" (Baltimore, 1853), "Mary Lee or the Yankee in Ireland" (1859), first published serially in the "Metropolitan Magazine" of Baltimore. These novels do not reveal the varied gifts and ripe scholarship of the man, though they illustrate the strong powers of a kneen observer, and the humour and pathos of a graceful and insructive writer. Besides these books he contributed to the editorial columns of the Boston "Pilot", wrote many sketches and criticisms which appeared in print, and a lecture on "The Satisfying Influence of Catholicity on the Intellect and Senses", deliverd before the Catholic Institute in New York in 1851.
Biographical sketch by J. FAIRFAX MCLAUGHLIN in later editions of The Spæwife, Golden Jubilee Souvenir of St. John's Parish (Worcester); Messenger (Worcester, Mass.), 3 December, 1898; Pilot (Boston, Mass.) files 16 January, 1864.
EDWARD P. SPILLANE