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Thomas Andrew Becker
Sixth Bishop of Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A., b. at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 20 December, 1832; d. at Washington, Georgia, 29 July, 1899. His parents were German Protestants and he became a convert in early manhood. He made his theological course at the College of Propaganda, Rome, where he was ordained 18 July, 1859. Returning to the United States, he was given charge of a mission at Martinsburg, West Virginia, whence he went to Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, to act as one of the professors. Archbishop Spalding then made him his secretary. Later he was sent to St. Peter's Church, Richmond, Virginia, and while there was appointed, 3 March, 1868, first Bishop of the new Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, for which he was consecrated by Archbishop Spalding at Baltimore, 16 August, 1868. He ruled this diocese until, on the promotion (1 February, 1885) of Bishop William H. Gross from Savannah to the Arch bishopric of Oregon City, Bishop Becker was transferred to the See of Savannah, 26 March, 1886. He was regarded as one of the most accomplished bishops of his day, and was noted for his ability as a linguist. He was one of the secretaries of the Fourth Plenary Council of Baltimore, and contributed frequently to current reviews and periodicals. A series of articles in the "American Catholic Quarterly Review " on the idea of a true university attracted wide attention. He was devoted always to the cause of temperance, and by a clause in his will left $15,000 in trust for twenty-five years for the education of worthy and deserving young men, on condition that they be American born, total abstainers, and willing to devote their energies to the service of the Diocese of Savannah.
Catholic News, files (New York, 5 August, 1889); Reuss, Biographical Cyclopadia of the Catholic Hierarchy (Milwaukee 1898); SHEA, History of the Cath. Ch. in U. S. (New York, 1894); Catholic Directory (New York. 1868-90).
THOMAS F. MEEHAN