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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rev. James Bernard Gilloon

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 459-460 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Rev. James Bernard Gilloon, the youngest of ten children, was born in the city of Cohoes, New York, on October 8, 1860, his parents being Patrick and Jane (Kerr) Gilloon. Patrick Gilloon was born in Ireland and came to America in 1847, landing at Quebec. He settled in Maine but later moved to New York city, then to Saugerties, New York, and soon afterward moved to Cohoes, where he engaged in the plumbing and hardware business. He died in Dolgeville, New York, in 1908, aged eighty-nine years. His wife was also born in Ireland and died in Cohoes in 1899, aged seventy-five years.

James Bernard Gilloon was educated in the public school of Cohoes, then entered St. Michael's College in Toronto, Canada, where he was graduated in 1885. Four years later he was graduated from St. Joseph's Seminary in Troy, New York, and on June 22, 1889, was ordained and made assistant priest at St. Patrick's church in Watervliet, formerly West Troy, New York. In 1900 Father Gilloon came to Dolgeville and was there until 1909 when he came to Ilion, New York,, taking charge of the Annunciation Roman Catholic church. Under his leadership the church has steadily grown until the present membership numbers over three thousand. His assistant is the Rev. Maxine Sarrualt who was born in Cohoes, New York.

In 1845 Rev. John McMenomy, a priest, established a mission at this place in connection with missions at Mohawk, Frankfort and Herkimer. He was stationed at Little Falls and attended this mission from that place, continuing to do so until 1856, when Rev. William Howard took charge. The first year he lived in Mohawk and preached in Varley Hall in that village. In August, 1857, Father Howard purchased of J. P. Pelton of Ilion, New York, the house and lot of two and one-half acres, upon which the church and parsonage now stand, paying therefor four thousand five hundred dollars. In April, 1868, he inaugurated measures for a new church edifice and in August of that year the present church was dedicated by J. J. Conroy, bishop of Albany, assisted by twelve priests. The buildings cost fourteen thousand dollars, the membership at that time comprising about two hundred families. The Catholic parish of the Annunciation, including the village and surrounding country of Herkimer, Mohawk, Ilion and Frankfort, was organized into a mission in 1867, by Right Rev. J. J. Conroy, with Father Howard as first assistant pastor. His assistants at different times were Revs. A. P. Ludden, J. F. Mullany and W. J. Smith.

Owing to his zealous faith and untiring energy Father Howard was very successful in securing a suitable church rectory and cemetery, and for the most part paying for them. His continued illness and local business depression induced him to retire to Herkimer in 1878 and he was succeeded by Rev. J. F. Hyland. During his incumbency of fourteen years, the church, rectory and cemetery have been greatly improved, the debt paid, and there were a few thousand dollars in the treasury. Father Hyland was succeeded by Rev. John V. Quinn. Herkimer was severed from the mission in 1878 and Frankfort in 1886. Father Gilloon has now acquired a piece of land on West Street, two hundred and seventy feet frontage and three hundred feet deep, where he expects to build a new church, rectory, convent and school.

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