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[176]

Chaplain Matthew O'Keefe of Mahone's Brigade.

A famous priest-sketch of his noble and Beneficent career.


Towson, Md., January 28, 1906.
Rev. Matthew O'Keefe, pastor of the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, died of pneumonia, contracted while responding to calls to attend the sick. He was seventy-eight years old and a native of Waterford, Ireland.

The oldest priest in the diocese, Father O'Keefe was the last surviving brigade chaplain of the Confederate Army, he having been chaplain of Mahone's Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia, and a close personal friend of General Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.

Father O'Keefe made himself famous throughout the South by his work during the outbreak of yellow fever at Norfolk and Portsmouth in 1855, and in 1869 won the red ribbon of the Legion of Honor by his attendance upon the officers and crew of a fever stricken French frigate that put in at Hampton Roads. He is said to have died practically penniless, having devoted his large fortune to Church work.

Was Mahone's chaplain.

Rev. Matthew O'Keefe, the chaplain of General Mahone's famous brigade of the Confederate Army; the warm personal friend of Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, yellow fever hero and member of the Legion of Honor of France, was born in the city of Waterford, Ireland, on May 1, 1828, and in January of 1902 celebrated the golden jubilee of his ordination as a priest. For thirty-five years he was stationed at Norfolk, Va., where he built the finest church edifice south of Baltimore.

He had been a priest of the Catholic Church for fifty-four years, and was one of the most widely known clergymen of the archdiocese. He was a ready debater and a quick, clear thinker.


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