The American Converts Database

Virgil Horace Barber

Dublin Core


Virgil Horace Barber


Mullen, Lincoln

Convert Item Type Metadata


Barber, Virgil Horace (1782-1847)

Birth Date



Simsbury, CT

Death Date


Place of death

Georgetown, DC





Family Relations

Barber, Daniel (father)
Chase, Chloe Owen (mother)
Barber, Jerusha Booth (wife)
Barber, Mary (daughter)
Barber, Abigail (daughter)
Barber, Susan (daughter)
Barber, Samuel (son)
Barber, Josephine (daughter)


Priest (Episcopal)
Priest (Roman Catholic)

Biographical Text

Virgil Horace Barber was born the son of a minister in the Episcopal church, in which he himself was ordained a deacon in 1805 and a priest in 1807. Barber served as pastor in Waterbury, CT, and Fairfield, NY. In 1816 he and his wife and children converted to Roman Catholicism under the influence of Benedict Fenwick and the reading of Catholic books, such as "A Novena to St. Francis Xavier." After a mutual separation, he became a Jesuit and Jerusha Booth Barber became a Vistadine in February, 1820. He entered the Jesuits in Georgetown, DC, and traveled to Rome as a novice in the company of Fr. John Grassi, S.J. He was ordained priest in December 1822 in Boston. His first Catholic pastorate was in Claremont, NH, where he also founded a school, the Claremony Catholic Seminary. Most of his flock were converts from the Episcopal church pastored by his father, who also became a Roman Catholic. Emmet Curran in ANB estimates that Barber gathered 150 converts. After the school closed for lack of money, Barber became a minister to Catholics among the Penobscot in Maine.


Papers of Virgil Barber, Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, Special Collections, Lauinger Library, Georgetown University
Emmett Curran. "Barber, Virgil Horace";; 
American National Biography Online Feb. 2000. 
Access Date: Tue Mar 26 2013 22:17:02 GMT-0400 (EDT) 
Hudson Mitchell, "Virgil Horace Barber," Woodstock Letters 79 (1950): 297-334
Louis de Goesbriand, ed., Catholic Memoirs of Vermont and New Hampshire (1886)
Benedict Joseph Fenwick,Memoirs to Serve for the Future: Ecclesiastical History of the Diocese of Boston (1978)
Robert H. Lord et al., History of the Archdiocese of Boston in the Various Stages of Its Development, 1604-1943, vols. 1 and 2 (1944)
Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Barber Family". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
Theodore J. Rouillard, Virgil H. Barber: My God and My All: The Lives and Marriage of Sister Mary Augustine and Father Virgil H. Barber: A Pious Romance (T.J. Rouillard, 1994).



“Virgil Horace Barber,” The American Converts Database, accessed February 18, 2019,

Item Relations

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