Hoosier Dusty Files - January 9, 1841 - St. Gabriel College of Vincennes Incorporated

A Year of Indiana History - 2016
A Year of Indiana History - 2016

January 9, 1841 - St. Gabriel College of Vincennes Incorporated
Catholic Bishop de la Hailandieré established St. Gabriel College in Vincennes in the old Seminary Building. He placed the administration of the university under the Eudist Fathers.
Bishop de la Hailandieré (May 3, 1798 – May 1, 1882)
A native of Combourg, in northwest France, Hailandieré received ordination to the priesthood in 1825. He immigrated to the United States in 1836 and became the Bishop of Vincennes in 1839. During the eight years of his administration, he managed to complete construction of the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, which he dedicated on August 8, 1841. He also constructed a library for an extensive collection of books that his predecessor accumulated. This collection exceeded 5000 volumes. At his encouragement, the Brothers of the Holy Cross established some boy's schools in the area. He also established St. Gabriel College in 1841. He grew discouraged at all the slow pace of working on the frontier and at the problems that arose during the early development of his institutions. He resigned in 1847 and died in France. At his request, the church interred his remains in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.
Seminary Building
William Henry Harrison approved the construction of the Seminary Building at the intersection of Seminary and Thirteenth Street. Construction completed on the building in 1807. The intended use was as a common school. The building was sold to the Catholic Church in 1839. After Hailandieré purchased it, he organized St. Gabriel College, putting it the care of the Eudist Fathers to administer.
Eudist Fathers
Father Jean Eudes instituted the Congregation of Jesus and Mary in March 25, 1643 in Caen, France. The chief functions of the congregation are to establish seminaries for training priests and giving missions. The congregation is not an order, but it is subject to the direct jurisdiction of the Bishops it serves. Father Eudes received canonization in May 31, 1925.
St. Gabriel College
The Eudists ran the college from 1841 until 1844. At that time, they left the diocese and the administration of the college. After the college disbanded, the building became an orphanage.

Indiana possesses a rich history that is fun to read and learn. This Hoosier Dusty Files is in an easy to read “this day in history format” and includes articles from the author's A Year in Indiana History series. Visitors may read the articles as they appear or purchase the book:
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning


  1. I am doing some research on Christmas Dagenet, a half-Indian who lived in Parke County and went with his Wea tribe to Missouri in 1846. He had land in Parke County so his estate was also probated there. The estate files include a note he signed to John Riker Billins (?), president of Gabriel College. Note was signed 22 Nov 1844. He had teenaged sons at the time. When the estate was settled in 1852, the note was paid to B. M. Thomas. Any idea if any records of the college still exist that might shed light on this?

    Just happened on this site when I googled Gabriel college. Love the idea of it.

    1. The college disbanded in or around 1844. As to records of the college, I would have no idea. Perhaps the Knox County Public Library can help you. They do have a genealogy section and may have other historical documents. If not, maybe they can steer you in the right direction. Good luck and thank you for your kind words about the web site. Stay tuned, I update every day.
      Knox County Public Library


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