north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 
 

 
 
 

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Essay:
      Thomas Frederick Price, Roman Catholic priest and founder of the Maryknoll Missionaries, was born on August 19, 1860 in Wilmington, the son of Alfred and Clarissa Bond Price. His father, Alfred Price, a native North Carolinian, was a journalist who had briefly worked in New York City before taking a position in Washington, North Carolina with the Washington Republican. In 1844, Alfred Price moved to Wilmington where he founded the Wilmington Journal, the first daily newspaper in the state.

      Thomas F. Price received his childhood education in the schoolroom of St. Thomas’s Church. In 1876 he departed for St. Charles College in Maryland, and then completed his theological studies at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained a Catholic priest at St. Thomas’s Church in Wilmington on June 20, 1886, and was assigned to St. Paul’s in New Bern. He served as pastor of St. Paul’s for nine years before departing for Raleigh, where he became the head of Sacred Heart Church.

      While in Raleigh, Price became enmeshed in missionary works and founded Nazareth House, an orphanage. In 1904 and again in 1910, Price lectured about his missionary methods at the meetings of the Catholic Missionary Union and developed the concept of establishing a permanent American seminary for foreign missionaries. The school was developed at a site in Maryknoll, New York, and in 1915 received a “Decree of Praise” from Pope Pius X.

      Following World War I, Maryknoll priests departed for their first assignment in southern China. Price went with them, but a year later he died from complications associated with appendicitis. He was buried initially in Hong Kong, but in 1936 his remains were returned to Maryknoll where they are interred at the chapel of the Mother House of the Missionary Society.


References:
John C. Murrett, The Story of Father Price (1953)
Daniel Sargent, All the Day Long (1941)
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V (1994), 145—sketch by D. F.Grant
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