Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bishop Paul Bergan Misner 1891-1938

While going through some of the hints on Ancestry.com, I came upon some for the Misner family.  Katie Bergan, daughter of Nicholas Bergan, had married Frank Misner in 1888.  One of their children was Paul B. Misner, born in 1891 in Peoria, Illinois.  As I looked at hints for Paul, I began to wonder if he had married.  It appeared that he had traveled a great deal, so I decided to look into him more.

I found Paul Misner in the 1930 Census living in Los Angeles.  He was listed as a priest teaching at a college there.  Well, that answered my question about a wife or children.  I looked more and found that he had attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Perryville, Missouri In 1917.  As I continued searching, I learned that he had studied in Rome, Italy from November 1920 until June 1922.  He arrived in Shanghai, China for missionary work in February of 1923.

The Rev. Paul Bergan Misner of the Vincentian Fathers was appointed bishop of the province of Kiangsi, China in 1934.  He had served in China since 1923.  

Bishop Misner died at the age of 47 on the 1st of November in 1938 in a small village Chin-Kao-i near Yushan, Kiangsi, China. The cause of death was listed as “Probably apoplexy”.  He was buried within the mission compound at Yushan.

The reason why I found this story so fascinating is that Paul Misner was a first cousin to Gerald Thomas Bergan.  Gerald was born in Peoria in 1892.  He and Paul attended and graduated from Spalding Institute in Peoria.  Gerald was ordained in Rome in 1915, and became a bishop in 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa, the same year that his cousin Paul became a bishop in China!

Bishop Gerald Bergan was one of my great-grandfather’s best friends, so I grew up hearing about him frequently.  I never heard of his first cousin, Bishop Paul Misner.  My family has a very, very distant relationship (going way back in Ireland)  to Nicholas Bergan, grandfather to both Gerald and Paul.

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