Priest at the Immaculate Conception Church 1907 to 1919

Rev. James F. Stanton, pastor of the Immaculate Conception Catholic church at Stoughton, was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, February 13, 1867, and is a son of Richard and Ann (Horrigan) Stanton, who were natives of Ireland. The father came to America in 1854 and settled at Newton, Massachusetts, where he was employed as an engineer for several years. In 1869 he removed to Needham, Norfolk county, where he turned his attention to farming and throughout his remaining days gave his time and efforts to agricultural pursuits. He passed away in May, 1892, at the age of sixty-one years, while his wife long survived him and departed this life in July, 1913.

Rev. Stanton was largely reared in Needham and through the period of his early boyhood was a pupil in the public schools there. He was graduated from the high school with the class of 1883 and afterward entered Boston College, being numbered among its alumni of 1887. He next entered St. John's Seminary at Brighton, Massachusetts, where he pursued his theological course and having thus qualified for holy orders was ordained to the priesthood on the 20th of May, 1892. He was then stationed at Roxbury, Massachusetts, as pastor of St. Joseph's church, continuing there until 1893, when he was assigned to duty at Norwood, Massachusetts, in charge of St. Catherine's parish. He continued at Norwood until November, 1907, when he came to Stoughton, where he has since had charge of the Immaculate Conception church, with Rev. P. J. Scanlon as his assistant. The church is located at the corner of School and Canton streets, with a parsonage at No. 177 School street. There is also a parochial school in connection with the church on Canton street and a gymnasium on Atherton street.

[A brief History of the Catholic Church in Stoughton to 1918]

Mass was said in Stoughton as early as 1840, but the Catholic residents within the township were too few in number to support a church or a resident priest. The more devout members of the flock, however, frequently went as far as Quincy to hear mass on Sunday morning. When Father Rodden of Quincy visited Stoughton in 1848 he could not find more than fourteen Catholics in the locality. The diocesan records state that in 1849 Father Fitzsimmons celebrated mass in an old historic house owned by Robert Porter and known as the Austin house. Father Flatley and Father Callahan visited Stoughton in the early '50s. Between the years 1850 and 1860 the number of Catholics in Stoughton rapidly increased and Father Flatley made preparations for the building of a church. He bought a half acre of land at the corner of Canton and School streets and erected a near little wooden church of Roman design, which was ready for occupancy in November, 1859. Right Reverend Bishop Fitzpatrick officiated at the dedicatory service and Rev. John J. Williams preached the sermon. It was not until 1861 that mass was held regularly in Stoughton and not until 1872 that the first resident pastor took up his abode in the town. This was Father Norris, who devoted the latter part of life to the spiritual care of the orphans in the House of the Angel Guardian at Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 1878 Rev. James M. Kieley succeeded him as pastor in Stoughton and for thirty years continued his work. He was a stanch advocate of the temperance movement and realized what great harm the liquor traffic was working to the young men of the town. With whole-souled energy he threw his influence against the sale of liquor and the influential citizens say that it was he who kept the town free from saloons for many years. When he was at length relieved of his labors in Stoughton he was succeeded by the Rev. James F. Stanton, who is now in charge of the Immaculate Conception church. The Catholic population of Stoughton now numbers about twenty-five hundred and under the guidance of Father Stanton the work of the church is being carried steadily forward, being well organized in every department.

Source: History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918 (New York, S. J. Clark Publishing Co., 1918), 2:268-270.


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