Richard, Gabriel(1767–1832) Catholic missionary; born in Saintes, France. Ordained a Sulpician priest (1791), he emigrated to the U.S.A. during the French Revolution and did missionary work in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan; from 1798 he was based in Detroit. He founded several Catholic schools and in 1817 cofounded the University of Michigan in Detroit (which moved to Ann Arbor in 1837). He acquired a printing press (1808) with which he published a newspaper and various books, and he also imported textile machinery to promote industry. Imprisoned by the British in the War of 1812, he later became the first Catholic priest to serve as a delegate (before Michigan was a state) to the U.S. House of Representatives (1822). He died while ministering to victims of a cholera epidemic in Detroit.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.