On October 20, 1894 Fr. Jeremiah O’Connell fell asleep in the Lord. Fr. O’Connell was a missionary priest who served Catholic Missions in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia before and after the Civil War. His missionary travels throughout these three states are described in the book he authored entitled “Catholicity in the Carolinas and Georgia”. Fr. O’Connell purchased land in Gaston County and then subsequently donated it to the Benedictines. The sons of St. Benedict started a monastery and college on that property now known as Belmont Abbey. This indefatigable missionary priest (who became an oblate of the monastery) is buried in the Belmont Abbey cemetery.