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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rev. John Henry Ready

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 238-239 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The Rev. John Henry Ready, pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul's Roman Catholic church, Canajoharie, has been in charge of this parish since the spring of 1920, when he was appointed successor to the late Father James Bloom. Father Ready was born in Albany, December 3, 1869, the son of James and Maria (Wade) Ready. His father was a native of Limerick county, Ireland, and a blacksmith and steel forger by trade. In 1862, in company with one Henry Crooker, he came to the United States with a string of horses and settled in New York city, later moving up the river to Albany. In this country he met and married Maria Wade, the daughter of an Episcopal clergyman, the Rev. Thomas Wade, of English descent. Michael Ready, grandfather of the present priest, also came to America and died in Brooklyn. He was a farmer by occupation.

John Henry Ready was given the excellent education that is the preparation of every young man for the priesthood of the Roman Catholic church. After passing through the public schools of Albany he went to Quebec to study in Laval University, where he graduated in 1889. Upon his return to the States he entered St. Joseph's Seminary at Troy, New York, to continue his theological studies and was ordained priest on the 29th of February, 1896. Father Ready's first appointment was as assistant at St. Joseph's church, Green Island, New York, opposite Troy, where he remained until October 31, 1897. On the 1st of November, 1897, he took up his new duties as assistant pastor at St. Mary's, Little Falls, New York, whence he was transferred to Schenectady as pastor in May, 1904. He had been at the church of the Immaculate Conception in the latter city only a year when a severe illness made it necessary for him to rest for six months or so. When he was again ready for work, in January, 1906, he went to St. Peter's Hospital at Albany as chaplain. The condition of his health made change of climate advisable, however, and on the first of the new year, 1911, he left for Montana for a six-month stay. He remained there for several years, doing missionary work in the diocese of Helena, during which time he built five churches: St. Joseph's, at Harlowton; St. John the Evangelist's, at Ringling; St. Peter's, at Hedgesville; St. Joseph's, at Judith Gap; and a fifth church at Shawmut. His parish extended along the main line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad for one hundred and twenty odd miles and for fifty miles on either side, including the entire county of Meagher.

In 1918 Father Ready became a chaplain in the United States army and saw a whole year's service overseas with the Fifth Battalion, Twentieth Engineers. For a time he was stationed at the Riviera Convalescent Hospital, with headquarters in Cannes, France, and later in Brest. Upon his return to the United States, Father Ready was on duty at Camp Lewis, state of Washington, until he was appointed pastor of the church in Canajoharie, on April 8, 1920. When he arrived in this city to take up his new charge Father Ready found the church edifice badly in need of a new roof. He set about making the necessary repairs at once and has since made marked improvements in the interior of the church, as well as carrying on the pastoral work of the congregation. A man of genial disposition and a fine sense of humor, Father Ready is easily approached and attracts to himself friends wherever he goes. In the comparatively brief period of time he has been in Canajoharie he not only endeared himself to the members of his own congregation, but he has gained many friends and admirers among the members of other churches as well. His influence is far-reaching in the community and may be always counted upon to aid in any worthy cause that has the betterment of the public welfare for its object.

St. Peter and St. Paul's church of this city has a history extending over a little more than sixty years. The first pastor here was the Rev. J. J. Brennan, who came to the city in 1862, bought land for a church and cemetery and organized the congregation. He was followed by Father Harrigan, then by Father Zucker. In 1884 the Rev. James Bloom took charge of the parish and continued to labor in this field until death called him. His efforts were very successful in extending the work of the church and improving its property. He was instrumental in securing a new organ and in installing a modern, up-to-date lighting system in the church. Father Ready was sent to Canajoharie as Father Bloom's successor.

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