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Merchant and philanthropist; b. in King's County, Ireland, 1754; d. at Brooklyn, U.S.A. 3 May, 1848. After acquiring a practical mercantile education in Dublin, he emigrated to America in 1784 and became a fellow employe of the founder of the Astor family in the store of a New York fur dealer. His employer, retiring, left the business to John Jacob Astor and Heeney, and they prospered in it for several years and then separated. Heeney continued in the same line and amassed a considerable fortune. He was a bachelor and used his income in the promotion of religious and charitable works, St. Peter's church, St. Patrick's and the Catholic Orphan Asylum, New York, were the recipients of generous gifts. He was one of the first Catholics to hold public office in New York, and served five terms in the State Assembly from 1818 to 1822. He retired from business in 1837 and went to live in Brooklyn, where he had purchased a large farm in what is now one of the best residence sections. Here he continued his charitable benefactions, and having spent the most of his income for so long in good works, he planned to secure the disposition of the whole of his estate for the same purpose. Accordingly it was incorporated by Act of Legislature, 10 May, 1845, as "The Trustees and Associates of the Brooklyn Benevolent Society" with the object of administering the estate for the benefit of the poor and the orphans. The income amounts to about $25,000, and from its incorporation the society has distributed (1909) more than a million dollars.

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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

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Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

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Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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