Reverend Thomas Mackin was born in County Armagh, Ireland, January 4, 1841, the son of Daniel and Ann Mackin. His rudimentary education was received in the Government schools of his native land, and upon his completion of the course afforded there, he turned to teaching as a means of livelihood, and to pave the way for the attainment of wider educational advantages. In 1861 Thomas Mackin came to America, settling in Leland, Illinois. Here his brother James, was engaged in the dry goods, commission and land business. It was during war time and they did an extensive business. Thomas, however, despite that he was on the road to sure fortune in the business, was not content to devote his life to commercial pursuits. He craved knowledge, and his studious nature and literary inclinations developed a desire for the priesthood. With a view to fitting himself for holy orders, first he entered Notre Dame University, but remained there only a brief period, when he enrolled at Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia. Here he received his classical education-graduating at the head of his class in 1871. His diploma was conferred by General William Tecumseh Sherman. He was made Bachelor of Arts in 1871, by the university, and Master of Arts in 1888. From Georgetown he went to St. Mary’s, Baltimore, Maryland, to complete his theological studies, and was ordained in Chicago by Bishop Foley August 18, 1874. Immediately after his ordination he was made assistant at St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago, remaining in that position three years. He was then sent to Lena, Illinois, where he had charge of a church, and six out-missions. Father Mackin came to Rock Island September 14, 1877, to take the rectorship of St. Joseph’s Church, succeeding Father Joseph Rolls. Fifteen years ago Father Mackin, who had remained continuously as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, was made a dean and irremovable rector by Bishop John Lancaster Spaulding, of the Peoria diocese.
He was ever a lover of education, and one of his first works on coming to Rock Island was to establish St. Joseph’s Parochial School, the first successful school of its kind in Rock Island. Later he endowed a scholarship in the Spaulding Institute at Peoria (a school for boys), and has the honor of endowing the first permanent scholarship of the Villa de Chantel (a school for young ladies).
The St. Anthony’s Hospital was also established under Father Mackin’s direction.
His death occurred on February 16, 1905.
Father Mackin leaves to his parish a church with valuable property abutting on the north side, a handsome school on Second Avenue, and Calvary Cemetery.