Gold Cross


By The Rev., Modestus Wirtner, O. S. B.




The First Settlement on the Allegheny

The history of Catholicity on the Allegheny Mountains begins with the first permanent settlement in Cambria County. Up to the year 1768 Frankstown, at the foot of the mountains was the last frontier settlement. Captain Michael McGuire, a hero of the Revolutionary war for Independence, was a noted trapper and hunter. Before the revolutionary struggle broke out, he was accustomed to start at intervals from his home in Taneytown, Md., and to make expeditions far into the interior of Pennsylvania.

By a law of Pennsylvania, such as built a log house and cleared a few acres of land acquired a presumptive right to purchase at $5.00 per 100 acres. On one of his trips, about the year 1768, traveling up the Kittaning or Indian Trail, he crossed the Alleghenies and established his hunting camp near the present Chest Springs, on land later owned by Mr. Robert Sisk, then for over 20 years by Lawrence Sutton. This location is to be seen on an old draft of the country made as far back as 1793, which shows the exact location of "Captain McGuire's Camp." It is practically beyond all dispute that the Captain was, as Robert L. Johnston, the historian of early Cambria wrote, "The first white man who settled within the present bounds of Cambria County." Records, deeds, papers, etc., in the possession of his many descendants are more than sufficient to verify this statement.

When the Land Office was opened Captain McGuire was among those who "took up" land on which he subsequently planted the "McGuire Settlement." His first and for several years his only neighbors, were the settlers at Blair's Mill, more than 12 miles away, with a dense, unbroken forest between.

According to the Rev. Edwin Pierron, O.S.B., of Patton, John McGuire (who built the McGuire grist mill, about the year 1845, on the site which is now within the borough of Patton) in relating his reminiscences stated that his grandfather, Captain Michael McGuire, built a second log cabin near Ashville, which later became the homestead of Augustine Hott, Father Gallitzin's hostler. No doubt the majestic oak trees at Loretto indicated better land, so he built, with the assistance of his nephew, Michael McGuire, a third cabin in 1784, at Loretto.

The exact spot, chosen by him for a settlement was the valley just below the present town of Loretto to the east. In a short time a few log cabins were built, and these served for shelter and protection until more permanent structures could be erected. This land is now part of the tract owned by the Franciscan Brothers.

Captain McGuire brought his family to McGuire's settlement in the year 1788. In 1790 Luke McGuire, eldest son of the captain, took up his residence on the farm now owned and cultivated by his grandson, George Luke McGuire. He completed his house in 1794 and at present it still stands well preserved. Captain Richard McGuire the younger son of Captain Michael McGuire, was married in 1800, located and built in the vicinity of his brother.


Taking advantage of the law, Captain Michael McGuire lost no time in providing for the church, for which his wonderful faith alone could have given him hopes, and took up 400 acres of land which he made over to Bishop John Carroll, who had been just consecrated, and returned to the United States. On this land Prince Gallitzin built the first church, used for divine services, between Lancaster, Pa., and St. Louis, Mo.

The settlement founded by Captain McGuire attracted other pioneers to the Alleghenies, and he was soon followed by Cornelius McGuire, Richard Nagle, William Dodson, Richard Ashcraft, Michael Rager, James Alcorn and John Sturm. These were followed by others. John Trux, John Douglas, John Byrne, William Meloy and many others whose names together with the names of their descendants, are preserved in a Register of St. Michael's Parish, Loretto.

The southern part of the County was the next to be settled. Samuel and Rachel Adams, coming from Maryland about 1770, settled and cultivated the land on both banks of Solomon's Run in the Seventh Ward and along Sam's Run in the Eighth Ward, Johnstown. In less than a year after the arrival of the Adamses there were 94 settlers within the boundary of Cambria County who were owners of real estate. We find this in a report of the number of taxable landowners of Brothersvalley township, Bedford County. This county was created March 7, 1771, and Brothersvalley township comprised the part that is now Cambria County. This report gives not only the names of the settlers but also states the amount of land, cleared and uncleared, and the number of cattle owned by them.

During an incursion of the Indians in the service of the British about December 1777, the Adamses, with John Cheney and Thornton Bridges were ambushed near the present town of Elton while driving their cattle to Fort Bedford. Cheney and Bridges were made prisoners and taken to Canada. Samuel Adams was killed by an Indian whom he killed at the same time. Some authors say this tragedy took place in 1785.

About 1795 a number of Welsh emigrants located themselves upon the banks of the Blacklick. They laid out a village and called it Beulah. Ebensburg, two miles east of Beulah, was laid out by the Rev. Morgan J. Rees, at nearly the same time with the latter. The original settlers of both places were exclusively Welsh.

Catholic Missions

In 1741 the Rev. William Wapeler (1), a native of Westphalia, and a member of the Jesuit Order founded the Catholic mission of Conewago in Lancaster County, and another Jesuit, Rev. Theodore Schneider (2), of Heidelberg, in the same year, founded the mission of Goshenhoppen in Berks County. These two missions would have been a failure had not generous Catholic families of Maryland assisted them financially. Today all our Catholic Missions would be a success if our fellow Catholics would liberally contribute to our Home and Foreign Missions. From the aforementioned Missions many Catholic families came to Loretto and to Carrolltown. A priest from Conewago occasionally visited McGuire's settlement.


Rev. Felix Brosius, S.J., once or twice visited McGuire's settlement from Conewago (3). On one of these visits he set apart a plot of ground, donated by Captain McGuire, and blest it for a cemetery although as yet unneeded. Captain Michael McGuire died November 17th, 1793, in the 76th year of his age, and was the first to be interred in the new cemetery.

Another priest's name is given in "The Cambria Tribune", which published, October 29, 1899, two receipts, preserved by Squire E. R. Dunegan, of St. Augustine, which are here published:

"I received from Mrs. Rachael McGuire a dollar for her part of the sum that ought to be spent in buying a horse for the priest serving the parishes of Huntingdon, Sinking Valley, Allegheny, Path Valley, Etc.


Allegheny, December 15th, 1794."

"I have received from the inhabitants over Allegheny the sum of Sixteen dollars for my maintenance for six months.


Allegheny, June 6th, 1795."

The next priest, tradition says, was Rev. Patrick Lonergan, O.S.F. (4). When Father Lonergan visited "Sportsmen's Hall," he stayed a few days at the settlement, said Mass in the captain's cabin, and, distressed at seeing cattle on consecrated ground, had the men and boys band together to enclose it.

In the summer of 1796 Father Gallitzin came here on a sick call. Mrs. John Burgoon, a protestant woman, was taken very ill (5), and begged so hard to see a Catholic priest, that Mrs. Luke O'Hara McGuire, a good Catholic neighbor and another lady set out on horseback through the wilderness of Conewago, 130 miles distant, to find a priest who would be able and willing to visit her. The message came to Father Smith, now revered as Father Gallitzin, who returned with them, and received the sick woman into the church. He said Mass in Luke McGuire's log house, administered baptism to a number of children, and even to one or two adults, exhorted them to faith, prayer, courage and perseverance. After that he made several visits.

In the beginning of 1799 there were ten or twelve families at the McGuire settlement, sometimes also called Clearfield, and also Allegheny. These people with those of Frankstown and Sinking Valley petitioned Rt. Rev. Bishop Carroll, D.D., to give them a resident priest. Father Gallitzin made this request his own and the Bishop cordially acceded to it. On March 1, 1799, Bishop Carroll appointed him pastor of Clearfield, Frankstown and Sinking Valley.

The First Mass In Western Pennsylvania

Lovers of history may be interested in knowing when Mass was first celebrated in Western Pennsylvania. The first Mass in Western Pennsylvania was probably celebrated by Rev. Peter Bonnecamps, S.J., who accompanied the Celeron Expedition from La Chine, above Montreal. Canada, to Lake Erie, and down the Allegheny to the Ohio


in 1749. The next priest was Rev. Denys Baron, of the Recollet Order, chaplain of Fort Duquesne, which was built at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, celebrated Mass, April 17th, 1754, in the chapel dedicated under the title of "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin of the Beautiful River."

In 1787 six families left the German settlement near Philadelphia for Westmoreland County (6). Before leaving their homes they received the assurance from their pastor that their spiritual needs would be attended to by a priest who would be sent to them from time to time. The first priest to visit them from Conewago was Rev. John Baptiste Cause (7), who came here in March, 1789. He made his headquarters at the home of John Proctor, who lived about ten miles west of Greensburg, where Harrison City is now located. Father Cause offered the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and, after attending to the spiritual needs of the people, returned to his mission in the East.

Rev. Theodore Brouwers, O.F.M., a native of Holland, had spent some time on the missions of West Indies (8). He arrived in Philadelphia some time before August 1789 and stopped with Rev. P. Helbron, the pastor of St. Mary's church. When Father Brouwers had heard of the Catholic settlement near Greensburg and of promise that they should have a Catholic priest in the course of time, he felt himself called to labor on the mission of Western Pennsylvania. Father Brouwers arrived at the colony in the middle of November, 1789, and took up his residence with Christian Ruffner, three miles east of Greensburg, in whose house he said Mass. He bought the Sportsmen's Hall farm, now St. Vincent Archabbey, on the 16th, April, 1790. Here he had a 17 foot square log house built for himself. For the convenience of his parishioners he continued to officiate at Christian Ruffner's.

In the spring of 1790 eleven members under Father Brouwer's direction built a log church at Greensburg. Father Brouwers died on the 29th of October, 1790 and the building was never completed. Only one square of shingles was needed.

Father Gallitzin At Loretto


Father Gallitzin arrived at his mission in the summer of 1799 (9). The whole cost of his colonization, spiritual and temporal, was born by the princely pastor. In order to attract immigration around him, he bought vast tracts of land, which he sold in farms on most easy terms, or even gave to the poor, relying on his patrimony to meet his engagements. The wilderness put on a new aspect. The settlers followed the impulses of the great missionary, who kept steadfastly in view the improvement of his work. During the month of August he began building the church, 44x25, made of white pine logs, also a log house, 16x14, beside a kitchen and a barn. All were covered with good handmade shingles. At Christmas he was living in his own house. On Christmas morning he dedicated the church in honor of St. Michael and then celebrated the first Christmas Mass on the Allegheny mountains in the only church dedicated to the service of God between Lancaster, Pa., and St. Louis, Mo. The congregation


consisted now of about forty families. It was not until 1816 that he caused the plans of the town of Loretto to be recorded in the county archives.

Biographical Sketch of Demetrius
Augustine Gallitzin

Demetrius Gallitzin was born in Haag, on December 22nd, 1770. His father was the Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands. His mother, Princess Amalia, baptized as a Catholic, was the only daughter of the celebrated Prussian Field Marshal von Schmettau. Prince Demetrius was educated as a member of the Russian Greek Schismatic Orthodox Church, but in his 17th year he entered the Catholic Church. He was convinced that it was the church founded by Jesus Christ. At Confirmation he took the name of Augustine.

Having completed his university education at the age of twenty, he entered the army and was made Adjutant to the Austrian General von Lillian, who commanded an army at Brabant, at the opening of the first campaign against the French Jacobins, who had declared war against all kings and all religions. The sudden death of Emperor Leopold II, and the murder of the king of Sweden was attributed to the emesaries of the French Jacobins. This caused stringent orders to be issued that no foreigners should hold office in either the Austrian or Prussian army.

It was next decided that a journey to America would be highly desirable for the prince. In company with Rev. Felix Brosius, S.J., he left for the United States. He assumed the name of Mr. Smith, his mother's anglicised name, since princes were here at a discount. They arrived at Baltimore on the 28th of October, 1792. At once prince Gallitzin presented himself to Bishop Carroll and gave him a letter of introduction from the Princebishop of Hildesheim and Paderborn. Bishop Carroll received him with marked courtesy and there commenced a friendship with the prince that was never broken.

Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin was not here many days before he saw that "the harvest is indeed great but that the laborers are few." Here he found his vocation. At the age of 22 years he made his deliberate choice to work rather in the House of the Lord than to dwell in the tabernacle of sinners. He entered the Sulpician Seminary at Baltimore on the 5th of November, 1792. He made such rapid advances in piety as in Theological knowledge that on the 18th of March, 1795, he was ordained to the priesthood. He was the second priest who was ordained in the United States but the first who received all the Orders here. Rev. Stephan Baden was the first ordained.

Father Gallitzin attended the mission of Fort Tobacco, near Lancaster, for a few weeks and then proceeded to the Conewago mission, where Rev. Felix Brosius and Rev. James Pellentz were much in need of his assistance. From here he visited Taneytown, Pipe Creek, Hagerstown and Cumberland in Maryland; also Chambersburg, Peth, Shade Valley, Huntingdon and the Allegheny mountains.

The life of Prince Gallitzin was written by Father Henry Lemke:


"Leben des Prinzen Demetrius A. Gallitzin. (Muenster, Coppenrath, Germany, 1861.); Heyden, Life and Character of Rev. Prince Demetrius de Gallitzin (Baltimore, 1869); Brownson, Life of D. A. Gallitzin. Prince and Priest (New York, 1895).

The Second Church In Cambria County,

Rev. A. A. Lambing in the history of the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Allegheny says: "It cannot be ascertained with certainty at what time Dr. Gallitzin began to say mass among the people of Ebensburg, but Father Bradley informs me that a small frame church was erected there about the year 1816 and dedicated to St. Patrick. It continued to form a part of Dr. Gallitzin's extensive mission until the arrival of Rev. Patrick Rafferty, who came to reside there most probably in 1829, although he does not appear to have remained more than a few months." The author of the History of St. Bartholomew's Church, Wilmore, states that St. Patrick's Church. Ebensburg, was formed in 1827. Then came Rev. P. Duffy (10), who was kindly regarded by Father Gallitzin. The next pastor, Rev. James Bradley, arrived in the latter part of November 1830. (11).

Some Pioneers of St. Joseph's Church


Jacob Bender of Westphalia, born 1740, came with his family to Philadelphia. Here, as a gunsmith, he earned the money to pay for his voyage. His children were bound out for their passage. About the year 1795 he moved to Loretto and located on a farm one mile south of Bradley Junction on the Loretto road. Americ, in German, Emericus, having served his time with a Quaker, joined his father and in 1809 married Mary Magdalin Yost. In 1810 Americ (12) walked to Philadelphia and brought home his sister Mary Ann Bender. Mary Ann married in 1811 John Byrne, son of Thomas Byrne (and Sarah Burgoon), who came to America with his father John in 1795. John Byrne Jr., was the first settler to cross the Chest Creek and located on a farm now owned by John Eckenrode. The third child Henry Bender married Mary Ann Myers in 1828. The next to cross the Chest Creek in 1795, was Jacob Yost, who lived on the farm now the property of Otto Lauer.

The next year, 1796, Conrad Luther located on the farm now owned by William Farabaugh. Luther was from Thueringen and was among the Hessian soldiers who were brought by the British Government to America. He deserted the army at Lancaster, was saved from capture by Miss Elizabeth Smith, his future wife, and joined the continental army under General Washington. Mr. Luther was a descendant of Martin Luther and was received into the Catholic church by Prince Gallitzin.


St. Joseph's Church
Hart's Sleeping Place


There is a family tradition that three Weakland brothers came with the first Maryland colony sent by Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. One of them maried an Indian princess, and was the progenitor of the Pennsylvania Weakland family founded by John Weakland, Sr., who came to Loretto before Father Gallitzin. John Weakland had three sons, Zephaniah, John and William, who came with him. John Jr., married to Catherine Jackson, of Hagerstown, Md., in 1816, purchased 637 acres of land in what is now West Carroll Township, and which was patented under the name of Hart's Sleeping Place. Adjoining this land was the land of John G. Miller who received a deed for his land in 1814. Miller was born in Alsase and came to this country in 1790.

John, son of Patrick Campbell and born in Philadelphia, was an orphan when four years old. He found a home in the family of Americ Bender. In 1826 he married Susan, daughter of John Myers, who taught him the carpenter trade. He lived first on the Curtis Clay Tract of land (now Carrolltown), then belonging to George Vaux from whom Father Lemke bought the land.

John Elder (13) came with his father and balance of the family and settled in Allegheny township in 1807. In 1822 he married Mary, daughter of John Myers. Ruth, wife of the deceased Mathew McConnell, built a mansion which she called Glen Connell. She induced John Elder to buy 107 acres of her land and build a grist and saw mill on it. Mr. Elder built the mill in 1824 and called it Elder's Mill. About New Years, 1842, the mill, and a large quantity of grain, was destroyed by fire. Father Lemke came to his assistance and induced him to rebuild. In 1873 he sold to Jacob Thomas and the place is now Thomas' Mill. Elder's neighbor was Jacob Nagle, near Eckenrodes Mill. This mill was built later by Peter Litzinger, who sold it to Jacob Nagle, who in turn sold it to Henry Eckenrode. The present Eckenrode Mill above Patton. Peter Woodley lived west of Mr. Elder on the farm, now owned by Thaddeus Kibler.

St. Joseph's Church, Hart's Sleeping Place

When speaking of olden times, Mr. John Elder told Dr. Lawrence F. Flick, M. D., LL. D., now of Philadelphia, that Prince Gallitzin visited the Weakland Settlement, otherwise called Hart's Sleeping Place, in order to baptise Charles Weakland and during this visit he gave his consent to have the church built. On this occasion Prince Gallitzin celebrated Mass in John Weakland's house, using the bureau for an altar. Mr. Richard Ashcroft, Mr. Fred Arble and a few other protestants were present at the ceremony, and Dr. Gallitzin explained in detail the ceremonies of baptism. Prince Gallitzin's Record of Baptisms, preserved in St. Michael's church, Loretto, shows that Charles Weakland is the son of Peter Weakland and Teresia nee Adams, and was born on July 11, 1824 and baptized on the 15th of August, 1824.

Subscription List to Build St. Joseph's

A fac-simile copy of the subscription list is given in J. A. Caldwell's Atlas of Cambria County, 1890, page 127. The original copy is


preserved in the archives of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia.

Susquehanna Township, Sept. 29th, 1829.

We the Subscribers Promise, to pay how may be duly Elected afterwards when called upon, the Sum Set Opposite Our Names for the erection of a New Catholic Church in the Township of Susquehanna, Cambria County. It is understood that the said church is to be built of logs and such material as may be convenient to be had and is further understood that the said Church is to be built on the land now of John Weakland, joining lands of John G. Miller.

Emericus Bender 20.00   Henry Fresh 3.00
James Ryan 5.00 John Donoughe 5.00
John Plott, Jr., agrees to Thomas Byrne 5.00
   make the shingles for the Aloysius Wasser 3.00
   above building Joseph Bierer 1.00
William Weakland 15.00 Nicholas Shrum 1.00
John G. Miller 10.00 Joseph Huber 2.00
John Byrne, Jr. 10.00 John Fresh 1.00
Thomas Kirkpatrick 5.00 James Fagan 1.00
John Smith 5.00 Jacob Kibler 1.50
Patrick Ryan 5.00 Henry Bender 2.00
Leonard Cooper 6.00 Michael Cunningham 1.00
George Weakland 10.00 Jacob Nagle 2.00
John Weakland 10.00 John Platt 2.00
Peter Weakland 12.00 Francis Swam 2.00
James Fegan 3.00 Michael Weakland of John 2.00
Samuel Weakland 10.00 Sarah Byrne 2.00
Michael Cunangham 4.50 William Baker 1.00
Casper Buser 3.00 Conrad Hartman 1.00
B. Barnacle 4.50 Landolin Gutwalt 1.50
Jacob Nagle 3.25 John McConnell 1.00
Michael Kennedy 2.00 Michael Murray 1.00
Jacob Yost 10.00 Michael Noon .50
John Coons 10.00 George Dumm 1.25
Samuel Mardis 5.00 James Kennedy 1.00
David Davis 5.00 Ulrich Strassler 1.50
George Beringer 1.50 Michael Wasner 1.00
Anthony Miller 5.00 Peter Woodley 1.00
Andrew Sutton 1.50 Frederic Baker 1.00
Daniel Waulz 5.00 Frederic Fresh 1.50
Michael Barnicle 3.00 William Ryan 1.00
John Campbell 5.00 John Byrne, Sr. 5.00
Jacob Spulear 1.00 Hugh Connelly 5.00
Hugh Boyle 3.00 Patrick Roddy 1.00
Henry Bender 5.00 Richard Ashcraft .50
James Ryan 2.00 Zephaniah Weakland 2.50
Joseph Lentzy 4.00 Michael Weakland 2.00
John Douglass 10.00 George Mayer 1.00
Daniel Delozier 6.00 Jacob Luther 2.00
John Elder 13.00 Thomas Farrell 2.00
William Seeds 3.00 Joseph Flanigan 1.00
Michael Koch 5.00 Simon Litzinger 13.00


The Building of St. Joseph's Church

Mr. John Elder (14) also relates the particulars of the building. Americ Bender, John Weakland and his four sons Peter, William, John and George, John G. Miller, Michael Cunningham, Jacob Yost, Jacob, John and Christopher Luther and Mr. John Elder helped to build the church. Thomas Byrne of Chest Creek and some of his neighbors from that district, settlers living at a distance of four or five miles, also assisted to build the church. The pine logs were cut on the Boyle estate. In order that all the settlers might take part in the work, a frolic was held for hauling the logs to the site and hewing them. The church is 56 feet long by 30 feet wide, the height to the ceiling is 17 and one-half feet. The church was not completed at once, probably the shingles were not delivered on time. Sometime after the main building had been put up, Mr. Henry McGuire cut out the end and built an addition to be used as a sacristy. It was only then that the roof was put on the whole building by Mr. McGuire. The lumber was sawed by John Elder who received a compensation of .62 cents per thousand for his labor. Americ Bender and Jacob Luther hauled it to the church. John Campbell put in the windows, doors and the floor. After it had been put up for some time the sanctuary was lined inside to the ceiling joice and later during the pastorate of Father Lemke the other walls and the ceiling were finished by Mr. Elder. He planed and prepared the boards at his home and then hauled them to the place. The gallery was put up in the church for a choir and at the time of its erection Mr. Elder and Mr. McGuire had a debate as to how much slope it should be given. Whatever the merits of the controversy may have been, it is evident that the man in favor of much slope won, for the gallery was given sufficient slope to make one feel as of going down hill in walking over it. The gallery was used from the very beginning. Mr. Miller and his wife and others sang in the choir. In order to preserve the building and to give it a neater appearance Very Rev. Otto Kopf. O.S.B., in 1881 engaged Joseph Belle to weatherboard the log church and Harry Scanlan to paint it. The outward appearance now is that of a frame church.

Date of Dedication of St. Joseph's Church

Frank Buck informed the writer that William Switzler's father-in-law. William Weakland, should have said that the work was began in 1826 (perhaps clearing the woods), continued in the spring and fall of 1827, 1828 and finished in the fall of 1829. Mr. Elder says that the logs were put into position in the form of a building some time in 1831 or 1832, Mr. W. F. Cunningham says that his grandfather, William Weakland, also his father, Michael Cunningham, told him that the pine logs were cut on the Boyle estate, which is near St. Benedict, and that the church was built in 1829 or 1830. Mr. Thomas Kirkpatrick, who died on November the 16th, 1923, told the writer that his father informed him that he and his twin sister, Agnes, who lies burried under the new sacristy, were the first to be baptized in the new church, sky light peeping everywhere through the cracks of the walls, and that was on the day when Father Gallitzin dedicated the church. The baptismal Register of St. Michael's church, Loretto, as arranged by Rev. Ferdinand Kittell reads as follows for that date, which was the second Sunday of the month:


"I baptized the following on the 10th of October, 1830:

  • 2036 - Thomas Kirkpatrick, of James and Mary Luther Kirkpatrick, born 28 July, 1830. Sponsors: Thomas and Mary Kirkpatrick.
  • 2033 - Simon Alexander Burley, of William and Catherine Burley, born 13 September, 1829. Sponsors: John J. and Mary Ann Weakland.
  • 2034 - Michael Barnicle, of Michael and Margaret Barnicle, born 17 June, 1830. Sponsors: Henry and Mary Ann Bender.
  • 2035 - David Augustine Donoughe, of John and Ann Donoughe, born 22 July, 1830. Sponsors: Joseph and Mary Ann Davis.
  • 2037 - John Carney, of John D. and Susan Carney, born 12 July, 1825. Sponsors: George and Elenore Weakland.
  • 2038 - Catherine Ann Donoughe, of John and Ann Donoughe, born 22 July, 1830. Sponsors: Anthony and Teresia Miller.
  • 2039 - Catherine Weakland, of Michael and Mary Weakland, born 27August, 1827. Sponsors: John Sr., and Catherine Weakland.
  • 2040 - Agnes Kirkpatrick, of Jacob and Mary Kirkpatrick, born 28 July, 1830. Sponsors: Patrick Roddy and Jane Smith.
  • 2041 - Elizabeth Jane Behringer, of George and Mary Behringer, born 6 October, 1830. Sponsors: Andrew and Fanny Sutton.
  • 2042 - Margaret Farrell, of Thomas and Harietta Ann Farrell, born 4 September, 1830. Sponsors: Daniel McCauley and Rachael Douglas.
  • 2043 - Mary Ann Lantzy, of Joseph and Ursula Lantzy, born 25 June, 1830. Sponsors: James Jr. Ryan and Mary Ann Miller.

Here we have the lost and much disputed date, Sunday the 10th of October, 1830, when the church was blessed and dedicated in honor of St. Joseph by the Very Reverend Demetrius Augustine, Prince Gallitzin (15). In the rear of the sacristy may be seen a small tomb stone, the inscription of which is: "Catherine, daughter of J. and A. Elder, died Oct. 3, 1819, age 8 months." At first divine service was held in St. Joseph's church once a month or in six weeks. Mr. John G. Miller took the clergyman to board when they visited the settlement. He lived on the farm, now known as the Herzog place. Only traces of the old house remain.

Bishop Francis Patrick Visits the

Bishop Kenrick wrote in his diary: "October 28, 1830, I blessed the church in the town of Blairsville under the invocation of Saints Simon and Jude.

"In the same County, Indiana, is a place called Cameron's Bottom, where there are about twenty Catholic families. There is a church there. As it is only fourteen miles from Ebensburg, it is a better arrangement to give it in charge of the pastor of Ebensburg.

"October 29, 1830, we arrived at Ebensburg, and on (Sunday) the 31 day of the same month I gave the Sacrament of Confirmation to


more than a hundred persons at Loretto. The Loretto congregation is very large and would require the strenuous labor of three priests at least. The pastor is Demetrius Gallitzin."

Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 8, 1830.

Bishop Kenrick to Dr. Purcell, Rector of Mt. St. Marys College:

"Rev. James Bradley should repair to Dr. Gallitzin in the first place and receive his directions. It seems his wish that the Rev. Bradley should reside in Ebensburg and receive his support from the neighboring congregation. You will tell him to visit at least four times a year, or 6, the congregation in Cameron's Bottom, Indiana County."

Rev. James Bradley Resided at Ebensburg and attended St. Joseph's, Cameron's Bottom and also stations on the Portage Railroad from Johnstown to Hollidaysburg.

Bishop Kenrick's diary: "October 14, 1832. I confirmed 113 persons in the church of St. Patrick's in Ebensburg, and 13 the day following in the same place. I also blessed a cemetery. The faithful have bought a house for the residence of their pastor, Rev. James Bradley. He is held in high esteem by the people.

"October the 16th day (1832). I confirmed 61 in the church of St. Joseph in a place known as Hart's Sleeping Place, and nine more on the following day, in the same place. The faithful here wish to give thirty acres of land for the support of the pastor. The number of Catholics is small here; but they are remarkable by reason of their zeal and integrity of morals.

"October the eighteenth day. I confirmed 161 in the church of St. Michael, Loretto. The following day I confirmed 62 persons in the same church. The pastor is Rev. Demetrius A Gallitzin.

"October the twenty-first day. I blessed the church of St. Patrick in a place called Cameron's Bottom."

John Weakland and wife made a deed for ten acres and a half perch of land on December 1839 to Francis Patrick Kenrick in trust for the Roman Catholic Congregation of St. Joseph, Susquehanna Township, Cambria County.

John G. Miller and Catherine Miller made a deed on July 7, 1845 for ten acres of land to Rt. Rev. Michael O'Connor in trust for St. Joseph's Church. In both cases the consideration was one dollar.

In the end of October 1832, Father Bradley's mission was extended to the eastern slope of the mountains, with his residence at Newery (16). Father Gallitzin was again in charge.

Bishop Kenrick's diary: "May 23, 1834. I gave to the Rev. Terrence McGirr charge of the congregation of St. Joseph in the place known as Hart's Sleeping Place, also St. Patrick's in a place called Cameron's Bottom. I wrote to the Rev. D. A. Gallitzin informing him of the charge of the two congregations given to Rev. T. McGirr". Rev. T. McGirr remained in charge of Cameron's Bottom until September, 1842. His death occurred on August 11th, 1851, and his remains were interred in the Catholic cemetery at Ebensburg.

On July 9, 1835, Father Henry Lemke, of Ebensburg, was appointed pastor here (17). In the spring of 1836 he bought the farm adjoining


South of St. Joseph and removed thereon. In May 1840 the Bishop obliged him to take up his residence at Loretto to replace Father Gallitzin there and from there he also attended this church. In 1843 he took up his residence on his farm at Carrolltown. He continued in charge here until January 1847 when the Rev. Nicholas Haeres (18), of Loretto visited the church, from Loretto. In September 1847, the Rev. Nicolas Stauber was placed in charge. He resided in the parsonage which the people built for him that fall. The 28x34 two story weather-boarded plank building was divided on the first floor by a hall, on the second floor there were four rooms. The building was situated about a hundred or more feet from the road and was partly across the cemetery line fence facing the William Herzog farm. The first renter was Sebastian Noel, father of William Noel. In 1854 The Honorable A. A. Barker moved into the empty house. Later for many years John Glass, who married widdow Flinton, lived in it. Silas Byrne lived in it from 1875-77. Then Levi Nagle lived there for a short time (19).

In 1881 Prior Otto engaged Joseph Behe to weather-board the log church. As part payment for his work the old parsonage was sold to him. Bernard Carl helped Mr. Behe tear down the building. Mr. B. Carl bought the lumber and used it in building his slaughterhouse. Father Stauber remained until the end of October 1848.

The Benedictines

Bishop O'Connor, by a special instrument, dated October 16, 1848, transferred all the Catholic Missions in North Cambria County into the hands of the Benedictine Order (20). The Very Rev. Peter Lechner, O.S.B., recorded his first baptism in the Registry on November 21, 1849. Father Benedict Haindl, the next pastor, entered his first baptism in the Registry on June 10, 1849. The Very Rev. Celestine Englebrecht came about the tenth of December 1849. Under his administration the church at Carrolltown was completed. On Sunday the 22nd of December Father Celestine celebrated High Mass at St. Joseph's and announced that on next Wednesday, Christmas day the church at Carrolltown would be dedicated, also that, from then on, that church would be the parish church and St. Joseph's only a mission attended from Carrolltown by the priest who had St. Lawrence in charge.

The following Benedictine priests then attended the church:

Maurus Zacherl 1851 Chilian Bernetzeder 1855
Odilo van der Green 1852 Ulrich Spoettl 1856
Francis Grimmer 1853 Oswald Moosmiller 1856
Ildephonse Boeld 1853 Gabriel Blum 1857
Utho Huber 1853 Magnus Mayer 1859
Roman Hill 1854 Placidus Pilz 1860

On the fifth of June 1860, St. Boniface church at St. Boniface was dedicated. From that date no Sunday services were held here, but on the feast of St. Joseph a Mass was said here each year. On September 6th, 1903, the Rev. Boniface Wirtner, O.S.B., opened the church


again for the usual Sunday services for the benefit of the people of the town of St. Benedict, who lived nearly a half mile away. The successors of Father Boniface are:

Wolfgang Kolbeck 1904 Claude Geary 1921
Thomas Wolf 1905 Peter Fisher 1923
Herman Schorer 1911 Peter Zupan 1922
Berthold Neuhaser 1913 Clarence Kaiser 1923 to date
George Brugger 1920 Michael Hlafcak 1925 to date
Richard Kraus 1920

The belfrey and the bell were placed upon the church during the administration of Father Claude. In the Baptismal Records there Is a registry which reads: "Henry Louis Urban, born on the 27 March, 1848, was baptized on the 2 April, 1848, and is the legitimate son of Joseph Peter Urban and Mary Ursula nee Maier. Sponsors were John and Catherine Maier."

Rev. Nicholas Stauber.

Henry Louis Urban made his profession as a member of the Order of the Redemptorists on September 1st, 1869, and was ordained a priest on September 1st, 1877. The last ten years of his life were spent at St. Peter's church, Philadelphia, Pa. His death occurred on July 23rd, 1923.

Part 0 - Contents
Part 1 - St. Joseph's Church
Part 2a - Life of Rev. Henry Lemke
Part 2b - Life of Rev. Henry Lemke (cont'd.)
Part 3 - St. Benedict, Patriarch of the Monks of the West
Part 4 - Cistercian Monks
Part 5a - St. Benedict's Church
Part 5b - St. Benedict's Church (cont'd.)
Part 5c - St. Benedict's Church (cont'd.)
Part 6 - Carrolltown - Know your town

Contributed to the PAGenWeb Archives by Romayne Shay McMahon, 2005.
OCRed and proofread by Judy Banja

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