IN CAMBRIA COUNTY
SAINT JOSEPH'S CHURCH
"HART'S SLEEPING PLACE"
When Prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin received his appointment from Bishop John Carroll of Baltimore to do missionary work on the Alleghany Mountains, of Pennsylvania, he found a hearty welcome in the pioneer Captain McGuire's settlement, near the present town of Loretto. (The first house was built there in 1784 according to the testimony of John McGuire. builder of a grist mill at Patton in 1848.) The first Catholic church in Cambria County, Pa., was dedicated on Christmas Day, 1799. by Prince Gallitzin at Loretto. This circumstance attracted many Catholic settlers, - at first from Ireland, then from Eastern Pennsylvania and Maryland, and finally from various parts of Germany. The settlers from Maryland were mostly of English descent. The colony grew rapidly and steadily, the march being east and west, but chiefly toward the north; the Irish settling upon a 4-mile strip of land from Ashville to the Loup while the Germans settled on land beginning west of Loretto to the Chest creek to Carrolltown, St. Boniface and Glen Connell, until by 1829 more than 100 families were from 8 to 16 miles distant from Loretto, a fact that naturally entailed many inconveniences and hardships on these good people.
On the occasion of Father Gallitzin's celebrating Mass and baptizing Charles Weakland in the house of his grandfather John Weakland on August 15, 1824, permission was given the people to build a church. The location being distant from the Ebensburg road no progress was made.
This road was approved by the Court at Ebensburg June 21, 1820, beginning at Ebensburg (the old Ebensburg-Carrolltown Road), passed through Carrolltown, through Sun Set Park, through John Weakland's homestead, now the Burley farm, then passed west around St. Joseph's church up the hill N. E., to the present Cross-road Hastings road to a chestnut tree - a line tree separating the St. Joseph's church property from the land east of it. This road led to Clearfield.
The other road but not the first built was surveyed 1819 on the petition of John Miller and others: beginning at Simon Litzinger (now Eckenrode) Mill and ending at a chestnut corner on the former route west of Hart's Sleeping Place, that is at the Kittanning Trail or the Indian Trail.
At last Father Gallitzin yielding to the persistent entreaties of the willing workers, called a meeting at Loretto, September 9, 1829, made up a subscription list of contributors of cash and building material, began building the same fall and winter and completed the church so far in the following summer that the sides and ceiling of the sanctuary were lined.
The Very Reverend Demetrius Augustine, Prince Gallitzin dedicated the log church in honor of St. Joseph on Sunday, October 10, 1830, celebrated Mass and baptized eleven children. See page 21.
The church was located on a parcel of land (10 acres) donated for that purpose by John Weakland, a lineal descendant of one of the three brothers, who came with the colony sent to Maryland by the Duke of Norfolk, Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, arriving March 25, 1634, and settled near the site of Baltimore, Maryland.
The Rev. James Bradley, in charge of the congregation at Ebensburg since the beginning of November, 1830, held services here once a month until October 1832, after which Prince Gallitzin came again on stated days. On May 23, 1834, the Rev. Terrence McGirr was placed in charge of St. Joseph's and Cameron's Bottom. Then came Father Henry Lemke, whom Prince Gallitzin had installed as pastor of the congregation at Ebensburg on December 23, 1834. He celebrated his first Mass here on the feast of the Three Kings, a Holyday of Obligation, January 6, 1835. It was dreadfully cold, there being no ceiling, the north winds whistled through the shingle roof and between the cracks of the logs. In the following summer he had the men calk the cracks with chunks of wood and clay then John Campbell lined the sides and ceiling.
Father Lemke celebrated Mass once a month on Sunday here, at Loretto, Ebensburg and at Johnstown, until the death of Prince Gallitzin, May 6, 1840, when Bishop Kenrick appointed him pastor of Loretto. He was then in charge of Loretto, St. Joseph's and Ebensburg. See page 49.
In 1836 Father Lemke urged the people at Jefferson (Wilmore) and at Summit to build churches. As in the case of St. Joseph's where no priest was living the building of the churches progressed very slowly. The church at Summit, called St. Patrick's, was completed in 1839 by the Rev. Patrick Rattigan, (appointed pastor of Johnstown, Jefferson and Summit in September 1839) and as tradition relates was inspected by Bishop Kenrick in 1840 when he left Loretto for the east. The church was enlarged and remodeled by Rev. Andrew Gibbs in 1844, and called St. Aloysius. The title of the church property at Jefferson is dated June 10, 1837. Bishop Kenrick blessed the St. Bartholomew stone church on this property, August 22, 1840.
Rev. Hugh P. Gallgher having been appointed pastor of Loretto, September 27, 1844, Father Lemke removed upon his farm and chapel (built 1840) at Carrolltown. There and at St. Joseph's he had alternately early and late services on every Sunday.
Father Lemke now gave more of his time to the missions: at the Loup (St. Augustine) he held services in the residence of Thomas Adams (see p. 51), of Henry Krise, and later as he states in his Autobiography, in the Krise school house; at Glen Connell in the residence of Martin Ballweber, of Jacob Gill and finally in that of John Thomas.
Bishop O'Connor (see next pages) transferred St. Joseph to the charge of Rev. Father Gallagher of Loretto who sent his curate the Rev. Nicholas Haeres in January, 1847 on Sundays to St. Joseph and missions until relieved by the Rev. Nicholas Stauber in September of the same year, who resided in the rectory built that year for the pastor.
Bishop O'Connor transferred all the Catholic missions in North Cambria County to the Benedictine Order in 1848, with the Very Rev. Peter Lechner, O. S. B., the first pastor. His curate the Rev. Thaddaeus Brunner O. S. B. entered his first baptismal record in the records preserved in the church at Loretto, Pa., on July 18, 1848 and the Rev. Benedict Haindl, O. S. B., on June 4, 1849.
The Benedictines built the new brick church at Carrolltown which was dedicated on Christmas day, 1849, by the Very Rev. Celestine Englbrecht, O. S. B., and St. Joseph's became a mission attended from Carrolltown by the priest who had St. Lawrence in charge. On the fifth of
June 1860, St. Boniface church at St. Boniface was dedicated. From that date no Mass was celebrated here except on the annual feast of St. Joseph, until Rembrandt Peale of New York laid out the town of "St. Benedict," one half mile distant from St. Joseph's, when regular Sunday services were resumed on September 6, 1903 by the Rev. Boniface Wirtner, O. S. B., who resided at the "Monastery."
In 1881 the Very Rev. Prior Otto Kopf, O. S. B. had the church weather-boarded, and in 1903 Father Boniface added the present sacristry to the church. During the administration of the Rev. Claude Geary, O. S. B., the belfry was built, a bell placed therein and blessed by the Rt. Rev. John J. McCort, D. D., on Labor Day, 1922. The hot air furnace was also placed in the basement of the church during that year, the out side chimney having been built previous to this date by the Rev. Herman Shorer, O. S. B. The church is well preserved.
Father Berthold Neuhauser, O. S. B.. succeeded Father Clarence in 1928 and is the present pastor. The centenary of the dedication falls on the 10th of October. Anticipating a pleasant day the celebration is temporarily set for the first Sunday of September, September 7th. A field day Mass will be celebrated to accommodate the reunion of all the friends of old St. Joseph's. The Rev. Lawrence Rogan, O. S. B., will deliver the sermon.
After the foregoing type were set the following notes of James Easly, Attorney at Law, of Carrolltown were handed me by Undertaker Easly of Hastings. The venerable and highly respected William Weakland (one of the three men who donated ten acres of land to St. Joseph's) was burried on April 13, 1878. A solemn Requiem High Mass was celebrated by the Very Rev. Prior, Amandus Kraemer, O. S. B., and a light organ had been put in place by the Carrolltown choir, which was played by W. C. Severin. This was the first occasion on which instrumental music had been played within the walls of the venerable old church. The old church which bears mute though eloquent testimony to the zeal of the lamented and saintly Gallitzin was built in the year 1831 or 1832. (The correct date is 1829-
1830) under the supervision of Dr. Gallitzin. Its construction was originally of pine logs and the main building was some 44 feet in length by 32 feet in width and some 18 feet high to the ceiling with a gallery extending the width of the building and having a breadth of 13 feet, having a steep fall to the front or railing upon which inclination the benches (cannot be dignified with the name pews) are set leaning at an angle with the floor of the gallery. The gallery built later see P. 35, is supported at the front by a heavy girder resting at the middle aisle upon two plain posts which supports make no pretension to being perpendicular and claim no such superfluity as caps or base.
The sanctuary is separated from the main building and has a width of 26 feet contracting towards the rear to 17 feet and having a depth of 15 feet. The altar itself is very plain excepting the tabernacle upon which some effort at architectural display was made by the builders; this latter being made of hard wood, partly turned, cherry and maple predominating and left in their appearance, but surmounted with a plain black-painted cross with an emblem of the crucifixion of a rude cut from wood. The only other ornament of the sanctuary, which is entirely innocent of carpet or matting, is made up of three old style pictures, the center one representing St. Joseph and each of the other two pictures contain saints to the number of half a dozen. A plain corner shelf answered the purpose of a stand or table upon which the sacristan placed the cruits of wine and water and a plate or dish for the lavabo or washing the fingers. This last completed the furnishing of the sanctuary excepting that 4 turned maple candlesticks added to the service and embelishment of the altar.
The vestry door opened from the right to the sanctuary by a side door hung by long, old style hand wrought iron, strip hinges reaching across the door which was itself completed by a gothic transom. The vestry room, 8 feet by 13 feet and 7 1/2 feet high, furniture consisted of a rudely constructed bureau for the convenience of keeping the usual vestments and a kind of press or cupboard, having the same service in view, the bureau itself being surmounted by a tabernacle-formed receptacle for the sacred vessels to be kept under lock and key. The tabernacle was surmounted by an exceedingly crudely cut representation of the crucifixion made of wood evidently by some hand entirely guiltless of any pretension as a student of art, or a worker of
statuary. An old velvet black poke attached to a long stick and a candle extinguisher completed the furniture.
The interior finish of the main building was and remains very plain; the walls being unpainted and ornamented solely by plain, square, old style water-colored pictures of the stations of the cross. The light is admitted through four square windows of 24 lights each of 8x10 glass, save the sanctuary which is distinguished by being the possessor of one Gothic shaped window. The confessional is a plain box-formed affair, stuck angling into the corner and barely enough of room for the confessor, the penitent being obliged to kneel outside. Plain benches accommodated the worshippers in lieu of pews of more modern date. The gallery is lighted by three small windows of nine lights, each of 8x10 glass and is furnished with five rude benches leaning, as mentioned, forward, and to the accommodation of the choir.
The entrance to the building is by a double door, wide and roomy, and a main aisle of 6 feet. with two side aisles of about 20 inches in width. A large plain heating stove obstructed the middle aisle and gave heat and warmth to the building in winter. No useless flue obstructed the view but the stovepipe led directly up through the ceiling and roof, an old wooden coal-box, with a part of a hoop for a handle made up the stove furniture that was visible. Thus we found St. Joseph's on April 13, 1878." The first person to be buried in the St. Joseph cemetery was James McKinney, father-in-law of Michael Cunningham, George Weakland and Michael Barnicle. McKinney donated ten acres of land to the church but as it did not adjoin the other property it was bought for $10.00 by John Weakland who added 10 more to the original plot of ground.
FATHER HENRY LEMKE
In December 1844, Father Henry Lemke, with the consent of the Rt. Rev. Bishop Michael O'Connor, left here on a vacation for his old home in Germany. Whilst there he received many gifts and money from his friends for the purpose of building a church at Carrolltown. After ten months of vacation Father Lemke, rich in tokens of friendship, money, books, vestments, etc., returned to his American missions and entered his new record of a baptism at St Joseph on October 26, 1845. the last Sunday of the month. He received a hearty reception as may be seen from the following subscription, found in the effects of the deceased Isaac Weakland and handed the writer by William F. Weakland, his son, and now preserved at the Carrolltown Priory.
"We the undersigned Subscribers Promise to pay Rev. Peter H. Lemke, or to any other person or persons duly appointed by him to Receive the same, the sums of Money Set Opposite Our Names, For one year or more, Commencing from the first day of November A. D. 1845. The same to be paid in half yearly payments. And it is further understood that the aforesaid Rev. P. H. Lemke will perform twice a Month, on Sundays and the Holydays at the church of St. Joseph in Carroll, his functions of his Holy Catholic Religion."
Father Lemke gives in his Autobiography the reason why his pastorate at St. Joseph, in 1847, was taken away and given to the priest at Loretto. The Rt. Rev. Michael O'Connor, having found out that Father Henry had collected a nice sum of money in Germany, went to Loretto and in the company of the Rev. Hugh Patrick Gallagher to Carrolltown where he demanded the money collected by Father Henry Lemke in Germany, stating it was diocesan money and he wished to build a seminary at St. Vincent, Latrobe, where he wanted the Benedictines to give the students free tuition and board. When he refused this the Bishop said: "You traveled and collected money under my authority, and consequently I have a right to dispose of it." "You authorized me," I said, "to engage German priests for the new Diocese, of money nothing was said. I collected it for Carrolltown and there it has to be expended for the building of a church. I have three thousand dollars for that purpose in my hands and if you think they are not safe with me I shall transfer them to you if you give me a document under your hand and seal that this money is not to be expended for any other use than for the church of Carrolltown. This he refused. Upon that he went away in great anger. But he thought better of it in Loretto for he sent the priest from there with the desired instrument." - The Northern Cambria News, 1879.
Father Lemke then paid a visit to Bishop Kenrick of Philadelphia, a particular and dear friend, to whom he related what had taken place. When Father Lemke returned he found that St. Joseph's congregation had been taken
from him and was transferred to the pastor of Loretto who sent his curate the Rev. Nicholas Haeres to attend to the place from Loretto. Father Lemke continued to reside at Carrolltown until after he laid out the town of Carrolltown, sold the lots and saw quite a number of houses erected. He then returned to the jurisdiction of his former Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Francis Patrick Kenrick, who sent him to Reading to St. Peter's church. His first baptismal entry at St. Peter's is dated October 22, 1848.
The Day Book of Father Lemke, as well as of Joseph Bearer show that in the forties a man's wages for a day's labor was .37 1/2 cents a day. He lived in a 1 1/2 story log house, the roof covered with 3 foot long clapboards made of red oak and weighted down with stone or logs. The water did not seep through, but people in the second story oftentimes found themselves covered with 2-3 feet of snow in the winter mornings. Women and children went barefoot in the summer and some even in the winter; among others may be mentioned the shoemaker's wife, Mrs. John B. (Sherry) Hoffman with her 5 boys and 2 girls. Yet a man could go hunting and come home before breakfast with a deer from whose hide moccasins could have been made. There were no stoves in those days but a large fireplace warmed the house and served as the cook stove, heated with 5-6 foot pieces of wood. Cooking utensils were few and simple, wooden or pewter spoons and forks were used, some times a board served as a plate in lieu of a pewter plate, the horn of a cow served as a drinking cup.
The farmer sowed flax; the women pulled the same in the fall, laid it away to dry, knocked out the seed, then broke, scutched and hackeled the flax. The tow was made into ropes or also bags which lasted a farmer's life time, or into coarse cloth from which pants and coats were made that lasted for many years. Father Gallitzin as well as Father Lemke wore such clothing to encourage the industry and discouraged buying costly rainment. The fine flax was spun and weaved into fine linen, made into shirts, dresses, etc. Spinning and weaving kept many a woman at work until midnight after having done her house work and assisted her husband on the farm. Coffee made of acorns, rye or wheat was their drink. The women walked 20 or 25 miles to the market receiving 5 cents for a dozen of eggs, 7 cents for a pound of butter, and were oftentimes lucky that they were not obliged to go home without other coveted goods.
The forgoing was written to show the buying power of money. If a man could pay $5.00 when he received only .37 1/2 cents for a day's labor Would - if he lived to-day - pay as pew rent $66.66 receiving now $5.00 for a day's wages. Again the young man who then paid $1.00 per year to the support of the priest would now have paid $16.00 a year pew rent when he received $5.00 for a day's wages. In those days men did not have work every day, for day work was as scarce as money.
John Harris, the founder of Harrisburg, in his schedule of the Kittanning Trail or Path, 1756, estimated the distance from the Clear Fields, south of Ashville, to Hart's Sleeping Place as 12 miles; and from there to the Head of the Suequehanna (Chelisguagua creek at Kinport) 12 miles. It is three miles North of Carrolltown and a half miles east of St. Benedict.
John Hart, whose name is perpetuated in connection with Hart's Sleeping Place, was an old, honest, German Indian trader of Philadelphia, licensed as an Indian trader in 1744. He is also accredited in the Colonial Records, VIII, page 124 and 135, as being the Provincial Interpreter of the Cherokee Indians at Winchester, Va., in June 1758. Long before he settled in the Juniata valley on the river, west of Standing Stone (Huntingdon), he crossed and recrossed the Alleghany Mountains, by the old War Path, with his pack horses, camping at Hart's Sleeping Place over night with his pack-horses loaded with peltries tethered near the fire to keep wild animals away from them. Finally he took up his residence along the Juniata river, there cuting down an immense tree he turned it into a trough, out of which he fed his horses and cattle, hence the name "Hart's Log," near Alexandria, Porter Township, Huntingdon County.
"It is stated that upon one occasion, when Hart was an old man, some Indians came into his settlement on a pillaging excursion. They knew Hart, and went to his cabin, but he happened to be from home. On his log they left a
tomahawk, painted red, and a small piece of slate upon which rude hieroglyphics were drawn, one resembling an Indian with a bundle upon his back, over whose head were seven strokes and whose belt was filled with scalps. In front of this drawing was the sun rising, and behind them a picture of the moon.
On Hart's return, he soon found that Indians had been about. The meaning of the articles left he could readily decipher. The red hatchet upon the log signified that Indians were about, but to him they laid down the hatchet. The picture of the rising sun signified that they were going to the east. The strokes indicated the number of warriors, and the bundle and scalps intimated that they would both plunder and murder. The moon signified that they would return at night."
The last Indian encampment of importance was made at Hart's Sleeping Place in the spring of 1781. Two spies reported to Colonel Albright at Frankstown that they saw a number of bark huts at Hart's Sleeping Place, that the Indians must have numbered 25 to 30. Captain Moor, of Scotch Valley, led the rangers and volunteers, Sunday, June 2, and started for the mountains. The path was close along the river, and the men marched in Indian file, as the path was narrow. When they reached the flat above where Temperance Mill stood, and within thirty rods of the mouth of Sugar run, the loud warwhoop was heard; a band of Indians rose from the bushes on the left-hand side of the road, firing a volley at the same time, killing seventeen, wounding five and the others escaping.
The nearest Indian village is indicated by a cemetery on the late James Kirkpatrick farm now owned by Joseph Fox but Peter Warcic is now living on it. Only a few years ago there were still three Indian headstones to be seen. An other Indian village was pointed out in the old chestnut grove on the Boyle estate now owned by Rembrandt Peale. The Shero, Bearer and Kirkpatrick children used to gather chestnuts there. Alice, wife of Lawrence Volk, daughter of Thomas Kirkpatrick, states that it is at the end of the road leading from the cement road up the hill to a patch of cherry trees around which live three families, and she saw six to eight Indian graves where those trees now stand.
ST. LAWRENCE, PA. --- GLEN
The St. Lawrence farming district was formerly called Glen Connell. General McConnell, of revolutionary memory, a resident of Philadelphia, Pa., possessed June 1794, a large tract of land in what is now Chest Township and about one mile west of St. Lawrence. On an elevated spot of this land with an eastern exposure, which commanded a grand view of the surrounding country, Mrs. Ruth McConnell, the widow of the General's son Matthew, built about 1818, a magnificent mansion on the road leading to Carrolltown, and called her home Glen Connell. The doors, windows, etc., were brought from Philadelphia. Almost all traces of this mansion have disappeared from the Swope sisters estate. The windows in this mansion were used by Aloysius Swope in building there a new residence which was destroyed by fire in November 1927. At the time it was occupied by Marcellus Swope.
Other Catholics, of German birth, came by way of Burgoon's gap, and settled in the township. They attended Mass on Sundays at Loretto, but later at St Joseph's church at Hart's Sleeping Place. At an early date, about 1838, the Rev. Father Lemke held services occasionally in the Glen Connell mansion, and later farther east in Martin Ballweber's residence, then in Jacob Gill's house, and finally in that of John Thomas, who came here in 1824, and was the owner of a house with a very large room.
The settlement south of here the LOUP (now St. Augustine) was so called after one of the Delaware tribes of Indians, the Wolf, or as the French called them the Loup, the French word for wolf. The Loup Indians had a cemetery one mile east of the Loup on the farm of Sylas Ryan, and another one mile west of the Loup in the Indian Garden on the Thomas Adams farm now owned by Charles Glass. The other tribes were the Turtle and the Turkey. Father Lemke celebrated Mass at stated times at the Loup in the residence of Thomas Adams, then in that of Henry Krise, and finally, as he relates in his autobiography, in the Krise school house. (Correct page 51 according to this fact.)
The Rev. Henry Lemke, having returned from his vacation in Germany in October, 1845, and now living on his farm at St. Joseph's church, took up a census of his congregation and missions. He informed the people that he was about to lay out the town of Carrolltown and build a church there, and there should be a church also in each of the missions. The people of Glen Connell and of the Loup should each take up a subscription and the one showing the greater subscription could build the church.
The people of the Loup, the larger settlement, at once took up the subscription, John Zerbe heading the list with a promise of $150.00 and Henry Krise promised five acres of land. On August 28, 1846, Henry Krise sold five acres and twenty-five perches of land to the Rt. Rev. Michael O'Connor, D. D., in trust for the Roman Catholic Congregation of Clearfield Township for $50.00. Mr. John Zerbe received the contract to build a frame weatherboard church, which was so far completed that in September 1848, the Rev. H. P. Gallagher, who now had charge of the mission. performed the ceremonies uniting Henry Delozier and Margaret Krise in the bonds of holy matrimony. Later the church was plastered by Francis, father of Joseph Huber.
The families of Glen Connell, being few in number, having large farms, some unpaid, with but few acres under cultivation, and a distant market for their agricultural produce, were poor, yet desired a church in their midst. Martin Ballweber, Jacob Gill and John Thomas with Mrs. George Oexner were the chief advocates for building the church. George Oexner generously offerd to donate a piece of land. The deed to the land reads, that on October 15, 1849, John and Christina Oexner of Blair County, for a consideration of $2.50 sold five acres of land to the Rt. Rev. Michael O'Connor, D. D., in trust for the Roman Catholic Congregation of Glen Connell in White township. Father Lemke urged them to begin the preliminary work for a church of their own.
During the month of November, 1847, another meeting was held, most of the 35 families agreed to build the church and on the following day, November 12, thirteen farmers began the work of clearing the forest. During the whole winter about the same number of men worked every day until the spring work kept them at home. About this time, Rev. Nicholas Haeres was placed temporarily in
charge of the mission. During the winter of 1848 and 1849 the farmers were again at work, cleaning the grounds, hewing the sleepers, hauling stone, lumber, etc. The solicitors extended their collecting tour to Sinking Valley, Hollidaysburg in Bair County, to Cambria, Indiana, and Westmoreland Counties and even to Pittsburgh. The following list of subscribers will show with what success the collectors performed their work.
December 15, 1847.
We, the subscribers, promise to pay towards the erection of a Roman Catholic Church the sum annexed to our names. The church will be built on the ground given by George Oexner in White Township, Cambria County, Pa. There will be three payments made as follows: (viz.) the first payment is to be paid by the first of April 1848; the second by the first of April 1849; the third by the first of January 1850; and such sums of money shall be paid over to the Treasurer appointed by the Building Committee. And we, the subscribers, agree and promise to pay the sums annexed to our names according to the above conditions, under lawful authorities otherwise to remain in full force and virtue.
Glen Connell, Pa.
Tuesday, May 3d, 1849.
On this day a meeting was held and it was decided by vote: that a frame church be built, 40x30 with a sanctuary 16 foot long added to the rear; that the building of the church be given to a contractor who will sign the contract; also that, whereas no subscription has been paid to the present time, a definite time be fixed, namely, the time of the first payment is extended to September 1st, 1849; the second to September 1st, 1850; the last to September 1st, 1851. John Thomas was chosen, by a large majority vote, to be the Superintendent to oversee the whole work of building the church and this book of the minutes of the meeting and accounts was handed to him.
Peter Lechner, O. S. B., Pastor
Collected In 1849.
In the beginning of June 1849 the excavation for the foundation was completed, and within 22 days Peter Woodley, Valentine Yahner, Martin and Francis Swam, stone masons, completed the foundation; no lime being on hand cut straw was used as a binder in making the mortar. John Elder, at whose mill the timber was sawed, raised the frame, and in the spring of the following year, 1850, weatherboarded the building. In the fall a board kiln was built for
the purpose of drying the floor boards and the finishing lumber, and during March and April, 1851, the kiln was fired.
On June 21st Prior Celestine Englbrecht, O. S. B., of Carrolltown called a meeting of the Building Committee, John Thomas, Treasurer, John Elder, Jacob Gill, Jacob Kibler and Martin Yahner were present. The result of their examination of the books of the Treasurer was:
John Thomas resigned as treasurer, and Joseph Gill was then chosen treasurer, a position which he held until March 10, 1855. On November 1st Martin Strittmatter was paid $14.50 for having shingled the roof; the floor was then laid, the windows and doors put in place, and the church was now ready for services. In the fall of 1852 John Harber built the gallery according to the plan of St. Joseph's church, lined the walls and ceiling; pews now replaced the benches, a confessional was added, and now we come to the
The Very Rev. Prior Celestine Englbrecht, O. S. B., delegated by the Rt. Rev. Bishop O'Connor, D. D., blessed the church with the usual solemnities of the church on January 9, 1853, Sunday within Octave of Ephiphany and dedicated it in honor of St. Lawrence, the Martyr. The Rev. Francis Grimmer assisted at the ceremonies. After Mass Prior Clestine blessed the cemetery and the cross, then baptized the following children:
On January 9, 1853, I baptized Simon Hammond, born in Clearfield County, Pa., on December 8, 1852, legitimate son of Joseph Hammond and Catharine nee Noel. The sponsors were: Simon Noel and Magdalin Gill.
At the same time on January 9, 1853, I baptized Thomas Gill, born in Glen Connell on December 21, 1853, legitimate son of Anthony Gill and Elizabeth nee Wudring. The sponsors were: Jacob Thomas and Annie Hoebauer.
P. Celestine Englbrecht, O. S. B.
Father Charles Geyerstanger, O. S. B., the pastor here held the services on this Sunday at Carrolltown. In 1854 Martin Yahner was awarded the contract of building the sacristy for the sum of $94.00.
At a settlement held on March 10, 1855, in the presence of Anton Gill, Joseph Gill, Jacob Gill, Jacob Kibler, Jacob Kline and John Thomas, members of the congregation, and of the Very Rev. Prior Ildephonse Boeld, O. S. B., the following was found:
Glen Connel, March 19, 1855.
Joseph Gill resigned and John Shardon was elected Treasurer. During the year 1856 John Thomas cleared two acres of land in the cemetery for $33.00. In 1864 Father Edmund replaced the 1857 stove by a new large one, bought a bell, also gave the contract to build a belfry, and to remodel the church to George Waltz and Joseph Shero. The Rev. Denis Stolz, O. S. B., of Carrolltown, assisted by Father Edmund, gave a triduum mission and on Wednesday, July 1, 1879, closed the Jubilee ordered by His Holiness Pope Leo XII. Father Alban made some necessary repairs to the church in 1883 and bought a new reed organ. In July 1884, Father Maximillian succeedes as pastor.
In the St. Vincent Archabbey church, July 8, 1886, the Rt. Rev. Richard Phelan, D. D., Bishop of Pittsburgh, ordained to the priesthood the Rev. Joseph J. Eger, son of Dominic Eger and Mary Magdalin nee Gill (daughter of Jacob Gill). Father Eger celebrated his first Mass here on July 11, the feast of the Patronage of St. Benedict. Father Vincent Huber, O. S. B., the deacon of the Mass, preached the sermon, and Father Max, the pastor, was the subdeacon. After a quarter of a century in the faithful discharge of the sacred ministry, the good and zealous Father Eger returned to commemorate the greatest and happiest event of his life in the humble little church, and at the same altar offered up a solemn High Mass of thanksgiving on July 11, 1911; a host of friends and relations were present. The Rev. William S. Kress of Ohio, a classmate, delivered a beautiful discourse on the dignity of the holy priesthood, and paid a touching tribute to our beloved son of St. Lawrence. A large number of clergy were present who rejoiced with the Venerable Jubilarian and offered their heartiest congratulations. Father Eger is the Permanent Rector of St. Joseph's church, Braddock, Pa.
In October, 1886, the Rev. Anthony Wirtner, O. S. B., was appointed the first resident pastor of St. Boniface. He changed the order of Mass service here, so that in place of Mass on Sundays twice a month, now during the summer, beginning with Easter Sunday and ending on All Saints, Mass was celebrated on each Sunday, otherwise the services were unchanged. A mission, the fifth of the series, was given by the Redemptorist Fathers during the week of the 14-21st of June, 1896, and was well attended.
The Rev. Alto Herr, O. S. B., began, in 1899, to gather funds for a new church. When he left in February, 1900, he had to the credit of the building fund $850.00. His brother, Father Maximillian, continued the good work until relieved by the Rev. Raphael Wieland, O. S. B., who bought several acres of ground for the purpose of erecting thereon buildings for entertainments and picnics. From July to October, 1909, Father Clarence Kaiser, O. S. B., of St. George Church, Patton, came here until relieved by the Rev. Modestus Wirtner, O. S. B., and in January, 1910, Father Herman Schorer, O. S. B., became pastor but was succeeded in August by Father Method Shestik, O. S. B., who sold the coal underlying the picnic grounds, thus adding more money to the church building fund.
The Brick Church.
With the dawn of 1911 the much cherished hope of having a new church was realized. The contract for the brick building was let February 3, 1911. During the spring of that year ground was broken for the new church. The vast majority of the parishioners were active hauling brick, quarrying stone and hauling it to the foundation site. Too much credit cannot be given the church committee, Philip Gill, Maximillian Gill, Louis Dietrich, and George Warner, whose efforts towards the building of the new church were animated by a true Cathloic spirit.
The corner stone was blessed at 11 o'clock A. M.. June 11th, 1911, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Eugene A. Garvey, D. D., assisted by the Very Rev. Prior of St. Vincent Archabbey, Father Method, the pastor, and the clergy from Carrolltown. The Bishop delivered the sermon. The church, a 46 X 75 feet brick building, modeled after the Roman style of architecture, will accommodate about 500 persons, and costs about $18,000.00. It was designed by Sholler and Hirsch, of Altoona, and the contract of building was awarded to Francis X. Bauman of Carrolltown. About 50 families belong to the congregation. The Rev. Joseph Eger donated a statue of the Sacred Heart, Anthony Dietrich the Immaculate Heart of Mary statue; J. W. Gill, of Coalport, gave a sanctuary goblet and two pair of candelabra; Mrs. Philip Gill presented a golden crucifix and two candlesticks. The steam heating system was installed by W. H. Brown of Patton; the main altar was designed by the American Seating Co. of Chicago, who also furnished and installed the altar railing and the pews; the art glass windows were made by the Johnstown Stain Glass Company, and were donated by the following persons:
A stitch in time saves nine, also worry and interest.
Dedication of the Church.
Rt. Rev. Eugene A. Garvey, D. D., dedicated the church on Thursday, November the ninth, 1911. Promptly at 10:45 o'clock A. M., the Rt. Rev. Bishop intoned the ritual prayers which were taken up and continued by the Fathers who assisted him, namely: the Very Rev. Anthony Wirtner, Subprior of St. Vincent Archabbey, the Very Rev. Thomas Wolf, Prior of Carrolltown, the Rev. Fathers Maximillian Herr, of Johnstown, Herman Schorer and James Spalding of Carrolltown, Joseph Eger of New Castle, G. B. Welsh of St. Augustine, Modestus Wirtner of Nicktown, Raphael Wieland of St. Boniface and Marcellus Retger of Hastings.
After the dedication a solemn High Mass was celebrated by Father Raphael assisted by the Very Rev. Anthony and Rev. Herman as deacon and subdeacon with Father Maximillian as the master of the ceremonies. Present in the sanctuary were the Rt Rev. Bishop and visiting priests. The dedicatory sermon was delivered in a masterly style by
the Rev. Joseph Eger of New Castle, who took for his text: "Jehovah, I love the place of thy dwelling and the throne of Thy Glory." Psalm 29 verse 9. After the celebration of the Mass the Rt. Rev. Bishop administered the sacrament of Confirmation to a class of 50 boys and girls. The old church was sold and removed in fall of 1912.
The Rev. Adrian Krakowski, O. S. B., taking charge in September 1917, paid off the debt of the church and before he turned his pastorate to the Rev. Gabriel Schaller, O. S. B., September., 1926, he had to the credit of the new intended rectory building over two thousand dollars. Father Gabriel built the seven room brick rectory in 1927 and had the same heated by the hot water system. The 75th anniversary of the dedication of the church fell on January 9, 1928, but was not celebrated. The Rev. Clement Stratman, O. S. B., August 1928, to September 1929. had the misfortune to fracture his hip bone and Father Raphael Schatzel, O. S. B., assisted until the Rev. Damien, O. S. B., was appointed September 1929, Father Damien, who installed the Delco electric light system in the church and rectory, is now engaged in making the cemetery one of the many beauty spots in Northern Cambria County. There are 43 Catholic families in the parish.
Pastors of St. Lawrence and Assistants
Whose Names Appear in the Baptismal Record.
In 1890 the village of St. Lawrence had a population of 53 and Chest Township 527, which in 1920 dwindled to 465 and in 1930 to 379. When any one visited Carrolltown, in the fifties he brought the mail and left it at the tavern of Matthias Dietrich one mile beyond Glen Connell toward Coalport or left it with Simon Brendle, and on Sunday it was distributed at the church. The first Postmaster was John G. Gill, the blacksmith. The next was Jacob Kibler
with Mrs. John Campbell as his clerk, then Henry Leiden with Miss Cora Leiden as clerk, following him was Mrs. Jane Leiden and now George Leiden.
The first tavern was kept by Matthias Dietrich near the Gill school. A tavern is not exactly a saloon nor a hotel but a place where a traveler can have his meals and a bed for the night as well as stable room for horses that were to be fed and kept over night.
The first tavern in the village was opened by Adam Leiden in Martin Balweber's house in the beginning of the sixties. Later he built his own building which now is the only store building here. About the same time a Mr. Sneff opened a tavern, which was later conducted by George Crook and last by Joseph Huebsch. The building is now owned by Charles Gill. Another tavern was opened by John and Daniel Warner. Later it came into the hands of Joseph Roddy and was destroyed by fire but immediately rebuilt, and Joseph Warner tried to make it a success, then Charles Roddy who was followed by a Mr. Allison and finally James O'Brien under whose management it was destroyed by fire on November 29, 1912. On this spot Joseph Riner built his brick house.
The first store in the district was opened at the Wentz school by Joseph Gill. Later a Mr. Gordon started a store in the village in Squire John Gill house and later it was conducted by a Mr. Carson. About the time Gordon began Mr. Dickey, of Glen Hope built a store which later came into the hands of Mr. Nevlin and later was owned by Charles Langbein who added a harness shop and finally the store passed into the hands of Samuel Gill. George Warner lives there now. Henry Leiden opened a store in Adam Leiden's house about 1888 or there about. It is now conducted by his sons George and Herman Leiden.
George Oshel showed his grandson George Oshel, Jr., a deposit of lead back of St. Lawrence on Whitmer run, called by the 1895 Geological Survey So. Wilmer run. George Oshel Jr., supplied his neighbors with pure lead and also Giles Stephens of Beaver Valley. The location was lost, the creek changing its course when used for floating logs for rafting purposes. On the Herman Houck farm a deposit of red ochre, used by the Indians, was also used by Sebastian Kruis by adding oil to paint his buildings. The Swope Indian cemetery is found about one and a half miles south of
St. Lawrence, at the junction of the Swope run and the Swam run, the source of Rock creek. When last seen there were yet three Indian headstones there. The land was formerly owned by Peter Swope but now by Mat Kollar.
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