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Archiver > PACAMBRI > 2001-05 > 0989683934


From: (Tony Bentivegna)
Subject: Re: [PaCambri] more on the James Gang/Gallitzen feud
Date: Sat, 12 May 2001 09:14:14 -0800


This is a complicated subject. If I was still living in Loretto, I'd sure
like to research some of these issues. Many thanks to Annie Whiteman for
providing these great transcriptions.

One problem is that the petition to oust Gallitzin by James McGuire, Esq.,
cannot be found today. We only have the 24 Apr 1807 Petition in response,
which only hints at the charges. But it does say that one of the detractors
was Jacob Burgoon, the father-in-law of this James McGuire. We know there
are two James McGuires that are difficult to sort in this time frame: James
C. McGuire and James L. McGuire. The earliest record I have of a James
Maguire is: 1789 June Sessions of the Huntingdon County, Pa., Courts. James
McGuire one of 12 jurors in the matter of Republica v. John Bowers, finding
the defendant guilty of fornication and bastardy.

JAMES C. McGUIRE is believed to have married Elizabeth Burgoon, the
daughter of Jacob. He must be the author of the first petition. James
sponsored early baptisms performed by Gallitzin and bought lumber from his
sawmill. He was not related to Capt. Michael McGuire. I believe he was a
friend to E.V. James, having succeeded him as prothonatary for Cambria
County. The entire uproar in 1806-7 seems to begin and end with Mr. James'
short but unforgettable stay in the mountains. Some of his descendants are
on this discussion list (in fact all the players in the 1806-07 drama seem
to be represented on the list, and so perhaps an reenactment will be
proposed). He came to Loretto in 1804 from Lancaster at Gallitzin's
invitation and set about subdividing present day Munster, seeing an
opportunity to capitalize on the turnpike route. Nothing wrong there. The
problem was that he could not attract buyers. E.V. James was sued and a
judgment for $400 entered against against him before the year was out.
Welcome to the neighborhood.

Highly ambitious, E.V. became prothonatary and began luring settlers from
Loretto (actually "Clearfield" according to most of the residents;
Gallitzin was actively calling it Loretto since 1801 but it hadn't caught
on yet). Not illegal. Problem was, Gallitzin was in financial straights and
facing uncertainty with the death of his mother in 1806. Things got worse
for E.V. in that year too, when his wife died and he was left to raise 7
children. E.V. encouraged a rebellion against Gallitzin to avoid his own
ruin. During these first years of Gallitzin's pastorate at Loretto,
Gallitzin had not yet established perfect respect in his congregation -- he
was vulnerable. E.V. incited the Widow White, James Meloy, Jacob Burgoon
and others at Munster to make accusations. E.V. also wrote directly to
Bishop Carroll. But the petition by JAMES C. McGUIRE -- probably
orchestrated by E.V. -- brought the rallying cry. When the rebellion
failed, E.V. apologized but nonetheless left for Sportman's Hall, where he
remarried in July of 1807. He then relocated at Harrisburg. He died in 1814
at the age of 43.

JAMES L. McGUIRE married Catherine [Halloran?], and was the son of
Andrew. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Andrew was indeed the brother
of Capt. Michael McGuire, first settler at Loretto. Andrew never lived in
the area, however. James' children were baptized by Gallitzin without
interruption between 1802 and 1813. It is believed James died around 1815.
The court docket summaries from Annie Whiteman positively identify cases
involving assaults against JAMES L. McGUIRE, but I am not so sure that
these matters are related to the challenge to Gallitzin. E.V. James was
already gone by 1808. The challenge to Gallitzin involved James C. McGuire,
not James L. Clearly, something happened. I should also point out that one
of the James McGuires joined Richard McGuire's volunteer company that
marched off to Niagra Falls in the Autumn of 1812. I suspect it was James
L. Pension records may help there.

Untouched by all this litigation is JOHN WEAKLAND, who is depicted
in stained glass at St Joseph's (Hart's Sleeping Place), waving a fence
rail at Gallitzin's detractors. According to legend, he was a large man
that once choked a bear, and his right arm was intact when his grave was
relocated to the cemetery in 1854. No one dared to sue Big John, I guess.

Tony Bentivegna



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