Archiver > PACAMBRI > 2001-05 > 0989788986

From: "james miller" <>
Subject: [PaCambri] The James Gang 2 / Troubles in Camelot
Date: Sun, 13 May 2001 21:23:11

This is the second part of some material that I wrote some time ago about
the squabbles between Gallitzin and some of the Early Cambria people.....

We now take for granted those institutions of our society which seem to
have been there forever: administration of justice, religion, education. We
are watching the beginnings of these in early Cambria. The establishment of
the `establishment' as it were. In their early days these institutions had
nothing of the aura of permanence or stability that the `establishment' has
taken on for us. We have been noticing just a few of the attendant
struggles accompanying the establishment of justice and religion in early

Education was beginning to take root in early Cambria at Gallitzin's school
in Loretto. The debate of private vs. public schools is no child of the
present. In those early days when justice and religion were only
knee&#64979;high up in the hills, education was sprouting up as well. In a
letter to Judge Karl Parrish, a descendant of Joshua Parrish, I was making
mention of the early public schools: "and the fact that he [Joshua Parrish]
donated land for a public school. Could you blame him for not wanting his
kids to walk extra miles through the woods? By the way, where would his
children have gone to school prior to this?" This was a rhetorical
question. The obvious answer was at Gallitzin's school in Loretto.

In addition to Gallitzins efforts to be land agent, shopkeeper, industrial
developer, pastor, and part-time physician he also set out to establish a
parochial school at Loretto. This was another endeavor that resulted in the
creation of much bad feeling among some of the local people. To teach his
school, he collected a group of young women about him who were to act as
teachers. Local opinion began to view them as a kind of cult following of
Gallitzin, and this began to cause resentment. He must have exercised
strong influence upon them, for they were not available for marriage. When
he asked one of them, Rachel White, to share his hearth and home, that was
the last straw. Her mother was very aware of the gossip surrounding this
and feared that no man would ever marry her daughter after her having taking
up residence in the priests house. Rachels mother made the long journey
to Baltimore to complain to the Bishop, who dispatched a letter to Gallitzin
to get her out of his house. Gallitzin caused further resentment among the
people by threatening to refuse the sacraments to the parents of any child
in the parish who attended public schools. For many parents, this was not
just a matter of free choice but a safety issue. Little children trudging
through the woods on a cold, snowy morning to Loretto would be exposed to
not only the elements, but on occasion to prowling wolves and other
creatures. One could not blame the parents of these children for wanting
their children to attend school closer to home. Gallitzins refusal to take
into account issues like this added to the bad feeling rising against him.

To provide just a little bit of focus here, I can recall interviewing a
lady who was over a hundred years old and had taught for most of her life in
a one room school house. Among some of the stories that she related was the
tale of one very cold winter morning as the children were arriving for
school. She recalled that some of the older boys would arrive early to get
the old pot-bellied stove fired up. And on one particular morning, a little
girl arrived in a state close to unconsciousness. She had been walking
quite a distance for a little creature in the cold and wind. From the
description of her state, she was probably in hypothermia. The teacher
recalled how all of the children gathered around the little girl, putting
her close to the stove in the middle of the room until she began to revive.
There didnt seem to be any permanent ill effects, but the little episode
recalls what it was like for the little children in the days before heated
school buses.

Most of these episodes have been largely forgotten, but they were real
issues for the children then and for their parents. When the township
schools came about, parents would obviously want their children to attend
closer to home.

One of these township schools was the Mill School. Joshua Parrish had
donated land for it. It took its name from the mill that Joshua was
running, further down the valley. The location of the mill school might be
noted on the map as #29. The mill [ #15 ] is called O'Haras Mills on the
map because, it will be recalled, Joshua sold it to David O'Hara, who then
sold it to his son, Sam O'Hara. In 1879 Sam O'Hara bought the Mill School
and the several acres associated with it for $50.00 from the Munster
Township School Board. Whether it was still used as a school after Sam
bought it, I do not know.

Sam O'Hara's oldest son, Frank [Francis Samuel] married one of the great
grand daughters of Joshua Parrish, Anna Bridgit [1853 &#64979; 1918]. It is
said that Anna Bridgit taught school for a few years. It is a good bet that
she taught at the Mill School for whom her great grand father donated the

And, one further thought about cold winter mornings, those same little
toddlers who had plodded through the snow to school during the week, would
in most cases go with their parents to church on Sunday. At Gallitzins
church at Loretto, they could expect no warm stove to gather around. After
having trekked a number of miles through the woods to church, they were
expected to attend services in a building that had no heat. Gallitzin
forbade any heat in church. So the old, infirm, and very young could expect
to stay very cold for whatever period of time Gallitzin chose to keep them
in Church. Those who were lucky enough to have friends in Loretto to visit
might spend some time by the hearth of their friends or relatives before
returning to the farm. From a perspective of the 21st century, it looks
like Gallitzin was attempting to impose a quasi-monastic discipline upon his
parishioners. This included being told what kind of clothes to wear to
church and what kind of buggies they were allowed to come to church in. All
of this conjures up associations with the Amish and Mennonites.
Not all of the Catholics about Gallitzins colony were willing to accept the
impositions of these burdens in the name of religion. For many of them,
life on the frontier was replete with difficulties, and they resented the
imposition of additional suffering. Given this little bit of background, it
becomes more understandable why not all of the people in Gallitzins colony
were happy campers.

It is not clear at this remove in time just who all of the people were who
were strongly opposed to Gallitzin. Some of the evidence seems to point to
Daniel OHara as being among them. We have here a tavern keeper, active
in politics, and having his place adjacent to Munster, the rival
settlement to Loretto, Gallitzin's ballywick. From what records there are
available, the impression is given that Daniel had a position in the
government of early Allegheny township. And that township had within its
jurisdiction Gallitzins own hamlet of Loretto. Given Gallitzin's
attitude toward drinking alone &#64979;not to mention his disparagment of
the Irish&#64979; it is difficult to see Daniel and Gallitzin aligned.
Although some of the evidence suggests that Daniel O'Hara might have been
among Gallitzin's rivals, one should be very careful in casting aspersions
on one's ancestors and not do so without good reason. We do not at this
point have sufficient cause to number Daniel among those at odds with
Gallitzin. And Gallitzin apparently buried him; his tomb stone can still be
found at Loretto. Back in 1980 Sr. Rosalie O'Hara had written a letter to
the archives div. of the Archdiocese of Baltimore inquiring about
Gallitzin's `Troubles' in 1807 and whether Daniel was a part of it. We have
a response from Fr. Tierney: "There is a letter from E.V. James but there
is no mention or reference to Prince Gallitzin. There is no O'Hara or
O'Harra letter here."

In 1807 there would have been no reference to Gallitzin. He had been
naturalized in 1802 with the name of Smith. Even Bishop Carroll in public
statements referred to him as the Rev. Mr. Smith. He was not legally
Gallitzin until 1809. In that year the state legislature enacted a ruling
enabling him to be Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin again.

<A HREF="">Jim's art website</A>
********************** jim miller/621 grove st
********************** greensburg pa 15601

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