|OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.||431|
member of the Catholic church, and died in 1871, at the age of sixty-eight years.
Michael Fitzharris was brought, at six years of age, to this country by his parents, and received his education in the public schools of Hollidaysburg. He worked for a while in the coal and ore mines, afterwards enlisting in company D, Eighty-fourth regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers. He was soon promoted to sergeant, and the regiment afterwards being consolidated with the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania, he was transferred to company G of the new organization. He participated in all the battles of his regiment, and served until the close of the war, being discharged in 1865. Returning from the Union army, he was variously employed up to 1872, in which year he came to Gallitzin, where he has resided ever since, except ten years spent at Altoona.
In 1866 Mr. Fitzharris married Julia McCarthy, of Blair county. They have ten children living: Mary J. (Mrs. D. B. Farley, of Philadelphia); Alice, Clara, Cecelia, Ellen, John M., William M., Edward, Frederick, and Joseph. They lost one daughter, Rena, who died at two years of age in 1875.
When he came to Gallitzin, on April, 1, 1872, Mr. Fitzharris opened a hotel, which he conducted up to April 8, 1875. He then removed to Altoona, Blair county, where he ran the St. Charles hotel four years, and was in the general mercantile business for two years. At the end of that time, on March 31, 1881, he returned to Gallitzin and took charge of his hotel--the Gallitzin house--which he has conducted ever since. This hotel is first-class in its management and accommodations, and modern in its appointments, being heated by steam and lighted by electricity. It is popular with its guests, and has an extensive patronage. Mr. Fitzharris has always taken a deep
interest in his borough, for whose advancement he has worked in various ways. He is a director of the water company, and has served continuously as president of the building and loan association, since its organization nine years ago, in 1887. Although he had but limited opportunities in boyhood, yet he gained practical ideas that were the golden keys to success, and he is now one of the representative and substantial business men of Gallitzin. He has surrounded himself with home comforts, has high standing and warm friends, and has become justly popular in Cambria county. He is a member of the Catholic church, whose work he has always cordially supported.
Michael Fitzharris is an old-line democrat, and his political career commenced in 1873, when he helped to organize Gallitzin and was elected as its first burgess. He served a second term as burgess from 1882 to 1884, was postmaster from 1885 to 1889, and is now serving his sixteenth consecutive term as a member of the school board, of which he has been president several times. He has been a delegate at various times to County and State Democratic conventions, and in 1880 was a delegate to the National Democratic convention held in Cincinnati. In 1890 he was elected by his party to the legislature, from Cambria county, and served in the session of 1891-92, being a member of several important committees, and representing the true interests of his constituents independent of party consideration or personal interests.
JOHN GWIN, senior member of the firm of Gwin & Sons, coal operators of Mountaindale, this county, is a son of James Maxwell and Elizabeth (Forchey) Gwin, and was born near Kittanning Point, Blair county,