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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


County, where Dawson's (Sybert's) mill now stands. The rapid improvements of this part of the country are due to the efforts of these early pioneers, who struggled against obstacles of which in our day we can form but a slight idea. The word “road” is a dignified term for the path by which they held intercourse with the settlements across the mountain to the east. A rough Indian path led from the present site of Loretto and intersected the “Frankstown Road” about two miles west of the Summit. Exposed to the inclemency of an Allegheny winter—for against the rigor of such a winter their hastily constructed and poorly furnished cabins afforded but slight protection—their sufferings were almost beyond human endurance. Yet with unyielding firmness, characteristic of the pioneer race of frontiersmen, those hardy men wrested from the grasp of nature and preserved the inheritance which we now enjoy.
    Of their adventures with the savage beasts and still more savage Indians then infesting the neighborhood, many anecdotes, as narrated by the older citizens of Allegheny Township, are handed down to the present generation. The Indians were not slow to seize upon every opportunity of aggression which presented itself to their blood-thirsty minds, and consequently not only property but even life itself was held by the inhabitants in a very uncertain tenure. The truth of the Alcorn story is vouched for by the most reliable citizens of this neighborhood. In the vicinity of the spot where Loretto now stands James Alcorn had built a hut and made a clearing a short distance away. One day his wife went out to this patch and did not return. Although search was immediately made no trace leading to her discovery could be found. To this day the manner of her disapperance remains a mystery, though it is generally supposed that she was borne away by the savages.


    In the summer of 1796, Mrs. John Burgoon, a Protestant, living near “McGuire's Settlement,” was taken seriously ill, and begged so hard and repeatedly to see a Catholic priest that

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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