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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


itude to buy his freedom. He then saved money and bought the time of servitude of his wife, whose maiden name was Mary Higgins, married her, and about 1792 moved to a place about a mile south of Wilmore, known to early settlers as the “Jimmy Rhey Place,” and from thence to the place above noted. Wilmore was a Baptist, while his wife was a Catholic. When Dr. Gallitzin first visited them he and Wilmore had sincere conversations about religion, the result of which was the latter's conversion to the faith of his wife, and he was ever after a most exemplary member of the Church, and in his house Father Gallitzin sometimes stopped and said mass when on his visitations to that and the more southern sections of the county.
    The children of this union were: Bernard, the founder of the town which now bears his name; James, who for many years lived on a farm about two miles north of Wilmore; John, who lived near the town; Mary, wife of James Young, and Elizabeth, who died November 11, 1832. Bernard Wilmore was, by trade, a bookbinder, and also taught school, as did his father, who died April 2, 1815, in his 64th year. He was a cripple and was never married. His father, in his lifetime, had built a saw mill on the Little Conemaugh below Wilmore, which was subsequently washed away, and he then located about 800 yards east of the the present Pennsylvania Railroad depot. Near this place Sylvester Welch's corps of engineers, running the lines for the Allegheny Portage Railroad, in 1829, founded a little village which they marked on their map “Guinea,” an appellation which the Irish laborers who built the road adopted until the matter was made a subject of complaint to Dr. Gallitzin, who from the altar denounced this insult to a family for whom he had the greatest respect. It is said that he almost anathematized any person who would call the town by the opprobrious name and declared that it should be called Jefferson, the name it bore until 1859, when the town was incorporated into a borough under the name of Wilmore. The first postoffice established in Jefferson, in August, 1832, received the name of Wilmore. Thomas J. Power, Esq., was its first postmaster.

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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