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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary

 LORETTO CENTENARY.235

THE MURDER OF BETSY HOLDER

    June 22, 1807, after three proclamations of the banns, I united in marriage John Holder and Elizabeth Yost.
Demetrius A. Gallitzin.
Witnesses, John McCarty,
        Marthy Yost,
    (The above is copied from the Loretto Matrimonial Register. The following remarks on the murder of Mrs. Holder are taken from "Reminiscinces of the Bench and Bar of Cambria County," by R. L. Johnston, Esq., at the dedication of the new Court House, May 25, 1882.)
    On the 3d of July, 1841, (I well remember it, for there was a mid-summer frost), I was called upon, as Justice of the Peace, upon the information of John Wherry, to issue a warrant against two good citizens of our county for the murder of Betsy Holder, an old lady whose cottage stood close by the turnpike, one mile east of Ebensburg. The murder was committed, but those then charged with it were wholly innocent. A reward was offered, pursuit made, and Patrick and Bernard Flanagan were arrested a few days afterward. They were strangers to the county; their object, plunder.
    At October term, 1842, they were tried and convicted. and a motion for a new trial overruled by Judge White, and sentence pronounced. No death warrant was signed, but the following winter an act was passed authorizing Judge White to hear a motion for a new trial, and in case of his refusal, to notify the nearest president judge to hear the motion. Judge White promptly refused the motion, and notified Judge Woodward. He also refused, and pronounced the act unconstitutional.
    The year 1843 then passed, and in 1844 an act was passed for the hearing of the motion for a new trial before a judge of the Supreme Court. Accordingly, Judge Molton C. Rogers on the 4th of July, 1844, heard the arguments and refused the motion.


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