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Souvenir of Loretto Centenary


what is now Cambria County. A large portion of the tract on which he settled is even yet owned and occupied by his descendants. As a captain in the War of Independence he served with honor and distinction on the "Maryland Line," and not many years after the end of the war he undertook to carry out the design that he must have formed many years previously. For being a noted trapper and hunter, he was accustomed, even before the revolutionary struggle broke out, to start at intervals from his home in Taneytown, Md., and to make expeditions far into the interior of Pennsylvania. On one of these trips, about the year 1768, he crossed the summit of the Alleghenies and established his hunting camp near the present village of Chest Springs, on land now owned by Mr. Robert Sisk; as is to be seen on an old draft of the country made as far back as 1793, which shows the exact location of "Captain McGuire's Camp." It is practically beyond all dispute, notwithstanding assertions to the contrary, that the captain was, as Robert L. Johnston, the historian on early Cambria, wrote, "the first white man who settled within the present bounds of Cambria County." Records, deed, papers, etc., in the possession of his many descendants are more than sufficient to verify this statement.
    From Taneytown, Md., the extreme limit of travel had hitherto been Conewago. The distance from this place to the spot chosen by Captain McGuire for his new abode was about 130 miles. In those days of frontier life such a journey could not be other than dangerous and daring. Through wild, unbroken forests, on horseback, with no beaten path to guide them, and through brushwood so thick that a passage had to be cut as they slowly advanced, did the captain and his family travel to what is now Cambria County. The exact spot chosen by him for a settlement was the valley just below the present town of Loretto to the east. In a short time a few log cabins were built, and these served for shelter and protection until more permanent structures could be erected. This land is now part of the tract owned by the Franciscan Brothers. Some scarcely distinguishable marks of excavations for the foundations of the log cabins, and a few old

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Last Updated: 30 Mar 2008
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