CATHOLICS SETTLE IN DONEGAL TOWNSHIP IN 1795

 

 

CATHOLIC CHRONOLOGY TO THE AREA

 

1669                LaSalle Frend (French explorer) visited what is now Pittsburgh & Western Pa.

1729                M.de Lery (French) comes from Canada via Conewango Creek & Allegheny River

1749                Celeron de Bienville (French explorer) stops at Kittanning – August 6 & Tarentum – August 7.

1758                French destroy Fort Duquesne November 28 and withdraw from the area.

1775-1784             Rev. John Carroll, S.J. appointed superior of the missions in United States.

1789                Diocese of Baltimore erected including Western Pennsylvania and all of the U.S.A.

1789                Parish established at Greensburg, Pa. but no church building.

1795                Irish settlers settled at Donegal Township.  They are called “Donegal Colony” & “Buffalo Mission.”

1803                Father Helborn from St. Vincent Arch-Abbey Latrobe, Pa. visits Sugarcreek Settlement.  He baptizes 38 people.

1805                Father Lawrence Sylvester Pheban takes up residence at Sugarcreek.

1806                Log church completed in the spring

1808                Diocese of Philadelphia erected.

1811                Bishop Michael Egan, First bishop of Philadelphia visits St. Patrick and administers Confirmation.

1834                Bishop Francis Kenrick, Bishop of Philadelphia visits Sugarcreek.

1837                Father Joseph Cody named pastor of Sugarcreek and its numerous missions, which are located in Armstrong, Butler, Mercer, Venango, Clarion, Allegheny and Beaver Counties.

1842                New Church erected at Sugarcreek

1843                Diocese of Pittsburgh formed

1872                New Church destroyed by fire, Mass is offered in the Log Church

1877                New Church dedicated

1906                Centennial celebrated

1926                Dedication of restored Log Church

1929                Second brick church destroyed by fire.  Mass held in Log Church.

1930                Present Stone Church dedicated.

1951                Diocese of Greensburg established.

1956                Sesque-centennial celebrated.

1987                Log Church restored through the work and money of the parish and the Order of Albambra #131 of Butler, Pa.

 

 

CATHOLIC SETTLERS IN PENNSYLVANIA:  From 1715 to 1725 a great number of emigrants from Ireland landed here and settled in the western and southern portion of the state.  Catholics penetrated the western region of the state by four different routes.  The first led through Huntingdon County to Hollidaysburg, Pa. where they crossed the Allegheny Mountains and entered Westmoreland County.  The second led from Conewago and entered Huntingdon County at Shape Gap.  The third led from Maryland to Bellefonte and Loretto Pa.  The fourth was opened by General Braddock; this route crossed the mountains from Cumberland, MD by way of Uniontown, Pa., known as Nenacolins Path.  From this last route came the Irish that settled the Sugarcreek region.

 

ST PATRICK LOG CHURCH:  (Located in Armstrong County) Although the Irish settlers came to the region in 1795 they did not have the means to build their church.  They met in a log cabin for prayers.  Under the direction of Father Laurence Pheban in 1805 the colonists bought land, 200 acres, for a set of old fashioned plough irons which could have been bought for $5.  For the material and other money needed to build the log church, the people went out into a twenty mile area, which they divided into four districts to solicit donations.  On a certain day men came from the four districts with their oxen and cut down trees and hauled the logs to this site.  Each district was in charge of erecting one side of the church. 

 

MALONEY’S CORNERS was the rallying place for the early Catholic settlers before the purchasing of land where the present log church and cemetery are located.  Maloney’s Corners is in Donegal Township, Butler County.  At that site is located the first cemetery were they buried their loved ones under the sign of the cross with no benefits of priest and only their own prayers.

 

SUGARCREEK CHARGE:  Father Pheban’s charge extended from Lake Erie to the Ohio River and included all the part of the state west of the Allegheny River.  In 1837, Father Cody’s charge extended over Armstrong & Butler counties, and part of Mercer, Venango, Clarion, Allegheny and Beaver counties.

 

RENOVATIONS were completed the first time in 1926 under the direction of Father Edward Moriarity.  Through his efforts and the cooperation of the people of the parish, the log church was restored and rededicated.  The second renovation was begun in 1987 and completed in 1988 as a joint effort of the Alhambra #131 and the good members of the parish.

 

THE CEMETERY which extends from outside the log church to the top of the hill is still in use today.  Some of the old tombstones are gone.  Those that had fallen over where placed in the foundation of the Shrine to the Blessed Mother at the top of the hill.  Some old tombstones are still standing and are interesting to read.