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Notes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 online

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It is known positively that the first ark
load of anthracite coal was brought to the
town in 1810, and yet, as stated, at the end
of thirty years at least eight families out of
every ten still warmed their feet and cooked

their victuals with a wood fire on the old-
fashioned hearth-stone, or on the more mod-
ern ten plate stove.

What a striking contrast with the use of
this fuel in the town at the end of the
8ucc?e Hog forty-nine years — the current
yen — vhen the annual consumption of coal
by actual computation is a trifle less than
three hundred and seventy thousand tons for
piivate use alone.

The opening of the Pennsylvania canal
quickened the tluggtsh pnlse of the citizens,
and brought them into step with the march
of progress. Real estate advanced, and
groceries and dry goods were reduced in value
owing to the lower price of freightage.
Commission merchants,- transporters and
grocery men established themselves on the
line of the canal, rope and boat manufac-
tories were erected and various other bu>i-
ness enterprises inaugurated, giving a new
life to the town and thrift and prosperity to
its people.

Several lines of passenger packets were
established, cairying travelers np the
Juniata, and North and West Branch canals,
and on the main line eastward to Columbia.
At least four of these packets arrived and
departed daily from their wharves at the foot
of Market street, and were generally well
patronized. When Dickens, the English
novelist, passed through here in 1 842, he left
on one of i hese conveyances to Pittsburgh, a
journey to which he alludes in his "Ameri-
can Notes."

It was not until September, 1836— eight
years after the completion of the canal— that
the firct train of cars entered the city over
the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mount Joy and
Lancaster railroad, now an integral part
of the great Pennsylvania. Few people
who sse the immense Baldwin locomotives and
the costly palace cars which now daily pass
over our railroads can form the least con-
ception of the appeal ance and general Unit
ensemble of this inaugural train. The loco-
motive was named the "John Bull," and
while it doubtless had all the essential parts
of a locomotive of the present day, yet in
their conformation and application there
was a vast difference. In fact, to speak from
the book, the locomotives of that day were
but few removes from the model of George
Stephenson's famous '* Rocket," which as
every intelligent railroad man knows was the
first successful locomotive ever built The
''John Bull," tender and all, if stood beside

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Historical and Genealogical.

one of oar modern freight locomotives, woald
scarcely have reached to • he furnace doors of
the latter, while the diminutive circa infer-
ence of the boiler, the lowness of the wheels
and the delicacy of the machinery generally
would, in the comparison, give one the idea
of a pigmv beside a giant

The passenger cars of this inangnral train,
of which there were six, formed a still wider
contrast with those now run on the roads.
Strictly speaking they were not cars at all,
but simply coaches resting on platforms, like
thoso very lately in use on the English rail-
ways. They carried from sixteen to twenty
passengers, and the seats and inside appoint*
ments generally, together with the exterior
appearance and shape, even to the leather
springs, were similar to the Troy coaches,
or stages, of the previous decade. A solitary
person entering one of the*e primitive rail-
road coaches gave it a rolling motion, and
the reader may imagine the sensation of the
passengers when they found themselves
bounced about like so many foot-balls, with
the train going at the rate of twenty miles
•an hour over a strap iron road.

We do not remember the number of pas-
sengers which this inaugural train brought,
but we shall never forget the arrival of the
train itself. The citizens turned ou en
masse, and both sides of the railroad track
from Paxtang street to the mouth of Pax tang
•creek were literally lined two and three deep
with an excited multitude, anxious for an
early sight of the expected tiain. Very few
of the people had ever before seen a locomo-
tive, and when the distant shouts announced
its approach, and the black smoke of the iron
•monster itself appeared in view, their
timidity got the better of their curiosity and
off they scampered into the adjoining fields
as fast as their legs could carry them. In-
deed, even after the train had stopped at
Second street, and when the iron limbs of the
•locomotive * tood silent and powerless to do
injury, the people gave it a wide berth as if
it was one of those fabled dragons that might

at any moment throw off its slumbers and
deal out death and destruction among the
surrounding multitude. Of course, this fear
of the iron horse, from the fr qnency ot its
appearance, grew less every day, but it was
a long time before it was perfectly eradicated
from the more timid of our citizens.

It was a considerable period after the ar-
rival of the inaugural train that a station
was constructed. This was built on the site
of a swampy lumber yard, where the present
now stands. It was an insignificant affair
in comparison with the modern capacious
bnilding, affording no shelter for the cars,
and containing merely a ticket office and
waiting room on the first floor, and a few
rooms on the second story occupied as offices
by the President and Superintendent of the

Just one year after the arrival of the
first train of cars from Lancaster, the iron
horse of another train came thundering
down the Cumberland Valley from Chambers-
burg, and gave our people additional cause
for congratulation. The first eastern ter-
minus of this road was on the opposite side
of the river, and the passengers were carried
to and from the town in omnibuses; bnt a
handsome railroad bndge was in progress of
constructibu, over the tpp of which on the
16th of January, 1889, amid hearty cheers
from a thousand throats, the first locomotive
entered the town from the west. A few days
afterwards the passenger trains commenced
moving regularly over the bridge, and the
connection was thus complete. We may add
here parenthetically, for the event did not
occur within tie limit of our present dates,
that this bridge was totally destroyed by fire
in December, 1844.

Such in as brief a compass as we can give
them, are the salient points in the history of,
and incidents connected with, the opening of
the first of these great transportation chan-
nels, from the influence of which Harrisburg
owes all its present greatness as a manufac-
turing and commercial center.

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Vol. II. No. 6.





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Vol. II.


No. 6.

leal. Biographical aad Geaeala*leaJ.


Mrs. Wbntz, of Middletown.— Some
time ago inquiry was made of us, what be-
came of Mrs. Elizabeth Wentz, the amiable
laudlady of the Washington Inn at Middle-
town, so highly praised by travelers in
America at the close of the last century. We
learn from oar newspaper notes that she mar-
ried May 26th, 1808, Samuel Taylor, of
Ontario county, N. Y. He plainly was "a

• raftsmt.n"who evidently fell in love with the
widow, married her and took her to his home

' in the lumber regious on the head-waters of
the Susquehanna.

The Old Stage Lines. —In the Oracle
for April 16, 1808, we find this advertise-


flarrisbnrg, Clark's Ferry, Millerstown,
Thompson town, Mifflintowu, Lewistown,
tVaynesbnrgh, Huntingdon and Alexan-
Mail stage, ooce a week, to start every

'Tuesday at one o'clock P. M., from the pub-

• lie house of Aodrew Berry hill, in Harris-
burg, and arrive at Alexandria the Friday
following. The fare of passengers from
Harrisburg to Alexandria $6, with the privi-
lege of 1 4 lbs of baggage. Way passengers
€ cents per mile.


*(JS<tUBtiANN% V%M.KY.

[Dr. Harvay B. Bashore of West Fair-
view, contributed the following valuable
notes to a recent number ol Science]

I have lately made some observations on
.the drift along the river at this point, — Har-

risburg. — which I wish to report This dis-
trict, being only eighty-five miles from the
Terminal Moraine, was consequently much
influenced by the post glacial floods.

The stream is very shallow ; and its bed,
composed for five or six miles of Hudson
slates, is laid bare almost every summer, of-
fering exceptional advantages for observing
the overlying drifts. The deposit consists,
for the most part, of clay vaiiously inter-
mixed with gravel. At one point I noted a
bottom layer of gravel one foot thick, over-
laid by twenty feet of fine clay. Scattered
through the deposit are bowlders of various
sizes — the largest being from six to ten tons
in weight- composed of conglomerate and
sandstone from the mountains beyond.

The height of the drift varies, of course,
with the local topography. From one hun-
dred feet in the mono tain-gorges, to thirty
feet in the lowlands opposite Harrisburg, is
a fair general average.

The width of the deposit is not very great,
owing to the narrowness of the valley; still
it has furnished ground for most of the
towns in the neighborhood, Harrisburg itself
being built to great extent on a level flood-
plain thirty feet above the present water-

At no place in this locality has the terrace
formation been noted. Ooe level flood-plain,
of equal haight on both sides of the stream,
is all that marks the limit of the great post-
glacial river.

» ■» ■


[Among our notes we have the following,
concerning whose descendants we will be
pleased to receive some information.]
Stewart, John.

John Stewart, of Middleton township,
d. in March 1780, leaving a wife. Elizabeth,
and children as follows:

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Historical and Genealogical.

%. James.

ii. John, .

Hi. Archibald.

iv. William.

t . Agnes.

vi. Elizabeth.

vii. Catharine.

viii. Sarah.

He mentions in his will his Brother Archi-
bald Stewart The executors were his wife,
William Clarke and John Jordan.


Arthur Stewart, d. in July, 1750, leaving
a wife. Dinah, and children :

i. Thomas.

ii. Arthur.

John Hoge was the executor.
Stewart, James,

James Stewart d. prior to November, 1768,
leaving a wife, Mary, and children :

t. Eleanor.

ii. Margaret

Hi. Charles.

iv. John

v. Samuel

vi. James; under 14 years.

aii. Agnes; under 14 years.
8tuart, Andrew.

Andrew Stuart (as he writes his name) of
Hopewell, d. in April, 1754, leaving a wife,
Mary, and children :

t. Moses.

ii. Hugh.

Hi. Rose.

vi. Eliza.

The executors were his wife and son Moses.
Stuart, Charles.

Charles Stuart, of Letterkenny, d. in
March, 1766, leaving the following children :

i. John.

ii. Charles.

Hi. Margaret, m. Isaac Martin.

iv. William,

v. Agnes.

vi. Mary.

vii. JenneU.

» •


Historical, Biographical and Oeaealaaioal.


The History of the Presbytery of
Washington, edited by Rev. W. F. Ham*
ilton, recently issued, is one of the most in-
teresting publications concerning Western

Pennsylvania. It is well edited, efegantljr
printed and super-excellent in illustrations..
The entire edition should be taken np at once-
And, hy the way when is the History of the-
Presbytery of Carlisle to appear ? It is three-
years since the centennial of that bo ty, aodV
yet the publication of the valuable papers-
prepared for it seem to be as far off as ever.

Poem by a Native.— The followiogr
poem was read by Dr. Charles C. Bombaugh,
a native of Harris burg, on the occasion of
the December meeting of the ( ommandery
of the District of Columbia Military Order-
of the Loyal Legion, at the Carrollton Hotels-
Baltimore, when the Maryland members wei>
corned their Washington companions:

Welcome to Baltimore, loyal Companions!

To hearthstones that blaze, and io arms that
Wolcome to all that our canteens are Oiled v?lth; .

Welcome to all that our haversacks hold.

Welcome, thrice welcome, our Washington*
brothers !
The greeting Is offered from hearts that are-
As here, for the first time, we gather together.
?ou that are many, and we that are few.

And all the more welcome— the space inter-
Too ort spikes the guns of resolve and intenu
So near— tor there's only an hour oetwoen us ;
So far -whin life's strength In its struggle Is-

Yes. all the more welcome— for ttm* is fast fleet-

The > ears bring ns nearer the shadowy vale;
Aud in the dim distance the past is receding

Till it seem* line a dream.or an often-told tale.

And so, while we may, let us all cling together ; .
Let us meet round the bmrd in our cheerless
Sing the s ml-stlrrlng songs, tell the time hon-
ored stories.
And ritr ht the old battles all over again.

Then think of us only as neighbors suburban.
Near enough to be reached without trouble or

Ani do not forget that the National City
Was planted and builded on Maryland sou.

\T II %RttI9UUttG.

[From the Oracle for December 22, 179V
we take the following lift of advertised let-
ters remaining in the Harrisburg post-office.
It seems to comprise the accumulation of un-
called for missives of neaily nine months.
Thece letters are addressed to persons at
My era town, Jonestown, North nmberlaad,
Lebanon. Middletown, and other towns along .-
the Susquehanna and Juniata, as there were*

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Historical and Genealogical.


no post- offices nearer to these places than

A. James Armstrong, Wm. Alcorn, Arch-
ibald Armstrong.

B. Wm. Betty, Esq., 8amael Blair, James
Bigham, George C. Bauman, Philip Brown,
Mr. Basley.

(/ John Cook, John Cjwden, Hanna
Coek 2, James Coulter.

D. John Donald, Ludwig Dommeir, Eli*
sha Davis.

E. Jasper Ewing, Esq , 9, Joshua Eanis,
Thomas oi Alexander Ennis, Jacob Ebright,
John Ewalt

F. John Fearly, Matthew Forsythe, Wm,

G. William Gingles, Martha Gilchrist
II. Robert Hnnter 2, Thomas Ho ret, Rich-
ard Hamilton, John Herron 2, Alexander
Hnnter, Peter Hastings, Thomas Hall, Rob-
ert Hall, Edward He wet, Thomas Hewit.

I. David Irelands 2, Francs Isbenwood.
Robert Irwin {Northumberland), Swob Jung-
man, Samnel Jones, Esq.

K. Charles Kenny 2.

L. Aaron Levy, Eli Lewis 6 [Newberry],
John Leacock.

M. Hngb Mc Reynolds, Sarah McClentock,
Samnel McMinch, Joseph McHard, John
Moffer, Joseph Miller, John McGill, John
Maxwell, Thomas McCay, Thomas McEl-
heny, Henry Moore, Thomas Money, Joana
More, Wm. Miller, Ephraim Marry, Mar-
garet Morrow, Neal McKay, Charles Mc-
Clnre, Andrew McGlaglan, Mary MichaeL

O. Manasses O'DonnaL

P. David Park.

Q. Thomas Qnigley.

R. Thomes Rees 2, Thomas Read, John
Robinson, Andrew Ross, Thomas Rogers,
Robert Robinson, James Ralston.

S. John Stewart John Swaggcrt, John
Sinclair, Francis Scott, Thomas or Betty

T. John Tweed 2, rev. John Taylor,
James Towa**.

W. John WalLtce, Christopher Winter.

T. William Tonng.

%* Those who have letters, are requested
to take them away, a* the subscriber is
obliged to send them back to the general
post office, in a vety short time.

John Montgomery, po$t-matter."

[A second list published on the 6th of
April, 1 798, is also given in this connection.

It contains the names of some of our early

B. Peter Bricker, Joseph Bard.

C. James Collins, Charles Cameron,
John Cochran.

E. George E. Ehrenfield, Samuel El-

F. Henry Ford, Jacob Fahss.

H. John Herat, Catharine Hewet

I. Henry Isett 2.

K. Michael Keetzner 2, Andrew Ken-
nedy 2.

M. Rudolph Miller, R>bert Mathews,
Brian McGlauchlin.

O. John Ore, George Ohlivan.

P. Robert Purdy, John Patterson.

R. Ranm and Baum, Isaac Richardson,
Andrew Ross, James Reed.

S. Lieutenant William Steedman, Wil-
liam Smith, George A. Sturgeon, Frederick
Sheffer, Jacob Siely.

T. John Titsworth.

W. Robert Wray, William Wray.
John Montgomery., pott-mister.



The third great event ci the period of
which we write, was the construction of
water work*. Previous to the introduction
of water by hydrants the householders of the
town obtained their supply from pumps and
draw-wells. This, however, could only be
used for culinary purposes; it was too "hard"
for the wash-tub, and when needed for this
purpose the goo J housewives were either
compelled to fall back oo the supply con-
tained In their rain-water hogsheads or use
river water. This latter was sold at fifty
cents a barrel, and the trade in it was mo-
nopolized by two industrious colored men
named Martin Perry and Zeke Carter, both
of whom acquired considerable property in
the business. Of course, to the wealthier
class of people this purchase of water was
of little account, but to the poorer citizens it
was an item of considerable expense and
therefore it was not an uncommon oc-
curence with the latter to defer their
washing nntil Nature replenished their
rain cisterns. Under ths«e ciuumstances,
the weather and "Beer's Almanac' ' were im-
portant studies, and the family rain barrel
watched with as much assiduity and anxiety
as the Egyptians watch the meter, denoting

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Historical and Genealogical.

the overflow of the river Nile. Indeed, no
one living amid the present abundant sup-
ply of the pnre element can form an ade-
quate idea of the value attached to water
for domestic use prior to the introduction of
the water works. Next to bread and fuel it
was the most essential .rticle in every house-
hold, and its absence among those who were
not able to purchase it produced serious in-
convenience, if not positive hardship. Now-
adays when the "better half" of a family
goes out * 'house hunting, 'eligibility of site,
fine exterior appearance, and heating, seem
to be the chief requisites, hut the desirabil-
ity of a residence at the time of which we
write was mostly measured by the extent of
th« roofing, the length of its spouting and
the running and capacity of its rain barrels.
If water for domestic use was so precious,
the reader can imagine i r s value during a
conflagration in the town. On these occa-
sions the pumps were the chief sources of
supply, the water being conveyed from them
to the engines in leathern buckets passed from
hand to hand by long double lines of men,
women and children — the full buckets going
along the one line and the empty ones le-
turning by the other. The pumps, however,
very often became dry, especially those
along the sideways, and then the next re-
source was the private pumps and rain bar-
rels in the yards of the citizens, to obtain
which the lines of people not nnfrequently
passed through the hallways and parlors of
dwelling houses, of course much to the pre-
judice of the underlying carpets But even
these supplies of water would sometimes be-
come exhausted, when a -bout would be
raised. "To the river," or "The
canal," and straightway the bucket lines
were extended to whichever one of these
happened to be nearest the scene of confla-
gration We have saiJ that the bucket-lines
were composed of men, women and children.
Of course the services of the women were
entirely voluntary, and inspired by a sincere
desire to aid their suffering neighbors. The
same may be said of the children. With the
addition, that to the incitement of doing a
good work, was added the love of sport it
afforded, with the men, however, especi-
ally householders, affairs were different
Every one of these latter were compelled,
nnder a penalty, to keep a certain number of
leathern buckets in the hall ways of their
houses, and upon the first alarm of fire to
carry them to the scene of conflagration.

Here, if not disabled or infirm, they were ex-
pected to "fall in line," and if they refused
the chances were ten to one they received the
contents of a bucket of water square in their
faces and were hooted off the ground by the

The cry of "fire" at the time of which we
write, inspired a much greater feeling of
dread and apprehension than it does now.
Conflagrations were "few and far between,"
and were not, as now, divested of their ter-
rors by their frequency. If the alarm was
in day time everybody "shut up shop" and
went to the fire, and between their stentorian
shoots, the ringing of the court house and
church bells, the rattling of fire engines, the
neighing of affrighted hors°s in the streets,
the crying of childreo, and a Babel of dis-
cordant sounds generally, made up a specta-
cle that beggars all description. If the alarm
occurred at night, the darkness gave addi-
tional terror to the scene. Few people re-
mained in their beds, and the quiet streets
were soon alive with the half apparelled pop-
ulation rushing toward the fire. The most
of tbem perhaps carrying a pair or more of
buckets in their hands.

Such was the condition of the town, as
regards the supply of water previous to 1842.
Under the circumstances, as we have de-
scribed them, the reader may well suppose
that a more plentiful supply of the pure ele-
ment in the town vv as a great desideratum and
a subject to which the citizens gave much
thought and attention, As early as 1831
this sentiment took a tangible shape in the
employment of a civil engineer to make a
series of levels from the rivei at Fort Hun •
ter, about four miles above the ptesent city,
to a point opposite Paxtamr street, with the
view to the construction of a canal or rrce,
which was to answer the double purpose of
supplying the town with water and furnish
water power to drive machinery. The canal
was to be 17 feet wide at the bottom, and
the idea was to supply it with water from a
wing dam in the river. A company was
chartered to build the canal, but the project
was subsequently abandoned.

Another and more practical movement to-
wards the introduction of water **as made in
1833 by the incorporation of the Harrisburg
Water Company. This company was em-
powered to construct a canal or race solely
for the conveyance of water, "commencing
at a point near Brush rock, above the city,
and extending down the river near the Penn-

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Historical and Genealogical.


aylvania canal to or pear the land of John
Fox; thence along the tooth side of the
ridge to a point above State street to the
river; thence along the bank of the river to
Pine street, bnt in such a manner as not to
interfere with or prejudice the public land-
ing. " The compauy was also empowered to
construct, erect and build such machinery at
or near the bank of tbe river in Maclaysburg
as should be necessary to conduct by means
of forcing pumps, or otherwise, a sufficient
quantity of water out of the river through
pipes or aqueducts into a reservoir to be con-
structed on tbe noinclosed public ground
near the State Capitol The object of the
company, like that previously chartered was
to furnish water for domestic purposes, the
extinguishment of fires, and motive power
for manufacturing purposes. It does not
appear, however, that the company proceeded
farther in the project than to make the meas-
uring surveys, when the matter rested.

In 1835 tbe borough authorities them-
selves came to the front, and procured the
passage of an act of Assembly authorizing
them to build the works necessary for the
introduction of water, with power to place
the reservoir on the north-east corner of the
enclosed public ground on Capitol hill ; but
this, like the two previous efforts in that di-
rection failed for the time.

One year later the water company again
put in an appearance, and after obtaining a
supplement to their charter, which granted
them additional franchises went to work with
a will, but about the time they were prepar-
ing to break ground for their works they got
into a controversy with the Pennsylvania
Canal authorities about the route of the
proposed race, and for the fourth time the
water project was abandoned.


Bttawrleal, Btearaphleal as* Ctoae*l««lc*l*


Morgan. — In reply to an inquiry from

Online LibraryFrance) Société asiatique (ParisNotes and queries: Chiefly relating to Interior Pennsylvania, Volume 2 → online text (page 53 of 81)