Fred (Frederick Charles) Brenckman.

History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, online

. (page 1 of 44)
Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 1 of 44)
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Also Containing a Separate Account of the Several
Boroughs and Townships in the County

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With Biographical .Sketches

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1913 ,




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Lehigh, I dream that in thy voice

I catch a tone of gladness,
That yearning love is in thy touch.

That thou wouldst soothe my sadness.
— Augusta Moore.


It is to be regretted that Carbon county, rich in his-
torical materials, has no historical society.

Intimate contact with representative citizens in all
parts of the county has convinced me that such an in-
stitution would not only be welcomed but gladly sup-
ported by them.

There does not appear to be any good reason why
the organization and establishment of a society of this
nature should be further delayed, and it would afford
me great pleasure to do everything within my power
to assist in the consummation of this object.

Had there been an institution of this description
in the county, the time, labor and expense devoted to
the preparation of the present work might have been
greatly lessened, while the result might have been
more satisfactory to me and the public alike.

Every effort, however, has been made to gain all
the light possible on the subjects treated in the fol-
lowing pages, and no pains have been spared to verify
and authenticate all that has been here recorded.

Much of the matter bearing on the early history of
this general region has been drawn from among the
mass of books, pamphlets and papers contained in the
library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. The
public libraries of the Lehigh, Wyoming and Lacka-
wanna Valleys have also been laid under contribution,
as have the files of the newspapers of this and adjoin-
ing counties, the court records at Mauch Chunk and at
Easton, and the various bureaus and departments of
the state government. But equally important with the
information derived from these sources is that which I


^rU'ancd directly from the })eople in every section of the

In view of this fact, I desire hereby publicly to
heartily thank all those who in anv manner assisted me
in this undertaking,

Fred Brenckman.

HiDSDNrMi.E, Pa., October 5, 1912.


I. The Indians Supplanted By The Whites... 1

11. Moravians Settle Carbon County 25

III. Gnadenhutten Destroyed In Indian Uprising 34

IV. Belated Measures For Defense Op Frontier 47
V. Captivity Op The Gilbert Family 62

VI. Early Annals Of Anthracite Coal 73

VII. Organization Op The County 87

VIII. Military Affairs 95

IX. Education 109

X. The Mollie Maguires 127

XI. Strikes And Labor Difficulties 147

XII. Steam And Electric Railroads 157

XIII. Banks Tow^nship, Beaver Meadow Borough,

Bast Mauch Chunk Borough, And East
Penn Township 167

XIV. East Side Borough, Franklin Township.

Kidder Township, Lansford Borough, And

Lausanne Township 196

XV. Lehigh Township, Lehighton Borough, And

Lower Towamensing Township 226

XVI. Mahoning Township, And Mauch Chunk

Borough 255

XVII. Mauch Chunk Township, Packer Township,
Palmerton Borough, Parryville Borough,
Penn Forest Township, And Summit Hill

Borough 289

XVIII. Towamensing Township, Weatherly Bor-
ough, And Weissport Borough 335

Biographical Sketches 363

Appendixes ^-'^




Penn-syl-va-ni-a — what a majestic, awe-inspiring
sound the name has ! and how it taxes the imagination,
amid the changed conditions of to-day, to enable us to
realize that less than three centuries have elapsed since
the white man held any possessions among the dusky
denizens of the woods within the present confines of
this grand commonwealth.

According to their own traditions, the various In-
dian tribes inhabiting this portion of the country at
the time of the coming of the Europeans lived, many
centuries ago, towards the setting sun — somewhere in
the west of this continent. The Lenni Lenape, mean-
ing the original people, and considering themselves
an unmixed and unchanging race, determined to mi-
grate towards the rising of the sun. After journeying
across wide and trackless plains they arrived at the
Namasi Sipa (Mississippi) river. Here they met the
Mengwe, or Iroquois, also in quest of a new home to
the eastward.

Anticipating opposition from the Alligewi, a people
of gigantic form, living on the east side of the Missis-
sippi, they here united their forces. Not many days
after their union, and before they advanced, many
and mighty battles were fought. At last the Alligewi
were overpowered, and to escape extermination they
abandoned the country of their fathers to the people
of **The New Union," fled far to the southward, and
never returned.

In dividing the conquered territory, the Iroquois
chose the lands in the vicinity of the Great Lakes and



tlit'ir triliiitary streams, wliilu the Leiiapc, or Dela-
ware's, as they were Darned by the Europeans, took
possession of more southern }>arts, where they lived
in peace for many years.

The Lenaj)e of the Delaware Valley were divided
into three sub-tribes. The Minsi or Minisinks, lived in
the mountainous region above the junction with the
Lehigh; the Unami dwelt ui)on the lands reaching
Bouthward from the Lehigh, including the present site
of Pliiladeli)liia, while still farther south resided the
I'nalachtigo, whose principal seat was near Wilming-
ton, J)elaware. It was with the two latter tribes that
Penn made his celebrated treaties. The first had for
its token the wolf, the second the turtle, and the third
the turkey.

The Unami, or *'Peoi)le down the river," were ac-
corded the })re-eminence, their symbol meaning the
great tortoise ui)on which the world rested.

The Indians were more numerous in the valley of
the Delaware than in any other section of Pennsyl-
vania; but no trustworthy estimate of their number in
any j)lace or section can be given. Throughout the
l)rovince they were under the domination of the Iro-
quois, the Romans of Indian civilization. The Irocpiois
proudly stylo<i themselves "The men surpassing all
others," and their superiority to the surrounding
tril)es and nations was tlie result of union. Five na-
tions, the Mohawks, Senecas, Oneidas, Onondagas, and
Cayugas, formed a confederacy, to which a sixth, the
Tuscaroras, was later added. This was the most long-
lived and powerful union of which there is any record
in Indian history. The jirincipal council fire was at
Ononrjaga, by the lake of that name. There assembled
the chiefs, whose decisions concerning war and peace
were supreme.


in the center of Pennsylvania, at a remote age dwelt
the Juniatas. Before the advent of the white man
they were gone, vanquished, it is thought, by the invin-
cible Iroquois. Throughout the entire region not a
solitary wigwam was seen or war whoop heard. It
was a conquered, empty interior, used by the Iroquois
as a hunting ground.

It is not probable that this immediate region was
ever permanently inhabited by any Indian tribes. The
large rivers on the east and west afforded greater facili-
ties for rapid movements from place to place, while the
ease with which food products could be taken from the
Delaware and the Susquehanna were prime considera-
tions in the minds of the aborigines, who, as rational
beings, sought to gratify their wants along the lines
of least resistance. The valleys of these rivers also
afforded better facilities for the rude agriculture of the
Indians than did the generally wild and rugged country
lying between. While it is not likely, therefore, that
any considerable number of wild Indians ever had a
permanent abiding place within the present limits of
Carbon county, hunting and scouting parties fre-
quently traversed the region. On their way to and
fro between the Delaware and the Susquehanna, the
red men usually followed the Warriors' Path, a famous
Indian trail along the Lehigh, which was in those days
trodden by nations which tread the earth no more.
The trail diverged from the river at the mouth of the
Nesquehoning creek, crossing the Broad mountain and
the Laurytown Valley, touching the eastern border of
the present borough of Weatherly. From there it pro-
ceeded to the Indian Spring, on the line dividing the
counties of Carbon and Luzerne, whence it led to a
point near the modern village of Drums, in the latter
county. Here the Nescopeck Path branched off to the


westward, the Warriors' Path eontimiing in a direct
line northward to tlie village of the Nanticokes, not far
from the site of Wilkes-Barre.

The shores of the Delaware were first visited by
Euroi)ean mariners in 1()09. During the summer of
that year, Henry Hudson, the English explorer, having
twice ])reviously failed, made a third attempt to find a
northwest ])assage to India and China. His former
ventures had been financed by English capitalists; but
he was now in the service of the Dutch.

He sailed in a little craft called the Half Moon, a
Fhip of eighty tons burden. On the 28th of August,
four months and a half after leaving Holland, he en-
tered the Delaware Bay. Soon convinced by the shal-
lowness of the water tliat he had not found the much
sought for pathway, he returned, ])assed the capes,
and turned the ])row of his vessel northward.

The generation which followed Hudson's discovery
of the bay witnessed the formation of various com-
})anies for the purpose of colonizing the country adja-
cent to itg shores and trading with the inhabitants

VoT a long ]>eriod little worthy of note was accom-
]»lished, however. Though chartered to trade with the
Indians and to colonize the new world, it seems that
the real object of the leaders of some of these enter-
jirises was a colossal system of piracy on the ships of
Spain and Portugal. Actively engaged in commerce,
these nations were very successful in robbing the na-
tives of Mexico and Peru of their silver treasures.
Others, just as greedy, ado]ited a similar ]ilan of en-
riching themselves by relieving the original robbers of
their ill-gotten plunder.

The first colony on the shores of the Delaware was
established by the Dutch in 1623, when they built Fort


Nassau, a few miles below Philadelphia. The colon-
ists grew homesick, and within a year abandoned the
fort, going to Manhattan. Thus the first attempt at
colonization on the Delaware came to a speedy end.
Half a dozen years passed before another attempt was
made to locate a colony on its shores. A settlement
that was planted by Captain David Pietersen De Vries
in 1631, was soon thereafter destroyed by the Indians.
De Vries had returned to Holland, leaving a subor-
dinate in command. Prior to his departure, a pillar, to
which was nailed a piece of tin, whereon was traced
the Dutch coat or arms, had been erected. A dusky
chief, not knowing the wickedness of taking it away,
converted it into tobacco pipes. This angered the
Dutch; and the Indians, not knowing how else to ap-
pease their wrath, killed the offending chief, and re-
turned the unusued portion of the tin. The friends of
the murdered chief resolved to be revenged. They
attacked the Dutch when they were at work in the
fields, totally annihilating them.

Before leaving Europe on his second voyage De
Vries learned of the destruction of the colony. Reach-
ing the Delaware early in the winter, he beheld the
bones of his murdered men among the ruins of the
settlement. He wisely refrained from seeking re-
venge; with smiles and presents he succeeded in re-
gaining the friendship of the Indians, with whom
peace was maintained for many years.

The government of Sweden, in 1638, established per-
manent settlements along the Delaware. Colonel John
Printz was appointed governor of New Sweden in
1642. One of Printz 's first acts after his arrival on the
Delaware was to select a site for a residence. The
place chosen was not far from Chester, on the Island
of Tinicum. Here he built a spacious mansion, which


came to be kno\m as Printz's Hall. The Swedish gov-
ernor was a man of j^rodigious girth, weighing over
four liundred pounds, it is said. He bore the reputa-
tion of a hard drinker, and was a man of aggressive
temperament. Tlie fort which lie erected was below
the Dutcli settlement and controlled the river, causing
great annoyance to Dutch vessels, because in passing
they were ordered to lower their colors.

The Swedes joined with the Dutch in their methods
of peace and friendshij) toward the Indians, and their
honesty and kindness were reciprocated by the aborig-

The Swedes on the Delaware were subdued by the
Dutch in 1655, and brought under the jurisdiction of
Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Netherlands, who,
in his turn, was conquered by the English not long

"With the falling of the power of the Dutch, English
title to the continent was complete from Canada to

England at this time was in the midst of that seeth-
ing religious excitement which characterized the middle
decades of the seventeenth century. Among the in-
finite varieties of sects which sprang into being during
this period were the Friends, derisively called Quakers.
Led by the indomitable George Fox, the Friends re-
fused to conform to the estal)lished church of the
realm. They would not pay tithes to support a religion
which their consciences could not approve. They
steadfastly refused to take oiT their hats before magis-
trate, judge, priest, or king. Neither would they obey
any law interfering with the liberty of their worship.
Certain peculiarities of speech and dress aided to make
the members of this sect odious to the dominant forces
in England. Next to George Fox, the most conspicu-


ous and influential person in shaping the character and
future of the Society of Friends was the venerated
founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn.

Penn was born in London, England, October 14,
1644, and was a son of Vice Admiral Sir William Penn,
of the British Navy. Admiral Penn owned valuable
estates in Ireland, and was prominent and influential
throughout the United Kingdom. In 1656 he moved
his family to his Irish estates, and William pursued
his studies at home under a private tutor.

When he became fifteen years of age, he went to
Oxford, and entered upon a course of study at Christ
Church College. It was at this period that he first
came under the influence of the preachers of the so-
ciety with which his name was later so prominently
identified. He was deeply impressed with the sim-
plicity and purity of the Friends' form of worship,
and he soon came to feel that the established church
was too subservient to dogma and the lifeless cere-
monies of creed.

Taking part in the religious services of the Friends,
and withdrawing from the established church, he in-
curred the disapproval and censure of the faculty, ul-
timately being expelled from college on this account.

His father, an ambitious, worldly man, was much in-
censed at William's ''misconduct," and remonstrated
in strong terms; but, finding that his son was firmly
intrenched in his religious "fanaticism," he expelled
him from home. Later, the father, who warmly loved
his son, relented and sent William to France, in com-
pany with some friends of rank and prominence, hop-
ing thereby to divert the boy's mind into other chan-
nels of thought. But his sojourn in France, while
giving him the politeness and polish of French society,
did not wholly eradicate the serious demeanor which


had so greatly displeased his father. In 1666, William
was furnished with a letter of introduction to Sir
George Lane, then secretary of the lord-lieutenant of
Ireland. Here he was received with marked attention
and became a welcome guest at a court of almost regal

During his residence in Ireland, a mutiny arose
among the soldiers of the garrison of Carrickfergus,
and William evinced so much coolheaded bravery and
good judgment in assisting to quell the mutineers that
the duke tendered him a position as ca})tain of in-
fantry. It appears that at first Penn was highly flat-
tered by this proposal, and seemed disposed to accept;
but after mature consideration, he rejected the offer.

Being in the city of Cork soon thereafter, he attended
a meeting of Friends, which was conducted by his old
l)astor, Thomas Loe, formerly of Oxford. Penn was
greatly stirred by the discourse, and firmly resolved
from that hour to renounce worldly glories and lionors,
and to devote himself to the service of God and his fel-
low-men. P>ut he was soon called to share in the
j)hysical sufferings of his friends, being arrested and
cast into prison at Cork. "While languishing in jail
he wrote his first public utterance on the subject of
lii)erty of conscience, lieing liberated from i)rison
after a time, he returned to England on the re<}uest of
his father, and was again subjected to the indignity
of being expelled from beneath the j>aternal roof.
From this decision the elder Penn relented only on his

In HIGH Penn felt himself called to the gospel min-
i.'^try, in which he became distinguished, both as a
preacher and a writer of religious works. Some of his
utterances gave great offense to the clergy' of the
Church of England, particularly to the Bishop of


London. This functionary succeeded in securing
Penn's imprisonment in the Tower. During his in-
carceration, which continued nearly nine months, he
wrote, "No Cross, No Crown," one of the imperish-
able works of prison literature, together with other
productions which have been read in many languages.

Penn was thrice arrested and twice imprisoned
after his liberation from the Tower, but remained
steadfast to the principles of universal toleration,
writing and speaking in defense of the cause which he
advocated with an earnestness and zeal which had be-
become characteristic of the man.

Penn's affections were now stirred by a young lady
named Gulielma Springett. She was herself a Friend,
and smiled graciously on her lover. They were mar-
ried in the spring of 1672, when Penn was twenty-eight
years of age.

''Those who knew him only at second hand," says
one of his biographers, "imagined that the prisoner
of Newgate and the Tower would now subside into the
country gentleman, more interested in cultivating his
paternal acres than in the progress of an unpopular
doctrine. Those who reasoned so knew little of Wil-
liam Penn, and still less of the lady who had become

his wife."

After devoting a few months to his new life, Penn
resumed his work of writing and preaching. As the
persecutions of the Friends did not cease, he was
always busy interceding for them and trying to secure
for them larger liberties. At best, however, their con-
dition was miserable.

On the death of his father, Penn came into posses-
sion of an ample estate. Among his other inheritances
was a claim of sixteen thousand pounds against the
king, his father having loaned this sum to the impe-


cunious monarch. Gradually the idea of accepting a
province in America in settlement of this debt formed
itself in IVnn's mind. There he might found an
asylum for the oj (pressed of his own sect and of all
nations. For a long time he had waited and nothing
hail been j>ai(l. As he pondered over the idea, it grew
into clearer and larger form. The experiment, if suc-
cci-sful, would be an enduring witness to the breadth
and persist<'nce of the (Quaker faith. Some })oliticians,
wiser than tlicir generation, regarded the enterprise
as dangerous to the crown and the state. In less than
a hundred years, this utterance of mingled fear and
prophecy was fulfilled. As the exchequer was nearly
empty, Penn's request was finally granted; and the
terms of the charter were settled and signed by Charles
II on the 4th of March, 1G81.

The eastern boundary of Penn's ])rovince was the
Delaware river, beginning twelve miles north of New-
castle and extending northward to the forty-third
degree of latitude. It extended westward five degrees.
The southern boundary was a circle beginning twelve
miles north of Newcastle, and continuing at that dis-
tance from Newcastle to the beginning of the fortieth
degree of north latitu<le, and thence by a straight line
westward to the limitF of longitude already mentioned.

By a provision of the royal charter, Penn was to pay
tf) the king, his *' heirs and successors, two l)eaver skins,
to be delivered to our castle of Windsor on the 1st
day of .lanuary in every year." Anil this tribute was
paid by the Penns until 17S0, It was abo stipulated
that a fifth ]»art of all tlie gold and silver ore found in
the province should belong to the crown.

Penn first ]>roj)osed to call the jjrovince New Wales,
and afterward Sylvania, because so much of the land
was covered with forest. Charles prefixed the word


Penn as a compliment to Penn's father. Fearful that
the name might be regarded as a piece of vanity, Penn
appealed to the king, and offered twenty guineas to
the secretary to change it. But Charles insisted and the
patent was issued in the form which he prescribed. Four
weeks after the king had signed the patent, Penn sent
his cousin, Colonel William Markham, to take posses-
sion of the country, to call a council of nine to assist
him in administering the government, to inform the
people of his purchase, to settle the boundary between
his province and Maryland, to establish courts and to
preserve peace.

Besides the king's declaration, announcing the grant
to Penn and requiring all persons settled in the prov-
ince to yield obedience to him as proprietor and gov-
ernor, Markham carried a letter from Penn himself,
addressed to the people, assuring them of his sincere
desire to deal fairly and honestly by them. *'I hope
you will not be troubled at your change, and the king's
choice," said he; ''for you are now fixed at the mercy
of no governor who comes to make his fortune great.
You shall be governed by laws of your own making,
and live a free, and if you will, a sober and industrious

In the autumn three vessels with colonists and three
commissioners sailed from England. One of the ves-
sels was driven by storms to the West Indies, and did
not reach the Delaware until the following spring.
Penn's instructions to his commissioners related chiefly
to selecting a place for a "great town," surveying the
land, and regulating intercourse with the Indians. He
was particularly concerned that it should be a "green
country town, which will never be burnt and always


Meanwhile Penn was deep in work on his frame of
government, which was completed and published early
in the spring of 1682. This constitution, as it may be
termed, was modeled along broad and liberal lines, and
was far in advance of any similar document that the
world had yet seen.

As soon as it was known that Penn had become the
owner and governor of an American province, persons
in nearly every large town in (Jreat Britain and in
many cities of the Khine and of Holland, desired to
purchase land.

A German comj)any was organized at Frankfort,
and Pastorius purchased fifteen thousand acres in a
single tract, and three thousand more within the Lib-
erties of the future city.

Many purchasers came from Liverpool and still
more from London. Having forwarded his frame of
government to Markham, Penn prepared to follow the
first constitutional seedling planted on the banks of
the Delaware.

August came before the Welcome, a stately bark of
three hundred tons, was fitted out to transport him
and a hundred fellow ])assengers to America. The
voyage was begun on the first of September. Soon
after starting, that dread disease small-pox appeared.
At first, the disease was mild, but before the vessel

Online LibraryFred (Frederick Charles) BrenckmanHistory of Carbon County, Pennsylvania; also containing a separate account of the several boroughs and townships in the county, → online text (page 1 of 44)