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 14 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 14 of 44)
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HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.



191



Prior to 1906 the town depended for banking facili-
ties upon Mauch Chunk. But on the twenty-eighth of
November of that year the Citizens' National Bank of
East Mauch Chunk was chartered. Quentin Stemler
and J. H. Leibenguth have served as president and
cashier, respectively, since the opening of the institu-
tion, which declared its first dividend in July, 1910.
The capital of the bank is fifty thousand dollars.

East Mauch Chunk has two burying grounds, that of
the Evergreen Cemetery Association, started in 1870,
and that of St. Joseph's Catholic church.

The first census of the borough, taken in 1860,
showed the population to be 833. In 1910, the number
had risen to 3,548. The place is divided into three
wards, of which the Third is the least populous.

East Mauch Chunk is primarily a railroad town, the
majority of its people depending directly or indirectly,
on the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Central Rail-
road of New Jersey.

EAST PENN TOWNSHIP.

The township of Penn, embracing that portion of tlie
territory of Carbon county lying between the Blue
mountain and the western bank of the Lehigh river,
together with a part of vSchuylkill county, was set oft
from Towamensing in the year 1768.

In 1808, East Penn, West Penn and Lausanne were
formed from Penn township. East Penn embraced the
present township of Mahoning and the greater part of
Mauch Chunk. West Penn became a part of Schuylkill
county in 1811.

In 1827 the territory of East Penn was reduced by
the setting off of Mauch Chunk township, the major
portion of which was taken from this district. Fifteen
years later, Mahoning was carved from East Penn,



292 HISTOKY OF CARBON COUNTY.

since which time there have been no changes in its
boundaries.

It is bounded on the north by Mahoning township,
on the east by the Lehigh river, on the south by the
Blue mountain, which separates it from Lehigh county,
and on the west by the Schuylkill.

Lizard creek flowing eastwardly through the town-
ship to the Lehigh, is the principal stream. The valley
drained by this stream is devoted principally to agri-
culture, containing many fine farms and comfortable
homes. The Lizard Creek branch of the Lehigh Valley
Railroad, which was opened in 1890, and an extension
of the Lehigh and New England Railroad completed in
1912, pass through the township.

The first settlers of East Penn were English people,
bearing the famity names of Tipple, Pearsoll, Rhoads,
Johnson, Mej^s, Washburn, Thomas, Custard and
others. They received the grants for their lands about
the year 1750.

Subsequent to the Revolution, most of them emi-
grated to Canada, being succeeded here by Palatinates
with whom the remaining families became intermar-
ried, and, in time, by them entirely absorbed.

It was formerly believed that the Indian missionary
village of Wechquetank, established by the Moravians
soon after the destruction of Gnadenhiitten, was situ-
ated in the Lizard Creek Valley; but recent research
has demonstrated that this village was located in the
present township of Polk, Monroe county.

The eastern section of the township, especially along
the Lehigh, was not permanently settled until after
1800. The western portion was settled by English and
Germans, who came in soon after the close of the war
of Independence. The locality about Ben Salem
church was the center of the settlement.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 3^93

Among the best known of the German pioneers of
the township was Conrad Rehrig, whose father came
to America at an early day, locating at or near Phila-
delphia. Conrad served in the Revolution, after which
he married and built his home in the Lizard Creek
Valley. He was one of the founders of Ben Salem
church, in the graveyard of which repose his remains.
His descendants in this portion of the state are quite
numerous.

The father of the Andreas family in East Penn bore
the Christian name of Martin. He emigrated from
Alsace, on the Rhine, on board the ship "Leslie," ar-
riving in Philadelphia in 1749. He, too, served as a
soldier in the Revolution.

Jacob and Peter, his sons, jointly purchased and oc-
cupied, in 1793, what is now commonly known as the
Nimson farm, at Ashfield. Their brother, William,
came to the township in 1807, locating in the western
portion.

Jacob Dinkey, who in 1810 purchased the property
first occupied by Jacob and Peter Andreas, was a na-
tive of Whitehall township, Lehigh county. Removing
to East Penn, he opened a tavern, store and black-
smith shop.

Upon his farm was built the first school house in the
eastern part of the township. He served for many
years as a justice of the peace, and was in 1843 elected
as one of the first associate judges of Carbon county.

Reuben, one of his six children, succeeded his father
in the conduct of the tavern and as justice of the
peace. He was the father of Eurana Dinkey, who be-
came the wife of Charles M. Schwab, the millionaire
steel manufacturer.

Her brother, Alva, is the president of the Carnegie
Steel Company, and another brother, Charles, is the
head of the Edgar Thompson steel works.



194 HISTOEY OF CARBON COUNTY.

It appears that Andrew and Charles Steigerwalt
were the first representatives of that family in the
township.

A. B. Nimson came here in 1824 as a school teacher,
afterwards taking a prominent part in the political
affairs of the county, being thrice elected to the office
of register and recorder.

Stephen Balliet and Samuel Helffrich, in 1828,
erected Penn Forge and Furnace, near the present vil-
lage of Ashfield, which was then called Pennsville.
The last-named of the partners died in 1830, after
which Balliet became the sole owner. In 1837, he es-
tablished his home in the locality and, purchasing sev-
eral thousand acres of land, started a furnace about
three-quarters of a mile farther down the mountain,
employing charcoal as fuel.

Following the death of Mr. Balliet, in 1854, the fur-
nace was successively operated by Solomon Boyer,
C. H. Nimson, and John Balliet, a son of Stephen. It
was abandoned years ago.

Ben Salem Lutheran and Eeformed church, the first
to be organized in the township, was founded about
1790. The first house of worship was of logs, hav-
ing galleries on the sides. It was completed in
1797 and stood until the erection of the present brick
building, in 1855. In the burial ground adjoining the
church sleep many of the forefathers of this region,
among the number Rev. Johannes Schwarbach, the first
Lutheran ]iastor of the congregation, who died before
the completion of the church.

The Lutheran and Reformed church at Ashfield was
erected in 1851, being rebuilt thirty years later.

The earliest schools of the township were conducted
under the auspices of Ben Salem church, and only the
German language was taught. In 1840, the district ac-
cepted the free school law.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 195

A postoffice was established at Ashfield about 1828,
Jacob Dinkey being the first postmaster.

After many years it was abandoned, but was re-
opened in 1883, with Penrose George in charge. W.
A. Balliet is the present postmaster. A rural delivery
route, starting at Bowmanstown, passes through the
township.

Building sand of good quality is found in this dis-
trict, and there are now several quarries in operation.



CHAPTER XIV.

EAST SIDE BOROUGH.

East Side borough enjoys the distinction of being
the smallest incorporated town in Pennsylvania. It
was formerly known as East Haven, lying directly op-
posite White Haven on the east bank of the Lehigh
river.

It is bounded on all sides excepting the west by
Kidder township, of which it formed a part until Janu-
ary 22, 1892, when the borough was incorporated con-
formably to a decree of court. The western boundary
is marked by the Lehigh. In 1900, the year when its
first census was taken, the town had a population of
210. During the succeeding decade, this number was
augmented by but ten. There are less than forty voters
in the place.

Almost without exception the men of the village are
employed as railroaders. The Wyoming division of
the Lehigh Valley road passes through the town, while
the Lehigh and Susquehanna division of the Central
Railroad of New Jersey is on the opposite bank of the
river. The place is pleasantly situated and practically
all of the people own the homes which they occupy.
A single school is maintained, but there is no church,
the inhabitants worshiping at White Haven.

In common with White Haven, the borough is noted
as a health resort. Sunnyrest Sanatorium, the first
private institution to be opened in Pennsylvania for the
treatment of tuberculosis, is here located.

The free hospital for poor consumptives was opened
at Wliite Haven in July, 1901, the location being chosen
for its pure, bracing air, its dry soil, and its accessibil-

196



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. ^97

ity. The success of the treatment at the free sana-
torium was so gratifying that at once there was a de-
mand for a private sanatorium.

It was to meet this demand that Sunnyrest Sana-
torium was opened by Elwell Stockdale, in November,
1901. Previous to this time Mr. Stockdale had been
the superintendent in charge of the free hospital.

The institution is situated in an attractive park,
among beautiful trees and shrubbery, and consists of
an administration building, a central dining hall, cot-
tages, bungalows, and tent houses, a nurses' home and
quarters for other employes. A dairy and a poultry
farm of more than fifty acres are conducted in connec-
tion with the sanitorium.

The institution has been successful and prosperous
from the start, its prestige drawing patients from all
parts of North and South America, and even from the
islands of the Pacific ocean. The place has an eleva-
tion of twelve hundred feet above sea level.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP.

As Virginia once claimed the proud title, ** Mother
of the Presidents," so Franklin township is coming to
be known as the '' Mother of the Sheriffs" of Carbon
county. Certain it is that most of those who have been
called to fill this office during a long period of years
have come from this division of the county.

Originally Franklin township formed a part of old
Towamensing, and in 1841, when a division was made,
it became a part of Upper Towamensing, or, as it is
known to-day, Towamensing. It so remained until
the year 1851, when it was separately organized and
the new township named "Franklin" by the court.
This designation was deemed appropriate because it
was on the borders of its territory that Benjamin



198 HISTORY or CARBON COUNTY.

Franklin erected Fort Allen as a measure of protection
for the white settlers after the Indian massacre at
Gnadenhiitten.

The Poho Poco creek, crossing Towamensing town-
ship, flows westwardly through Franklin, and at a
point southeast of Weissport turns abruptly and runs
nearly j^arallel with the river, its waters mingling with
those of the Lehigh at Parryville. The township is
uneven, but is well adapted to agricultural pursuits.
Many of its people, especially those of East Weissport,
Rickertsville and Phifer's Corner are employed in the
repair shops of the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Packer-
ton. The old state road leading from Lehighton to
Stroudsburg extends through the district. The stretch
running from Weissport to Harrity, a distance of
about two miles, has recently been rebuilt and placed
in excellent condition.

About the year 1750 a few families settled within
the present limits of the township, but all removed a
few years later when the Indians took the war path
and bade fair to exterminate all the whites who re-
mained along the border.

It appears that the first permanent settlement in
Franklin township was made by the Solt family, and
their descendants are still to be found in the district.
Before the close of the Revolution, John, David and
Daniel Solt lived here.

John Arner was of the family who came into this
region soon after the war of Independence. The
people of that name have now become so numerous
that they have formed a family association, holding
annual reunions in the township that bring hundreds
together from various sections of the country.

Jost Dreisbach was also of an old family who came
to the township before 1800. At about the same time



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. IQQ

George Walk settled on Saw Mill creek, where he car-
ried on lumbering operations for many years.

Jacob Houseknecht was a landholder here in 1781,
his farm including the present site of the Harrity
hotel.

In 1826, David Heimbach, Sr., of Lehigh county, pur-
chased two tracts of land in what is now Franklin
township — one of eighty-six acres from Martin House-
knecht, and another of forty-three from Henry
Thomas. In 1809, he had built the furnace called
"Hampton," in Lehigh county, while, about 1817, he
and his son David built a forge on the Aquashicola
creek, near Little Gap.

The next year after the purchase of this property, or
in 1827, the elder Heimbach erected on the present site
of Harrity, along the bank of the Poho Poco creek, a
furnace which he called "New Hampton." He placed
his son, John, in charge of it. John Heimbach re-
mained in charge of the furnace until 1834. David
Heimbach, the elder, died at his home in Allentown
during that year, and his sons, David and John at-
tended the funeral. David at the time was the owner
of the "Clarissa" forge on the Aquashicola creek.
Upon their return to Carbon county, both men were
stricken with typhoid fever, of which they died, — one
at night and the other on the morning of the next day.

In 1836 the property was acquired by William Mil-
ler, by whom the name was changed to "Maria," in
honor of his wife.

The furnace was operated under various owners
until January 1, 1859, when it was blown out, its fires
never to be rekindled.

The ore that was used at this operation was brought
up from the iron region on the Lehigh Canal.



200 HISTORY OF CARBOiSr COUNTY.

James and Daniel Laury, in the year 1849, erected
a forge on Pine run, near the point where that stream
empties into Poho Poco creek. It was carried on but a
few years.

The history of the boat yard which the Lehigh Coal
and Navigation Company conducts at East Weissport
dates back to the year 1832, when Lewis Weiss com-
menced building boats on the bank of the canal for
the Morris Canal and Banking Company and the Le-
high Coal and Navigation Company.

Practically all the boats used on the Lehigh Canal are
built and repaired at this yard. About twenty men are
employed, A. T. Koch being the foreman.

The fence factory, located at Phifer's Corner, was
established by Landon B. Wagner, who still owns and
operates it. Formerly he also manufactured stone-
ware and pottery, but this branch of the business has
been abandoned.

The fish hatchery, located on a small tributary of the
Poho Poco creek, a short distance from Harritv, was
established by Charles Wolters, Sr., of Philadelphia, in
1899. Mr. Wolters has since died, and the place is now
owned by his son, Charles Wolters. This is pro-
nounced by fish experts to be the most successful hatch-
ery in the United States. Its success has largely been
due to the intelligent efforts of Henry H. Wert, who
superintended the construction of the plant and who
has been in continuous charge since that time. East
Weissport has two wagon and carriage building estab-
lishments. The first was started by Stephen Ziegen-
fuss in 1890 and is now conducted by his son, John A.
Ziegenfuss. The other is that of H. R. Kreidler, es-
tablished by him in 1892.

The first school in what is now Franklin township
was opened in 1822. Anterior to that time the children



HISTOEY OF CARBON COUNTY. 201

of the district attended a school kept on the site of the
Gnadenhiitten mission. The school that was then
opened, however, was conducted in the German lan-
guage, being taught by Lewis Schnell. The only books
used were the primer, the Psalter, and the Bible.

In 1827 the school was removed three miles south, to
the homestead of Rev. Charles Eickenberg. James
Kuehner and John Keifer were among those who
taught this school. The first named had a reputation
as a good disciplinarian, and is said to have laid espe-
cial stress on having the children commit to memory
hymns and prayers, which were regularly repeated be-
fore recitations.

In 1836, Towamensing township accepted the free
school law, and as has already been said, Franklin was
then a part of Towamensing.

The first public school house in Franklin was con-
structed of logs that were furnished by Daniel Solt,
having been taken from an ancient building that was
erected before the Revolution. The second building
was located at Weissport. That portion of the town-
ship lying along the east bank of the Lehigh Canal
gradually outgrew the rest of the district, and in 1890
was organized as the Franklin Independent School Dis-
trict. This district has a high school and five graded
schools. The township proper has seven school
houses, containing eight rooms.

Among the villages of Franklin township the first in
importance and population is East AVeissport, which
is only arbitrarily separated from the borough, of
Weissport, and to which its history more properly be-
longs. This village has many of the conveniences and
improvements of modern life. It has an excellent
water supply and is electrically lighted by the plant
of Lehighton borough.



202 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

Rickertsville is also situated on the east bank of the
Lehigh Canal. The land on which the settlement is lo-
cated was formerly owned by Joseph Wintermuth, a
brick maker. He sold eight acres, in 1864, to Emanuel
Reinhart, who, in turn, sold most of the land to J. K.
Rickert, who made a plot and sold lots that have since
been used for building purposes.

The principal cause that led to the building up of
this i^lace was the character of the ground, it being
higher than the land about Weissport, and, therefore,
not liable to devastation by flood.

Phifer's Corner has grown up in the last quarter of
a century. It lies on the line of the state road running
from Lehighton to Stroudsburg, being but a short dis-
tance east of Weissport. It derives its name from
Alexander T. Phifer, who conducted the first store
here, and who was instrumental in securing the settle-
ment and upbuilding of the place. Most of the homes
here are neat and new, and are owned by those who
occupy them.

Harrity, about a mile farther east on the state road,
is the namesake of William F. Harrity, who was a
Philadelphia business man and a prominent Demo-
cratic leader. It was at this point that the Maria fur-
nace was located. There is now a hotel, a store, grist
mill and several dwellings in the place.

Walksville is in the northeastern part of the town-
ship. The Price Paint Company conducted an ochre
mill here for a number of years, but it was removed
many years ago.

At Beltzville, which is now the home of David Beltz,
John Bauman years ago erected a hotel, at which the
elections for old Towamensing were held. Later, Mr.
Beltz conducted a hotel and store here, but he now
confines himself to agricultural pursuits.



HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY. 203

There are two rural mail routes through the town-
ship, both having been established on September 1,
1903. They start from the Weissport postofficb.
Gordon Kresge and Joel H. Boyer have been the car-
riers on these routes since the inauguration of the
service.

The line of the Indian Ridge Rural Telephone Com-
pany, connecting with the Bell system at Lehighton,
and that of the Consolidated Telephone Company also
cover the township.

There are at present three Lutheran, four Evan-
gelical, and one Reformed church in the district. A
union Sunday school is maintained at Walksville.

St. Paul 's Evangelical Lutheran congregation at Big
Creek was organized in 1841 by Rev. F. W. Meendsen.
He was born in Denmark in the year 1780, emigrating
to America in 1808. He was an indefatigable worker,
and was one of the best known preachers of his church
in all Pennsylvania.

KIDDER TOWNSHIP.

Strange as it may seem to-day, Kidder township,
which is as undeniably a portion of Pennsylvania as
is the land on which Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are
built, was for years claimed and actually governed by
Connecticut.

Under the terms of her charter, given in 1662, and
antedating that of William Penn by a score of years,
Connecticut claimed a strip of land as wide as herself
and extending westward to the Pacific ocean. It was
admitted by the claimant that New York presented a
barrier; but overleaping this, the strip began at the
Delaware river and embraced the whole northern sec-
tion of the state. The southern boundary line was
formed by the forty-first parallel, which crosses the



204 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

state at Stroudsburg, and this line took in all of the
present township of Kidder and a small fraction of
Penn Forest.

With this claim as a foundation, the Susquehanna
Company, numbering eight hundred proprietors, was
formed to buy of the Indians and settle a large tract
of land in northeastern Pennsylvania.

In 1753, at the treaty of Albany, eighteen Indian
chiefs, representing the Six Nations, gave a deed, con-
veying to the New Englanders the desired territory,
in exchange for a few inexpensive presents.

At that time the governor of Pennsylvania had not
acquired any title to this soil from the aborigines.

However, in 1768, a treaty was negotiated with the
Indians, under the provisions of which the proprie-
taries became possessed of the land which had pre-
viously been sold to the Susquehanna Company.

In 1774 the general assembly of Connecticut passed
an act erecting all of the territory to which claim was
laid, from the river Delaware to a line fifteen miles
west of the Susquehanna, into the county of Westmore-
land, attaching to the county of Lichfield.

The territory in question comprised about five thou-
sand square miles, equal in extent to one-ninth of the
whole area of Pennsylvania. The town of Westmore-
land, occupying the site of modern Wilkes-Barre, was
made the seat of justice for the new county.

In accordance with the acf of assembly, the governor
of Connecticut issued a proclamation forbidding settle-
ment within the limits of the territory in dispute, ex-
cept under authority of that colony.

This was followed by a similar proclamation from
the governor of Pennsylvania, asserting the authority
of the proprietaries.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.



205



Settlers from Connecticut in large numbers were al-
ready on the ground and the influx steadily continued.

A miniature war followed, which centered around
Westmoreland, now Wilkes-Barre. Forts were built
and captured; prisoners were taken and held as host-
ages, the intruding offenders being placed in jail at
Easton. But the Pennsylvanians were worsted in the
encounters. Connecticut exercised jurisdiction, and the
county of Westmoreland regularly elected representa-
tives to the assembly of Connecticut.

Finally the Continental Congress prevailed upon the
contending parties to cease their efforts till a legal
settlement could be effected.

The Revolutionary War interfered with this. At the
close of that struggle, the question at issued was wisely
submitted to arbitration, and the commission which
was appointed to hear the case unanimously decided
that the land in dispute belonged to Pennsylvania.
Thus ended the struggle which for a generation had
been in progress to determine the ownership of this
large portion of our domain.

Kidder township was organized in 1849 from terri-
tory previously embraced in Penn Forest, which
formed a part of Monroe county until 1843, the year of
the establishment of Carbon county. It was named
after Judge Luther Kidder, who was then on the bench.
It is bounded on the north and west by the Lehigh river,
on the east by the Tobyhanna creek and Monroe county,
and on the south by Mud run and the Dilltown creek,
which separate it from Penn Forest.

Mud pond. Round pond, Grass lake and Lake Har-
mony, formerly known as Big pond are situated in the
western portion of the township. Black creek, Hays
creek and Mud run flow westwardly into the Lehigh.
The main line of the Lehigh Valley Railroad runs



206 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

parallel to the river along the western border of the
township.

Dense forests of pine and hemlock formerly flour-
ished here ; but the district is now denuded of its heavy



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 14 of 44)