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 16 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 16 of 44)
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St. Paul's Roman Catholic church was begun four
years later.

St. Ann's Roman Catholic church was attended as a
mission of St. Joseph's, of Summit Hill, until early in
1909, when St. Ann's was constituted a separate parish,
and the present pastor. Rev. H. J. Bowen, appointed.
Ground was broken for the new church building in Sep-
tember, 1911, while the corner-stone was laid by Arch-
bishop Prendergast on Thanksgiving Day, of the same
year. The style of the new church, which is not yet
completed, is Romanesque. It is built of buff brick,
with terra cotta trimmings.

Most of the fraternal and beneficial societies com-
mon to this portion of the state have been established
here. In 1884 the Lansford Beneficial Fund was insti-
tuted by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company;
any of the employes of the company participate in its
benefits if they are so unfortunate as to be injured at
their work. The company annually contributes a cer-
tain sum to this fund, based on the production of coal ;
the men also contribute their just proportion. Hun-
dreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and dis-
tributed under the rules governing this fund, which in
its practical workings has proven to be one of the
most worthy institutions.

There is, of course, little industrial activity in Lans-
ford aside from that connected with the mining and
shipping of coal. Several hundred men are employed
in the repair shops of the company, and an immense
power plant generates electricity sufficient for the
needs of the whole Panther Creek Valley. The manu-




8t. Ann's Church, Lansford.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 221

facture of coal briquettes, composed of a mixture of
coal dirt and tar, intended for fuel, has also been be-
gun. During recent years the town has been benefited
by the concentration of the company's offices here,
while the opening of the line of the Lehigh and New
England Railroad to this point will further improve
conditions.

The Century Throwing Company, operating a silk
mill, located its plant here in 1904. Alexander Mc-
Lane has been the local head.

In 1906 the Lansford Shirt Factory was opened by
Wallace Drumheller and Charles K. Walton. These
are the only independent industries of consequence.

When the first separate census of the place was
taken, in 1880, the population was a little over two
thousand. It now amounts to about ten thousand.
These figures indicate the healthy growth which the
town has had. But there is promise of still greater
development, and Lansford looks confidently into the
future from her fortunate position over the richest bed
of anthracite in the world.

LAUSANNE TOWNSHIP.

Lausanne township may be likened to a fond and
over-indulgent father, who, originally rich in the pos-
session of a princely estate, has given away so much
of his substance to his children as to be himself re-
duced to comparative poverty in his old age.

It is now the most sparsely populated township in
the county, while its area is but a small fraction of that
which it contained in 1808, the year of its organiza-
tion. Anterior to that time it was a part of Penn
township, which embraced all that portion of North-
ampton county lying north of the Blue Ridge and west
of the Lehigh river.



222 HISTORY OF CARBON COUN TY.

In 1808 Penn township was divided into East Penn,
West Penn and Lausanne, the last named being the
northern part of that portion now in Carbon county.
In 1827, a small portion of the southern part of the
township was taken off to form Mauch Chunk town-
ship. In 1842 another limb was lopped off to form
Banks township, while Packer township was carved
from the dwindling territory of Lausanne in 1847. In
1863 it was further dismembered by the erection of the
borough of Weatherly, while the final slice was taken
from it in 1875, when Lehigh township was formed.

Lausanne township is bounded on the north by Lu-
zerne county, on the east by Lehigh township, on the
south by Lehigh and the borough of Weatherly, and on
the west by Banks township. It is about six miles in
length, and averages nearly two and one-half miles in
breadth. It is watered by Laurel and Hazle creeks and
by Spruce run. The character of the land is mountain-
ous and is but little cultivated. The first permanent
settlement of any consequence made within the present
limits of the township was made by the Buck Mountain
Coal Company, which was chartered June 16, 1836.
Samuel L. Shober, Jacob F. Bunting, Benjamin Kug-
ler, William Richardson, and Asa Lansford Foster, all
Philadelphians, excepting the latter, who was from
Carbon county, formed the company. Operations
were begun three years later, while in the month of
November, 1840, the first coal was shipped.

The mines were located on the summit of the
Spring mountain, while the breaker was erected at
Rockport, five miles distant from the mines. A rail-
road, connecting the two points, was built, and the
loaded cars ran down to Rockport by gravity. Mules
were at first employed to haul the empty cars back to
the mines; but, in the course of time, these were re-



HISTORY OP CAEBON COTJNfTT. 223

placed by a four-wheeled, wood-burning locomotive.
This locomotive was built at Philadelphia, and was
shipped by rail from there to Tamaqua. There it was
loaded upon a heavy wagon, owned by the Lehigh Coal
and Navigation Company, and hauled through Quakake
Valley to Rockport by teams. To secure the wagon
from getting beyond control while descending the hills
along the route, a cable was fastened to it, and one end
was snubbed about a convenient tree. In many in-
stances, while paying out slack to allow the wagon to
proceed down the hills, the bark was worn from the
trees around which the cable was fastened, and years
afterwards, encircled by the rings thus formed, they
stood as mute reminders of this interesting feat in
transportation.

The breaker stood on the banks of Laurel creek,
while its machinery was driven by an ordinary, twenty-
five-foot, overshot water-wheel. With one exception,
this was the only breaker in the anthracite region, so
far as can be ascertained, that was operated in this
manner. The coal was shipped to market from Rock-
port on the Lehigh Canal.

The flood of 1841 swept away the canal, and it was
necessary to suspend operations until it had been re-
paired.

Rockport remained the shipping point for the com-
pany until 1862, when the canal was again destroyed
by flood.

Following the freshet of that year, the Hazleton Coal
Company built a railroad to the mines at Buck Moun-
tain, and it was by this route that the coal there pro-
duced was thereafter shipped. This road connected
with what is now the Lehigh Valley Railroad, at Hazle
Creek Junction, about two miles from Weatherly.



224 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

The coal company built a hotel at Buck Mountain in
1843, which was successivelj^ kept by William Koons,
James McGinty, and William Boyle. A postoffice was
established at about the time of the building of the rail-
road to the mines. A store, two schoolhouses and an
office building were also erected.

The coal produced at Buck Mountain was of the very
finest grade, and was largely used by the United States
Navy during the Civil War, because of its excellent
steaming qualities and the almost total absence of
smoke attendant upon its use. This rendered vessels
supi3lied with fuel from Buck Mountain less conspicu-
ous as targets for an enemy's guns than would other-
wise have been the case, also facilitating secrecy in the
movements of the ships.

Erricson 's Monitor, in her crucial battle with the re-
doubtable Merrimac, carried Buck Mountain coal in
her bunkers.

The mines at Buck Mountain were abandoned on
November 28, 1883, it being the belief at that time that
the supply of available coal had been about exhausted.
The property was subsequently purchased by the firm
of Coxe, Brothers & Company for the sum of twenty-
two thousand dollars, but the mines were allowed to
remain idle, and what had previously been a thriving
town became a deserted village.

The total number of tons of coal shipped from this
place from 1841 to the time when operations were sus-
pended was three million, four hundred and sixty-five
thousand. The companj^ at various times employed
from three to six-hundred men.

Buck Mountain, in the day of its prosperity, was one
of the best villages in the coal fields, and those of its
former inhabitants who still remain cherish the mem-
ory of the old spot in their hearts.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 225

The Lehigh Valley Coal Company now controls the
property at Buck Mountain and preparations are in
progress for the resumption of mining there on an
important scale. It has developed that the mines there,
so far from being exhausted, contain deposits of coal
that will last for many years.



CHAPTER XV.



LEHIGH TOWNSHIP.



A large portion of Lehigh township was originally
covered by dense forests of evergreen trees. Its terri-
tory was embraced within Lausanne township from
1808 until 1875, when it was organized as a separate
division of the county.

The Quakake creek, flowing eastwardly through the
township, empties into the Lehigh at Penn Haven.
Spruce, Laurel and Indian runs form a stream which
flows southeastwardly and empties into the Lehigh be-
low Rockport. Leslies run rises near the Luzerne
county line, and joins the Lehigh at Leslie's Run Sta-
tion, in the northern part of the township. The Broad
mountain constitutes the southern portion of the town-
ship, while the Laurytown Valley passes between it and
the Bald Ridge, which reaches across the township
from east to west.

A state road, which ran from the Spring Mountain
Hotel, in Packer township, through Weatherly, and
thence to White Haven, was the first highway of any
consequence. The next in importance was the White
Haven and Lausanne turnpike which was begun in
1840. The Central Railroad of New Jersey, fromerly
the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, and the Le-
high Valley Railroad follow the Lehigh river along the
eastern border of the township, while the Beaver
Meadow and Hazleton and the Mahanoy divisions of
the Lehigh Valley system run through the township
on the banks of Quakake creek, connecting with the
main line at Penn Haven Junction.

226



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 227

The Moravians at one time owned a tract of timber
land where Rockport is now located. The timber on
this tract was purchased by the Lehigh Coal and Navi-
gation Company in 1824. The company erected several
saw-mills and a number of dwellings for laborers at
this point. The settlement, which was situated on a
high bluff, was called Laurytown. The timber was
slid down the mountain side to the mills, and after
being sawed was rafted down the Lehigh to Mauch
Chunk and other places.

The raftsmen returned to the mills on foot, traveling
the "Indian Path," which led from Gnadenhiitten to
Wyoming. Much of the timber that was cut in this
vicinity was used in the construction of canal boats and
other improvements incident to the operations of the
Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company.

The Buck Mountain Coal Company began the build-
ing of a railroad from Rockport to its mines, about five
miles distant, in the fall of 1839. A tunnel, two hun-
dred yards in length, from the foot of an inclined plane,
through the mountain to the river, was driven by Asa
L. Foster. The work of constructing the tunnel and the
railroad was completed in 1840, and, in November of
that year, the Buck Mountain Coal Company shipped
its first boat load of coal to Philadelphia on the Lehigh
Canal.

Rockport was once popularly known as "Grog Hol-
low," which unregenerate designation was applied to
the place in consequence of the bibulous proclivities
and general carousing of the laborers who were sta-
tioned there during the building of the canal in the late
thirties. Lumbering operations ceased here a short
time prior to the opening of the mines at Buck Moun-
tain.



228 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

After the completion of the railroad to the mines,
one hundred thousand tons of coal were annually
shipped from this point until 1862.

The memorable flood of that year washed away the
canal, and the coal mined at Buck Mountain was there-
after shipped to market by rail.

The postoffice at Rockport was established about the
year 1830, Samuel Wolf, who was also a tavern-keeper
on the line of the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike,
being the first postmaster. In 1836 he was succeeded
in the postoffice by Asa Packer, who in turn was suc-
ceeded by R. Q. Butler, two years later. It was during
the term of Mr. Butler that the name of the postoffice
was changed from Laurytown to Rockport. The pres-
ent postmaster is H. H. Sloat, who has held the office
for many years. It was during his administration that
the free delivery of mail throughout the township was
begun by the government.

Samuel Wolf kept a store at Rockport from 1830 to
1836, when he disposed of the business to Asa and R.
W. Packer, who conducted the establishment until the
completion of their canal contract. A. L. Foster also
kept this store for a short time. J. G. Eadie, now, and
for many years past, a resident of Weatherly, kept a
store at Rockport from 1866 until 1869.

Rockport, while formerly a thriving and prosperous
town, is to-day practically a deserted village. For
romantic natural scenery, however, the locality cannot
easily be surpassed, and it is yearly increasing in favor
as a summer resort. Building-stone of excellent qual-
ity abounds in this vicinity, the stone for the building
of the present court house at Mauch Chunk having been
quarried here. A Methodist church was organized at
Rockport about 1851. Bishop John H. Vincent, des-
tined to achieve international fame as a Sunday school



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\ tS^VoonoaT^




Onoko Falls, Glen Onoko.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 229

worker and as the head of the Chautauqua Scientific
and Literary Association, preached in this church
when but nineteen years of age.

St. Joseph's Roman Catholic church in the Laury-
town Valley was organized a year earlier. It is under
the jurisdiction of the parish at Weatherly, and during
the pastorate of Rev. F. X. Wastl was repaired and
improved. A union church was erected at Rockport in
1894 by the members of the Reformed and Lutheran
denominations. The property is now owned by the
Reformed people, Rev. A. M. Masonheimer being the
pastor in charge.

Penn Haven was in 1838 made a shipping point by
the Hazleton Coal Company. The Beaver Meadow
Railroad was used from that year until 1852. A road
was built from Hazle Creek Bridge to the mountain top
at Penn Haven after the freshet of 1850, and the coal
was conveyed to the river by means of two inclined
planes twelve hundred feet in length. These were
later abandoned. It is at Penn Haven Junction that
the Mahanoy and the Beaver Meadow and Hazleton
divisions of the Lehigh Valley Railroad diverge from
the main line.

Glen Onoko, which has for many years been one of
the leading attractions in this part of Pennsylvania for
pleasure seekers, is situated in Lehigh township. The
improvements here were made by the Lehigh Valley
Railroad Company.

There are three school houses in the township, one
at Penn Haven, another at Rockport, and one near the
farm of the Middle Coal Field Poor District.

The Rockport Rural Telephone Company was organ-
ized in 1910, and its line, traversing the township, con-
nects with the Bell system at Weatherly.



230 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

LEHIGH TON BOROUGH.

Before its incorporation as a borough, Lehighton
formed a part of Mahoning township, by which it is
bounded on all sides except the east, where the Lehigh
river forms the boundary line.

The first settlement liere was that made by the
Moravians in 1746. Gnadenhiitten mission, which was
then established, occupying the present site of South
Lehighton. This was also the first settlement made by
white men in Carbon county, which then belonged to
Bucks, one of the three original counties of Pennsyl-
vania.

How the Moravians came to establish this mission,
the success with which their unselfish labors was
crowned for nearly a decade, and the tragic fate which
befell them when the Indians, smarting from the
wrongs and injustices which had been heaped upon
them by the greedy proprietaries of the province and
by the unscrupulous portion of the settlers, took the
war path in the autumn of 1755 and indiscriminately
slew both friend and foe, has already been told in de-
tail. Scarcely a trace exists to-day of this ill-fated
settlement excepting the graveyard, where repose the
remains of the victims of the massacre of Gnaden-
hiitten.

In 1794, the land on which Lehighton is built was
largely owned by Colonel Jacob Weiss, a veteran of the
Eevolution, and another man, named William Henry.
It appears that thus early it was recognized that a
town would some day be built at this point, since Weiss
and Henry had a portion of the ground laid out for
that purpose. In the center of their plot was the town
square, which was reserved for public use. A number
of lots were sold in 1794, while other conveyances were




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HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 231

made in the year 1800, but it is not definitely estab-
lished who these first purchasers were.

A bridge was built across the Lehigh in 1804, and a
road was then constructed from here to the place where
the *' Landing Tavern" was later erected, at the foot
of the Broad mountain. The Lehigh and Susquehanna
Turnpike Company was incorporated about this time,
and the road opened by this company reached from
Berwick, on the Susquehanna, to Easton. There was a
great deal of travel along this route, and taverns were
established at regular intervals. Lehighton became
one of the stopping places on this road in 1809, when
John Hagenbuch built a tavern on the site now occu-
pied by the Exchange Hotel. He came from Sieg-
fried's Bridge, then known as Siegfried's Ferry,
Northampton county. For many years he continued as
the landlord of this tavern, and was succeeded by his
son, Reuben Hagenbuch. Nicholas Fuller opened a
tavern near the bridge in 1814, remaining its landlord
for a long period.

David Heller started a tannery near Hagenbuch 's
tavern prior to 1820. John Davis established a store
about this time where the residence of the late Joseph
Obert now stands.

In 1825 Daniel Snyder erected a grist mill at the
mouth of Mahoning creek. He conducted the mill for
many years. John Koons was his successor, and he
sold the property to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Com-
pany. The growth of the town was slow until the
building of the Lehigh Canal through this region, in
1828-20. The canal contributed materially to the de-
velopment of Lehighton and the surrounding country.
The fertile farming districts lying adjacent to the vil-
lage were now fast growing in population and impor-
tance, and this was an added factor in the upbuilding
of the settlement.



232 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

In 1855, the Lehigh Valley Railroad was completed
from Mauch Chunk to Easton, and early in the sixties
the company established its shops and yards at Pack-
erton. Many of the employes at this place built their
homes in Lehighton. On March 16, 1864, the Lehigh
and Susquehanna Railroad Company, later absorbed
by the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, was
authorized to extend its line from Mauch Chunk to
Easton. With the completion of this road Lehighton
took another step forward, and on January 2, 1866, the
town was organized as a borough, John Lentz becom-
ing the first chief burgess. Ten years later, when the
census was taken, Lehighton had a population of
1,485. The place has grown steadily since that time,
and is now one of the most thriving communities of the
Lehigh Valley.

One of the leading enterprises of Lehighton is the
packing establishment of the Joseph Obert Company.
The founder of this industry was Joseph Obert, a na-
tive of Germany. He began as a butcher in 1865, soon
making himself master of a large business. In 1875 his
plant was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt and en-
larged. Mr. Obert died in 1896, and during the suc-
ceeding ten years the enterprise was conducted by his
executors. The Joseph Obert Company, of which
Charles W. Obert is president, and Henry B. Kennell
secretary and treasurer, was then incorporated.

The Lehigh Stove and Manufacturing Company, had
its inception in 1867. The chief promoter of the enter-
prise, and the president of the company for many
years, was G. B. Linderman. C. 0. Skeer, Robert
Klotz, William Lilly, W. B. Mack, C. W. Anthony, and
A. G. Brodhead were among the early stock-holders of
the company. About one hundred men are here em-
ployed, and ''Lehigh" stoves, ranges, and furnaces find



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 233

their way to many quarters of the world. W. R. But-
ler is now the dominant figure in the affairs of the con-
cern.

Lehighton has in recent years attained prominence
in textile manufacturing, the first and largest of the
mills now located there being the silk throwing mill of
The Baer Company, situated at Bridge and S. Seventh
streets. This enterprise was established by Eugene W.
Baer at Paterson, N. J., and was originally conducted
under the title of Eugene Baer & Company. In 1898
the plant was removed to Lehighton, where the present
four-story brick building had been built by the com-
pany. In 1903, Mr. Baer purchased the interest of his
father, Jacob F. Baer, and the company was incor-
porated as The Baer Company, Eugene W. Baer, being
its president and principal stockholder. The two
upper floors of the building owned by The Baer Com-
pany are occupied by the Helvetia Silk Company, the
headquarters of which are at Paterson, N. J.

The Lehighton Lace Company was incorporated in
1905 with a capital stock of $150,000. P. M. Graul,
W. D. Boyer, C. J. Kistler, and M. 0. Kuntz were those
most influential in establishing this industry, which em-
ploys about sixty operatives. The president of the
company is W. D. Boyer, while P. M. Graul is the gen-
eral manager, secretary and treasurer. The plant oc-
cupies the site where Daniel Olewine, prominent in the
early annals of the town, erected a tannery in 1859.
This establishment was destroyed by fire in 1873.

The Carbon Silk Mill Company was organized in 1906
by 0. F. Acker, D. A. Rehrig, and P. F. Rehrig. D. A.
Rehrig has been the president of this company since
its beginning. From seventy-five to one hundred people
are here employed, the mill being now operated under
lease by P. F. Rehrig and W. B. Lovatt.



234 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

A smaller silk throwing mill, recently opened, is
that of Howard Diefenderf er.

The Lehighton Shirt Factory was established in 1898
by New York capitalists.

The Crescent Stove and Manufacturing Company
was organized in 1904, Edward E. Walters being its
president, and Charles H. Bower the principal stock-
holder.

The Lehighton Brick Company was formed in 1906
by Ira Seidle and Dallas Bowman. The plant operated
by this company is owned by William S. Koch, who
built it in 1899. *

The Carbon Iron Works Company was incorporated
in 1911. W. S. Koch is its president.

As has already been said, the first hotel to be opened
in Lehighton was that of John Hagenbuch, in 1809.
This property changed hands four or five times until
1867, when it was purchased by Thomas Mantz, who
tore down the old building and erected the present Ex-
change Hotel on the site. He is still the owner. The
tavern erected by Nicholas Fuller in 1814, near the
bridge which crosses the Lehigh on the way to Weiss-
port was sold to George Esch in 1855. He removed the
original structure and put up the Valley House in its
place. This hotel has been conducted by E. W. Clauss
since 1891.

Jacob Metzgar built the Carbon House in 1842, and
opened it as a tavern under the sign of the Eagle. It
has had many landlords, and is now owned by the
David Ebbert Estate.

The Mansion House was built by J. A. Horn in 1879.
The present proprietor is A. P. Anthony.

The Lehighton postofiice was established on October
1, 1812, John Pryor, Jr., being the first postmaster.
Twenty-three others have since served in that capacity.



HISTOKY OF CARBON COUNTY. 235

John Davis who has already been mentioned as the
first store-keeper in the town, held the office from 1824
to 1836, when he removed to Easton, where he became



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 16 of 44)