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 18 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 18 of 44)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


died, and the property was subsequently acquired by
Joseph J. Albright and others. Albright was an
ardent admirer of Henry Clay, rechristening the plant
as the "Ashland Iron Works," after the place of na-



HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY. 249

tivity of the Great Pacificator, in Hanover county,
Virginia.

Tlie works were entirely washed away by the flood
of 1841. The furnace was never rebuilt; but a new
forge of greater capacity than the old was erected.
This was partially destroyed by fire soon thereafter.
The plant passed into other hands in 1851, and was
finally abandoned in 1860.

The village of Millport, which is situated on the
Aquashicola, about two miles from its confluence with
the Lehigh, grew up about the mill established there
in 1806 by George Ziegenfuss. The original mill was
destroyed by fire in 1834, being then owned by John
Ziegenfuss, a son of the first settler. The property
was then sold to his brother, George, who rebuilt the
mill, and conducted it until 1845, when Jacob Bowman
became the owner. It has passed through many hands,
and is now conducted by Charles VanHorn.

Prior to 1830, a tannery was started here by a man
named Meckle. After several changes of ownership
it came into the possession of Reuben Miller, under
whom it was thrice destroyed by fire. The last fire
occurred in 1874, after which the enterprise was aban-
doned. The tall brick stack is still standing.

The first store in the place was opened by George
Ziegenfuss, who discontinued it after a few years. In
1836, a hotel was built by John A. Ziegenfuss, who
kept it for many years. Lewis Groff has been the
owner of the property since 1872.

The postoffice here, to which the name of Aquashi-
cola is applied, was established in 1855, with Thomas
Bowman as postmaster. A rural route, running to
Kresgeville, Monroe county, by way of Little Gap,
and returning by way of Trochsville, was instituted in
1905.



250 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

Stephen Lentz, about the year 1864, discovered a
slate bed at the eastern extremity of the town. Soon
thereafter a quarry was opened by the Millport Slate
Company, which was succeeded by the Brilliant Black
Slate Company. Since 1896, the quarry has been
operated in partnership by William Lewis and Walter
Bray. This is the only point where slate is produced
in the Lehigh Valley north of the Blue Ridge.

A paint factory was established in the lower end of
the village by a man named Lawrence, late in the fif-
ties. He disposed of the business to A. C. Prince,
under whom the buildings were destroyed by fire in
1881.

The Evangelical church at this place was erected in
1866. Services had been held in the community by this
denomination as earlv as 1842.

A chapel was erected here by the Sunday school of
the Evangelical Lutheran church, about 1892.

In 1893, George Strohl opened the Farmers' Hotel in
a building formerly occupied as a residence by A. C.
Prince.

Bowmanstown, which is a neat and prosperous vil-
lage, derives its name from John Deter Bowman, who
settled here in 1796. He was a grandson of the original
settler of that name.

In 1808, he built the old stone hotel, which is still
occupied and which was a stopping place on the route
of the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike.

The place attained but little significance until the
building of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad, now
known as the Central Railroad of New Jersey, through
here.

About the year 1855, Henry Bowman uncovered
paint ore in the Stony Ridge, near here, and soon there-
after began the manufacture of metallic brown paint



HISTORi' OF CARBON COUNTY. 251

in its dry state. Later lie organized the Poco-Metallic
Paint Company, which engaged successfully in the
manufacture of this product. This company was suc-
ceeded by the Carbon Metallic Paint Company, which is
still in existence.

Henry Bowman was the father of this industry,
being closely followed by Robert Prince, who in 1858
established the Iron-Ore Metallic Paint Company at
Lehigh Gap. In 1879, the plant of the last-named
concern was brought to Bowmanstown, where, under
the name of the Prince Manufacturing Company,
headed by A. C. Prince, the business has since been
continued. This company also operates, under lease,
the mills of the Carbon Metallic Paint Company.

Sand in large quantities is found in the region about
Bowmanstown, and the quarrying and shipping of this
natural product has been carried on for perhaps fifty
years. The first to engage in this business was Jacob
Scherer.

The vein varies In thickness between twenty and
thirty feet, running along the north side of the Stony
Ridge. Most of the loose sand has been exhausted,
while that which is now being quarried is rock-like in
texture, and grinding machinery is employed to re-
duce it and prepare it for use. About seventy-five
men are employed in this industry hereabouts.

Another product of the Stony Ridge, which is the
treasure-house of this section, is building stone. The
stone is a kind of gray granite, for which there is a
good demand.

The Bowmanstown Silk Company, employing about
fifty operatives, was established in 1909, with W. F.
Hofford as its president. These are the principal
local industries upon which the town depends, but many
living here find employment at nearby points.



252 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

A postoffice, with John Eush in charge, was opened
here in 1883. Two rural routes emanating from this
office were established in 1904. One runs through East
Penn, while the other passes through portions of Towa-
mensing and Lower Towamensing townships.

The first school in the village was opened in 1844.
The original stone building was replaced by a frame
structure in 1879. The present handsome two-story
brick building, housing all the schools of the town, was
erected in 1903, at a cost of $5,000.

The Patriotic Order of Sons of America and the
Order of Independent Americans both own large and
attractive halls which have been recently erected.

The congregation of St. John's Evangelical church
dates back more than thirty years, when meetings
were held in private houses. The present church build-
ing was dedicated in 1892.

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran church was erected in
1895, previous to which time the Lutheran people wor-
shiped in the public school house.

Emmanuel's Eeformed church was built in 1905,
Charles A. Butz being the first pastor. Meetings had
previously been held in the Evangelical church.

In 1856 a German Catholic congregation built a
church a short distance from Bowmanstown. This
building was destroyed by fire some years ago, after
which worship was conducted in the old school house.
During the summer of 1911 this building was struck by
lightning and was partly demolished, being repaired
and re-dedicated during the same season.

The only tavern in the place until 1891 was the Bow-
manstown Hotel, built in 1808, and kept for many years
by John D. Bowman and his descendants. During the
latter year, the Center House was opened by Henry



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 253

Ernst, who conducted it as a temperance house for a
time. The present landlord is Martin Christman.

Lehigh Gap was originally a post village on the line
of the Lehigh and Susquehanna turnpike. The place is
situated at the northern base of the Blue Ridge, just at
the point where the Lehigh river begins to steal its
way through this great natural barrier. The gap,
prominently walled on both sides, forms a sublime
object of admiration, and presents to the observant
spectator one of the most beautiful prospects in all
Pennsylvania.

A well known landmark on the mountainside west of
the river is a lonely pile of rocks, whimsically called
**The Devil's Pulpit," which indignantly suffers but
a few blasted pines _to shade its sullen brow.

The Indians applied the name Buchca-huchka to the
gap, which, in the picturesque language of the Dela-
wares, signified two mountains butting toward one
another, and separated by a stream of water — a water
gap.

General Thomas Craig, who settled in this romantic
spot in 1814, succeeding Joseph Bauman as the land-
lord of the Lehigh Gap Inn, was a hero of the French
and Indian War, and was the first officer to protect the
Continental Congress in its important deliberations.
He also served with distinction in the war of Inde-
pendence.

Descendants of General Craig are still living at Le-
high Gap, while in each generation one or more mem-
bers of the family have taken a prominent part in the
civil or military affairs of the state and nation.

About 1830, Thomas Craig, Jr., in partnership with
Stephen Hagenbuch, opened a general store here, which
supplied the needs of the countryside within a radius
of many miles.



254 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

Colonel John Craig, a son of the founder, continued
this business until his death, which occurred a few
years ago, and it is still owned by his estate.

The old hotel is still standing, but has been kept by
lessee landlords since 1851.

In 1885, Harry Rutherford and Charles Barkley,
under the firm name of Rutherford & Barkley, estab-
lished themselves in the manufacture of metallic paint
near here. This industry is now conducted by the
Prince Metallic Paint Company.



CHAPTER XVL



MAHONING TOWNSHIP.



Mahoning township, the richest agricultural district
of Carbon county, was organized in 1842, its territory
being taken from East Penn.

The name Mahoning is corrupted from Mahonhanne,
which in the tongue of the Delaware Indians, meant
a stream flowing near a lick.

It is bounded on the north by Mauch Chunk town-
ship; on the east by the Lehigh river; on the south
by East Penn, and on the west by Schuylkill county.

The Mahoning creek, rising in Schuylkill county, and
flowing eastwardly into the Lehigh, is the principal
stream. The beautiful valley drained by this stream
lies between two gently sloping mountains, the sides of
which are often dotted almost to their tops with cul-
tivated fields.

Since the first settlement of the valley, the north-
ern, or Mahoning mountain, has been referred to lo
cally as the Summer mountain, while that to the south-
ward has been called the Winter mountain, from the
position of the sun at these seasons of the year.

A portion of the present territory of Mahoning town-
ship was the first to which any title was obtained by
white men in the immediate region north of the Blue
Ridge. In 1682, William Penn deeded a tract of five
thousand acres to Adrian Vroesen, of Rotterdam,
which after several changes of ownership came into
possession of Richard Peters, of Philadelphia. He,
in 1745, conveyed one hundred and twenty acres of this
land near the mouth of the Mahoning to the Moravians

255



256 HISTOKY OF CARBON COUNTY.

of Bethlehem, who established Gnadenhiitten mission
thereon during the following year.

A number of settlers located on other portions of
this tract between 1750 and 1775. Most of these were
of English birth or parentage. Among the first was
George Custard, who is mentioned as having been here
at the time of the Massacre of Gnadenhiitten in 1755.
He and the few others in the neighborhood are sup-
posed to have fled after that event.

Benjamin Gilbert, an aged Quaker, and his family
came to the valley of the Mahoning from Byberry, near
Philadelphia, in 1775.

They built a saw-mill and a grist-mill on the spot
where the mill of David A. Kistler now stands.

The story of the peace and prosperity which re-
warded their industry and thrift during a period of five
years, followed by their captivity among the Indians
and the destruction of the improvements which they
had made, constitutes one of the many pathetic inci-
dents in the frontier life of eastern Pennsylvania, and
has already been related.

Upon the return of the Gilberts from captivity,
they took up their abode at Byberry, their former
home, disposing of their land here to Captain Joseph
Longstreth, who, with Robert McDaniel, replaced the
improvements which had been burned by the Indians.

Samuel Dodson and family located on land now
owned by Ira Troxel at about the same time that the
Gilberts came to the region. One of the family, Abi-
gail, a girl of fourteen years, was carried off by the
Indians with the Gilberts.

Samuel Dodson died in 1795, and was buried in the
Lizard Creek Valley. Soon thereafter most of his
family removed to Shamokin, later going to Hunting-



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 257

ton township, Luzerne county, where their descendants
are numerous.

Among those who remained was Isaac T. Dodson,
who became a well known citizen of Mauch Chunk.

Scarcely any settlements appear to have been made
in Mahoning township between the close of the Revo-
lution and the beginning of the nineteenth century.

About 1800, however, Andrew Beck, John and Abra-
ham Freyman, Peter Musselman and Peter, Henry and
John Nothstein joined those who had previously lived
here.

John Freyman was the grandfather of William G.
Freyman, who has for many years been a prominent
member of the Carbon county bar.

The three Nothsteins who have been mentioned were
brothers. Their father, Peter Nothstein, who was a
soldier in the war of Independence, spent his declining
years with them. His remains are interred in a little
private cemetery at Center Square. Henry Nothstein
built the first store to be opened at Center Square, and
in later years his son, Daniel, was a merchant here;
he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Hon. C. H. Seidle.

Among those who came to the township prior to 1817
were Abram and Jost Miller and Henry Arner. Most
of these settlers came from Lehigh county.

Jacob Fenstermacher located at New Mahoning in
1819. He opened a hotel which stood on the site of
that now kept by Thomas Beltz.

Christian Klotz, a native of Lehigh county, in 1823
built a grist-mill which was later owned by Solomon
Hoppes, who rebuilt it in 1848. This is now the prop-
erty of F. D. Klingaman.

Christian Klotz was the father of Hon. Robert Klotz,
who represented this district in the Forty-sixth Con-
gress.



258 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

Paul Balliet, who was born in Alsace, Germany, in
1717, and who was one of the first settlers of North
Whitehall township, Lehigh county, was the pioneer
of the family of that name in this township. Joseph,
a son of Leonard Balliet, who had located in West
Penn township, Schuylkill county, first established him-
self on a farm at Center Square. Later, he purchased
the farm of Jacob Feller, near St. John's church.
Here his son, Nathan, lived and reared a large family.
His son, Francis S. Balliet, now occupies the old home-
stead.

Before 1825, Thomas Walton opened a store on the
farm now owned by Aaron Zimmerman, a short dis-
tance east of New Mahoning. He also established a
hotel and a blacksmith shop. The store was subse-
quently kept by Abraham Hanline, while the hotel was
abandoned.

Henry Arner, about the year 1820, began the manu-
facture of shoes to supply the miners of Summit Hill.
He was succeeded by Henry Bretney, who continued
the business until 1855.

In 1832, Henry Arner and Abraham Hanline erected
a powder mill on the site of the saw-mill now con-
ducted by Lewis Zimmerman. Between 1839 and 1841
the mill was twice blown up, and two lives were lost,
the venture being abandoned in 1854.

Another powder mill started in 1842, and conducted
by John Erb, exploded several times with fatal results.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Company began opera-
tions at Packerton in 1862. Prior to that time the lo-
cality was known as Burlington, and later as Dolans-
burg, after George and John Dolan, who owned most
of the land here. The place is situated on the Lehigh
river, nearly midway between Mauch Chunk and Le-
highton, being named in honor of Asa Packer.



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 259

Packerton is the central point of the immense coal
traffic of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and large shops
for the repair of the rolling stock of the company have
been built here. All of the coal passing east over the
road is weighed and forwarded from this point.

Mauch Chunk was the shipping point of the company
until the increase in traffic made it necessary to seek a
location affording more room than that place contained.

Most of the employes of the shops and yards at
Packerton live in the nearby towns.

Packerton itself fs a neat little village, built on a high
bluff overlooking the river. It has no interests aside
from those centering in the railroad.

Jamestown, adjoining Lehighton on the north, is
built on land warranted to Paul Solt, who settled in the
locality about the year 1780. It bears the first name of
James McDaniel, one of the early settlers. Amos Rie-
gel, a former sheriff of Carbon county, and the father
of J. A. Riegel, became possessed of most of the town-
site in 1862. He began selling lots in 1874. The place
has been principally settled by employes of the Lehigh
Valley Railroad.

The first schools in the township, apart from those
kept by the Moravians, at what is now Lehighton, were
opened about 1825. Isaac Harleman, Samuel Dodson
and John Fulton were among the early teachers. Ma-
honing accepted the free school law in 1840, or there-
abouts, and the township was divided into districts.

Packerton, having a high school, was set off as an
independent district in 1872. Jamestown also forms a
part of this district. The brick school building situated
between these places was the gift of Asa Packer.

One of the most interesting events in the educational
annals of the county was the unveiling, in 1908, of a
beautiful tablet in the school house at New Mahoning,



260 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

commemorating the patriotism displayed in the Civil
War by those formerly connected with the school.
Thirty-six pupils and two teachers of this school vol-
unteered in defense of the Union, as the tablet sets
forth. The memorial was conceived by J. F. Kressley,
one of the survivors. The New Mahoning district,
which contained less than fifty voters during the time
of the war, contributed sixty-seven men to the service
of the nation, a manifestation of loyalty which is be-
lieved to be unsurpassed.

There are now thirteen schoolhouses maintained in
the township, three of which are situated in the inde-
pendent district of Packerton.

Postoffices were formerly kept at Center Square,
New Mahoning and at Pleasant Corner.

In the old days, the mail was carried to these post-
offices from Lehighton every Saturday, and during the
evening of that day the people of the neighborhood
wended their way thither for the dual purpose of claim-
ing the weekly paper or the occasional letter, and for
social intercourse. Later the mail was delivered twice
a week, and, finally every day.

On September 1, 1903, the rural delivery system of
the government was extended to the township, and the
postoffices were abandoned. David Ebberts, who had
previously traveled twelve hundred miles a year be-
tween his home and the postoffice, was chiefly instru-
mental in getting the rural route started. A postoffice
is still maintained at Packerton.

St. John's Lutheran and Reformed church, located
between New Mahoning and Pleasant Corner, was built
in 1850. The present handsome brick structure was
erected in 1892.

Emmanuel's Evangelical church was built in 1868.



ATION*




>5

;2"






HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 261

A Methodist church at Beaver Run, organized in
1881, has since been abandoned.

Christ Reformed church at Packerton was organized
in 1899, while the corner-stone of Zion's Evangelical
Lutheran church of the same place, was laid in 1901.

The telephone is just beginning to come into general
use in the township.

Not only does Mahoning township lead every other
district in the county in the number of its fertile and
productive farms, but it contains more well-kept home-
steads than any other rural section.

MAUCH CHUNK BOROUGH.

The natural scenery surrounding Mauch Chunk,
which is the seat of justice of Carbon county, has been
the theme of admiration for many years.

Its picturesque and romantic situation in the
''Switzerland of America" has justly brought the town
a fame which has long since spread beyond our own
borders.

The place is located at the confluence of Mauch
Chunk creek and the Lehigh river, and is almost en-
circled by mountains of towering and majestic propor-
tions.

Mauch Chunk derives its name from the familiar
conical formation on the eastern bank of the river, op-
posite the town, called by the Indians "Machk
Tschunk/' signifying Bear Mountain.

Whether this is an upheaval, or the beautifully
fashioned result of the action of ice and water through
countless ages, is an interesting question for the
lovers of geological controversy.

One's first view of it is like the lifting of a curtain
from a strange and magical picture. Whether seen in
summer, robed in green, or in autumn, with its dress



262 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

transformed into more brilliant hues, this mountain-
cone, with its glorious drapery, is the marvel of every
beholder.

South mountain, from the summit of which, during
the hours of the night, the lights of Flagstaff Park seem
to mingle with stars, its surface studded with ledges of
jutting rocks and strewn with huge boulders, rises
precipitately from the western bank of the river to the
height of a thousand feet. To the northward looms the
peak of Mount Pisgah, somewhat resembling a volcano,
which effect is at times heightened by the smoke emitted
from the stacks of the power house of the Switchback
Railroad, which stands upon its crest.

Between Mount Pisgah and South mountain flows
Mauch Chunk creek, which is arched over, while the
larger portion of the town nestles in this narrow gorge.
There is room for but a single street facing the river.

Anterior to the year 1818, the spot where Mauch
Chunk now stands was a perfect wilderness, covered
with forest trees and underbrush, affording a secure re-
treat and covert for the wild animals which had their
haunts in this mountainous region.

Where now is heard the cymbal clash of locomotive
bells and the richly rumbling bass of the stately cara-
vans of commerce and where comfort and refinement
dwell, silence then reigned supreme, except when
broken by the manifold voices of nature.

It had been known for years previous to this date
that the nearby mountains contained anthracite coal;
but up to the time spoken of, every attempt which had
been made to work the mines and convey coal to market
had soon proved abortive.

Now, however, the burden of the task which had over-
whelmed other brave spirits was assumed by Josiah
White, Erskine Hazard and George F. A. Hanto, who



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 263

secured the lease of the mines at Summit Hill,- and who
became the founders of the Lehigh Coal and Naviga-
tion Company.

Their efforts were ultimately crowned with splendid
success, and it was in connection with the great enter-
prise launched by these men that Mauch Chunk had its
beginnings and its subsequent development.

The work of improving the channel of the river and
constructing a wagon road to the mines, preparatory
to shipping coal to market from this point, was begun
during the summer of the year already alluded to.

The site of the town was selected from the emergency
of the circumstances.

Had it not been that the owners of the land at the
mouth of the Nesquehoning creek placed a prohibitive
price thereon, hoping that coal might be found beneath
its surface, that location would have been chosen.

The first improvements made at Mauch Chunk were
merely those necessary to the business of the company,
and were, of course utilitarian in character.

That the region was indeed a wilderness may be
gathered from the fact that when operations were be-
gun there were but thirteen houses visible from the
river north of Lehigh Gap.

The workmen, who were under the immediate super-
vision of Josiah White himself, were at first quar-
tered on scows that were moved down the river as the
work progressed.

During the first year of the settlement four hundred
acres of land were cleared, and about forty buildings of
various descriptions were erected.

Among these were saw mills, a grist mill, workshops
and dwellings.

Nicholas Brink, who had previously lived in Phila-
delphia, was the company's steward. His wife. Mar-



264 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

garet, was the first woman to come to Mauch Chunk.
Soon after locating here a son was born to them, and
he was named Josiah White Erskine Hazard George



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 18 of 44)