Fred (Frederick Charles) Brenckman.

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

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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 22 of 44)
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the accommodation of its employes.

Horace Lentz, of Mauch Chunk, was appointed to the
agency of this land company, and during the year be-
ginning in September, 1897, over four hundred acres
were purchased.

Most of the land which was thus acquired by the
company was under cultivation, while the improve-
ments thereon consisted of the necessary farm build-

Those from whom the first purchases were made
were: John Craig, William George, William H. Gru-
ber, John Smith, Smith Brothers, and the estate of
Charles Straup.

The company's holdings were augmented from time
to time by additional purchases, and the present town
site now comprises about five hundred acres.

The works at Hazard, which give employment to
nearly two thousand men, were finished and placed in
operation in the fall of 1899.


Over two hundred acres are covered by the plant,
which is operated day and night.

The finished products of this manufactory are oxide
of zinc, spelter, and spiegeleisen.

Zinc ore, the raw material from which these are
made, is obtained from mines of the New Jersey Zinc
Company in Sussex county, New Jersey.

Palmerton was planned and plotted during the year
1899. An experienced engineer in the person of Har-
rison N. Blunt was now appointed as the agent of the
land company. Most of the improvements which have
since been made were carried forward under his imme-
diate supervision.

Delaware avenue, the principal thoroughfare of the
town, having a width of ninety feet and extending
through the entire property from east to west, was the
first laid out. Lehigh, Lafayette, and Columbia ave-
nues followed in the order named.

After the establishment of the streets, and before the
houses were completed, water and sewer systems were

A sewage disposal plant, modeled after the system
originated by the late Colonel George E. Waring,
formerly street commissioner of New York, was also
installed. Every precaution was observed to make the
new town sanitary and healthful. The result is that
Palmerton has the lowest death rate of any community
in the Lehigh Valley.

Not only did the company wish its employes to live
in neat, substantial homes, but it was willing to make
it possible for them to own them. Virtually it has
acted as a big building and loan association.

Under the plan devised in the beginning, and which
is still in force, the company requires the applicant for
a home to pay ten per cent, of the price of the house


and lot in advance, the company then erecting the house
according to plans approved by him.

After the house is complete and occupied, monthly
payments must be made, which are so graduated that
in three years and seven months, thirty-five per cent,
of the value of the premises shall have been deposited.

The purchaser then acquires title to the property,
while the company takes a mortgage on the remaining
sixty-five per cent., due in five years, and bearing in-
terest at the rate of four and four-tenths per cent.

In the event of default of payments, the purchaser
may under certain specified conditions return the house
to the company, and receive back the money he has de-
posited, due allowance being made for repairs, re-
newals, and the natural depreciation of the property.

Should a man die during the continuance of his con-
tract, his widow may, if she so wishes, receive back all
of the payments made from the beginning on account
of the purchase price, together with interest at five per

This plan has worked most satisfactorily and suc-
cessfully to all concerned.

Lots are also sold for cash, or on the instalment plan.
In the latter case, ten per cent, of the value of the lot
must be paid in advance, while the remainder is pay-
able at monthly intervals, covering a period of two

Unlike most towns, Palmerton has been developed
in obedience to a well defined and intelligent plan.

Not only is this noticeable in the plotting and general
arrangement of the streets, but it is also true archi-
tecturally and in other respects.

The houses are all designed under competent direc-
tion, while due regard is given both to individual ex-
pression and to utility.


Electric lights are furnished at moderate rates,
while the Palmerton Telephone Association, which is a
sub-licensee company of the Bell system, affords cheap
and efficient service in this direction.

A little to the westward of the center of the town,
and fronting on Delaware avenue is a beautiful public
park, nine acres in extent.

This park, with its scheme of ornamentation, was de-
signed by Major Barrett, a famous New York land-
scape engineer, who died before the completion of the

Many thousands of dollars have been expended by
the company in its maintenance and improvement.

One of the beauty spots of Palmerton is that portion
known as ' ' The Reservation. ' '

Here, thirteen acres of land have been set aside by
the zinc company as a place of residence for the local
heads of its various departments.

In 1908 the company established a hospital which is
open to the public. Three years later, a large addition
was built to it.

This is the only institution of its kind in Carbon
county. It has from the beginning been in charge of
Doctor John W. Luther, and is furnished with X-ray
apparatus, laboratories, and full modern equipment.

Having made ample provision for the physical and
material well-being of its workmen and their families,
the company did not stop here.

Proceeding on a principle which is frequently ig-
nored and lost sight of, it was felt by those in authority
that corporation responsibility toward the human
beings under their charge warranted the support of an
institution that would offer fuller opportunities of life,
not only to their employes, but to their wives and chil-





Accordingly, in 1907, a sociological department was
organized and a neighborhood house established.

The children of kindergarten age were provided with
playgrounds, amusements, and instruction suited to
their understanding.

Manual training and general educational facilities
were supplied for the larger boys, while classes in
domestic science and industrial handwork were organ-
ized for the girls.

Eeading and lounging rooms for men were fitted up,
and, during the winter months, mothers' meetings, de-
voted to the general conduct of the home, were held.

As the work grew, larger quarters became necessary.
A new neighborhood house, opened during the summer
of 1911, was erected. This is now the social and civic
center of the town.

Every facility for carrying on the work which has
already been outlined is provided for in this building.
It also contains a well selected circulating library; a
gymnasium, which can quickly be converted into a
small theatre or auditorium; bowling alleys, club
rooms, with pool and billiard tables, baths, and the like,
the equal of any to be found in the Young Men's Chris-
tian Associations or clubs of the large cities.

Miss Florence Hughes, an experienced settlement
worker, and a graduate of Pratt Institute, with a corps
of trained assistants, has been in charge of the work
from the start.

Every attempt is made to encourage individual en-
terprise, and to those desiring sites for manufacturing,
business, or residence purposes, Palmerton offers
many attractions and advantages.

A large addition to the company's works, situated
east of the town, opposite Millport, has recently been
built, and further extensions are contemplated.


Palmerton is well supplied with schools, churches,
stores, and hotel accommodations.

The town grew so rapidly that the problem of pro-
viding school accommodations was a difficult one for
the township authorities to solve. In 1909, however, a
handsome brick building, housing all the schools of
Palmerton, as well as the high school of the township,
was erected. The high school was established in 1904.

The first church to be erected in this immediate vi-
cinity was that of the Evangelical Association, built in
1844, largely through the efforts of Jacob Snyder and
Jacob Bauman.

This was the mother of quite a number of the
churches of this denomination in the Lehigh Valley.
When the United Evangelical church was organized
the old building was abandoned. It is still standing
and is put to occasional uses.

Trinity United Evangelical church was built in 1896.
A union Sunday school chapel was erected by the Re-
formed and Lutheran people in 1902.

St. John's Protestant Episcopal church was given
to the people of the town by Stephen S. Palmer as a
memorial to his wife. It is a beautiful edifice, and is
constructed of native stone, having been designed by
H. J. Hardenbergh, a celebrated New York architect.
The church was dedicated in 1906.

The Roman Catholic church here was built in 1908.

The corner stone of the First Reformed church was
laid during the month of January, 1912.

Missions have also been established in the town by
the Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, and these
will no doubt become self-sustaining congregations.

The principal hotel of Palmerton is the Horse Head
Inn, a splendid hostelry, opened in 1900.










The remaining hotels are the Palmerton, "Waldorf,
Golden Anvil, and that until recently conducted by Cal-
vin Nicholas.

Palmerton 's post-office was established in 1900.
Prior to that date the office was located at Lehigh Gap.
During 1911, the postal savings system of the govern-
ment was extended to this place.

Early in January, 1907, the First National Bank of
Palmerton, having a capital stock of $25,000, was or-
ganized. D. 0. Straup and Allen Craig have served
the institution as president and cashier, respectively,
from the beginning.

The water supply of the place is obtained from arte-
sian wells, situated on the slope of the Blue mountain,
south of town. These wells furnish about 400,000 gal-
lons every twenty-four hours.

During the fall of 1911, the Towamensing Volunteer
Fire Company was organized, with Thomas Craig as
president. A lot and building were provided by the
company, and modern equipment has been installed.

The Chestnut Ridge Railway, extending from this
place to Kunkeltown, Monroe county, which is ten miles
distant, connects at Palmerton with the Central Rail-
road of New Jersey.

The tracks of this road have been elevated through

An independent industry of the town is the silk mill
of the Read and Lovatt Manufacturing Company, es-
tablished in 1903.

At the first borough election, held in November, 1912,
Dr. John W. Luther was chosen to fill the office of chief



The borough of Parryville is located on the eastern
bank of the Lehigh river and on the line of the Central
Railroad of New Jersey, about half a dozen miles
below Mauch Chunk.

The first settler here was Peter Frantz, who came to
the locality in 1780. Leonard Beltz and Frederick
Scheckler took up land in this vicinity in 1781.

Soon thereafter Scheckler and Frantz erected a
stone grist mill on the banks of Poho Poco creek, which
flows into the Lehigh at this point. This property
passed into the possession of Peter and Jacob Stein
in 1815. The latter conducted the mill, while the
former built a large stone hotel, which was later util-
ized as a dwelling house.

Upon the organization of the Pine Forest Lumber
Company, about 1836, this place was made its head-
quarters. The company owned extensive tracts of rich
timber land in the northern part of the county and in
the southern portion of Luzerne. Its mills were estab-
lished on Poho Poco creek, near the river, and the
manufacture of lumber, was carried on on a large scale.
The president of the company was Daniel Parry, and
as the settlement grew up around these mills, the place
became known as Parrysville, and later, Parryville.

In 1836, the Beaver Meadow Railroad Company com-
pleted its line to the opposite side of the river from
this place, and Parryville became the terminus and
shipping point.

The coal w^s here transferred from the railroad
cars to the boats of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation
Company. The freshet of 1841, however, swept away
the wharves, trestle work, and chutes of the company,
together with the roadbed from Parryville to Penn
Haven Junction. The railroad was rebuilt from Penn




Haven to Maiich Chunk, but the stretch from the latter
place to Parryville was abandoned. From this time
forth, Mauch Chunk was the shipping point of the
Beaver Meadow Company.

New life was injected into the village when, about
1855, Dennis Bauman, his brother Henry, and others,
established an anthracite blast furnace here. This fur-
nace was run by water power furnished by Poho Poco
creek until 1857. More capital being necessary to the
proper conduct of the business, a stock company,
known as the Carbon Iron Company, was then formed,
Dennis Bauman being chosen as its president. The
new company made various improvements and in-
creased the capacity of the works. The water power
of the creek was now no longer adequate, and steam
was introduced as the motive power. An additional
furnace was erected in 1864, and another in 1869; but
the revolution which took place in the iron business
about this time and the great panic of the seventies,
which closed up nearly every iron manufacturing es-
tablishment in the Lehigh Valley, worked severe hard-
ship to the company.

In the year 1876, the property passed into the hands
of the Carbon Iron and Pipe Company, and a pipe
manufacturing department was added. The experi-
ment of making pipe out of iron direct from the cupola
was tried at this place, but without success. Large
quantities of pipe were, however, turned out in ac-
cordance with the established process. The works are
now operated by the Carbon Iron and Steel Company,
of which M. S. Kemmerer, of Mauch Chunk, is chair-
man. This is the only iron furnace in the Lehigh Val-
ley lying north of the Blue mountain. It is the only
industry in the village.

Parryville became an independent school district on
March 4, 1867.


It was incorporated as a borough early in the year
1875, Dennis Bauman serving as its first chief bur-
gess. The town had 657 inhabitants in 1880. In 1900
the population numbered 723, but during the last de-
cade there was a falling off in the number of people
living here.

The first road passing through this locality was that
built by the Moravians in 1748, extending from Bethle-
hem to Gnadenhiitten. It was known in this region as
the Fire Line Road, and described a loop over the hills
between Parryville and Bowmanstown. From 1756 to
1761, during the time when Fort Allen was garrisoned,
it was used as a military road.

At the time of the massacre of Gnadenhiitten, a com-
pany of militia from the Irish settlement in Northamp-
ton county are said to have come in pursuit of the In-
dians as far as the hill overlooking the hollow where
Parryville now stands. Fearing to go any farther in
the darkness, they are said to have fired down into the
bushes, and to have then departed. From this circum-
stance the term *'Fire Line" is supposed by some to
have been derived. Others adhere to the belief that the
name had its origin from the fact that the elevated
ground traversed by the road in question was em-
ployed to build signal fires upon during the Indian war

The first schoolhouse here was opened about the
year 1820. Like most of the other schoolhouses erected
through the region at that time, it was of logs. The
annual term amounted to but three months. A modern
brick structure now houses the three schools of the

Public religious services were first conducted at
Parrj^ille about the year 1840. Meetings were first
held in the schoolhouse, while Methodist ministers also


addressed meetings at occasional intervals in private

In 1863 the Methodists built a brick church which was
dedicated on the 13th of December of that year by-
Bishop Scott.

The present building of the Reformed denomination
was erected in 1897, the edifice previously used having
been destroyed by fire in 1896.

There is also an Evangelical church in the town.
The Iron Exchange and the Fairview Inn are the only
hotels in the place. The latter was licensed in 1907,
having formerly been occupied as a dwelling by Dennis
Bauman. It is now the property of his son, Robert


Penn Forest township is bounded on the north by
Kidder, on the east by Monroe county, on the south by
Franklin and Towamensing townships, and on the west
by the Lehigh river. Prior to the year 1768 it was a
part of that vast district lying north of the Blue Ridge
which was known as * ' Towamensing, " or * ' the wilder-
ness." Being then divided, Towamensing township
contained all of Northampton county lying east of the
Lehigh, and thirty-six miles north of the Blue Ridge.
Following the War of Independence, part of the terri-
tory now belonging to Monroe county and that com-
prised within the confines of Kidder and Penn Forest
townships was set off as Tobyhanna township, which
became a part of Monroe county upon its organization
in 1836. In 1842 Tobyhanna township was divided, and
that portion of territory now contained within the
limits of Kidder and Penn Forest townships was
named "Penn Forest." When Carbon county was
erected, in 1843, Penn Forest township became a part


thereof, while, in 1849, the northern portion was set off
as Kidder township. Muddy run forms the northern
boundary of the township, while Drake, Stony, and
Bear creeks are the other principal streams. All of
these flow eastwardly into the Lehigh. Wild creek
flows through the southeastern section. The Pocono
mountain traverses the township, and much of its sur-
face is wild and rough. Dense forests of pine and
hemlock formerly flourished here, and the region is
still indefinitely referred to as the "Pine Swamp." In
the early days this swamp, which extends northward
into Luzerne county, was known as the ''Great
Swamp," or the "Shades of Death." It received the
latter appellation after the battle of Wyoming, when
many of those who had escaped from the clutches of
the Indians flew to it for protection, and perished
within its gloomy shades. It was in this swamp, too,
that Teedyuscung and his warriors had their hiding
places during the Indian war of 1755-56.

An interesting incident in the early history of Penn
Forest township was the capture, here effected, of a
detachment of insurgents who had raised the standard
of revolt against the Federal Government in what is
known as Fries' Rebellion, which took place princi-
pally in Bucks and Northampton counties in the fall
and winter of 1798-99. This organized opposition to
constituted authority has also been variously termed
the "Milford Rebellion," the "Hot Water War," and
the "House Tax War." Soon after the inauguration
of John Adams as President of the United States, on
March 4, 1797, a number of laws were passed which
were looked upon with great disfavor by many of the
people of the country. Among them were the alien
and sedition laws, and another known as the house tax
law. This last named law was a crude and ill-con-


sidered measure, and the efforts of the government to
enforce it met with particular opposition thoughout
eastern Pennsylvania. According to the provisions of
the act, assessors were directed to measure, count and
register the panes of glass in each and every house,
and to make their number and size the basis of a direct
tax for government revenue. Opposition to this
scheme of taxation first manifested itself in public
meetings of protest; later, threats were made, while
occasionally those who attempted to enforce the law
were assaulted and imprisoned. It appears that the
most violent and uncompromising opponent of the law
was John Fries, a Philadelphia vendue crier, who also
had a taste for soldiering and politics, and who trav-
eled about the country in pursuit of his daily occupa-
tion. Through his influence the rebellion was actually
organized in Lower Milford township, Bucks county,
on October 5, 1798, when fifty men attached their sig-
natures to an ultimatum declaring open revolt if
further efforts were made to enforce the law. There
was no response from the government to this declara-
tion of war, one of the most peculiar ever issued by
any band of insurgents in our annals. One of its
features was that every assessor doing his duty, or
attempting to do it, should be shot in the legs, taken
into custody, and fed on rotten corn. In a short time
four hundred men had flocked to the banner of revolt,
and, led by Fries, who wore a plume in his hat and
carried a sword, this army in jubilant spirits started
out in quest of United States assessors who were at-
tending to their duties. The army marched northward
into Northampton county, its ranks being swelled by
additional recruits as it proceeded conqueringly from
one neighborhood to another. Scores of citizens who
had been arrested and cast into prison for opposing the


'* house tax law" were liberated, while the United
States marshals who had taken them into custody were
themselves jailed. Upon promising to discontinue
their duties, the officers of the law were set free.

Nearing Easton, Fries was advised to retrace his
steps, being informed that the people of Northampton
county were strong enough to resist the enforcement of
the obnoxious law without re-enforcements. Fries,
however, thirsted for military glory, and refused to
return. Moving up the Lehigh Valley, he and his men
continued arresting assessors, shooting them in the
feet and putting them in barns as prisoners. Beaching
the Irish settlement. Fries was confronted by Colonel
Thomas Craig, who had fought in the Revolution, and
who later came to what is now Carbon county. Colonel
Craig was loyal to the government which he had aided
in establishing, and he peremptorily ordered the insur-
gents to disperse. Wlien they manifested hesitation in
complying with the request, the Home Guards, who had
seen service in the War of Independence, were ordered
to report for action. But before blood was shed, the
insurgents had separated, one portion going south and
the other making for the Pine Swamp in Penn Forest
township, where many of them were captured by a de-
tachment of General McPherson's troops on their way
from the scene of the Whiskey Rebellion in the western
part of the state. One of those taken captive paid
the death penalty, — not for the treason of which he
was guilty, but for highway robbery, a felony in those

Fries and those of his followers who remained loyal
to him were pursued and taken prisoners in the lower
part of Northampton county. The leader of the revolt
and his lieutenants were tried in the United States
Court at Philadelphia. Fries was found guilty of trea-


son and sentenced to be hanged ; but his execution was
postponed and he was finally pardoned by President
Adams. His subordinates were also leniently dealt

The solitude which reigned in the virgin forests that
covered the ground now contained within the limits of
Penn Forest township was not disturbed by the sound
of the lumberman's axe imtil about 1835.

About this time companies were formed for the pur-
pose of removing and manufacturing the timber. Mills
were soon erected at available sites on the streams,
and around these temporary settlements sprang up.
In addition to the dwellings of the laborers, these cen-
ters of activity usually contained a store, a tavern and
a schoolhouse. During the years intervening between
1840 and 1860 most of the valuable timber was cut and
marketed, although lumbering operations on a large
scale were carried on for many years after this date.
As time elapsed, fires in the woods destroyed many of
the mills and much of the timber. Some of the mills
were rebuilt and others not, while the denuded lands
were allowed to remain desolate and unproductive.

Of the many fires which wrought havoc in the woods

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 22 of 44)