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 24 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 24 of 44)
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335



336 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

After this division was made, Towamensing town-
ship embraced all of the territory north and east of the
Lehigh river, within the confines of the county.

Chestnut Hill was taken from Towamensing anterior
to the year 1783, as was Tobyhanna, at a later date.
In 1836 these two became a part of Monroe county,
while in 1841 the lower part of this territory became
Penn Forest township, which in 1843 was attached to
Carbon county.

During 1841 Towamensing was again divided, and
Lower Towamensing was set off. Franklin township
was taken from the territory of Towamensing in 1851,
since which time there have been no territorial changes.

It appears that the first permanent settlement in
what is now Towamensing township was made at about
the time of the Revolutionary War.

Tradition tells of a family named Abbot, which re-
sided on the banks of the Polio Poco creek, and the
members of which were cruelly massacred by the In-
dians. The luckless victims of the hate and fury of the
aborigines were buried in the ground to their knees,
while their bodies were stuck full of pine splints, to
which the torch was applied, and they were literally
roasted alive.

There is little record of the old families who settled
within the present limits of the township. Among
those whose descendants are still in the township, how-
ever, were the Strohls, the Eckerts, the Smiths and the
members of the Beer family.

In 1795, General Thomas Craig purchased the land
where Stemlersville is now situated. The old house
which he there erected is still standing; in 1814 he re-
moved to Lehigh Gap. Daniel Stemler, of Northamp-
ton county, became the owner of the property in 1829.
He became possessed of a large tract of land through



HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY. 337

additional purchases. Upon taking possession of the
property, Mr. Stemler reopened the tavern which at an
earlier date had been kept by a man named Frederick.
He built the present brick building in 1852, and con-
ducted a tavern therein until his death, which occurred
in the year 1871. It is now kept by his son, Nathan
Stemler. Daniel Stemler, in 1864, erected the building
which has since been used for the purposes of a store.
In 1866 it was purchased by Paul Kresge, his son-in-
law, who, in turn has been succeeded by his son,
Charles H. Kresge.

In 1855 a stage and mail route between Lehighton
and Broadheadsville, and touching Stemlersville, was
established. It was operated until 1911, when it was
abandoned. With the establishment of the mail route,
a postoffice was opened, with Daniel Stemler as post-
master. The office was successively held after him by
William Schoenberger, Robert Laubach, Nathan Stem-
ler and Paul Kresge. The postoffice was abolished
upon the introduction of the free delivery system
throughout the township in 1903.

Trochsville, located in the western portion of the
township, near the Monroe county line, is the namesake
of Captain Lynford Troch, who was once the owner
of the land here.

The tavern at Trochsville was built by Jacob Rickert
about 1854. He kept it for a few years, and then sold
it to Captain Troch, who was killed during the Civil
War. It is now conducted by Joseph Schaetzel.

Lynford Troch opened a store here in 1856, while a
postoffice was established, with Troch as postmaster.

The office was after a time abandoned, but was later
re-established as Carbon postoffice. John Behler
served for a time as postmaster, being succeeded by
Harrison Kunkel, who also kept the store. His son,



338 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

H. F. Kunkel succeeded him as proprietor of the store
in 1909, and, a year later, as postmaster. With the ex-
tension of ihe rural delivery service to this locality, the
office was finally abolished in 1911.

The hotel at Seiberlings is kept by J. S. Ettinger.
A grove, which has grown popular as a camping place
during the summer months, adjoins the hotel.

On the road leading from Trochsville to Little Gap,
Peter Jones, many years ago, erected a brick house,
which he kept as a hotel. The place became known as
Jonesville. The hotel was used as a dwelling house
after a few years.

Jerusalem church, at Trochsville, was erected in the
year 1848. The society is union, being composed of
members of the Lutheran and German Reformed
churches. The present Lutheran pastor is Rev. H. E.
Moyer, while the Reformed preacher is Rev. F. W.
Smith. H. F. Kunkel is the superintendent of the Sun-
day school of this church. A Sunday school is also
maintained in the schoolhouse at Stemlersville.

This township accepted the free school law in 1841,
prior to which there were no schools in the district.
The population being scattered, nine schools, with as
many teachers, are now necessary. For the same rea-
son, Towamensing township has many miles of high-
ways to maintain.

The farmers of the township market most of their
produce at Weissport, Lehighton, and Mauch Chunk,
and many of them are up-to-date and prosperous.

The Indian Ridge Rural Telephone Company, or-
ganized in 1909, furnished local and long-distance serv-
ice to many homes in the township. Its line connects
with the Bell system at Lehighton. The line of the
Consolidated Telephone Company also crosses the
township.



'^X HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. , 339

WEATHEBLY BOBOUGH.

The borough of Weatherly, which is the largest and
most important town in the upper portion of Carbon
county, had its beginnings in the operations of the
Beaver Meadow Eailroad Company. Its later growth
and development were brought about chiefly through
the agency of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, by
which the first named corporation was in 1866 ab-
sorbed. The place is picturesquely situated between
the Broad and Spring mountains on the banks of Hazle
creek and on the Beaver Meadow and Hazleton di-
vision of the Lehigh Valley system. The distance by
rail from this point to Mauch Chunk is about fourteen
miles. The incorporated territory of the town com-
prises four square miles, and is bounded on the north,
east, and southeast by Lehigh township, on the north-
west by Lausanne township, and in the west and south-
west by Packer township. It is divided into four
wards.

Formerly the town was called Black Creek, from the
color of the water of the stream on which it is situated.
Originally the dark color of the water of the creek was
due to the fact that dense forests of hemlock grew in the
swamps where the stream has its source; but it is now
contaminated with sulphur water from the coal mines
lying north of the Spring mountain. In 1848, upon the
establishment of the postoffice here, the name of the
place was changed to Weatherly, being so christened in
honor of David "Weatherly, one of the directors of the
Beaver Meadow Company, who was a watch and clock
maker. He promised to present the place with a town-
clock in recognition of the compliment conferred upon
him by the bestowal of his name, but failed to redeem
the pledge. The warrantee owners of the ground upon
which Weatherly is built were Samuel S. Barber and



340 HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

John Eomig, Sr. They purchased the land for the
valuable timber that stood on it. The first settlement
was made on the Eomig tract about 1825, when Benja-
min Eomig erected a saw mill and a dwelling on the
west side of the creek. The dwelling occupied the site
of Elmer Warner 's store, while the saw mill stood op-
posite the Lehigh Valley depot. Benjamin Eomig
moved his family to this place in 1826. The first lum-
ber sawed in his mill was for the building of a school
house in what is now known as Hudsondale. Soon after
1830 Eomig erected a large house on the west side of
the creek, near the ''Eocks," and securing a license,
conducted a tavern therein.

A portion of the Barber tract was purchased by Asa
Packer, and about 1835, John Smith, who was con-
spicuous among the early residents, came to the place
to supervise the clearing of the land and to take charge
of Mr. Packer's interests in the vicinity generally.
Under his immediate directions a saw mill was put up
about a mile below Black Creek Junction, while a store
was opened just across the creek from Eomig 's saw
mill. A little later than this William Tubbs opened a
tavern on the present site of the Gilbert House.

Barring the saw mill, the first attempt at manufac-
turing here was made by Samuel Ingham, president of
the Beaver Meadow Eailroad Company, and others.
They made a certain kind of locks for a time, but the
project was soon abandoned.

Black Creek could boast of but a few houses until the
completion of the Beaver Meadow Eailroad, in the fall
of 1836. It was then made the stopping place for the
heavy engines and crews of the company. The com-
pany at first located its foundry and machine and re-
pair shops at Beaver Meadow. To overcome the heavy
grade above Weatherly, two inclined planes, each about



HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY. , 34^

half a mile in length, were constructed. Difficulty was
experienced in getting the locomotives up these planes
to the shops for repairs, and, in 1840, the shops were
removed to Weatherly. While this was detrimental to
the interests of Beaver Meadow, it gave added impetus
to the growth of Weatherly. The shops were located
near the point where the town hall now stands, and
were driven by water power. Hopkin Thomas, who
became one of the most prominent figures in the indus-
trial affairs of the Lehigh Valley, was the master me-
chanic in charge. The shops were swept away by the
freshet of 1850, being rebuilt the same year. In 1855 a
stretch of new railroad was laid from Weatherly to
Hazle Creek Junction, a distance of nearly two miles.
Upon its completion, the inclined planes were aban-
doned. The section of road replacing the planes is still
in use, and is known to railroaders as the Weatherly
Hill. It has a grade of one hundred and forty-five feet
to the mile, and has witnessed many thrilling runaways.
With the abandonment of the planes the company
moved its shops to the east side of the creek. As the
mines were developed and as railroading progressed,
the capacity of the shops was increased from time to
time, while the town grew and prospered correspond-
ingly-

Weatherly was a part of Lausanne township until
1863, when it was organized as a borough. At the time
of the taking of the census of 1870, it contained 1,076
people. During the succeeding decade, the population
was nearly doubled.

Philip Hoffecker succeeded Hopkin Thomas as mas-
ter mechanic in the machine shops early in the fifties.
When the Beaver Meadow Railroad was consolidated
with the Lehigh Valley he was retained by the latter
company, spending the remainder of his life in its



342 ' HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

service. Under his supervision many of the finest loco
motives in the country were built, his name standing as
a synonym for excellence over the whole Lehigh Val-
ley system. Not only did the shop over which he had
charge turn out good locomotives, but it also produced
good men. Those who served their apprenticeship
under him readily found employment elsewhere, and
Weatherly to-day takes pardonable pride in the success
that many of her sons have achieved in industrial pur-
suits in all parts of the country. Mr. Hoff ecker died in
1891. Another prominent figure in the town for more
than half a century was Daniel Eouse. In 1855 he was
placed in charge of the car shops here, and during
nearly two generations of service in that capacity, he
achieved an enviable reputation for mechanical and
executive ability. The car shops were totally destroyed
by fire on the morning of July 8, 1880, the work of re-
building them being completed the following year. The
train crews which carried the coal produced in the
Beaver Meadow and Hazleton region to Packerton, the
general forwarding point, made Weatherly their stop-
ping place for many years. For a long time Samuel
Harleman was the dispatcher who had them in charge,
and be enjoyed equal popularity with Hoffecker and
Kouse.

Under the old regime of the Lehigh Valley, Weath-
erly was contented and prosperous. Not only was there
a great deal of new work turned out of the shops, but
the location of the place made it an advantageous point
for general repair work. The number of men em-
ployed in the various shops of the company and on the
railroad increased steadily until the early nineties,
when the total numbered over a thousand. But Weath-
erly was too much a town of one industry, and railroad
towns are notoriously unstable. In 1894, as a result of



HISTOEY OF CABBON COUNTY. 343

a change in management, all of the work which had
until then been done in the machine shops here was
transferred to Delano. This proved quite a blow to the
prosperity of the place. Five years later, in further-
ance of the idea of concentration, the company closed
all of its shops here, besides sending most of the train
crews to other points. For a time but about twenty-five
men in the town remained in the employ of the com-
pany, and an air of depression and gloom pervaded the
place. It was not long before a large proportion of the
houses of the borough stood empty, their former occu-
pants being scattered in all directions. But while the
workmen found no difficulty in securing employment in
other fields and localities, the case was different with
the business men of the community. They could not
leave without sacrificing their investments, and made
the best of a trying situation. It is interesting to note
that during the hard times which followed, there was
not a single business failure in Weatherly, a favorable
commentary on the resourcefulness and financial sol-
vency of her merchants and men of affairs. These men
set about courageously to secure new industries and to
rehabilitate the town. The Weatherly Foundry and
Machine Company, controlled almost exclusively by
local capital, was soon organized, and its plant put in
operation. Among the leading spirits in the launching
of this enterprise were Elmer Warner, W. P. Long, J.
C. Sendel, J. F. Kressley, E. F. Warner, Fred Berto-
lette, and others. This industry grew rapidly, and is
now one of the largest concerns of its kind in this por-
tion of the state. It employs several hundred men, and
its products go to all parts of the world. Elmer War-
ner has been the chief stockholder and general manager
of the company since its organization in 1899. About
the time of the establishment of this industry, the Le-



344 HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY.

high Valley Railroad Company reopened its machine
shops here, also establishing a frog department in
another building which had been abandoned. The ma-
chine shop was again closed in 1912. During 1899 the
Allen Candy Manufacturing Company, which had been
organized two years previously, removed its plant from
AUentown to Weatherly. The output of this company
has increased from year to year. About fifty people
are employed, and the capital stock has been increased
from $15,000 to $50,000. A. H. Horlacher has been the
dominant figure in the affairs of the company since its
incorporation.

One of the industries which Weatherly had prior to
the abandonment of its railroad shops was its silk mill,
owned and operated by the Read and Lovatt Manufac-
turing Company. This mill, which, at the time of its
erection, was the largest silk-throwing concern in the
world, was completed in the spring of 1888. Jerome C.
Read and J. Walter Lovatt, both of Paterson, N. J.,
originally owned it in partnership. A large amount of
local capital was, and still is, invested in the enterprise,
however. It is still among the greatest of its kind in
existence, having 50,000 spindles and employing about
400 operatives. Most of these are boys and girls, and
many have their homes in nearby towns.

Another establishment here of a similar nature is
that of the Roscoe Broad Silk Mill. This is a silk weav-
ing mill, employing sixty operatives. The business was
started by local capitalists in 1905, under the style and
title of the Onoko Silk Manufacturing Company, and
the property was leased to the first mentioned com-
pany in 1910.

Sand in large quantities is found on the eastern
verge of the place, and the shipping of this natural pro-






o-f-






HISTOEY OF CAEBON COUNTY, 345

duct to various points has grown to be quite a business
in recent years.

Weatherly is one of the very few towns in Pennsyl-
vania conducting a municipal lighting plant which gives
satisfactory service and is financially successful. The
streets and houses have been lighted by electricity since
July, 1889. The original outlay for this service on the
part of the borough was $16,000. This plant also fur-
nishes electrical power to the town.

A volunteer fire company was organized in 1893,
with W. B. Lovatt as chief. The borough purchased a
steamer, while a hook and ladder, together with other
necessary equipment, was bought with funds secured
through a fair held for that purpose. This company
was disrupted, and ceased to exist on September 27,
1897. A new company, known as Citizens' No. 1, was
organized soon thereafter, J. C. Sendel being elected
as its chief. E. F. Warner is the present head of the
department. The membership is limited to sixty-five.
The town hall, which is also the home of the fire depart-
ment, was erected in 1893.

Weatherly was without banking facilities until 1902,
the First National Bank having been chartered on the
28th of January of that year. Prior to this date the
people of the borough depended on the banks of Hazle-
ton and those of Mauch Chunk. The bank began busi-
ness with a capital stock of $25,000, being first located
in the Horlacher Building. So well did it prosper that
on June 30, 1903, a dividend of five per cent, was paid
to the share-holders. A handsome new building cost-
ing $15,000 was erected by the bank on Carbon street in
1907. An annual dividend of six per cent, is now regu-
larly paid. On March 30, 1911, the capital stock of the
institution was increased to $50,000. It has deposits
approximating $300,000, while its surplus and undi-



346 I HISTORY OF CAEBON COUNTY.

vided profits amount to over $20,000. Elmer Warner
has been president of the bank since its organization.
Its first cashier was Ira W. Barnes, while C. F. Bretney
is now serving in that capacity.

The majority of the people in Weatherly own their
own homes, and nearly two-thirds of the houses in the
borough were wholly or partially built with funds ad-
vanced by the Anthracite Building and Loan Associa-
tion. This institution was organized in 1882. Its first
president was A. J. Lauderburn. From the beginning
this association has been one of the most carefully and
economically managed of its kind, and it has grown in
strength and in the confidence of the people from year
to year. Its resources now amount to more than $200,-
000.

In 1841 the first schoolhouse was here erected, being
located on the hill in the eastern portion of the town,
near the site of the present building. This served the
purpose for which it was intended until 1855, when it
was replaced by a new structure two stories high, and
about twenty-five by thirty feet in dimensions. This
building cost $1,000. In 1869 it was torn down to make
way for a building costing $6,000. In 1883 a frame
building, which is still in use, was erected in West
Weatherly at a cost of $5,500. The building in the east-
ern portion of the borough, erected in 1869, and known
as the high school building was in 1903 replaced by a
magnificent pressed brick structure valued at $75,000,
being the gift of Charles M. Schwab, the millionaire
steel manufacturer. Mr. Schwab's princely gift came
as a graceful tribute to his wife, who spent much of her
girlhood in Weatherly. Her maiden name was Eurena
Dinkey. The day of the dedication of this building,
September 19, 1903, was the most notable one in the
history of the borough. Thousands of visitors were in



^W vo^>^ \






T*\-0




HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 347

attendance from far and near and there was a street
parade in which many visiting bands, drum corps, civic
societies, and a company of regular soldiers, from Fort
Hamilton, participated. Mr. Schwab, accompanied by
his wife and other members of his family came from
New York in a special train to witness the dedication
exercises. Twelve teachers and a supervisory princi-
pal are employed, while the high school course requires
three years for completion.

Weather ly is amply provided with hotels. The first
license for a tavern in the place was that granted to
Benjamin Romig in 1831. The next hotel to be opened
was that of William Tubbs, which stood on the present
site of the Gilbert House. The present hotel received
its name from Charles Gilbert, who was the landlord
from 1843 to 1848. In 1851 the Carbon House was
opened by Joseph W. Leadenham. Lawrence Tarleton
is the present owner. The Weatherly Hotel occupies
the site where the Packer House stood for many years.
The last named building was erected as a dwelling by
Aaron Grimes in 1856. It came into the possession of
Levi Hartz in 1868, and he conducted it as a hotel until
his death, which occurred about 1890. The present
building is owned by Henry Schaffer. The Verzi House
was built by Joseph Verzi in 1882. Harry Gangwer is
the present landlord and owner. Another hotel is that
of Abraham Patterson.

The first postmaster of Weatherly was R. D. Stiles,
who was appointed in 1848. During the incumbency of
Thomas Dunn, in 1903, the only rural route starting
from this office was established. This route leads
through Packer township. James M. Dreher is the
present postmaster.

The only newspaper purblished in the borough is the
Herald, which was established by H. V. Morthimer in



348 .; HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY.

1880. It is issued weekly, and has been owned and
edited by Percy E. Faust since 1886.

A board of trade was organized in 1898, and this
body has rendered valuable service to the community.

The various fraternal and beneficial societies are
well represented here. The Grand Army Post was
named in honor of Colonel James Miller, and was or-
ganized on August 11, 1882, with forty members. Not
many of these remain. A soldiers' monument, which
stands on the hill near the Schwab school building, was
erected and dedicated in 1906.

The borough obtains its water supply from the
Weatherly Water Company, which was chartered Jan-
uary 24th, 1882. The works were built the same year,
and the source of supply at first was Shep's run. In
1883 an additional supply was obtained from Penrose
creek. The water works system now consists of stor-
age and distributing reservoirs, gravity supply mains,
and a high and low distributing system. Penrose creek,
which rises in Banks township, is the principal source
of supply. A storage reservoir having a capacity of
3,000,000 gallons is situated on this stream.

Church services were first held here by the Presby-
terian denomination in the year 1838. Kev. Daniel Gas-
ton, who resided at Beaver Meadow was the pastor.
After 1841, services were usually held in the school
house until 1852, when a church building was com-
menced. The edifice was dedicated on the 9th of Octo-
ber, 1853. The adherents of the Methodist denomina-
tion and of several others also worshipped in this build-
ing.

In 1866 the Methodists erected a building of their
own. The father of this church was Rev. Emory T.
Swartz, now of Scranton. It was named the Centenary
Methodist Episcopal church, because the year of its



HISTORY OF CARBON COUNTY. 349

erection was the centennial of Methodism in the United
States.

The corner stone of St. Nicholas' Roman Catholic
church was laid on October 25, 1874. The building was
completed during the following year. Rev. E. V. Mc-
Elhone was the first rector. This church was for many-
years a mission of St. Mary's church at Beaver
Meadow, as was St. Joseph's at Laurytown. In 1902,
during the residence here of Rev. F. X. Wastl, St. Nich-
olas' was organized as a separate parish. In 1907 the
building was enlarged and remodeled. Various other
improvements of a substantial nature were made dur-
ing the pastorate of Rev. Wastl.

Salem 's Reformed church was the next to be built in
the borough. The church edifice was erected in 1875,
the first pastor being Rev. J. Fuendling. He was suc-
ceeded by Rev. M. H. Mishler, who served about four
years, when Rev. A. M. Masonheimer, the present pas-
tor, was called.

Zion's Evangelical Lutheran church was built in



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 24 of 44)