George T. (George Thornton) Fleming.

History of Schuylkill County, Pa. online

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church is prosperous. C. C. Reick is superintendent of
the Sunday-school.

English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Gordon. — This
church was organized by Rev. O. D. S. Marclay, Septem-
ber 3d, 1876, with 33 members. The following were the
officers elected at the time of its organization: Elders,
Thomas Rasbridge and W. H. Anthony; deacons, George

F. Rick, Charles F. Hoffman, Joseph L. Harper, Edward

G. Ebling and Frederick Rice. Rev. O. D. S. Marclay
was elected its first pastor.

A union Sabbath-school had been organized April 2nd,
1876, with 68 scholars and 7 teachers. W. H. Anthony
was elected its first superintendent, which position he
still holds.

May 29th, 1877, the congregation purchased of R. C.
Wilson for $600 a church that had been erected by the
Presbyterians. This was refitted and furnished at an ex-
pense of over ^1,000, and it was rededicated in July,
1878, free from debt. A bell was purchased in 1878 at
a cost of $160, and an organ in 1S80 for $250,

Mr. Marclay was succeeded as pastor May i6th, 1878,
by Rev. D. E. Rupley, and he, November ist, 1879, by
Rev. J. H. Weber, the present pastor.

The present membership is 64; and although not four
years old the church holds property in value not less
than $2,500, free from all incumbrances. Its Sabbath-
school has 21 teachers and officers and 163 scholars.

Locust Dale.

This village has a population of about one thousand.
George C. Potts & Co. erected the first buildings and in
1857 opened the colliery still called by the name of its
projector, commencing the shipment of coal in 1858. J.
L. Beadle became the manager of the colliery, and was
active in forwarding the growth of the new settlement.
The first store was opened by A. S. Moorhead & Co., of
Pottsville, in 1859, and it is still in operation under
another name. The next merchant was Mrs. Mary
Young. The first hotel was built by Jacob Brisel in
1850, and it is now kept by Christian Schneider. In
the following year Joseph Hepler erected a hotel, which
is now owned by William Dunkelberger; and since that
date two other places of " entertainment for man and
beast " have been built, which are in operation.

The first school-house was built in 1S59, on the site of
the present building, and John Wagner was the first
teacher. The growth of the population demanding in-
creased facilities and a larger school building, the pres-
ent handsome structure was built in 1877. W. W. Heff-
ner, of Ashland, a justice of the peace and a teacher of
extensive experience, is in charge of the school, with
Bernard Kelly as assistant.

In 1862 John Dennison & Co. opened a new colliery,
the Keystone, which is still in operation.






The merchants of the place in 1880 were William Her-
bert, Mrs. Mary Young and E. B. Moorhead.

J. L. Beadle and William Rearsbeck of this place
were the inventors of the ventilating fan for coal mines,
first adopted by the Potts collieries in i860, and now in
general use; and Frederick Granzow, the intelligent fore-
man of the Keystone mines, is the originator of a new
dumping process, in operation at his colliery.

Fountain Springs.

This place, where was located the earliest post-office
in the township, was settled as early as 1801 by the
Seitzinger family, representatives of which still reside
there. In 1854 the post-office was removed to Ashland.
The principal institution of the present is the new State
Miners' Hospital, spoken of on page 96.

Fountain Springs contained in 1880 two neat looking
hotels, and about one hundred inhabitants, and main-
tained a union Sunday-school, with a membership of
fifty, and a library of 200 volumes.

Here, too, is Seitzinger's cemetery, where many of the
Protestant population of Ashland and vicinity bury their

Big Mine Run

is the site of the Bast and Taylor collieries, and its
existence as a village dates from the erection of tenant
houses for the workmen at those collieries, in 1854.

The Mahanoy City branch of the Lehigh Valley Rail-
road and the Mahanoy and Shamokin branch of the
Philadelphia and Reading Railroad have flag stations


is also a flag station on the Lehigh Valley for the accom-
modatipn of miners and laborers at the Preston collieries,
and Connors and Rappahannock are similar stations on
the Philadelphia and Reading road, near it.


near the site of deserted collieries, is inhabited by some
of the employes at Potts colliery, and has a hotel and

Big Mine Run Colliery was opened in 1854 by Bast &
Pierson, and operated by them until 1S6S, when it was
purchased by Taylor & Lindsay, who operated it until
1872, when they sold to Jeremiah Taylor & Co., who
have owned and operated it to the present time. The
colliery has been, and still continues to be, one of the
most successful in the anthracite region. The breaker
has a capacity of 1,000 tons, and an average production
of 750 tons daily. The vein worked is the Buck Moun-
tain. Three hundred and fifty-six men and boys are
employed, and four steam engines of 135 horse power.
The firm own twenty-six tenement houses. The coal
shipped from this mine is valued highly by manufac-
turers and other competent judges. The workings
consist of four drift levels, with four main and two

slant gangways, and forty-four breasts, working in fifteen
feet of coal.

The Bast Colliery was ojjened by Bast & Pierson,
in 1835, and the first shipment was made in that year.
About the year i860 Emanuel Bast purchased the in-
terest of his father, and some ten years later sold to the
Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company, the
present owners. There are two slopes sunk; one, two
hundred and seventy yards, the other, two hundred and
ninety-three, on the south dip of Mammoth vein. A
tunnel is driven south from the bottom of one of them
two hundred and seventy yards. Drainage is eft'ected
by an eight hundred horse power engine, running a
twenty-four inch Cornish pump. The total horse power
of engines employed at the colliery is over eleven hun-
dred. One hundred and seventy-two men and boys are
employed inside, and one hundred and thirty-two out-
side. The total annual production is about 90,000 tons.
Two steam fans are used for ventilating, but despite the
utmost care a large quantity of fire-damp is generated in
the mine.

Preston Colliery A'o. i was opened .by the Preston Im-
provement Company, on their lands in the northeastern
part of Butler township, in the year 1862, and was
worked by them and others until 1S7S, when the ma-
chinery was removed from the breaker at Colliery No. 2.
In 1872 it became the property of the Philadelphia and
Reading Coal and Iron Company.

Preston Colliery N'o. 2, located near Number i, was
opened m 1S64 by the same company, who commenced
shipping coal in 186^, and after operating it for several
years sold to W. J. Moody & Co., who continued in pos-
session until 1872, when the Philadelphia and Reading
Coal and Iron Company became its owners. The breaker
has a capacity of five hundred tons daily. The average
shipment is three hundred and fifty tons. One hundred
and two men and boys are employed inside, and one
hundred and fifty-three outside. The workings consist
of a slope two hundred and six yards deep, at an angle of
55° on the south dip of the Mammoth vein, with east and
west gangways. The east gangway is driven about one
hundred and fifty yards, with five breasts; the west, fifteen
hundred yards, working seven breasts, in twenty-five feet
of coal. One hundred and forty-three yards west of the
slope, a tunnel is driven north ninety-seven yards, cutting
the Skidmore vein, with east and west gangways. The
east gangway extends two hundred and sixty-four yards
with fourteen breasts; the west is driven a greater dis-
tance, with forty-four breasts open. At a point three
hundred and twenty-three yards west of the slope another
tunnel, driven south a distance of forty-one yards, inter-
cepts the Primrose in eleven feet of coal, and has gang-
ways driven one hundred and forty yards each, with nine
breasts open. The steam engines in use are one pair of
hoisting engines of 120 horse power, one breaker of 40,
one 25, driving a fifteen foot fan, and two pump engines
of 100 and 50 horse power respectively. There are
twenty-five tenement houses on the premises.

Preston No. 3, located south of the borough of Girard-


vilie, was also the property of the Preston Improvement
Company, and, with the other collieries, fell into the
hands of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron
Company. It has two slopes, one a hundred and forty
yards, the other one hundred and seventeen yards deep;
one used exclusively for drainage, men and material; the
other for hoisting coal. They have east and west gang-
ways, extending in all over one thousand yards. At a
point some five hundred and thirteen yards west of the
slope a tunnel is driven south a distance of seventy-nine
yards to the south dip of the vein, and it has a gangway
east on the vein, seven hundred and ninety-two yards.
This tunnel is continued south from the last named gang-
ways, a distance of two hundred and twenty-seven yards,
cutting the Hunter vein, and having gangways in that
vein eight hundred yards.

One hundred and twelve men and boys inside, and one
hundred and thirteen outside, constitute the working
force. Two powerful steam fans furnish ventilation,
and drainage is effected by means of an eight hundred
horse power engine, driving a twenty-four inch Cornish
pump with a stroke of ten feet. The capacity of the
breaker is 500 tons, and the average shipment 350 tons
daily. Thomas D. Pedlow is the outside foreman.

Girard Colliery. — This, one of the collieries of the
Girard estate, was opened in the year 1864. It has since
been leased and operated by the Philadelphia Coal and
Iron Company. This colliery is situated half a mile
east of the borough of Girardville. The lift, which is
now being worked, and the first below water level, was
opened in 1872; and has four gangways in the Mammoth
vein, two on the north and two on the south side of the
basin. The coal from this colliery reaches market over
the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. About 300 men
and boys are annually employed in the colliery. William
P. Daniels is the outside foreman, and William Waters
inside foreman.

Connor and Hammond Collieries. — These collieries are
situated one and one-half-miles northeast of the borough
of Girardville, and are leased by the Philadelphia and
Reading Coal and Iron Company. They were opened in
June, 1862, by Messrs. Connor and Patterson, Colonel
Connor being the pioneer coal operator of the Mahanoy
region. In 1863 they came under the control of the
above named company, which is still operating them.
The lease covers all the coal on the John Alexander,
James Chapman and Samuel Scott tracts. The mine
openings, slopes, drifts, breakers and surface improve-
ments are on the Chapman tract. This lease, although
the first opened on the Girard estate, and the one from
which the first car of coal was shipped over the Mahanoy
and Broad Mountain extension of the P. cS: R. Railroad,
in May, 1863, is still, on account of the great depth of the
basin and excellence of coal belonging to it, one of the
most productive and valuable collieries of the Girard
estate, and the coal product from these collieries for the
year 1878 was exceeded by only one other colliery in the

estate. The veins now being worked by these collieries
are the Mammoth and Buck Mountain. The coal reaches
market by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad.
These two collieries give employment in the mines and
on the surface to about 550 men and boys. The follow-
ing gentlemen are superintendents of these collieries:
Elijah Gregory, district superintendent of the seven col-
lieries of the Girard estate; John J. Phillips, outside
foreman, William Stein, inside foreman, and John Hauser>
fire boss of Hammond colliery; and John G. Scott, out-
side foreman, and Charles Jasper, inside foreman of Con-
nor colliery.

The Potts Colliery, located at Locust Dale, is just over
the line in Columbia county, but is closely identified with
the interests of the Schuylkill coal field. It was opened
by George C. Potts & Co., in 1857, and it is now the
property of the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron
Company. Two slopes are here sunk in the south dip of
the Mammoth vein, to a depth of three hundred and two
yards; one used for hoisting, the other for pumping.
Another slope — the Wadleigh, mentioned elsewhere — is
being extended to form an additional outlet in case of
emergency. The two deep slopes have east and west
gangways driven to a total distance of four thousand
two hundred and seventy yards. Three hundred and
three men and boys are employed, and 80,000 tons of
coal were shipped in 1879. This colliery evolves large
quantities of fire damp, but the mine superintendent of
the district, in his official report, compliments mine fore-
man Morgan Davis on the intelligent manner with which
it is controlled. A sixteen-foot fan furnishes ventilation,
a five hundred horse power pump drains the Locust Dale
portion, and a sixty horse power pump the Wadleigh
slope. The total horse power of the six engines used in
the colliery is 845. There are 7,758 yards of mine track.
William Raudenbush, the outside foreman, is one of the
oldest and best known in the coal regions.

The Keystone Colliery at Locust Dale was opened in
the year 1862, by John Dennison & Co., and has since
become the property of the Philadelphia and Reading
Coal and Iron Company, by whom it is operated. The
workings consist of two slopes; one 173 yards deep, the
other 153 yards, at an angle of 52° on the north dip of
the Mammoth vein, in coal about twenty-five feet thick,
with east gangway driven 1,497 yards, and west gangway
1,483 yards. The mine is ventilated by a sixty horse
power engine driving an eighteen-foot fan. Fire damp
is generated in large quantities, but is neutralized by the
careful and intelligent management of Mr. Edward Sam-
uels, the inside foreman. The number of men and boys
employed is 214. Seven steam engines of 970 horse
power furnish drainage and do the hoisting and break-
ing. This colliery seems to be fortunate in its selection
of foremen, as the dumping apparatus in use is the in-
vention of Fred. Granzow, the outside foreman, whose
experience and quick perception of the wants of the col-
liery make him a valuable manager.

MANSION HOUSE, Rtngtown, Penn,


This favorite Summer Resort has a great variety of attractions for
those seeking- retirement,— beautiful and diversifled scenery, healthful
climate, pure water, reasonable terms, etc., etc.

CITY HALL, Mah.\nc)y City, Penn.
C. METZ, Propr,

Built in 18T2 by Ferdinand Metz, the father
of the present owner.


Corner of 12th and Center Streets, AsHi.Axn, Penn.


The Locust Mountain Hotel, or " Troutman's," as it has long and familiarly been called, is very pleasantly and conveniently

located on the corner of Twelfth and Center Streets, in the borough of Ashland, Pa. The hotel is very spacious, and contains

twenty-flve rooms, all of which are fitted up with the latest modern conveniences. The bill of fare consists of all the finest

delicacies of the season, served in a manner to please the most fastidious in taste. The dining - room is large and well ventilated,

and wUl comfortably seat fifty guests. The hotel is the oldest in the borough, and its present proprietor, Henry Troutman, Esq.,

has enjoyed the confidence and patronage of the traveling public for over thirteen years, and is looked upon as one of the

leading citizens of the borough.

In addition to the many other attractive features of this excellent hotel, there are three large yards, which are used for
keeping cattle in by the many drovers, the admirable accommodations which they afford making them very desirable for that
class of dealers. In connection with these yards are verS' large and well appointed stables, having a capacity of stabling ninety
horses. There is also a large weigh scale belonging to the place.



HE almost unbroken wilderness that, in 1820,
^^ was the site of Jacob Rodenberger's old
log hotel, remained a tangled wildwood long
after the southern part of the county had
become the scene of busy industry; and the trav-
eler on the Catawissa stage who, in crossing Locust
Mountain in 184S, expressed the opinion that a
man who could be induced to purchase such land must
be a fool, but echoed the prevalent sentiment of the
friends of Burd S. Patterson, a prominent citizen of the
county, who, with a faith untouched by the raillery of
others, had for years predicted that some day an im-
portant mining town would cover the slope of that
mountain, and had taken steps that, in 1S45, induced
John P. Brock, of Philadelphia, and James Hart to join
him in the purchase of two large tracts of land in the
vicinity; one of four hundred acres, from the Bank of
Pennsylvania, at a uniform price of $30 per acre, and
the same area from Judge Gordon of Reading, at $11 an
acre. To these united tracts they gave the name of the
Ashland Estate, and took an opportunity to test the
character of their purchase by sending in the fall of 1S46
an experienced miner, named Patrick Devine, with a
force of men, to develop the coal veins crossing the
tract. During the following year the village site was sur-
veyed by Samuel Lewis, and named Ashland, after Henry
Clay's famous Kentucky home; and the proprietors ex-
pended large amounts in clearing lands, laying out streets,
building substantial tenement houses for their workmen,
and inducing immigration. One of their acts was to
donate to Jacob Larish two lots of land m considera-
tion of his erecting and occupying a convenient and
commodious hotel; and by this act of liberality the Ash-
land House, which Mr. Larish kept until his death, was
erected in 1846.

For the next three years the progress of the new vil-
lage was slow, owing to the delay in the operations of
the Mine Hill Railway Company, that had surveyed an
extension to this place, on which work was resumed in
1851, at which time a renewed impetus was given to im-
migration; and in 1852, when Colonel J. J. Connors, of
Pottsville, leased a portion of the tract for mining pur-
poses, he found that an enterprising dealer, Jonathan
Faust, had opened a small store. In the following year
Mr. Connors opened a gangway at Locust Run, and built
the brick store on the corner of Centre and Third streets,
which was the first brick structure erected in the village,
and was built from bricks made on the site of the foundry
of Jacob Fisher. The establishment of another store was
even then considered a hazardous venture, and its pro-
prietor had often to answer the question — " Where do
you expect to find your customers?"

In 1853 Bancroft, Lewis & Co. opened a colliery near
the iron works and built breakers, and the work con-
nected with the two new collieries drew large numbers

to the place; and when, in 1S57, the citizens, deeming
that they had outgrown the guardianship of Butler town-
ship, applied for a borough charter, the village contained
about five hundred buildings, and three thousand five
hundred people. To the personal exertions of John P.
Brock, Burd Patterson and James Hart, and to Dr. Pan-
coast, and Samuel Grant, who afterward purchased Mr.
Patterson's interest in the estate, as well as to the inde-
fatigable energy and public spirit of Colonel Connor,
much of the credit for this great advance was due.

In 1834 Colonel Connor, who had associated with him
Thomas Patterson, a brother of the proprietor, anticipa-
ted the completion of the Gordon planes by drawing a
quantity of coal with wagons to the foot of the first
plane, loading a car, and drawing it over the planes by
mules, and from there forwarding it to John Tucker,
president of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, as
a present. This was the first coal sent to market from
Ashland, and the first shipped over that railroad. The
date of the shipment was September, 1854. The first
coal forwarded direct from a colliery by rail was sent by
Bancroft, Lewis & Co., who for that reason named their
breaker " The Pioneer." Of the early business men of
Ashland, William and James Cleaver, William H. Bright,
Emanuel Bast, Joshua Weimer, and Nicholas Graeber
are still residents, and actively engaged in business pur-
suits. The only one of them that can claim both a con-
tinuous residence and an uninterrupted business career
in one line of trade is Nicholas Graeber, who operated a
clothing store opposite the Mahanoy House in 1855, and
who is still engaged in the business.

Until 1853 the nearest post-office was at Fountain
Springs, but in that year the Ashland ofiice was estab-
lished, and Dr. D. J. McKibben became its postmaster.
Mails were received daily from Pottsville and Sunbury
by stage and over the Mine Hill Railway.

The first church erected was a small framed building,
built by the Methodist society in 1S55; and the next was
the brick church known as St. Joseph's, built by the
English-speaking Catholics.

The first school building, erected in 1S54, is still stand-
ing on Centre street, and used as a store house; and here,
for several years, the religious services of some of the
church organizations were held.

The oldest framed buildings in the village are the old
store of Faust, now A. Bancroft's, and the Ashland
House, on the corner of Centre and Third streets. Op-
posite the last named house is the first brick building
built in the village, the old Connor & Patterson store;
and on the southwest corner of Centre and Seventh
streets is the Repplier House, which was the second brick
structure erected. It was built in 1855 by Judge Rahn,
and was known for years as the Mahanoy House. In the
rear of this building stood the old Rodenberger tavern,
and near it ran the stage road between Pottsville and



The popuLition of the village in iS6o was 3,880; 1870,
5,714; 1880, 6,045.

Civil History.

The petition for a borough charter was filed and grant-
ed February 13th. 1857. The first charter election, held
that month, resulted in the choice of James J. Connor as
chief burgess; and a council composed of E. V. Thomp-
son, John'orth, Charles Connor, Lawrence Hannon, and
William Thomas.

The following have filled the office of chief burgess:
James J. Connor, elected in 1S57; Jacob Reed, 1858;
George Rahn, 1859, i860; James B. Wilson, 1861 ; Charles
Lins, 1S62; WiUiam H. Gallagher, 1863; Levi C. Leib,
1864, 1865, 1866; Nicholas Graeber, 1867; Daniel Oben-
hous'e, 1868; JohnMuenker, 1869; Samuel McGee, 1870,
i87i;'james R. Cleaver, 1872; James G. Gensel, 1873,
1874,' 1875, 1876; Chris Herold, 1877; W. S. Russel,
1878, 1879; Thomas Glenwright, iSSo.

The borough officers for 1880 were: Thomas Glen-
wright, chief burgess; B. F. Raster, John Lazarus,
Mid-iael Garner, F. Blaseus, Joseph G. Smith, Englebert
Schmicker, councilmen; Frank Rentz, town clerk; Nich-
olas Blotch, Conrad Kessler, and Fred. Krapp, police de-
partment; Charles Beckley, chief of police, with two
lieutenants and forty men, having their headquarters at
the station-house.

Public Works.

The borough council in June, 1S76, ordered a special
election, on the question of increasing the indebtedness
of the borough, to an amount not exceeding seven per
cent., for the purpose of erecting water works. This
election was held July 25th, and resulted in favor of the
measure. July 27th, the council appointed as commis-
sioners, D. Schneider, William Christian, Thomas Glen-
wright and Michael Garner on behalf, of the council, and
J. B. Price, H.Trautman and M. Fannon, on behalf of the
people, to construct works, subject to the approval of the
council. Afterward Watkin Powell was added on behalf
of the council and Emanuel Bast for the citizens. Frank
Rentz was elected secretary of the commission, and he
has been identified with the department from that time
to the present. The source of supply selected was the
Little Mahanoy creek, at a point some four miles distant
from the borough, and ten acres of land were purchased
at a cost of $3,500. The work was commenced Septem-
ber ist, 1876, under Mr. Kassona's surveys.

Online LibraryGeorge T. (George Thornton) FlemingHistory of Schuylkill County, Pa. → online text (page 43 of 109)