"Like far-off chime
Of half-heard bells in some forgotten clime,
Pealed from the kingdom of the dead yesterdays."
The last written usually, though the first read by most intelligent bookmen, is this page. Therefore authors often use this privilege to fence against adverse criticism, or apologize for errors of omission and commission; singularly forgetful of the fact that nothing of man's work is perfect, and that the dear critics are not only busy pointing out the "Mistakes of Moses," but are eagerly exploiting the faults of creation itself. In faith, I would welcome them all, because the critics and doubters I esteem the salt of every civilization, and I will rest content in the one fact, namely, that everyone competent to know, after even a cursory examination, will realize that the whole has not been the work of "the idle singer of an empty day."
This book, with all its faults, is much of the story of the bloody defeats and the immortal triumphs of the pioneers, now running back one hundred and thirty years; that marvelous race of men, whose bared breasts and fearless hearts erected the only wall of defense against the cruelest adversity that ever so pitilessly struck a portion of the human race; the men and women, who, with the least resources, accomplished the greatest works. In the splendors about us behold their imperishable monuments!
The patriotic Mecca of this great State is in Luzerne county—focused at the base of Memorial Monument, that stands sentinel over the ashes of the great dead. This is pre-eminently the historical spot of Pennsylvania, and here have come the poets and historians to mingle their meed of praise with the patriotic tribute of the civilized world to the devoted band whose scattered bones bleached on Abraham's Plains.
From 1762 to the close of the year 1892 is the span of the quick told-off-years of the Beginning and the Now of the permanent settlement of Luzerne county—the fleeting years, as unheeded as the separate pulse-beat of lusty youth, yet here are their golden ripening fruits. To add something of the doings of the present age to the careful and well-told accounts of Isaac A. Chapman (1830); Col. William L. Stone (1841); Hon. Charles Miner (1845); Stewart Pearce (1866); Henry Blackman Plumb; Hendrick B. Wright; Sheldon Reynolds, George B. Kulp, Esq., and others, whose writings have been freely laid under tribute in preparing these pages, is the whole of the ambitious purpose of this publication. All of these able chroniclers, except Stewart Pearce, treat on special subjects, and the compiler hereof has found it his great pleasure to weave as well as he could, all their garnered facts into a connected whole and bring it down to the present hour. The late Hon. Steuben Jenkins was the busy and able gatherer of historical data of this county, and the great misfortune is death has dropped the curtain and his matter remains inaccessible to the seeker for facts. To the old newspaper files of the late William Penn Miner, as he received them from his father and as they are in the care of his son, William B. Miner, are obligations for many valuable cullings; also to Dr. F. C. Johnson's "Historical Record" and the same to George B. Kulp's "Families of Wyoming." The quick-witted reader will readily recognize the paragraphs from the facile pen of Hon. C. Ben Johnson. To Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, for the matter of the Protestant churches, and to Rev. M. J. Hoban, for that of the Catholic church, are obligations acknowledged; also to C. F. Hill, Esq., of Hazleton, for much valuable material of the Indians and early history. To the gentlemen of the press and to many others, are especial thanks cordially extended.
From all these as well as still other sources, will be found from cover to cover of this book more or less of over 25,000 of the dead and the living whose lives are linked with that of the county. A goodly contingent, and to them is handed this much of the unequaled story, for them to transmit in turn to their long-coming posterity. Here is a monument that will outlive the finest bronze or hardest granite.
The work is divided into Two Parts—Historical and Biographical, with a full analytical index, which will render easy reference not only to each name, but to every incident of interest in the work.
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