History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania

H. C. Bradsby, Editor
S. B. Nelson & Co., Publishers, 1893




RICH and beautiful Luzerne county! On thy face the hills swelling away in the blue distance at whose feet are the valleys where the bright waters forever sing their lullabies as the mountain brook joins the valley stream and both rush into the winding river in its merry, ceaseless race to the sea. When civilized man first clambered up the eastern incline of the Blue mountains and looked across toward the far-famed Pocono, and caught a glimpse of what was destined to be one of the most historical places in America, what grandeur and beauty of nature broke upon his vision! If in the spring with the fresh flowers and the now shining green leaves, the returning new life on every hand and the birds flitting from fragrant bower to bower and caroling to the limpid blue skies their joyous return from the south, or if, as is more likely, in "the mild September," when the nuts are brown, the grapes purple, the sumac flaming its red, and from the clear cold brook reflecting the images of the tall mountain top, this is the entrancing vision of the Festival of the Foliage; in either, or in any case, what a panorama of loveliness greeted his wondering eyes! He stops to breathe a moment and behind him, before him, to the right and left of him, bounded only by the limits of vision, what grandeur, what entrancing beauties! Here was nature's master effort of wide, peaceful and quiet beauty. Such rich coloring; such blending of rainbows, brawling brooks and forest-covered hillside; such billows of flame, from the dark gorge to the end of vision in one ever unfolding panorama, touched as is only possible by the master hand of God. Never was the face of the earth so beautiful, so restful, so witching to the human eye. Mountains, promontories and gently rolling hills and restful valleys, all crowned with flowers, brilliant foliage, birds of song and silvery streams.

The first view from the Pocono to the west-bound traveler presented the famed Wyoming Valley completely encircled with its everlasting bills, except where the Susquehanna river breaks through from the north Bear Pittston and winds along nearly through the center of its entire length. In the river can be seen many green islands slumbering in its embrace. Across there is "Prospect Rock" and from this lookout the entire valley can be viewed. The Pocono range extends an hundred miles nearly parallel with the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers—with [p.18] wild and rather desolate summits, but presenting on every hand the magnificent landscapes that constitute much of the glories of northern Pennsylvania. The, Susquehanna river enters the valley at Lackawanna gap, coming in through a narrow defile in the mountain and passes out through a like narrow way below Nanticoke gap, traveling a distance of near twenty miles. The valley averages about three miles in width and the enclosing mountains are about 1,000 feet high on the eastern and about 800 feet an the western side. Then comes Wilkes-Barre mountain to the south, fronting its bold face and almost in articulate language saying, "Stop here!" And men simply passed along the river up and down, while the rugged hills covering all south and southeast of the Susquehanna were left to the wild forest denizens and the tireless hunters. But the white man was swarming from the old world and peeping all about the now. In due time he found the great anthracite coal field of southern Luzerne, and here, in the ragged sublimity of nature, he has penetrated the bowels of the earth and from its dark secrets has fairly enriched the world. The Eastern Middle coal field in due time came to bless the human race, and nature's most rugged and repelling face has proved to be one of the most interesting spots of our hemisphere. When the white man's eyes first beheld this favored spot of earth that is Luzerne county this was something of its inviting wealth and beauties. The great valleys between the mountains were not only beautiful, but on their face told of the rich stores they contained for the future agriculturist. Had the beholder possessed the prophetic vision to see the incalculably rich mines beneath this fair surface—anticipated somewhat the change that one hundred years the magic touch of civilization had in store for this wonderland, could he have believed his supernatural vision, think you? Let the youth of to-day simply attempt to picture in his mind the conditions and appearances of his surroundings of 150 years ago, and after the fairest efforts doubtless he would draw the mental outline wide of the truth. The man who first looked upon this locality could he now revisit the glimpses of the moon, would find so little in appearance of what he really saw that he could not believe it was at all the same. The streams and the hills are still here, but even these are so changed, especially the latter. The pine trees no longer towering straight toward the clouds, but farms, and dividing lines, much like a piece quilt extending from the valley to the low mountain top. In the flat valley, often where once was the heavy timber so gracefully swaying in the breeze, are now equally high elevations, promontories, mounds and hills of calm that have been thrown behind the advancing miners as they dug for the black diamonds.

Prehistoric Peoples.—We call our continent the new world, simply because it is new to us. Both geologists and archeologists tell us that it is a matter of much doubt, but that these appellations should be changed. Geology is the most ancient of all history—the history of mankind is the most modern, because of all life man was the last to appear from the womb of time. Evidences are scattered across the continent that there were peoples here before the native Indians. One certain and probably two other distinct races. They are lost to history, whether one or many. The Mound Builders must have been a numerous race that were dead or a dying people probably before the pyramids or the Sphynx were built. They covered this continent and to this day the works of their slave-lives are seen in the systems of great artificial mounds that we can trace from northern Canada, running southeast and along the whole of North America and the peninsula into South America. And of these innumerable hosts, with many evidences of considerable civilization, not, even a trace of tradition has been passed down to us. Whether this numerous people so long held together by some form of organization—a form that had a controlling head that enslaved the masses, and finally broke up into warring factions and became the builders of the fortifications, with skilled engineers to plan and lay them out as we can dimly trace the remains, and thus hurried all to mutual destructions [p.19] or whether the uncovered cities and remains of public works and these extensive forts and places for military defense were from a new and distinct race succeeding the Mound Builders, we are wholly left to conjecture. History is but agreed fiction, but there is much realism in the fiction, while here all evidences of peoples, of civilizations, powerful society organizations that rose, flourished and passed away, concerning whom we have no tradition. All life is but swift change. The centuries chase each other as the ripples on the water; national life grows old and dies, plunging, into the river of time like the snow-flake. Slowly and painfully civilizations are builded, every stop marked by the blood of its martyrs; every age by its wars for glory and for self. There is no day nor time with nature, while with all else it is but birth and death—the very change that is life itself.

In Luzerne county there exist some remains of ancient fortifications, which appear to have been constructed by a race of people very different in their habits from those who occupied the place when first discovered by the whites. Most of these ruins have been so much obliterated by time that their forms can not now be distinctly ascertained. That which remains the most entire is situated in the township of Kingston, upon a level plain on the north side of Toby's creek, about 150 feet from its bank, and about half a mile from its confluence with the Susquehanna. It is of an oval or elliptical form, having its longest diameter from the northwest to the southeast, at right angles to the creek, 337 feet, and its shortest diameter from the northeast to the southwest 272 feet, On the southwest side appears to have been a gateway about twelve feet wide, opening toward the great eddy of the river into which the creek falls. From present appearances it consisted probably of only one mound or rampart, which, in hight and thickness, appears to have been the same on all sides, and was constructed of earth, the plain on which it stands not abounding in stone. On the outside of the rampart is an entrenchment or ditch, formed probably by removing the earth of which it is composed, and which appears never to have been walled. The creek on which it stands is bounded by a high, steep bank on that side, and at ordinary times is sufficiently deep to admit canoes to ascend from the river to the fortification. When the first settlers came to Wyoming this plain was covered with its native forest, consisting principally of oak and yellow pine, and the trees which grew on the rampart and in the entrenchment are said to have been as large as those in any other part of the valley. One large oak particularly, upon being cut down, was ascertained to be seven hundred years old. The Indians had no tradition concerning these fortifications; neither did they appear to have any knowledge of the purpose for which they were constructed.

The distinct traces of another fortification similar in many respects to the above were found in Jacob's Plains, near Wilkes-Barre, in the highest part of the low grounds. Seventy-seven years ago Mr. Chapman and Charles Miner carefully examined these works, and while they were then but very dim, could be more readily traced than now and of their examination they inform us that its outlines could be best traced when the waters overflowed the flats, when it appeared as an island entirely surrounded by the waters.

The eastern extremity is near the line dividing the farms of John Searle and James Hancock, where, from its safety from inundation, a fence has long since been placed; and to this circumstance is to be attributed the preservation of the embankment and ditch. In the open field so entirely is the work leveled that the eye can not trace it. But the extent west is known, for "it reached through the meadow lot of Captain Gore" (said Cornelius Courtright) "and came to my lot one or two rods." The lot of Captain Gore was seventeen perches in width. Taking then these 280 feet, add the distance it extended eastwardly on the Searle lot and the extension westerly on the lot of Esquire Courtright, we have the length of that measured by Mr. Chapman so very nearly as to render the inference almost certain that both were of the same. size and dimensions.

[p.20] "Huge trees were growing out of the embankment when the white people began to clear the flats for cultivation. It is oval, as is still manifest from the segment exhibited on the upper part, formed by the remaining rampart and fosse, the chord of the are being the division fence. The Wilkes-Barre fortification is about eighty rods from the river, toward which a gate opened, and the earliest settlers concur in stating that a well existed in the interior, near the southern line.

"On the-bank of the river there is an Indian burying place; not a barrow or hill, such as is described by Mr. Jefferson, but where graves have been dug and the deceased laid, horizontally, in regular rows. In excavating the canal, cutting through the bank that borders the flats, perhaps thirty rods south from the fort, was another burying place disclosed, evidently more ancient; for the bones almost immediately crumbled to dust on exposure to the air, and the deposits were far more numerous than in that near the river. By the representation of James Stark, the skeletons were countless, and the deceased had been buried in a sitting posture. In a considerable portion of the bank, though scarcely a bone remained of sufficient firmness to be lifted up, the closeness and position of the buried were apparent from the discoloration of the earth. In this place of deposit no beads were found, while they were common in that near the river."

The most recent discoveries of archeologists have unearthed evidences of lost nations that passed away at least 5,000 years ago; peoples that had organized governments and complete systems of religion, with a written picture language; nations or peoples dying of old age and slow decay fifty centuries ago. Did they, think you, like us, delve with curious interest for the lost remains of their predecessors?

Indians.—This name came from the discoverers of this continent who did not know it was the Western Hemisphere. Their place in history that treats of civilization is a negative one. The race when we found it in the thirteenth century was mentally petrified, and the only good thing it could do the world was to pass out of it as quickly as possible. Fate so ordained that it stood in the path of the ever-advancing, bloody and all-conquering white man. The native savage had no history, and had he remained here undisturbed indefinitely he would have made no more than the same idle, childish traditions that he possessed when Columbus first sighted our shores. He was in the act of dying out when we found him, and it is probable that the white man's coming, with all its supposed wrongs to these forest children, tended far more to prolong that people's existence on the earth than to hurry them to unmarked craves. He was but a filthy cannibal, and the seeds of decay were within. No lengthened existence on earth would have ever caused the Indian to invent soap, the lever that lifts mankind from the wallow to the purer air and sweeter sunshine. If his nature had ever possessed possibilities of good they had given way many generations before we knew him to the baser heredities of the serpent and the ferocious wild beast. In these he was caked and mentally was petrified—cunning, cruel, hopelessly and helplessly ignorant. The only history there is of the American Indians of any intelligent interest now to us is the shore story of their contact with civilization and futile struggles to beat it back or to live in new and strange environment. The Indians built no mounds nor enduring pyramids for after-coming races to wonder at and construct imaginative stories of their numbers, wealth and evident advancement; they proposed to leave no traces for future archeologists to hunt for their "lost arts." While this may be disappointing to the delver in the musty kingdom of the dead yesterdays, to the more practical philosopher it reveals the best thing ascertainable of the Indian's nature. He was his own master; he loved his liberty better than his life; he was not and would not be a slave. That is the pre-eminent mark of the Indian character. You might cage him and so you might the eagle, while neither could be made to do base service, both would die of broken hearts. "Born in the [p.21] wildwood, rocked on the wave," he would be free. Between death and a task-master he had no instant of hesitation in his choice. Some need of genuine admiration is clue the wild savage here. It was that deep-seated love of liberty that is the most ennobling trait in human nature. He possessed a religious faith, but crawled upon his belly before no miserable fetich. His god lived across the mountains and was a great hunter and warrior, who would welcome every brave as a brother hunter in the land of plenteous game. He constructed his god after his own fashion—a fellow hunter and never a master.

The only history due the Indians is where he came in contact with the pioneer, and as such it will be found in this volume where it tells of the struggles and trials of the conquering race that came and possessed this now rich and teeming land.

The mammoth, the mastodon and the huge hairy elephant once roamed over all this continent. There were, too. here lizards so enormous of size that we can now merely conjecture their outlines. The remains of the hairy elephant with long curling tusks were recently found in Siberia where they had remained frozen in the ice for thousands of years, the flesh so well kept that the dogs ate it readily when uncovering the remains. All these monsters were of tropical habitat. The species passed away, so did the unknown races of men. Human, animal and vegetable life in kind and species come and go with the fleeting ages and the slight traces of existence that we find are only of the most modern who precede us. Our vision backward is short and uncertain, before us is the dark wall jutting up against our very noses.

But antedating all this varied human and animal life were the infinitely more powerful factors in shaping the world's destiny—the glaciers that ground their way over this continent—the world builders, fashioning the face of the earth preparatory to our occupancy. These slow flowing rivers, or rather seas of solid ice moving over the land with resistless force, leveling the mountain of granite, grinding the hills to dust, turning the course of rivers, filling the inland seas and making. water beds of the seat of the mountain range. The glacial rocks are found in all portions of the northern hemisphere. Glaciers now exist and are flowing in many parts, but particularly in Switzerland, the solid ice, miles in thickness, moving at annual perceptible rate. The power behind these glaciers is to our finite minds wholly inconceivable. These crystal ships were the first that ever came to this portion if the world. No commander walked their glittering decks, and yet those vessels with gleaming splendors refracting the colors of the rainbow, brought here much of the surface deposit of nature as man first found it. These ice visitations were no doubt regular and a Most necessary part of the preparation for man's final coming. They moved always from the north to the south, and thus run the mountain ranges and the great continental rivers. When our hemisphere rose dripping from the bottom of the sea the highest point would be the central ridge or backbone of the elevation running with the lines of longitude, and then the natural flow of the waters would be to the east and to the west. This is verified by the course of the dead rivers recently discovered. We can liken these wonderful ice movements to nothing so well as the world's finishing sand paper—the mere polish of a round world by the hand of the supreme Master.

Geological.—The first great interest to man is the geology of his habitat. This and climate are the controlling factors of his being, the development of communities and the rise and spread of civilization. Within the vegetable and the animal is always a prepotency toward the better and stronger life. This is the struggle for existence, and primarily the beginnings of life are in the soil and climate. In the adjustment of climates birds and fishes became migratory, as in their simple physical formation this was of first importance. Wingless land animals could not migrate with the seasons and their physical natures became more complex, and ever ascending until man crowned creation with his presence; first in the tropics and in the course of ages he became a migratory animal, ever tending in his movements [p.22] toward a northern temperate zone until his bounding complex nature imperatively required for its full development something of the extremes of heat and cold,— variety of climate, as well as variety of soils, the stubborn and severe mixed with the ever warm and the sometimes coy soils. In other words all nature's products are lazy—man the most of all, and to grow, to develop the best energies, to have life at all that is worth the living, he must struggle for it. The storm-winds drive the roots of the tree deep in the ground, gripping with their gnarled fingers, as a vice, everything they touch. Where nature fills all the requirements of animal life there are the songless birds and the persistent, ignorant savage man. Hence from the temperate belt running round the world has come all better civilizations, all superior intelligence. Extremes of climate whether of cold or heat stunt both the body and the mind, but there is more force inherently in the little Jakuts of the north than there is in the giant Patagonians. The ability to think therefore comes largely of soil and climate. The home of the higher civilization is marked by the corn and the cotton; one of the inhospitable spots of the earth being the shores of the North sea—damp, cold and forever drear—a land of rain and fog, and storm, where the waters trench forever upon the land and where the smiling sun seldom goes, yet this was the breeding ground for the world's dominating races of men. The hardy sailors upon treacherous waters, on rude log rafts, braved the storms and driven by starvation became navigators and then pirates, and from pirates to warriors and from warriors to conquerors and they swarmed out and possessed the known earth and pitilessly enslaved their captives or in mercy ate them. The North sea and the Black Woods had received the tender, tropical, lazy man, and grafted upon this stem its own grim and pitiless energies, bleaching his skin and hair to greatest whiteness, and this animal, hungry, fierce, fearless and sleepless; went out in packs like starving wolves and made tribute of the habitable world. No other animal was ever so inherently savage, and he grew to be a warrior, a fighter by instinct, and then he invented gunpowder, as a matter of imperative necessity, and in time from fighting his brother when he could find no common enemy, he grew from cunning to invention, from invention to investigation, and benign philosophy dawned from a world's long travail.

The long and slow development of the race has gone on in its fierce, blind struggles—never by scientific, but always by the bloodiest methods. And never a moment since the morning stars sang together has there not been the inviting way to produce both the pessimist and the optimist. The course of civilization has ever been upward, but spirally so. Man struggles and dies, and when he is hastily returned to mother earth there are others to take his place, struggle and die in their turn. There is no time nor place for him,to be gentle and good until he is dead. The resistless energies of nature never intermit, and it seems they are merely fate that through fire and blood drive him forever on and on. Cold and hunger develop or create his activities—all his wonderful energies, and he is so constituted that he will only expand and rise when beat upon by the adverse winds and his lazy hopes are riven as by the thunderbolt.

"Life, love and loss—three steps
From cradle to the grave; three steps and then,
Like little tired children in the lap
Of our great mother earth sleep."

The absence of the training and education that would best, fit men to live has cost the human race ages of severest travail—a river of woe and wrong forever running round the world; a raging, swollen stream, whirling, plunging and all engulfing. And ignorant man has suffered and dreamed and lived on in the throes of death. Look upon this little spot of earth, bounded by your short imperfect vision! When civilized man looked upon it, he could see no more than the little of the [p.23] surface that the untutored savage had long made familiar. He knew his squaw could girdle the trees and plant the few seeds and the earth would yield a thousand fold. The white man could see no more than this. In even the first wave of immigrants to the Susquehanna there were men of the higher education of the day. But this school-man knew not his environment so well as the practiced, illiterate hunter, and his life was far more difficult. There was a misfit in the man, his education and environment. His knowledge of economical geology came wholly of the Mosaic account of creation—the literal six days and the job was a completed and a finished world. His school had not taught him that all and everything he can possess and enjoy in this world comes primarily of the rocks, bursting from the earth to meet and be kissed by the wind, the rain and the sunshine. Here is the source of life— the everlasting foundation of real education. A knowledge of the fundamentals of geology would have told him the transcendent story of the future visible on the surface, but far more deeply impressed by the secrets that lay hid under the surface. Life springs from the earth and here are the never-ending treasures to all who can see them and appropriate them. Some knowledge of the fundamentals of geology, even though slight, would have saved our pioneer ancestors the monstrous pains and penalties that for half a century was their chief heritage. Then they would have known at once that which they had to learn by at least fifty years of bitter experience.

The geologist looks beneath as well as upon the earth's surface. Understands the rocks and soils, he knows on slight inspection not only whence they came, but what in the way of minerals or valuable materials are their accompaniment. The earth is fretted with ever new budding life, all coming and going by the unvarying laws of nature. There is to-day, as in the long centuries past, a brooding uncertainty in the parent's mind over the education of children. The fault is not in the parent, if fault there be. Education should be a certain science; unfortunately it is not, and is hardly tending that way. No more now than hundreds of years ago can people know the outcome of all efforts at schooling. In the household, under the family roof-tree, are the best men's highest hopes and ambitions. If he could be absolutely certain in matters of educating the young;. know when he started his child off to school that he was not venturing, not merely trying an experiment, what a sheet anchor this would be to those myriads of rudderless vessels in the sweeping storms. He, as it is, simply feels his own imperfect education—shuts his eyes and sends his children to the hired man to receive knowledge and the ferule.

This wonderful valley geologically extends from Shickshinny to Carbondale, a distance of fifty miles. Its topographical appearance, as viewed from Prospect Rock, is that of a spacious Yale, fading on both hands into the hazy distance. The anomoly is the course of the river which is entirely independent of the strata-graphical structure of the region. North of Pittston, it cuts transversely through the mountain and carves for itself a course over the coal measures as far as Nanticoke, where, passing through a notch in the conglomerate, it enters the region of red shale and continues in that course until at Shickshinny it again breaks at right angles across the end of the mountain race. The hight of the river above the tide is 540 feet and the adjacent mountains from 700 feet to 1,500 feet higher. What is the Northern coal field is a long concave basin from Carbondale and extending north fifty miles; a mile wide at Carbondale and over five miles wide at Kingston, the place of greatest width. The floor of this basin is the Mammoth red stone which is about 800 feet below the sea level, but rising to an outcrop at slope 2 of the Kingston Coal company and at the Hollenback slope below Prospect Rock The Pottsville conglomerate roofs the coal beds. And around every coal bed is the Pocono sandstone, and between these two ridges is a thick bed of Mauch Chunk red shale which is eroded into a narrow valley. All the strata of this region that comes to the surface belongs to the paleozoic era and to the Devonian and [p.24] carboniferous periods. The Catskill formation is found in the Kingston mountains and here and there the rich plant food bearing soft Chemung rock. These strata are of variable thickness, and can be all easily found at Campbell's Ledge. A straight line from Harvey's lake to Bear creek would show all the way first the Catskill sandstone, and along Toby's creek would find the Chemung. On the northern side of Kingston mountain we find the Pocono sandstone. There ought to be here, as next, the red shale, but it is absent; crossing this we find the Pottsville conglomerate, and crossing this come the outcrops of the coal measures with fourteen well-defined viens of coal, traversing the drift formations of the flats. Ascending Wilkes-Barre mountain again, we pass over the coal outcrop and reach the mountain's conglomerate summit, cross a narrow valley in the shale and arrive at the great Pocono plateau and thus to Bear creek. In the seismic disturbances this spot was more remote from its greatest movements than the basins of Carbon or Schuylkill counties. Therefore its general character is that of one great synclinal, the coal seams outcropping on each side before they reach their proper anticlinal. The floor of this Carboniferous trough is not symmetrical. It is crumpled into many rolls that run in long diagonals across the basin in nearly parallel lines, forming, as it were, many smaller or local basins. The number of small anticlinals existing in the substrata is consequently great, and many of them are detected only with great difficulty. These saddles as they approach Carbondale diverge more and more from the general direction of the valley, but become proportionately smaller in the steepness of their anticlinals with each advancing wave. The anticlinals which originate on the southern mountain become sharper as they approach the center of the valley and die out along the line of the Susquehanna. The anticlinals originating in the northern hills are supposed to have the same characteristics, but owing to the immense accumulations of drift on the surface; the topographical evidences are but meager. The geological survey describes forty of these troughs, and each of these, it should be borne in mind, is marked by a secondary series of anticlinals, which though but slightly seen in a map are of vast importance in a mine.

Coal.—The thickness of the coal measures varies greatly. The deepest part of the basin is in the vicinity of the Dundee shaft, near Nanticoke, where 1,700 feet of coal strata is developed. The names of the principal seams as they are met in descending No. 4 shaft of the Kingston Coal company, with their average thickness, are as follows: Orchard vein, 4½ feet; Lance vein, 6½ feet; Hillman vein, 10 feet; Five Foot vein, 5 feet: Four Foot vein, 4 feet; Six Foot vein, 6 feet. Eleven Foot vein, 11 feet; Cooper vein, 7½ feet; Bennett vein, 12 feet; Ross vein, 10 feet; Red Ash vein, 9 feet.

The total thickness of coal is therefore ninety feet. The material in those veins is softer than the strata of the southern basin, but nevertheless it is identical in formation. Professor White says: "Although Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton are distant from each other over twenty miles the same coal beds can be recognized at the two places, showing that they once spanned the wide rock-arch of the Wapwallopen valley; that all the coal fields were once united; that the slow erosion of ages has spared to us but a small fraction of the black diamonds which must have once covered far more than the whole area of the State of Pennsylvania." The stupendous force of these eroding agencies is shown by the presence of the fine striae on Penobscot Knob, which is 2,220 feet high and is only nine miles north of the edge of the terminal moraine. Near the same summit, on the Catskill sandstone, is a large white bowlder of Pottsville conglomerate, measuring 9x6x4½ feet, that was evidently landed there by a glacier that still towered above that point possibly miles. The phenomena of the glacial age, difficult as they are to read with certainty, are not any more difficult of interpretation than the deposits of the paleozoic era. The Pottsville conglomerate is the rock cradle which holds the coal. Why is it that this millstone grit at Tamaqua is 1,191 feet thick and at Wilkes-Barre but ninety-six [p.27] feet thick? Many theories concerning this are advanced, but they are mere conjectures. Everywhere in the anthracite regions this variation occurs. Professor Lesley says: "The variable thickness of the conglomerate must be discussed on one or two hypotheses: either we must surmise extraordinary and unaccountable variations in the quality of the sand and gravel deposited on neighboring parts or red shale sea bottom, or we must apply the mechanical law, that the folding of a plastic mass shifts all parts of the mass to allow of its accommodation in a smaller space." The history of the development of the coal interest of this locality will be found in a succeeding chapter.

Drainage.—The main artery in the Susquehanna river and its affluents, as it winds its way nearly centrally through the county, entering from the north where the three counties join—Wyoming, Lackawanna and Luzerne—and passing out at the southwest on the dividing line between Nescopeck and Salem townships. The Lehigh river forms the southeast line of the county and its confluents, forming the county line from Lackawanna to where it turns south into Carbon county. Commencing at the north line of the county the principal streams that empty into the Susquehanna river are first, Sutton's creek, which rises at Cummings pond in Franklin township and runs nearly east to the river at Sutton's island. Below this is Abraham's creek, emptying at Wyoming. Toby creek is south of this and reaches the river at Kingston. The next is Harvey creek, draining Harvey lake and, going south, falls into the river at West Nanticoke. This is joined by Pikes creek in Jackson township. This lake was named for Benjamin Harvey, who located near its junction in 1775. Then is Hunlock's creek, heading in Ross township and strikes the river a short distance below West Nanticoke. The next is Shickshinny creek, its spreading branches draining the west part of Union township; Huntington creek rises in Lake township, passing into Ross township and joins Kitchen's creek near the south line of Fairmount township, and, after joining, flows southwest and into Columbia county through Huntington township. Green creek runs south nearly parallel with the county line from Fairmount through the west side of Huntington township. Bowman's creek rises in Fairmount township and runs northeast into Wyoming county. In the northwest corner of the county are the head waters of Mahoopany creek, which flows northeast through Wyoming county.

Commencing at the north again the first stream entering the Susquehanna from the east is the Lackawanna river, which joins the main stream just above or at Pittston. This runs a southwesterly course from the crossing of the county line. Then going south is Gardiner's creek, which rises in Pittston township, flows west and southerly and falls into Mill creek in Plains township. Mill creek, so called because the first mills in 1772 were erected on it, has its rise also in Pittston township and flows in nearly a parallel line westerly with Gardiner's creek, and falls into the river a little more than a mile north of Wilkes-Barre. Then is Long Pond creek, which runs westerly along, the south base of the Wyoming mountains, through Round Pond and Long Pond and empties into Little Wapwallopen about a mile from the river.

Little Wapwallopen rises in one branch in Triangular pond in Wright township and passes through Dorrance and Hollenback township and reaches the river at the old ferry road.

Big Wapwallopen also has its rise in Wright township at Crystal springs, passing through the south part of Dorrance township, into Hollenback township, turns northwest and falls into the river at Wapwallopen village. Then comes Nescopeck and its confluent, Black creek. These join near the north line of Black Creek township, and from there run northwest and strike the river below Nescopeck; Little Nescopeck creek is an affluent of the main stream that rises near Jeddo and joins the main stream in Sugar Loaf township. Its general course is westerly. Another branch of the Nescopeck is Oley creek, joining the main stream at the west [p.28] of Yager mountain. The Indian word for Nescopeck signified deep black water. The stream rises in Denison township and is twenty-eight miles in length. Along its shores is the beautiful Sugar Loaf valley, which gets its name from the cone- shaped mountain standing nearly in the center of the valley.

Passing along the southern and southeastern line of the county the watershed turns its drainage toward the Lehigh river. Wright's creek runs south toward White Haven, principally through Denison township. Then is the more important stream, Bear creek, with its many branches spreading like the limbs of a tree nearly all over the township of that name. Shades creek drains the "swamp" in Buck township and falls into the Lehigh a few miles above Bear creek. Many of these streams have their sources in the numerous lakes and ponds that abound, while others start from springs. All have clear cold water, many affording excellent water power.

The largest body of fresh water in the State is Harvey's lake near the north line of the county in Lake township. This is now finely improved and is a noted summer resort, growing in fame with each successive season.

The Mountains in these ranges also run from northeast to southwest in their general trend, some in the lower part of the county running nearly due east and west, as the Bucks mountains that pass entirely throuch the county. Passing north from Bucks mountains is the valley of Nescopeck creek, that extends from the west line of the county to White Haven and branches at Yager mountain and runs through Bear Creek township. Then is the Nescopeck range. Then is the valley of the Wapwallopen, and passing this going north brings us to the Wyoming mountains, spurs of which follow down the east side of the river to Nescopeck borough. Passing northeast to nearly opposite Wilkes-Barre is Bald mountain and Moosic mountain, which are merely different names for the same ranges. From Shickshinny to Nanticoke along the river on the east side are Lee mountains. The ranges of mountains on the west of the river, commencing in the southwest of the county and following in the direction of the river to Pittston and are broken through there by the river and continue their general course through Lackawanna county, are known by several local names. In the extreme southwest is Huntington mountain, then the Shickshinny, the Kingston, the Capouse. Running across the northwest corner of the county are the North mountains, a range that turns the waters north and south on its respective sides.

The general face of the country is broken and mountainous, with, however, many rich and beautiful valleys, among others the world-famed Wyoming valley, one of the large and certainly one of the richest in the world, equally immortal in war and in peace. These were beautiful and coveted lands to the eye of beast, savage and civilized man, as prolific in sustaining life as they were lovely on their face. The Indians following the game gathered here and in time civilization and savagery warred and killed for their possession and in the brief century, with the confines of the county being ever contracted by the erection of new counties, there are here 201,203 inhabitants. More people added to the county in ten years than there are in one of the States of the Union. There are sixty-seven counties in the State, with a total population of 5,258,014. Of the eight counties showing more than fifty per cent. increase in the decade just past is Luzerne, which, with no large city in its border, in 1880 already had far more than the average county's population—133,065, or, in other words, the exact percent. of increase in ten years was 51.21. The marked feature of the increase in Luzerne is more manifest when we bear in mind that the State's increase has largely been in urban population, while in this county it is the rural population that has added the marked increase. This is significant, vastly so, because the healthy conditions of society are not in the rapid growth of cities and the gradual decrease of farm and village life, but in the reverse. The smiling fields and the pure free air are the conditions evolving better lives, stronger men and women—morally, mentally and physically. Thus [p.29] nature and man's energies have happily joined hands here and made Luzerne county one of the highly favored spots of earth.

Harvey's Lake is 1,000 feet above the level of the Susquehanna, situated in Lake township, twelve miles northwest of Wilkes-Barre. It is an immense spring of pure cold water, with a beautiful clean sand and gravel bottom, and varies in depth from five to 200 feet. It was first discovered by Benjamin Harvey, who settled upon its outlet prior to the Revolutionary war. It was surveyed in 1794, when covered with ice, by Christopher Hurlbert, who found it extended over an area of 1,285 acres, a little more than two square miles. It is the largest body of fresh water in Pennsylvania, and furnishes an abundant supply of fish, which, owing to the purity of the water, are of superior quality. The first canoe ever launched upon the bosom of this lake, by a white man, was made in Wyoming valley, in 1800, by Andrew Bennett. It was shod with hickory saplings, and was drawn over the mountain by horses, and used in fishing and hunting.

Beaver Lake, in Buck township, is one mile in length and a half mile in breadth. It is the source of Pond creek, which flows into the Lehigh.

Triangle Pond, in Wright township, has an area of 150 acres, and is one of the sources of the Little Wapwallopen creek.

Long and Round Ponds, in Slocum township, are also sources of the Little Wapwallopen, and abound in fish. The former is about a mile long by a half mile wide; the latter is smaller. Their depth is from twenty-five to fifty feet.

Three Cornered Pond, in Lehman township, is a handsome body of clear water, and constitutes one of the sources of Hunlock creek.

North and South Ponds, in Ross townships, the former covering 250 acres, and the latter about 150, discharge their waters through Hunlock creek.

Mud Pond, in Fairmount township, empties into the Huntington creek, which also receives the waters of Long pond, in Sullivan county, near the Luzerne county line. At this latter point, on the summit of the North mountain, is 2,636 feet above the level of the sea.

In 1777, when this was Westmoreland county, Conn., and its wide territory included what is now Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Bradford, and a portion of Wayne county, there were, all told, 1,922 souls. Sixteen years after that, 1790, in the same territory, except the part of Wayne county above, there was a population of 4,904; or one to each square mile. In 1800 there were 12,838, showing an average annual increase of 793. In 1810 there were 18,109, a slight average decrease. In 1820, with Bradford and Susquehanna counties taken off, there were 20,027 inhabitants, and in 1830, 27,304; in 1840, 44,006; in 1850 (Wyoming taken off) the population of Luzerne count was 56,072. [At that time Wyoming county had 10,653 people.] The following table exhibits the classified population of Luzerne for the years 1850 and 1860:

The following table exhibits the classified population of Luzerne for the years 1850 and 1860:

                                        1850      1860  
White males                            29,465    46,613 
Females                                26,234    43,327 
Colored persons                           373       450 
Families                                9,672    15,065 
Dwellings                               9,587    14,920 
Births                                  1,976     2,956 
Deaths                                    383       878 
Married                                   597       925 
Persons who could not read and write    2,228     3,981 
Persons over one hundred years              3         2 
Between ninety and one hundred              6         8 
Blind                                      10        14 
Deaf and dumb                               8        12 
Insane                                     12        16 
Number of foreigners                   12,567    23,486 
1830, foreigners, 785.

The official figures for the census years 1880 and 1890 show the following in detail:

[p.30]                                 1890.     1880. 
Luzerne county                       201,203   133,065 
Ashley borough                         3,192     2,799 
Avoca borough                          3,031     1,913 
Bear Creek township                      343       159 
Black Creek township                   2,178     1,057 
Buck township                             94       173 
Butler township                        1,984     1,917 
Conyngham township                     1,299       488 
Dallas borough                           415       272 
Dallas township                          885       879 
Denison township  
  including Middleburg village           973       976 
Middleburg village                       532 
Dorranceton borough                      586 
Dorrance township                        742       639 
Edwardsville borough                   3,284 
Exeter borough                           790 
Exeter township                          452     1,021 
Fairmount township                     1,090     1,085 
Fairview township,  
  including Mountain Top village       1,008 
Mountain Top village                     961 
Forty Fort borough                     1,081       478 
Foster township, including Eckley,  
  Highland and Sandy Run villages      7,590     5,116 
Eckley village                         1,241     1,070 
Highland village                         657       571 
Sandy Run village                        596 
Franklin township                        521       593 
Freeland borough                       1,730       624 
Hanover township                       2,579     2,000 
Hazel township, including Ebervale,  
  Hollywood, Lattimer and  
  Milnesville villages                12,494    10,547 
Ebervale village                         567     1,108 
Hollywood village                        598       260 
Lattimer village                       1,051       784 
Milnesville village                      824       572 
Hazelton borough                      11,872     6,935 
Hollenback township                      724       736 
Hughestown borough                     1,454     1,192 
Hunlock township                         881       759 
Huntington township                    1,557     1,596 
Jackson township                         657       661 
Jeddo borough                            358       350 
Jenkins township                       2,320     2,202 
Kingston borough                       2,381     1,418 
Kingston township                      3,809     5,878 
Laflin borough                           231 
Lake township                          1,144       863 
Laurel Run borough                       606 
Lehman township                        1,093       940 
Luzerne borough                        2,398 
Marcy township                         2,904     1,158 
Miners Mills borough                   2,075 
Nanticoke borough                     10,044     3,884 
Nescopeck township,  
  including Nescopeck town             1,456     1,205 
Nescopeck town                           698       860 
New Columbus borough                     214       267 
Newport township,  
  including Glenlyon villag            5,411     1,581 
Glenlyonu village                      2,255 
Parsons borough                        2,412     1,498 
Pittston borough                      10,302     7,472 
Pittston township                      3,284     2,666 
Plains township                        6,576     5,354 
Plymouth borough                       9,344     6,065 
Plymouth township                      8,363     7,318

[p.31]                                 1890.     1880. 
Ross township                          1,102     1,053 
Salem township                         1,303     1,448 
Shickshinny borough                    1,448     1,058 
Slocum township                          409       377 
Sugar Loaf township                    1,854     1,390 
Sugar Notch borough                    2,586     1,582 
Union township                           874       920 
West Hazleton borough                    931       191 
West Pittston borough                  3,906     2,544 
White Haven borough                    1,634     1,408 
Wilkes-Barre city                     37,718    23,339 
Wilkes-Barre township                  2,917     2,445 
Wright township                          152       880 
Wyoming borough                        1,794     1,147 
Yatesville borough                       414       415

Going over the detailed official reports of the population of the divisions of the county, it is striking, even as early as 1860, how much more rapidly the coal-bearing sections increased over the other portions of the county. The vast coal interests at that time were only fairly begun to develop. Since then the rapid increase of population, still centering in the vicinity of the mines, has kept pace with the enormous growth of the coal output, and yet there is no great city in the county. Indeed until the last few months Wilkes-Barre was the only organized city in Luzerne county, and that contained less than 40,000 of the 201,000 inhabitants of the county. Hazleton is just now made a legal city, with only a population of about 12,000. Therefore, it is plain that the increase of population here, the past century, from a little more than 4,000 to more than 200,000, with the territory reduced by the counties of Wyoming, and Lackawanna recently taken off, in addition to Bradford and Susquehanna, that were extracted in the early part of the century, shows a growth of rural population unequaled in any county in the United States.


Postoffices.          Townships.         Postoffices.          Townships.

Alden Station         Newport            Glen Lyon             Newport 
Alderson                                 Forty Fort            Kingston 
Ashley                Hanover            Freeland              Foster 
Askam                 Hanover            Gowen                 Black Creek 
Avoca                 Avoca Borough      Grand Tunnel          Plymouth 
Beach Haven           Salem              Gregory               Hunlock 
Bear Creek            Bear Creek         Harding               Exeter 
Bell Bend             Salem              Hardpan               Huntington 
Bloomingdale          Ross               Harleigh              Hazle 
Briggsville           Nescopeck          Harveyville           Huntington 
Cambra                Huntington         Hazle Brook           Foster 
Carverton             Kingston           Hazleton              Hazle 
Cease's Mills         Jackson            Hobble                Hollenback 
Chauncey              Plymouth           Hudson 
Clarkes View                             Hunlock Creek         Hunlock 
Conyngham             Sugarloaf          Huntington Mills      Huntington 
Dallas                Dallas             Huntsville            Jackson 
Dorrance              Dorrance           Idetown               Lehman 
Dorranceton           Kingston           Inkerman              Jenkins 
Drifton               Hazle              Irish Lane            Ross 
Drums                 Butler             Jeansville            Hazle 
Dupont                Pittston           Jeddo                 Hazle 
Duryea                Marcy              Ketcham               Franklin 
Ebervale              Hazle              Kingston              Kingston 
Eckley                Foster             Koonsville            Union 
Edwardsdale           Kingston           Kunkle                Dallas 
Exeter                Exeter             Kyttle                Fairmount 
Fade's Creek          Lake               Lafflin               Pittston 
Fairmount Springs     Fairmount          Lake(at Harvey's Lake)Lehman 
Laketon               Lehman             Rhone                 Nanticoke Borough 
Larksville (Blindton) Plymouth           Ripple 
Lattimer Mines        Hazle              Rittenhouse           Fairmount 
Lehman                Lehman             Rock Glen             Black Creek 
Loyalville            Lake               Ruggles               Lake 
Luzerne               LuzerneBorough     Sandy Run             Poster 
Maple Run             Fairmount          Shavertown 
Meeker                                   Shickshinny           Salem and Union 
Milnesville           Hazle              Silkworth             Lehman 
Miners' Mills         Plains             Slocum                Slocum 
Moosehead             Denison            Stockton              Hazle 
Mountain Grove        Black Creek        Stoddartsville        Buck 
Mountain Top          Wright             Sugarloaf             Butler 
Muhlenburg            Union              Sugar Notch           Sugar Notch 
Nanticoke             Hanover            Sweet Valley          Ross 
Nescopeck             Nescopeck          Seybertsville         Sugarloaf 
New Columbus          Huntington         Tank                  Black Creek 
Oliver's Mills (Laurel Run Borough)      Town Hill             Huntington 
Orange                Franklin           Town Line             Union 
Outlet                Lake               Trucksville           Kingston 
Parsons               Plains             Turnback              Black Creek 
Peely (Warrior Run)   Hanover            Upper Lehigh          Foster 
Pike's Creek          Lake               Wanamie               Newport 
Pittston              Pittston           Wapwallopen           Conynghan 
Plains                Plains             Waterton              Huntington 
Plainsville, L.V.R.R. Plains             Weintz 
Plymouth              Plymouth           West Hazleton         Hazle 
Pond Hill                                West Nanticoke        Plymouth 
Port Blanchard        Jenkins            Wilkes-Barre          Wilkes-Barre 
Prichard              Hunlock            White Haven           Foster 
Red Rock              Fairmount          Wyoming               Wyoming Borough 
Register              Huntington         Yatesville            Jenkins 
Reyburn               Union              Zehner                Foster


Localities.           Postoffice.        Localities.           Postoffice.

Alberts               Ashley             Coalville             Ashley 
Allentown             Lehman             Columbus              New Columbus 
Ashberton             Hazleton           Conyngham Station     Conyngham 
Avondale              Grand Tunnel       Cora's Mills          Harding 
Baltimore Mines       Parsons            Council Ridge         Eckley 
Barn Hill             Grand Tunnel       Coxton                Pittston 
Beach Grove           Belbend            Cramer's Hook         Sweet Valley 
Bear Creek Junction   Bear Creek         Cranberry             Hazleton 
Bear Hollow           Outlet             Crystal Ridge         Hazleton 
Beaumont              Stoddardsville     Daken                 Huntsville 
Beaver Run            Ruggles            Davis Mills           Harding 
Bennets               Luzerne            Derrenger             Gowen 
Berger's              Moosehead          Diamond Addition      Hazleton 
Black Creek           Rock Glen          Drifton Junction      White Haven. 
Black Ridge           Conyngham P.O.     Duck Pond             Wilkes-Barre 
Bowman's Hill         Wilkes-Barre       Dundee                Nanticoke 
Bradersville          White Haven        East Sugar Lake       Eckley 
Bridge No. 28         Moosehead          Empire                Wilkes-Barre 
Brown's Colliery      Pittston           Espy Run              Peely 
Brown's Corners       Huntsville         Everhart Coal Company Pittston 
Browntown             Yatesville         Fairview              Mountain Top 
Bryar Hill            Port Blanchard     Falling Springs       Harding 
Buck Mountain Station Weatherly          Falls Run             Rock Glenn 
Buttonwood            Askam              Falls Run City        Rock Glenn 
Butzbaugh's Landing   Nanticoke          Fern Glen             Gowen 
Ceasetown             Nanticoke          Forest Castle         Harding 
Charlestown           Avoca              Forestdale            Rittenhouse 
Church Hill           Nanticoke          Foundry               Jeddo 
Localities.           Postoffice.        Localities.           Postoffice. 
Foundryville          Eckley             Moretown              Sweet Valley 
Franklin              Pittston           Morrison              White Haven 
Freehold              Freeland           Mountain Grove Camp   Mountain Grove 
Frenchtown            Jeansville         Mountain House        Millnesville 
Frogtown              Pittston           Mountain House        Briggsville 
Gardner's Switch      Parsons            Mount Pleasant        Wilkes-Barre 
Georgetown            Wilkes-Barre       Mount Pleasant Colliery 
Gradsey Pond          Sweet Valley       (Changed to Harwood)  Hazleton 
Great Rock            Red Rock           Mount Zion            Harding 
Greenridge            Moosic             Nescopeck Gap         Mountain Grove 
Hanover               Nanticoke          Nescopeck Junction    White Haven 
Hardwicksburg         Ashley             Nescopeck Station     Moosehead 
Harris Hill           Trucksville        Nescopeck Tunnel      Moosehead 
Hartzille             Slocum             New London            Gowen 
Harwood               Hazleton           Newport               Wanamie 
Harvey's Creek Hotel  West Nanticoke     Newtown               Wilkes-Barre 
Harvey's Lake         Lake               New Troy              Wyoming 
Hazleton Mines        Hazleton           North Pond            Sweet Valley 
Headley's Camp Ground Harveyville        Oakdale               Jeddo 
Headley's Grove       Harvevville        Oley Valley           Eckley 
Head of Plains        Nescopeck          Patterson Grove       Harveyville 
Heberton              Upper Lehigh       Pencadore             Wilkes-Barre 
Heimville             Black Ridge        Penobscot             Mountain Top 
Hellertown            Belbend            Pike's Peak           Nanticoke 
Hendricksburg         Ashley             Pincherville          Orange 
Henrico               Rittenhouse        Pine Ridge Shaft      Miner's Mills 
Hick's Ferry          Belbend            Pittsburg             Pittston 
Highland              Jeddo              PleasaniHill          Sweet Valley 
Hoffenbach            Wilkes-Barre       Pleasant Valley       Avoca 
Hollywood             Minersville        Plumbtown             Sugar Notch 
Honey Pot             Nanticoke          Pond Creek            Sandy Run 
Hornsville            Jeddo              Pond Creek Colliery   Eckley 
Hublersville          Huntington Mills   Port Bowkley          Plainsville 
Hughestown            Pittston           Port Grifflth         Port Blanchard 
Humbolt               Hazleton           Port Jenkins          White Haven 
Huntington            Town Hill          Powder Mills          Freeland 
Ice Cave              Trucksville        Prospect House        Willkes-Barre 
Indian Springs        Stockton           Ritta Station         Mountain Top 
Iona                  Shickshinny        Sandy Valley          Eckley 
Iron Dale             Port Blanchard     Sax                   Wilkes-Barre 
Jackson               Huntsville         Scale Siding          Upper Lehigh 
Jenkins               Port Blanchard     Scale Siding          Eckley 
Jersey Mills          Plymouth           Schloyer's Store      Nescopeck 
Jerusalem             White Haven        Schloyerville         Nescopeck 
Johnson's Mill        Nescopeck          Scotch Hill           Pittston 
Johnsonville          Nescopeck          Sebastpol             Pittston 
Kocher's Notch        Sandy Run          Sewellsville          Gowen 
Koonsville            Harveyville        Shoemaker's Mills     Wyoming 
L. & B. Junction      Pittston           Shorer Town           Dallas 
Lake House            Lake               Siding No. 7          Slocum 
Lattimore             Hazleton           Slocum                Mountain Top 
Laurel Hill           Hazleton           Sloyersville          Wilkes-Barre 
Laurel Run            Oliver's Mills     Slykersville          Audenried 
Lockwood Lake         Moosehead          Solomon's Gap         Mountain Top 
Lockout               White Haven        South Heberton        Freeland 
Lumber Yard           Stockton           South Pond            Sweet Valley 
Lutsoy                Slocum             Stanton Hill          Wilkes-Barre 
Maltby                Wyoming            Stark's Colliery      Pittston 
Maple Island          White Haven        Stark's Patch         Avoca 
Marr                  Avoca              Sturmerville          Pittston 
Middleburg            White Haven        Summit                Moosehead 
Mill Creek            Hudson             Summit Siding         Moosehead 
Mill Hollow           Luzerne            Tannery Station       Lehigh Tannery 
Milltown              Luzerne            Thomas' Mill          Spring Brook 
Mine No. 2            Eckley             Tomhicken             Sugar Loaf 
Mine No. 3            Eckley             Tunnel Hill           Moosehead 
Mocanaqua             Shickshinny        Tyler                 Harveyville 
Localities.           Postoffice.        Localities.           Postoffice. 
Union Junction        Yatesville         Wintermute Island     Port Blanchard 
Warrior Run           Peely              Wolfton               Mountain Grove 
West End              Wananmie           Woodside              Freeland 
West End Honey Pot Yard Nanticoke        Woodville             Wilkes-Barre 
White Oak Hollow      Port Blanchard     Yorktown              Jeansville 
White Row             Port Blanchard

History of Luzerne County Pennsylvania; H. C. Bradsby, Editor
S. B. Nelson & Co., Publishers, 1893
Preface | Table of Contents | Chapter II
Updated: 19 May 2003