Sh i b e r, 85, Remembers When North End (Wilkes-Barre) Was Field.

As written in the Wilkes-Barre Record, 18 March, 1940
Former City Councilman Recalls 400 Soldiers on
Way to Civil War Camping at Brookside


         "Charles C. Shiber, former city contractor for more than half a century, on Tuesday will celebrate his 85th birthday anniversary in the at 188 North Washington Street to which he was brought from Brookside by his parents at the age of 6. A large family dinner will mark another milestone for this agile survivor of pioneer stock.


          One does not ask the customary age-questions of Mr. Shiber. It is apparent from his walk and talk that he possesses the vitality and vigor and point of view of men a generation younger. Only to read close print does he "bother with glasses."

         He rises before 7 each morning and after a hearty breakfast he reads the Record, to which his family has subscribed since the first issue. A walk to the barber shop for a visit with "the boys" fills the rest of the morning. After dinner he reads, takes a brief nap, and another walk. He gets "to town" at least once each day. When supper is over he reads and plays pinochle at home or at some neighbor's. Between 11 and 12 he goes to bed.


         Mr. Shiber was born at Shibersville (now Brookside) on March 19, 1855, on the 48 acre farm settled by his grandfather, Henry Shiber, who had come from Germany at the age of 20 and settled near the distillery of Matthew Hollenback. Wife of Henry Shiber was Margaret Gruver of Plains.


Remembers Civil War


        One of Henry and Margaret Shiber's sons, Charles, married Jane Blackman, who had come from England, and they had the following six children, of whom only Charles C. survives: William, Alfred, Charles, George, Mrs. Anna M. Rozelle and Mrs. William Frey.


         Mr. Shiber's earliest recollection Is of some 400 soldiers camping on the homestead farm along Mill a Creek at what is now Brookside, en route to the Civil War.


         Thinking to better themselves, the family moved to Wilkes-Barre c about 1861 and purchased a large lot at what is now 188 North Washington Street. The area was then open fields. Here they put up a sturdy three-room building, with living quarters in the basement. A large open fireplace for cooking furnished the only beat. Benches ranged around two sides of the room, for the children to sit on, while shelves above held rows of candles, and a tin cup for each child from which he drank his milk. A basement entry gave onto the back yard where stood a large Dutch oven alongside a summer kitchen, whose frame was fastened with hand wrought nails


         Conditions were primitive but food was abundant. In the yard were cows, pigs, chickens and geese, and the storage cellars were packed to capacity with root vegetables, cured meats, pickles and preserves for winter use.


Carpet Covered Children

         Mr. Shiber recalls sleeping in a trundle bed which stood during the day beneath the massive four-poster, occupied by his parents and on which his father had been born and later died at the age of 90. Often at midnight the parent would go from room to room covering the sleeping children with strips of rag-carpet against the mid-winter cold.


         These sleeping rooms soon became the living quarters of the increasing family, for whom the house was remodeled, a second story added and the whole given an exterior coat of stucco as it stands today.


When the old courthouse was torn down Mr. Shiber's father purchased the materials and from them built for rental a dwelling on the north side of the family home.

The father also built the original St. Nicholas Church at the northeast corner of Washington and South Streets.
Upon coming to North Washington Street, at the age of 6, Mr. Shiber's earliest recollection is of envying the news boy's traffic in papers and of emulating them by standing on the street corner with battle Scenes of the war which he showed to good natured pedestrians at one-cent a look.


         Soon thereafter, he was initiated into the ball games played in the jail yard inside the high wall of the county prison then at Market and Washington Streets, where now stands White's hardware Stores.


 Attended "Pay" School

        He attended school first in the one-room school house at Bennett and Washington Streets, and later at the "Pay School" conducted by Dr. Davis on South Street. At the age of 15 he left school to assist his father in the contracting business. In l891 Mr. Shiber married May Morrow of Plains. Active in relief work during the World war, she died in 1920.


         At the height of his career as contractor Mr. Shiber did large jobs in New York State as well as In the valley. Among local buildings plastered by Mr. Shiber's company were Coal Exchange, Bennett Building, and Second National Bank. About 1929 he had 70 men In the payroll, and on Sundays for rush jobs he paid as high as $36 a day.


         His business folded up in the depression which followed soon thereafter. With his only son Charles, with whom he now resides, Mr. Shiber made an extensive trip to the West Indies in 1927.


         He was a select-councilman from 1899 to 1909 as well as councilman at-large over an extended period."
 Submitted by: Eugene J. Shiber, Easto, Pa. The great-grandnephew of Charles Christian Shiber.


Note: Charles C. Shiber died, from general dibility, three years later on 11 October, 1943 after a six-month illness at his home at 188 North Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors