Fairmount was taken from Huntington [Township] in April 1834. It has 1,085 inhabitants.
Previous to the adoption of the State constitution of 1838, Jacob Ogden and Levi Seward were commissioned by the governor as justices. Justices have been elected under the new constitution as follows: Levi Seward and Silas Callendar, 1840; Jonathan Pennington and James Laycock, 1845; J.C. Pennington and James F. Laycock, 1850; James F. Laycock and John H. Smith, 1855; William P. Robinson and Jacob Seeley, 1860; William P. Robinson and Thomas Ogden, 1865 and 1870. Nathan Kleintob and Thomas Ogden, 1875.
The south half of the township is quite thickly settled and embraces fertile farming lands. The north portion of the township embraces North Mountain, a spur of the Alleghanies. This mountain was so named from the fact of its being the northerly one of two mountains over which the old turnpike crossed. Its summit is 2,000 feet above the Susquehanna [River] at Beach Haven, and from it can be seen ten of the counties in this state, also the celebrated Water Gap on the Delaware [River.]
In the summer of 1878 Colonel Ricketts built an observatory on the top of this mountain, and made it easy to access by a winding road up the mountain. This tower, 50 feet in height, with a 16-foot base, was destroyed by a gale in the latter part of 1878. Another [tower], broader and higher, is being built by the same gentleman.
One of the most important industries of this township is the manufacture of maple sugar and syrup. The harvest is usually abundant and lasts about six weeks each year. Most of the timber in the township is sugar maple. There are several large sugar orchards containing from 500 to 5,000 trees each, averaging one and a quarter pounds per tree.
There are hotel accomodations at Fairmount Springs for those visiting that place as a summer resort. There is also a store at this lace, one at Red Rock, and one at Laycock's on Huntington Creek, in the southeast corner of the township. At this place also is a wagon and sleigh manufactory. There are also several blacksmiths and other artisans in the township, and a number of saw-mills.
EARLY SETTLERS and BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
Jacob Long is supposed to have been one of the early settlers, if not the first. Some of his descendants are still on the old homestead in the south part of the township. He came in 1792, journeying from the Delaware River with an ox team, and brought with him quite a large family and a stock of provisions, which was expected to last until more could be raised. As often happens in a new country, the provisions would not last unless served out in rations. The old mortar and pestle constituted the only grist-mill until one was built at Wapwallopen, and then there was no road to it, and the old pioneer had to take his grist on his shoulder and his rifle in hand and march, marking the route as he went through the woods that he might not go astray as he returned.
Joseph Potter, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, was the first settler at Fairmount Springs. He located here long before the old Tioga turnpike was built.
Charles Fritz is one of the early settlers in the south part of the township. He was a soldier of the War of 1812, and is now eighty-eight years of age. He has several children living near him.
George Gearhart, another pioneer and also a soldier of the War of 1812, located in the southwest part of the township. Although eighty-eight years old, he is as ready and intelligent as most men at fifty. He has lived to bestow his blessing upon twelve children, eighty-two grandchildren and fifty-three great-grandchildren.
Peter Boston, another early settler, now eighty-five years age, located on Maple Run, near the center of the south half of the township. He owns and operates a saw mill, doing most of the work himself. He came here in 1820, and has been one of the most successful hunters of his day. He has killed over 400 bears, 1,000 deer, 20 catamounts, wolves ad infinitum.
Joseph Moss located at what is now known as Moss's Corners, south of Boston's, in the Maple Run valley. At this crossing are the Moss Methodist church and the Moss school-house.
The pioneer tavern was kept by Gad Seward, in 1818, at Fairmount Springs. It was a favorite resort for all inclined to mirth, as Gad was always ready with a side-splitting story, and for a mug of hot "flip" he could not be beaten. His larders always supplied with the best game and fish of the season, and the traveler, wearied with stage coaching on the Tioga turnpike, was sure to leave Gad's hostelry refreshes as with new wine.
About the same time Andrew Horn opened a popular tavern at Red Rock, at the foot of North Mountain. His place, being nearer the North Mountain, became more of a resort for hunters and fishermen.
The pioneer foundry of Fairmount was built by Shadrach Lacock in 1830, in the southeast corner of the township, on Huntington Creek. The Lacock plow, quite celebrated in its day, was made here. In 1874 D.E. Rittenhouse built his present foundry.
The first post-office was established in 1835, with J.C. Pennington as postmaster. He was succeeded by Jeremiah Britton. The office was that now called Fairmount Springs. It was first named "Fairmount Township" post-office. The next office was established at Red Rock, and the first postmaster there was Truman D. Taylor.
As in other newly settled portions of our country, the pioneer of Fairmount Township traveled from place to place guided only by marked trees. Next would come the under-brushing and cutting out, to make room for the ox team and sled, and then other improvements followed until roads were made. The first of these were in the southeast part of the township, and from there they ran westerly and northwesterly along Maple Run.
The Susquehanna and Tioga turnpike runs along and nearly parallel with the west border of the township from its south line neat S. White's place, northerly through Fairmount Springs and Red Rock, to a point south of Dodson's pond, where it turns into Sullivan County. It was commenced in 1811; work was suspended during the War of 1812, but resumed in 1816, and the road was completed through this township in 1818. It was built by a stock company, and paid a good dividend till travel was diverted to the steam channel. In 1845 it was abandoned by the company and surrendered to the township.
The first stage-drivers and mail-carriers over this line were Joshua Dodson, Timothy H. Tubbs and S. Headley.
EARLY and LATER SCHOOLS
The pioneer school-house in this township was built of logs, in or about 1794, near the site of the Methodist Episcopal camp ground, between Huntington Mills and Kitchen's Creek [now called Patterson Grove]. The first teacher of whom we have any account was Mrs. Margaret Trescott, mother of Colonel E.L. Trescott, now living in Huntington [Mills]. She taught the school in the summer of 1796.
In 1824 a school-house was built at Fairmount Springs, on the old Susquehanna and Tioga turnpike. This was a double log house, built for both church and school purposes. The pioneer teacher was Miss Paulina Culver, who taught there in the summer and fall of 1824.
The next school-house was also of logs, and built in 1826, at what is known as Red Rock, at the foot of North Mountain, on the old turnpike. The first teachers were James Park and Elias Myers.
These three old log pioneer school-houses have given place to others of modern architecture, and there are now eight in this township, with all the modern appliances and occupied by teachers of the first grade. Several of the school-houses in the township are also used for religious purposes.
As early as 1800 the veteran itinerants, in their journeying around the circuit, preached at what was known in later years as Lacock's school-house. Although no organization was formed at this place for a number of years, the circuit-riders, including Gideon Draper, Morris Howe, James Paynter, John Rhodes, Nicholas Willis and others, continued to find their way to this settlement, also to that on the west side of the township at Fairmount Springs.
In 1824 Elder Elias Dodson, a Baptist preacher, found his way to Fairmount Springs, preaching there occasionally in the old log school-house at that place. Just how long Mr. Dodson continued his labors at this place is not now known. In 1843, when Revs. J.W. Haughawout and Irving H. Torrence were traveling the Bloomingdale circuit, Methodist classes were formed at the Lacock school-house, at the Moss church and at the Taylor church. In 1847 the class at the Bethel school-house was formed, in 1849 the one at Oakland, and in 1852 the one at Hoover's, thus making six classes in all the township, one at each of the two churches and four at school-houses. Public services are held by the preacher in charge once in two weeks with each class. A Sunday-school is organized at each appointment, and kept up during the summer season.
Copied from a old photocopy of an excerpt from the book, "History of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties," pages 253-255 in chapter on History of Luzerne County, authored by W.W. Munsell in 1880.
H. Derr Kleintob copied this excerpt on March 20, 2000, adding a few corrections and explanations to slightly update the text.