BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP

Is in territory the largest township in the county, that is just now principally celebrating its winding up of the sawmill industry of the great lumber king of Luzerne county - Albert Lewis. It was carved from the territory taken from Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Bucks, Plains and Jenkins, in 1856. About the first thing ever known of this section of the country was in 1779, when Gen. Sullivan cut a highway for his army and marched from Easton to Wilkes-Barre. That is the unused wagon road to-day substantially from Wilkes-Barre to Easton, that was a turnpike and now used as neighborhood roads along its length. The first log cabin was built in 1786 on the Sullivan military road, about nine miles from Wilkes-Barre. The second one by Arnold Colt, on the site of the Jonathan Pursel tavern stand. Mr. Colt was engaged building the Easton & Wilkes-Barre turnpike. The first sawmill was on Bear creek, built in 1800 by Oliver Helme. The township contains sixty-seven square miles, and but a very small fraction of it is arable. Dense forests of hemlock and pine and much game constituted its natural resources. A store, tavern and many sawmills were its earthly possessions. The timber gone, its surface is a rugged mountain waste, that is inviting only to the immigrant farmers from the old world, who come in the pursuit of that high ambition to become land owners. A branch railroad was run from the Lehigh Valley road to the Meadow Run mills, and this has been the transportation to the immense quantities of lumber cut in the township, by the many mills it had at one time. The branch road is about seven miles in length. Bear creek rises in its northeast corner and turns south and runs south to the Lehigh river. Crystal Springs reservoir is a valuable body of pure crystal water, and here are several summer cottages, and Mr. Lewis has made a beautiful driveway from Summit Glen to his summer place. Bald mountain is 1,825 feet above tide water, and the Wyoming and the Lehigh mountains are very nearly as high.

The only hamlet in the township was where the turnpike road crossed Bear creek, near the center of the township. Here were along the creek several sawmills, and the amount of this trade can be understood when it tempted the railroad to build a branch of its line to it.

It had in 1890 a population of 343, but this on the slowly sliding scale, and 1892 would show a small decline from that figure.

Looking at a map of Luzerne county, Bear Creek township arrests the eye at once, for two reasons, it is the largest in area and except the creeks and mountains it appears as the white virgin paper.

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This Town History was donated by Will Schaule .

1997-2010 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Mary Ann Lubinsky
County Coordinator

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