BUCK TOWNSHIP

Was formed from Covington in 1833, and derived its name from George Buck, who was one of its early settlers, and who kept the first tavern, afterward known as Terwiliger=s. John Nagle was the first settler in Buck. He built his log cabin on the old Sullivan road, near the Lehigh, in 1782, fourteen miles from any human habitation. Conrad Sox, Justice Simonson, Samuel Wildrick and Thomas Tattershall settled here soon after. Mr Simonson lived to be nearly one hundred years of age, and when far in the nineties had often walked to Wilkes-Barre, a distance of fifteen miles.

The first sawmill was erected in 1806 by Hugh Conner on the site of Stoddartsville, and in 1816 the first church was built there by John Stoddart.

In 1810 the Great swamp, which extends over a considerable portion of Buck, was purchased by a company of Philadelphia speculators. A president and eighteen councilmen were elected; and the ACity of Rome@ was laid out, 100 miles from the seaboard, in a dark, gloomy swamp, called the AShades of Death@ by those who fled through it from Wyoming after the massacre in 1778. Three of four shipbuilders and a number of artisans of various trades were actually induced to purchase lots and remove to, the Acity,@ where reptiles and wild beasts should alone have habitation. A respectable merchant of Philadelphia, meeting a citizen of Wilkes-Barre, seriously inquired, Awill not the new and flourishing city of Rome become a dangerous rival to your town?@ Hon. Charles Miner had considerable trouble, through his paper the Gleaner, to expose the fraud.

The township originally contained fifty square miles and is in the southeast corner of the country; its east line is Lackawanna county and its south line is the Lehigh river. It once had an important population in the way of sawmills. The township was cut in two by the formation of Lackawanna county in August, 1878. The east and west sides are rough and mountainous and all between these mountains is swamp. This was the AShades of Death@ to the yankees as the poor fugitives often fled in terror toward the Delaware. As sparse as is and has always been it population, yet it has never been able to raise enough farm products for its own supply.

Stoddartsville is its only hamlet. In the heyday of its prosperity it had forty houses, beside its mills, and a population, largely transient, of 200. The county line divides the place, so that a portion of the town lies in Carbon county. It was laid out by John Stoddart in 1815, when he erected the large stone grist and saw mills, the ruins of which to this day show that it was built to defy the tooth of time. It was a great improvement at that time, perhaps the most expensive in southern Luzerne county, costing over $20,000. In addition to his mill he kept the first store and tavern, the first blacksmith wagon and cooper-shop. The town site was the property of Mr Stoddart and Thomas Arnott.

The era of prosperity of the place was from 1835-65. Here was the place of the crossing of the Lehigh river and the Wilkes-Barre Eastern turnpike, where Sullivan and his army crossed on their way to Wilkes-Barre. The great freshet in the Lehigh river of 1865 swept away the old canal works along the river and with them went the hopes and prosperity of Stoddartsville. It now is very nearly the existing type of the ADeserted Village.

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This Town History was donated by Marge Gray.

1997-2011 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Mary Ann Lubinsky
County Coordinator

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