DENISON TOWNSHIP

Is a comparatively old township, yet it was taken from one much older, being carved out of the territory of the original Hanover township in 1839. It at that time embraced a large area as it included what is now Foster and Bear Creek townships; the former taken off in 1855 and the latter in 1856. At one time this region was rich in its giant forest trees, that cast their deep shade upon the mountain tops and their still darker shadows in the deepest gorges. The busy axmen have cut away the forests and made merchandise of their products, and with these gone there is precious little left to either bring immigrants or keep those who were lured here to engage in lumbering. There is but little arable land in the township; that is, it is poor when compared to even the poor districts in other and newer portions of the country. A quiet change in the population is going on. The timber men and the sparse farm improvements occupied by the trucksters are taking advantage of the arrivals of the foreign immigrants and who are tempted by the low prices, are investing in these wastelands and filling their long deferred fondest hopes by becoming land owners - they are thus their own landlords and perhaps such has been their severe training in economy that more or less prosperity will crown their efforts. In the decade ending 1890 there had been a loss of three in the populations of Denison Township, or 976 in 1880, 973 in 1890. The lumber business has just been closed out and as this class go away it seems their places are taken generally by fresh arrivals from the old world. Perhaps at least one-half of the 973 people of the township are in the corner formed by the borough of White Haven and the Lehigh River - the most of them the overflow of the north borough line. This settlement is popularly called Jerusalem - for a long time it was called Middleburg.

The first settler in the township was Israel Inman, who came up Nescopeck creek from its mouth in 1833. Inman was no ordinary wandering nomad, or silent game stalker led by hunger to track game through the lonely forests. He was a man of broad ideas and brave enterprise - able to lay the foundations for permanent and prosperous settlements. He started on his voyage into the unknown at Nescopeck and followed the creek of that name in its eastward course to its head waters and was no doubt pleased with the increase and density of the forests. He had passed over all its long and beautiful valley and only halted when he reached its end and the great forests of the hills. The spot he selected as his permanent stopping place, where he built his rude log house and in time his sawmill, is about a half mile below where the Lehigh and Susquehanna railroad crosses the Nescopeck, west of the tunnel. The first house and the first sawmill did not fill the ambition of this man in the wilderness. He, in a few years, built a forge, and "Inman's Works" were soon known of far and wide. He owned a large tract of land surrounding his improvements. He was master of the situation - "king of Denison" until White Haven sprung suddenly into existence, and by its "booms," its logging and rafting facilities and then its canal, slack water, bear trap dams, and to crown all, its railroads, sapped the vitality of Inman's "diggings" and now desolation broods over the spot where he drove it away sixty years ago; twelve lustrums (?) and the three short steps of birth, life and death have made the circle as forever circles matter in all creation. Thus we all - everything in the universe, reach the starting point, and it is but a tick of the watch in the difference in time and size of the circles whether of adamant or flesh and grass.

Such a man as Inman would draw his followers and in a short time he had caused quite a settlement about him. Through him the outside world came to know and covet the great forest trees that covered the township. John Linespand (sic) A. P. Childs settled in the southeast corner of the township, on the Lehigh river, in 1835, and in 1838 there was enough of a settlement here to call the place Middleburg and a postoffice established there. This place was just above the upper dam. The postoffice was abolished and all went to White Haven as soon as an office was opened there.

John and Frank Lynch kept the first tavern in Middleburg, and before the place was swallowed up by White Haven, there were several stores and trading places. These too went with the tide to White Haven. Perhaps it was the knowledge that "Jerusalem is fallen" that changed the name of Middlebury (sic) to that of Jerusalem.

The next party after Inman to cut any figure in Denison township was the Lehigh Navigation & Coal company. They "cut" a road through the entire township in order to get to Wilkes-Barre, in 1837. It ran diagonally across the township in a northwestern direction from the southeast corner of the township, just above White Haven; crossed the Nescopeck about a mile below "Inman's Works." This was the traveled route between Mauch chunk and Wilkes-Barre. Starting from Wilkes-Barre in the morning and pushing rapidly to White Haven, where you could board the elegant and swift-sailing passenger packet "Washington" you could proceed in state to Mauch Chunk. This went on in much grandeur until 1863, when was commenced building the railroad from Mauch Chunk north to Wilkes-Barre and in 1865 the beginning of passenger coaches over the road was the knell of the staging days through Denison township. The two splendid lines of railroad now parallel and criss-cross each other as they leave the Lehigh river and start across the mountains. The last steam sawmill in the township was Braden & Brown's on the Nescopeck.

Moosehead is a station on the railroad - a hamlet and a postoffice. The Luzerne Ochre works are now about the chief industry in the township. A branch railroad runs to the mill. The mills and quarry of this growing industry are in Denison township, but the most of the company's land lies in Bear Creak township. About two miles above White Haven is a branch of the Lehigh Valley railroad built to the rock quarry opened by John Danaker in 1888, in a very small way, but has now grown to the extent that the concern ships daily five or six car loads of stone to market. It is a species of gray granite and flagstone, found valuable in building and street improvement. The supply of this valuable material seems to be inexhaustible and promises to grow with the public demand.

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This Town History was donated by George.

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