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Hazleton's Early History

The town of Hazleton is located in the southern section of Luzerne county. The borough of Hazleton was incorporated in accordance with an act approved 3 April 1851, and a supplemental act approved 22 April 1856. The first election was held on 27 March 1857 at the hotel of Thomas Lawall. The results were: Burgess--Abraham Jones; high constable--John Kahler; councilmen--John Hamburger, George Brown, John Schreck, Andrew Ringleben, George B. Markle and William Ulrich. The first police force appointed were: D. Kroft, O.M. Martin, Emanuel Dunn, William Kortz, R.B. Conner, Henry Schultz, Frederick Knyriam, Reuben Kulb, John Staffenburg, J.M. Whitaker, John A. Barton, J.P. Salmon and John Hadenmick. In 1873 the police force was changed from volunteers to a paid force.
The following are named as serving as chief burgess and clerk of the council for the years named: 1857, Abraham Jones; 1858 & 1861, Ezra C. Vincent; 1859 & 1863, R.F. Russel; 1860 Louis Lubrecht; 1862 Frederick Knyoir; 1864 Peter Breihoff; 1865 & 1866 Thomas S. McNair; 1867 Thomas N. Smith; 1868 Peter Heidensick; 1869 John A Barton; 1870 Charles F. Hill; 1871 I. E. Ullman; 1872-74 Joseph P. Salmon; 1875 Gottlob Ullman; 1876, 1877 & 1879 John Pfouts; 1878 A. R. Longshore.
Early justices were: Frank Whittaker 1857; William Kisner 1861; J. A. Yoder 1862; John Gorman 1865 & 1877; Alfred R. Longshore 1865, 1878 & 1879; William P. Courtright 1868; Henry Mears 1870; Thomas Coburn 1872; William F. Roberts 1874 & 1875; Charles Schutter 1875; Jacob P. Kreider 1875.
The first school house was built in 1837 on the corner of Church and Green St. by Hazleton Coal Company. Miss Fannie Blackman was the first teacher.
The Hazleton Gas Company was incorporated 14 March 1872 and subscription books were opened 22 April of that year. The commissioners named in the act of incorporation are: C. Pardee, W. A. M. Grier, Sylvester Engle, R. F. Russell, John Bond and James James. The first officers were: President--C. Pardee; secretary & treasurer--W. A. M. Greir. The Gas Works were built in 1872 by Deily & Fowler of Philadelphia. The officers mentioned for 1879 were: Directors: David Clark, Calvin Pardee, Dr. J. R. Casselberry, James James & W. A. M. Grier; President--David Clark; Secretary & treasurer--W. A. M. Grier; superintendent of gas works--Adolph Meyer.
The banking house of Pardee, Markle & Grier was opened 1 May 1867 by Ario Pardee, George B. Markle and W. A. M. Grier, in a room over the general offices of the firm at W. Broad and Wyoming St. The Hazleton Savings Bank was established 23 May 1871. The first officers were: President--William Kisner; Vice-president--W. R. Longshore; cashier--N. H. Shafer; directors--E. C. Vincent, G. Ulmer, C. F. Hill, W. Kisner and W. R. Longshore.
Some of the early industries in the Hazleton area were: Phoenix Planing Mills--These works were built in 1869 by Mr. Longshore & Hofficker. After it burned, they rebuilt in 1876. The main building was described as being 80 by 100 feet, two stories and attic . There was a brick engine house 25 by 30 feet; a dry house, paint shop and lime house. Mr John Daniels bought an interest in the mills in 1876 and the balance in 1878.
Hazleton Lime Kilns--Located along the Lehigh Valley railroad, these kilns were built in 1875 by Casper Schaeffer. The limestone was brought in from Allentown and Freemansburg. The kilns had a daily capacity of 250 bushels, and were kept constantly burning.
Mountain Foundry--located on the corner of Church and Cranberry, the foundry was built in 1867 by Montz, White & Co. The original buildings were 30 by 45 feet. A 40 by 50 ft. Two story addition was built in 1871. The engine house was also attached to the foundry. This was also described as a first class machine shop and employed from ten to fifteen men.
The earliest house built in Hazleton was erected on East Broad Street. In 1809 Jacob Drumheller kept a tavern here. On the northwest corner of West Broad and Vine St., was a building called the "Old State House". The first store in Hazleton was located at W. Broad and Wyoming St. It was built by Ingham Brothers, who sold it to Mr. Cooper, who then sold to Pardee, Miner & Hunt. The first physician in the area is referred to as Dr. Lewis who lived on Broad St.
The early discovery of coal, in 1826, is credited to John Charles. He was evidently hunting and while digging for a groundhog coal was discovered as that was in 1883 called the "Old Hazleton" mine. This led to further exploration and finally to the organization of the Hazleton Coal Co. "This was the first company that was organized in that portion of the eastern middle coal fields lying in Luzerne county."
Hazle township takes it's name from Hazle Creek. It is said that the creek got it's name from the fact that many hazel bushes grew on it's banks. Hazle township was taken from Sugarloaf in 1839, part of Butler was added in 1856. The Hazleton mine opened in 1836. Soon after other mines were opened and small mining towns began to show up. Population for 1880 was given as 10,550. The following is a list of justices for the town: David Travis, 1840; Conrad Horn, 1840, 1852; William Kisner, 1843, 1848; David Martz, 1849; George Fenstermacher, 1852; Adrian Parber, 1857; Joseph Haywood, 1862; James W. Rhoads, 1865; M. G. McFadden 1867; Charles McCarran 1869; Malcom Fetguson 1872; William M. Jones 1877.
Beaver Brook was on the Carbon county line. It had 800 residents, a post office, blacksmith shop, a company store and "two or three groceries". Beaver Brook colliery was owned by the Beaver Brook Coal Co.. It was operated by C. M. Dodson & Co. With E. S. Bullock as superintendent. The colliery employed 169 underground and 114 on the surface.
Cranberry population was given as 500. The Cranberry colliery was owned by the estate of A. S. And E. Roberts and was operated by A. Pardee & Co. C. Pardee was the superintendent. 97 men and boys worked underground with another 85 on the surface.
Crystal Ridge residents totaled 400. The Crystal Ridge colliery employed 62 men under ground and 72 on the surface.
Denison Township was taken from Hanover in November 1839. Foster was taken off 15 November 1855 and Bear Creek was taken 7 April 1856. The township is named for Colonel Nathan Denison of Wyoming Battle fame. Much of the early population centered in the southeast corner along the Lehigh River, near White Haven.
Drifton had one hotel and three Churches--Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal and Roman Catholic. In addition there was an opera house, built by Coxe Brothers for the use of their employees; a company store, school house and railroad depot. The Cross Creek colliery No 1 & 2 were owned and operated by Coxe Bothers & Co.
Ebervale had about 1,500 residents. It supported a Church, school house, a hotel, company store and post office with Cyrus Young serving as postmaster. The Ebervale colliery was owned by the Union Improvement Co. And operated by the Ebervale Coal Co.. The superintendent was Thomas P. McFarland. In 1878 there were 305 men and boys working underground with 220 on the surface.
Freeland is part of a tract of land sold by Tench Coxe to Joseph Birkbeck, then to Mrs. Margaretha Donop, wife of A. Donop, Esq in 1872. The Donops were early settlers who came from New York City. After the purchase, they had their purchase surveyed and called it Freehold. On 11 September 1874 the borough of Freeland was chartered. Town Hall was built by Mrs. Donop in 1875 and located on Ridge Street, between Front and Walnut. Joseph Lindsay managed the miner's cooperative store located on Walnut Street. Harry Coons opened a store on the corner of Walnut and Center St. in 1877. Welch & Furey were merchants located on the corner of Washington and Walnut Streets. Rudolph Ludwig opened the first meat market. The first blacksmith was Peter Cunningham. The first shoemaker was Ernest Stein. Dr. Lloyd was the first physician. Two early churches were built to serve the community. In 1876 the first was built by the Presbyterians and Lutherans; the other in 1880 by the Presbyterians. A school house was built in 1878 and the teacher was John McDonald. They first burgess was Rudolph Lubrecht elected in 1876. Luther Dodson was the first postmaster. In 1880 the population was given as 624. There were "eight stores, a bakery, eight taverns, two undertakers, two blacksmith shops, a town hall, and a boot and shoe store." There were also three building and loan associations.
Harleigh had a population of about 600. It had two taverns, a company store and "one or two other small stores". They had a school supervised by the Sisters of Mercy and a Protestant school. The Harleigh colliery was owned by Big Black Creek Improvement Co. And operated by McNair & Co.. James McKee was listed as superintendent. 70 men worked underground and 76 on the surface.
Hollywood's population was 400. There was a company store. The Hollywood colliery was owned by the Black Creek Improvement Co. And operated by Calvin Pardee & Co. C. Pardee was the superintendent. 68 men and boys worked underground and 87 worked on the surface.
Humboldt had about 450 residents and a company store. The Humboldt colliery was owned by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and operated by Linderman, Skeer & Co. William Airey was the superintendent. 44 men worked underground and 56 on the surface.
Japan was a small mining town of about 400. It had a store and a school-house. Oakdale colliery was located at Japan. This was owned by Union Improvement Co. And operated by G. B. Markel & Co.. G. B. Markle was superintendent. The workforce listed for 1878 was 241 men and boys under the ground and 118 on the surface.
Jeansville is on the county line, two miles north of Hazleton. Population was given as 1,600 in 1880. Named for Mr. Joseph Jeans of Philadelphia, one of the original proprietors of the mines located there. William Milnes, who opened the first coal mine is given credit for being the first settler in 1848. In 1880 there were three Churches: Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal and Welsh Congregational. In addition Jeansville had a hotel, two schools and a hotel. The Spring Mountain colliery was located here and owned by the Spring Mountain Coal Co.. In 1879 it was operated by J. C. Hayden & Co. 238 were employed underground and 173 on the surface.
Jeddo had a population of 350. It was formed from Foster & Hazle townships in 1871. Jeddo was the home of the Woodside colliery owned by Jeddo Coal Co. And operated by Coxe Bros. & Co.
Latimer in 1880 had a company store, a post office a Methodist Church and about 1,000 residents. The Latimer colliery was owned by the Black Creek Improvement company and operated by Pardee Bro. & Co. In 1878 the tons of coal mined from here was given as 114,870. At slope #2 140 men and boys were employed underground and 153 on the surface.
Laurel Hill was also inhabited by about 350 people. The Laurel Hill colliery was owned by L. V. R. R. Co. And operated by A. Pardee & Sons, with C. Pardee as superintendent. In 1878 there were 133 men and boys underground and 105 on the surface.
Milnesville is named for William Milnes who settled and opened the mines about 1850. There was a Methodist Church, a company store and a post office with William Monroe serving as postmaster. In 1880 the population was given as nearly 1,500. The Porter estate owned the Milnesville colliery. It was operated by the Stout Coal Co. With Charles Kerbaugh as superintendent.
Mount Pleasant had a population of about 500 in 1880. They had a company store. The Mount Pleasant colliery was owned by the estate of C. Koons and others and was operated by Pardee & Sons. C. Pardee was superintendent. 77 men worked underground while 67 worked above.
Stockton was named for Commodore Stockton of New Jersey. Population given as 1,500. There was a tavern, several saloons, a Church, two schools, blacksmith and car repair shops. The East Sugarloaf colliery was located at Stockton. It was owned by Smith, Roberts & Packer and the Tench Coxe Estate. The colliery was operated by Linderman, Skeer & Co. with William Airey acting as superintendent. There were three slopes in 1878 which produced a total of 177,393 tons of coal. 358 men and boys worked underground and 220 on the surface.
On 18 December 1869 a calamity occurred in Stockton. "The pillars of the gangway running east and west had been so much ‘robbed' as to cause the caving of the gangway for nearly half a mile, carrying down everything upon the surface to the depth of twenty-five or thirty feet, among other things the dwelling occupied by the Rough family, and two of the Swank family. The bodies were never recovered, as the house took fire from the upsetting of the stove and the inmates were consumed in the flames. The spot were the house stood has been filled up to a level with the ground, and a neat marble slab laid, with the date of birth of each of the victims and date of death inscribed thereon, as follows: ‘Elizabeth Rough, May 18th, 1796. Margaret Rough, January 18th, 1837. Isaac Rough, January 22nd, 1839. Elizabeth Rough, March, 1869. George Swank, 1819. William Swank, 1850. December 18th, 1869.'"
South Sugarloaf had about 350 residents. The South Sugarloaf colliery was owned by the Diamond Coal Company.
Sugarloaf had about 350 inhabitants. Sugarloaf colliery was owned by Diamond Coal Co. And was operated by A. Pardee & Co. With C. Pardee as superintendent. 73 men worked underground and 61 on the surface.

Excerpted from "History of Luzerne, Lackawanna & Wyoming Counties, Pa. 1880"

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