Jenkins Township

Bears the honored name of Col. John Jenkins, one of the most distinguished names connected with the settlement of this portion of Pennsylvania. Nearly the whole of the township is heavily underlaid with coal and the most of the land has passed to the coal companies. Though much of it is as fine farming land as any in the state, yet this interest is overshadowed by the later developed one. But little of the settlement ever extended more than the valley between the river and to Gardner creek.

The township was taken from Pittston, June 24, 1852. The first important settlement in the township was Joseph Gardner's gristmill in 1794, on Gardner's creek. In 1866, says Stewart Pearce, "the oldest living inhabitants are Peter Waiters, seventy-four and Letitia Cotant, seventy-one."

Isaac Gould, it is said, came about the same time as Joseph Gardner and were the first permanent settlers. They located near where the Laflin powder mills are. Daniel Seeley built the first sawmill (portable) on Gardner's creek. Jesse Thomas had a sawmill above the powder mills. James, John, Isaac and Joseph Thompson located in the hollow just below Sebastopol in the old road from Wilkes-Barre to Inkerman. John Stout had the first blacksmith shop on the hill near Yatesville. His coming was late as 1824. In 1846 George Price built the first brick house in the township on the road from Wilkes-Barre to Pittston. Other settlers on this road were Joseph, James and Jacob Swallow near the township south line; Jesse Gardner was on Gardner's creek; Isaac Tompkins, James and Joseph Armstrong were nearer the river. Among others of the early settlers are mentioned William, Jacob and Daniel La Bar, Peter Miller, Anthony Lacoe, Abram Thomas, John Hess and a Mr. Goode.

The first schoolhouse was built about 1810 or 1812, near where the brick schoolhouse now stands, on the Wilkes-Barre & Pittston road, in Sebastopol. The old schoolhouse is now in use as a workshop, having been sold to Francis Yates. It stands opposite his residence at Yatesville. The first teacher was Joel Hale. There was a log schoolhouse at Inkerman on the hill above Port Blanchard. John Blanchard and his sisters and George Cooper were among the early pupils. Roswell Hale was the first teacher at Inkerman.

The oldest cemetery is the Cooper burying ground, in the northwest corner of the township. We find upon the tombstones the following names and dates: Conrad Schiffern, born May 18, 1744, died May 18, 1820; Rachel Schiffern, born June 27, 1742, died January 23, 1810; Adam Wagner, born 1754, died 1806; Margaret Tedrick, died June 6, 1811; Peter Sailor, died March 18, 1809, aged thirty-nine; Mary Ann Sailor, died May 26, 1814; Elizabeth Good, died February 27, 1825, aged thirty; Eva La Bar, died January 10, 1809, aged thirty-six; Rebssolner(sp?) Billina, died April 1, 1806; Margaret Winter, died February 14, 1833, aged eight-one; Peter Winter, died March 11, 1814, aged sixty-five; James Swallow, died February 2, 1804, aged fifty; Elizabeth Swallow, died April 15, 1814, aged sixty; Mary David, died January 26, 1816, aged thirty-six; Nancy Blanchard, died September 24, 1809, aged eighteen; Cordelia Blanchard, died December 27, 1794; Henry Cortright, Jr., died February 2, 1828; William Day, born in England in 1740, died February 7, 1829, aged eighty-nine.

 

Port Griffith was thus named in honor of one of the original stockholders of the Pennsylvania Coal company, one of whose mines is at this place. It was then the terminus of the company's railroad. It was for several years quite a flourishing place, and is at present an ordinary mining town. It is a station on the Lehigh Valley railroad, and is a postoffice. In addition to the overshadowing mining interest, there is a stone quarry and a large brickyard, two general stores, one hotel, and several small trading places; population, 900, engaged in mining.

Port Blanchard is a little below Port Griffith, and bears the name of an early resident, John Blanchard. The first settler here was Capt. Jeremiah Blanchard, who built his log house on the property that continued in the family name. He next built on the "old mansion" lot. John Blanchard located in the place in 1828. The old hotel was opened in 1845 by Samuel Hodgson, and about the same time a postoffice was opened, and he was postmaster. There is a river ferry and a hotel.

Interman is a mining town; was first settled by Peter Winter in 1810, with his blacksmith shop, and this first advertised it. It is situated on what is known as the "back road" from Pittston to Wilkes-Barre. The mining interests have collected here about 630 inhabitants; postoffice, hotel, store, grocery; coal shafts 5, 6, and 11.

Sebastopol is but a mining suburb of Pittston. Nothing there except those engaged in mining.

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This Town History was donated by Jeanne M. Robertson .

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

County Coordinator
Mary Ann Lubinsky