In 1662, King Charles II granted land and gave a charter for it to some people in
Connecticut for land between certain boundaries between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. About
the same time, King Charles II owed Admiral Penn a large sum of money. To settle this debt, he
granted Penn's son, William, a large territory in North America which Penn called Pennsylvania.
Strangely, Charles had granted some of the same land to Connecticut nineteen years before.
These land grants were ignored until the arrival of a German Nobleman and Moravian Missionary,
Count Zinzendorf was one of the first people to spark an interest in Wyoming Valley.
He came to the Valley in 1742 for the purpose of converting the Indians to Christianity. His
reports, combined with the descriptions of other adventurers, moved a group of Connecticut
settlers to form the Connecticut Susquehanna Company. These people bought the land from the
Indians and were given a Charter by Connecticut in 1755. Meanwhile, Governor Penn learned of
the Company's plan and tried to stop them, saying that they bought land from the Indians who
were not the rightful owners. Penn's plan failed, and the Company met in Hartford, Connecticut
in 1768 and decided to survey and divide the territory into five townships, each five miles square.
The plan was to sell and divide each township among forty men, if they would live on the land
allotted to them. The townships were Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Pittston, Kingston and Plymouth.
The whole Valley was divided and assigned to two hundred men, and the first forty settlers took
possession of Kingston Township. At this time, and until 1796, the Township included present
day Kingston Township, Township of Dallas and part of Franklin and Lake Townships. The
following are the names of the first forty settlers of Kingston Township:
Asahel Atherton, Ezra Belding, Thomas Bennet, Silas Bingham, Richard Brockway, Elijah Buck, William Buck, John Comstock, Ruben Davis, John Dean, Nathan Denison, Simon Draper, Thomas Dyer, Vine Elderkin, Elias Roberts, Benjamin Follett, Joseph Frink, Stephen Gardner, Samuel Gaylord, Joshua Hall, Stephen Harding, Peter Harris, Zerubabel Jearum, John Jenkins, Stephen Jenkins, Cyprian Lothrop, Benajah Pendleton, Timothy Pierce, Benjamin Shoemaker, Elijah Shoemaker, Oliver Smith, Timothy Smith, Henry Dow Tripp, Isaac Tripp, Rudolph Brink Vanorman, William Walsworth, Theophilus Westover, Allen Wrightman, Benjamin Yale, Job Yale,
When the Yankees (Connecticut Settlers) arrived in Wyoming Valley in February, 1769,
they found Pennsylvania settlers had been there since January, 1769. This land became a bloody
battlefield for the first and second Yankee-Pennamite Wars under the leadership of Captain
Zebulon Butler (Yankees) and Captain Ogden (Pennamites). The first Yankee-Pennamite War
was a victory for the Connecticut Yankees.
In 1782, five Commissioners were named by Congress, at Pennsylvania's request, to
settle the land disputes. These Commissioners handed down the Decree of Trenton, giving all the
disputed land to Pennsylvania, but doing nothing about the land ownership of the properties the
Connecticut settlers had purchased. The area became part of Northumberland County and a
Commission was sent to settle claims. The Connecticut settlers were told to give up their lands,
as Pennsylvania citizens owned them. Perhaps later, they were told, Pennsylvania would give
them land in the West. This offer was rejected, and thus started the second Yankee-Pennamite
War. Col. Franklin tried to reopen the case for Connecticut, and wanted to create a new state
from Wyoming lands. Connecticut was in favor of this, and Pennsylvania knew it would have to
act fast to save its land. Colonel Pickering was sent to the area to conduct a thorough political
examination. As a result, the Pennsylvania Assembly passed a resolution to create Luzerne
County, thus ending the idea of creating a new state.
Luzerne County was formerly part of Northumberland. Its original limits were
considerably larger than the present size (3,700 square miles, as compared to 1,427 square miles).
It included parts of Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wyoming and Lycoming
Counties. It was, at one time the largest county in the state, exceeding the State of Rode Island in
size. It lost its distinction when Lackawanna County was formed in 1878.
Under Colonel Pickering's direction, county elections were held, courts were opened,
and properties were legally deeded to the Connecticut Settlers. Finally, in 1799, the Comprising
Act and its supplements settled the ownership once and for all, and the Connecticut settlers
became "Pennsylvania Citizens from Connecticut in the County of Luzerne".
At some of the citizen's request, a bill providing for incorporation of limited land around
Kingston Corners was introduced in the State House of Representatives 1831 Session. The
majority of the Township opposed this bill and on February 22,1831, Benjamin Dorrance, a
member of the House of Representatives, presented a petition against incorporation. The
incorporation failed and was not revived until twenty years later.
With the construction and operation of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, there
came a great increase in population. The village people, spurred on by this increase, were
determined to incorporate. In fact, forty-three men signed a petition to help this cause along.
Anson Atherton Richard Hutchins William Raymond
Joshua Belding Ruben Jones A. H. Reynolds
H. S. Butler John Keller E. W. Reynolds
A. C. Church R. H. Little William C Reynolds
Ira W. Dilley William Loveland Conklin Robbins
Thomas Fender Reuben Marcy George Sealy
Abram Goodwin William Morris H. C. Silkman
Abram Goodwin, Jr. M. F. Myers Albert Skier
P. J. Goodwin Thomas Myers Thomas Slocum
Samuel Griffin R. Nelson Thomas Somers
James Grinawalt Bestor Payne Isaac Tripp
F. Helme Francis Page Robert H. Tubs
H. M. Hoyt M. S. Perigo F.C.Woodhouse
Samuel Hoyt Thomas Pringle
Z. B. Hoyt Charles Raymond
With their help, the incorporation did take place by court decree on November 23, 1857.
The total number of persons living in the Borough at the time was 598 including 125 who were
boarding at Wyoming Seminary. Later, in 1891, owing to its number, the court divided Kingston
into four wards with two Councilmen and two School Directors from each ward.
The first election in the new Borough was held on December 15, 1857 at Thomas
Wambold's home. The polls were open from the hours of 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM with the following
results: Ira Carl, Judge; P V Wambold, Frank Helme, Reuben March, and Abram Nesbitt,
Inspectors of the Election; Burgess and Justice of the Peace, Ruben Jones; Councilmen, Reuben
Jones, Bestor Payne, Marshall G. Whitney, Reuben Marcy, Thomas Pringle and Richard
Hutching; State Commissioners, J R Gates, Giles Slocum and Cornelius Robbins; High Constable,
Edward Pringle; Borough Clerk, Abram Goodwin; Auditors, Abram Nesbitt and R H Little.
Choosing a name for the Borough was a unique job and there are two different stories
relating to it. Either way, a quart of whiskey figured in the naming of Kingston. The first account
says that Ezra Dean offered a quart of liquor for the privilege of naming the town. As a
compliment to his wife, who was a native of Kingston, Rhode Island, he gave it the name of
Kingston. Another account of the same nature states that Dean offered a quart of whiskey as a
prize for the naming of the town. His wife selected the winning name (presumably she got the
At the meeting of the Town Council on December 22, 1857, Thomas Pringle was chosen
President and Abram Nesbitt was selected to be Secretary. At another Town Council Meeting on
July 10, 1858, the first policemen of Kingston Borough were appointed. They were C W
Boughtin, John Remell and John Jackson.
1769 - John Atherton and Sons, James Atherton, Jr., Ashael, and Elisha were first
settlers of the Township within the original Borough limits.
1804 - Henry Buckingham opened the first store in Kingston.
1809 - Henry Buckingham established first post office and became first Postmaster on Nov. 9 and
conducted business there until 1822.
1857 - Incorporation of Borough
1886 - Wyoming Seminary was the first School to install power plant to light the school property.
1892 - First high school in Kingston
- Wyoming Seminary played Mansfield State Teachers College in the first night football game
in the United States. It only lasted for one half due to poor lighting and field conditions. Game
1896 - First bank within the Borough limits was the Deposit and Savings Bank of Kingston,
incorporated May 25th. The bank building stood on Market Street and Page Street. The name
was changed to the Kingston Bank and Trust Company on October 9, 1919 when it merged with
West Side Trust.
- First resident physician - Dr. Asa Whitney
In 1775, a new school was erected on the site of one established in 1773, which is said to
have been the first public school in Pennsylvania. This new school building stood on the southerly
side of the present Bennett Street near its intersection with Wyoming Avenue, on the land of
Oliver Pettebone. The measurements were 18 feet by 24 feet. It was up- to-date and furnished
with a stove which was something of a innovation. The first schoolmaster was Asa Boughtin who
was paid $10 a month, together with boarding and lodging in the homes of parents for a
The first locomotive railroad in Wyoming Valley was the Lackawanna-Bloomsburg
Railroad which was organized by a meeting of the incorporators held at the home of Frank Helme
on May 22, 1862. After a great financial struggle, its first train ran as far as Kingston on the
morning of June 24, 1856. It carried more than 300 passengers, and ran three times daily between
Scranton and Kingston. A great celebration was held at Kingston Depot in which the whole
region on the East and West sides of the river as far south as Bloomsburg participated.
Completion of the line between Scranton and Kingston established a definite need for
transportation of passengers between Kingston Station and Wilkes Barre, one-and-one-half mile
away. To fill the need, the Wilkes-Barre and Kingston Passengers Railway, Believed to be the
first local public transportation utility, was set up be an Act of Legislation, approved on April 14,
1859. Since then, horses, steam, electricity and gasoline have furnished motive power for
passenger transportation in Kingston and the surrounding towns. On November 15, 1949, the last
passenger train arrived at Kingston Station.
The first telephone company was started in 1878 with seven subscribers. The list was as
follows: D.L. Guthrie, MD, D.L. Rhone, B.G. Carpenter Company, S. Sturdevant, J.B. Stark and
Fred Beach. This company was known as The Wilkes-Barre Telephone Exchange, and had the
following rates: One telephone, $3.00 per month: two telephones, $3.85 per month, one
telephone and one transmitter, $4.50 per month. The system was confined to a twenty mile area.
On April 4, 1832, Sharp D. Lewis started the publication of a weekly paper called the
"Wyoming Republican", knowing that the people needed a source of reliable news of the area. In
1835, Lewis published the "Wyoming Herald" and consolidated it with "The Republican". He
continued to print and publish the paper at Kingston under the name of "The Wyoming
Republican and Herald". Miner S. Blackman and Henry Webb bought the paper from Lewis in
1837, and Webb ran it until 1838, when he retired. Blackman sold the paper on April 3, 1839 to
S.P. Collings who consolidated it with the "Democratic Journal" and published under the name of
"Republican Farmer and Democratic Journal". It was published in Wilkes-Barre.
Nesbitt Memorial Hospital is the only hospital on the West Side. The movement for the
organization of the institution as led by D.H. Lake of Kingston, supported by Abram Nesbitt who
purchased the Sharp Street residence and grounds on Wyoming Avenue as the site of the hospital.
Nesbitt West Side Hospital was chartered on May 15, 1912.The Nursing School was started
shortly after the hospital's opening.
Another historic building is the Hoyt Library. This building is the former Samuel Hoyt
residence, which was bequeathed to Kingston Borough for a public library by his son, Frank
Weston Hoyt. With the financial support of Kingston Borough Council, the Library opened on
January 1, 1928. The first librarian was Miss Margaret Jackson. Her successor was Miss Frances
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Copyright © 1998 Pat Krivak