Was made a separate township in 1841, taken from Lehman and Monroe townships. It was called Lake because Harvey's lake is in it - the largest lake in the State as well as one of the most beautiful. The same year, 1841, the county of Wyoming was formed and the county line cut off a portion of Lake township and gave it back to Monroe township, leaving it as now with an area of thirty-four square miles; about one-eighth adapted to cultivation, the remainder is rough and hilly, some of it productive and all suitable for grazing; fine fruit is raised along the base of the mountains. Population: 597 in 1870; 1880, 863; 1890, 1,1444.
Harvey's lake covers 1,285 acres; the water is of great purity. Perch and trout are indigenous; pike were placed in the lake by Hollenback & Urquhart, who owned nearly the whole of Lake township at one time. Salmon were put in the lake in 1876 by the State authorities. It is now an important resort and all about it are cottages of people from all parts of the country. The evidences of the rapidly growing importance of the place is found that within a few years the Lehigh Valley road extended its track from Wilkes-Barre to the lake, and then built from the lake to Pittston, and at the present time work is going on extending the railroad to the northwest, thus making the lake an important railroad junction and the place of easy access to the thousands that flock in that direction in the summer months. Excellent, but limited hotel accommodations and halls have been provided; and now is being prepared plans for a hotel and other buildings to meet the growing demands of visitors and cottage residents. Quite a village has sprung up and the evidences of growth and new improvements are to be seen on every hand. Two small steamers find constant employment carrying the people across and around the lake. The time will come soon when Harvey's Lake will be one of the country's noted resorts. The Lake house on the eastern shore was built in 1857 by Henry Hancock.
The first white man who lived in Lake township was Matthew Scouten, who was employed by the owners of the land to look after the property, as early as 1792. He cleared a small tract, where Jacob Sorber afterward settled, and set out a few apple trees.
Daniel Lee settled at the head of Pike's creek in 1806, and the marsh is called Lee's pond, from him. He was employed by the farmers of Plymouth to care for cattle, which were driven here to graze during the summer.
Otis Allen came from Jackson township in 1836, and began clearing in the vicinity of Lee's pond. He brought his family in the spring of 1838. During this year Josiah, nathan and Stephen Kocher, brothers, moved into the township from Hunlock township, and John Jackson, Andrew Freeman, Thomas Lewis and Ephraim King arrived. In 1839 Jonah Roberts, Elon Davenport, Daniel Casebear, David Moss and John Fosnot came, and in 1840 Moses C. Perrigo, Jacob Sorber, Jonah Bronson and Jonathan Williams. Previous to 1845 Clarke Wolfe, Jesse Kitchen, George P. Shupp, James Hawley and Edward Ide became residents.
Hollenback & Urquhart built a sawmill on the outlet of Harvey's lake in 1839. Joseph Frantz built the mill known as the Wildrick mill in 1843. It burned in 1879. Nathan Kocher built a small mill a mile below the site of the Beaver Run tannery in 1845. The mill owned by S. Raub was built by Mr. Benjamin in 1847. A lath and shingle mill is connected with this one. Jonathan Williams built a small mill on Harvey's creek for Kocher & Urquhart in 1849. One was built by Otis Allen in 1860 on Pike's creek. George Snyder and Ira B. Sorber built their mills in 1866. F. A. and E. Williams erected a steam portable mill on the site of the Wildrick mill in 1879. The first gristmill was put up by Hollenback & Urquhart in 1840. They built a new one in 1860 just below. A planing mill was erected by the same parties. All the mills formerly belonging to Hollenback & Urquhart became the property of the Hoffman Lumber company. At one time the mills of Hollenback & Urquhart, at the outlet of Harvey's lake, cut each year over 1,000,000 feet of lumber. The present lumber interests in the township are the property of Albert Lewis, whose mills are at Harvey's lake. The lumber trade is closing up, simply because the logs are giving out.
The first road through the township was chopped out by the proprietors about 1875 to induce settlement, and ran from Wilkes-Barre to Bradford county.
All the early settlers lived in log houses except Otis Allen and Jacob Sorber, who built block-houses. The first frame dwelling was erected by Josiah Kocher in 1841. The Kocher brothers were carpenters, as were the sons of Otis Allen. The Allens were also millwrights. Stephen Kocher was the first blacksmith in Lake township.
The first store was kept by Hollenback & Urquhart for the benefit of the men in their employ from about 1850 until 1860. F. N. Ruggles established a store near the southeast corner of the township in 1872 and sold out in 1874 to his brother, C. W. Ruggles. James Sorber kept a store at Booth's Corners in 1863-5. Ruggles & Shonk had a store in connection with their tannery. Simeon Lewis kept store since 1871.
The Ruggles and Shonk tannery was built in 1874. The firm had built a sawmill in 1872, which burned in the fall of that year and was rebuilt in 1873.
The first person buried in Lake township was Otis Allen, who died in January, 1842, aged fifty-six years. He was buried in the Allen cemetery. In September, 1842, Samuel C. Allen was buried here. The first person buried in the Kocher cemetery was Stephen Kocher, who died in September, 1842. The first in the West Corner cemetery was Mrs. Sarah Perrigo, wife of Moses C. Perrigo, June 26, 1852; the next, Martin M., son of Moses C. Perrigo, May 2, 1853, aged four years. The first burial in the White cemetery was that of Eva A., daughter of Theodore Wolfe, who died August 2, 1872, aged two months; then Gabriel Valentine, a stranger who died in the vicinity. The third was Mrs. Margaret Snyder, wife of Henry Snyder, who died September 2, 1872, aged seventy-nine.
The first school in Lake was taught by Jonathan Williams at the house of Otis Allen during the winters of 1842-3 and 1843-4. A schoolhouse was built during the summer of 1844 on the farm of Henry Ide. The first schoolhouse at West Corner was taught by a Mr. Williams in the winters of 1847-8 and 1848-9 in Nathan Kocher's house.
Outlet, at the south end of the lake, is a postoffice, and there is a gristmill here. The early postoffice was called Lake, but was moved several times and is now called Outlet.
Ruggles' old lumber camp, once a busy hamlet, is now going to decay; a store and sawmill constitute the place now.
Loyalville is a postoffice in a farmhouse.
Fade's Creek is a postoffice in the southern portion of the township.
This Town History was donated by Deb Horton.
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