May now begin the preparations for her centennial. One hundred years will, in a few months, have been reeled off in the great past since its first settlement. Mr. Plumb informs us that in 1793 William Stewart, who, it will be remembered owned lot No. 27, first division, had it surveyed off, platted the lots and streets and commenced the sale of lots in the embryo town. That there was a ready demand for the lots is shown in the fact that between February 9 and March 14 of the succeeding year he sold thirty-six lots in the new town of Nanticoke. The name perpetuates that of the Indians, who had their camp near the river on the west side of the creek. The chief attractions that induced the Indians here were the abundance of shad then found in the river, as well as the game that made their homes in the forests. To this day may be found old remains and relics left by savages. The main artery in the new village was to Great road. The total of lots at first was from No. 1 to 136. The names of the first thirty-six purchasers were as follows: Jared Nelson, John Field, George Miller, Michael Palm, Daniel Herman, Thomas Beady, Michael Moyer, John Ewing, Elizabeth Stein, John Palm Jr., Jonathan Hancock, Wyllys Hide, John Martin, Henry Stein, George Stein, Thomas Peas, Christian Srauder, Zekiel Bamboc, James Ainsworth, George Hegetshwiller, Henry Thomas, Peter Withington, Ebenezer Felch, Peter Steele, William Wood, Michael Killinger, John Picker, Jr., John Harrison, Peter Heimbrick, John Fox, Jacob Miller, William Allen, Jacob Miley, George Sloan, Jesse Fell, Christian Beck. All of these except Hancock, Hide, Felch, Steele and Fell were residents of Dauphin county, and it is not known that any of them resided at Nanticoke. The present old pact of Nanticoke is the Stewart plat. Stewart had here a ferry across the river. In April, 1778, a road was laid out from the river road to this ferry. The old road down to the ferry has long since gone, but there is a house where once was the ferry, and a passage-way much the same as the old road, goes to it.
William McKarrichan, the first school teacher, was also the first merchant in Nanticoke. The bloody ending of his life is told elsewhere. The attention of the people was called to this point, and what originally made it a town site was the water power, and a gristmill and soon other mills were built to utilize this power. The "falls" here made navigation dangerous and diffifult; even in running rafts, arks, Durham boats, etc. it was necessary to have skilled pilots to take the boats over the falls or rapids. This was enough to form the nucleus for the settlement. Then, too, at that time it was necessary for the farm people to have their houses as close as possible to each other, so that in case of an attack they could defend themselves in a body and give mutual protection.
Then on this rich bottom land were clearings where the Indians had performed their rude farming for years. These were farms ready made for the pioneers. The falls in the river were caused by this being the place where the river breaks through the mountains and leaves the valley, and the gathering waters rush and roar over the rocks and then peacefully resume their race to the sea. Then, too, where the waters have cut their way through the mountain is found in outcrop the coal, and this the people could gather, and from here coal was mined and shipped down the river long before the days of the canal.
After selling about one-third of his lots Stewart sold in lump the others to Mathias Hollenback, and he in turn sold his interest to John Mills and others.
As stated there was a ferry at Nanticoke soon after the permanent settlement of that place and Plymouth. When the canal was built there had to be another ferry across the canal. Below Nanticoke the canal was on the west side of the river, but from Solomon's creek to Pittston it was on the east of the river. The river was used for the canal a distance of about three miles above Nanticoke, but the regular artificial canal commenced again at Solomon's creek. The Nanticoke falls were dangerous to pass on the river and many were at one and another time drowned here.
Nanticoke borough was duly incorporated January 31, 1874, and now has eleven wards. In 1880 it had a population of 3,884 and by the census of 1890, a population of 10,044, and is a thriving growing town. The chief business is coal mining, and its three mines and breakers have a daily capacity of 1,000 tons each. Its territory was carved from Hanover and Newport townships, about one-third of it from Newport.
An elegant stone bridge has been built across Newport creek, near where the old mill stood. The ground around what was once the "corners" (an old time term for any road crossing) has been filled several feet and the topography of that place thereby much changed. The "corners" were the ancient town beginning, but as they were in a state of nature they are now no more. A wooden bridge was built across the river, just above the mouth of Nanticoke creek. At different points, Mr. Plumb informs us, this creek has been called by various names, as Lee's creek, Miller's creek, Robins creek, Bobbs creek, Rummage creek, and Warrior Run creek, but the one proper name of it all is Nanticoke creek.
Washington Lee mined the first coal here in 1825.
Mathias Graver Kept the first tavern on Main street. In 1820 Thomas Bennett was the hotel-keeper of the place in what is the Mrs. Rouse house. In 1820 there were charcoal pits for manufacturing that fuel, where is now the Nanticoke hotel and Alexander block.
A man named John Oint in 1820 built the pioneer gristmill, sawmill, oilmill and the old forge called the the trip-hammer shop. Oint sold soon after to Col. Washington Lee, who in addition opened a store and built and operated a distillery. Thomas Bennett opened a tavern and blacksmith shop.
The first resident physician was Alden L. Bennett, who came here in 1825. He was succeeded by
Drs. Thompson, Robbins, and Harry Hakes.fifty-six dwellings within the present limits of Nanticoke.
The first borough election was held at the Fountain hotel kept by Xavier Wernett, on Tuesday, February 17, 1874, E.N. Alexander and Patrick Shea were the ins
The first postmaster, David Thompson, was appointed in 1830, and kept the office at his house on the hill near where C.M. Richards now lives. In 1838 Mr. Thompson and Daniel Stiles built a store where Washington Lee's banking-house now stands. The postoffice was kept there a few years.
In 1838 Henry Stains built a store on the site of the Susquehanna company's store. In 1845 there was a small tannery on the site of the Fountain hotel. In 1851 there were fifty-six dwellings within the present limits of Nanticoke.
The first borough election was held at the Fountain hotel kept by Xavier Wernett, on Tuesday, February 17, 1874, E.N. Alexander and Patrick Shea were the inspectors. Lewis C. Green was elected burgess; Xavier Wernett, E.N. Alexander, Patrick Shea, George T. Morgan, Orin Council, Samuel Lines, William Fairchild, L.W. Carey, Thomas R. Williams, Joseph Shepherd and George Abrs, school board; Samuel Keithline, justice of the peace, George Hill, assessor; Samuel Line, L.W. Carey and Dr. A.A. Lope, auditors; L. W. Carey, clerk of the town council. The successive burgesses have been as follows: 1875-7, Lewis C. Green; 1876 Milton Stiles; 1878-9 I. D. Williams.
Present borough officers: Burgess John D. Williams; council: Frank W. Davis, president; David B. Williams, James M. Turner, John E. Lewis, Vincent B. Keeoicz, Peter Conroy, John D. Gross, T.C. Bache, Elijah Jones, Edward Wernett, Anthony Galembeski; secretary, J.S. Dietrick; chief police, Lee Willington; chief of fire, Abednego Reese; street commisioner, Joseph Smith. The fire laddies have Stickney Hose company No. 1, Lape Hose company No. 2, Union Hose company No. 3 and the Hook and Ladder company.
Silas Alexander was appointed postmaster in 1844 and was continuously in the office until 1856, when he was succeeded by Lewis C. Paine, who in a short time was followed by Augustus Lease. In 1864, Mr. Alexander was again appointed postmaster and continued in the office until December 31, 1882, when he was succeeded by present incumbent, George T. Morgan, with assistant H.J. Dilley and four clerks and four carriers. The office was given free delivery January 1, 1892. The postoffice is always a fair index of the growth and prosperity of a place, and by this standard Nanticoke has much to pride herself upon.
In her coal industry, vast and important as that is, Nanticoke is about to receive a great addition thereto. The D.L. & W. company are about to open eight new colleries in the place and its immediate vicinity. The Susquehanna Coal company will also add new colleries to its already large business. Probably there is a larger proportion of Poles in Nanticoke than of any other nationality. Of course, like all mining places, there are great varieties in the nationalities. There are hamlets and important boroughs in the country where sometimes strangers are much puzzled on their first visits. In passing along the streets and stopping the chance individual to make some inquiry he will so often be met with a vacant stare, or, a little better, a shake of the head and a grunt, until one not used to such solecisms in his "glorious land of freedom," may be inclined to wonder whether he is dreaming or has been transported to Poland, Hungary or Bulgaria in his sleep.
One of the busy offices in Nanticoke is that of the Susquehanna coal company and its array of clerks, book keepers and office men. It is capitalized at $4,000,000. Officers: president G.B. Roberts; vice-president I.J. Wistar; treasurer, A. Haviland; secretary, A. Mordecia; manager, Irving A. Stearns; superintendent, George T. Morgan.
First National Bank of Nanticoke was organized in November, 1888, and opened its doors to the public January 14, 1889; capital $75,000; surplus $18,000; deposits $167,189.78. Directors: John Smoulter, Jr., president; H.W. Search, vice-president; J.C. Brader, William Fairchild, Gaius L. Halsey, Xavier Wernet, John M. Garman, C. Frank Bohan, Henry Schappert; H.D. Flanagan, cashier.
Nanticoke Water Company was chartered in 1885. Officers: George T. Morgan, superintendent, assisted by C.W. Mosley; J.S. Dertrick, secretary. Water is conveyed by gravity lines from Harvey's creek, and on reaching its end is pumped into the tall and capacious stand-pipe, ninety feet high. Thus the town is well supplied with excellent water and a head sufficient to give it pressure of ninety-five pounds to the square inch. The pumphouse is at the foot of Lee street, where are two duplex pumps with a capacity of a million gallons per day.
Nanticoke Light Company has a fine electric plant, and the many arc lights of the streets and the incandescent lamps in the houses and offices are the greatest additions the place has so far received. The works were started in a small way by Hildreth & Co. in 1884, and in November 1889, passed into the hands of the above stock company. The company has enlarged the building and added every facility in the way of dynamos and machine power, including the incandescent machinery and two arc machines and an additional engine. It now has a capacity of 120 arc and 1,100 incandescent lights. Officers: A. Reese, president; A. Lape, vice-president; T.F. Jacob secretary; H.D. Flanagan, treasurer.
Nanticoke Board of Trade was organized in November, 1886, and its charter is dated February 14, 1887. Has forty members. Officers: J.C. Brader, president; Robert Schwartz, vice-president, and Henry S. Fairchild, constitute the board; William H. Sharp, treasurer; William P. Jones, secretary.
In the borough are 1 opera house, 8 halls, 1 bank, 2 bakers, 3 blacksmiths, 1 stationery dealer,
1 bottler, 1 brick manufacturer, 5 carpenters, 2 carpet weavers, 2 cigar and tobacco, 5 clothing, 3 coal breakers, 9 confectioners, 5 crockery and glass, 2 dentists, 6 druggists, 13 dry goods, 2 fancy goods,
1 feedmill, 1 ferry, 1 fruit dealer, 5 furniture, 2 gent's furnishing, 33 grocers, 9 hardware, 2 harness makers, 10 hotels, 1 laundry, 4 merchant tailors, 4 milliners, 1 photographer, 3 private (Catholic) schools, 4 livery stables, 1 stone quarry, 3 stove dealers, 3 undertakers, 4 jewelers.
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