HISTORY OF LUZERNE COUNTY

WYOMING BOROUGH

In superficial area, is one of the largest boroughs in the county. In historical fame there is no spot on the continent so well known throughout the civilized world. Wyoming! The inspiring theme of historians and poets. It was chartered a borough in June, 1885, and July 15 the first election for officers was held, resulting as follows: Burgess, William Hancock; council: John P. Smith, president; John A. Hutchins, John Sharp, J. I. Shoemaker (still in the board), Dr. C. P. Knapp, John Daugher. The secretary was H. C. Edwards. Second burgess, John J. Breese, resigned and his term was filled out by H. J. Best. The next burgess was the present incumbent. Present officers: Burgess, Charles Crouse, was re-elected. Council: Wilbur Rozelle, president; J. I. Shoemaker, A. J. Crouse, W. W. Stocker, Fisher Gay, Jams E. Sanders; secretary, Merritt Sax; chief police, Benjamin Bunn; superintendent streets, J. R. Lefrance.

The many improvements going on mark the growing importance of this young borough. One firm has now in the course of building forty houses, and many others are following these closely. Business men in Wilkes-Barre are now looking along the line of the electric road all the way to Pittston for family residences, and the most of them find they can buy and build at a material saving to pay the city rents; and then their delightful healthy homes will possess all the double advantages of rural and urban life.

Wyoming Avenue passes through the length of the borough. It is substantially the old road from Wilkes-Barre to Pittston, called the Wyoming road, passing in front of the monument, that tribute in lasting granite to the sacred memory of the patriots who fell on the battle-field July 3, 1778, of which are full details elsewhere.

As soon as peace had been assured after the Revolution settlers began to return and others to migrate hither, and about 1780 the vicinity of Wyoming began again to show signs of life. "New Troy" was the name by which the place was known up to within the memory of many living.

As early as 1780 or 1781 Benjamin Carpenter, from Connecticut, located on Abram's creek, at the lower end of the gorge where the creek breaks through the Kingston mountains. Her he built a gristmill on the site of the present one, also a house, which is still standing, occupied by Mrs. Riley. The west wing of what is now the Pollock house was built by Mr. Carpenter, and in 1829 the main part of the hotel was built by a Mr. Allenbach. Mr. Carpenter also built the woolen factory at this place, and the Carpenter family sold it to Mr. Anibal, and he to Jacob L. Shoemaker, Sr. This locality was known as Shoemaker's Mills, and was for many years known as Carpenter's Mills and Carpenter Town, which latter name it retained long after it came into the possession of the Shoemakers. In 1807 Mr. Carpenter sold out all his interests to Isaac C. Shoemaker and moved to Ohio. There was about that time an ax factory farther up the creek, the foundation of which is still visible. There was a small foundry a little below the gristmill. The gristmill was rebuilt in 1840 by Jacob L. Shoemaker, Sr., when all the improvements invented up to that time were added. Other improvements besides steam power have since been introduced.

In 1820 John Jones located here and engaged in the blacksmithing business, and the same year Thomas J. Halsey, M. D., located in this vicinity, where he practiced several years. Dr. John Smith was also one of the early resident physicians.

In 1802 or 1803 Mrs. Gordon, mother of James A. Gordon, of Plymouth, taught school in an old schoolhouse on or near the corner where Laycock's Wyoming house now stands.

William Swetland, who was postmaster in 1830, was also one of the early merchants. He kept his store a little below the family residence of Payne Pettebone, on the main road from Kingston to Wyoming. John Gardner was the pioneer cabinet-maker at Carpenter Town, locating there as early as 1820, now a dwelling on the corner opposite the Pollock house, known as the "old storehouse" and he was succeeded in 1830 by Charles Barney. The "old storehouse" was occupied as early as 1820 by Charles Tuttle, who was among early merchants. The property became Daniel Van Scoy's. As late as 1830 the flat between Shoemaker's Mills and Wyoming was a dense wilderness.

The topography of the ground along the river where the Susquehanna avenue has been taken advantage of and the rise is made a street and the lots face on a boulevard of natural old forest trees toward the river. The time is not distant when this must be one of the most favored residence streets in this world. The boulevard and the Susquehanna in front; the grand future mansions, flanked on either side with others of its kind and the gently rising mountains in the distant rear. The time is not distant when the river on both sides will be solid town, very nearly so now, from Pittston to Nanticoke. The principal or central trading and business stands now are on Wyoming and Eighth streets in the vicinity of Laycock's hotel, but with a place in the very first steps of a remarkably quick growth these conditions are liable to change at any time. The cause of this spurt in suburban improvements is first the electric street line that because a road in operation August 18, 1892, the car making its first business trip from the public square in Wilkes-Barre and then to Pittston that day. The cars had been running regularly to Wyoming, stopping in front of Laycock's hotel since May of this year.

In the borough are two hotels - the old Pollock and Laycock's; a steam gristmill, by James Fowler & Sons; a foundry; shovel works, by Payne Pettebone & Sons. This was at first, 1872, a company concern. The terra cotta works, by J. Hutchins & Co., who also operate the breaker across the hill; two breakers within the lines and one just outside the limits; the iron fence works, by John Wilder are situated on Sixth street, opened in 1776. James Eagan's mining drill factory is a growing industry as is the Laycock & Crouse carriage factory; 4 general stores, 1 confectionery, 1 undertaking, 1 boots and shoes, 1 hardware and tin store, 3 builders, 2 shoemakers, 2 livery stables, and several small trading places.

The borough line extends on the mountain to the second tier of lots in the original division. The borough is bountifully supplied by the Spring Brook Water Company. The same mains that supply Forty Fort, Dorranceton and Kingston pass through Wyoming.

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This Town History was donated by Will Gower.

1997-2010 by Mary Ann Lubinsky for the PAGenWeb Project, and by Individual Contributors

 Mary Ann Lubinsky
County Coordinator

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