HISTORY OF THE LACKAWANNA VALLEY
(CONTINUED FROM DOCUMENT #1)
HISTORY OF SCRANTON.
be little less obnoxious than the blunt, open hostility accorded it everywhere in Philadelphia, the only place coal was sought to be introduced. Quakers, acquiring a competency by the slow accretions of patient toil, were the first to menace and oppose the innovation of coal. As this respectable body, generally calm in its judgment, represented the great bulk of Philadelphia enterprise and intelligence, its decision carried a weight fatal and conclusive in the matter. Meantime, stone-coal, better understood among feudal rocks, began to receive especial homage in the Valley of Wyoming.
Jesse Fell--afterward Judge Fell--a plain, modest reflective blacksmith, living in Wilkes Barre, gave it its first successful impulse toward general domestic use. In watching the light blue flame issuing from the furnace of his shop, made livelier by a draft of air from the hale lungs of a bellows, he conceived the idea of inaugurating a coal fire into an ordinary fire-place. His plan, just and reasonable as it appeared in his own mind for a while, faltered before the strong weapon of simple ridicule.
In the leisure hour of an evening, he built up a jamb of brick work in an old fire-place in his house, upon which he placed four or five bars of common square iron, with a sufficient number up in front to hold wood and coal. He filled this contrivance with hard wood, after igniting which, he piled on a quantity of coal, sought his bed, and was soon lost in slumber. This was done late at night lest the people of the neighborhood might again laugh at him for the persistency of his folly. Early in the morning as he awoke, he was astonished and cheered to witness the coal fire announcing its own unconscious achievement. That fire, kindling a glow of anthracite throughout the world, carried the name of Judge Fell down in history. Such was the theme of universal rejoicing throughout the valley that the event was discussed at every fireside; the topic went with the people to church, and was diffused throughout the congregation at large;
by common assent, it entered for a while into all conversations at home and abroad; it silenced every adverse criticism as it gave the signal for long and mutual congratulations at the hospitable house of the judge, where friend and foe alike acquiesced in the truth that Wyoming was freighted with infinite fortune.
Judge Fell, long secetary of the Masonic lodge at Wilkes Barre, deeming the event worthy of note, wrote the following memoranda upon the fly-leaf of the Masonic Monitor, in the bold, beautiful off-hand style for which he was reputed:--
"February 11th, of Masonry 5808. Made the experiment of burning the common stone-coal of the valley, in a grate, in a common fire-place in my house, and find it will answer the purpose of fuel, making a clearer and better fire, at less expense, than buring wood in the common way.
"FEBRUARY 11th, 1808."
A few ark-loads of coal went down the Susquehanna with the spring freshets from Wyoming to Harrisburg, where it was treated with the same indifference or derision shown preceding cargoes to Philadlephia.
The intercourse between the inhabitants of Wilkes Barre and Philadelphia being considerable in the unhurried days of the stage-coach; and anthracite being found in abundance in 1812 on the upper waters of the Schuylkill, united auxiliary influences to bear upon the public mind in the city to such an extent, that the next year when Col. George M. Hollenback sent two four-horse wagon-loads of coal from Mill Creek to Philadelphia, it was sold with little effort to a few liberal patrons, among whom were the Wurtses, afterward conspicuous as pioneers in the Lackawanna coal-field.
Up the Lackawanna, coal was first burned in 1812, by H. C. L. Von Storch, of Providence. A bare body of it, washed by the high waters of spring, early exhibited its
bald, blackened features by the side of the stream, near his dwelling. The same body or vein can yet be seen lying equidistant between the bridge crossed by Sanderson's railroad and Van Storch's slope. Ignorant of the laws of mining, Mr. Von Storch dug up the coal as ordinary earth is dug. In an awkward grate, contrived from iron made at Slocum Hollow, he used the coal as a substitute for wood. His success was so complete, that although the woods encircling his clearing offered its timber and coal for naught but the trouble of securing them, the superior genius of the latter, as an economical agent, was acknowledged even here.
This stratum of coal, half-hidden under its rocky pillow, at once changed the entire tenantry and business aspect of the valley. William and Maurice Wurts, the real accoucheurs of this coal basin, were impelled hither in 1812 in search of coal, and while exploring every gap and gorge, came across this prominent out-shoot. They desired earnestly to purchase, and had it fallen into their possession, as it possibly would have done had it not been for the success of Von Storch in burning coal found upon it, aside from the many changes it would have effected in all the relations of the valley, it is barely possible that Honesdale, Carbondale, Archbald, or Olyphant would have arisen from the wilderness, or grown into towns of their present importance.
Nor can it be supposed that Scranton, with its irresistable expansion, would have been even in existence today as Scranton, if, from the operations of the Wurtses on Von Storch's farm in Providence, "Wurtsdale", or some other town, had sprung into being, because the men whose name it bears--especially the late George W. and the present Joseph H. Scranton, who have contributed as much, if not more, to shape the varied industrial interests of this section of the valley than any other persons connected with its history--would have turned elsewhere their really effective energies.
Bituminous coal, used to a considerable extent in Philadelphia at this time, being withheld from Liverpool by the collision with England, intelligent men who had acquired coal property and privileges for almost nothing, aimed to supply its place with anthracite. Hon. Charles Miner and Jacob Cist, Esq., both prominent in the improvements of the day, sent down an ark-load of twenty-four tons of coal from Mauch Chunk to Philadelphia in the fall of 1814. By personal address and the necessities of manufacturing interests, they disposed of it all with but little loss to themselves. As the cost of transportation, fourteen dollars per ton, to the unwilling market, exceeded the receipts, these gentlemen soon withdrew from the proprietorship of the mines. While Mr. Miner promulgated and widened a knowledge of the qualifications of the new fuel, Mr. Cist, a merchant by profession, a natural genius and mechanic, was the first person to construct a pattern for burning coal in stoves. The stove was a high, square affair, uncouth in style, and yet a great step in advance of coal grates in use at the time.
While the coal, in ordinary grates, burned up without smoke, spark, or flame, the flues of the chimneys built without adaptation to its use, proved so defective that the dust and sulphurous odor filling the low-roomed houses from the fires was almost insufferable. The venerable Dr. Peck informs the writer that when he came into the valley, in 1818, there were but two houses along the Lackawanna where stone-coal had made invasions upon the green wood pile and smutty fire-place. One was Preserved Taylor's, the other at Von Storch's. At no place in Wyoming was there at this time more than a single grate used in any dwelling. Joseph Slocum, Lord Butler, Philip Myers, Charles Miner, Jacob Cist, George M. Hollenback, and perhaps a half-a-dozen others, comprised the entire number of individuals having even a single grate in their houses fifty years ago in Wyoming Valley.
The first coal taken from the valley of Wyoming in a canal-boat was started October 20, 1832.
WILLIAM AND MAURICE WURTS--EXPLORATION IN THE
COAL-FIELD OF THE LACKAWANNA--CONCEPTION AND
EARLY HISTORY OF THE DELAWARE AND HUDSON CANAL
The war if 1812, dissolving many arrogant illusions across the water, was a powerful if not the chief auxiliary in the work of changing the passive and sedate character of the Lackawanna coal-fields.
This war, interrupting commercial intercourse with Liverpool and Virginia, cut of the supplies of fuel from those places so completely, that charcoal rose to a ruinous price. To the manufacturing interests of the country, the consequences were, of course, highly disastrous. Men familiar with the nature of anthracite coal attempted to relieve this embarrassment if possible, by the discovery and introduction among manufacturers of this new kind of fuel.
How their efforts were met and encouraged by the grand, great aggregate popular side in Philadelphia, the reader already understands.
Long before the coal heart of the Lackawanna was startled by the drill of the miner, there was occasionally seen in the valley a young, self-reliant, and determined man, who, trained by experience in steady habits and modest bearing, acquired the honor, in connection with his elder brother Maurice, of planning and maturing schemes under the shadows of the Moosic, which gave an impulse to the interests of commerce, whose influence was immediate and broadcast throughout the world. Energetic and active, enjoying sound judgment, a robust body that wavered only after long exposure in vindicating his theory by a practical development, he roamed for a series of years along the stream from its headsprings
beyond the coal-measure down to its staid outgoing. This was William Wurts, a merchant of Philadelphia.
His first hope, founded upon the obscure knowledge attainable at that early day of the contour and geological structure of the country, was to trace the coal up the valley of the Lackawanna, in the direction of the general trend of the mountain ranges, to the Delaware River. Obliged to abandon this idea, and still retaining the Delaware in view as the grand highway for the transportation of his coal to market, his next conception was to reach the nearest tributary of that stream, the Lackawaxen, leading a quiet life upon the opposite side of the Moosic. This barrier between the Lackawanna and Lackawaxen, guarded by woods and granite, like a calumet offered as a token of peace, increased rather than abated the fervor of his enthusiasm.
The explorations of Mr. Wurts, commencing about 1812, were extended by himself and subsequently by his agents over the central and northern portion of the valley while it was as rugged as when it offered no longer a home to the Monseys. None of the eastern passes in the Moosic, viz.: Rixe's, Wagner's, and Cobb's had ever been marked for a road, with the exception of the latter one. These he repeatedly examined, with a view of finding a passage from the coal-mines to the headsprings of the Lackawaxen, through whose waters it was supposed that coal could be carried toward an eastern market.
A trivial incident favored the researches and designs of Mr. Wurts. While searching up and down the Lackawanna he came across a hunter, named David Nobles, familiar with places where black stones could be readily pointed out. The State of Pennsylvania had not at this time withdrawn its prerogative of imprisonment for debt. David Nobles, struggling in vain with poverty he inherited, being threatened for a trifling debt by an extortionate neighbor in the county of Wayne, fled to the woods with his gun to avoid the officer and the jail. Mr. Wurts
found him rambling over Ragged Island, heard his simple story, and, after giving him the wherewithal to secure his exemption from arrest, employed him to hunt coal and bring knapsacks of provisions over the mountain from the township of Canaan, where a few farmers lived. He became, during the summer months, the inseparable companion of the pioneer, sounding his way up the winding of the Lackawanna. His knowledge of the woods and location of coal territory made him competent as a guide and invaluable as an employee.
After the discovery of vast bodies of coal upon lands, the possession of which was essential in maturing the original purpose, Mr. Wurts and Nobles visited Northumberland to purchase them. As the shabby exterior of Mr. Nobles carried no dignity, nor awakened suspicions of wealth or any ulterior object, he was selected to make preliminary negotiations and the final purchase. Nobles intimated to the owner, who had no knowledge of the eyes glancing longingly over his waste of acres, that he and his numerous brothers desired to farm it on a large scale somewhere along the frontier, where a considerable tract of wild land could be bought for a trifle. The owner, eager to accept any definite offer for lands hitherto unsought by the settlers below, readily acquiesced in the terms of sale. Mr. Nobles, unable to make payment himself, called in "his friend" Wurts, in whose name the contract was signed for possessions, which gave him the key to a coal fortress first assailed in the valley.
By such artifices, honorable and ingenious as they were, Mr. Wurts secured control of several thousand acres of coal land in the county of Luzerne, in the year of 1814. The cost of the land at this time was but fifty cents to three dollars per acre. The giant timber spread over it was of no account, and much of it upon the site of Carbondale was felled and burned away to prepare it for the reception of the cabins of the workmen. These purchases made by an expenditure now considered nominal
and vague, included the region where Carbondale and Archbald are located, with a portion of the intervening land, and a small section in Providence, on the Anderson farm, above Cobb's Gap; where, in 1814, he opened the seven and nine feet veins of coal to obtain specimens for exhibitions in Philadelphia, New York, and other sections of the country.
Hon. Paul S. Preston, of Stockport, Pennsylvania, now hale and hearty, in his 73d year, a warm friend of the late Col. Scranton and the Erie road, who, in 1849, predicted "that the transit of coal north and west, within the next quarter of a century would exceed that of the present day to the south and the east",(see footnote) thus writes: "In 1804, my father run an exploration line from Stockport to Misshoppen, passing through what is now known as (I believe) Griswold's Gap. In crossing the Lackawanna Creek, he discovered stone-coal, with which he had become acquainted in Western Virginia and on the Monongahela as a surveyor previous to his location at Stockport.
"In the year 1814, I heard my father tell Maurice Wurts in Market Street, Philadelphia, 'Maurice thee must hold on to that lot on the Lackawanna, that you took for debt of David Nobles, it will be very valuable some day as it has stone-coal on it and under it.' Whether Maurice was aware of that fact before, I know not. The lot, however, was hung on to. Its location is where Carbondale now stands." the next important event connected with the history of the earliest coal operations in the valley, was an attempt made by Wurts in the year 1815, to transport the coal he had mined at this isolated point, to the Wallenpaupack or some stream leading into it.
On the opposite side of the Moosic Range in the adjoining county of Wayne, threads along its base a narrow creek, whose dark languid waters are so hid by the rank alders and iron-like laurel, as to be concealed from the
(footnote: See Auburn "Daily Advertiser", Jan. 19, 1849.)
view, until its marshy border is almost passed. This is "Jones's Creek", one of the upper and larger branches of the Wallenpaupack. Being eight or nine miles only from the coal-mines opened in Providence, this creek, from its convenient proximity, was selected as one of ample capacity, after the removal of ordinary obstructions, to carry light rafts and a small quantity of anthracite down to the Paupack. The whole summer of this year was spent by Mr. Noble in clearing this stream of the interlocking logs and drift-wood. After a raft had been lashed together, two sledloads of the first coal every carried from the Lackawanna, were loaded upon it.
A long, heavy rain had so swollen the volume of water, than when the raft swung out into the current with its glistening freight, it ran safely for a distance of nearly a mile, when, encountering a projecting rock, the frail float went to pieces, and the coal sank into the flood. Thus were the hopes of the young Philadelphian baffled at the very onset, and the busy world neither delighted nor grieved at the result.
The mind of Wurts, refusing rest, allowed no transient failure to alienate or defer the maturing of his specific scheme.
The old Connecticut road from the Delaware to Wyoming, in passing over Cobb's Mountain, came within a few miles of the two mines opened by Wurts. Over this, to the slackened waters of the Wallenpaupack, one of the tributaries of the Lackawaxen, and about twenty miles distant, coal was next drawn on sleds by the slow ox-team. Here rafts were constructed from dry pine-trees, on which coal was taken as far as Wilsonville Falls, where this stream, narrowing to about seventy feet in width at the top, leaps over three consecutive ledges of rocks of fifty feet each with singular force and beauty. The coal being carried around these falls upon wagons to the eddy in the Lackawaxen, was reloaded into arks and taken thence to the Delaware, and if these were not stove
up in their downward passage reached Philadelphia, where nobody wanted the "black stuff", as all the blowing and stirring given to it did not make it burn.
But little coal, and this at a ruinous expense, was taken over this route, and it being abandoned as a complete failure, led to operations farther up the valley in the wilderness, in the vicinity of Rise's Gap. Here we next find Maurice Wurts associated with his brother William, mining coal on the Lackawanna, at the spot now called Carbondale. This was in 1822, and eight years before the North Branch Canal was put under contract from Nanticoke to the mouth of the Lackawanna. The scene of their operations was a bluff which rises upon the western side of the town, then forming the immediate bank of the river, whose channel has since been diverted. Here these determined, far-seeing pioneers in the coal-fields kept their men at work until late in the fall, forming a sort of encampment in the woods, sleeping on hemlock boughs and leaves before a large camp-fire, and transporting their provisions for miles upon horseback. The mine was kept free from water by a rude pumping-apparatus moved by the current of the river, and when the accumulation of ice upon it obstructed its movements, a large grate made of nail-rods was put in blast, in which a fire of coal was continually kept burning and removing the difficulty. In this slow laborious manner they succeeded at great expense in taking out about eight hundred tons of coal, which they intended to have drawn upon sleds over the mountain through Rixe's Gap to the Lackawaxen during the winter, in order to be floated down the Delaware to Philadelphia in the spring. The winter of 1823 being unusually mild, snow remaining on the ground but few weeks in heavy drifts, only about one hundred tons were drawn over to the rafting-place, a distance of about twenty miles, via Cherry Ridge.
Instead of arks, found to be too expensive and easily broken in their downward passage, dry pine-trees were
cut, rolled into the stream, and lashed together raft-like, upon which as much coal was deposited as would safely float, and thus taken down the Lackawaxen and Delaware to Philadelphia.
The price of anthracite coal in this city at this time was but ten or twelve dollars per ton. At these figures it was estimated that a remunerative profit awaited coal transported in this manner, or even in the unreliable ark, provided the navigation of the Lackawaxen was made safe by practical slack-water improvements.
In 1823, Maurice Wurts was authorized and empowered by the Legislature of Pennsylvania thus to improve the navigation of this short, wild stream. In the mean time, the supply of coal from the Schuylkill and Lehigh regions, small as it was, had so reduced the price as to preclude any hope of a profit such as would justify the expenditure, unless a new and better market could first be found or created.
The demand for coal at this time can be perceived from the fact, that during the entire year of 1820, only 365 tons of anthracite were sent to market--just one ton a day to supply every demand in the city of Philadelphia.
In 1823, only 6,000 tons of anthracite were carried to the sea-board in the whole United States, being considerably less than the amount now used in the Lackawanna Valley every day in the year.
New York and the Lackawanna Valley, linked together by the social chain of canal, railroad, and river, mutually dependent upon each other, knew no interest in common until schooled by the active and persistent agency of the Wurtses. The original plan of looking to Philadelphia for a source of revenue being frustrated by the reduced price of coal, Maurice Wurts, in whom the privilege of improving the navigation of the Lackawaxen was vested, and who had now become largely interested in the enterprise, conceived the project of reaching New York by a direct canal communication between the Delaware and
Hudson rivers. With the hope of accomplishing this object, the exploration of the route on which the Delaware and Hudson Canal has since been constructed, was undertaken by William Wurts alone; and, after such a superficial inspection as he could give it without an actual survey, he concluded that the favorable character of the ground, especially through southern New York, and the abundant supply of water-power at the very beginning of the route, would justify the prosecution of the enterprise.
The project of connecting the two localities by a water communication, favored and understood by few, received a primary and definite form, and although there seemed to have been no just appreciation of the difficulties to be surmounted, or the physical labor and expense incurred in maturing a scheme full of advantage and traffic to the valley, these two gentlemen determined to lend all their energies to its completion.
The needful legislation from the respective States of Pennsylvania and New York was obtained by their unaided efforts, and after an abortive attempt to interest residents upon the route, or those living in the valley, so as to obtain a general fund for the preliminary survey, they engaged Benjamin Wright, then the most experienced engineer in the country, to make the necessary surveys and estimate at their own expense.
The report of the engineer, made in 1824, confirmed the most sanguine calculations of the projectors as to the practicability of the work; but the estimate of its cost ($1,300,000) was discouraging. and to obtain subscriptions for such an amount of money, at that time, for such a work, seemed almost hopeless. Capitalists naturally viewed with distrust a proposition to construct a railroad over a mountain, whose cliffs seemed to exult over physical ingenuity and science; and when these energetic men began to talk of opening a canal navigation through an unknown region, at a period, too, when such undertakings were regarded, even under the
most favorable circumstances, as unremunerative and of doubtful propriety, many persons, representing the current of popular thought, unconscious of the celebrity awaiting these gentlemen for their good judgment and cheerful perseverance, was active and clamorous in predicting ruin and dishonor.
Happily for the interests of the country at large and the valley especially, the inflexible men, inured to fatigue and encampment upon rocks, who had glowed with the hope of bearing the work cross the country dividing the Hudson from the shallow Dyberry, inherited the requisite force and ability to urge it to a favorable issue. They recognized no opposition from any quarter. Conscious that a failure would compromise forever their positions as business men, and number their names among dishonest schemers, they concentrated every available resource to foster and advance the great enterprise.
Their plans, considered after repeated tramps over the mountain, was to cross the Moosic by inclined planes, connecting the railroad with the canal on its eastern side, at the greatest elevation at which water could be obtained from the natural ponds strung along the western terminus of the route. (see footnote)
Almost on the very summit of the Moosic, nestles among the spruce and oak one of the loveliest sheets of water found anywhere in the country, known as "Cobb's Mountain Pond". Around it gathers the forest, nowhere broken by a clearing, and aside from the light step of the deer upon the margin, or the sail of the wild bird over its surface, no evidence of animated nature appears.
Upon one side of the pond, the waters are so shallow
(footnote: It may be interesting to the local reader to learn, that in the original survey of the proposed route, the western terminus of the canal was to be at Keene's, or Hoadley's Pond, in Wayne County, a distance of only four or five miles from the coal-fields. These ponds, estimated as capacity of sixty acres, when united, were to be converted into reservoirs, and were supposed to be capable of furnishing the contemplated canal with the necessary supply of water at any extraordinary drought brought by summer.)
that the tourist can wade hundreds of feet toward its center, over white sand, without even wetting the knee, while the northern side sends its bank down almost perpendicular for a great distance. In the center of this waveless sheet there exists a perceptible movement of the water or mimic maelstrom, able to swing around a log-canoe. The pond, fed by unseen springs, finds a considerable outlet, and forms the upper tributary of the Wallenpaupack. The idea was early entertained by William Wurts of bringing coal to this pond, some seven miles from Providence, using it as the highest reservoir for the canal. To carry out this plan, it was proposed that subscriptions should be opened for a capital stock of $1,500,000 and the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Banking Company be organized.
The undertaking was greatly in advance of the knowledge and comprehension of the day, and yet so lucid and convincing were the arguments of Maurice and William Wurts in relation to the coal subject, that when the books were opened in New York the subscriptions exceeded the amount authorized by the charter.
While wiser men were thus interpreting the wants of the world, by opening a way into the Lackawanna Mountains, the great popular mind had given little discussion to the theme. In fact, the first element of making coal-fires had to be taught in New York in the same spirit of Christian liberality and patience given to Philadelphia by Messrs. Miner, Wurts, and others, a few years before.
A few persons, spurning pupilage in so plain an affair as making a fire, failing to secure heat by putting the coal in the bottom of the stove and the wood on top, refused to have further dealing with the dusky invention.
Stoves and grates, adapted to the use of anthracite coal, being put up in New York, Philadelphia, and Albany, by the agency of these earnest gentlemen, not only demonstrated to the observer the great superiority of anthracite over charcoal and wood as a fuel, but, in spite of strong
natural prejudices arrayed against the project, it found among reflecting minds a steady growth and advocacy.
The canal, commenced in 1826, was completed in 1828. Originally constructed for boats of thirty tons, it subsequently was enlarged for those of fifty tons, and within the past few years has again been so altered and improved as to admit boats of one hundred and thirty tons. The arrangements of this company have been judiciously made at different points, such as Carbondale, Honesdale, Olyphant, Providence &c., for the accommodation of an extensive business. Their capital now exceeds fifteen millions of dollars.
To show how far the results of this pioneer enterprise from the valley have transcended the narrow views of the community of that recent period, both with regard to its capabilities and the use of coal, it may be stated, that the idea of transporting one hundred thousand tons of coal per annum over the railroad and canal (upon which idea the capacity of the former was at first based) was at first scouted by many as preposterous, as regarding both the disposal of, and the ability to deliver, such an unheard-of amount, whereas, during the last year (1868), there was transported over this highway, by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, nearly two million tons of coal.
When this young enterprise was struggling its way into popular favor, equipoised between extermination and a possible triumph, it did not escape the jealousy of men engaged in transporting coal from the Lehigh. The product of the mines had to force itself into a market over the heads of envious and crafty competitors.
Unfortunately for the company, the small quantity of coal taken to New York from the coal-pits at Carbondale, in 1829, being surface coal that had lain for ages exposed to the action of the elements, furnished plausible grounds
apparently for the statements of rival companies, that the Lackawanna coal offered by the Wurtses was quite valueless, or if otherwise, it was boldly asserted that the works of this company were so imperfect in their construction, and so perishable in character, as not to be capable of passing a sufficient amount of tonnage to pay interest upon the original cost.
Indeed, to those who looked searchingly into the matter, with the imperfect knowledge possessed at that day, the Moosic Mountain range might well have proved a great stumbling-block in the way of this artificial outlet to the valley. Habit has now so familiarized us with the triumph of physical science over natural obstacles, that we have ceased to feel or express astonishment at results, which at that day were dismissed from the consideration of rational men as visionary, foolish, and forbidding. The mode of overcoming elevations by means of inclined planes was then almost untried, imperfectly known, and little appreciated. The works at Rixe's Gap were the first of this kind projected in this country on any considerable scale. Much credit is due to the engineers having charge of these works, and especially to Mr. James Archibald, for many ingenious and highly efficient contrivances connected with them.
There is one interesting feature connected with the early
(engraved illustration - First Locomotive Run in America)
history of this road. The first locomotive engine introduced and worked in America was run a short distance upon it in 1828, and Hone's Dale (see footnote) offered its friendly glen for the purpose of conducting the experiment. This locomotive, called the "Stourbridge Lion", was built in England, of the best workmanship and material, and most approved pattern of that date. As compared with the powerful, compact, and simply constructed engines of the present day, it was complicated, unwieldy, top-heavy, and of inconsiderable power, as will be seen by the accompanying illustration, copied from an exact drawing of the original, in the hands of R. Manville, Esq., Superintendent of the Railroad Department.
The village of Honesdale, the eastern terminus of the railroad and the western of the canal, lies snugly in the bottom of a canal-like intervale, where, a single week before the conception of these works, rose one dark mass of laurel and hemlock, through which the Lackawaxen, once famous for trout-fishing, after meeting with the Dyberry, gropes silently along under Irving's Cliff.
The road passed out of Honesdale by a sharp southwesterly curve, with a moderate grade, and was carried over the Lackawaxen by a long hemlock trestling, considered too frail by many to support the great weight of the mysterious-looking engine all ready for the hazardous journey. As the crowd, gathered from far and near, expected that bridge, locomotive, and all, would plunge into the stream the moment passage was attempted, no one dared to run the locomotive across the chasm but Major Horatio Allen, who, amid exultation and praise, passed over the bridge and a portion of the road in safety. The engine, however, was soon abandoned, as the slender trestling, forming much of the body of the road, sufficiently strong for ordinary cars, was found too feeble for its weight and wear.
(footnote: Named from the late Philip Hone.)
Major Horatio Allen, the engineer of the New York and Erie Railroad, gives the following account of the first trip made by a locomotive on this continent:--
"When was it? Who was it? And who awakened its energies and directed its movements? It was in the year 1828, on the banks of the Lackawaxen, at the commencement of the railroads connecting the canal of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company with their coal mines--and he who addresses you was the only person on that locomotive. The circumstances which led to my being alone on the road were these: The road had been built in the summer; the structure was of hemlock timber, and rails of large dimensions notched on caps placed far apart. The timber had cracked and warped from exposure to the sun. After about three hundred feet of straight line, the road crossing the Laxawaxen creek on trestle-work about thirty feet high, with a curve of three hundred and fifty-five to four hundred feet radius. The impression was very general that the iron monster would either break down the road, or it would leave the track at the curve and plunge into the creek.
"My reply to such apprehensions was that it was too late to consider the probability of such occurrences; there was no other course than to have a trial made of the strange animal which had been brought here at a great expense; but that it was not necesary that more than one should be involved in its fate; that I would take the first ride alone, and the time would come when I should look back to the incident with great interest.
"As I placed my hand on the thottle-valve handle, I was undecided whether I would move slowly or with a fair degree of speed; but believing that the road would prove safe, and preferring, if we did go down, to go handsomely, and wihout any evidence of timidity, I started with considerable velocity, passed the curve over the creek safely, and was soon out of hearing of the vast assemblage. At the end of two or three miles I reversed
the valve and returned without accident, having thus made the first railroad trip by locomotive on the western hemisphere."
This primitive machine was finally switched off the track, a house built over it, and instead of being treasured as a relic of early engineering in the New World surpassed by no other, its rusted combination was partially destroyed and scattered, quarter of a century ago. Some portions of it are yet in use in Carbondale.
It might have been supposed by intelligent men, that after the authors of this canal and railroad had shown their operations to be practical and effective, when by vast expenditure of means, time, and labor, the most exhausting, their enterprise was completed, their physical efforts and mental anxieties would have been rewarded with respite and profit: subsequent events assured them that their labors had just begun. The cost of these improvements had far exceeded the original estimate, and a large debt had thus been necessarily contracted in their progress. The market for coal was so limited that a small amount supplied the demand, and if it did not forbode the disruption of the company, it alienated all hope of immediate gain or dividend. Before the resources of the company were developed, financial difficulties accumulated. More than this, the cry of monopoly was arrayed against it, at a time when the shares, first costing $100 each, had been six or seven years on the hands of the stockholders without yielding a single dividend, and had therefore, in effect, cost about $140 per share, could actually be bought in the market at the time for about $48 to $50 per share, or half what it had already cost.
The Wurts brothers, undaunted by these adverse auspices, abated none of their confidence in a cause whose fate involved their own integrity as well as the interest of every valley tenant, taught by the narrow-minded to distrust and oppose its success. Maurice Wurts (who had superintended the canal during its construction, and
and resigned his office when it was completed) undertook, in this exigency, the superintendence of an important department of the company's business, while his brother John, then a prominent member of Congress, of the Philadelphia bar, assumed the presidency. These gentlemen devoted their lives to promote and vindicate the material interests of the company, and the proud, high, firm position it has attained to-day, is much, if not mainly due to the constant care and industry with which its affairs, during a long series of years, sometimes hostile, were conducted by them. This was done in such a broad spirit of fidelity to the entire associated interests, that no charge of self-aggrandizement or greedy selfishness emanated from the most capricious.
Not only was the very existence of the company imperiled by financial dangers formidable in their character, but legislative bodies, moved by the leverage of personal jealousies and fancied rivalry, labored to crush it, and this too, at the instigation of men whose private fortunes and social positions in life, came wholly from the operations they were seeking to arrest and destroy. The benefits which have arisen out of this undertaking, the general and generating influences it has exerted in the Lackawanna Valley, are various in kind and character, and are diffused over a wide region of country, as well as concentrated in special localities. Prominent among these special localities, may be named New York City, and the Lackawanna Valley. Who can estimate the magnitude of the impulse which the introduction of cheap fuel has given to the growth of New York? To this great outlet, conceived and matured by Maurice and William Wurts, is this great city indebted for the cheapening and supply of this desirable and indispensable fuel. The history of the company struggling for many years through appalling difficulties, indicates that even here, neither the benefits nor instrumentality by which it was attained, were appreciated by the many recipients. But no estimate can be
made of the power which a work like this exercises over the affairs of a nation, in encouraging private and stimulating public efforts for internal improvements. The material benefits thus conferred upon the valley, in the highest degree advantageous and practical to the expanding activities east of the Alleghanies, can be estimated readily by simply comparing the average value of coal land and property now and before the maturity of this enterprise. The entire length of the canal, including three miles of slack-water navigation, is 111 miles; the railroad from Honesdale to Providence, thirty-two miles.
This road, with but a single exception, the oldest in the country, represents more wealth, for one of its length, than any other one in America.
During the last year the company have entered into arrangements with the Baltimore Coal and Union Railroad Company, whereby they control the railroad from Providence to the Baltimore mines, near Wilkes Barre, together with the mines upon that justly celebrated property.
They have also completed an arrangement with the Northern Coal and Iron Company, for the coal in the property, recently purchased by the latter company of the Plymouth and Boston companies. This property is located on the west side of the Susquehanna, in Plymouth, and is considered to be one of the most valuable properties in Wyoming Valley.
The canal company also control the railroad and bridge of the Plymouth and Wilkes Barre Railroad and Bridge Company, which connects the property upon the west side of the river with the system of railroads upon the east side.
These alliances, with other recent acquisitions, give the canal company a position from which it can ship coal in all directions, and place it in the front rank of the great coal corporations of the country.
The Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, preserving the same wise policy inaugurated by William and Maurice Wurts, of giving great discretionary power to their officers at the primary or mining end of the line, have prospered beyond expectation or measure under the judicious management of Thomas Dickson, vice-president of the road, and his able assistant managers, E. W. Weston, R. Manville, and C. F. Young.
George T. Olyphant, of New York, is now the president of this company; its vast interest in the Wyoming
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and Lackawanna valleys, however, come under the jurisdiction of Thomas Dickson, of Scranton. The village of Olyphant derived its name from one, while the young mining town of Dickson received its appellation from the other. With a clear head and a disposition to turn hard work to some account, Thos. Dickson came from Scotland, quarter of a century ago, to try his fortune in the mountain ranges of Pennsylvania. Although not "to the manor born", he has by the aid of a practical turn of mind and steady habits, made his way from the humble place of a mule-driver, in the Carbondale mines, to the honorable position he now occupies, with a rapidity and steadiness almost romantic--thus presenting to the young men of the country an illustration of the triumphs of a life of probity and ambitious industry worthy of emulation.
FALLING OF THE CARBONDALE MINES
Those who have never entered the midnight chambers of a coal-mine, far away in the earth, where no sound is heard but the miner's drill or the report of a blast in some remote gallery, and no light ever enters but the lamps on the workmen's caps, which are seen moving about like will-o'-the-wisps as the men are mining or loading the coal into little cars, can not understand how perilous the miner's occupation, or how much the place he works in reminds one of the great pit itself, only this, in the language of the miner, is free from "the hate of summer." Some of the mines are mere low, jet-black coal-holes, gloomy as the tombs of Thebes, while others have halls and chambers of cyclopean proportions, along which are constant openings into cross-chambers or galleries, some sloping downward, some upward, in which roll along cars, drawn by mules, accompanied by a boy as driver. Accidents not unfrequently happen in the mines, by the explosion of powder, as the lamps are continually around it; by the falling of slate or coal,
before props are placed to support the treacherous roof; and sometimes by the falling in of the mines themselves. After all the coal is taken from one stratum or vein, miners frequently remove the pillars or props from the chambers, so that the mines can fill in--this, in miner's language, is called "robbing the mines."
During the winter of 1843 and '44, a portion of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's mines, at Carbondale, "fell in" upon the workmen. Some days previous to the final crash, the mine, in the phrase of the miners, began to "work", that is, the occasional cracking of the roof over where the men worked, denoted the danger of a fall. It came, and such was its force that all the lights in the mines were extinguished in an instant, while the workmen and horses, which were entering or retiring from the black mouth of the cavern, were blown from it as leaves are swept by the gale. The men who were at work in their narrow chambers farther in the mine, heard the loud death-summons, and felt the crash of the earthquaked elements, as they were buried alive and crushed in the strong, black teeth of the coal-slate.
One of the assistant superintendents of the mines, Mr. Alexander Bryden, was on the outside at the time the low, deep thundering of the rocks within came upon his ear. He hastened in to ascertain the cause of the disaster or the extent of the fall. Penetrating one of the dark galleries a short distance, he was met by three miners, who informed him that the mines had broken, killing and wounding many, and that they had just left behind them about twenty men, who were probably slain by the crushing slate. Although urged by the retreating men to turn back and save his own life, as there was no hope of rescuing their companions from death, the determined Scotchman pushed along the gloomy passage, amid the loosened and hissing rock, which, like the sword of the ancient tyrant, hung over his head. He reached the edge of the fall. Earth and coal lay in vast masses around
him, and here and there a body becoming detached from the parent roof, came down with sullen echo into the Egyptian darkness of the mines. Bryden, inured to danger from his youth, was not deterred. The dim light from his lamp revealed no passage, save a small opening made by the huge slabs, falling in such a manner by the side of the floor of the gallery as to form an angle. Through this aperture he crept upon his hands and knees; as he proceeded he found it so narrow that he was barely able to force himself along by lying prostrate upon his abdomen.
About one mile from the mouth of the mines he reached the "heading", or the end of the chamber, where he found the twenty imprisoned miners uninjured, and inclosed in one fallen, black, solid body of coal! One mile of wall between them and the outer world! The brave Scotchman, whose lips whitened not until now, wept like a child, as he found among the number his own son! The boy had the genius of the father. When one of the three retreating fugitives who had escaped from the mine proposed, as they left, to take away the horse confined here with the workmen, young Bryden, who feared the torture of starvation in that foodless cell, replied, "Leave him here; we shall need him!"
Bryden was upon the point of leading out his men when he learned that another lay helplessly wounded, still farther beyond this point, in the most dangerous part of the fall. On he continued his perilous mission until he entered the lonely chamber. A feeble cry from the miner, who was aroused from his bed of slate by the glimmer of the approaching light, revealed a picture of the miner's life too familiar with the men who face danger in these cleft battle-grounds. Almost covered by the fallen strata, he lay half delirious with agony, blackened with coal-dirt, and limbs gashed and fractured with rock. Lifting the wounded man upon his shoulder, Bryden retraced his steps. For rods he bore him along, with the broken flaccid arms of the miner dangling at his side.
when the rock was too low to permit this, he first crawled along the cavern himself, drawing his companion carefully after him. Through perils which none can appreciate who had not strode along the gloomy galleries of a coal-mine, he bore him full one mile before he reached the living world.
The fall extended over an area of about forty acres, and although neither effort nor expense were withheld by the company or individuals, to rescue the living, or to recover the bodies of the dead, the remains of a few have never yet been found. One man was discovered some time afterward in a standing position, his pick and dinner-pail bearing him company, while the greater portion of the flesh upon his bones appeared to have been eaten off by rats.
Others, without water, food, or light, shut in from the world forever by the appalling wall of rock, coal, and slate around them, while breathing the scanty air, and suffering in body and mind, agony the most intense, clinched tighter their picks, and wildly labored one long night that knew no day, until exhausted they sank, and died in the darkness of their rocky sepulchers, with no sweet voice to soothe--no kind angel to cool the burning temples, or catch the whispers from the spirit-land.
Eight dead bodies were exhumed, and six were left in--one, the only son of a dependent widow. Mr. Hosie, one of the assistant superintendents of the mines, was in them at the time of the disaster, and escaped with his life. Creeping through the remaining crevices in the break upon his hands and knees, feeling his way along the blackness of midnight, where all traces of the general direction of the mine had disappeared, he often found himself in an aperture so narrow, that to retreat or advance seemed impossible. Once he was buried middle-deep by the rubbish as he was digging through. Another convulsion lifted up the mass and relieved him. After being in the mine two days and night, he emerged into sunlight,
the flesh being worn from his finger bones in his efforts to escape from the tomb-like cavity.
EARLIEST MAIL ROUTE IN THE VALLEY
When the first and only post-office was established in the Lackawanna Valley in 1811, the mail was carried once a week on horseback from Wilkes Barre, via Capoose or Slocum Hollow, to Wilsonville, the original shire town of Wayne County, at the head of the Wallenpaupack Falls, returning via Bethany, Belmont, Montrose, and Tunkhannock. In 1763, or fifty years previous to this, the Rev. David Zisberger, sheltered only by trees and friendly wigwams, made his way along the Indian pathway, from Fort Stanwix, New York, to Wyoming and Philadelphia, for a slight consideration, as can be seen by the following receipt:--
"Received ten pounds for my journey with Sr. Wm. Johnson's Letter to Teedyuscung at Wyomink, & bringing his answer to Philadelphia
"April 5th, 1762."
Mail matter for the settlements upon the northeast branch of the Susquehanna and its larger tributaries came from Philadelphia, via Sunbury or Easton, to Wilkes Barre, whence it was diffused tardily through the broken openings of northern Pennsylvania.
The inhabitants being few, and poor withal, scattered over a wide range of territory, the post-office for the township was sometimes located at a point where there stood but a single cabin, yet this did not render the operations of the office any the less harmonious or effective.
There yet lives in the valley an old gentleman who prided in the duties of mail-boy from 1811-24, and who, during these dozen of years encountered dangers in fording streams swift and swollen, traversing roads lined with stumps and stone, and yet, characterized by a
natural cheerfulness and love of fun himself, he sometimes forgot the loneliness of his journey as he encountered humanity in its most amusing aspects, at the stopping-places on his route.
"At one point", writes our informant, "the office was kept in a low, log bar-room, where, after the contents of the mail-pouch were emptied on the unswept floor, all the inmates gave slow and repeated motion to each respective paper and letter."
Sometimes the mail-boy, finding no one at home but the children, who were generally engaged drumming on the dinner-pot, or the housewife, unctuous with lard and dough, lol-li-bye-babying a boisterous child to sleep, was compelled to act as carrier and postmaster himself.
At another point upon the route, the commission of postmaster fell upon the thick shoulders of a Dutchman, remarkable for nothing but his full, round stomach. This was his pride, and he would pat it incessantly while he dilated upon the virtues of his "krout" and his "frow".
It would have been amazingly stupid for the Department to have questioned his order or integrity, for as the lean mail-bag came tumbling into his door from the saddle, the old comical Dutchman and his devoted wife carried it to a rear bedroom in his house, poured the contents upon the floor, where at one time it actually took them both from three o'clock one afternoon until nine the next morning to change the mail!
Believing with Lord Bacon, that "knowledge is power", he detained about election time, all political documents directed to his opponents. These he carefully deposited in a safe place in his garret until after election day, when they were handed over with great liberality to those to whom they belonged, provided he was paid the postage.
"At another remote place where the office was kept, the mail-bag being sometimes returned to the post-boy almost empty, led him to investigate the cause of this sudden collapse in a neighborhood inhabited by few. The
prolific number of ten children, graduating from one to twenty in years, all called the postmaster "dad", and as none could read, letters and papers came to a dead stop on arriving thus far. As these were poured out on the floor among pans and kettles, each child would seize a package, exclaiming, this is for me, and this for you, and that for some one else, until the greater bulk of mail-matter intended for other offices was parceled out and appropriated, and never heard of again."
THE PENNSYLVANIA COAL COMPANY
The definite and successful character of the coal schemes devised by the Wurts brothers, tested amidst every possible element of discouragement and hostility, inclined capitalists to glance toward the hills from whence coal slowly drifted to the sea-board. Drinker and Meredith, aiming at reciprocal objects, and alive to venture and enterprise, each obtained a charter for a railroad in the valley, which, owing to the absence of capital, proved of no practical value at the time to any one.
Twenty-one years after coal was carried from Carbondale by railroad toward a New york market, the Pennsylvania Coal Company began the transportation of their coal from the Lackawanna. This company, the second one operating in the valley, was incorporated by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1838, with a capital of $200,000. The proposed road was to connect Pittston with the Delaware and Hudson Canal at some point along the Wallenpaupack Creek in the county of Wayne.
The commissioners appointed in this act organized the company in the spring of 1839, and commenced operating in Pittston on a small scale. After mining a limited quantity of coal from their lands--of which they were allowed to hold one thousand acres--it was taken down the North Branch Canal, finding a market at Harrisburg and other towns along the Susquehanna.
Simultaneously with the grant of this charter, another was given to a body of gentlemen in Honesdale, known as the Washington Coal Company, with a capital of $300,000 empowered to hold two thousand acres of land in the coal basin. This last charter, lying idle for nine years, was sold to William Wurts, Charles Wurts, and others of Philadelphia, in 1847.
In 1845, the first stormy impulse or excitement in coal lands went through the central and lower part of the valley. Large purchases of coal property were made for a few wealthy men of Philadelphia, who had reconnoitered the general features of the country with a view of constructing a railroad from the Lackawanna to intersect the Delaware and Hudson Canal near the mouth of the Paupack.
The preliminary surveys upon the proposed route had barely commenced, before there sprang up in Providence and Blakeley, opposition of the most relentless and formidable character. Men who had hitherto embarrassed the company mining coal in Carbondale during its infancy, found scope here for their remaining malignity. The most plausible ingenuity was employed to defeat the entrance of a road whose operations could not fail to inspire and enlarge every industrial activity along its border. Meeting after meeting was held at disaffected points, having for their object the destruction of the very measures, which, when matured, were calculated to result as they did to the advantage of those who opposed them. It was urged with no little force, that if these Philadelphians "seeking the blood of the country", were allowed to make a railroad through Cobb's Gap, the only natural key or eastern outlet to the valley, the rich deposits of coal and iron remaining in the hands of the settlers would be locked in and rendered useless forever. Such fallacious notions, urged by alms-asking demagogues with steady clamor upon a people jealous of their prerogatives, inflamed the public mind for a period of three years
against this company, but after such considerations as selfish agitators will sometimes covet and accept tranquilized opposition, those amicable relations which have since existed with the country commenced.
In 1846, the Legislature of Pennsylvania passed "an act incorporating the Luzerne and Wayne Railroad Company, with a capital stock of $500,000, with authority to construct a road from the Lackawaxen to the Lackawanna."
Before this company manifested organic life, its charter, confirmed without reward, and that of the Washington Coal Company being purchased, were merged into the Pennsylvania Coal Company, by an act of the Legislature passed in 1849.
This road, whose working capacity is equal to one and a half million tons per annum, was commenced in 1848; completed in May, 1850. It is forty-seven miles in length, passing with a single track from the coal-mines on the Susquehanna at Pittston to those lying near Cobb's Gap, terminating at the Delaware and Hudson Canal at the spirited village of Hawley. It is worked at moderate expense, and in the most simple manner for a profitable coal-road--the cars being drawn up the mountain by a series of stationary steam-engines and planes, and then allowed to run by their own weight, at the rate of ten or twelve miles an hour, down a grade sufficiently descending to give the proper momentum to the train. The movement of the cars is so easy, that there is but little wear along the iron pathway, while the too rapid speed is checked by the slight application of brakes. No railroad leading into the valley makes less noise; none does so really a remunerative business, earning over ten per cent. on its capital at the present low prices of coal; thus illustrating the great superiority of a "gravity road" over all others for the cheap transportation of anthracite over the ridges surrounding the coal-fields of Pennsylvania.
The true system, exemplified twenty years ago by its present superintendent, John B. Smith, Esq., of uniting
the interests of the laboring-man with those of the company, as far as possible, has been one of the most efficient measures whereby "strikes" have been obviated, and the general prosperity of the road steadily advanced.
Through the instrumentality of Mr. Smith this has been done in a manner so uniform yet unobtrusive, as to make it a model coal-road. It carries no passengers.
This company, having a capital of about $4,000,000, gives employment to over three thousand men.
FROM PITTSTON TO HAWLEY
A ride upon a coal-train over the gravity road of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, from Pittston to Hawley, is not without interest or incident. Starting from the banks of the Susquehanna, it gradually ascends the border of the Moosic Mountain for a dozen miles, when, as if refreshed by its slow passage up the rocky way, it hurries the long train down to the Dyberry at Hawley with but a single stoppage.
Let the tourist willing to blend venture with pleasure, step upon the front of the car as it ascends Plane No. 2, at Pittston, and brings to view the landscape of Wyoming Valley, with all its variety of plain, river, and mountain, made classic by song and historic by her fields of blood. The Susquehanna, issuing from the highland lakes of Otsego, flows along, equaled only in beauty by the Rhine, through a region famed for its Indian history--the massacre upon its fertile plain, and the sanguinary conflict between the Yankees and Pennymites a century ago. The cars, freighted with coal, move their spider-feet toward Hawley. Slowly at first they wind around curve and hill, gathering speed and strength as they oscillate over ravine, woodland, and water. Emerging from deep cuts or dense woods, the long train approaches Spring Brook. Crossing this trout stream upon a trestling thrown across the ravine of a quarter of a mile, the cars slacken their speed
as they enter the narrow rock-cut at the foot of the next plane. While looking upon the chiseled precipice to find some egress to this apparent cavern, the buzz of the pulley comes from the plane, and through the granite passage, deep and jaw-like, you are drawn to a height where the glance of the surrounding woods is interrupted by the sudden manner in which you are drawn into the very top of engine-house No. 4.
The Lybian desert, in the desolation of its sands, offers more to admire than the scenery along the level from No. 4 to No. 5. Groups of rock, solitary in dignity and gray with antiquity, are seen upon every side; trees grow dwarfed from their accidental foothold; and only here and there a tuft of wild grass holds its unfriendly place. The babbling of a brook at the foot of No. 5, alone falls pleasantly upon the ear. As the cars roll up the plane, the central portion of the valley is brought before the eye on a scale of refreshing magnificence. The features of the scenery become broader and more picturesque. The Moosic range, marking either side of the valley, so robed with forest to its very summit as to present two vast waves of silent tree-top, encircle the ancient home and stronghold of Capoose. As you look down into this amphitheater, crowded with commercial and village life, catching a glimpse of the river giving a richer shade to a meadow where the war-song echoed less than a century ago, evidences of thrift everywhere greet and gladden the eye.
At No. 6, upon the northern bank of the Roaring brook, are located the most eastern mines of this company, being those which are situated the nearest to New York City. These consist of a series of coal deposits, varied in purity, thickness, and value, but all profitably worked. The largest vein of coal mined here is full eight feet thick, and is the highest coal mined on the hill northwest of plane No. 6.
Upon the opposite range of the Moosic Mountain, in
the vicinity of Leggett's Gap, this same stratum of coal is worked by other companies. Each acre of coal thus mined from this single vein yields about 10,000 tons of good merchantable coal.
The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, crosses that of the Pennsylvania at No. 6, giving some interest to the most flinty rocks and soil in the world. No. 6 is a colony by itself. It is one of those humanized points destitute of every natural feature to render it attractive.
On either side of the ravine opening for the passage of Roaring Brook, the sloping hill, bound by rock, is covered with shanties sending forth a brogue not to be mistaken; a few respectable houses stand in the background; the offices, store-house, workshops, and the large stone car and machine shops of the company are located on the northern bank of the brook. Some sixty years ago a saw-mill erected in this piny declivity by Stephen Tripp, who afterward added a small grist-mill by its side, was the only mark upon the spot until the explorations and survey of this company. This jungle, darkened by laurels blending their evergreen with the taller undergrowth, was more formidable from the fact that during the earlier settlement of Dunmore it was the constant retreat of wolves.
Over this savage nook, industry and capital have achieved their triumphs and brought into use a spot nature cast in a careless mood. At the head of No. 6 stand the great coal screens for preparing the finer quality of coal, operated by steam-power.
Up the slope of the Moosic, plane after plane, you ascend along the obliterated Indian path and Connecticut road, enjoying so wide a prospect of almost the entire valley from Pittston to Carbondale, that for a moment you forget that in the crowded streets elsewhere are seen so many bodies wanting souls. Dunmore, Scranton, Hyde Park, Providence, Olyphant, Peckville, Green Ridge,
and Dickson appear in the foreground, while the Moosic, here and there serrated for a brook, swings out its great arms in democratic welcome to the genius of the artificer, first shearing the forest, then prospering and perfecting the industrial interest everywhere animating the valley. The long lines of pasturage spotted with the herd, the elongated, red-necked chimneys distinguishing the coal works multiplied almost without number in their varied plots, give to these domains a picturesqueness and width seen nowhere to such an advantage in a clear day as on the summit of Cobb Mountain, two thousand feet above the tide.
Diving through the tunnel, the train emerges upon the "barrens", where, in spite of every disadvantage of cold, high soil, are seen a few farms of singular productiveness. The intervening country from the tunnel to Hawley, partakes of the hilly aspect of northern Pennsylvania, diversified by cross-roads, clearings, farm-houses, and streams. Here and there a loose-tongued rivulet blends its airs with the revolving car-wheel humming along some shady glen, and farther along, the narrow cut, like the sea of old, opens for a friendly passage. Down an easy grade, amidst tall, old beechen forests half hewn away for clearings and homes of the frugal farmers, the cars roll at a speed of twelve miles an hour over a distance of some thirty miles from the tunnel, when, turning sharply around the base of a steep hill on the left, the cars land into the village of Hawley, a vigorous settlement, existing and sustaining itself principally by the industrial manipulations of this company.
A little distance below the village, the Wallenpaupack, after leaping 150 feet over the terraced precipice, unites with the Lackawaxen, a swift, navigable stream in a freshet, down whose waters coal was originally taken from the Lackawanna Valley to the Delaware in arks.
It is fourteen miles to Lackawaxen upon the Delaware, where, in 1779, a bloody engagement took place between
John Brant, the famous chief of the Six Nations, and some four hundred Orange county militia.
The Tories and Indians had burned the town of Minisink, ten miles west of Goshen, scalping and torturing those who could not escape from the tomahawk by flight. Being themselves pursued by some raw militia, hastily gathered from the neighborhood for the purpose, they retreated to the mouth of the Lackawaxen. Here Brant with his followers formed an ambuscade. The whites, burning to avenge the invaders of their firesides, incautiously rushed on after the fleeing savages, ignorant or forgetting the wily character of their foe. As the troops were rising over a hill covered with trees, and had become completely surrounded in the fatal ring, hundreds of savages poured in upon them such a merciless fire, accompanied with the fearful war-whoop, that they were at once thrown into terrible confusion. Every savage was stationed behind the trunk of some tree or rock which shielded him from the bullets of the militia. For half an hour the unequal conflict raged with increasing fury, the blaze of the guns flashing through the gloom of the day, as feebler and faster fell the little band. At length, when half of their number were either slain or so shattered by the bullets as to be mere marks for the sharp-shooters, the remainder threw away their guns and fled; but so closely were they in turn pursued by the exultant enemy that only thirty out of the entire body escaped to tell the sad story of defeat. Many of these reached their homes with fractured bones and fatal wounds. The remains of those who had fallen at this time were gathered in 1822, and deposited in a suitable place and manner by the citizens of Goshen.
The New York and Erie Railroad have sent up a branch road from a point near this battle-ground to Hawley, thus giving the Pennsylvania Coal Company an unfrozen avenue to the sea-board, besides dispensing in a great degree with water facilities offered and enjoyed until the completion of this branch in 1863.
From 1850 to 1866, 9,308,396 tons of coal was brought from the mines to Hawley, being an average of 581,775 tons per year.
While a great part of the coal carried to Hawley acknowledges the jurisdiction of this branch road, a limited portion is unloaded into boats upon the Delaware and Hudson Canal.
Once emptied, the cars return to the valley upon a track called the light track, where the light or empty cars are self-gravitated down a heavier grade to the coal-mines. Seated in the "Pioneer", a rude passenger concern, losing some of the repelling character of the coal car, in its plain, pine seats and arched roof, you rise up the plane from the Lackawaxen Creek a considerable distance before entering a series of ridges of scrub-oak land, barren both of interest and value until made otherwise by the fortunes of this company. Leaving Palmyra township, this natural barrenness disappears in a great measure as you enter the richer uplands of Salem, where an occasional farm is observed of great fertility, in spite of the accompanying houses, barns, and fences defying every attribute of Heaven's first law. About one mile from the road, amidst the quiet hills of Wayne County nestles the village of Hollisterville. It lies on a branch of the Wallenpaupack, seven miles from Cobb Pond, on the
mountain, and ten miles above the ancient "Lackawa" settlement. AMASA HOLLISTER, with his sons, Alpheus, Alanson, and Wesley, emigrated from Hartford Connecticut, to this place in 1814, when the hunter and the trapper only were familiar with the forest. Many of the social comforts of the village, and much of the rigid morality of New England character can be traced to these pioneers. Up No. 21 you rise, and then roll toward the valley. The deepest and greatest gap eastward from the Lackawanna is Cobb's, through which flows the Roaring Brook. This shallow brook, from some cause, appears to have lost much of its ancient size, as it breaks through the picturesque gorge with shrunken volume to find its way into the Lackawanna at Scranton.
This gap in the mountain, deriving its name from Asa Cobb, who settled in the vicinity in 1784, lies three miles east of Scranton. It really offers to geologist or the casual inquirer much to interest. This mountain rent, unable longer to defy the triumphs of science, seems to have been furrowed out by the same agency which drew across the Alleghany the transverse lines diversifying the entire range. Like the mountain at the Delaware Water Gap, it bears evidence of having once been the margin of one of the lakes submerging the country at a period anterior to written or traditional history. Emerging from beech and maple woodlands, you catch a glimpse of a long, colossal ledge, bending in graceful semicircle, rising vertically from the Roaring Brook some three hundred feet or more. Its face, majestic in its wildness, as it first greets the eye, reminds one of the palisades along the Hudson. As it is approached upon the cars, the flank of the mountain defies further progress in that direction, when the road, with a corresponding bend to the left, winds the train from apparent danger, moving down the granite bank of the brook deeper and deeper into the gorge, enhanced in interest by woods and waterfall. The hemlock assumes the mastery of the forest along the
brook, whose waters whiten as they pour over precipice after precipice into pools below, which but few years since were so alive with trout, that fishing half-an-hour with a single pole and line supplied the wants of a family for a day with this delicious fish. In the narrowest part of the gap, the cars run on a mere shelf, cut from the rock a hundred feet from the bed of the stream, while the mountain, wrapped in evergreens, rises abruptly from the track many hundred feet.
Greenville, a fossilized station on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, and once the terminus of the Lackawanna Railroad, lies on a slope opposite this point.
The great pyloric orifice of Cobb's Gap, once offering uncertain passage to the Indian's craft, illustrates the achievement of art over great natural obstacles. Roaring Brook, Drinker's turnpike, now used as a township road, the Pennsylvania and the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, find ample place under the shadow of its walls.
A ride of an hour, far up from the bottom of the valley through a forest trimmed of its choicest timber by the lumbermen and shingle-makers, brings the traveler again to Pittston, renovated in spirits and vigor, and instructed in the manner of diffusing anthracite coal throughout the country.
DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA, AND WESTERN RAILROAD
Historical Summary of the Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and Railroad Company (Drinker's Railroad)--The Leggett's Gap Railroad--The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company--All merged into the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad.
Imperfect as was the knowledge of the value of coal forty years ago, large bodies of it being discovered here and there in the valley, mostly upon or near the surface, led
the late Henry W. Drinker to comprehend and agitate a plan of connecting the Susquehanna River at Pittston with the Delaware at the Water Gap, by means of a railroad running up the Lackawanna to the mouth of Roaring Brook, thence up that stream to the placid waters of Lake Henry, crossing the headsprings of the Lehigh upon the marshy table-land forming the dividing ridge between the Susquehanna and Delaware, and down the Pocono and the rapid Alanomink to the Water Gap, with a view of reaching a market.
This was in 1819. The contemplated route, marked by hatchet over mountain and ravine profound in the depth of their solitude, had no instrumental survey until eleven years afterward, but an examination of the country, with which no woodman was more familiar than Drinker, satisfied him that the intersecting line of communication was not only feasible, but that its practical interpretation would utilize the intervening section, and give action and impulse to many an idle ax. In April, 1826, he easily obtained an act of incorporation of the "Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and Railroad Company". The charter implied either a railroad operated up the planes by water, or a canal a portion of the way. The "head-waters of the river Lehigh and its tributary stream", were prohibited from being used for feeding the canal, as it might "injure the navigation of said river, from Mauch Chunk to Easton". By reference to the original report and survey of this road, it appears that horses were contemplated as the motive power between the plane, that toll-houses were to be established along the line, and collectors appointed, and that the drivers or conductors of "such wagon, carriage, or conveyance, boat or raft, were to give the collectors notice of their approach to said toll-houses by blowing a trumpet or horn".
Henry W. Drinker, William Henry, David Scott, Jacob D. and Daniel Stroud, James N. Porter, A. E. Brown, S. Stokes, and John Coolbaugh, were the commissioners.
Among the few persons in Pennsylvania willing to welcome and recognize the practicability of a railroad route in spite of the wide-spread distrust menacing it in 1830, stood prominently a gentleman, by the aid of whom, the Indian Capoose region of Slocum Hollow changed the ruggedness of its aspect--William Henry. In fact, Messrs. Henry and Drinker were two of the most indefatigable and energetic members of the board.
In 1830, a subscription of a few hundred dollars was obtained from the commissioners; in May, 1831, Mr. Henry, in accordance with the wishes of the board, engaged Major Ephraim Beach, C. E., to run a preliminary line of survey over the intervening country.
By reference to the old report of Major Beach, it will be seen that the present line of the southern division of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad is, in the main, much the same as that run by him at this time. Seventy miles in length the road was to be made, at a total estimated cost of $624,720. Three hundred and thirty-six wagons (cars), capable of carrying over the road 240,000 tons of coal per year, were to be employed.
Coal at this time was worth $9 per ton in New York, while coal lands in the valley could be bought at prices varying from $10 to $20 per acre.
It was not supposed by the commissioners that the coal trade alone could make this road one so profitable, but was originally their object to connect the two at these points, so as to participate in the trade upon the Susquehanna. For the return business it was thought that "iron in bars, pig, and castings, would be sent from the borders of the Delaware in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and that limestone in great quantities would be transported from the same district and burned in the coal region, where fuel would be abundant and cheap."
Simultaneously with this survey was the route of the
Lackawannock and Susquehanna, or Meredith Railroad, leading from the mouth of Leggett's Creek in Providence up to that graceful loop in the Susquehanna, called Great Bend, forty-seven and a half miles away, undertaken and surveyed by the late James Seymour, four years after the granting of its charter.
Near the small village of Providence these two roads, neither of which contemplated the use of locomotives in their reliance upon gravity and seven inclined planes, were to form a junction, and expected to breathe life and unity into the iron pathway that was to grope its way out of a valley having scarcely a name away from its immediate border. Neither road proposed to carry passengers.
The report of the commissioners, presenting the subject in its most attractive light, failed to excited the attention it deserved. Men reputed as reliable looked upon the scheme as unworthy of serious notice. Those who had achieved an indifferent livelihood by the shot-gun or the plow, saw no propriety in favoring a plan whose fulfillment promised no protection to game or greater product in the field.
The few who felt that its success would interweave its advantages into every condition of life, were not dismayed.
In the spring if 1832, a sufficient amount of stock having been subscribed, the company was organized: Drinker elected president, John Jordon, Jr., secretary, and Henry, treasurer. At a subsequent meeting of the stockholders, the president and treasurer were constituted a financial committee to raise means to make the road, by selling stock, issuing bonds, or by hypothecating the road, &c. The engineer's map, the commissioners' report, and newspaper articles were widely diffused, to announce the material benefits to result by the completion and acquisition of this new thoroughfare.
The Lackawanna Valley, set in its green wild ridges,
known in New York City only by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, then in the fourth year of its existence, confounded often with the Lackawaxen region lying upon the other side of the Moosic Mountain, neither Drinker's nor Meredith's charter was received with favor or attention.
The advantages of railroads were neither understood nor encouraged by the inhabitants of the valley in 1832, because the slow ox-team or jaded saddle-horse thus far had kept pace with its development. To render the scheme, however, more comprehensive and general in its character, and make more certain the building of the Drinker railroad, a continuous route was explored for a gravity railroad, "from a point n Cobb's Gap, where an intersection or connection can be conveniently formed with the Susquehanna and Delaware Railroad, in Luzerne County", up through Leggett's Gap, and running in a northwesterly direction to the State of New York.
This was the Leggett's Gap Railroad, an inclined plane road which, when completed, was expected to receive the trade along the fertile plains of the Susquehanna, Chenango, and the Chemung, now enjoyed so profitably by the New York and Erie Railroad.
H. W. Drinker, Elisha S. Potter, Thomas Smith, Dr. Andrew Bedford, and Nathaniel Cottrill--the last two of whom are now living--were among the original commissioners.
Public meetings were now called by the friends of the Drinker road, at the Old Exchange in Wall Street, New York, to obtain subscriptions to the stock of the company, and, while many persons acknowledged the enterprise to be a matter of more than common interest to the country generally, as it promised when completed, to furnish a supply of coal from the hills of Luzerne County, a county where thousands of millions of tons of the best anthracite coal could be mined from a region of more than thirty-three miles in length, and averaging more than two
miles in width, underlaid with coal probably averaging fifty feet in thickness, and besides this, unlike most other mining portions of the world, it abounded in agricultural fertility.
While these facts where generally conceded, they produced no other effect, than bringing from capitalists the favorable opinion that final triumph probably awaited their hopes. In Morristown, Newton, Belvidere, Newark, and other places in New Jersey; at Easton, Stroudsburg, Dunmore, Providence, and Kingston, in Pennsylvania, meetings were called to draw the attention of the public mind and acquire the requisite means to open this highway through the wilderness, where the wolf, crouched in the swamp, bestowed with his gray eye as friendly a glance upon the project as many capitalists were inclined to give it. Every sanguine hope, every flattering promise made in a spirit of apparent earnestness languished and died like the leaves of autumn.
At length, engagements were made with New York capitalists to carry the matter forward to a favorable termination, provided that Drinker and his friends would obtain a charter for a continuous line of gravity railroad up the Susquehanna, from Pittston to the New York State line. In 1833, a perpetual charter for such a road was obtained by their agency, and the first installment of five dollars was paid, according to the act of Assembly. In itself it was considered, that in connection with other roads, at or near the Delaware Water Gap to New York City, it would be with its terminus at Jersey City eastwardly, and the State line near Athens, in Pennsylvania, westward, the shortest and best line the natural avenues indicated from New York west. It was shown by the official report of a survey made in 1827, by John Bennett, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, that the distance from the mouth of the Lackawanna of eighty-six miles had but two hundred and fourteen feet fall, or about two and a half feet per mile, the acclivity for the whole distance
being in general nearly equal, and beyond this to the city of Elmira at about the same grade.
The vast project of the New York and Erie Railroad was agitating southern New York at this time. Of the seven commissioners, John B. Jervis, Horatio Allen, Jared Wilson, and William Dewy urged the adoption of the present route, while F. Whittlesey, Orville W. Childs, and Job Pierson reported adversely to it.
The New York gentlemen interested in Drinker's route, having full faith in the realization of an idea promising control of a line reaching the same point on the New York and Erie Railroad (as laid down by Judge Wright, civil engineer, but on which nothing more had yet been done), at a distance of eighty-one miles short of this line, while running through both the anthracite and bituminous coal districts upon easier grades, were greatly encouraged to hope for success; several sections in the "Susquehanna Railroad" law were, by supplements, so amended by legislative enactments as to fulfill upon that point every expectation.
In October, 1835, the services of Doctor George Green, of Belvidere, who was a friend of this improvement, and who originated the "Belvidere Delaware Railroad", were procured. William Henry's note, indorsed by Henry W. Drinker, accepted and indorsed by the cashier of the Elizabeth Bank as "good", was taken by the doctor to the Wyoming Bank at Wilkes Barre as a deposit and payment, in compliance with the law called the "Susquehanna Railroad' act of Assembly of 1833.
In consequence of the commercial embarrassments alienating credit and confidence throughout the entire country in 1835-6, the New York party, impoverished and appalled by the shock, could give no further thought to the road. Other parties being prostrated by insolvency or death, the positive spirit, inaugurating the company, carried with it thus far a success decidedly negative and skeptical.
Ten years had thus escaped, and not a single tie nor rail
had shod the road; here and there a few limbs clipped from the forest-tree to aid the surveyor, and a few roads graded for the flat iron bar, bore evidence of the hope of the directors.
In the summer of 1836, there was traveling in the United States an English nobleman named Sir Charles Augustus Murray, who, learning of the important character of this proposed road from one of his friends, became interested in its success. A correspondence ensued, which led to a meeting of the friends of the project, at Easton, June 18, 1836; Mr. Drinker and Mr. Henry on the part of the railroad company, and Mr. Armstrong of New York, Mr. C. A. Murray, and Wm. F. Clemson of New Jersey, wrote out articles of association; the railroad committee fully authorized Mr. Murray to raise, as he proposed to do, 100,000 pounds sterling in England, conditional that the company should raise the means to make a beginning of the work. Mr. Henry accompanied him to New York, and furnished him with the power of attorney, under seal expressly made for the purpose, and on the eighth of August, 1836, Mr. Murray sailed for Europe. Mr. Henry at once met and made arrangements with the Morris Canal Board of Directors to raise $150,000 on stock subscriptions to commence the road, but before these arrangements had matured, discouraging news came from England through Mr. Murray, who informed the company that the prostrated monetary affairs of Europe rendered any assistance by him out of the question.
To this meeting, which lasted three days, in the village of Easton, can be traced the starting of the iron-works in Slocum Hollow, whose varied and wide-spread prosperity have animated the entire domain of the Lackawanna.
The first iron-works in Scranton after those of Slocums', were erected in 1840. In the summer of 1842, after the artificers gathered around the Scranton furnaces had
learned to smelt iron with the lustrous anthracite, the directors of the railroad held only annual meetings. Drinker and Henry had each expended nearly their entire resources to fructify a project whose magnitude found no place or conception in the public mind; this being done in vain, postponed further sacrifices and efforts to stretch the iron fiber from river to river, until greater wants from the sea-board came up to the coal heaps, and established mutual confidence instead of general distrust.
The simple acquisition of Slocum Hollow, in 1840, by a New Jersey company, had but little interest outside the parties concerned in the purchase. Who were taxed for the rough pasture-land cleared on Roaring Brook, none cared to inquire. Its purchase, however, originally suggested by Mr. Henry with especial reference to the furtherance of Drinker's road, favored that result sooner than was anticipated. With the concentration and expansion of capital here at this time, a business was generated which called for a better communication with the sea-board than the ox-team or the sluggish waters of a canal frozen up at least six months of every year.
Col. Scranton, in the simplicity of whose character the whole country acquiesced and felt proud, representing the interests of the iron-makers in Scranton, yet willing to give power to a measure full of public good, conceived the project, in 1847, of opening communication from the iron-works northward to the lakes by a locomotive instead of a gravity road run by plane, stationary engine, and level, as Drinker's, Meredith's, and the Leggett charters all contemplated. The charter of the last-named road, kept alive by the influence of Dr. Andrew Bedford, Thomas Smith, Nathaniel Cottrill, and other spirited gentlemen, was purchased by the "Scranton Company" in 1849, by the suggestion of Colonel Scranton. A survey was made the same year; the road was commenced in 1850.
For the purpose of giving favor and strength to a project unable to make its way to a practical solution without
capital from abroad, a road was chartered in April, 1849, to run from the Delaware Water Gap to some point on the Lackawanna near Cobb's Gap, called "The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company". The commissioners, Moses W. Coolbaugh, S. W.Schoomaker, Thos. Grattan, H. M. Lebar, A. Overfield, I. Place, Benj. V. Rush, Alpheus Hollister, Samuel Taylor, F. Starburd, Jas. H. Stroud, R. Bingham, and W. Nyce, held their first meeting at Stroudsburg, December 26, 1850, choosing Col. Geo. W. Scranton president.
The northern division of "The Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company", carried by genius and engineering skill for sixty miles over the rough uplands distinguishing the country it traverses from Scranton to Great Bend, was opened for business in October, 1851, thus enabling the inhabitants of the valley to reach New York by a single day's ride instead of two, as before.
Travel and traffic, hitherto finding its way from the basins of Wyoming and the Lackawanna to Middletown or Narrowsburg by stage, and thence along the unfinished Erie, now diverged westward, via Great Bend, sixty miles away, before apparently beginning a journey eastward to New York. This unphilosophical and wasteful manner of groping among the hills in the wrong direction before starting for New York, directed the intelligence of the mass toward the purpose of Col. Scranton, of planing a continuous roadway direct to New York, via the celebrated Delaware Water Gap.
The original charter of drinker's railroad was purchased of him in 1853, by the railroad company, for $1,000. Immediately after this, a joint application was made by the "Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company", and the "Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company", for an act of the Legislature for their consolidation, which was granted March 11, 1853, and the union consummated under the present name of "The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Company".
Of this consolidated road, the late George W. Scranton was unanimously elected President: how well he filled this position until compelled to exchange it for the invalid's shelf, let the movement of the iron pathway across
(Engraved Illustration of Delaware Water Gap from the Kittatinny House)
a valley which would be comparatively idle to-day without it--let the mutually satisfactory adjustment of every conflicting interest arising in the progress of this great road--let the spirit of his administration, characterized by qualities both sterling and comprehensive--more than this, let the simple fact that he, inspiring capitalists with the same confidence he himself had acquired and cherished, was able to draw forth the wherewithal to complete a road deriving its origin and vigor from him, bear ample and praiseworthy testimony
The vast business of this road, which in the year of 1868 carried 1,728,785.07 tons of anthracite, requires one hundred locomotives, about five thousand coal-cars, and gives employment to over 5,000 men. Its total disbursements at Scranton alone, through H. A. Phelps, the courteous paymaster of the road, amounted, during the last year, to over $4,000,000, while a considerable sum diffused itself through the treasury department in New York.
The same efficiency and ability with which Hon. John Brisbin acquired popularity as the president of the great primitive locomotive railroad in the Lackawanna Valley, from 1856 to 1867, has been continued and even augmented by Samuel Sloan, Esq., its present vigilant president, and formerly the presiding officer of the Hudson River Railroad, whose admirable management of the interests of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, has placed it upon a basis reliable and remunerative, and given it a character, even beyond the States it traverses, enjoyed by few, if any railroads in the country.
The lease of the Morris and Essex road by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western, for an almost indefinite term of years, establishes more intimate relations between the Lackawanna Valley and the sea-board than every enjoyed before, and marks an era in the history of coal transportation, second only in importance to the conception of the original gravity railroad stretched like a rainbow over the Moosic in 1826-8 by Wurts brothers.
(Engraved portrait of John Brisbin with signture)
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Hitherto, the former road, vigorous with local traffic, strove only to compete with a diverse railway for doubtful dividends, without a wish to advance or retard the welfare of the valley. By a stroke of policy seldom surpassed in the grandeur of its results, all this was changed in January, 1869, by the practical foresight of President Sloan and his associates. The consolidation of these two roads gives a future interest to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western road far beyond the appreciation of the hour. It abbreviates distance, offers a continuous and controllable rail from the mines to New York, increases the value and tonnage of the road almost fourfold, while the travel over it for all time to come will make one steady, living stream of various lineage and faith, steady, remunerating, and thus commemorate the wisdom of the men who inaugurated the movement. The superintendency of the Morris and Essex division of the line has fallen into the experienced hands of Hon. John Brisbin.
THE LACKAWANNA AND BLOOMSBURG RAILROAD
After the locomotive railroad from the Lackawanna Valley had become a fixed fact by the genial efforts of those to whom its failure or its success had been intrusted, other roads began to spring into a charter being. Among such was the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad. An act incorporating this company was passed in April, 1852, but not until some valuable and essential amendments were obtained for the charter the next year, by the able efforts of one of the members of the Pennsylvania Legislature--Hon. A. B. Dunning--did it possess any available vitality. This road, running from Scranton to Northumberland, is eighty miles in length, passing through the historic valley of Wyoming, where the poet Campbell drew, in his Gertrude, such pictures of the beautiful and wild. It also passes along the Susquehanna, over a portion of the old
battle-ground, where in 1778, a small band of settlers marched forth from Forty Fort, in the afternoon, to fight the spoilers of their firesides, and where, after the battle, the long strings of scalps dripping from the Indian belts, and the hatchets reddened with the slain, told how sore had been the rout, and how terrible the massacre that followed. The dweller in wigwams has bid a long farewell to a region so full of song and legend, and where can be found the one to-day who, as he looks over the old plantation of the Indian Nations, once holding their great council fires here, upon the edge of the delightful river, surrounded by forest and inclosing mountain, can wonder that they fought as fights the wild man with war-club and tomahawk, to regain the ancient plains of their fathers?
Wyoming Valley, taken as a whole, compensates in the highest degree for the trouble of visiting it. The grand beauty of the old Susquehanna and the sparkling current of its blue waters nowhere along its entire distance appears to better advantage than does it here. Along the Po or the Rhine, there loom up the gray walls of some castle dismantled and stained with the blood of feudal conflict; here on the broad acres of Wyoming turned into culture, humanity wears a smile nowhere more sweet or lovely.
The tourist who wishes to visit this truly interesting valley, can step into the cars of the Lehigh and Susquehanna, or the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad Company, at Scranton, and in twenty minutes look "On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!" Across the river, half a mile from Campbell's Ledge, near the head of the valley, is seen the battle-ground. About three miles below Pittston, left of the village of Wyoming, rises from the plain a naked monument--an obelisk of gray masonry sixty-two and a half feet high, which commemorates the disastrous afternoon of the third of July, 1778. Near this point reposes the bloody rock around which, on the evening of that
ill-fated day, was formed the fatal ring of savages, where the Indian queen of the Senecas, with death-mall and battle-ax, dashed out the brains of the unresisting captives. The debris of Forty Fort, the first fort built on the north side of the Susquehanna by the Connecticut emigrants, in 1769, is found a short distance down the river from this rock.
The Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, while it is a valuable auxiliary to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, in whose interests it is operated, enjoyed all the advantages of travel between central Pennsylvania and the Lackawanna Valley until the Lehigh and Susquehanna and the Lehigh Valley railroads, bounding over the mountain with the celerity and speed of a deer, alienated a portion of the trade and travel.
Having the advantage of collieries with an aggregate yearly capacity of a million tons of coal, threading its way along the green belt of the Susquehanna over rich beds of iron ore, worked in Danville by ingenious artificers who have adopted science as their patron, it will ever stand prominent among the railroads of the country.
While the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, with its greater length of thirty-three miles, carried 187,583 passengers during the year 1867, the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg transported 269,564--an excess of 81,981 persons.
No railroad in the country of its length, lined with scenery always exhilarating, would better repay the visit of a few days in summer or autumn, than will this. It is, in fact, all picturesque, while portions of it are really magnificent. Thundering along the border of the river and the canal, at a rate of thirty miles an hour, a glimpse is now caught and then lost, of old gray mountain crags and glens, covered with forest just as it grew--of sleepy islands, dreaming in the half-pausing stream--of long narrow meadow, stretched along with sights of verdure and sounds of life, and now and then a light cascade, tuned by the late rains, comes leaping down rock after
rock, like a ribbon floating in the air! How the waters whiten as they come through the tree-tops with silver shout from precipice to precipice in the bosom of some rock, cool and fair-lipped! The scenery is especially grand at Nanticoke--the once wild camp-place of the Nanticokes--where Wyoming Valley terminates, and where the noble river, wrapped up in the majesty of mountains, glides along as languidly as when the red man in his narrow craft shot over the ripple.
Mr. James Archibald, life-long in his earnest devotion to the interests of the Lackawanna Valley, is president of the road.
SKETCH OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE LEHIGH AND
This road, running from Providence to Easton, a distance of 120 miles, threads a section of country surpassed by no other in the State for the grandeur of its scenery or the interest of its history.
When the Indian civilizers first began to fraternize with the sachems of the Lehigh at Fort Allen or Gnadenhutten (now Weissport) in 1746, all knowledge of anthracite coal was so limited, that the word "coal" was noted upon but a single map within the Province of Pennsylvania. The casual discovery of coal, half a century later, near this settlement, gave fetal life to the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, and a prominence to the history of this region not otherwise enjoyed.
At the confluence of the Ma-ha-noy (the loud, laughing stream of the Indian) with the Lehigh, this fort was located, eighteen miles above Bethlehem, forty miles by the warriors' trail from Teedyuscung's plantation at Wyoming. It was the first attempt of the whites to carry civilization into the provincial acquisitions of Penn above the Blue Mountain. Why a region so rough in its general exterior should have been chosen for a sheltering
place, can be accounted for upon no other theory than that the gray rock here bordering the Lehigh, took a place of memory of the Elbe in their fatherland emerging from the crags of the Alps.
This place, often visited by sachem and chief, whom the missionaries first conciliated, then endeavored to Christianize, "numbered 500 souls in 1752". Braddock's defeat, two years later, opened the forest for the uplifted tomahawk. Some of the Six Nations, exchanging wampum and whiffs of the calumet with their Moravian brothers, danced the war-dance before Vaudreuil, Governor of New France (New York State). "We will try the hatchet of our fathers on the English", said the chiefs at Niagara, "and see if it cuts well".
The obliteration of the village, with the death or expulsion of its inmates, January 1, 1756, attested the trial of both fire-brand and hatchet.
After a lump of coal found near Mauch Chunk, in 1791, by Ginther, had been analyzed and pronounced as such by the savans of Philadelphia, the following persons, Messrs. Hillegas, Cist, Weiss, Henry, and others, associated themselves together, without charter or corporation, as the "Lehigh Coal Mine Company", for the purpose of transporting coal to Philadelphia, in 1792. They purchased land, cut a narrow road for the passage of a wagon from the mine to the river, and sent a few bushels of anthracite coal to Philadelphia in canoes or "dug-outs". None could be sold; little given away. Col. Weiss, the original owner of the land, spent an entire summer in diffusing huge saddle-bags of coal through the smith-shops of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and other places. From motives of personal friendship, a few persons were induced to give it a trial, with very indifferent success.
Under the sanction of legislative enactment, some $20,000 was expended to prepare the Lehigh for navigation.
No more coal, however, was carried down the stream until 1805, when William Turnbull, by aid of an ark, floated some 200 or 300 bushels to Philadelphia. As the coal extinguished rather than improved the fire, the great body of citizens refused to buy or make further attempt to burn it, or be imposed upon by the black stuff.
Messrs. Rowland and Butland were the next to lease the mines, and fail.
The success of Jesse Fell, of Wilkes Barre, in 1808, of burning coal in a common grate, led two of the representative men of the day, Charles Miner and Jacob Cist, to lease the Ginther mine in 1814, with a view of shipping coal to Philadelphia.
On the 9th of August of this year, the first ark-load of coal started from Mauch Chunk. "The stream", writes Miner, "wild, full of rocks, and the imperfect channel crooked, in less than eighty rods from the place of starting the ark struck on a ledge, and broke a hole in her bow. The lads stripped themselves nearly naked, to stop the rush of water with their clothes. As dusk they were at Easton, fifty miles."
The impetuous character of the river, untamed by art, and the absence of any demand for coal, induced these pioneers to retire from the Mauch Chunk coal-mines. "This effort of ours", say Charles Miner, "might be regarded as the acorn, from which has sprung the might oak of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company."
In 1817, three energetic gentlemen, Josiah White, George F. A. Hauto, and Erskine Hazard, profiting by each preceding failure, originated the plan of floating coal down the inky, turbulent current from Mauch Chunk to the Delaware by the aid of slackened water.
From Mauch Chunk to Stoddartsville, not a single cabin rose in the wilderness; the abandoned warrior's trail alone intervened.
In 1818, the Legislature of Pennsylvania empowered
these gentlemen as the "Lehigh Navigation Company", "to improve the navigation of the river Lehigh" by constructing wing-dams and channel walls along the more rapid and shallow portion of the stream, so as to narrow and contract the current for practical purposes. In October, 1818, "The Lehigh Coal Company" built a road from the Lehigh to the old Ginther mine on Summit Hill.
Arks of coal were carried down in the spring freshet; in the summer months when water was low, bear-dams were constructed from tree-tops and stone, "in the neighborhood of Mauch Chunk, in which were placed sluice-gates of peculiar construction, invented for the purpose by Josiah White, by means of which the water could be retained in the pool above until required for use. When the dam became full, and the water had run over it long enough for the river below the dam to acquire the depth of the ordinary overflow of the river, the sluice-gates were let down, and the boats which were lying in the pools above, passed down with the artificial flood." Some 100 tons of coal thus found its way down the Lehigh in 1818.
The partial success of a plan alike novel and unreliable, led to a more systematic slack-water navigation from Mauch Chunk to Easton, forty-five miles.
The people of Philadelphia, educated reluctantly in the use and art of anthracite, finding this avenue from the coal-mines inadequate to the demands of commerce, lent a hand to calm the swift waters of the Lehigh for coal traffic. The Legislature of the State, influenced by men able to bring greater political influence to bear than this sterile region could then offer, granted to Messrs. White, Hauto, and Hazard, the privilege of improving the navigation of the Lehigh as far as White Haven; reserving, however, the right of compelling the company to make a continuous slack-water navigation to Stoddartsville,
a sprightly lumbering village, fifteen miles farther up the stream.
The Lehigh Coal and Lehigh Navigation Company were consolidated in the spring of 1820. During this year 365 tons of coal, lowered down the Lehigh in arks by some fifty dams, found its way to a tardy market. A few years later, 400 acres of land was stripped of its stately pines annually for the construction of the necessary arks: these were manipulated into building material in Philadelphia, while the iron was returned to Mauch Chunk for repeated use. This destruction of wood, now seriously felt, and the waste of time in building boats for a single trip, subsequently led to a more practical method of navigation.
The slack-water (canal) navigation was opened to Mauch Chunk simultaneously with the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, eastward from the Lackawanna Valley, in 1829, to White Haven, in 1835.
As the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, already embarrassed by the expensive dams they had built, could see no benefit to accrue by the extension of their works to Stoddartsville, it asked to be released from this particular part of the agreement, through the same body that had so ungraciously imposed it. Objections and remonstrances poured into the Legislature from Stoddartsville and from almost every township in the county of Luzerne. Andrew Beaumont, representing the expression and interests of Wyoming Valley, with a strength and ingenuity for which he was ever so remarkable, interposed means to frustrate the wishes of the company. The matter was finally compromised; the Navigation Company agreeing to erect a single dam on the stream above Port Jenkins, and carry channel walls and wing-dams from pool to pool for the passage of rafts and logs from Stoddartsville, and build a gravity railroad over the mountain from White Haven to Wilkes Barre. The Legislature now withdrew or repealed so much of the former act as
required the completion of the slack-water navigation to Stoddartsville.
The valley of Wyoming ramifying with competing railways, gained its first one by this scramble with a company with which its relations have subsequently become pleasant and profitable. This railroad was begun in 1837.
A stream, rapid and treacherous as the Lehigh, passing for miles through a mere fissure of vertical rock, bore restraint with deceitful demeanor. Danger concentrated in every dam. A sudden snow-thaw forced and infuriated volume down the Lehigh, January 8, 1839, at the expense of the company and their employees; on the same day of the month in 1841, another thaw released the snow from the mountain and swelled the torrent with loss of life and property; the freshet, however, of 1862, resistless and unparalleled in the extent of its ravages upon life and property, appalled and smothered with a single wave every lock-house and its inmates, every dam, boat, or bridge, attempting to interrupt its passage. About 300 persons living along the river perished in that cold, dark, memorable night.
The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, with but little left but the bare stream exulting over its liberation, actuated by humane and practical impulses as well as the wishes of the Lehigh Valley inhabitants, who everywhere opposed the reconstruction of the dams because of their danger, made the Lehigh a safer companion by constructing along its berme bank, or the debris of the canal, a locomotive railroad. While the immense forest around White Haven, slashed into by the lumberman without regard to economy or foresight, annually assured the road considerable traffic, the gravity railway from Wilkes Barre, terminating here, could not fairly compete with other routes diverging to the sea-board from northern Pennsylvania. Years of reconnaissance of the interposing
mountain enabled the engineers to descend with a locomotive into the plains of Wyoming triumphantly, as the Jewish ruler of old came down from the sacred mount.
If there is grandeur in the bold outlines of precipice and forest in the coal-fields of Pennsylvania, then the scenery along the entire road is truly exhilarating, while the view in ascending or descending the slope between Penobscot and Wilkes Barre is singularly beautiful and unique. The broad expanse of Wyoming Valley, with
(remainder of page is previous footnote)
her dozen villages sleeping quietly in her bosom:--the Susquehanna making a low bow and bend around Campbell's Ledge at the head of the valley, dividing the rich bottom for twenty miles before it gathers in a measure of its beauty and retires from the eye at Nanticoke, and the green farms, dotted here and there with quaint homesteads telling their story of strife and skirmish in olden time, all make up a landscape rarely offered to the eye of the traveler.
Steel rails, stretched over a great portion of the road, impart a degree of security that must popularize it as a great thoroughfare. In fact, the same far-seeing sagacity that this pioneer company carried into the Lehigh Valley a quarter of a century ago, to secure and develop anthracite, has led them to make a railroad in such an excellent and thorough manner as to be a marvel among American railroads, reflecting equal credit upon the engineers and managers who matured this great enterprise.
John Leisenring, Esq., of Mauch Chunk, ably filled the united position of superintendent and engineer of this road until the summer of 1868. John P. Ilsley, a gentleman who enjoyed high consideration as the superintendent of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg for many years, succeeds Mr. Leisenring in the superintendency of this road.
HON. GEORGE W SCRANTON
Col. George W. Scranton was too universally known and beloved throughout the country to be overlooked in a work aiming to do justice to men who have gained glory by carrying reformation and development to the valley of which it treats. The following biographical sketch of Colonel Scranton, prepared especially for this volume, is from the able pen of Rev. Dr. GEORGE PECK:--
Col. Scranton descended from John Scranton, who was one of the colony who settled in New Haven in 1638. The Scranton family was distinguished in the French and
Revolutionary wars, some of them as privates and others as commissioned officers. Col. Scranton was born in Madison, Ct., May 11, 1811. At an early period in life, he exhibited extraordinary qualities both of intellect and heart. His opportunities for an education were embraced within the privileges of the common school and two years' training in "Lee's Academy".
In 1828, he came to Belvidere, J. J., and the first employment he obtained wa that of a teamster, for which he received eight dollars per month. His great industry, and general good conduct excited the attention of business men, and he was soon employed as a clerk in the store of Judge Kinney, where his great business tact and winning management not long after gained him the position of a partner in the concern.
On the 21st of January, 1835, Mr. Scranton was married to Miss Jane Hiles, of Belvidere. After his marriage, he engaged in farming, in which business he continued until 1839. At this time Mr. Scranton, in partnership with his brother Selden, purchased the lease and stock of Oxford Furnace, N. J., and, contrary to the predictions and fears of their friends, they succeeded in the business, and maintained their credit through the season of embarrassment to business which followed the terrible crash of 1837.
In 1839, Mr. William Henry, being impressed with the advantages of the manufacture of iron in the Lackawanna Valley, purchased a large tract, including what was called Slocum Hollow, or what is now the site of the city of Scranton. It contained, "the old red house", two other small dwellings, and a stone mill. With the exception of a few acres of cultivated land, the tract was covered with timber, a dense undergrowth, and a perfect tangle of laurel.
The attention of the Scranton brothers was attracted to this place, and, Mr. Henry not being able to comply with they conditions of his purchase, they, in connection with
(Engraved portrait of George Scranton with signature)
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other parties, in May, 1840, entered into a contract for the property.
The practicability of smelting ore by the agency of anthracite coal, as yet was hardly established by successful experiment. Two furnaces only now produced iron through heat generated by anthracite, and that under embarrassments and in limited quantities. The young company in which the Scranton brothers were the leading spirits, was now to take a prominent part in a series of experiments which were destined to contribute in no small degree to one of the practical arts which has communicated a new and undying impulse to modern civilization.
The first experiment was made in 1841, and proved a failure; the second was likewise unsuccessful, but in January, 1842, a successful blast was made; others followed with increasing encouragement. The practical difficulties in manufacturing iron by anthracite were now considered as overcome, but the price that the triumph had cost, few understood, and none would every understand, so well as George W. Scranton. He was the genius which presided over the struggles of many months, and even years, of hope deferred and of distrusting doubt which finally ended in complete success.
The scientific difficulties were no sooner overcome than financial problems were to be encountered. They could make iron, but how could they make it pay? The future city of Scranton was a straggling assemblage of huts, at a distance from every great market, and without convenient outlet. These difficulties, with those arising from want of funds, would have broken the spirits of ordinary men, but our young adventurers, nothing daunted, resorted first to one experiment and then to another, until they were able to exclaim, with Archimedes, Eureka--I have found it. A bootless effort to manufacture bar-iron and convert it into nails finally gave way to the project of a rolling-mill for the manufacture of railroad iron.
The great address of Col. Scranton succeeded with the leading men interested in the New York and Erie Railroad in making the contract to furnish rails needed by the road, at a lower rate than they could be procured elsewhere, upon the condition that the directors of the road would advance funds to enable the Scrantons and company to proceed with the business of making rails. This arrangement untied the Gordian knot of the Scrantons' financial troubles.
Success in the iron business was not an occasion for Col. Scranton to abate his energy in business. The manufacture of iron was but one of his great business projects--it was but a part of a great system, which, when fully carried out, was to reform the entire business interests of this portion of the country, and to change the whole face of society. His plan was to enlist capital abroad, to concentrate it in the Lackawanna Valley, and then to create outlets by railway east with North and South; and he lived to see his project succeed.
Col. Scranton was not in the ordinary sense a politician, although he was a thorough student of political economy. He had been an old-line Whig, but for years had paid no attention to party politics. There was one principle which he maintained against all opposers, and that was, protection to home industry. Upon this issue he was sent to Congress, in 1858, by a majority of 3,700, from a district ordinarily polling 2,000 Democratic majority. He directed himself incessantly to his favorite theme through the term, and was elected a second time.
We are obliged to pass over a multitude of interesting incidents in the life of Col. Scranton for want of space, and must now proceed to a brief estimate of his character. In marking the character of a great man, it will be found that it is only a few qualities which distinguish them from other men and give them prominence. Such is the fact with the great and good man of whom we are now speaking. We begin with the great moral integrity of
the man. He was sincere--he was honest--his views were transparent. When in Congress he could get the ear of the most ultra free-traders. "Southern fire-eaters' would listen to his arguments on protection and free labor. They would often say to him, "Scranton, we can hear you talk, for we believe you are honest." You might differ from his opinions, but you could not avoid believing in the man. His zeal was that of conviction. His heart was upon the surface--it was "known and read of all men".
His energy was inexhaustible. He never yielded to discouragements, or acknowledged a total defeat. He sometimes failed, but always tried again; and, if necessary, again and again, and triumphed at last. He often spent the night in concocting a scheme, and early dawn found him upon the path of its execution. Due time usually brought success, but delay never staggered him. He was fastened to his purpose, like Prometheus to the rock, and there he hung, until mountains of difficulty melted away, and the sun of success illuminated his path. A man of less hope would have been despondent where he was confident, and one of a weaker will would have fainted when he was firm as a rock.
Another trait of character holds the highest position. Col. Scranton had the rare faculty of impressing his own ideas upon the minds of other men. This power depends upon an assemblage of qualities. An honest expression is essential to it. This expression means confidence. A sympathetic nature. His earliest sympathy in return, and sympathy exercises a marvelous control over the judgment. Draw a man into sympathy with your feelings and wishes, and you can lead him wherever you please. Blandness of manner is another attribute of this great power. A pleasant countenance, a happy face, has more power than logic. Good conversational powers is of the first importance in this enumeration. There must be definiteness of view, lucidness of description, brevity
in the statement of facts, naturalness and beauty in the illustrations, command of language, perfect ease in manner, and an expression of confidence both in your cause and in your success. You must never for a moment doubt the good sense and receptibility of the party you would win over. All these attributes of character Col. Scranton possessed in an eminent degree.
The crowning glory of Col. Scranton's character was that he was a true Christian. All who knew him acknowledged this. His conversation and his manners were those of a true Christian gentleman. He lived beloved, and died regretted by all. His great mental labors undermined his naturally sound constitution, and in the midst of his usefulness, and at the zenith of his fame, he was called to his reward.
THE LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD
A wild ridge of rock and forest twenty miles in width, cuts off the Lehigh from the Lackawanna, and forms the line of demarkation between the great northern anthracite coal-basin and the first southern or Schuylkill coal district of Pennsylvania. For many years it served the purposes of the hunter and the lumberman, and frowned on daily intercourse between the people of the two sections of country.
The first road to greet the Lehigh with an iron rail was the Lehigh Valley Railroad. While it crosses but a mere edge of the Lackawanna Valley whose commerce it aims to reach and partake, it has, by its immense traffic and the admirable management of its interests, formed for itself a character well known in the two valleys it connects and traverses.
This great road, incorporated in 1846, under the name of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehanna Railroad, languished for years simply because the idea was generally accepted, that the rocky chasm, washed
(Engraved portrait of Hon. Asa Packer with signature)
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sometimes rudely by the Lehigh, could be by no possible legislation or engineering turned to any practical railroad account. A bare organization of officers of the contemplated road existed from 1846 until 1851, up until which time $444.37-1/2 had been expended conjointly in surveying the route and building a fraction of a mile of the road merely for the protection of its charter. No distinctive step toward smoothing the Lehigh ledges for a locomotive was undertaken until those elements of a positive and substantial character, which were introduced more especially by Hon. James M. Porter, of Easton, and Hon. Asa Packer, of Mauch Chunk, began to be developed and felt.
In 1833, Asa Packer, a young, ambitious boy, born in Connecticut in 1805, moved into Mauch Chunk from the sap-woods of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, with a single jack-plane, hammer, handsaw, and a suit of rustic homespun, as his whole inheritance. He had neither friend nor acquaintance in the village, but being a man of clear discernment, excelling in the art of industry and frugality, distinguished for sobriety and sober sense, he devoted himself zealously to various industrious pursuits, until he became well known as one of the most efficient business men in the State, and rose rapidly in the confidence of the inhabitants of the Lehigh Valley, whom he served on the bench and in two successive Congresses. Such was the man whose earnest qualifications inspired this then unpopular project with organic life and triumph, and whose liberality, exercised in the broadest spirit, gave to the public an institution of learning which will transmit the name of Packer down to all time.
"On the 31st of October, 1851", writes Mr. Henry, in his interesting history of the Lehigh Valley, "Asa Packer became the purchaser of a large amount of the stock which had been subscribed, and commenced efforts to get additional stock subscribed and the road constructed. On the 13th of September, 1852, Robert H. Sayre was
appointed chief engineer for the construction of the road; and on the 27th of November, 1852, Judge Packer submitted a proposition for constructing the railroad from opposite Mauch Chunk, where it would intersect the Beaver Meadow Railroad, to the river Delaware at Easton, where it would intersect the New Jersey Central Railroad and the Belvidere Delaware Railroad for a consideration, to be paid in the stock and bonds of the company, which was accepted by the stockholders, at a meeting in which all the stockholders, representing 5,150 shares of stock, were present.
"On the 7th of January, 1853, the name of the company was changed by act of Assembly to that of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, and on the 10th of that month, James M. Porter was re-elected president, John N. Hutchinson, secretary and treasurer, and John N. Hutchinson, Wm. Hackett, Wm. H. Gatzmer, Henry King, John T. Johnston, and John O. Sterns, managers.
"Although the formal contract with Judge Packer for the construction of the road was not signed until the 12th of February, 1853, yet he began the work immediately after the acceptance of this offer, on the 27th of November, 1852, by commencing the deep rock cut at Easton. The work was prosecuted with vigor by Judge Packer himself, at some of the hardest cuts, and by sub-contractors at other places, until its completion, September, 1855.
"Judge Packer, in the construction of this road, encountered great difficulties and embarrassments, from the rise in the price of provisions and necessaries for the hands--the sickliness of some of the seasons, the failure of sub-contractors and the necessary re-letting the work at advanced prices, and the difficulty of raising money upon and disposing of the bonds of the company, from the stringency of the money market; but, with an energy and perseverance seldom met with, he worked through it all."
A trifle less than 15,000,000 tons of anthracite coal was
the entire shipment within the United States during the year 1867. An aggregate of 4,088,537 tons of this amount was taken from the Wyoming coal-basin, a portion of which 2,080,156 tons, swelled the tonnage of this young giant railroad. 2,603,102 tons of anthracite found its way over the Lehigh Valley road during the year 1868, being an increase of 522,956 tons.
(remainder of page is footnote listing coal transported.)
This road, originally intended to connect only Easton with Mauch Chunk, now runs up the Susquehanna River to Waverly, New York, passing through some of the most picturesque scenery in the State. Emerging from the Lehigh ravine, it traverses the entire length of Wyoming Valley, on the south bank of the river, running within a stone's-throw of the celebrated Monocasy or "Monockonock Island", crosses the Lackawanna at its mouth, and leads its quiet way under a ledge familiar with the sad, heroic scenes of Wyoming so touchingly portrayed in Campbell's Gertrude, then follows Gen. Sullivan's route and the old Indian pathway from the Great Plains to the plantation of the dusky queen, whose memory, cherished only to be despised, has been rendered infamous forever. No part of this thoroughfare is destitute of historical reminiscence or interest to the traveler.
It would be difficult, and probably impossible, to find a railroad in Pennsylvania whose ramifications and feeders are more numerous and important, along its entire length, than this. Forming one of the strong links in the great chain of communication between central and lower
(remainder of page is previous footnote)
Pennsylvania and southern New York, it derives additional consideration and strength from the many active railroad tributaries swelling the volume of its traffic. Almost every valley whose drainage fertilizes the Lehigh, rolls its tonnage and travel into this road with a bounteous hand.
The Wyoming division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad opens a new channel to internal commerce, and, in the earnest hands of its superintendent, Robert A. Packer, Esq., maintains the same character enjoyed by the older portion of the road, and, like that, cultivates those relations which connect the anthracite coal-basins of our State with the broad interests of the world on terms of mutual usefulness and advantage.
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INDIAN RELIC CONTROVERSY BETWEEN STEUBEN JENKINS AND H. HOLLISTER, RESULTING FROM THE FOLLOWING EDITORIAL IN THE "SCRANTON REGISTER", JUNE 22, 1865
The red man has left us forever, but we did not suppose that so many memorials of a departed race could be collected in the whole country, as has been gathered in Luzerne and Wyoming counties by Dr. Hollister, of Providence. His rare cabinet of Indian relics embraces some ten thousand implements used by them in peace and war. Of the stone kind it is undoubtedly the largest in the world, and of great value to the antiquarian. The doctor has refused the modest little sum of $2,000 for it, from a Massachusetts college. The articles are stone, flint, and burned clay, tomahawks which have slain many a foe, skinning stones, rare pipes of exquisite workmanship, huge and small pestles, javelins or spears, arrow-points of the most delicate finish, beads, death malls, quoits, hoes, gouges, sling-stones, Indian pots, broken pottery rudely ornamented, rings, birds, amulets, hammers, battle-axes, war-clubs, mortars, stones for weaving nets, bone needles, and a hundred stone contrivances which made life in the wigwam so agreeable to the poor Indian: all make up a collection really unique, interesting, and inviting to all, and more especially to the antiquarian. We have looked the collection through repeatedly, and would recommend to our readers to call and examine them. His collection is open and free to all, and the doctor takes great pleasure in showing them to such as have a taste in that direction.
We would note here that there appears to be a sort of rivalry between the doctor and Steuben Jenkins, Esq., of Wyoming, who is said to possess a large collection, but the doctor says it is hid away in old boxes and barns in such a manner that no person can
imagine what a glance would reveal. Now, if these gentlemen will unite their collections and place them alternately at Wilkes Barre and Scranton, they will enable thousands to see their interesting collections, and by that means determine what the parties themselves can not do, which is the richest, the rarest, and the best. This is the only mode of determining the question, and the determination of the question is one in which our whole community is interested. We hope they will consent to the proposition.
The following letter explains itself. It will be seen that friend Jenkins is not to be stumped out of the belief that his collection is the collection.--ED. Register
WYOMING, June 30, 1865.
EDITOR "SCRANTON REGISTER"--DEAR SIR:-- I noticed in your issue of the 22d inst. an article upon the subject of "Indian Curiosities". I take a great interest in every thing pertaining to the "Indians", and the relics of their early manners, customs, and arts, and particularly their stone implements of husbandry, the chase, war, &c. I have been gathering articles of this kind for more than thirty years past, from all parts of the United States, and, as you suggest, have succeeded in getting together considerable of a collection. I was somewhat surprised, however, to learn that Dr. Hollister, of Providence, had "a cabinet embracing some ten thousand implements, which is undoubtedly the largest in the world." Did you ever calculate now many "ten thousand" are? Did you ever properly conceive what the largest thing in the world was? Sit down and think of it awhile before you state such things, and do not let your imagination run away with your better judgment. I am afraid you have been talking with the doctor lately about his collection. His enthusiasm frequently gets the better of him, and may have some influence over you.
Now I don't want it understood that there is any rivalry existing between the doctor and myself upon the subject of the largest collection. When I commenced making my collection, I had never heard of such a man as Dr. Hollister. My object in collecting was to get at the history and character of the Indian race, as they were delineated in their implements of husbandry.
the chase, war, and ornament, and, through them, taking up the discoveries of such things all over the earth's surface, endeavor to trace out the antiquity and origin of the race. Enough has been discovered to satisfy those who have given the subject careful consideration, that the whole earth was once peopled with a homogeneous race, who used stone implements for all the purposes of life, which are similar, and in many cases identical, with those used by our Indians, and which the doctor pretends to have found in such abundance that he now has ten thousand specimens.
I don't know but that the doctor has the "ten thousand" spoken of. I don't know but that he has more than I have. It may be he has. It may be the largest collection in the world. It may be. I don't wish to detract from either the doctor's number or size. I have an offer to make, however. I will place my collection alongside of the doctor's in any hall in Scranton, provided one large enough can be had there, and will then leave it to the public, who visit them, or to any three or more persons the doctor and I can agree upon, to say which has the largest collection--the best collection--the collection which best delineates the Indian character in every respect, as mechanics, as husbandmen, as huntsmen, as fishermen, as warriors, as artists, &c. The one in whose favor the decision is made shall then take both collections. Of course I should expect the doctor to leave out of his exhibition every thing not properly belonging to a collection of that sort--every thing not legitimate. I would not want any imposition of any sort practiced upon the public in the matter.
I shall want it fairly understood, before entering into competition with the doctor, that the judges selected shall be free from prejudice against my collection, because it has been kept in boxes, sheds, and barns, for the reason that it was too large to be kept in a pill shop. The fact is, I never kept my collection for show; never made a show of it; nor do I intend to do so very soon, unless there is a point to be gained by it, or a purpose to be subserved.
Can you get the doctor to agree to the proposition I make? If you can I will meet him at your office some time soon, and settle the preliminaries.
Yours, very respectfully,
In reply to Mr. Jenkin's letter of last week, we make room for the following from Dr. Hollister. We do this most cheerfully, as we are in hopes that the discussion as to which has the largest and best collection of Indian relics, will eventuate in affording our citizens an opportunity of becoming judges in the matter. A sight of the collections is something to be desired.
THE INDIAN RELIC CONTROVERSY
EDITOR "SCRANTON REGISTER"--DEAR SIR:--As you have called public attention toward my collection of Indian relics, and as Steuben Jenkins, Esq., of Wyoming, in your last paper, questions the correctness of your statement, a word from me seems necessary. Friend Steuben is a very good theoretical Indian, and deserves the gratitude of all antiquarians, more for his zeal in gathering so many remembrances of the bravest race the world ever saw, than he does in hiding them under a bushel and barns. We occasionally visit Steuben to see his Indian cabinet, which is large and invaluable. He goes to a drawer, unlocks and exhumes a rare tomahawk or two, watching your throat closely lest you might swallow a pestle or hatchet, and then he takes you to some secluded corner, and from an old box guarded by cobwebs, gives you a half-glimpse of some memento of the departed race, and then to the shed, where he draws out of barrels many relics, as the angler draws the sturdy bull-head from the sluggish stream.
His collection is said to be magnificent, by those who have peeped into all his boxes and drawers, but mine is arranged in a "pill shop", where anybody can see it cheerfully and gratuitously, and it is too fine and valuable to be hid away for "thirty years" in obscure nooks. They are imperishable in their character, and mostly made from stone--as iron and copper implements of the later Indian period have little or no value.
Steuben objects to my relics being kept in a "pill shop", as he calls their unpretending abode, and yet he proposes to make a big show in Scranton. Well, suppose we have one. At considerable expense and labor, mine are now arranged in Providence. Let his be so arranged in Scranton. Or let the directors of the Wyoming fair, this fall prepare a safe, suitable place for each collection to be exhibited by Steuben and myself, then a committee chosen by us can determine which cabinet, by its size and variety, gives the
best illustration of the character and customs of the wild race, once sheltered by our grand old forests. The one whose collection as a grand whole shall be deemed best, shall receive a certificate or diploma, or the one second best, may pay $50 to the Home of the Friendless or some other charitable institution in Luzerne County.
If I should possibly lose--(of which there is no danger as my collection is undoubtedly the largest in the world of its kind), I should have the pleasure of knowing that public has seen his relics, which were "too large for a pill shop", but just the size for miserish boxes and remote shed-corners.
Aside from this, it would not only bring dollars to the fair, but it would also diversify the character of that concern, which is usually made up mostly by Steuben and Bill Miner. The first one generally contributes a few bunches of fine grapes, and the last one furnishes a ride on horseback.
PROVIDENCE, July 20, 1865.
WYOMING, July 22, 1865
EDITOR OF THE "SCRANTON REGISTER"--DEAR SIR:-- It is the fate of genius to be misunderstood and undervalued. Lofty pretensions and brusque impudence command greater consideration, and insure more certain rewards than the mightiest genius, unattended with patronage or place. It seems to be the fate of some men, to be misapprehended and belittled, because they stand aloof from, and, in their business pursuits and particularly in their recreations, rise above the ordinary level of mankind. Their motives are not the motives of other men, and as other men can not appreciate them, they generally decry them. I have been led to these reflections, from the fact that since Dr. Hollister and I have been brought before the public in your very able paper, as possessors of very fine collections of the relics of the Indian races that once roamed monarch of this mighty Western world, not a few persons have been found who laugh at the idea that the collections are of real importance and value. Not a little of this have I heard and seen in my presence, and I always feel a pity for the man who indulges in it--from the fact that their views are on the
dollar and cent basis. If they were dollars that they could count, and there were "ten thousand' of them, they would hold their breath and stare in mute astonishment, but being "only ten thousand" relics of a once great and noble people, who scorned submission to or affiliation with a higher type of their species--they can only laugh at their possessors.
The doctor and I, it appears, are fast drifting into a complication of affairs, that will need wise and cool heads to unravel. I proposed to the doctor an exhibition of our respective collections, side by side, in some hall in Scranton, provided one could be obtained there large enough for the purpose--and the ones having the best and largest collection, by a decision of the umpires, to take both. But this the doctor declines, but makes this suggestion. He has at considerable expense and labor arranged his collection in Providence. He wants me at considerable expense and labor to arrange mine in Scranton, and then submit the decision to the people, who visit them. Well, suppose we do. I think I see mine arranged in a hall in Scranton, and then thrown open to the public examination. After a full and fair examination of my collection the immense throng start in procession to Providence. I see the long procession wending its way thither, down by the sand-banks, past the cemetery, on by the mud-hole, and turning the corner, commence winding their weary way up the high hill on which Providence is seated. The file-leader of the grand procession meets a denizen of the town, and inquires, "Where is the Indian--"
"What! have we an Indian among us?"
"I mean where is the Indian--"
"Exactly, but have we an Indian among us?"
"Hold a moment, I mean where is Dr. Hollister's Indian collection."
"Oh, yes, I understand you now, you turn up by the store, pass on down by the church, till you get to the foundery--then on the left you will find the doctor, with the latest story always out, his collection on exhibition, and the doctor always ready to expatiate on its merits, and declare it to be 'the largest in the world'."
Here is where the doctor would have me. Lawyers always understand this if doctors don't. They always think that the last chance at a jury is worth twice as much as the first. I know
that it is generally said that first impressions last the longest. While lawyers may believe that first impressions last the longest, they also believe that last impressions are the strongest. The doctor can't catch me in this way.
The other suggestion made by the doctor is to place our respective collections on exhibition at the agricultural fair this fall. To this I have no objection under proper arrangements, but this idea that he or I at the end of the exhibition shall give $50 to the Home of the Friendless, or to any other institution, is the highest absurdity of which the doctor has lately been guilty. How long has the doctor been engaged in laboring for other people, and then paying some one else for what he has done? I quit such things some time since. I find my labors better appreciated, and the results more satisfactory to myself when I get paid for my labor, than when I work for nothing, or give the fruits of my labor to some one who has no claims upon me for them. No! I don't go into arrangements by which I, at least, shall labor a week or two for nothing with the privilege of throwing in $50 at the end of time. Doctor, you knew you couldn't catch me with such a preposterous proposition. I am too old for that, and you ought to have known better than to have proposed it. I will see if some reasonable arrangement can't be made to exhibit at the county fair this fall, but I care nothing about this myself. I now have a silver cup, awarded to me by the Pennsylvania State fair, for my collections of Indian relics, as far back as 1860. I don't see how my honors would be added to by a diploma from the county fair, but to meet the doctor I am willing to exhibit at the county fair this fall under proper arrangements.
I didn't think the doctor was so observant as to note the watchful care I bestowed on my collection when he visited it. But he watched as well as I. The fact is, Indian relics disappear, when the doctor is around, in a wonderful manner. They go as quietly and as rapidly as "Trout glide along the mountain streams". The doctor knows this, and the trouble is, I know it;hence my watchfulness when he is about.
Very respectfully yours,
THE INDIAN RELIC CONTROVERSY
EDITOR OF THE "SCRANTON REGISTER"--The Indian's side of history has never yet been written, only in traditions perishing with the race that knew them. It never will be written, only in the rude stone memorials they have left behind them. We shall read of homes reddened by the tomahawk, and of hearths blackened by the fagot, but not of the wrongs urging the wild man to defend the plain where his wigwam stood. For one, I do not believe that the same treacherous, thieving savage, rendered desperate by misfortune and impoverished by the white, emerging from the dark passes of the West, are like those whose bones lie buried among us. Had we ever pursued toward the red man that humane, upright, consistent policy of Penn, instead of crowding them inch by inch southward and westward from homes they fought hard to protect, all the conflict with a race the American nation can not afford to lose, would have been avoided. For no race like this the world ever saw before or will ever know again. So much of calm courage--so much of true nobility--so much of unselfish friendship, could not be found in any other race or people on earth, and yet these memorials of another day and another race are the only visible evidences we have among us of the former occupants of our valleys.
Men whose souls are built of wood, and whose pockets are unctuous with traffic, can form no idea of Indian lore and history, as taught by these relics, and it is not for such persons that Steuben Jenkins immures his in sheds, or that mine are shown to the world. Such undervalue them, because a man of dollars and cents can not understand their worth or philosophy, when in fact each tomahawk and spear-point--each pipe and battle-ax--each and every implement of the earlier Indian stone period has a meaning and a language interpreting its history with as much faithfulness as the hieroglyphics along the Nile tell us of ancient times and glory. If I had space, article upon article could be written upon the part implements like these have played in history since Cain swung the war-club upon his brother Abel; but the purpose of this article is to reply to Steuben's last, and while I am at it I might as well trim up two or three limbs on the tree.
Some New York plagiarist has just issued a new book, which
is sold on the cars, describing portions of our valley, and he copies page after page from my "Contributions to the History of the Lackawanna Valley", without a word of acknowledgement or comment. Now is not this a cheap way of giving interest to a volume made from spoils? The Historical Society of Wilkes Barre, whose cabinet of Indian relics if even inferior to that of Steuben's, had no existence until my little volume appeared, and my suggestions urging it had been seen, and yet how little credit do I get there.
The "Nay-aug" companies of Scranton steal my names as if they were bastard words, and now brave Steuben comes along and presumes to put in battle-array his boxes and barns, stuffed with the Lord only knows what, against my fine Indian collection! Old rusty Wilkes Barre, how depraved and pretentious thou art in thy decrepitude!
Steuben and I, however, are going to have no quarrel, because he is as generous with his pen as he is covetous of his Indian traps, and my object in writing has been to smoke them out of their holes. As he virtually acknowledges my collection to be finer than his (tin cup and all that he got at the fair "far back as 1860"), there will be no necessity for their exhibition at the fair this fall, to settle this point, because their removal would involve much expense, beside necessitating the attendance of several watchmen, as Steuben's memory is exceedingly defective and his hands very awkward around Indian relics.
In conclusion, I would say to my friends, who have either read or laughed over these articles, that my collection (the largest in the world of its kind) is found in the airy village of Razorville, under the shadows of no protecting barn or box, but in a large office wholly devoted to their free exhibition (and to Dr. Hollister's Family Medicine), arranged finely in glass cases, always open, except when Steuben is known to be in town, when they are immediately locked, as I have observed that he is a liberal provider for those hungry and mysterious coat-pockets of his.
PROVIDENCE August 3, 1865 H. HOLLISTER
EDITOR "SCRANTON REGISTER"--DEAR SIR:-- Dr.Hollister has finally reached the goal of his ambition. He has backed down
entirely from his lofty pretensions of having "ten thousand specimens" of Indian relics--"the largest collection in the world"--and fails in every way to respond to the offers I made him to decide the question of the respective merits of his collection and mine. I here renew the offers I have made, and agree to give the doctor all the benefit of any doubt that may exist in the minds of the persons that may be chosen to decide. A friend of the doctor's, who has seen both collections, say that the doctor was foolish for thinking of competing with me. It would seem that if that was really the doctor's purpose, he had got fairly caught at it. But his last article shows pretty conclusively what the doctor has been at all the while, and shows, too, that the doctor has not been very foolish in the operation. His object was to puff up his collection of Indian relics, which I must admit is a very respectable one for the time the doctor has been engaged in making it, and advertising his Family Medicines and his History of the Lackawanna Valley, all of which he has managed to do very cleverly and without cost. I feel that I have been taken in a little by the doctor, but you, friend Hill, have been taken in and done for so much nicer than I, that I can not but laugh at your position. You, a long resident of Razorville, knowing the character of its inhabitants, to permit yourself to be used by one of them to advertise his nostrums for nothing, I am astonished at you. If I laugh at your verdancy, I can not help it, and I hope you will not be offended.
I attended the State fair at Easton, last fall, and while there I called upon Dr. Swift, of that place, who has a very large and well-selected collection of Indian relics, in every respect superior to dr. Hollister's; and before leaving, the doctor gave me a stone hammer, found in the vicinity of the Ontonagon River, in the Lake Superior copper region. This hammer was made of a hard cobble-stone, that would weigh about three to four pounds, with a groove cut around it, to which the handle was attached with a withe. It was pretty well battered up with hard usage. Copper wedges and chisels are found in connection with the hammer, in the ancient workings of the copper mines of that region. One of these chisels was presented to me last week by Mr. Chambers, of Philadelphia; so that I now have both a hammer and a chisel, both exceedingly rare and difficult to be obtained. Dr. Hollister, I presume, has neither.
The Lake Superior copper region seems to have been resorted to and worked by a race of men long before it become known to the white man. Whether these miners--the mound builders of the West, I have no doubt--and the Indians of the country were the same race or not, is a matter for conjecture. That they were the mound builders who worked in the copper mines, I have no hesitancy in believing, from the fact that hardly a mound has yet been explored, in which something made of copper has not been found. Priest, in his "American Antiquities", says: "A vast many instances of articles made of copper, and some of silver, have been met with in opening these mounds. Circular pieces of copper, intended either as medals or breastplates, several inches in diameter, have been found, very much injured by time." Rev. Robert G. Wilson, D. D., of Chillicothe, Ohio, furnished the Antiquarian Society within formation of a mound which once stood near the center of the town. "Its height was fifteen feet, circumference 180 feet, composed of sand. In excavating this mound, on a level with the surrounding earth, they found a human skeleton, overspread with a mat manufactured with weeds or bark, but greatly decayed. On the breast of this person lay what had been a piece of copper, in the form of a cross, which had become verdigris."
The Historical Society of Wilkes Barre have a copper arrow-point, which was found on the site of the fortification which once stood on Toby's creek, in the borough of Kingston, described by Chapman in his history of Wyoming.
Foster and Whitney, in their report of the explorations of the Lake Superior copper region, say: "It is well known that copper rings, designed for bracelets, are frequently met with in the western mounds. We have several of these relics in our possession."
Samuel O. Knapp, agent of the Minnesota Company, in the spring of 1848, explored an ancient mine on the Ontonagon River. He gives this account of it: He found a depression twenty-six feet deep, filled with clay and a mass of moldering vegetable matter. When he had penetrated to the depth of eighteen feet with his excavations, he came to a mass of native copper ten feet long, three feet wide, and nearly two feet thick, and weighing over six tons. On digging around it, the mass was found to rest on billets of oak, supported by sleepers of the same material. The wood is dark-colored, and has lost all of its consistency. A knife
blade may be thrust into it as easily as into a peat-bog. The earth was so packed about the copper as to give it a firm support. The ancient miners had evidently raised it about five feet, and then abandoned the work as too laborious. Every projecting point was taken off, and the exposed surface rendered perfectly smooth.
Trees are found growing on the heaps of rubbish thrown out of these ancient mines. Mr. Knapp counted three hundred and ninety-five annular rings on a hemlock which he felled on one of these heaps. He speaks of finding these stone hammers, the largest of which was 12 x 5-1/2 x 4 inches, and weighed 39-1/2 pounds. In addition to these, a copper gad, with the head much battered, and a copper chisel, with a socket for the reception of a handle, were found, containing the fragment of a wooden handle, which crumbled soon after being exposed.
In clearing out one of these pits, at the depth of ten feet, a fragment of a wooden bowl was found, which, from the splintery pieces of rock and gravel imbedded in its rim, seemed to give evidence that it had been used in bailing water.
At the Phoenix mine, a copper knife was discovered in the explorations of an old working.
At Keweenaw Point and at Isle Royale, similar discoveries have been made.
All must admit that the facts set forth above in regard to the excavations, and the stone and copper implements found therein, assign to them a very high antiquity; but whether made by a race distinct from the Indians is a question about which there is some doubt, but I incline strongly to the opinion that we can not, nor need not, look beyond the Indian for a solution of the problem. I think it is their work.
How fortunate to be the possessor of specimens of their stone and copper implements, used by them in their copper-mining operations so far back in the history of this country.
Yours, very respectfully,
INDIAN RELIC CONTROVERSY
EDITOR OF "SCRANTON REGISTER":--Indian Steuben is on the war-path again with his copper weapons; but as I intend to take
off his scalp before long, if he remains in war costume, you need fear no danger.
Some weeks ago, Steuben took up your suggestion of exhibiting our respective collections of Indian relics side by side in Scranton, and he suggested that the one having the largest should take the other; but as I was too magnanimous to thus deprive him of the results of thirty years' labor, I declined the offer, but proposed that we exhibit them at the Wyoming fair, and that the one whose collection should be the best calculated to throw light upon the customs, habits, and life of the aboriginal race, should receive a diploma, and that the one second best must pay $50 to the Home of the Friendless, or some other charitable institution. This offer he not only declined, but attempted to throw ridicule and suspicion upon my motives of philanthropy in offering to bestow charity upon any one in this manner.
So your readers can see who is backing down. Instead of performing any such retrograde movement, I am determined if possible to draw his frozen contribution boxes out in daylight where his copper traps can be seen without a tallow candle, and then "the goal of my ambition" will have been reached. And now I not only renew my offer of their exhibition at Wyoming the coming fair, provided that assurance be given me two weeks before the fair that a safe, suitable place will be provided for them, but I would here choose Steuben Jenkins one of the umpires to decide the matter, because I believe that he would give an honest decision, however "mysteriously Indian relics disappear when he is around." It is true he has every advantage of me, because he has made many a pilgrimage to Razorville to see my vast collection and learn how to arrange his, besides this he tells you that he has visited the collection of Dr. Swift, in Easton, but failed in his loquacious mood to say why he visited it. Knowing that he could not successfully compete with mine, he goes to Dr. Swift to get the loan of his for the purpose of exhibiting them as his own! Now, Steuben, this is not a graceful way to launch your canoe after a lost battle; besides, how dangerous for Dr. Swift, if his collection is of any value!
Goldsmith imparts vanity to the one writing of himself, but I did not suppose that I was so vain as to write my relics into notice for the sake of getting my book and "nostrums advertised
for nothing" until Steuben discovered it. The volume spoken of has been out of print since 1857, and can be purchased nowhere now; and as to my family medicines, I can not possibly supply the great demand for them now, and why should I seek gratuitous advertisement, when you know, Mr. Hill, that I am in the habit of paying liberally for what I get in that line.
I concede that Steuben makes out a strong case for himself on paper (and what sharp or lazy Luzerne lawyer could not?) and that he has a few copper hatchets--probably of French manufacture--which I have not, but I regard the wooden, iron and copper implements found along our cataracts and caverns as of little or no value to the antiquarian, although I have a few copper arrow-points myself, which were found in an Indian's grave near Tunkhannock, and presented to me with many other relics, some years ago, by J. M. Robinson, Esq., of Meshoppen.
Important archaeological explorations pursued with admirable vigor and extraordinary success in the West--in South America, and along the lakes of Zurich and Neufchatel in Switzerland, adduce evidence that the construction of the copper relics sometimes found in western mounds, belonged not to any of our known Indian races. In fact, the Indian knew nothing of the use and value of copper till taught by the whites.
Their creation pertains to the bronze period, which some of the Swiss archaeologists have concluded to represent an antiquity of from two thousand nine hundred to four thousand two hundred years; the age of stone from four thousand seven hundred to seven thousand, and the whole period of from seven thousand four hundred to eleven thousand years.
I have some rare stone pipes, some elegant stone chisels for removing the char from canoes, and a singularly beautiful stone bird or idol, found along the Indian path crossing the farm of Dr. Throop, in Blakeley, and presented to me by Mr. Shaw. I have never seen or heard of any thing of the kind ever being found in the country before. I also have a curious death-mall, constructed from a huge ovoid pebble, weighing twelve pounds, similar to that used by the Indians to kill their captives. After the battle of Wyoming, in 1778, an instrument like this and a war-club in the hands of Queen Esther, malled and slew the captives around Bloody Rock.
While the copper utensils spoken of by Steuben give nothing but a faint conjectural idea of the occupancy of the country at the time of their deposit, and belong to a period subsequent to that of which I write, the antiquity of the stone weapons of war is alike instructive and wonderful.
The bow and the arrow are spoken of in Genesis and many other places in Holy Writ. Arrows were first made of reed; then of strong, light wood, with a stone arrow-point fastened to the end. Among the Hebrews, especially among the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, archers were numerous.
Among the ruins of the Temple of Luxor, on the Nile, two or three thousand years old, one apartment exhibits a great battle, in which the Egyptians, armed with bows and arrows, gained a great victory over their Asiatic enemies equipped with javelin and war-club.
In one battle between the Persians and the Tartars, 800 B.C., it is related by Persian historians that their great chief Rustam, with his own war-club, slew 1,160 of his foes!
Fragments of Nineveh, now in the British Museum, introduce us to their monarchs thirty centuries ago, clad in costume of war and armed only with the arrow and the bow.
The javelin or spear was a missile weapon, and took the place of our swords and guns. It is often mentioned in the Bible in connection with light-armed troops. It could be thrown at the enemy at a great distance, and in the great conflicts between the Persians and Macedonians, the white javelins flew and fell like snow-flakes upon the contending legions. When Xerxes crossed the Hellespont with his gleaming millions, he was dared and checked by the Spartans, armed with such missiles and animated by no common courage. The Medes were celebrated for the use of the bow, with which they fought on horseback with terrific effect. Their arrows were poisoned with a bituminous liquor which burned with such intensity that water increased the heat. This is the first record we have of the poisoned arrow used so much by the red warrior. I have several poisoned arrows in my collection.
"The sword", sang Mahomet twenty-four centuries ago, "is the key of heaven and hell, courage then my children, fight like men, close up your ranks--discharge your arrows and the day is your own!"
In the hands of Tell, the arrow saved his son and gave freedom to the land of the Alps.
The Hungarians threw a small stone ax or tomahawk with such dexterity at a hundred paces that a victim always fell. As late as 1461 arrows tipped with Steuben's copper were used by the English nation as a weapon of defense.
A tribe of Indians in Paraguay, South America, with these rude weapons have maintained their independence against all power and treachery of the Spaniards for three hundred years.
The exploring party for the Pacific railroad, in 1856, found along the Colorado many of these stone tomahawks yet in use among these savages.
Up the old Nile and along the track of the brave and lamented Speke, the black warrior still goes forth thirsting for blood, with club and lance and ever-beating drum. Is it strange then that these stone relics running along the history of so many strange centuries, should be gathered and cherished? And if it "is fortunate to be the possessor of" a few copper trinkets relating to a people and an epoch alike indefinite and uncertain, how much greater the pleasure to know that you can glance each day over stone relics whose antiquity carries us back to the earliest periods of traditional or written history!
PROVIDENCE, August 17, 1865.
EDITOR OF "SCRANTON REGISTER"--DEAR SIR:--I have read the whole of Dr. Hollister's last letter relating to the "Indian relic controversy". It is true I read it in a state of great trepidation and alarm, for the arrows, spears, tomahawks, axes, death-malls, scalping-knives, &c., that the doctor hurled at me from his vast magazine, whizzed and buzzed so about my head, as to keep me in a perpetual dodge, and yet I read it--all of it. You will wonder, and so do I, as I look back at the dangers through which I passed in doing so. Happily, however, I escaped unharmed, and a careful examination convinces me that my scalp is still on.
The doctor renews his proposal, that we exhibit our collections
at the Wyoming fair this fall, and that the one whose collection should be the best calculated to throw light upon the customs, habits, and life of the aboriginal race should receive a diploma, and that the one second best must pay $50 to the Home of the Friendless children in Wilkes Barre, or some other charitable institution, provided that assurance be given him two weeks before the fair, that a safe, suitable place will be provided for them."
This offer I no longer refuse, but accept of the same, and assure the doctor that a safe and suitable place will be provided for his collection, and I will get this assurance in writing from the officers of the society and forward to him in a few days.
The Indian relic controversy, so far as the doctor and I are concerned, is now ended. The point I aimed at, and which the doctor seemed to desire,--a public exhibition of our respective collections, side by side, and a decision as to which has the best and largest collection,--is now provided for.
It remains, however, for me to say a word in reference to the doctor's very extraordinary learned disquisition upon the subject of Indian relics. I must confess my great surprise at the antiquity of the age of stone. I was aware that it commenced with man, nearly but not quite six thousand years ago, but until I read the doctor's article I was not aware that it extended back some five thousand years before man appeared upon the earth--altogether some "eleven thousand years". Man was, as I have stated--taking the best authority we have upon the subject--created a little less than six thousand years ago. I wish the doctor or some one else would inform "the whole world and the rest of mankind", who made stone implements eleven thousand years ago, who they made them for, and what use they made of them? Not more surprised was I to learn from the doctor's article, for the first time in all my reading, that "Mahomet sang twenty-four centuries ago." As I understand it, Mahomet flourished but a little over twelve centuries ago. I wish the doctor would inform me in what song of Mahomet he finds the language he attributes to him. I have Mahomet's writing, and have not as yet seen the song containing the language the doctor attributes to him. But it was twenty-four centuries ago. The doctor may forget in so long time where to find it. But where does the doctor get his new chronology? The stone period, extending back "eleven thousand years!" Mahomet
singing "twenty-four centuries ago!" I can't understand it. The fault is mine, I doubt not. I feel sometimes--and I don't know why I should not feel so now, as I stand before the mighty mass of learning the doctor has accumulated before me--somewhat as the great and learned Laplace did at the close of his long and brilliant career, "that what I know is little, while what I do not know is immense." I hope to live and learn yet for a time, and with the doctor as a teacher, I have no doubt I may get to know something.
The doctor says "he has a curious death-mall, constructed from a huge ovoid pebble". When I read that, I thought myself that the doctor had a curious-mall that would be the death of somebody yet. I came near laughing myself to death the first time I saw it, and I came a little nearer to it when I read the doctor's last article. The fact is, I was confined to my house with illness for four days afterward, and I can give no other cause for it than that curious-mall--a mere water-washed stone, having no more marks or signs of Indian workmanship upon it than the doctor's phiz has.
If the doctor will read history a little more carefully, he will find that it was the Parthians and not the Medes who were celebrated for the use of the bow and arrow on horseback. Does the doctor know what David killed Goliath with? Has he any weapon of that sort in his collection?
In my last, I made the suggestion that while it was matter of doubt among archaeologists whether the people who built the mounds were the same that inhabited the country when first discovered by the whites--I was satisfied that they were one and the same people. But few facts can be gathered on which to found a hypothesis, either way, but those facts, however few, when discovered should have their full weight. Schoolcraft, the learned Indian antiquarian, who made, in August, 1843, an elaborate examination of the mounds found at Grave Creek, Virginia, says that "several polished tubes of stone were found in one of the lesser mounds. They were about one foot long, one and a fourth inches in diameter at one end, and one and a half at the other. They are made of a fine, compact, lead-blue steatite, mottled, and constructed by boring in the manner of a gun-barrel. This boring is continued to within three-eights of an inch of the large end, through
which but a small aperture is left. If this small aperture be looked through, objects at a distance are more clearly seen. Its construction is far from rude, and it was probably designed as a telescope."
Joseph Tomlinson, who settled at Grave Creek in 1770, first discovered the mounds there. His son, A. B. Tomlinson, in 1837 commenced excavating the larger mound, and in it, among other things, he found a lot of beads, made of a kind of porcelain, similar in appearance to the material out of which dentists manufacture artificial teeth. I have in my collection a polished tube of stone, exactly like the one described by Schoolcraft, which was found some three years ago at Northumberland, in this State, in excavating for the railroad; and I also have a very large and beautiful string of beads, of the kind found by Tomlinson, which were dug out of some Indian grave at Wilkes Barre a year ago. In addition to these are the facts of pottery and copper implements being common to the mound and to our Indians, the inference and proof are, therefore, very strong that the mound-builders and the Indians were one and the same people, and that they were I have no doubt. The proof is all in that direction.
Another word to the doctor and I am done. He should be certain of his facts before he states them as such, or draws conclusions from them. This is the great duty of every inquirer after truth.
THE INDIAN RELIC CONTROVERSY
As Steuben Jenkins wishes to bury the hatchet for the purpose of saving his own scalp, and as I value copper trinkets too lightly to desire the possession of the top of his head, which for the last few weeks has been quivering with scalping dreams, we will smoke the calumet awhile, so that this article will be the last one upon Indian relics the public will have for some time; not but what very much could be written about the former occupants of our valley and their memorials; but how comparatively few care for the relics of the red men! although as long as spring can awaken flowers from the meadow, these memorials will have their interest and value to the antiquarian.
I will briefly answer Steuben's objections in the order of their appearance.
1st. The ridiculous importance he gave to his copper hatchets, &c., some weeks ago--which were all of European manufacture--vanished the moment I exhibited their utter want of claim to antiquity, as shown by Squier, Charlevoix, Bartram, and Brabeuf, leaving Steuben nothing to do but to sing "the song of Mahomet twenty-four centuries ago". Mahomet was born 569 A.C. and his flight took place 622 A.C., as every student of history knows, but the typographical error made my article read twenty-four instead of twelve centuries ago. Steuben writes too much, and reads too little in his Koran to acquire or impart knowledge, or appreciate the historical facts I have so liberally brought to his view.
2d. I am sorry that I once exhibited that "curious death-mall" to him, because I fear that it has knocked him senseless forever, and yet that stone implement of death attracted him once to Providence, and then how his eyes wished and his mouth watered as he gazed on its vast proportions safely reposing under glass, while the key was safe in my own pocket! And when he found that no persuasion could allure this unique and valuable stone into his collection (of boxes hid in sheds), he discovered that it was nothing more than "a mere water-washed stone"! Steuben, the fact is, that the upper end of the county is too much for your fussy copper kettles, even after a very clever Pittston doctor helped you scour them up.
3d. It is true that the Parthians or Scythians--now the Tartar race--were among the most skillful archers in the world on horseback, and shot their arrows with unerring precision even on a gallop; but if Steuben will look into the same history he refers me to, he will find that the first historical fact known of the Parthians is that they were the subjects of the Medes, from which they learned their skill in archery. This was before the Tartars became powerful under the great Tamerlane.
4th. Would it not be creditable for Steuben to read something of chronology and archaeology, as well as to interpret correctly what I write? I stated that "the Swiss archaeologists have concluded that the age of bronze may represent an antiquity of from 2,900 to 4,200 years, the age of stone from 4,700 to 7,000
years, and the whole series a period of from 7,000 to 11,000 years."
All must acknowledge the imperfection of archaeological record, and presume that a mere definite chronology will eventually be established. Kenedy, in his Scriptural Chronology, says that 300 different opinions, founded upon the Bible, may be collected as to the length of time that has elapsed between the creation and the birth of Christ. Fabricius, in his Bibliotheca Antiquaria, has given a list of 140 of these calculations. I would refer Steuben to these works, also to the chronological works of Dr. Hale, Prof. Playfair, and Desvignolles. And although the literature of the Swiss is merged into that of France and Germany, friend Steuben would find great information in perusing the works of Lavater, Sismondi, Haller, Euler, Le Sage, Necker, and other Swiss authors.
The "stone polished tube" in Steuben's possession, he thinks was used by the Indians as a telescope. If it were possible to conceive of any thing more comical than an Indian, inhabiting the forest so dense that he could not see his own nose, looking through Steuben's "polished tube" as a telescope into the thicket, it might be found in the idea of Steuben's, that the "long-polished tube" was ever used by the aborigines for such a purpose!
"Lo! the poor Indian whose untutored mind
Sees God in the forest," through Steuben's long tube!
Schoolcraft no doubt drew an honest inference in the matter from the light accessible then, but there is no possible evidence in Indian histories or antiquarian explorations of any such use being made of these "polished tubes". I have a broken portion of one in my possession, which from my knowledge of Indian character and habit, I am satisfied was used, like all these tubes, by their medicine-men to render their incantations more potent and effective. Spectacles nor telescopes never vexed an Indian's eye. So much for Steuben, who has switched himself off the track, where I am sorry to leave him--out on the switch.
In Wyoming Valley, where the Indian fought with tomahawk and war-club to save his hunting-grounds, fortifications exist whose history has been lost even to tradition.
Along the Lackawanna, Indian tribes left no such trace.
Although from careful explorations there appears to have been no less than seven Indian villages along the Lackawanna--all standing upon its eastern bank--but a single mound denotes their place of burial. Evidences of villages are found in implements of stone and clay scattered along the river, generally where some tributary comes in. One peculiar feature appears in the fact, that where the broken pottery is most abundant, no stone utensil other than a corn pounder or pestle is found within twenty or thirty yards--showing that the braves practiced archery away from the shadows of their wigwams. Near the late Dr. Robinson's, a little stream puts into the Lackawanna, on the bank of which, rising into a gentle knoll, many relics are seen, and yet no culinary utensils are found. Near this point is seen a small elevation which I have named Capoose Mound, as it stands at the head of the old Indian meadow of Capoose. At the time of the first settlement of Providence by the whites, in 1770, there were about a dozen graves here. In 1799, however, a party of persons, one of whom still survives, opened these graves. A small copper kettle of European manufacture, large quantities of wampum and arrow-heads were exhumed, carried away and lost.
Of the Indian's mortar, or mill, for pounding na-sump, or samp, but few are found in the country unbroken. Whoever has had the patience to toil up the mountain side to Bald Mount in Newton, will find in a huge rock projecting over the precipice a number of holes or Indian mortar-places, made in the stone by the patient wild man, which no doubt were used by them for domestic purposes. Some have the capacity of a gallon. Of course portable ones were generally used by them, sometimes made of wood, but oftener of stone.
This height was no doubt chosen for a camp-place, so as to enable the Indians a chance to look down into the forest through those "polished tubes".
How long the Indian smoked his pipe along the Hudson or Mohawk before the discovery, we know not, but the white man was first cursed with the knowledge of tobacco in 1492. No article of luxury was constructed with more care--cherished with holier memories--loved with more constant fervor than the Indian's pipe. Their calumet, or pipe of peace, was among the most prized and sacred articles of all the stone implements of the
wigwam. I have in my collection a large number of pipes of rare and exquisite workmanship.
I also have some elegant moose-skin robes, such as were worn by Rocky Mountain chiefs, porcupine necklaces, and hunting-belts for string scalps and trophies, medicine bags, and war caps in full plume--but these perishable things, while they attract the superficial eye, have no more real value than copper implements. So much for Indian stone relics, which some day will gather around them more interest than they can possibly command now. And yet "what are the good for?" asks some jingler of dollars. If every line of written history was obliterated forever, the presence and progress of races--their character and conquests--the diffusion of tribes--their relative approach or departure from civilization--most of their habits, and many of their religious notions could be plainly elucidated by the aid of these relics, which to the unpracticed eye seem like rude, unmeaning stone. Upon the fairest face that every smiled or wept, beauty will perish, and lips proudly glowing with hopes of many summers, dissolve into untroubled earth, forgetting and forgot, while these sad memorials of another day and another race, whose voice gives back no echo from the wild, neglected by many, despised by more, and treasured but by few, when many a voice is still, and many a heart is cold, these simple relics will remain perfect in their integrity, and beautiful in their silence!
Sept. 7, 1865
The following report of the Committee on Indian Relics, exhibited at the late fair of the Lucerne County Agricultural Society, will prove of interest to our readers.--[EDITOR Lucerne Union.]
The Committee appointed by the Lucerne County Agricultural Society to report upon the Exhibition of Indian Relics, made by Dr. Hollister and Steuben Jenkins, Esq., at the recent Annual Fair on the Society's grounds, near the Wyoming battle-field, take unusual pleasure in saying that the exhibition was in every respect far superior to any thing anticipated or looked for. The respective collections of these gentlemen are a monument to their untiring industry and love of science. They will challenge the admiration of all men in all places where hereafter they may be exhibited.
To the man of science and leaning they are a volume of American history, to be read and studied nowhere else. A single glance over these splendid collections gives almost every implement used by the red man, whether in the fight, or the chase, the wigwam or the corn-field, for there are the bow and the arrows, the knife and the tomahawk of the warrior, the rude mortar and pestle for the squaw, and the delicate arrow-head for the early practice of the Indian boy. Here the book, and the only book of centuries of aboriginal savage life, in war and in peace, unfolds to the eye the living history of a people fast disappearing from their ancient grounds toward the setting sun. We congratulate the Agricultural Society in having been permitted to furnish to its numerous visitors at their fair, so unique a display, awakening in the bosoms of many of them such thrilling recollections of the bloody tragedy once enacted on this same field. We have heard on all sides since the opening of the exhibition but one continued expression of praise and thanks to Messrs. Hollister and Jenkins. We are certain that every man, woman, and child, who have been gratified by a sight of these relics, will not only join the Committee in thanks to those gentlemen, but will co-operate with them in the work in which they are engaged. In judging upon the comparative size and merits of the respective collections, the Committee, after a careful examination, concluded that the difference between them was but slight, and as the one in whose favor that difference seemed to predominate, desired that the Committee, if practicable and satisfactory to the Society, should render no decision upon that point, but should treat both collections as equally meritorious and entitled to the consideration of the Society, they have concluded to adopt this view of the subject. The Committee would therefore recommend that the special thanks of the Lucerne Agricultural Society be extended to both Dr. Hollister and Mr. Jenkins, and that in addition thereto there be awarded to each of those gentlemen, by the Society, a silver pitcher or goblet, of value not less than fifty dollars, with suitable inscriptions thereon to commemorate the facts.
ADW. T MCCLINTOCK
JOHN N. CONYNGHAM,
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