History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania

It is to be regretted that Carbon county, rich in historical materials, has no historical society.

Intimate contact with representative citizens in all parts of the county has convinced me that such an institution would not only be welcomed but gladly supported by them.

There does not appear to be any good reason why the organization and establishment of a society of this nature should be further delayed, and it would afford me great pleasure to do everything within my power to assist in the consummation of this object.

Had there been an institution of this description in the county, the time, labor and expense devoted to the preparation of the present work might have been greatly lessened, while the result might have been more satisfactory to me and the public alike.

Every effort, however, has been made to gain all the light possible on the subjects treated in the following pages, and no pains have been spared to verify and authenticate all that has been here recorded.

Much of the matter bearing on the early history of this general region has been drawn from among the mass of books, pamphlets and papers contained in the library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. The public libraries of the Lehigh, Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys have also been laid under contribution, as have the files of the newspapers of this and adjoining counties, the court records at Mauch Chunk and at Easton, and the various bureaus and departments of the state government. But equally important with the information derived from these sources is that which I gleaned directly from the people in every section of the county.

In view of this fact, I desire hereby publicly to heartily thank all those who in any manner assisted me in this undertaking.


Table of Contents

I. The Indians Supplanted By The Whites... 1
II. Moravians Settle Carbon County... 25
III. Gnadenhutten Destroyed In Indian Uprising... 34
IV. Belated Measures For Defense Of Frontier... 47
V. Captivity Of The Gilbert Family... 62
VI. Early Annals Of Anthracite Coal... 73
VII. Organization Of The County... 87
VIII. Military Affairs... 95
IX. Education... 109
X. The Mollie Maguires... 127
XI. Strikes And Labor Difficulties... 147
XII. Steam And Electric Railroads... 157
XIII. Banks Township, Beaver Meadow Borough, East Mauch Chunk Borough, And East Penn Township... 167
XIV. East Side Borough, Franklin Township, Kidder Township, Lansford Borough, And Lausanne Township... 196
XV. Lehigh Township, Lehighton Borough, And Lower Towamensing Township... 226
XVI. Mahoning Township, And Mauch Chunk Borough... 255
XVII. Mauch Chunk Township, Packer Township, Palmerton Borough, Parryville Borough, Penn Forest Township, And Summit Hill Borough... 289
XVIII. Towamensing Township, Weatherly Borough, And Weissport Borough... 335
Biographical Sketches... 363
Appendixes... 621


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The first colony on the shores of the Delaware was established by the Dutch in 1623, when they built Fort Nassau, a few miles below Philadelphia. The colonists grew homesick, and within a year abandoned the fort, going to Manhattan. Thus the first attempt at colonization on the Delaware came to a speedy end. Half a dozen years passed before another attempt was made to locate a colony on its shores. A settlement that was planted by Captain David Pietersen De Vries in 1631, was soon thereafter destroyed by the Indians. De Vries had returned to Holland, leaving a subordinate in command. Prior to his departure, a pillar, to which was nailed a piece of tin, whereon was traced the Dutch coat or arms, had been erected. A dusky chief, not knowing the wickedness of taking it away, converted it into tobacco pipes. This angered the Dutch; and the Indians, not knowing how else to appease their wrath, killed the offending chief, and returned the unused portion of the tin. The friends of the murdered chief resolved to be revenged. They attacked the Dutch when they were at work in the fields, totally annihilating them.