History of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

In preparing the following work for publication information has been sought from every available source, and it is believed that many of the facts recorded have been preserved from oblivion by being thus rescued from the failing memories of those who will soon pass away.

It is hardly possible that in a work like this no errors will be found; but it is confidently hoped that if inaccuracies are discovered the great difficulty of preventing their occurrence will be considered, and that they will be regarded in a charitable rather than a censorious spirit.

The publishers desire to acknowledge the kindness and courtesy with which their efforts to obtain the facts recorded here have been almost uniformly met. To the press, and especially to the editors of the Miners' Journal, of Pottsville, and the Shenandoah Herald, for free access to the files of their journals; to Colonel Hyde, the gentlemanly librarian of the Pottsville Athenaeum, for the privileges of the library; to county and borough officers, for assistance in examining their records; to the pastors of nearly all the churches in the county, for assistance in preparing the religious history; and to secretaries of numerous societies and lodges, for data furnished, their grateful acknowledgements are due.

The following books have been freely consulted: Sherman Day's and Dr. Egle's histories of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Archives, Rupp's history of Schuylkill county, Dewees's and Martin's histories of the Mollie Maguires, the history of the Pennsylvania volunteers, prepared under the authority of the State by Samuel P. Bates, LL. D.; and the Memorial of the Patriotism of Schuylkill County, by the late Francis B. Wallace, from which last the lists of the soldiers of the Union from Schuylkill county were taken.


Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. The Discovery of the Delaware — Pennsylvania Granted to and Organized by William Penn 9-11

CHAPTER II. German Immigration — The Administrations of William Penn and Sir William Keith. 11,12

CHAPTER III. The Question of Taxing the Proprietary Estates — Wars with the French and Indians 13-15

CHAPTER IV. "Mason and Dixon's Line" — Causes of the Revolution — Patriotic Action of Pennsylvania 15,16

CHAPTER V. Revolution in the Provincial Government — Pennsylvania a State — Battles of 1776 and 1777 — Indian Warfare 17,18

CHAPTER VI. Later Events of the Revolution — War with the Western Indians — Constitutional Changes 19,20

CHAPTER VII. The Pennamite War — Whiskey Insurrection — "Mollie Maguire" Outrages — The Riots of 1877 20-33

CHAPTER VIII. Harrisburg made the Capital — The War of 1813 — Internal Improvements— Schools 33-24

CHAPTER IX. Patriotic Action in the Mexican and Civil Wars— Governors of Pennsylvania 24,25


CHAPTER I. Ancient Inhabitants — Berks County 27,28

CHAPTER II. First Settlement and Pioneer Life in Schuylkill County 28-31

CHAPTER III. Topography of Schuylkill County 33-34

CHAPTER IV. Geology of Schuylkill County 34-41

CHAPTER V. Development of the Coal Production and Trade in Schuylkill County 41-73

CHAPTER VI. Land Titles in Schuylkill County - The First Settlers and their Achievements 73,73

CHAPTER VII. Organization and Growth of Schuylkill County — Officers and Representatives 74-76

CHAPTER VIII. Public Buildings — Removal of the Seat of Justice — The County Law Library 76-79

CHAPTER IX. Waterways of the County — Lumbering and Rafting — Schuylkill Navigation — The Union Canal 79-81

CHAPTER X. Early Wagon Roads — Construction of the Center Turnpike — Stage Lines 82,83

CHAPTER XI. The Railroad System of Schuylkill County 83-93

CHAPTER XII. Education in Schuylkill County — The Fight for Free Schools — Orwigsburg Academy 93-95

CHAPTER XIII. Medical, Religious and Agricultural. Societies — The Miners' Hospital 95-97

CHAPTER XIV. Labor Troubles — The Crimes and Suppression of the Mollie Maguires 97-106

CHAPTER XV. The Militia of Schuylkill County - Participation in the Mexican War 106-108

CHAPTER XVI. Origin and Early Incidents of the Civil War — Patriotic Spirit in Schuylkill County 108-112

CHAPTER XVII. Companies from Schuylkill County that saw comparatively little service 112-117

CHAPTER XVIII. A Regiment of Schuylkill County Men — The Forty-Eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers 118-127

CHAPTER XIX. Records and Rolls of the Fiftieth and Fifty-Second Regiments 128-131

CHAPTER XX. The Fifty-Third, Fifty-Fifth and Fifty-Sixth Regiments 131-132

CHAPTER XXI. The Sixtieth and Sixty-Fifth Regiments - Third and Fifth Cavalry 133-134

CHAPTER XXII. Representatives from Schuylkill in the 67th, 70th, 75th and 76th Regiments 134,135

CHAPTER XXIII. The 81st Regiment — The 80th and 89th (7th and 8th Cavalry) 135-138

CHAPTER XXIV. Histories of the 93d and 96th Regiments 138-144

CHAPTER XXV. Records of the 99th, 104th, 107th, 108th, 116th, 117th and 127th Regiments 144-146

CHAPTER XXVI. History of the 139th Regiment - The 137th and 151st Regiments 146-149

CHAPTER XXVII. Later Regiments — 16th and 17th Cavalry — 173d, 184th, 194th, 310th and 214th Infantry 149-151

CHAPTER XXVIII. Schuylkill Men in other than Schuylkill Regiments — Casualties among the same 152-155







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Maryland was granted to Lord Baltimore in 1632, and the territory on the west side of the Delaware was claimed by him, and the disputes arising out of this claim remained unsettled during many years.

In 1638 a settlement was made on the west bank of the Delaware by a colony of Swedes, under the patronage of Queen Christina. This colony was under the direction of Peter Minuit, a Hollander, who had been a director in the colony of New Amsterdam. Several Swedish governors followed Minuit in succession; prosperous settlements sprang up along the west bank of the river, and a thriving trade was carried on by the Swedes. They were watched with jealousy by the Dutch, who set up the claim of jurisdiction by reason of former occupation, and instituted intrigues and plans to dispossess the Swedes. In 1655 a force of seven vessels and six hundred men was sent up the Delaware for that purpose. The Swedish government had been kept in ignorance of this expedition, and it was easily successful.