Scranton Public library
Scranton Public Library.
Albright Memorial Building.
Piatt. J. C.
Reminiscences of the earl
y history of Dark Hollow.
Slocum Hollow. Harrison.
Lackawanna Iron Works. S
crantonia and Scranton, P
The EARiiY History
\)\K\ H°^^°^' 3'-°^^M H°^'-°^' |-]aI^I^ISOnI
IjACf^AVAf^NA jROrJ yORl^S^
iSKFORE THE lyACKAWANNA INSTITUTE OF HiSTORY
AND Science, November 9, 18S6,
BY J. e. FLATT.
THE REPUBLICAN, LITHOGRAPHING, PRINTING AND BINDING.
Ren]ii]isGei]Ges :f the Earlj History
"DARK HOLLOW," "SLOCUM HOLLOW,"
"HARRISON," "LACKAWANNA IRON
. WORKS," " St^RANTONIA," AND
^^* ^SCRANTON, PA."
Read Before The Lackawanna Institute of History
AND Science, Nov. 9, 1886.
". President^ Ladies and Gentlcynen :
It is with great diffidence that I have made an
xort to respond to the request to prepare a paper
or this Society on " the earl}^ historj^ of Scran-
011 " — which is herein understood to include only
territory which formed the borough of Scran-
j and not the entire cit}^, — for there have been
\ eady published not less than a dozen histories'''
^ ..f the Wj^oming and Lackawanna Valleys and
Scranton, and I have been compelled to repeat
■ inch matter that has already appeared — a consid-
; rable portion of which I originally furnished.
The early histor}^ of this portion of the coal
*Miner's, Stone, Peck, Chapman's, Pierce, Hollister's 3 edi-
! \ tions, White's 3 editions, Gallatin. Clarke, Mussell & Co.
■i ^ (/i
Reminiscences of Early Histoiy
basin is so closel}^ connected with that of Wyoming,
that it is difficult to separate them ; and to separate
the history of the " Iron Works " from that of
Scranton itself is impossible.
Connecticut by its charter, (granted in 1662,)
covered the forty-second degree of latitude and ex-
tended " from Narragansett river on the east to the
South sea on the west," excepting such lands as
were then occupied by prior settlers ; namely. New
York and New Jersey.
Nearly nineteen years afterwards Wm. Penn
obtained a grant of lands on the west side of the
Delaware river extending northward to the fort}-
third degree of latitude ; this covered a part of the
territory embraced in the Connecticut charter.
Miner's historj' states that in 1762 a considc-
able number of emigrants had arrived in Wyoniiu i
Valle}^ from Connecticut and "after sowing graiv
they returned to their families, with whom, ear
in the following spring, they came back."
Pierce's annals state that "the first settlers froi 1
Connecticut, who came to New York, (coming in
1762 and 1763,) crossed the Hudsou river at or
near Newburgh and, proceeding westward, passed
the Delaware river at its junction with Shohola
creek. From this point the}', followed an Indian
path along Roaring Brook to the Lackawanna;
river, and thence by another Indian path to the
Scran ton. Pa.
place of destination. The emigrants of 1769 fol-
lowed the same route, but being accompanied by
carts drawn b}^ oxen, they were compelled to use
the axe ; and from this period we date the first
wagon road from the Delaware to the north branch
of the Susquehanna.
The late Mr. Allen Secor told me some years
since, that the old road did not run through Dun-
more corners, but nearly east from where the street
railwa}/ to Dunmore now passes under the Erie
and Wyoming Railroad Company's branch from
Number Six to Scranton.
It appears to be generally understood that
about 1786 or 1788, Phillip Abbott from Connecti-
cut, built a log house near Roaring Brook ( on
some of the old maps " Gully Creek,") a little be-
low where the old Red House ( built by Bbenezer
Slocum ) stood. That not long afterwards he
built a small grist mil?^- near the old Grist Mill
dam, which dam was in use until August, 1885,
when it was carried awa}^ b}^ a freshet and aban-
doned. Steam power is now used to run the mill.
'•■Since the above was read before the Institute, I have met
Rev. J. D. Waller, of Bloomsburg, who says that Ashber Wal-
ler—a local Methodist preacher who afterwards moved to Ohio—
" built the first flouring mill on the Lackawanna."
The father of J. D. W., then living at what is now South
Wilkes-BArre, helped raise the mill. He came up with an ox
team and took back pine lumber to use in a house he was then
Reniiniscences of Early History,
James Abbott became interested with his
brother Phillip, in October of the same year, and
Reuben Taylor in 1789. In 1790 John Howe pur-
chased the mill of Abbotts & Taylor, and doubt-
less the land, for Mr. Joseph Slocum ( now residing
in our midst at the ripe age of 86, with his mind
as clear as ever ) , says that his father, Bbenezer
Slocum, purchased his land of John Howe in 1797
and moved his family here from Wyoming Valley
Mr. Joseph Slocum was born in 1800, in
Wilkes-Barre, when his mother was there on a
The first name of the place was Dark Hollow,
Ebenezer Slocum named it Unionville, but it soon
became known as Slocum Hollow and successively
Lackawanna Iron Works, Harrison, Scrantonia
and finally Scranton.
The " Old Red House, " — which stood about
seventy-five or one hundred feet west of the west-
erly corner of the grain mill, built by Scrantons
& Piatt in 1850, and now standing — was built by
Ebenezer Slocum in 1S05 and occupied in 1806.
It was the first frame house built in this neighbor-
hood and was torn down in May, 1875, to make
more room for the steel works of the Lackawanna
Iron & Coal Co.
What is now the blast furnace dam was first
Scranton^ Pa. 7
built by Ebenezer Slocum and James Duwaiii ( or
Duane), in 1799, for an iron forge which was
erected near it. The dam was soon carrried out
by a freshet, which discouraged Mr. Duwain. Mr.
Slocum's brother, Benjamin, succeeded Mr. Du-
wain as a partner in the iron business, and in 1800
the dam was rebuilt.
In 1828 Joseph Slocum rebuilt the dam and
with his brother, Samuel, built a saw^ mill which
was removed by Scrantons, Grant & Co. to make
room for the first blast furnace built here — " old
During 1885 and 1886 the L. I.'& C. Co. built
a solid cut stone dam in the same 'place, which
will probably withstand all future freshets.
The partnership of Hbenezer and Benjamin
Slocum was dissolved in 1826, and the latter re-
moved to Tunkhannock.
Mr. Ebenezer Slocum died here July 25th,
1832, and his brother Benjamin, in Tunkhannock,
on the 5th of the same month.
The Slocums commenced distilling whisky
about the time the forge was built — 1799.
The old stone house under the hill and near
the old grist mill, was known as the '' lower dis-
tillery." This building was taken down in April,
1854, by the L. I. & C. Co. to build a retaining
wall where it stood. A wooden building which
8 Reminiscences of Early History.
stood where numbers 2 and 3 furnaces are now,,
was known as the " upper distillery," and Mr.
Benjamin Slocum lived in the upper part of it.
This building was taken down by Scrantons &
Piatt in 1848 to make room for building the above
furnaces. Both of these buidings were used as
residences when I moved here in 1846, and until
they were taken down.
The last whisky was made in the " upper dis-
tillery " in 1824, ^1^^ ii^ the lower one in Dec. 1826.
The last iron was made in the old forge, June 10,
1822, and Mr. Joseph Slocum has carefully pre-
served the old hammer that was used to make it.
The first postoffice in this township was estab-
lished here* Januarj^ loth, 181 1, under the name
of " Providence." Its location here is the best of
evidence that it was then, as now, the business
centre of this neighborhood, doubtless owing to
its grist and saw mill, iron forge and distilleries.
I am indebted to Hon. Joseph A. Scranton for
a late letter from Third Assistant Postmaster Gen-
eral, A. D. Hazen, which states that the postoffice
*It should be noticed that though the name of the postofHee
was '* Providence" from the first, it was really first located in
what became Scranton, and was removed to Providence corners
by Mr. Vaughn, thus leaving the old locality without a local post-
office for some time prior to the spring of 1850.
Scrauton^ Pa. 9
at Unionville was established Jan. 10, 1811, under
the name of " Providence," and the Hyde Park
postoffice July 14, 1832, and both continued under
their respective names until merged into the car-
rier delivery of Scranton, Oct, 22, 1883. Also that
the office of " Scrantonia " was established April
I, 1850, and changed to " Scranton " Jan. 23, 185 1.
Mr. Calvin Washburn and family moved to
Hyde Park in 1S20. He purchased half of the
Bowman estate, 156 acres, for $885, or $5.67 per
acre. About 1858 he sold the same for $250 an
acre. His son, Nicholas Washburn, tells me that
he remembers when the only postoffice in this
township was at Unionville, and Mr. Benjamin
Slocum the postmaster; that the mail was car-
ried on horseback, the route being from Pitts-
ton up the centre or main road to Hyde Park,
thence over the onl}^ bridge crossing the Lacka-
wanna river between Old Forge and Carbondale —
at the same place where the present one is near
the gas works — to Unionville (Providence P. O.),
then back to Hyde Park ; thence via Providence
village, or Centreville, the "Ten-Mile Tavern" and
Clifford turnpike to Dundaff".
Mr, Norval D. Green, now residing on Jeffer-
son avenue with his son, D. N. Green, says that
Benjamin Slocum, the postmaster at Unionville,
resigned his office in favor of Mr. John Vaughn,
lo Reniiiiisccnces of Early History.
Jr., who received the appointment and removed
the office to "Providence Corners," or Razorville or
Centreville'^', and Mr. Green attended to the mail
husiness, opening the first mail received there.
Mr. Edward Merrifield states that his father, the
late Hon. Wm. Merrifield, was the first postmaster
at Hyde Park when it was established July 14,
1832, and held it about a month, when he moved
out of the place, and his father, Robert Merrifield,
was appointed to succeed his son. Later Mr.
Wm. Merrifield returned to Hyde Park, and was
reappointed June 5, 1834.
Mr. Oliver P. Clarke, now residing in Hyde
Park, states he moved there in April, 1846, was
made postmaster in June of that year, and re-
moved the office from Judge Wm. Merrifield's
store, which stood nearly opposite the present brick
M. E. church on Main street, to the store of
Clarke & Blackman, on the easterly side of "Fel-
lows' Corners," where he kept it until 1856, when
he removed it to his new store on Main, at the
head of Scranton street. Mr. Clarke was suc-
ceeded in 1857 ^y Doctors. M. Wheeler.
In the winter of 1847 ^^^^ 1848 a census was
taken to show the necessit\^ of a postoffice at this
place. Mr. O. P. Clarke, postmaster, as stated, at
*See note on page 8.
Scran to?i, Pa. ii
Hyde Park, gave a written statement showing that
seven-tenths of the mail matter received at his
office went to Harrison, or the Lackawanna Iron
Works. The petition asked to have Dr. B. H.
Throop made postmaster, bnt President Polk's
Postmaster-General ignored the application.
Another effort was made during the session of
Congress for 1849-50, which resulted in the estab-
lishment of an office under the name of Scran-
tonia, and the late John W. Moore was made post-
master. The writer took the first letter and paper
from the office when it opened, April i, 1850.
The office was in the front room of Mr. Moore's
tailor shop, and is now standing, being the first
building easterly from the Iron Companj^'s old
store and office — now car and smith shops — near
the blast furnaces.
It may be the impression that the Messrs.
Scranton were instrumental in having the place
.named after them, but such is not the fact. The
subject was being discussed by the Rev. J. D. Mitch-
ell and mj'self, and I suggested to Mr. Mitchell
that as he was acquainted with the Hon. Chester
Butler, then membe/of Congress for this district,
that he should write to him and state that it was
thought by their friends they were entitled to the
compliment. There was no objection made, and
the office was called Scrantonia. At a meeting of
12 Re7iiiniscences of Early History.
those interested in the iron works, including gen-
tlemen from New York and Connecticut, held here
during the next autumn, a motion was carried
unanimously that the last two letters of the name
be cut off, leaving it Scranton.
riR5T Railroad Project.
1826 'pi^e Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and
Railroad Company's charter was approved April
Messrs. Henry W. Drinker, Wm. Henr}^ and
James N. Porter appear to have been prominent
members of the commission to open the books.
The charter authorized subscriptions for 30,000
shares at $50 each, making a capital of $1,500,-
000, with authority to increase it if needed ; to
make a canal or railroad, or part of each, from the
mouth of the Lackawanna river to a point on the
Delaware at or near the Water Gap, and to a point
on the river near to Durham creek, in Bucks
county ; also a branch railroad or canal to Wilkes-
Barre, with a proviso that no dam should be erect-
ed in either the Susquehanna or Delaware rivers.
Conductors of wagons or vehicles of au}' kind
were to blow a trumpet or horn one-quarter of a
mile from the collector's office, to notif}' him to be
ready to take the toll. The company was author-
Scraniou^ Pa. 13
ized to collect, in the aggregate, up to twelve per
/ centum per annum on the capital.
It was provided "that said railroad shall, in
no part of it, rise above an angle of two de-
grees with the plane of the horizon." (Two de-
grees is a little over 1S5 feet per mile.)
The "Liggett's" Gap railroad charter was ap- 1832
proved April 7, 1832.
It is very evident that this road, like its prede-
cessor of 1826, was to be run on the canal method,
every one using it to furnish his own vehicle
and power for transportation — presumed to be
The tolls authorized, were two cents per ton,
per mile, except on lumber, coal, salt and plaster,
which were one-half cent per ton less ; the same to
be paid before the vehicle could proceed further,
the conductor to be fined :b'»2o for violation of this
Of the sixteen commissioners named, Messrs.
Henry W. Drinker, Jeremiah Clarke, Nathaniel
Cottrell, Thomas Smith and Dr. Andrew Bedford
— the latter the onl}^ one now living — appear to
have taken the most interest in the enterprise. If
my recollection is correct, the only commissioners
present at the organization of the company at
Kressleris hotel, January 2, 1850, were Messrs.
Drinker, Bedford, Clarke and Smith.
14 Re^nmisccnces of Early History.
This hotel stood where the north boilers of the
blast furnaces are now located.
I have in my possession the original minutes of
the meeting alluded to above, signed by H. W.
Drinker, Chairman, and John S. Sherrerd, Secre-
1836 Somewhere about 1836 Messrs. William Hen-
ry, of Stroudsburg ; H. W. Drinker, of Drinker's
Beech ; Edward Armstrong, residing about six
miles above Newburgh on the west side of the
Hudson river; and Lord Charles Augustus Mur-
ray, ( a Scotchman and son of the Earl of Dun-
more, ) became interested in the question of the
proposed Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and
Railroad Company scheme. Their plan was to
have a canal or slack water navigation from the
mouth of the Lackawanna to what is now Scran-
' ton and a railroad from here to Port Colden, N. J,,
and there connect with the Morris Canal, which
was open to New York.
In this wa}?^ they secured the favorable influ-
ence of Mr. Edward Biddle who had been United
States Senator, and of Samuel L. Southward, who
was then President of the Morris Canal.
Lord Murray was on a visit to see this new
country and made a number of hunting trips with
Mr. Armstrong to and over the Moosic mountains
Scranton^ Pa. 15
for grouse and other game, and thus became inter-
ested in the plan and route.
There are those yet living in this region who
remember both of these gentlemen and their fine
During the Scotchman's visit he made the ac-
quaintance of Miss Wadsworth, of Geneseo, N. Y.,
and afterwards married her. Her grave is in the
grounds of the Wadsworth Mansion at Geneseo.
Mr. Drinker was instrumental in having our
neighboring borough called Dunmore, in compli-
ment to his friend, Lord Murray.
The railroad company was organized, and Lord
Murray was empowered and expected to raise
$1,500,000 to build it. The projectors were so
sure the road would be built that a farm was pur-
chased not far above the Water Gap for railroad
In July, 1840, Mr. Henry commenced negotia- 1840
tions with Messrs. Wm. Merrifield, Wm. Rickitson
and Zeno Albro for a 503 acre tract of land " on
which was a saw mill and two small dwelling
houses, about 50 acres cleared, balance covered
with pine, hemlock and oak timber," that formerly
belonged to Ebenezer Slocum, deceased. Mr.
Armstrong was to have been interested with Mr.
Henry in this purchase.
On the return of Lord Murray to England it
i6 ■ Reminiscences of Early History.
was said his cousin, Queen Victoria, prevailed up-
on him to decline making any investments in
America, the result being fatal to the railroad
The Queen afterwards made him her envoj^ to
Persia and still later her minister to Saxony.
F1R5T FUR^MA5E BY THE FREDECE550KJ OF THE
LACKy\wy\WANNA Iron and Coal Co.
1840 About the time Mr. Henry had concluded his
engagement to take the land of the Hyde Park
gentlemen, Mr. Armstrong was called home by
the sickness of his two daughters, was taken sick
himself and died.
This left the contract for the Scranton land
resting upon Mr. Henry, who then interested his
son-in-law, Mr. Selden T. Scranton, who induced
his brother, George W. Scranton, and Mr. Sanford
Grant to accompany Mr. Henry and himself to
"Lackawanna" to see the "promised land," the
result being that these gentlemen assumed the
contract August 20, 1840. The deed is dated
September, 1840, consideration $8,000, or about
sixteen dollars per acre.
About three-quarters of Lackawanna avenue is
on this tract, and the remainder on a tract pur-
Scranton^ Pa. 17
chased February 8, 1847, of Messrs. Gillespie
and Pierce and Barton Mott, on which stood the
old wood grist mill and its dam.
At the date of the first purchase, in 1840, there
were here five dwellings, one school house, one
cooper shop, one sawmill, one grist mill.
Somewhat later Mr. Philip H. Mattes, of Haston,
examined the property and took an interest in the
■concern, when the firm of Scrantons, Grant & Co.
was organized with a capital of $20,000, Messrs.
George W. Scranton, Selden T. Scranton, Sanford
Grant and Philip H. Mattes being the partners.
In October, 1840, Mr. Wm. Henry moved from
Stroudsburg to Hyde Park, occupying a house on
the north side of Fellows' Corners, and took
charge of the early operations.
Mr. Simon Ward says he came here 0:1 Sept.
8, 1840; that Mr. Henry being absent he looked
up some tools and commenced work on the nth,
getting out stone for the first blast furnace, about
where the east boilers of the blast furnaces now
stand. He also states that the school house then
standing at the top of the hill northeasterly from
the grist mill had just been finished and soon
opened with seven scholars. Jos. Slocum sent one,
Samuel Slocum two, Jos. Hornbacker one. Barton
Mott one, Hbenezer Hitchcock two.
1 8 Reminiscences of Early History.
nR5T PLA5T fUKNACE.
Mr. Will. W. Manness arrived here on the ^iiid
day of September, 1840, and on the 23d, assisted
in la3'ing out the fonndations for old No. i furn-
ace ; and work npon it commenced in October fol-
lowing It was 35 feet high, and had an 8 ft. bosh.
I have the first bill of Mr. Samuel Slocuin for
boarding the workmen from Sept. 8, to Nov. 16^
1840. Mr. Manness states that the price was then
$1.50 per week, including washing, and as the bill
charges each person with the number of meals,
eaten, it is evident that 21 meals constituted a
week's board. Common laborers' wages were then
$17 per month. Carpenters seventy-five cents per
day, all boarding themselves or paying for it.
1 84 1 Thomas P. Harper came in the spring of 1841
and built the furnace water wheel.
Mr, C. F. Mattes had been here on a visit in
1840 but came to reside April 30, 1S41, and has
since had personal experience in almost every
branch of the business of the Compain^
Mr. George W. Scranton, who had been here
quite frequently from the commencement of the
iron works, commenced spending nearly all of his
time here during the summer of 1841.
As near as can now be learned, Air. Wm.
Scran ion ^ Pa. 19
Henry left the iron works dnring the spring of
1842, and Mr. Scranton continued here, leaving
his family in Belvidere, N. J., until succeeded by
his brother, Selden T., in 1S44, when the former
moved to Oxford Furnace and took his brother
Selden's place in charge of their business there.
Mr. Samuel Templin made the first effort to blow
in the furnacs in September, 1S41, and another
later in the year, both being unsuccessful.
The following account is copied from a jour- 1842
nal kept at the time: ^^Jannaiy j^ iS^2. Last
night, at about eleven o'clock, the blast was put
on the furnace under the superintendence of Mr.
Henr}-, assisted by a Mr. Clarke, from Stanhope,
N, J. At about three o'clock the furnace was
bridged over the hearth. January ^. Hiram and
Henry Johnson and Radle trying to work the fur-
nace, but, finding it too hard, the boshes above
the temp were removed and the coal and ore let
slide through. January 6. H. and H. Johnson
and Williams digging salamander out of the fur-
Three failures in succession to commence with,
were enough to discourage the most sanguine.
But these young pioneers must succeed, or finan-
cial ruin stared them in the face. After short
naps in their straw bunks, improvised in the cast-
ing house, and having their meals brought to
20 Rcminisceiices of Early History.
them, the}^ went to work getting read}^ for an-
Mr. Selden T. Scranton, who was here to see
the furnace put in operation, started for Danville
to find, if possible, some one who had had some
experience with making iron with anthracite fuel,
and returned on January lo, 1842, bringing with
him the late John F. Davis.
The necessary repairs having been made, blast
was put on the furnace on the iSth, " blowing
about two vv^eeks without making any iron of con-
sequence. After that the furnace began to work
fairly and the blast was continued until Febru-
ary 26, when we blew out in consequence of our
heating oven being insufficient — making iron,
tons 75, 10 cwt."
" i\fter putting in a new hearth and building
two new heating ovens, in addition to altering the
old one, we commenced the blast on the 23d i\fa\',
1842, and continued until 25th September (18
weeks), when we vrere obliged to blov/ out in con-
sequence of the blowing apparatus giving wa}',
being constructed too light in the beginning —
making, iron 362 and castings about 12 tons; in
all 374 tons.
"After repairing bellows (wood blowing C3-lin-
ders), putting in new pistons, &c., we commenced
the blast on the nth October (5 o'clock P. .al), and
Scranton, Pa, 21
continued until March 12, 1S43 (22 weeks), when
we were obliged to blow out for want of limestone
— making iron T, 583 tons 10 cwt., and castings
about 17 tons ; average per week 27 6.22 tons."
The quotations of these three successful blasts
are from a paper by J. W. Sands, the bookkeeper
of the firm.
Looking back from the present condition of the
iron and steel business to the early struggles of
the Lackawanna Iron Works, the whole operation
appears insignificant. But it w^as a grand success,
and enhanced by the fact that it followed three
failures. It was a time of great anxiety with the
proprietors, as shown by their desire to have their
success known in a practical way — not waiting for
the iron to cool before a pig of it was started by
wagon for New Jersey b}- Mr. S. T. Scranton, as
evidence of their success in making it with hard
Mr. George Crane, of South Wales, states that
he began the use of anthracite, wnth hot blast, on
February 7, 1838, in a cupola blast furnace 41 ft.
high, 10^2 ft. across the boshes ; product, 34 to 36
tons per week.
The first success in smelting iron ore in this
country with anthracite was with a small experi-
mental furnace built in 1838 at Weigh Lock, be-
low Mauch Chunk; hight 21^2 ft.; diameter of
2 2 Reininiscenccs of Early History.
boshes, 5^ ft.; hearth, 19 by 21 inches. This
fuiMa:e iiiai:;, fri^n Jul}' to November, 1839, dur-
ing three months, two tons per day ol Numbers i,
2 and 3 grades ; "fuel, anthracite exclusively."
"In the year 1840 there were only six furnaces
using anthracite, two of them on the Schuylkill,
three on the Susquehanna and one on the Lehigh,
making 30 to 50 tons each.'"*'
Having novv^ demonstrated that iron could be
made here with anthracite coal, the question to be
settled was, could it be done and compete in the
market with other furnaces. The ore used was
parth' a carbonate, mined about half wa}" between
the furnace and where the the old rolling mill is
located, and the remainder at Briar Brook, some
three miles distant on the Moosic mountain, and
hauled in b}^ teams that could bring but two loads
per day ; the carbonate averaging about 50 per
cent., and the mountain ore little if any above
25 per cent, of iron. In December, 1840, to secure
the iron ore thereon, 3,750 acres of mountain land
was purchased of the Bank of North America for
The only way to market at that time, and for
years later, was to haul the iron by teams to Car-
*Fuller details can be found in Vol. 3, page 152, of the "Trans-
actions of tbe A^merican Institute of Mining Engineers," May,
1874, to February, 1875, and "Pennsylvania Second Geological
Suivey," page 91.
Sera n to u^ Pa. 23
"bondale and ship b}^ the Delaware and Hudson
Canal Company's railroad to Honesdale, and
thence by canal to New York, or cart it to
Port Barnum, some eight miles, and ship it via
the North Branch canal to Philadelphia or Balti-
more. It was soon found that so crude a material
could not bear such an expensive transportation
and compete with other furnaces located nearer
The natural conclusion was that something
must be done to increase the value of the crude ar-
ticle, so that it would bear the expense of trans-
portation, and the first thing necessary was more
An effort was made which resulted in the for-
mation of the limited partnership of Scrantons &
Grant, September 3, 1843, with the capital in-
creased from $20,000 to $86,000. Messrs. George
W. and Selden T. Scranton and Sanford Grant be-
ing the general partners, and Philip H. Mattes, of
Easton, Erastus C. and Joseph H. Scranton, of
Augusta, Ga., and John Rowland, of New York,
the special partners.
In Ivlay, 1844, Mr. ]\Ianness contracted with
the new firm to build the first rolling mill — no ft.
by 114 ft. — for the sum of $350 ; the firm agreeing
to furnish all materials, including timber stand-
ing in the forests. The following November he
24 Remmisceiices of Early History.
commenced building a nail factor}^, 50 ft. by 75 ft..
The first iron was puddled in April, 1S45, ^^^^ ^^^
first nails were made on the following 6th of July..
This year Mr. Joseph H, Scranton, during his
annual visit North, spent some time at the works
in September, when he purchased Mr. Grant's in-
terest in the concern, on condition that Mr. Grant
should continue his services in the store until
April I, 1846.
Mr. Scranton then visited Connecticut before
going south, and his accounts induced me to visit
" Lackawanna " in November, when I decided to
take an interest in the iron works and make this
my residence for ten ^-ears.
On my way here I obtained my first sight of a
telegraph line — the first line (consisting of two
wires only,) between New York and Philadelphia, —
which had been put up the summer or autumn
A Trip FRon New York to 5^ranton in 1646.
In order to show the saving of time in travel
during the last fort}' years, I propose to give an
account of our trip in March, 1846, when I
brought ni}^ small family here to reside.
There being no railroad, we came by the night
steamer from New Haven, and arriving in New
Scran toil ^ Pa. 25
York the next morning, found the streets so full of
snow that our carriage could hardly get to the
Franklin House, on Broadway, corner of Dey street.
After breakfast it was found impossible to get a
hack to take us to the ferry, at the foot of Cort-
landt street, on account of the depth of snow, con-
sequently we had to walk, and a hand cart took
our baggage. At that time the Morris and Essex
railroad only ran between Newark and Morris-
town. Our car was hauled b}^ the Camden and
Amboy company over its road to Newark, where
it was disconnected and drawn by four horses up
the same heav}^ grade that is now used for steam.
From this point we were taken by a locomotive with
one pair of driving wheels to Morristovv-n. At Sum-
mit Station we found a novel plan for supplying
the engine with water. A pair of vvdieels on a line
of shafting were placed beneath the track, the
upper side of them being in line and level with
its top. The locomotive was chained with its
drivers resting on the wheels beneath the track,
w^hen the engineer put on steam and pumped what
water he needed. At Morristov/n we took a stage
and arrived at Oxford about dark: Here we spent
about a week, owing partly to a heav}^ rain, which
had so raised the Delaware river that we had to
cross it by the bridge at Belvidere, and struck the
river again at what is now Portland. We were
26 Reniinisceiices of Early History.
dela3'ed in the Water Gap by ice and logs in the
road. After covering small bridges with slabs,
hauled out of the river, we finally reached Tan-
nersville, aiich- spent the night. The next morn-
ing, finding good sleighing at Forks, we changed
our vehicle to runners, and again for wheels at
Greenville — now Nay-Aug — and arrived at Mr. S.
T. Scranton's about dark, March 17, 1846, the
traveling time being one day from New York to
Oxford, and two more to reach here. At present
the trip is made over substantially the same route
in 4^ hours, and from New Haven in 8 hours
frequentl}^ This route generally took two days
and a half to or from New York, and was the usual
one followed. The only way to shorten the time
was to take the stage at Hyde Park at noon, and,
riding through the night, reach Middletown, N.
Y., in the afternoon ; then take the Brie railroad
to Piermont, and steamer down the Hudson, ar-
riving in New York about 6 p. m. the next da}^
after leaving home. As the Brie road was ex-
tended to Otisville, Port Jervis and Narrowsburg,
the time was shortened, and in 185 1, when the
road was opened to Binghamton and the Lacka-
wanna and Western to Great Bend, we could reach
New York in twelve hours.
April I, 1846, Mr. Sanford Grant retired from
the concern, and the writer took his place in charge
Scran ton, Pa. 27
of the store and as general purchaser for the con-
cern, and later as real estate agent.
During his residence in Georgia, Mr. J. H.
Scranton made the acquaintance of Mr. Fay, of the
firm of Paddeford & Fay, of Savannah, Georgia,
but formerly of Boston, Massachusetts. Hearing
Mr. Scranton's reports of the immense deposits of
coal ; the comparative nearness to New York city ;
the success of making iron with anthracite, and
other advantages of the location, this gentleman
became quite interested in the iron works here, and
thought that his eastern friends, being already in
the manufacturing business, would very likely be
glad to take a pecuniary interest in the works
here. He therefore gave Mr. S. letters of intro-
duction to his friends in Massachusetts, and wrote
them that Mr. Scranton would call upon them and
explain his plans.
In the meantime Mr. Selden T. Scranton had
been corresponding with Messrs. Bno 8l Phelps,
the latter being a director in the N. Y. & Brie R.
R. Co., in reference to supplying that company
with rails, and its making the concern a loan of
$50,000 to erect the plant for that purpose. The
result was a contract for 4,000 tons at $80 per ton,
delivered at the rolling mill, but the railroad com-
pany had use, in building its road, for all the
money it could raise and none to lend.
28 Re7niniscences of Early History.
As usual, Mr. J, H. Scranton came north in the
summer of 1846, when he accompanied Colonel
George W. Scranton to this place. After a general
consultation, they left Sej)tember 10, and spent
the next week in New York, where they had in-
terviews with Messrs. William E. Dodge, John J.
Phelps and others. They also met Messrs. Pad-
deford and Fay there, and then went to Boston,
where they received a very cordial reception, and
found many desirous of taking an interest
in the iron works. Mr. J. H. Scranton wrote from
there on the 23d : " We were offered a cash ad-
vance of $100,000 if we could get clear of the con-
tract with the Erie company, and would make one
of the same character for 6,000 tons with as good
a company as there is in New England."
The Messrs. Scranton having agreed to see the
New York gentlemen before committing them-
selves to the Bostonians, returned to New York,
where Mr. Dodge invited a number of his fricinds
to meet them, and Messrs. William E. Dodge and
Benjamin Loder. President of the N. Y. & Erie
railroad, were appointed a committee to visit
"Lackawanna" and report. October 4th, Col.
Scranton wrote from New York that Messrs. Lo-
der and Dodge would leave for " Lackawanna " on
The gentlemen arrived in due time, and al-
Scraiitou^ Pa. 29
though there was a weekly paper published at
Providence, the ubiquitous reporter was not around,
and they supposed no one outside of the firm of
Scrantons »& Piatt would know them or suspect
their errand. They had not been here twenty-
four hours before Mr, Loder met an old schoolmate
in the redoubtable anti-corporation lawyer, Charles
Silkman, and privacy was abandoned. The gen-
tlemen remained some two or three days and were
shown through the different departments of the
iron works, including the iron mines on the moun-
tain, the coal mines in the valley, and the outcrop-
ping of coal at a number of places, that they might
judge for themselves as to its evident bountiful
On the 7th of November, 1846, the first firm of
Scrantons & Piatt was duly organized upon the
basis of October i, to take effect November 15.
With the retirement of Mr. Grant and change of
firm name to Scrantons & Piatt, the following gen-
tlemen composed the partners in the firm : Messrs.
George W., Joseph H. and Selden T. Scranton,
and Joseph C. Piatt, as general partners, and
Messrs, Philip H. Mattes, Edward Mowry and John
Rowland, as special partners, with an additional
capital of $29,000, making the total $115,000.
Four days later — November 11 — Messrs. William
E. Dodge, Anson G. Phelps, Benjamin Loder,
30 Rcmimsceuccs of Early History.
Samuel Marsh, Henry Shelden, John I, Blair,
James Blair, William B. Skidmore, James Stokes,
Philip Dater, Daniel S. Miller, John A. Robinson,
William Henry Shelden and Frederick Griffing,
put in another $115,000 as special partners,
1847 ^^ October 2, 1847, some of the specials added
to their subscriptions enough to make the capital
^ During the winter of 1846-7 an additional con-
tract for 8,000 tons of rails was made with the
Brie company, on a sliding scale as to price, deliv-
at the mouth of the Lackawaxen river, governed
by the market, but within a maximum of $75 and
a minimum of $65. Nearly the whole of the two
contracts were filled. Soon after this an additional
contract for 8,ooo tons rails was made with the
Erie Railroad company, on a sliding scale, to be
governed by the market prices within a maximum
of $85 and a minimum of $75.
As has been stated, Mr. Joseph H. Scranton
had spent a part of the summers here since 1843.
In June, 1847, ^^ brought his famih^ with him to
make this his permanent residence. He came
none too sodu, for business was crowding and help
The contracts with the Erie compau}^ made it
necessary to enlarge the rolling mill and erect
special niachiner}^, which was so far accomplished
Scr anion ^ Pa. 31
that on the 23d of the next month (July) the first
steam engine between Carbondale and Wilkes-
Barre was started in it, and two rails made. On
the 9th of August the mill commenced turning out
rails regularly for the Erie company, which from
that date were shipped in every way possible.
The roads in all directions leading towards the
railroad were full of teams hauling rails or return-
ing empty, some days over seventy loads being
sent off. All available teams were employed, and
as some drivers to 3k more rails than their teams
could haul through, a portion was unloaded by
the roadside, and could be seen b}^ travelers for
months after the last rail on the contract was de-
livered from the mill. As late as November, 1850,.
men were sent to pick up and forward them. On
June 25, 1850, and from that date on, large num-
bers of rails were sent over our ore mine railroad
to its junction with the Pennsylvania Coal Com-
pany's gravity road, and thence to the Delaware
and Hudson Canal and distributed at points nearest
the Erie railroad.
At the opening of the Lackawanna and West-
ern railroad, in October, 1851, Mr. Benjamin Lo-
der, President of the Erie railroad, was one of the
guf^sts, and in his remarks to the assemblage
stated that, owing to the location of the iron works
and the energ}^ of its proprietors, the New York
32 Reminiscences of Early History.
and Erie company had not only secured the re-
lease from the State of New York of all claim to a
lorn of $3,000,000, but had saved his company
from bankruptcy, the Legislature of New York
having offered to release all claim to the loan on
condition that the road should be opened to Bing-
hamto?i on or before a certain date, which was ac-
1848 Having but one blast furnace, and that a small
one, it could not supply the rolling mill with the
iron needed. A contract with Messrs. Quick &
Moore was made for the erection of two, and dur-
ing the winter the work was commenced. On
July 23, 1848, Nos. 2 and 3 stone stacks were fin-
ished. No. 2 was first lighted Monday, September
24, 1849, and blast put on October 5. Blast was
first put on No. 3, in November, 1849.
It appears to be inherent to all manufacturing
business in this country, that ever\' concern must
be constantly making improvements to reduce the
cost, and improve the article manufactured, in or-
der to meet competition or lose its business. Such
was the case with the Lackawanna Iron Works,
and consequentl}' more capital was needed, as be-
Col. G. W. Scranton and family, moved from
Oxford to Scranton, June 21, 1848.
A second re-organization of the firm of Scran-
Sevan ton ^ Pa. 33
tons & Piatt was arranged, more capital pnt in by
new associates, and on November i, 1848, the pa-
pers were signed, the capital being then $400,000.
The LA^KAWANNy\ Iron and Coal Coapany.
During the session of the Legislature for 1S53,
a special charter was granted to Scrantons & Piatt
and their associates, under which, on the loth of
March, 1853, The Lackawanna Iron & Coal Co.
was organized, more money having been paid in
and the capital increased from $400,000 to $800,000.
The original stockholders were as follows : James
Blair, John I. Blair, Philip Dater, William E.
Dodge, F. R. Griffin's estate, Lucius Hotchkiss,
John Rowland, Benjamin Loder, Samuel Marsh,
P. H. Alattes, D. S. T^Iiller, Edward Mowry, Anson
G. Phelps, J. C. Piatt, John A. Robinson, Henry
Sheldon, W. H. Sheldon, E. C. Scranton, G. W.
Scranton, J. H. Scranton, S. T. Scranton, W. B.
Skidmore, James Stokes ; total 8,000 shares. Mr.
John Rowland was by far the largest stockholder.
Moses Taylor was probably interested in the com-
panj' at the time of its organization, but does not
appear as a stockholder until June 27, 1853. '^^^
following became stockholders in the order named :
Theodore Sturges, 1856; Percy R. Pyne, 1861 ;
Reminiscences of Early History.
Samuel Sloan, 1864 ; William E. Dodge, jr., 1864 ;
K. F. Hatfield, 1872 and B. G. Clarke, 1873. Mr.
S. T. Scranton was made president of the company
and remained so until he returned to Oxford in
1858, when he was succeeded by Joseph H. Scran-
ton, who held the position until his death, June 6,
The business of the company continuing to in-
crease, made still more capital necessary. The
stockholders were again called upon, and the capi-
tal increased April 30, i860, to $1,200,000, and
again in 1873-4, when the steel works were built,
$1,800,000 additional was put in by the stockhold-
ers, making the capital what it now is, $3,000,000.
Ore niNE Railroad.
The railroad to the ore mines on the mountain,
when built, v/as considered quite an enterprise.
By act of the Legislature in March, 1848, Scran-
tons & Piatt and their associates were authorized
1 to build it. Mr. Seymour, of what has since been
% called Jessup, surveyed and located the road the
N same spring. Mr. H. H. Easton, from S^^racuse,
»N. Y., was the builder — up to August i, $15,000
- had been expended upon it. On the line of this
road a vein of limestone was discovered — some-
Scranton^ Pa. 35
what of the oolitic order, the grains ranging about
the size of the end of one's little finger. It was
hoped it would answer for furnace purposes. On
December i, a few car loads were brought down on
the new railroad for that purpose, and the trans-
portation continued until it was found useless,
owing to the large admixture of rock with it. The
road was so far finished June 7, 1849, that a car
load of ore was run down to the furnace. The
cars were hauled to the mines — some five ( 5 )
miles — by mules and run back by gravit}^ Dur-
ing this month a party of ladies and gentlemen
visited the mines, being one hour going out and
thirty-five minutes returning b}^ loaded cars — the
speed being as fast as any of the party desired in
(See page 12 for first project.)
The year 1849 witnessed the beginning of what 1849
proved to be developments of great importance,,
not only to Scranton, but to the entire coal basin ^
and its surroundings. Those interested in the*
iron works soon found it was necsssar}^ to have a#
more direct, expeditious and economical outlet to^
market for their products. The demand for an*-
36 Reniiniscences of Early History.
thracite coal was constantly increasing. The New-
York and Erie Railroad was pushing its wa}^ to
Dunkirk on Lake Erie. All these things taken
into consideration, it was believed that with only
forty-eight miles of railroad to connect with the
Erie at Great Bend, coal could be delivered in
western New York markets at pa3dng prices that
would def\' competition. To insure business for
the railroad, it was proposed to purchase coal prop-
erties and open mines, to be operated by the com-
pany; and, as Col. Scranton put it, " Have a depot
full of freight all the time, waiting to be taken
awa3\" The attention of capitalists was called to
the project, and sundry parties were brought here
to see for themselves the great abundance of coal,
and the business the iron works would give the
road ; to which the almost universal reply was,
that they would want an interest in the iron works
also. This was so general that it was found neces-
sar}- to accept the proposition in order to secure
the subscriptions necessary to build the railroad.
Subscriptions were then taken with the agreement
that they were to carry a pro rata interest in the
iron works, which the associates were to surrender
for the same amount in railroad stock. It was on
this basis that the firm of Scrantons & Piatt built
the road and turned it over to the proper officers
in running order, without letting a contract for a
Sera J I to >i^ Pa. 37
section on the entire line ; Col. S^ranton having
general supervision, assisted b}- Air. Peter Jones,
of New Hampshire. I remember purchasing the
shovels, steel, sledges and other tools, besides hun-
dreds of barrels of beef and other provisions, which
Superintendent W. F. Hallstead and many others
delivered on the line " where they would do the
most good." This quotation recalls to mind the
fact that the shovels were made bj^ O. Ames &
Sons, who stamped " Scrantons & Piatt " in the
metal of each one, and the remains of them were
found along the line of the road for years later.
x\fter considerable preparatory work for the
purpose, on March 7, 1849, Messrs. Henr}- W.
Drinker and Jeremiah Clark, as Commissioners,
held a meeting at the hotel kept b}^ D. K. Kressler
and opened books for subscriptions for stock of the
Liggett's Gap Railroad.'-' Over $250,000 were re-
ceived, and ten per cent, on the amount paid in.
The da}' had passed for operating railroads by
horse power, and providing, under $20 fine, that the
conductor of a wagon should blow a horn to notify
the collector to be readv to take to'l, consequently
Mr. S. T. Scranton started for Harrisburg on the
9th ( via New York and Philadelphia, as the
*0n the northwest end of the Washington Avenue car shops
can still be seen two keystones of iron, bearing the letters ''L.
G. R. R. 8., 1851."
38 Reviiniscences of Early History.
quickest route ) , and was successful in getting
legislation eiiiblinj th? company to operate the
road with locomotives, and make such other
changes necessary to make the enterprise a success.
April 25, 1S49, ^^- James Seymour, of Sey-
mour, since called Jessup, under the general direc-
tion of Major Morrell, of New York, commenced
the preliminary survey for the Liggett's Gap Rail-
The following is copied from the original min-
utes now in my possession:
" Pursuant to public notice, a meeting of the
stockholders in the Liggett's Gap Railroad Co.
was held at the house of D. K. Kressler, in the
village of Harrison, Luzerne county. Pa., at 2
o'clock, on the afternoon of Wednesday, January
" The meeting was organized by the appoint-
ment of Henry W. Drinker, chairman, and John
" On motion of H. W. Drinker, Esq., the meet-
ing proceeded to the election of officers and mana-
gers of the company for the present year, or until
others are elected to iill their places.
Scranton^ Pa. 39
" On motion of H. W. Drinker, Esq., it was re-
solved that the Board of Managers be requested to
appoint a committee to facilitate the business of
" William H. Tripp and Joseph C. Piatt were
appointed judges of election.
" On motion the polls were closed at 4:30
o'clock, p. M.
" On an inspection of the votes, the following
named gentlemen were declared duly elected to
their respective ofhces, each having received 633
votes, being the whole number polled, representing
twenty-nine hundred and sixty-six shares of stock.
"Ofi&cers: John J. Phelps, President; Selden
T. Scranton, Treasurer ; Charles F. Mattes, Sec-
" Managers : John I. Blair, Frederick R. Grif-
£ng, Daniel S. Miller, Henry W. Drinker, Jere-
miah Clark, Joseph H. Scranton, Joseph C. Piatt,
Andrew Bedford, George W. Scranton and Charles
" On motion it was resolved that the Board of
Managers do now organize a meeting of that body.
" Henry W. Drinker, Chairman.
" Attest : John S. Sherrerd, Secretary."
April 30, 1850, Mr. Peter Jones arrived bring-
ing his men and the implements he had used in re-
building the Cayuga & Susquehanna Railroad
40 Reminiscences of Early History.
from Owego to Ithaca — for the Liggett's Gap inter-
est — which was to connect the Erie R. R. with the
Erie Canal, via Cayuga Lake, for the transporta-
tion of Scranton coal. The grading of the Lig-
gett's Gap Railroad was commenced earl}- in Ma\^,
but before the month closed there was an Irish
war in Liggett's Gap between the "Corkonians"
and "Far-downers," as they called each other.
1R15H Wy\R— ny\Y, 1650.
Each side was determined to drive the other
off the road, Ibut both parties were, if possible,
more hostile to the Germans, and as determined
to oust them. The Germans armed themselves
and continued at their work. A battle w^as fought
on the 28th, one person being killed instantly and
a number wounded, all of whom were said to be
" Corkonians." Two bodies were found in the
woods near by the following month, bearing marks
of having been shot. On the 30th the Connaught
men, to the number of some 200, returned to drive
the " Corkonians " further. On their way they
came to the " Dutch Shanty " and demanded the
fire-arms, but failed to get them. The Irish were
said to be armed with almost everything that
could be used in a melee, including guns, pistols,.
Scran t on ^ Pa. 41
stones, sticks — one had an iron candlestick and
another part of a bnck-saw fastened to a shovel
handle. Neither party succeeded in driving off
the other. Work was soon resumed.
During the Legislative session of 1851, author- 1851
ity was given to change the name from " Liggett' s
Gap " to the " Lackawanna and Western Rail-
road Compau}'," and the change was made on the
14th of the following April.
The first locomotive bought for the road was
the " Pioneer/' from the Cayuga and Susque-
hanna railroad. It came down the river on an
ark from Owego to near Pittston. The /first one
set in operation on the road was the "ppitfire."
It was of English make and bought of tfie Read-
ing Railroad company, by Mr. D. S. Dotterer, who
took some pride in getting his purchase on the
road first. Both engines came from Port Griffith,
on the Pennsylvania Coal Company's railroad to
the junction of the ore mine railroad, and bv the
latter to the iron rolling mill. Mr. Dotterer ran
the " Spitfire " its first trip from the rolling mill
on Friday, Ma}^ 16, 1S51. It being the first loco-
motive that man 3^ here had seen, it was a great
curiosity, and when it reached the furnaces was
covered by men and boys, some of them astride of
it. The first engine that came down on the road
42 Reminiscetices of Early History.
from Great Bend was the "Wyoming," on the
nth of October, 1851, having two passenger cars.
On the opening day, October 15, 1851, sixty-
five ladies and gentlemen, the latter being nearly
all interested in the railroad and iron works, came
over the railroad from Great Bend to Scranton in
2^ honrs. On the next day the first coal train
was started for Ithaca, N. Y. October 20, a passen-
ger train commenced regular trips, with Mr. R.
W. Olmstead as temporary conductor.
On the 2 2d I made my first all rail trip to New
York, returning on the 29th, leaving there at 6
A. M. and reaching home at 6 p. m., duly appreciat-
ing the great improvement over staging to Nar-
rowsburg to reach the Erie railroad, or the earlier
.and longer trips I had made so many times.
That a railroad to Great Bend was only a part
of the improvements contemplated by the associates
interested in the iron works, will be readily admit-
ted when attention is called to the fact that before
the road to Great Bend was opened, on October
15, 185 1, a meeting had been held at the house of
Jacob Knecht, in Stroudsburg, November 28, 1850,
bj' the commissioners authorized to receive sub-
scriptions to the capital stock of the Delaware and
Cobb's Gap railroad. Eighteen thousand shares
of $50 each w£re subscribed for by the following
gentlemen : John I. Blair, T. W. Gale, J. H.
Scrantou^ Pa. 43
Scranton, J. C. Piatt, Scrantons & Piatt, F. R.
Griffing, Samuel ]\Iarsh, Edward Mowry, William
K. Dodge, John J. Phelps, James Stokes, Daniel
S. jNIiller, J. S. Sturges, Roswell Sprague, Henry
Hotchkiss, George Bulkle}^, Anson G. Phelps,
each 1,000 shares ; S. T. Scranton, 480 ; George
W. Scranton, 500 ; James M, Porter, Samuel
Taylor, Philip H. Mattes, and H. W. Nicholson,
each 5 shares ; on which ten per cent., or $90,000,
was paid in. A meeting of the subscribers or
stockholders was held in Stroudsburg, December
26, 1850, when the following officers wxre elected:*
Officers — George W. Scranton, President; John
I. Blair, Treasurer ; Charles F. Mattes, Secretary.
Directors — John J. Phelps, William E. Dodge,
T. W. Gale, L. L. Sturges, John I. Blair, S. T.
Scranton, J. H. Scranton, J. C. Piatt, H. W. Nich-
olson, James M. Porter, James H. Stroud, and
Air. John S. Sherrerd wrote in diary : " On
April 8, 185 1, Mr. E. McNeil commenced an ex-'
ploration survey for Cobb Gap and Delaware rail-
March 11, 1853, the Delaware and Cobb's Gap iSs"^
was merged with the Lackawanna and Western,
under the name of Delaware, Lackawanna and
Western Railroad Compan3\ M^y 27, 1854, the 1854
44 Reminiscences of Early History.
first anthracite coal burning locomotive was put
on the road.
The passenger depot for the Lackawanna and
Western railroad was located in the rear of the
west corner of Lackawanna and Wyoming Ave-
nues, fronting on Wyoming Avenue, and the
freight depot fronted on Washington in rear of
west corner of Lackawanna and Washington Ave-
nues. In order to get a desirable grade and loca-
tion for the road to be continued southerl}- towards
New York, both depots had to 1je moved to and
near the present location of the passenger depot,
opposite Franklin Avenue. This removal was
commenced Februar}^ 17, 1854, by D. H. Dotterer,
superintendent. They were wooden buildings,
and afterwards were annexed for an enlarged
freight depot, when Superintendent Watts Cooke
erected the brick depot which later has been en-
' larged and ver}' much improved.
^^55 January 8, 1855, the track-la3-ers on the South-
-ern Division crossed the upper end of Lackawanna .
Avenue, and on May 10, following, the first loco-
motive ran through the tunnel near the falls of
There having been some disagreement between
the railroad compauA' officials and Malone & Co.,
contractors, as to the amount due, the latter (Ma-
lone & Co.), on June 5, 1855, a-i'^i^^^^ some of their
Scran ton ^ Pa. 45
men and placed them on gnard to prevent the
company's men laying rails on their section, near
No. 6 dam of the Penns3'lvania Coal Company.
The railroad officials tried mild methods until
August 21, when a train of platform cars, loaded
with men well armed, having on the forward car
the old cannon " Sam " mounted on a swivel, and
charged with missiles, such as old spikes, was
sent up the road. On arriving at the disputed
territor}^. President George D. Phelps told the Ma-
lones that he should take possession of the road-bed,
and preferred to do it peacefully. After considerable
talk, including some high words, the contractors
gave possession. The obstructions were removed,
possession maintained, and in the afternoon track-
laj'ing commenced. From this time there was
nothing to prevent the prosecution of work on the
road, so that on May 15, 1S56, a single passenger 1S56
car commenced regular trips to Delaware station,
from which place stages ran to Belvidere — some
three miles — from whence there was then railroad
connections, as now, to New York via New Jerse}'
Central from Phillipsburg, and Philadelphia I'ia
Trenton. On the 27th of the same month the
Southern Division was formall}^ opened by an ex-
cursion of the officers and proprietors and their
friends, from New York b}- the Central Railroad
46 Reniiinscences of Early History.
of New Jersey to the junction near New Hampton,,
and thence to Scranton.
This w^as a proud day for Scranton. Direct
communication by rail of onl}^ 146 miles from the
metropolis of the nation, through to the northwest
as far as any of the larger towns of the country
possessed such advantages. Time has shown that
the enterprise as a whole was not only a wise one,
but was undertaken none too soon for the benefit
of the entire northern coal basin.
On the day following — May 28 — a number of
Scrantonians accompanied the excursionists on
their return as far as Greenville — now Nay- Aug —
where our party from Scranton were invited b}^ the
late Hon. William Jessup, President, to open his
railroad (the '"Lackawanna") to Jessup, which we
did, and returned the same way.
June 9, 1856, a regular passeiiger train com-
menced running to Clarksville (until a passenger
station could be built at the Junction). A change
was here made to the Central of New Jersey, which
at that time ran to Elizabethport, where connec-
tion with New York was made by steamboat, via
Kill von Kull, to Pier No. 2 North River. At a
later period passengers were taken for awhile via
Elizabeth, Newark and Jersey City to the foot of
Cortlandt Street. Still later via the extension of
the New Jersey Central across the mouth of New-
ark Bay to Communipaw and Liberty Street, and
finally, as at present, via the Morris and Essex
railroad to Hoboken and B^ircla}^ or Christopher
Streets in New York.
When ]\Ir. Henry named the place Harrison
(about the time of the Harrison campaign in 1841),
he made a '' Plan of Harrison, Providence township,
Luzerne county, by William Henry," which I now
hold. The following are the names of the streets
on it : " Lackawanna," " George," " Selden,"
"Sanford," "Philip," "William," "Mary," and
" Mott," the second and third being evidently in-
tended for the Messrs. Scranton, the next for Mr.
Grant, followed by "Philip" H. Mattes, "William"
and " Mary " Henry, and lastly Barton " Mott."
None of these streets were regularly opened for
travel except " William," which was the old emi-
grant road from Dunmore to Pittston I'ia the bridge
over Roaring Brook at the brick grain mill. This
road was vacated some years since by the court of
Luzerne count3\ from the top of the hill (northerly
from the bridge), where the first school house for-
merly stood, to the intersection of Quinc}^ Avenue
and Gibson Street. None of these names except
48 Reminiscences of Early History.
Lackawanna have been perpetuated on the plot of
Scranton ; and it will be noticed that not a name
of an}^ officer or stockholder of the property has
been used in naming the avenues or streets. The
cit}' officials have lately used the names of some
of our citizens in connection with the alleys — a
In 1850, when the first steps were taken to la}^
out the village plot, I felt it a matter of importance
to start right, and held many consultations with
Mr. Joel Amsden, the engineer. Mr. Amsden, ap-
preciating the interest evinced, probably consulted
me more than the other partners of the firm ;
consequentl}', being better informed in the details,
the lot business naturall}- devolved upon me, and
I had charge of it for Scrantons & Piatt until the
dissolution of the firm. To Mr. Amsden is due
the credit of the plan of door 3'ards which is so
universall}" popular, and which a number are dis-
posed to abuse by putting small shops thereon,
which they have no right to do. Mr. Amsden
made three sketches or plots for selection, and
was instructed to adopt the one best suited to ex-
tend the plot up and down the vallej', regardless
of the side lines of the tracts belonging to the
As soon as the plot was decided upon, steps
were taken to build a hotel, as an absolute neces-
Scranton^ Pa. 49
sit}', if it was expected to have travelers entertained;
Mr. Kressler's hotel, which he named the " Scran-
ton House," being always full without them.
Notwithstanding some wag envious of Scranton's
enterprise, nicknamed the W^^oming House the
" Scranton Folly," time has shown it to have been
good policy. It was not built for making money,
or as a speculation, but to have a hotel that would
be a credit to,;the place and help build it up. The
building and furnishing, exclusive of the lots, cost
about $40,000. It was sold to Mr. J. C. Burgess
after he had run it a few years for $37,500. His
first guests (three ladies and two gentlemen) were
entertained July 12, 1S52, but the regular opening
of the hotel was a few days later.
On the organization of the Lackawanna Iron
and Coal Company — June 10, 1S53 — ^ ^'^"^ made
■ofiiciall}^ Real Estate Agent and Store-keeper.
On the death of Mr. J. H. Scranton, being made
Vice-President of the Companj^, I continued at-
tending to the real estate business until \\\y resig-
nation, December 31, 1S74. Thus having charge
of the village plot and extensions made from time
to time, it devolved upon me to name a large pro-
portion of the streets. Therefore, upon the sug-
gestion of one of our citizens, the histor\' of the
selection of names for some of the avenues and
streets is here given : Lackawanna and Wyo-
50 Reminiscences of Early History.
ming Avenues are the widest streets we have —
each being lOO ft. between the building lines and
60 ft. between the curb stones, the others being
generally 80 ft. and 40 ft. The former was in-
tended — as it has proved to be — the main business
thoroughfare. Both were named in compliment
to the two valleys by general consultation.
What is now Washington Avenue it was first pro-
posed to call Church Street. Mr. Selden T. Scran-
ton proposed that it should be called Washington
Avenue, which was at once adopted, and the plan
to call all streets running parallel with it on the
northerly side of Roaring Brook, avenues. Penn
and Franklin having been named after the noted
Pennsylvanians, the name of the first Governor
of the State — Mifflin — was given to the remaining
avenue on that side of the plot ; and then of the
Presidents in succession, including the younger
Adams in the name of Quincy. Afterwards the
name of Jackson Avenue was given to a street in
Petersburg in line with one of ours, and by request
the name was continued on the plot of Scrantons
& Piatt. Pittston Avenue was so named thinking
that probably a bridge would be built across Roar-
ing Brook near the furnaces, and thus connect it
with Lackawanna Avenue and make it the main
thoroughfare to Pittston, and avoid the hills Idv
the old route via the brick grain mill and the
Scrantoji^ Pa. 51
bridge, lower down Rociring Brook to Cedar Street.
Capoiise Avenue was named for the chief of a tribe
of Indians, and Monsey Avenue for the tribe itself,
to perpetuate the aboriginal names of this locality.'''
Webster, Cla}', Irving, Prescott, Lincoln and Ban-
croft Avenues were named for those noted Ameri-
To Mr. Joel Amsden, the engineer of the plot,
we are indebted for the suggestion to use the
names of our trees for the streets. The particular
r names wxre mostly selected and placed by me. I
bo well remember taking a sign marked " Beech
'^^ Street," and finding the only tree in line of it was
5^ a birch, I had another painted to correspond
with the tree. On returning to put up the sign
u the tree was gone, but the street retains the name
^ of Birch. Alder Street ran through a swamp of
J alders — now filled with ashes from the rolling
O mill and upon which quite a number of buildings
"^ are erected. Hickory Street received its name
2 from a hickory tree on the flats in line with it.
River Street from its running parallel with the
Lackawanna river until that part was taken pos-
session of by the Union railroad, now belonging
to and operated by the Delaware and Hudson
" The Monsey or Munsey Indians, the wolf tribe of the Dela-
wares."— Pierce's History, page 217. " They had a famous chief
whose name was Capouse." — Page 221.
52 Reininiscences of Early History.
Canal compan3\ Orchard Street started in the
old orchard, three trees of which were standing
when the street was laid ont. Hemlock Street,
from there being man}- of them in the neighbor-
hood and hemlock shanties built of it. Aloosic
Street, on account of its being the most direct to
that mountain. Cliff Street, for the reason that it
crossed one. Anthou}' Street, from the fact that
the writer had sold three of the four or five lots on
the street to men of that name before naming it.
Brook Street, because it crossed Pine brook.
Bank Street was cut into a side hill or bank to
make it. Ridge Row was so named by S. T.
Scranton before the town plot was laid out, when
Mr. J. H. Scranton built the frame dwelling on
the ridge where he lived so long, and near where
the stone mansion now stands, but the street was
not opened until after the Southern Division of the
D., L. & W. R. R. was built. It v.-as mostl}'
blasted out of solid rock from near the present
front gate of Mrs. Scranton's residence to the
westerl}^ end of the wall in front of my own resi-
dence, and the material used to ballast the railroad
track. Prospect Street, from its vnew of the village
north of Roaring Brook. Stone Avenue will be
found very appropriate, having been so named be-
cause it lies on a ridge of rocks. Vale Street,
from having commenced in a vale (valle}-). Crown
Scrauton^ Pa. 53
Street started on the crown of the hill where it is
riR5T BoROucjH Election y\ND Orcjanization
AND Charter of the City.
At the first election of Scranton borough there 1856
were 371 votes polled. Joseph Slocuni received
367 for Burgess.
Town Council — James Harrington, 245 ; J. C.
Piatt, 366 ; John Nincehalser, 366 ; David K. Kress-
ler, 216; William Ward, 213.
Assessor — William P. Carling, 367.
Auditors — Joseph Chase, 243 ; Richard Drink-
er, 220; Henr}' L. Alarion, 363.
Constable — James McKinney, 359.
School Directors — W^illiam P. Jenks, 218 ; John
Grier, 219; G. W. Brock, 245; A. L. Horn, 219;
C. E. Lathrop, 218.
Poor Directors — Charles Fuller, 348 ; David
The borough was organized after the election
by the above town council under a s^eneral law.
The city of Scranton, composed of three bor-
oughs of Scranton, Providence and Hyde Park,
was chartered in 1S66.
54 Reminiscences of Early Histoiy
The first paper published between Carbondale
and Wilkes-Barre was called the TJie Country
Mirror and Lackawannian^ a weekly. It had been
published as the Carbondale Gazette ; Mr. Frank
B. Woodward brought it to Providence in 1845 or
very early in 1S46. The writer has a copy of its
last issue of March 10, 1847, containing Mr.
Woodward's valedictory, in which he states his in-
tention to regain his health and spirits in tilling
the soil with his venerable father. The editorial
has a heading " Henry Clay Our First Choice and
the Repeal of the British Tariff of 1846."
The first paper published in Scranton was the
Lackaivanna Herald^ a weekly, by Mr. Charles E.
Lathrop, now residing in Carbondale. The first
number was issued March i, 185^. He sold out
in L856 to H. B. Chase. Mr. Lathrop has a full
file of the Herald for the time he published it.
A second importation from Carbondale was the
Spirit of the I alley, a weekly. First number, Jan-
uary 25, 1855, by Messrs. J. B. Adams and T. J.
Alleger, who continued its publication for a year
or so. February i, 1855, the first number of the
Tri-Weekly Experiment was issued by F. Dilley.
In 1856 Mr. E. B. Chase purchased the Lacka-
Scraiiton^ Pa. 55
wanua Herald and the Spirit of the Valley. He
published them as the Herald of the Unio)i until
1859, when he sold to Doctor Davis and J. B.
Adams. The latter sold out to Doctor Wheeler.
In 1 85 6 Mr. Theodore Smith came here from
Montrose and commenced the publication of the
Scranton Republican. In 1858 it was purchased by
Mr. F. A. McCartney, who in 1863 sold it to Mr.,
Thomas F. Alleger. In March, 1866, Mr. V. A.
Crandall purchased a half interest and finall}' be-
came its sole proprietor. During this year Mr.
Crandall sold a half interest to Mr. R. N. Eddy,
of Cazenovia, N. Y. In September, 1867, Mr. J.
A. Scranton purchased Mr. Eddy's interest, and
on the ist of November following. The Morning ^
Republic., a daily, was published. In March, 1869,
Mr. Scranton purchased the interest of Mr. Cran-
dall and has continued the publication of both daily
and weekly to this time. >^
The first census of this country was provided
for b\' the Constitution and was taken in 1 790. It
gives enumerations of no territory less than coun-
ties. Luzerne count}^ then included the greater
part of Bradford, all of Susquehanna, Wyoming,
56 Reminiscences of Early History.
and L-ackawanna counties, the population being-
4,904. The next was in 1800, when Providence —
one of the seventeen townships of Luzerne — had
a population of 579; in iSio, 589; 1820 (inclu-
ding one colored man ), 861 ; 1830 ( including one
colored man, no aliens), 976; 1840 (including
one colored man, no aliens ), 1,169.
The era of the prosperity of Scranton and vicin-
ity dates from this time, and undoubtedly was
owing to the impetus given to business by the
commencement of the iron business by Messrs.
Scrantons, Grant & Co. — tlie details of which are
given in the account of the Lackawanna Iron
During the winter of 1847-8, a census was
taken of the territory which afterwards became the
borough of Scranton, giving the names of the
heads of families and number of each sex, the ob-
ject being to get a postof&ce. ]\Ir. O. P. Clark,
postmaster of Hj^de Park, certifies that seven-
tenths of the mail received at his office came to
Harrison — as the place was then called, or the
Lackawanna Iron Works. This census shows
there were then 205 families, S73 males and 523
females or 1,396, or 227 more than the whole
township contained in 1840. The United States
census for 1850 is :
Scranton^ Pa. 57
Scranton, the same territory, 2,230
Providence borough 446
Providence township, including (4) colored . 4,467
Total for the township .". 7,143
In 1S54 a census was taken by Mr. E. G. Cour- 1854.
sen, assisted by Mr. Charles Fuller, both being
in the employ of the Lackav/anna Iron and Coal
Co. This shows the names of heads of families,
occupation, nationality, and is summed up by Mr.
Fuller as follows :
Males, 2,478; Females, 1,768 4,241
353 Irish families 1,795
154 German " 795
81 Welsh " 415
16 English " ........ 85
175 American " 1,151
Single men included 585 — and he adds " should
Irish servant girls 49
German " " 10
American " " 2
Of these the hotels emplo}^ 23. At the iron
ore mines on the mountains there were :
58 Reminiscences of Early History
2 Welsh families, 4 males, 4 females
2 Irish " 7 " 9 "
14 American " 47 " 32 "
i860 The United States censns for i860 was :
Providence borongh Ij4io
" township 4)097
Hyde Park " 3,360— 8,867
Scran ton borongh 9^223
Total for the entire township 18,090
1870 In 1870, Scranton city ( inclnding Providence
and H^^de Park boronghs ) 35,092
Dnnmore borongh 4,3 u
Total for township 39,403
1880 In 1880, Scranton city 45,850
Dnnmore borough 5,151
Total for township 51,001
An increase in 40 3^ears of 49,832.
1886 • The Directory of 1886, states : " The Censns
and Directory for 1880 gave 45';3 individuals to the
Directory names," The number of names in this
Directory approximates 20,000, which, computing
on the basis of 4^ persons to a name, would place
the population of Scranton at 86,666.
Scran 1 011^ Pa. 59
Odd Tellowj' Hall.
The Odd Fellows' Hall played quite a conspic-
uous part in the early da^'S of Scranton. It occu-
pied a part of the triangle in front of the L. I. &
C. Co.'s offices, formed by the junction of Lacka-
wanna and Jefferson Avenues and Ridge Row. It
stood on a ridge of rocks some fifteen feet above
the present grade of the streets. The second stor}^
was used exclusively by societies of various kinds ;
the first for religious and other public exercises,
schools, &c., being the only public hall in the
place. It was built in 1847-8, and w^as taken
down in 1868 to make make room for the Lacka-
wanna Iron and Coal Co.'s stores and offices, and
re-erected where it now stands — on the hill north-
erly from the old iron rolling mill, and converted
into four dwelling houses. The building was first
used March i, 1848, by the Union Sunday school.
It was used by five societies of Odd Fellows, four
Temperance societies and three Masonic. The
First Presbyterian, Penn Avenue Baptist, St.
Luke's Episcopal, German Presbyterian and Ger-
man Lutheran churches, all used it for worship,
and nearlv, if not all, were organized in it. The
UiAiversalists held four services in it. It was
also used by the Union, Welsh, and Presb3'terian
6o Rejiiinisccnccs of Early History.
Sunday schools, a number of beneficial societies,
clubs, a brass band, lyceuni, nine private schools,
a union league, and lastly but not the least, for a
United States military hospital, in charge of Capt.
Mattison, October 26 to December 31, 1S63. At the
same time the building now belonging to Messrs.
Clark & Snover was used as United States bar-
Rev. N. G. Parke, of Pittston, in his historical
discourse of October, 25, 1879, says: "The Mo-
ravians must be regarded as the pioneer mission-
aries in this Susquehanna region. Count Zinzin-
dorf, as earl}- as 1742, while connected with the
Moravian Mission in Bethlehem, visited the valley
and preached along the Susquehanna and up the
Lackawanna as far as Capouse meadows north of
Scranton." He also states that, " after the resig-
nation of the Rev. Ard Hoyt, in Wilkes-Barre, in
18 1 7, the church was without a pastor until the
settlement of the Rev. Cyrus Gildersleeve in 182 1.
Up to this time preaching in the Lackawa-.:na val-
ley had been onl}^ occasional. From the settle-
ment of Mr. Gildersleeve over the cliurch in
Wilkes-Barre, preaching in the Lackawanna val-
ley became stated and regular. He regarded it as
part of his parish." I\Ir. E. A. Atherton, our
present Register of the county, states that in
1826-7, Mr. William Wood " was the junior pastor
of the First Presbyterian church at Wilkes-Barre,
while the Rev. C3'rus Gildersleeve was the senior.
That the field occupied by the Wilkes-Barre
church extended from Hanover on the south,
Kingston and Northmoreland on the west, and
Providence on the north. The congregations met
in winter in private houses and in summer in
barns. Many of the people came several miles in
rude lumber wagons, sometimes drawn b}' oxen."
A description of one of the congregations as
the}^ were seated in a barn might not be amiss in
these days of costly churches and splendid equi-
page. The preacher had a stand before him on
which lay a Bible and hymn book, and a chair was
behind him. Board seats arrang-ed on the threshing:
floor were occupied b}- the older men and women
including the children, while the j^ounger men
and boys mounted the first tier of girths with
their feet dangling in mid-air, mostly without
r>hoes. How would this suit the 3'oungters of the
present day ? Mr. Wood was aided in his labors
by Mr. Zebulon Butler, a brother of the Hon.
Chester Butler. Quoting again from IMr. Parke's
discourse: ''The people were poor and scattered
and the religious societies only partialh' organized ;
62 Remimsccnccs of Early History.
still the tardiness of the early settlers in both val-
leys in moving to erect houses of worship is a no-
ticeable fact ; this is especially true in Lackawanna
valley. Assuming that the Baptists organized a
church here in 1776, they were for more than lifty
years without a sanctuary or a settled ministry ;
and any preaching that was done by Congrega-
^ionalists, up to 1820, was in school houses, barns
and private houses, and without charge to th ^
people. The old settlers were not ' Gospel hai
ened,' for they did not have much of it ; but so
as appears they did not care to build churches «.
sustain the ministr3\ This indifference had not
all subsided in 1S40, when the foundations of
Scranton were laid, as those living can testif}', nor
in 1844 when I was commissioned to labor \\€t^ aj
" Rev. John Dorrance, D. D., who in 1833 suc-
ceeded Doctor Nicholas Murray in the pastorate of
the Wilkes-Barre church, had labored in the Lack-
awanna valley while a theological student, in ccn-
nection with Zebulon Butler, Thomas Janeway,
William Wood and others — he gave special atten-
tion to the Lackawanna field. Unable himself to
keep up the meetings, he procured missionaries to
do the work. Among those who labored in the
valley under his direction, previously to 184 1,
were the Rev. Thomas Owen, Rev. John Turbot,
Scr anion ^ Pa.
Rev. Owen Brown and Rev. William Tod. The
Rev. T. F. Hunt did good service for the cause of
Christ in this field, and largely at his own charges.
The labors of Mr. Hunt in the neighborhood of
Providence and Scranton, before there were any
sanctuaries for God in that region, are still bearing
fruit. The Rev. Charles Evans was the last mis-
sionar}' ( Presb3'terian ) in the field previous to my
niing here. He left in the spring of 1844 to
ept a call from the church of Northmoreland."
As above stated, Mr. Parke was in 1844 commis-
iied as a missionary for the territory included
.1 the townships of Providence, Lackawanna and
Pittston, and did good service therein — preaching
his farewell sermon here June 17, 1849, ^^^^ '^'^^
nee devoted himself to his church and congrega-
Du at Pittston. Mr. Parke quotes the testimony
. an old settler, now over four score years old, as
-O the character of the population of Lackawanna
valley during the first twenty years of its settle-
ment. He says : " Notwithstanding the heteroge-
neous material of which this community was com-
osed, there was a strong religious element pervad-
iig the minds and the hearts of the whole com-
munity, making a law-abiding people, and present-
ing to the devoted missionar}^ of the Cross an
ample field read}^ for harvesting." Hence the
earlv success of the Methodists under William
64 Reminisce ?ices of Early History.
Butler and his successors. Elder John Miller, ( a
Baptist uiiiiister of Abington), as earlj^ as 1806,
had made a lodgment in the valley, and had cap-
tured a goodly number of the old Congregational-
ists, and even some of the " new-fledged Metho-
dists." So far as can be learned, the first church
organization in the township of Providence — cer-
tainly in Scranton proper — was Presb3'terian.
Rev. N. G. Parke gives the records of Susque-
hanna Presbj'tery as authority, that on Febru-
ary 25, 1 84 2, a Presbyterian church was organ-
ized " in the school house in the village of Har-
rison." This school house stood at the top of the
hill near the present blast furnaces, and in the forks
of the Providence and Dunmore roads as then
used, and was first used in September, 1S40, open-
ing with seven scholars. Mr. J. W. Sands, one of
the twentv-eight persons who joined in the organ-
ization, made the following entr}^ in a journal he
was keeping at that time : " Friday, 25th Febru-
ary, 1S42, at 11:30 o'clock, a meeting commenced
in the school house conducted by the Rev. Messrs.
Dorrance, Hunt and Browm. At 2 o'clock a church
was organized, to be under the direction or a
branch of the Presb^'terian church of the United
States. Messrs. Couch and Atherton elected
elders ; Air. H. B. Daily, deacon." This was
known as the " Lackawanna Presbj'terian Church,"
Scranton^ Pa. 65
and intended to cover the territory before stated.
Mr. Parke's church at Pittston is a continuance of
the same organization.
An article in the Scraiiton Republican of May
18, 1884, states that the first church edifice in
Hj'de Park was Unitarian and stood on " Main
Avenue " where Joseph K. Mears then resided, but
gave no date of its erection. This edifice, and the
Methodist or " Village Chapel " in Scranton — as
it was called at first — were the only church edi-
fices for some years after 1846, between Carbon-
dale and Wilkes-Barre, except the old Baptist
church in Blakely, now standing near the forks of
the road leading to Peckville. The earliest record
of this " Village Chapel "to be found, is on the
books of Scranton, Grant & Co., Jul}^ 23, 1841,
when the following names were charged with sub-
^icriptions they had made and the chapel credited
with the total amount :
William Henry $10.00
Daniel Dodge 3.50
S. W. Nolton 2.50
George Whitman 2.50
Jacon Gerstle 2.00'
66 Reminiscences of Early History.
Henry R. Manness $ 2.00
Ferdinand Dnlot i.oo
Caleb Robins i.oo
Patrick Hart i.oo
S. W. Colckglasser i.oo
John Snyder .50
John Iv. Travis .50
Simon Ward ( September 3) . . . i.oo
Angust 10, 1853, Mr. William Henry wrote
Mr. Charles Fuller in reference to the " Village
Chapel": "We commenced in 1841 and finished it
early in 1842. While this house was to be under
the supervision of the Methodists of this vicinity,
other evangelical denominations were not excluded
from using it as a house of worship." This
"Chapel" stood on a lot 70x155, given by Scran-
ton, Grant & Co., partly in what is now Adams
avenue at its junction with Lackawanna avenue on
a bluff some ten feet high, which has been re-
moved in grading the avenues. The corner of the
" Chapel " was almost exactly where the corner of
Messrs. Jifkins meat market is, but not in line
with the avenue. The city plot was laid out in
1 850- 1, and in order that the two avenues named
could be opened where they are now, Scrantons &
Piatt, in 1 85 5-6, gave the three lots now occupied
Scraiiton^ Pa. 67
by the Methodist church and parsonage near by,
on Adams avenue, and two thousand dollars in
building materials in exchange for the old lot one
hundred feet front by one hundred and twelve
deep. It being then impossible to move the
" Chapel " through either Adams, Washington,
Wyoming or Penn aven.ues owing to the swamp or
Lily pond crossing them, the building was taken
down August 20, 1856, and re-erected on the south
corner of Adams avenue and Vine street, where it
can now be seen on the allc}' on the rear of the lot.
The only change in its exterior is that it has
an octagon instead of a scjuare cupola or tower.
The " Chapel '' was generally used on alternate
Sabbaths b\' the Presbyterians and Methodists, the
only real change being in the preachers and not
in the audiences.
The second church edifice erected here was the
Roman Catholic, a wooden building, situated on
what is now the west corner of Stone and Hem-
lock streets. It was raised on Saturda}^, June 24,
The third church building here was the Welsh
Calvinistic Methodist. It was a small wooden
building, originally standing on the westerly end
of Rome street in the old Slocuni orchard, south
of Roaring Brook. When the plot of 1S5C-1 was
laid out this street was abolished, and later the
68 Reminiscences of Early History.
building was moved to front on River street. The
lot it occupied here was purchased by the German
Catholics and is now occupied by the school con-
nected with their church. The building was pur-
chased by the Baptists and moved to block 80 on
Pittston avenue. This building was first used
March 18, 1849, and w^s dedicated July 8,
The next organization in order of date is be-
lieved to be what is now the " First Presbyterian
Church of Scranton, Pa.," on Washington avenue.
Early in the summer of 1848 a meeting of those
interested in the Presbyterian form of worship was
held, of which Mr. Nathaniel B. Hutchison — for-
merly of Belvidere, New Jersey — was made chair-
man, and J. C. Piatt, secretary. At this meeting
the chairman and Mr. Charles Fuller, both ruling
elders in the churches to w^hich the}' belonged,
were made a committee " to examine the charters
and b}^ all other available means obtain knowledge
which enable the people to decide whether Lacka-
wanna church is here or at Pittston." "Ji^ily 10,
1848, a meeting was held in the Odd Fellows' Hall,
of Presbyterians with their adherents, to hear the
report of the committee appointed to learn the
truth as the locus uhi oi the church of Lackawanna.
A letter was read from the pastor at this meeting,
in which he stated his conviction that the Harrison,
Scranton^ Pa. 69
Lackawanna and Pittston churches were all one,
and that Harrison must be considered the head of
the church although it was called Lackawanna. At
this meeting, after ' deliberation and consultation,'
as the record states, it was unanimousl}^ agreed
that the interests of the church required a separate
organization at this point. Air. Charles Fuller
was accordingU^ appointed as a committee to secure
from the Presbytery such an organization, to be
called the church of Harrison. Another com-
mittee was authorized to rent the Odd Fellows'
Hall at $12 a \"ear for purposes of worship. Of
this meeting Joseph H. Scranton was secretary,
and, as it would seem, was one of the chief actors.'"^'
The committee circulated a petition, and in due
time, presented it to the Presbytery of Luzerne,
asking for a church organization. This petition
was signed by eighteen communicants and a num-
ber of citizens who proposed to identify themselves
with the congregation, though not professing
Christians. In answer to this petition, a com-
mittee of the Presb3'ter3' — consisting of Rev. John
Dorrance, D. D. and Rev. N. G. Parke — called the
people together on the 14th day of October, 1848,
and, after a sermon b3^ Mr. Dorrance, proceeded to
the organization of a church according to the
*Dr. S. C. Logan's sermon, November 16, 1873.
yo Reminiscences of Early History
order and discipline of the Presbyterian Confes-
sion. They received and enrolled in this organi-
zation seventeen persons — eight men and nine
women. Its name was afterwards changed to the
" First Presbyterian Church of Scranton, Pa."
The Rev. J. Delville Mitchell first preached here
August 1 8, 1848, and occasionally afterwards.
Thursday evening, August 2, 1849, ^^ ^ general
meeting of the citizens, it was decided to give him
a call to accept the pastorate of the Presbyterian
church. There were thirt3^-two persons present,
twenty-eight of them made voluntary subscriptions
amounting to four hundred and thirt3'-eight dol-
lars, which was increased to five hundred and one
within an hour. This was then thought to be a
ver}^ liberal support when compared with previous
subscriptions, which had never exceeded one hund-
red dollars per annum for Presbyterian preaching,
besides the missionary's stipend. On the 27th of
the same month a subscription was started to build
a Presbyterian church edifice. The first place
selected was on ground partl}^ covered by the
writer's residence on Ridge Row, and grading was
commenced under the superintendence of the late
John W. Moore. Upon further consideration it
was decided to locate the building where it now
stands, on Washington avenue between Lacka-
wanna avenue and Spruce street.
Scranton^ Pa. 71
Sunda}' evening, November 25, 1849, Rev.
John Dorrance, of Wilkes-Barre, presiding, a reg-
ular call was unanimousl}' made out for the Rev.
Delville Mitchell to accept the pastorate of the
Presbyterian church. Mr. ]\Iitchell having accepted
the call, Wednesda}^ evening April 17, 1850, "the
pastoral relation between Rev. J. D. IMitchell and
the Presb3'terian church in this place was consti-
tuted by the Presb3'ter3^ of Luzerne. The Rev.
P. E. Stevenson, of Wyoming, preached from John
iii : 33 ; Rev. John Dorrance, of Wilkes-Barre, pre-
sided, proposed the constitutional questions and
gave the charge to the congregation. Rev. T. P.
Hunt, of Wj^oming, gave the charge to the pastor.
A large congregation attended upon the solemn
services, which were held in the Odd Fellows' Hall.
On April 29, 1851, Mr. W. W. Manness com-
menced raising the First Presb3^terian church edi-
fice ; on September 30 the steeple, and on Novem-
ber 26 put the bell in its place, it being the first
bell put up between Carbondale and Wilkes-Barre.
On November 27, it was first used for assembling
a congregation to worship, it being Thanksgiving
Day, and the services were held in the Odd Fel-
lows' Hall. From that day to this the sound of
"the church-going bell " has been heard here regu-
larly on Sunda}'. The church edifice was dedica-
ted by the pastor, September 19, 1852. The cost
72 Reminiscences of Early History.
of this church, for the main body and steeple, was^
about $15,000. The firm of Scrantons & Piatt
gave the lot, 155 feet front by 150 feet deep. The
general and special partners contributed person-
ally $3,200.00, and their non-resident friends
S335-00. Scrantons & Piatt deducted from the
indebtedness of the church to the firm $5,128.62.
Total cost of church ......... $15,000.00
General and special contribu-
tions, personally . . . $3,200.00
Their non-resident friends . 335.00
Scrantons & Piatt .... 5,128.62 — 8,663.62
Balance paid by congregation and locally, $6,336.38
Since then the congregation has built the par-
sonage, added the wings to the church in Decem-
ber, 1859, built the lecture room, and put in the
The Methodists, doubtless, like the Presby-
terians and Baptists, had for many j-ears con-
sidered this as one of their missionary fields or
outposts. The}' had the " Village Chapel '' — here-
tofore referred to — and irregular preaching in it,
which the writer attended from November, 1845,
to the organization of the First Presbyterian
Church, October 14, 1848. The following is from
Bishop Simpson's Cyclopedia of Methodism :
Scrantou^ Pa. 75.
" Scranton — The first Methodist Society was or-
ganized in 1840 in connection with Pittston cir-
cnit and a chnrch edifice erected in 1842 ; in 1854
it was organized as a station," by which it would
appear that Scranton was considered as a part of
the parish of Pittston, as the Presbyterians 3'ears
before considered it a part of the parish of Wilkes-
Barre. After many inquiries of Methodists and
others, it appears b}^ their minutes and records,
that the first steps taken towards the organization
of a Methodist church in Scranton, was on August
2, 1854, when a meeting of the "male members of
the M. E. Church" — of what place or places is not
stated — was held. The following persons were
elected Trustees, were directed to obtain a charter :
John Major, John M, Washington, Thomas Bies-
ecker, John R. Soucks, F. M. Etting, John H.
Coleman, Barton Mott, Erastus Smith and W'il-
liam Silkman. A. H. Schoonmaker was the
secretary. These Trustees were all Scrantoni-
ans, except Erastus Smith who lived in Lacka-
wanna, and William Silkman who lived in Provi-
dence. A. H. Schoonmaker was their clerg\'man.
The charter was signed August 9, 1854, the Trus-
tees elected on the 2nd inst. being named in the
charter for that purpose.
The two following are copied from the Confer-
ence minutes :
74 Remmiscences of Early History.
" Scranton, 1854, First Quarterly Conference
for Scranton and Hyde Park Mission met, Doctor
George Peck presided. John M. Washington was
chosen secretar}^" That with quotation marks is
the first entr}' and all there is of the minutes of
"Scranton, October 28, 1854, Second Quarterly
Conference for Scranton and Hyde Park Mission
met, Rev. George Peck presiding. A. L. Horn
was chosen secretary. Members present — A. H.
Schoonmaker, pastor ; local preachers, Noah
Davis and A. L. Horn ; leaders, N. Davis and A.
L. Horn ; stewards, N. Davis, John Coleman, J.
M. Washington, Thomas Pearce, William Varnes
and A. L. Horn."
April 18, 1 85 5. At a meeting of this date, the
pastor, A. H. Schoonmaker, also secretary- /;y; tciu.^
stated that the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co. had
proposed to take the " Village Chapel " lot, 100
feet front by 112 feet deep, and give three lots
fronting on Adams, no feet front b}^ 150 feet deep
and pay the church $1,700; the companj^ to have
the old chapel. A committee was appointed, J. M.
Washington, David Kemmerer and Noah Davis,
" with the instruction to obtain, if possible, a bet-
ter bid for them and retain the old church, at least
until the basement of the new one is read}- for
use." April 25, 1855. At a meeting held this date,
Scraufoji^ Pa. 75
it was voted that '' we accept the offer made by the
Iron Co., on condition that the}^ pa}' us $2,000 dif-
ference between the lots, and also that we be per-
mitted to occupy the old church at least six months
or until we get the basement of the new one fin-
ished." The present M. H. Church edifice on
Adams avenue near Lackawanna, was begun be-
tween the 6th and i6th of September, 1S55.
January 8, 1855, the churches here this date
were : First Presb^-terian, on Washington avenue ;
St. Luke's Protestant Episcopal, on Penn avenue ;
■*' Village Chapel, " Lackawanna and Adams ave-
nues ; Welsh Calvinistic Methodist — Rome street
— west end, later moved to River street. ( Entr}'
April I, 1855): The First Roman Catholic, easter-
ly end of Rome street, not then used for church
purposes ; The Second Roman Catholic Church,
on the corner of Franklin avenue and Spruce
Mr. Edward L. Bailey in his "History of the
Abington Baptist Association " states, that as early
as 1794, Rev. William Bishop, a Baptist, lived in
Hyde Park and that he was pastor of the Pittston
•church, and " a Baptist church, however, was re-
organized at Pittston in the autumn of 1833. Wil-
76 Remmiscenccs of Early History.
liam K. Mott, pastor of this church, preached
occasionalh^ at Hyde Park and baptized a number
of converts into the fellowship of the Pittston
church." He further states that " the brethren
and sisters living at Hyde Park and vicinit\^ how-
ever, finally decided to organize as an independent
church. The council of recognition was convened
at that place, September 12, 1849 5 Rev. John Mil-
ler acted as moderator and Rev. Silas Finn acting
as clerk. Twenty three persons from their respec-
tive churches received fellowship at the Hyde Park
Baptist church. Rev. William K. Mott was one
of the constituent members and pastor of the
church. Messrs. E. A. Atherton and J. C. Dunn
were chosen deacons of the church."
The Welsh Baptists purchased lot 5 in block
34 on Mifflin avenue, January i, 1855, and on
December 23, of the same j^ear, dedicated a brick
edifice they had erected thereon as a house of wor
ship. This building now belongs to and is used
by the German L-utherans, who have latel}' added
a steeple and made other improvements to it.
Elder William K. Mott, of Hyde Park, occupied
Odd Fellows' Hall for Baptist services a few times
between ]\Iay 30, 1858, and ]\Iarch, 1859. He had
formerl}^ preached occasionally in the " Village
Chapel." Mr. Bailey states : " The public recogni-
tion of this church ( Scranton ) took place in the
S want 011^ Pa. JJ
Odd Fellows' Hall. Twenty-five brethren and sis-
ters had on the preceding week, August i8th, at
the house of Nathaniel Halstead, organized them-
selves into a church by a unanimous resolution,
and by adopting articles of faith and a church cov-
enant." The writer was treasurer of the Odd Fel-
lows' Hall and rented it to the Baptists and all
others using it, from its erection until taken down.
This church with its Sunday school occupied
the Odd Fellows' Hall from August i, 1859, to
March i, 1861, and afterwards Washington Hall
on Penn avenue. On May 13, 1864, lots 12, i^
and 14 in block 64, on Penn avenue, were purchased
and a brick church built thereon which has since
been enlarged and very much improved both inside
and out. Basement first used for a festival, June
20, 1865 — the upper part not ready to use.
The Welsh Congregationalists bought lot 2 in
block 28, on Mifflin avenue, July 31, 1854, and
built a wooden church upon it in the same year,
which they used a few years and then sold. It is
now used for dwellings.
The German Presbyterian Church on Hickory
street, occupying lots 17 and 19, block i, wor-
shipped in the Odd Fellows' Hall from 1852 to
January i, 1858. The organization by the Pres-
bytery took place in the hall, June 25, 1856. Dur-
ing this year the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co.
jd) Reminiscences of Early History.
presented the congregation with one lot and the
members purchased the other. The corner stone
of the edifice was laid September 5, 1857, and it
was dedicated November 6, 1859. The late Will-
liam H. Dodge, of New York, presented the bell
to the congregation. The attendance has so in-
creased that it has been found necessary to pur-
chase the adjoining lot to which it is proposed to
remove the church building for temporary use, and
on the present site build a much larger stone edi-
fice, and when finished use the old building for
Sunday school and other church purposes.
The first Protestant Episcopal Church service
in Scranton of which I have any knowledge, was held
August 29, 1848, in the " Village Chapel." It was ^<i
conducted by Bishop Potter, who w^as brought here r-^
from Salem by Judge Pettebone. The next day
Mr. John S. Dewey, a bookkeeper of Scrantons &
Piatt, took him to Wilkes-Barre.
St. Luke's Church and congregation occupied
the Odd Fellows' Hall from October 24, 1852, to
July 24, 1853. The church was organized August
5, 185 1, at the residence of Mr. Charles Swift, for-
merly of Easton, Pa. Rev. John Long, rector ;
E. Hitchcock and J. C. Burgess, wardens ; B. H.
Throop, M. D., Charles Swift, L. N. Clarke, E. S.
AI. Hill and J. Kirlin, vestr3nnen. The firm of
Scrantons & Piatt gave the church authorities lots.
Scraiitou^ Pa. 79^
26 and 27 in block 30, on Penn avenue — the Lack-
awanna Iron and Coal Co., which was organized
soon after, made the deed for them, Tlie corner
stone of the church building was laid April 19,
1863, '■ with ceremonies appropriate to the occa-
sion." The services were conducted by Rev. John
Long, the rector, assisted by Messrs. Miles, of
Wilkes-Barre ; Skinner, of New Milford, and Men-
delhall, of Salem. Ten other clergymen of the
Episcopal Church being present. The church was
consecrated by Bishop Potter, November 13, 1853.
Doctor Thropp presented the church with a bell
which was first used May 22, 1859.
Mr. Piatt intended to enlarge these notes but
was prevented from doing so by the illness and
death of his wife, who died July 4, 1887. Shortly
after he was stricken with paralysis and died
November 15, 1887. At the request of friends
they are now published as he left them, b}- his
Joseph C, Ella J. and Frank E. Platt.
Scranton^ Pa., October. 1880. /^m
LACKAWANNA COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
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