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from The History of the Lackawanna Valley
by H. Hollister, M. D.—1869

 

THE PENNSYLVANIA COAL COMPANY.

The definite and successful character of the coal schemes devised by the Wurts brothers, tested amidst every possible element of discouragement and hostility, inclined capitalists to glance toward the hills from whence coal slowly drifted to the sea-board. Drinker and Meredith, aiming at reciprocal objects, and alive to venture and enterprise, each obtained a charter for a railroad in the valley, which, owing to the absence of capital, proved of no practical value at the time to any one.

Twenty-one years after coal was carried from Carbondale by railroad toward a New York market, the Pennsylvania Coal Company began the transportation of their coal from the Lackawanna. This company, the second one operating in the valley, was incorporated by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1838, with a capital of $200, 000. The proposed road was to connect Pittston with the Delaware and Hudson Canal at some point along the Wallenpaupack Creek in the county of Wayne.

The commissioners appointed in this act organized the company in the spring of 1839, and commenced operating in Pittston on a small scale. After mining a limited quantity of coal from their lands—of which they were allowed to hold one thousand acres—it was taken down the North Branch Canal, finding a market at Harrisburg and other towns along the Susquehanna.

Simultaneously with the grant of this charter, another was given to a body of gentlemen in Honesdale, known as the Washington Coal Company, with a capital of $300,000, empowered to hold two thousand acres of land in the coal basin. This last charter, lying idle for nine years, was sold to William Wurts, Charles Wurts, and others of Philadelphia, in 1847.

In 1845, the first stormy impulse or excitement in coal lands went through the central and lower part of the valley. Large purchases of coal property were made for a few wealthy men of Philadelphia, who had reconnoitered the general features of the country with a view of constructing a railroad from the Lackawanna to intersect the Delaware and Hudson Canal near the mouth of the Paupack.

The preliminary surveys upon the proposed route had barely commenced, before there sprang up in Providence and Blakeley, opposition of the most relentless and formidable character. Men who had hitherto embarrassed the company mining coal in Carbondale during its infancy, found scope here for their remaining malignity. The most plausible ingenuity was employed to defeat the entrance of a road whose operations could not fail to inspire and enlarge every industrial activity along its border. Meeting after meeting was held at disaffected points, having for their object the destruction of the very measures, which, when matured, were calculated to result as they did to the advantage of those who opposed them. It was urged with no little force, that if these Philadelphians "seeking the blood of the country," were allowed to make a railroad through Cobb's Gap, the only natural key or eastern outlet to the valley, the rich deposits of coal and iron remaining in the hands of the settlers would be locked in and rendered useless forever. Such fallacious notions, urged by alms-asking demagogues with steady clamor upon a people jealous of their prerogatives, inflamed the public mind for a period of three years against this company, but after such considerations as selfish agitators will sometimes covet and accept tranquilized opposition, those amicable relations which have since existed with the country commenced.

In 1848, the Legislature of Pennsylvania passed "an act incorporating the Luzerne and Wayne Railroad Company, with a capital stock of $500,000, with authority to construct a road from the Lackawaxen to the Lackawanna."

Before this company manifested organic life, its charter, confirmed without reward, and that of the Washington Coal Company being purchased, were merged into the Pennsylvania Coal Company, by an act of the Legislature passed in 1849.

This road, whose working capacity is equal to one and a half million tons per annum, was commenced in 1848; completed in May, 1850. It is forty-seven miles in length, passing with a, single track from the coal-mines on the Susquehanna at Pittston to those lying near Cobb's Cap, terminating at the Delaware and Hudson Canal at the spirited village of Hawley. It is worked at moderate expense, and in the most simple manner for a profitable coal-road—the cars being drawn up the mountain by a series of stationary steam-engines and planes, and then allowed to run by their own weight, at a rate of ten or twelve miles an hour, down a grade sufficiently descending to give the proper momentum to the train. The movement of the cars is so easy, that there is but little wear along the iron pathway, while the too rapid speed is checked by the slight application of brakes. No railroad leading into the valley makes less noise; none does so really a remunerative business, earning over ten per cent. on its capital at the present low prices of coal; thus illustrating the great superiority of a "gravity road" over all others for the cheap transportation of anthracite over the ridges surrounding the coal-fields of Pennsylvania.

The true system, exemplified twenty years ago by its present superintendent, John B. Smith, Esq., of uniting the interests of the laboring-man with those of the company, as far as possible, has been one of the most efficient measures whereby "strikes" have been obviated, and the general prosperity of the road steadily advanced.

Through the instrumentality of Mr. Smith this has been done in a manner so uniform yet unobtrusive, as to make it a model coal-road. It carries no passengers.

This company, having a capital of about $4,000,000, gives employment to over three thousand men.

FROM PITTSTON TO HAWLEY.

A ride upon a coal-train over the gravity road of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, from Pittston to Hawley, is not without interest or incident. Starting from the banks of the Susquehanna, it gradually ascends the border of the Moosic Mountain for a dozen miles, when, as if refreshed by its slow passage up the rocky way, it hurries the long train down to the Dyberry at Hawley with but a single stoppage.

Let the tourist willing to blend venture with pleasure, step upon the front of the car as it ascends Plane No. 2, at Pittston, and brings to view the landscape of Wyoming Valley, with all its variety of plain, river, and mountain, made classic by song and historic by her fields of blood. The Susquehanna, issuing from the highland lakes of Otsego, flows along, equaled only in beauty by the Rhine, through a region famed for its Indian history—the massacre upon its fertile plain, and the sanguinary conflict between the Yankees and Pennymites a century ago. The cars, freighted with coal, move their spider-feet toward Hawley. Slow at first, they wind around curve and hill, gathering speed and strength as they oscillate over ravine, woodland, and water. Emerging from deep cuts or dense woods, the long train approaches Spring Brook. Crossing this trout stream upon a trestling thrown across the ravine of a quarter of a mile, the cars slacken their speed as they enter the narrow rock-cut at the foot of the next plane. While looking upon the chiseled precipice to find some egress to this apparent cavern, the buzz of the pulley comes from the plane, and through the granite passage, deep and jaw-like, you are drawn to a height where the glance of the surrounding woods is interrupted by the sudden manner in which you are drawn into the very top of engine-house No. 4.

The Lybian desert, in the desolation of its sands, offers more to admire than the scenery along the level from No. 4 to No. 5. Groups of rock, solitary in dignity and gray with antiquity, are seen upon every side; trees grow dwarfed from their accidental foothold; and only here and there a tuft of wild grass holds its unfriendly place. The babbling of a brook at the foot of No. 5, alone falls pleasantly upon the ear. As the cars roll up the plane, the central portion of the valley is brought before the eye on a scale of refreshing magnificence. The features of the scenery become broader and more picturesque. The Moosic range, marking either side of the valley, so robed with forest to its very summit as to present two vast waves of silent tree-top, encircle the ancient home and stronghold of Capoose. As you look down into this amphitheater, crowded with commercial and village life, catching a glimpse of the river giving a richer shade to a meadow where the war-song echoed less than a century ago, evidences of thrift everywhere greet and gladden the eye.

At No. 6, upon the northern bank of the Roaring Brook, are located the most eastern mines of this company, being those which are situated the nearest to New York City. These consist of a series of coal deposits, varied in purity, thickness, and value, but all profitably worked. The largest vein of coal mined here is full eight feet thick, and is the highest coal mined on the hill northwest of plane No. 6.

Upon the opposite range of the Moosic Mountain, in the vicinity of Leggett's Gap, this same stratum of coal is worked by other companies. Each acre of coal thus mined from this single vein yields about 10,000 tons of good merchantable coal.

The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, crosses that of the Pennsylvania at No. 6, giving some interest to the most flinty rocks and soil in the world. No. 6 is a colony by itself. It is one of those humanized points destitute of every natural feature to render it attractive.

On either side of the ravine opening for the passage of Roaring Brook, the sloping hill, bound by rock, is covered with shanties sending forth a brogue not to be mistaken; a few respectable houses stand in the background; the offices, store-house, workshops, and the large stone car and machine shops of the company are located on the northern bank of the brook. Some sixty years ago a sawmill erected in this piny declivity by Stephen Tripp, who afterward added a small grist-mill by its side, was the only mark upon the spot until the explorations and survey of this company. This jungle, darkened by laurels blending their evergreen with the taller undergrowth, was more formidable from the fact that during the earlier settlement of Dunmore it was the constant retreat of wolves.

Over this savage nook, industry and capital have achieved their triumphs and brought into use a spot nature cast in a careless mood. At the head of No. 6 stand the great coal screens for preparing the finer quality of coal, operated by steam-power.

Up the slope of the Moosic, plane after plane, you ascend along the obliterated Indian path and Connecticut road, enjoying so wide a prospect of almost the entire valley from Pittston to Carbondale, that for a moment you forget that in the crowded streets elsewhere are seen so many bodies wanting souls. Dunmore, Scranton, Hyde Park, Providence, Olyphant, Peckville, Green Ridge, and Dickson appear in the foreground, while the Moosic, here and there serrated for a brook, swings out its great arms in democratic welcome to the genius of the artificer, first shearing the forest, then prospering and perfecting the industrial interest everywhere animating the valley. The long lines of pasturage spotted with the herd, the elongated, red-necked chimneys distinguishing the coal works multiplied almost without number in their varied plots, give to these domains a picturesqueness and width seen nowhere to such an advantage in a clear day as on the summit of Cobb Mountain, two thousand feet above the tide.

Diving through the tunnel, the train emerges upon the "barrens," where, in spite of every disadvantage of cold, high soil, are seen a few farms of singular productiveness. The intervening country from the tunnel to Hawley, partakes of the hilly aspect of northern Pennsylvania, diversified by cross-roads, clearings, farm-houses, and streams. Here and there a loose-tongued rivulet blends its airs with the revolving car-wheel humming along some shady glen, and farther along, the narrow cut, like the sea of old, opens for a friendly passage. Down an easy grade, amidst tall, old beechen forests half hewn away for clearings and homes of the frugal farmers, the cars roll at a speed of twelve miles an hour over a distance of some thirty miles from the tunnel, when, turning sharply around the base of a steep hill on the left, the cars land into the village of Hawley, a vigorous settlement, existing and sustaining itself principally by the industrial manipulations of this company.

A little distance below the village, the Wallenpaupack, after leaping 150 feet over the terraced precipice, unites with the Lackawaxen, a swift, navigable stream in a freshet, down whose waters coal was originally taken from the Lackawanna Valley to the Delaware in arks.

It is fourteen miles to Lackawaxen upon the Delaware, where, in 1779, a bloody engagement took place between John Brant, the famous chief of the Six Nations, and some four hundred Orange county militia.

The Tories and Indians had burned the town of Minisink, ten miles west of Goshen, scalping and torturing those who could not escape from the tomahawk by flight. Being themselves pursued by some raw militia, hastily gathered from the neighborhood for the purpose, they retreated to the mouth of the Lackawaxen. Here Brant with his followers formed an ambuscade. The whites, burning to avenge the invaders of their firesides, incautiously rushed on after the fleeing savages, ignorant or forgetting the wily character of their foe. As the troops were rising over a hill covered with trees, and had become completely surrounded in the fatal ring, hundreds of savages poured in upon them such a merciless fire, accompanied with the fearful war-whoop, that they were at once thrown into terrible confusion. Every savage was stationed behind the trunk of some tree or rock which shielded him from the bullets of the militia. For half an hour the unequal conflict raged with increasing fury, the blaze of the guns flashing through the gloom of the day, as feebler and faster fell the little band. At length, when half of their number were either slain or so shattered by the bullets as to be mere marks for the sharp-shooters, the remainder threw away their guns and fled; but so closely were they in turn pursued by the exultant enemy that only thirty out of the entire body escaped to tell the sad story of defeat. Many of these reached their homes with fractured bones and fatal wounds. The remains of those who had fallen at this time were gathered in 1822, and deposited in a suitable place and manner by the citizens of Goshen.

The New York and Erie Railroad have sent up a branch road from a point near this battle-ground to Hawley, thus giving to the Pennsylvania Coal Company an unfrozen avenue to the sea-board, besides dispensing in a great degree with water facilities offered and enjoyed until the completion of this branch in 1863.

From 1850 to 1866, 9,308,396 tons of coal was brought from the mines to Hawley, being an average of 581,775 tons per year.

Report of Coal transported over the Pennsylvania Coal Company's Railroad for week and for year ending December 31, 1868, and for corresponding period last year:—

 By Rail, week ending December 31

 12,786.03

 
 By Rail Previously

 912,063.70

 
 TOTAL  

 924,849.13

     
 By Canal, week ending December 26

  Closed.

 
 By Canal Previously

 29,004.19

 
 TOTAL  

 29,004.19

     
 Total by Canal and Rail, 1868  

  953,854.12

 Total To same date, 1867  

 861,729.15

 INCREASE  

 92,124.17

JNO. B. SMITH, Superintendent.

While a great part of the coal carried to Hawley acknowledges the jurisdiction of this branch road, a limited portion is unloaded into boats upon the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

Once emptied, the cars return to the valley upon a track called the light track, where the light or empty cars are self-gravitated dowel a heavier grade to the coal-mines. Seated in the "Pioneer," a rude passenger concern, losing some of the repelling character of the coal car, in its plain, pine seats and arched roof, you rise up the plane from the Lackawaxen Creek a considerable distance before entering a series of ridges of scrub-oak land, barren both of interest and value until made otherwise by the fortunes of this company. Leaving Palmyra township, this natural barrenness disappears in a great measure as you enter the richer uplands of Salem, where an occasional farm is observed of great fertility, in spite of the accompanying houses, barns, and fences defying every attribute of Heaven's first law. About one mile from the road, amidst the quiet hills of Wayne County, nestles the village of Hollisterville. It lies on a branch of the Wallenpaupack, seven miles from Cobb Pond, on the mountain, and ten miles above the ancient "Lackawa" settlement. AMASA HOLLISTER, with his sons, Alpheus, Alanson, and Wesley, emigrated from Hartford, Connecticut, to this place in 1814, when the hunter and the trapper only were familiar with the forest. Many of the social comforts of the village, and much of the rigid morality of New England character can be traced to these pioneers. Up No. 21 you rise, and then roll toward the valley. The deepest and greatest gap eastward from the Lackawanna is Cobb's, through which flows the Roaring Brook. This shallow brook, from some cause, appears to have lost much of its ancient size, as it breaks through the picturesque gorge with shrunken volume to find its way into the Lackawanna at Scranton.

This gap in the mountain, deriving its name from Asa Cobb, who settled in the vicinity in 1784, lies three miles east of Scranton. It really offers to geologist or the casual inquirer much to interest. This mountain rent, unable longer to defy the triumphs of science, seems to have been furrowed out by the same agency which drew across the Alleghany the transverse lines diversifying the entire range. Like the mountain at the Delaware Water Gap, it bears evidence of having once been the margin of one of the lakes submerging the country at a period anterior to written or traditional history. Emerging from beech and maple woodlands, you catch a glimpse of a long, colossal ledge, bending in graceful semicircle, rising vertically from the Roaring Brook some three hundred feet or more. Its face, majestic in its wildness, as it first greets the eye, reminds one of the palisades along the Hudson. As it is approached upon the cars, the flank of the mountain defies further progress in that direction, when the road, with a corresponding bend to the left, winds the train from apparent danger, moving down the granite bank of the brook deeper and deeper into the gorge, enhanced in interest by woods and waterfall. The hemlock assumes the mastery of the forest along the brook, whose waters whiten as they pour over precipice after precipice into pools below, which but few years since were so alive with trout, that fishing half-an-hour with a single pole and line supplied the wants of a family for a day with this delicious fish. In the narrowest part of the gap, the cars run on a mere shelf, cut from the rock a hundred feet from the bed of the stream, while the mountain, wrapped in evergreens, rises abruptly from the track many hundred feet.

Greenville, a fossilized station on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, and once the terminus of the Lackawanna Railroad, lies on a slope opposite this point.

The great pyloric orifice of Cobb's Gap, once offering uncertain passage to the Indian's craft, illustrates the achievement of art over great natural obstacles. Roaring Brook, Drinker's turnpike, now used as a township road, the Pennsylvania and the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, find ample place under the shadow of its walls.

A ride of an hour, far up from the bottom of the valley through a forest trimmed of its choicest timber by the lumbermen and shingle-makers, brings the traveler again to Pittston, renovated in spirits and vigor, and instructed in the manner of diffusing anthracite coal throughout the country.

 

DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA, AND WESTERN RAILROAD.

Historical Summary of the Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and Railroad Company (Drinker's Railroad)—The Leggett's Gap Railroad—The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company—All merged into the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad.

Imperfect as was the knowledge of the value of coal forty years ago, large bodies of it being discovered here and there in the valley, mostly upon or near the surface, led the late Henry W. Drinker to comprehend and agitate a plan of connecting the Susquehanna River at Pittston with the Delaware at the Water Gap, by means of a railroad running up the Lackawanna to the mouth of Roaring Brook, thence up that stream to the placid waters of Lake Henry, crossing the headsprings of the Lehigh upon the marshy table-land forming the dividing ridge between the Susquehanna and Delaware, and down the Pocono and the rapid Alanomink to the Water Gap, with a view of reaching a market.

This was in 1819. The contemplated route, marked by the hatchet over mountain and ravine profound in the depth of their solitude, had no instrumental survey until eleven years afterward, but an examination of the country, with which no woodman was more familiar than Drinker, satisfied him that the intersecting line of communication was not only feasible, but that its practical interpretation would utilize the intervening section, and give action and impulse to many an idle ax. In April, 1826, he easily obtained an act of incorporation of the "Susquehanna and Delaware Canal and Railroad Company." The charter implied either a railroad operated up the planes by water, or a canal a portion of the way. The "head-waters of the river Lehigh and its tributary stream," were prohibited from being used for feeding the canal, as it might "injure the navigation of said river, from Mauch Chunk to Easton." By reference to the original report and survey of this road, it appears that horses were contemplated as the motive power between the planes, that toll-houses were to be established along the line, and collectors appointed, and that the drivers or conductors of "such wagon, carriage, or conveyance, boat or raft, were to give the collectors notice of their approach to said toll-houses by blowing a trumpet or horn."

Henry W. Drinker, William Henry, David Scott, Jacob D. and Daniel Stroud, Jai-ties N. Porter, A. E. Brown, S. Stokes, and John Coolbaugh, were the commissioners.

Among the few persons in Pennsylvania willing to welcome and recognize the practicability of a railroad route in spite of the wide-spread distrust menacing it in 1830, stood prominently a gentleman, by the aid of whom, the Indian Capoose region of Slocum Hollow changed the ruggedness of its aspect—William Henry. In fact, Messrs. Henry and Drinker were two of the most indefatigable and energetic members of the board.

In 1830, a subscription of a few hundred dollars was obtained from the commissioners; in May, 1831, Mr. Henry, in accordance with the wishes of the board, engaged Major Ephraim Beach, C. E., to run a preliminary line of survey over the intervening country.

By reference to the old report of Major Beach, it will be seen that the present line of the southern division of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad is, in the main, much the same as that run by him at this time. Seventy miles in length the road was to be made, at a total estimated cost of $624,720. Three hundred and thirty-six wagons (cars), capable of carrying over the road 240, 000 tons of coal per year, were to be employed.

Coal at this time was worth $9 per ton in New York, while coal lands in the valley could be bought at prices varying from $10 to $20 per acre.

It was not supposed by the commissioners that the coal trade alone could make this road one so profitable, but it was originally their object to connect the two at these points, so as to participate in the trade upon the Susquehanna. For the return business it was thought that "iron in bars, pig, and castings, would be sent from the borders of the Delaware in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and that limestone in great quantities would be transported from the same district and burned in the coal region, where fuel would be abundant and cheap." [Commissioners' Report of the Route, 1832].

Simultaneously with this survey was the route of the Lackawannock and Susquehanna, or Meredith Railroad, leading from the mouth of Leggett's Creek in Providence up to that graceful loop in the Susquehanna, called Great Bend, forty-seven and a half miles away, undertaken and surveyed by the late James Seymour, four years after the granting of its charter.

Near the small village of Providence these two roads, neither of which contemplated the use of locomotives in their reliance upon gravity and seven inclined planes, were to form a junction, and expected to breathe life and unity into the iron pathway that was to grope its way out of a valley having scarcely a name away from its immediate border. Neither. road proposed to carry passengers.

The report of the commissioners, presenting the subject in its most attractive light, failed to excite the attention it deserved. Men reputed as reliable looked upon the scheme as unworthy of serious notice. Those who had achieved an indifferent livelihood by the shot-gun or the plow, saw no propriety in favoring a plan whose fulfillment promised no protection to game or greater product to the field.

The few who felt that its success would interweave its advantages into every condition of life, were not dismayed.

In the spring of 1832, a sufficient amount of stock having been subscribed, the company was organized: Drinker elected president, John Jordon, Jr., secretary, and Henry, treasurer. At a subsequent meeting of the stockholders, the president and treasurer were constituted a financial committee to raise means to make the road, by selling stock, issuing bonds, or by hypothecating the road, &c. The engineer's map, the commissioners' report, and newspaper articles were widely diffused, to announce the material benefits to result by the completion and acquisition of this new thoroughfare.

The Lackawanna Valley, set in its green wild ridges, known in New York City only by the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company, then in the fourth year of its existence, confounded often with the Lackawaxen region lying upon the other side of the Moosic Mountain, neither Drinker's nor Meredith's charter was received with favor or attention.

The advantages of railroads were neither understood nor encouraged by the inhabitants of the valley in 1832, because the slow ox-team or jaded saddle-horse thus far had kept pace with its development. To render the scheme, however, more comprehensive and general in its character, and make more certain the building of the Drinker railroad, a continuous route was explored for a gravity railroad, "from a point in Cobb's Gap, where an intersection or connection can be conveniently formed with the Susquehanna and Delaware Railroad, in Luzerne County," up through Leggett's Gap, and running in a northwesterly direction to the State of New York.

This was the Leggett's Gap Railroad, an inclined plane road which, when completed, was expected to receive the trade along the fertile plains of the Susquehanna, Chenango, and the Chemung, now enjoyed so profitably by the New York and Erie Railroad.

H. W. Drinker, Elisha S. Potter, Thomas Smith, Dr. Andrew Bedford, and Nathaniel Cottrill—the last two of whom are now living-were among the original commissioners.

Public meetings were now called by the friends of the Drinker road, at the Old Exchange in Wall Street, New York, to obtain subscriptions to the stock of the company, and, while many persons acknowledged the enterprise to be a matter of more than common interest to the country generally, as it promised when completed, to furnish a supply of coal from the hills of Luzerne County, a county where thousands of millions of tons of the best anthracite coal could be mined from a region of more than thirty-three miles in length, and averaging more than two miles in width, underlaid with coal probably averaging fifty feet in thickness, and besides this, unlike most other mining portions of the world, it abounded in agricultural fertility.

While these facts where generally conceded, they produced no other, effect, than bringing from capitalists the favorable opinion that final triumph probably awaited their hopes. In Morristown, Newton, Belvidere, Newark, and other places in New Jersey; at Easton, Stroudsburg, Dunmore, Providence, and Kingston, in Pennsylvania, meetings were called to draw the attention of the public mind and acquire the requisite means to open this highway through the wilderness, where the wolf, crouched in the swamp; bestowed with his gray eye as friendly a glance upon the project as many capitalists were inclined to give it. Every sanguine hope, every flattering promise made in a spirit of apparent earnestness languished and died like the leaves of autumn.

At length, engagements were made with New York capitalists to carry the matter forward to a favorable termination, provided that Drinker and his friends would obtain a charter for a continuous line of gravity railroad up the Susquehanna, from Pittston to the New York State line. In 1833, a perpetual charter for such a road was obtained by their agency, and the first installment of five dollars was paid, according to the act of Assembly. In itself it was considered, that in connection with other roads, at or near the Delaware Water Gap to New York City, it would be with its terminus at Jersey City eastwardly, and the State line near Athens, in Pennsylvania, westward, the shortest and the best line the natural avenues indicated from New York west. It was shown by the official report of a survey made in 1827, by John Bennett, of Kingston, Pennsylvania, that the distance from the mouth of the Lackawanna of eighty-six miles had but two hundred and fourteen feet fall, or about two and a half feet per mile, the acclivity for the whole distance being in general nearly equal, and beyond this to the city of Elmira at about the same grade.

The vast project of the New York and Erie Railroad was agitating southern New York at this time. Of the seven commissioners, John B. Jervis, Horatio Allen, Jared Wilson, and William Dewy urged the adoption of the present route, while F. Whittlesey, Orville W. Childs, and Job Pierson reported adversely to it.

The New York gentlemen interested in Drinker's route, having full faith in the realization of an idea promising control of a line reaching the same point on the New York and Erie Railroad (as laid down by Judge Wright, civil engineer, but on which nothing more had yet been done), at a distance of eighty-one miles short of this line, while running through both the anthracite and bituminous coal districts upon easier grades, were greatly encouraged to hope for success; several sections in the "Susquehanna Railroad" law were, by supplements, so amended by legislative enactments as to fulfill upon that point every expectation.

In October, 1835, the services of Doctor George Green, of Belvidere, who was a friend of this improvement, and who originated the "Belvidere Delaware Railroad," were procured. William Henry's note, indorsed by Henry W. Drinker, accepted and indorsed by the cashier of the Elizabeth Bank as "good," was taken by the doctor to the Wyoming Bank at Wilkes Barre as a deposit and payment, in compliance with the law called the "Susquehanna Railroad" act. of Assembly of 1833.

In consequence of the commercial embarrassments alienating credit and confidence throughout the entire country in 1835-6, the New York party, impoverished and appalled by the shock, could give no further thought to the road. Other parties being prostrated by insolvency or death, the positive spirit, inaugurating the company, carried with it thus far a success decidedly negative and skeptical.

Ten years had thus escaped, and not a single tie nor rail had shod the road; here and there a few limbs clipped from the forest-tree to aid the surveyor, and a few rods graded for the flat iron bar, bore evidence of the hope of the directors.

In the summer of 1836, there was traveling in the United States an English nobleman named Sir Charles Augustus Murray, who, learning of the important character of this proposed road from one of his friends, became interested in its success. A correspondence ensued, which led to a meeting of the friends of the project, at Easton, June 18, 1836; Mr. Drinker and Mr. Henry on the part of the railroad company, and Mr. Armstrong of New York, Mr. C. A. Murray, and Wm. F. Clemson of New Jersey, wrote out articles of association; the railroad committee fully authorized Mr. Murray to raise, as he proposed to do, 100,000 pounds sterling in England, conditional that the company should raise the means to make a beginning of the work. Mr. Henry accompanied him to New York, and furnished him with the power of attorney, under seal expressly made for the purpose, and on the eighth of August, 1836, Mr. Murray sailed for Europe. Mr. Henry at once met and made arrangements with the Morris Canal Board of Directors to raise $150,000 on stock subscriptions to commence the road, but before these arrangements had matured, discouraging news came from England through Mr. Murray, who informed the company that the prostrated monetary affairs of Europe rendered any assistance by him out of the question.

To this meeting, which lasted three days, in the village of Easton, can be traced the starting of the iron-works in Slocum Hollow, whose varied and wide-spread prosperity have animated the entire domain of the Lackawanna. [See History of Scranton].

The first iron-works in Scranton after those of Slocums', were erected in 1840. In the summer of 1842, after the artificers gathered around the Scranton furnaces had learned to smelt iron with the lustrous anthracite, the directors of the railroad held only annual meetings. Drinker and Henry had each expended nearly their entire resources to fructify a project whose magnitude found no place or conception in the public mind; this being done in vain, postponed further sacrifices and efforts to stretch the iron fiber from river to river, until greater wants from the sea-board came up to the coal heaps, and established mutual confidence instead of general distrust.

The simple acquisition of Slocum Hollow, in 1840, by a New Jersey company, had but little interest outside of parties concerned in the purchase. Who were taxed for the rough pasture-land cleared on Roaring Brook, none cared to inquire. Its purchase, however, originally suggested by Mr. Henry with especial reference to the furtherance of Drinker's road, favored that result sooner than was anticipated. With the concentration and expansion of capital here at this time, a business was generated which called for a better communication with the seaboard than the ox-team or the sluggish waters of a canal frozen up at least six months of every year.

Col. Scranton, in the simplicity of whose character the whole country acquiesced and felt proud, representing the interests of the iron-makers in Scranton, yet willing to give power to a measure full of public good, conceived the project, in 1847, of opening communication from the ironworks northward to the lakes by a locomotive instead of a gravity road run by plane, stationary engine, and level, as Drinker's, Meredith's, and the Leggett charters all contemplated. The charter of the last-named road, kept alive by the influence of Dr. Andrew Bedford, Thomas Smith, Nathaniel Cottrill, and other spirited gentlemen, was purchased by the "Scranton Company" in 1849, by the suggestion of Colonel Scranton. A survey was made the same year; the road was commenced in 1850.

For the purpose of giving favor and strength to a project unable to make its way to a practical solution without capital from abroad, a road was chartered in April, 1849, to run from the Delaware Water Gap to some point on the Lackawanna near Cobb's Gap, called "The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company." The commissioners, Moses W. Coolbaugh, S. W. Schoomaker, Thos. Grattan, H. M. Lebar, A. Overfield, I. Place, Benj. Y. Rush, Alpheus Hollister, Samuel Taylor, F. Starburd, Jas. H. Stroud, R. Bingham, and W. Nyce, held their first meeting at Stroudsburg, December 26, 1850, choosing Col. Geo. W. Scranton president.

The northern division of "The Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company," carried by genius and engineering skill for sixty miles over the rough uplands distinguishing the country it traverses from Scranton to Great Bend, was opened for business in October, 1851, thus enabling the inhabitants of the valley to reach New York by a single day's ride instead of two, as before.

Travel and traffic, hitherto finding its way from the basins of Wyoming and the Lackawanna to Middletown or Narrowsburg by stage, and thence along the unfinished Erie, now diverged westward, via Great Bend, sixty miles away, before apparently beginning a journey eastward to New York. This unphilosophical and wasteful manner of groping among the hills in the wrong direction before starting for New York, directed the intelligence of the mass toward the purpose of Col. Scranton, of planing a continuous roadway direct to New York, via the celebrated Delaware Water Gap.

The original charter of Drinker's railroad was purchased of him in 1853, by the railroad company, for $1,000. Immediately after this, a joint application was made by the "Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad Company," and the "Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company," for an act of the Legislature for their consolidation, which was granted March 11, 1853, and the union consummated under the present, name of "The Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad Company."

Of this consolidated road, the late George W. Scranton was unanimously elected President: how well he filled this position until compelled to exchange it for the invalid's shelf, let the movement of the iron pathway across a valley which would be comparatively idle to-day without it—let the mutually satisfactory adjustment of every conflicting interest arising in the progress of this great road—let the spirit of his administration, characterized by qualities both sterling and comprehensive—more than this, let the simple fact that he, inspiring capitalists with the same confidence he himself had acquired and cherished, was able to draw forth the wherewithal to complete a road deriving its origin and vigor from him, bear ample and praiseworthy testimony.

The vast business of this road, which in the year of 1868 carried 1,728,785.07 tons of anthracite, requires one hundred locomotives, about five thousand coal-cars, and gives employment to over 5,000 men. Its total disbursements at Scranton alone, through H. A. Phelps, the courteous paymaster of the road, amounted, during the last year, to over $4,000,000, while a considerable sum diffused itself through the treasury department in New York.

The same efficiency and ability with which Hon. John Brisbin acquired popularity as the president of the great primitive locomotive railroad in the Lackawanna Valley, from 1856 to 1867, has been continued and even augmented by Samuel Sloan, Esq., its present vigilant president, and formerly the presiding officer of the Hudson River Railroad, whose admirable management of the interests of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, has placed it upon a basis reliable and remunerative, and given it a character, even beyond the States it traverses, enjoyed by few, if any, railroads in the country.

The lease of the Morris and Essex road by the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western, for an almost indefinite term of years, establishes more intimate relations between the Lackawanna Valley and the sea-board than ever enjoyed before, and marks an era in the history of coal transportation, second, only in importance to the conception of the original gravity railroad stretched like a rainbow over the Moosic in 1826-8 by Warts brothers. Hitherto, the former road, vigorous with local traffic, strove only to compete with a diverse railway for doubtful dividends, without a wish to advance or retard the welfare of the valley. By a stroke of policy seldom surpassed in the grandeur of its results, all this was changed in January, 1869, by the practical foresight of President Sloan and his associates. The consolidation of these two roads gives a future interest to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western road far beyond the appreciation of the hour. It abbreviates distance, offers a continuous and controllable rail from the mines to New York, increases the value and tonnage of the road almost fourfold, while the travel over it for all time to come will make one steady, living stream of various lineage and faith, steady, remunerating, and thus commemorate the wisdom of the men who inaugurated the movement. The superintendency of the Morris and Essex division of the line has fallen into the experienced hands of Hon. John Brisbin.

 

THE LACKAWANNA AND BLOOMSBURG RAILROAD.

After the locomotive railroad from the Lackawanna Valley had become a fixed fact by the genial efforts of those to whom its failure or its success had been intrusted, other roads began to spring into a charter being. Among such was the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad. An act incorporating this company was passed in April, 1852, but not until some valuable and essential amendments were obtained for the charter the next year, by the able efforts of one of the members of the Pennsylvania Legislature—Hon. A. B. Dunning—did it possess any available vitality. This road, running from Scranton to Northumberland, is eighty miles in length, passing through the historic valley of Wyoming, where the poet Campbell drew, in his Gertrude, such pictures of the beautiful and wild. It also passes along the Susquehanna, over a portion of the old battle-ground, where, in 1778, a small band of settlers marched forth from Forty Fort, in the afternoon, to fight the spoilers of their firesides, and where, after the battle, the long strings of scalps dripping from the Indian belts, and the hatchets reddened with the slain, told how sore had been the rout, and how terrible the massacre; that followed. The dweller in wigwams has bid a long farewell to a region so full of song and legend, and where can be found the one to-day who, as he looks over the old plantation of the Indian Nations, once holding their great council fires here, upon the edge of the delightful river, surrounded by forest and inclosing mountain, can wonder that they fought as fights the wild man with warclub and tomahawk, to regain the ancient plains of their fathers?

Wyoming Valley, taken as a whole, compensates in the highest degree for the trouble of visiting it. The grand beauty of the old Susquehanna and the sparkling current of its blue waters nowhere along its entire distance appears to better advantage than does it here. Along the Po or the Rhine, there loom up the gray walls of some castle dismantled and stained with the blood of feudal conflict; here on the broad acres of Wyoming turned into culture, humanity wears a smile nowhere more sweet or lovely.

The tourist who wishes to visit this truly interesting valley, can step into the cars of the Lehigh and Susquehanna, or the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad Company, at Scranton, and in twenty minutes look "On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!" Across the river, half a mile from Campbell's Ledge, near the head of the valley, is seen the battle-ground. About three miles below Pittston, left of the village of Wyoming, rises from the plain a naked monument—an obelisk of gray masonry sixty-two and a half feet high, which commemorates the disastrous afternoon of the third of July, 1778. Near this point reposes the bloody rock around which, on the evening of that ill-fated day, was formed the fatal ring of savages, where the Indian queen of the Senecas, with death-mall and battle-ax, dashed out the brains of the unresisting captives. The debris of Forty Fort, the first fort built on the north side of the Susquehanna by the Connecticut emigrants, in 1769, is found a short distance down the river from this rock.

The Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, while it is a valuable auxiliary to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, in whose interests it is operated, enjoyed all the advantages of travel between central Pennsylvania and the Lackawanna Valley until the Lehigh and Susquehanna and the Lehigh Valley railroads, bounding over the mountain with the celerity and speed of a deer, alienated a portion of the trade and travel.

Having the advantage of collieries with an aggregate yearly capacity of a million tons of coal, threading its way along the green belt of the Susquehanna over rich beds of iron ore, worked in Danville by ingenious artificers who have adopted science as their patron, it will ever stand prominent among the railroads of the country.

While the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad, with its greater length of thirty-three miles, carried 187,583 passengers during the year 1867, the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg transported 269,564—an excess of 81, 981 persons.

No railroad in the country of its length, lined with scenery always exhilarating, would better repay the visit of a few days in summer or autumn, than will this. It is, in fact, all picturesque, while portions of it are really magnificent. Thundering along the border of the river and the canal, at a rate of thirty miles an hour, a glimpse is now caught and then lost, of old gray mountain crags and glens, covered with forest just as it grew—of sleepy islands, dreaming in the half-pausing stream—of long, narrow meadows, stretched along with sights of verdure and sounds of life, and now and then a light cascade, tuned by the late rains, comes leaping down rock after rock, like a ribbon floating in the air! How the waters whiten as they come through the tree-tops with silver shout from precipice to precipice in the bosom of some rock, cool and fair-lipped! The scenery is especially grand at Nanticoke—the once wild camp-place of the Nanticokes—where Wyoming Valley terminates, and where the noble river, wrapped up in the majesty of mountains, glides along as languidly as when the red man in his narrow craft shot over the ripple.

Mr. James Archibald, life-long in his earnest devotion to the interests of the Lackawanna Valley, is president of the road.

 

SKETCH OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE LEHIGH AND SUSQUEHANNA RAILROAD.

This road, running from Providence to Easton, a distance of 120 miles, threads a section of country surpassed by no other in the State for the grandeur of its scenery or the interest of its history.

When the Indian civilizers first began to fraternize with the sachems of the Lehigh at Fort Allen or Gnadenhutten (now Weissport) in 1746, all knowledge of anthracite coal was so limited, that the word "coal" was noted upon but a single map within the Province of Pennsylvania. The casual discovery of coal, half a century later, near this settlement, gave fetal life to the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, and a prominence to the history of this region not otherwise enjoyed.

At the confluence of the Ma-ha-noy (the loud, laughing stream of the Indian) with the Lehigh, this fort was located, eighteen miles above Bethlehem, forty miles by the warriors' trail from Teedyuscung's plantation at Wyoming. It was the first attempt of the whites to carry civilization into the provincial acquisitions of Penn above the Blue Mountain. Why a region so rough in its general exterior should have been chosen for a sheltering place, can be accounted for upon no other theory than that the gray rock here bordering the Lehigh, took the place in memory of the Elbe in their fatherland emerging from the crags of the Alps.

This place, often visited by sachem and chief, whom the missionaries first conciliated, then endeavored to Christianize, "numbered 500 souls in 1752." [Miner's Wyoming, p. 41] Braddock's defeat, two years later, opened the forest for the uplifted tomahawk. Some of the Six Nations, exchanging wampum and whiffs of the calumet with their Moravian brothers, danced the war-dance before Vaudreuil, Governor of New France (New York State). " We will try the hatchet of our fathers on the English," said the chiefs at Niagara, "and see if it cuts well." [Vaudreuil to the Minister, July 13, 1757.]

The obliteration of the village, with the death or expulsion of its inmates, January 1, 1756, attested the trial of both fire-brand and hatchet.

After a lump of coal found near Mauch Chunk, in 1791, by Ginther, had been analyzed and pronounced as such by the savans of Philadelphia, the following persons, Messrs. Hillegas, Cist, Weiss, Henry, and others, associated themselves together, without charter or corporation, as the "Lehigh Coal Mine Company," for the purpose of transporting coal to Philadelphia, in 1792. They purchased land, cut a narrow road for the passage of a wagon from the mine to the river, and sent a few bushels of anthracite coal to Philadelphia in canoes or "dug-outs." None could be sold; little given away. Col. Weiss, the original owner of the land, spent an entire summer in diffusing huge saddle-bags of coal through the smithshops of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and other places, From motives of personal friendship, a few persons were induced to give it a trial, with very indifferent success.

Under the sanction of legislative enactment, some $20,000 was expended to prepare tire Lehigh for navigation. No chore coal, however, was carried down the stream until 1805, when William Turnbull, by the aid of an ark, floated some 200 or 300 bushels to Philadelphia. As the coal extinguished rather than improved the lire, the great body of citizens refused to buy or make further attempt to burn it, or be imposed upon by the black stuff.

Messrs. Rowland and Butland were the next to lease the mines, and fail.

The success of Jesse Fell, of Wilkes Barre, in 1808, of burning coal in a common grate, led two of the representative men of the day, Charles Miner and Jacob Cist, to lease the Ginther mine in 1814, with a view of shipping coal to Philadelphia.

On the 9th of August of this year, the first ark-load of coal started from Mauch Chunk. "The stream," writes Miner, "wild, full of rocks, and the imperfect channel crooked, in less than eighty rods from the place of starting the ark struck on a ledge, and broke a hole in her bow. The lads stripped themselves nearly naked, to stop the rush of water with their clothes. At dusk they were at Easton, fifty miles."

The impetuous character of the river, untamed by art, and the absence of any demand for coal, induced these pioneers to retire from the Mauch, Chunk coal-mines. "This effort of ours," says Charles Miner, "might be regarded as the acorn, from which has sprung the mighty oak of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company."

In 1817, three energetic gentlemen, Josiah White, George F. A. Hauto, and Erskine Hazard, profiting by each preceding failure, originated the plan of floating coal down the inky, turbulent current from Mauch Chunk to the Delaware by the aid of slackened water.

From Mauch Chunk to Stoddartsville, not a single cabin rose in the wilderness; the abandoned warrior's trail alone intervened.

In 1818, the Legislature of Pennsylvania empowered these gentlemen as the "Lehigh Navigation Company," "to improve the navigation of the river Lehigh" by constructing wing-dams and channel walls along the more rapid and shallow portion of the stream, so as to narrow and contract the current for practical purposes. In October, 1818, "The Lehigh Coal Company" built a road from the Lehigh to the old Ginther mine on Summit Hill.

Arks of coal were carried down in the spring freshet; in the summer months when water was low, bear-dams were constructed from treetops and stones, "in the neighborhood of Mauch Chunk, in which were placed sluice-gates of peculiar construction, invented for the purpose by Josiah White, by means of which the water could be retained in the pool above until required for use. When the dam became full, and the water had run over it long enough for the river below the dam to acquire the depth of the ordinary overflow of the river, the sluice-gates were let down, and the boats which were lying in tile pools above, passed down with the artificial flood." [Henry's "Lehigh valley."] Some 100 tons of coal thus found its way down the Lehigh in 1818.

The partial success of a plan alike novel and unreliable, led to a more systematic slack-water navigation from Mauch Chunk to Easton, forty-five miles.

The people of Philadelphia, educated reluctantly in the use and art of anthracite, finding this avenue from the coal-mines inadequate to the demands of commerce, lent a hand to calm the swift waters of the Lehigh for coal traffic. The Legislature of the State, influenced by men able to bring greater political influence to bear than this sterile region could then offer, granted to Messrs. White, Hauto, and Hazard, the privilege of improving the navigation of the Lehigh as far as White Haven; reserving, however, the right of compelling the company to make a continuous slack-water navigation to Stoddartsville, a sprightly lumbering village, fifteen miles farther up the stream.

The Lehigh Coal and Lehigh Navigation Company were consolidated in the spring of 1820. During this year 365 tons of coal, lowered down the Lehigh in arks by some fifty dams, found its way to a tardy market. A few years later, 400 acres of land was stripped of its stately pines annually for the construction of the necessary arks: these were manipulated into building material in Philadelphia, while the iron was returned to Mauch Chunk for repeated use. This destruction of wood, now seriously felt, and the waste of time in building boats for a single trip, subsequently led to a more practical method of navigation.

The slack-water (canal) navigation was opened to Mauch Chunk simultaneously with the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, eastward from the Lackawanna Valley, in 1829, to White Haven, in 1835.

As the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, already embarrassed by the expensive dams they had built, could see no benefit to accrue by the extension of their works to Stoddartsville, it asked to be released from this particular part of the agreement, through the same body that had so ungraciously imposed it. Objections and remonstrances poured into the Legislature from Stoddartsville and from almost every township in the county of Luzerne. Andrew Beaumont, representing the expression and interests of Wyoming Valley, with a strength and ingenuity for which he was ever remarkable, interposed means to frustrate the wishes of the company. The matter was finally compromised; the Navigation Company agreeing to erect a single dam on the stream above Port Jenkins, and carry channel walls and wing-dams from pool to pool for the passage of rafts and logs from Stoddartsville, and build a gravity railroad over the mountain from White Haven to Wilkes Barre. The Legislature now withdrew or repealed so much of the former act as required the completion of the slack-water navigation to Stoddartsville.

The valley of Wyoming ramifying with competing railways, gained its first one by this scramble with a company with which its relations, have subsequently become pleasant and profitable. This railroad was begun in 1837.

A stream, rapid and treacherous as the Lehigh, passing for miles through a mere fissure of vertical rock, bore restraint with deceitful demeanor. Danger concentrated in every dam. A sudden snow-thaw forced an infuriated volume down the Lehigh, January 8, 1839, at the expense of the company and their employees; on the same day of the month in 1841, another thaw released the snow from the mountain and swelled the torrent with loss of life and property; the freshet, however, of 1862, resistless and unparalleled in the extent of its ravages upon life and property, appalled and smothered with a single wave every lock-house and its inmates, every dam, boat, or bridge, attempting to interrupt its passage. About 300 persons living along the river perished in that cold, dark, memorable night.

The Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, with but little left but the bare stream exulting over its liberation, actuated by humane and practical impulses as well as the wishes of the Lehigh Valley inhabitants, who everywhere opposed the reconstruction of the dams because of their danger, made the Lehigh a safer companion by constructing along its berme bank, or the debris of the canal, a locomotive railroad. While the immense forest around White Haven, slashed into by the lumberman without regard to economy or foresight, annually assured the road considerable traffic, the gravity railway from Wilkes Barre, terminating here, could not fairly compete with other routes diverging to the sea-board from northern Pennsylvania.

LEHIGH AND SUSQUEHANNA RAILROAD.—Report of coal shipped south, for week ending Dec. 31, 1868:

_
 SHIPPED FROM

  WEEK

  TOTAL

 

 Tons/Cwt.

 Tons/Cwt.

 Harvey Brothers  

 184 11

 Lances' Colliery  

 3,264 15

 New England Coal Co  

 1,129 02

 Morgan Mines  

 92 18

 Parish & Thomas  

19,100 12 

 New Jersey Coal Co

356 09 

18,193 04 

 Gaylord Dunes  

 245 01

 Lehigh Luzerne Coal Co

 220 01

5,010 03 

 Lehigh & Susquehanna Coal Co  

 15 10

 Germania Coal Co  

 20,866 08

 Franklin Coal Co  

 243 18

 Wilkes Bane C. & I. Co

 4,772 01

 335,544 17

 Union Coal Co  

 2,040 07

 Mineral Spring Coal Co

454 15 

 11,022 07

 H. B. Hillman & Son

103 19 

 2,768 14

 Bowkley, Price & Co

 288 16

 3,808 05

 Wyoming Coal & T. Co

 286 14

 4,375 16

 Henry Colliery

 356 02

 9,490 08

 J. H. Swoyer  

 5,405 08

 Everhart Coal Co

 482 06

 3.406 17

 Morris & Essex Mut. Coal Co  

78 19 

 Shawnee Coal Co

 219 14

 20,297 05

 Delaware & Hudson Canal Co  

 11,447 06

 Pine Ridge Coal Co

 325 05

12,898 04 

 Consumers' Coal Co  

 5,272 18

 Albrighton Roberts & Co  

 10,606 03

 Other shippers

 197 18

 12,469 03

     
 Total Wyoming Region

 8,064 00

 519,279 19

 Total Mauch Chunk

 4,118 04

 49,086 15

 Total Hazleton

 49 10

 332,817 06

 Total Upper Lehigh

 2,389 12

 141,499 06

     
 Grand Total

 14,621 06

 1,042,683 06

 Corresponding week last year

  5,280 06

 485,501 00

 Increase

 9,341 00

 557,182 06

 

Years of reconnaissance of the interposing mountain enabled the engineers to descend with a, locomotive into the plains of Wyoming triumphantly, as the Jewish ruler of old came down from the sacred mount.

If there is grandeur in the bold outlines of precipice and forest in the coal-fields of Pennsylvania, then the scenery along the entire road is truly exhilarating, while the view in ascending or descending the slope between Penobscot and Wilkes Barre is singularly beautiful and unique. The broad expanse of Wyoming Valley, with her dozen villages sleeping quietly in her bosom:—the Susquehanna making a low bow and bend around Campbell's Ledge at the head of the valley, dividing the rich bottom for twenty miles before it gathers in a measure of its beauty and retires from the eye at Nanticoke, and the green farms, dotted here and there with quaint homesteads telling their story of strife and skirmish in olden time, all make up a landscape rarely offered to the eye of the traveler.

Steel rails, stretched over a great portion of the road, impart a degree of security that must popularize it as a great thoroughfare. In fact, the same far-seeing sagacity that this pioneer company carried into the Lehigh Valley a quarter of a century ago, to secure and develop anthracite, has led them to make a railroad in such an excellent and thorough manner as to be a marvel among American railroads, reflecting equal credit upon the engineers and managers who matured this great enterprise.

John Leisenring, Esq., of Mauch Chunk, ably filled the united position of superintendent and engineer of this road until the summer of 1888. John P. Ilsley, a gentleman who enjoyed high consideration as the superintendent of the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg for many years, succeeds Mr. Leisenring in the superintendency of this road.

 

HON. GEORGE W. SCRANTON.

Col. George W. Scranton was too universally known and beloved throughout the country to be overlooked in a work aiming to do justice to men who have gained glory by carrying reformation and development to the valley of which it treats. The following biographical sketch of Colonel Scranton, prepared especially for this volume, is from the able pen of Rev. Dr. GEORGE PECK:—

Col. Scranton descended from John Scranton, who was one of the colony who settled in New Haven in 1638. The Scranton family was distinguished in the French and Revolutionary wars, some of them as privates and others as commissioned officers. Col. Scranton was born in Madison, Ct., May 11, 1811. At an early period in life, he exhibited extraordinary qualities both of intellect and heart. His opportunities for an education were embraced within the privileges of the common school and two years' training in "Lee's Academy."

In 1828, he came to Belvidere, N. J., and the first employment he obtained was that of a teamster, for which he received eight dollars per month. His great industry and general good conduct excited the attention of business men, and he was soon employed as a clerk in the store of Judge Kinney, where his great business tact and winning management not long after gained him the position of a partner in the concern.

On the 21st of January, 1835, Mr. Scranton was married to Miss Jane Hiles, of Belvidere. After his marriage, he engaged in farming, in which business he continued until 1839. At this time Mr. Scranton, in partnership with his brother Selden, purchased the lease and stock of Oxford Furnace, N. J., and, contrary to the predictions and fears of their friends, they succeeded in the business, and maintained their credit through the season of embarrassment to business which followed the terrible crash of 1837.

In 1839, Mr. William Henry, being impressed with the advantages of the manufacture of iron in the Lackawanna Valley, purchased a large tract, including what was called Slocum Hollow, or what is now the site of the city of Scranton. It contained "the old red house," two other small dwellings, and a stone mill. With the exception of a few acres of cultivated land, the tract was covered with timber, a dense undergrowth, and a perfect tangle of laurel.

The attention of the Scranton brothers was attracted to this place, and, Mr. Henry not being able to comply with the conditions of his purchase, they, in connection with other parties, in May, 1840, entered into a contract for the property.

The practicability of smelting ore by the agency of anthracite coal, as yet was hardly established by successful experiment. Two furnaces only now produced iron through heat generated by anthracite, and that under embarrassments and in limited quantities. The young company in which the Scranton brothers were the leading spirits, was now to take a prominent part in a series of experiments which were destined to contribute in no small degree to one of the practical arts which has communicated a new and an undying impulse to modern civilization.

The first experiment was made in 1841, and proved a failure; the second was likewise unsuccessful, but in January, 1842, a successful blast was made; others followed with increasing encouragement. The practical difficulties in manufacturing iron by anthracite were now considered as overcome, but the price that the triumph had cost, few understood, and none would ever understand, so well as George W. Scranton. He was the genius which presided over the struggles of many months, and even years, of hope deferred and of distrusting doubt which finally ended in complete success.

The scientific difficulties were no sooner overcome than financial problems were to be encountered. They could make iron, but how could they make it pay? The future city of Scranton was a straggling assemblage of hut's, at a distance from every great market, and without convenient outlet. These difficulties, with those arising from want of funds, would have broken the spirits of ordinary men, but our young adventurers, nothing daunted, resorted first to one experiment and then to another, until they were able to exclaim, with Archimedes, Eureka—I have found it. A bootless effort to manufacture bar-iron and convert it into nails finally gave way to the project of a rolling-mill for the manufacture of railroad iron.

The great address of Col. Scranton succeeded with the leading men interested in the New York and Erie Railroad in making the contract to furnish rails needed by the road, at a lower rate than they could be procured elsewhere, upon the condition that the directors of the road would advance funds to enable the Scranton's and company to proceed with the business of making rails. This arrangement untied the Gordian knot of the Scrantons' financial troubles.

Success in the iron business was not an occasion for Col. Scranton to abate his energy in business. The manufacture of iron was but one of his great business projects—it was but a part of a great system, which, when fully carried out, was to reform the entire business interests of this portion of the country, and to change the whole face of society. His plan was to enlist capital abroad, to concentrate it in the Lackawanna Valley, and then to create outlets by railway east with North and South; and he lived to see his project succeed.

Col. Scranton was not in the ordinary sense a politician, although he was a thorough student of political economy. He had been an old-line Whig, but for years had paid no attention to party politics. There was one principle which he maintained against all opposers, and that was, protection to home industry. Upon this issue he was sent to Congress, in 1858, by a majority of 3,700, from a district ordinarily polling 2,000 Democratic majority. He directed himself incessantly to his favorite theme through the term, and was elected a second time.

We are obliged to pass over a multitude of interesting incidents in the life of Col. Scranton for want of space, and must now proceed to a brief estimate of his character. In marking the character of a great man, it will be found that it is only a few qualities which distinguish them from other men and give them prominence. Such is the fact with the great and good man of whom we are now speaking. We begin with the great moral integrity of the man. He was sincere—he was honest—his views were transparent. When in Congress he could get the ear of the most ultra free-traders. "Southern fire-eaters" would listen to his arguments on protection and free labor. They would often say to him, " Scranton, we can hear you talk, for we believe you are honest." You might differ from his opinions, but you could not avoid believing in the man. His zeal was that of conviction. His heart was upon the surface—it was "known and read of all men."

His energy was inexhaustible. He never yielded to discouragements, or acknowledged a total defeat. He sometimes failed, but always tried again; and, if necessary, again and again, and triumphed at last. He often spent the night in concocting a scheme, and early dawn found him upon the path of its execution. Due time usually brought success, but delay never staggered him. He was fastened to his purpose, like Prometheus to the rock, and there he hung, until mountains of difficulty melted away, and the sun of success illuminated his path. A man of less hope would have been despondent where he was confident, and one of a weaker will would have fainted when he was firm as a rock.

Another trait of character holds the highest position. Col. Scranton had the rare faculty of impressing his own ideas upon the minds of other men. This power depends upon an assemblage of qualities. An honest expression is essential to it. This expression means confidence. A sympathetic nature. His earliest sympathy in return, and sympathy exercises a marvelous control over the judgment. Draw a man into sympathy with your feelings and wishes, and you can lead him wherever you please. Blandness of manner is another attribute of this great power. A pleasant countenance, a happy face, has more power than logic. Good conversational powers is of the first importance in this enumeration. There must be definiteness of view, lucidness of description, brevity in the statement of facts, naturalness and beauty in the illustrations, command of language, perfect ease in manner, and an expression of confidence both in your cause and in your success. You must never for a moment doubt the good sense and receptibility of the party you would win over. All these attributes of character Col. Scranton possessed in an eminent degree.

The crowning glory of Col. Scranton's character was that he was a true Christian. All who knew him acknowledged this. His conversation and his manners were those of a true Christian gentleman. He lived beloved, and died regretted by all. His great mental labors undermined his naturally sound constitution, and in the midst of his usefulness, and at the zenith of his fame, he was called to his reward.

 

THE LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD.

A wild ridge of rock and forest twenty miles in width, cuts off the Lehigh from the Lackawanna, and forms the line of demarkation between the great northern anthracite coal-basin and the first southern or Schuylkill coal district of Pennsylvania. For many years it served the purposes of the hunter and the lumberman, and frowned on daily intercourse between the people of the two sections of country.

The first road to greet the Lehigh with an iron rail was the Lehigh Valley Railroad. While it crosses but a mere edge of the Lackawanna Valley whose commerce it aims to reach and partake, it has, by its immense traffic and the admirable management of its interests, formed for itself a character well known in the two valleys it connects and traverses.

This great road, incorporated in 1846, under the name of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehanna Railroad, languished for years simply because the idea was generally accepted, that the rocky chasm, washed sometimes rudely by the Lehigh, could be by no possible legislation or engineering turned to any practical railroad account. A bare organization of officers of the contemplated road existed from 1846 until 1851, up until which time $444.37½ had been expended conjointly in surveying the route and building a fraction of a mile of the road merely for the protection of its charter. No distinctive step toward smoothing the Lehigh ledges for a locomotive was undertaken until those elements of a positive and substantial character, which were introduced more especially by Hon. James M. Porter, of Easton, and Hon. Asa Packer, of Mauch Chunk, began to be developed and felt.

In 1833, Asa Packer, a young, ambitious boy, born in Connecticut in 1805, moved into Mauch Chunk from the sap-woods of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, with a single jack-plane, hammer, handsaw, and a suit of rustic homespun, as his whole inheritance. He had neither friend nor acquaintance in the village, but being a man of clear discernment, excelling in the art of industry and frugality, distinguished for sobriety and sober sense, he devoted himself zealously to various industrious pursuits, until he became well known as one of the most efficient businessmen in the State, and rose rapidly in tire confidence of the inhabitants of the Lehigh Valley, whom he served on the bench and in two successive Congresses. Such was the man whose earnest qualifications inspired this then unpopular project with organic life and triumph, and whose liberality, exercised in the broadest spirit, gave to the public an institution of learning which will transmit the name of Packer down to all time.

"On the 31st of October, 1851," writes Mr. Henry, in his interesting history of the Lehigh Valley, "Asa Packer became the purchaser of a large amount of the stock which had been subscribed, and commenced efforts to get additional stock subscribed and the road constructed. 4n the 13th of September, 1852, Robert H. Sayre was appointed chief engineer for the construction of the road; and on the 27th of November, 1852, Judge Packer submitted a proposition for constructing the railroad from opposite Mauch Chunk, where it would intersect the Beaver Meadow Railroad, to the river Delaware at Easton, where it would intersect the New Jersey Central Railroad and the Belvidere Delaware Railroad for a consideration, to be paid in the stock and bonds of the company, which was accepted by the stockholders, at a meeting in which all the stockholders, representing 5,150 shares of stock; were present.

"On the 7th of January, 1853, the name of the company was changed by act of Assembly to that of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, and on the 10th of that month, James M. Porter was re-elected president, John N. Hutchinson, secretary and treasurer, and John N. Hutchinson, Wm. Hackett, Wm. H. Gatzner, Henry King, John T. Johnston, and John O. Sterns, managers.

"Although the formal contract with Judge Packer for the construction of the road was not signed until the 12th of February, 1853, yet he began the work immediately after the acceptance of this offer, on the 27th of November, 1852, by commencing the deep rock cut at Easton. The work was prosecuted with vigor by Judge Packer himself, at some of the hardest cuts, and by subcontractors at other places, until its completion, September, 1855.

" Judge Packer, in the construction of this road, encountered great difficulties and embarrassments, from the rise in the price of provisions and necessaries for the hands—the sickliness of some of the seasons, the failure of subcontractors and the necessary re-letting the work at advanced prices, and the difficulty of raising money upon and disposing of the bonds of the company, from the stringency of the money market; but, with an energy and perseverance seldom met with, he worked through it all."

A trifle less than 15,000,000 tons of anthracite coal was the entire shipment within the United States during the year 1867. An aggregate of 4,088,537 tons of this amount was taken from the Wyoming coal-basin, a portion of which, 2,080,156 tons, swelled the tonnage of this young giant railroad. 2,603,102 tons of anthracite found its may over the Lehigh Valley road during the year 1868, being an increase of 522,956 tons.

Some idea from whence this road derives its coal tonnage can be had by reference to the following report for a single week.

LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD.—Report of coal transported over the above road for the week ending December 26, 1868.

 FROM WYOMING REGION

 WEEK

 TOTAL

 

 Tons/Cwt.

 Tons/Cwt.

 Franklin Coal Co

 1,461 02

 4,502 17

 Audenreid Imp. & C. Co    
 Lehigh & Susquehanna Coal Co    
 Germania Coal Co    
 Wilkes Barre C. & I. Co

 202 18

 595 15

 Warrior Run Mining Co

 307 12

964 10 

 Parrish & Thomas  

 76 15

 New Jersey Coal Co

 202 01

 1,088 10

 Union Coal Co    
 Wyoming Coal & Transportation Co

703 14 

 3,442 16

 Newport Coal Company    
 Morris & Essex Mutual Coal Co    
 Everhart Coal Co    
 Plymouth Coal Co    
 H. B. Hillman & Son

 418 14

 1,408 17

 Bowkley, Price & Co    
 Mineral Spring Coal Co

 487 14

 1,247 10

 Enterprise Colliery

 1,181 07

 4,377 14

 Burroughs

472 02 

 729 06

 J. H. Swoyer    
 Linderman & Co    
 Washington Mutual Coal Co    
 West Pittston  

 73 14

 Barclay Coal Co    
 Shawnee

 698 09

 934 15

 Consumers' Coal Co

275 17 

1,133 15 

 Harvey & Brother    
 Wyoming Valley

 443 08

 1,363 17

 Henry Colliery    
 New England

 329 16

 1,266 10

 Delaware & Hudson Coal Co    
 Maltby Colliery

74 18 

 74 18

 Gaylord Colliery    
 Chauncey Colliery

 282 02

 1,372 18

 Fall Creek

 45 05

 321 11

 Ravine Colliery P. & E.    
 Butler, H. S. M.    
 Maryland Anthracite

 50 12

 266 07

 Morgan Colliery    
 Tompkins

92 04 

 92 04

 Rough & Ready    
 A. McJ. Dewitt    
 Rock Tunnell    
 Butler Colliery  

 207 09

 Other Shippers  

 9 06

     
 Total Wyoming Region

 7,729 15

 25,560 14

 Total Beaver Meadow Region

 6,733 08

 26,563 19

 Total Hazleton Region

 14,422 16

 70,509 06

 Total Upper Lehigh

 159 12

 922 06

 Total Mahanoy Region

 1,095 10

 8,814 14

     
 Grand Total

 30,139 01

 132,370 19

 Increase

 1,614 05

 

This road, originally intended to connect only Easton with Mauch Chunk, now runs up the Susquehanna River to Waverly, New York, passing through some of the most picturesque scenery in the State. Emerging front the Lehigh ravine, it traverses the entire length of Wyoming Valley, on the south bank of the river, running within a stone's-throw of the celebrated Monocasy or " Monockonock Island," crosses the Lackawanna at its mouth, and leads its quiet way under a ledge familiar with tine sad, heroic scenes of Wyoming so touchingly portrayed in Campbell's Gertrude, then follows Gen. Sullivan's route and the old Indian pathway from the Great Plains to the plantation of the dusky queen, whose memory, cherished only to be despised, has been rendered infamous forever. No part of this thoroughfare is destitute of historical reminiscence or interest to the traveler.

It would be difficult, and probably impossible, to find a railroad in Pennsylvania whose ramifications and feeders are more numerous and important, along its entire length, than this. Forming one of the strong links in the great chain of communication between central and lower Pennsylvania and southern New York, it derives additional consideration and strength from the many active railroad tributaries swelling the volume of its traffic. Almost every valley whose drainage fertilizes the Lehigh, rolls its tonnage and travel into this road with a bounteous hand.

The Wyoming division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad opens a new channel to internal commerce, and, in the earnest hands of its superintendent, Robert A. Packer, Esq., maintains the same character enjoyed by the older portion of the road, and, like that, cultivates those relations which connect the anthracite coal-basins of our State with the broad interests of the world on terms of mutual usefulness and advantage.


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