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La stripping off and carrying away the superincumbent rock; but this being
too expensive has been superseded, both at Carbondale and Wilkesbarre, de by the usual mode of drifting ; that is, driving a narrow subterraneous In passage into the hill, and following the course of the coal-seam in various to directions. The thickest mass of coal in the Wikesbarre basin is the I great bed of the Baltimore Company's mine, in some places measuring 32 me feet, embracing of course several thin bands of included slate.
Baltimore Company's Coal-mine. Annexed is a view of the great openings into these mines, and the precipice formed by the ancient method of cutting away the hill. These openings are not now used except for ventilation; the company's railroad extending directly into the mountain by a new perforation. These mines are 2 1-2 miles N. E. from Wilkesbarre, on Coal Brook, and communicate with the Pennsylvania canal at that place by railroad. The products of this valuable basin, for a long time confined to the rude navigation of the natural channel of the rivers, now have the use of artificial modes of conveyance to market. The Delaware and Hudson canal, with its auxiliary railroad, takes the Carbondale coal to New York. The Pennsylvania canal takes that of the Wilkesbarre basin to Baltimore; and when this line of canal is completed to the state of New York, (and a company is chartered for the purpose, it will render accessible the vast market of western New York; while the railroad nearly finished from Wilkesbarre to the Lehigh, 19 3-4 miles, will open the way by the Lehigh and Delaware canals to Philadelphia.
A part of the middle anthracite coal field extends over into the southern border of Luzerne from Northampton co.
The following historical note, by Judge Jesse Fell, was originally published in Professor Silliman's Journal of Science :
"There has been some inquiry as to when and by whom this coal was first used. I have made some effort to ascertain the facts. The late Judge Obadiah Gore, a blacksmith by trade, came into this valley as a Connecticut settler, at an early day, and he himself informed me that he was the first person that used the coal of this region in a blacksmith's fire: it was about the year 1768 or 1769. He found it to answer well for this purpose, and the blacksmiths of this place (Wilkes. barre) have used it in their forges ever since. “I find no older tradition of its being used in a fire than the above account. About forty-two years ago, I had it used in a nailery ; I found it to answer well for making wrought nails, and instead of losing in the weight of the rods, the nails
exceeded the weight of the rods, which was not the case when they were wrought in a charcoal fire. There is another advantage in working with this coal-the heat being superior to that of any other fire; the iron is sooner heated, and I believe a blacksmith may do at least one third more work in a day than he could do with a charcoal fire.
“From observation, I had conceived an idea that if a body of this coal was ignited and confined together, it would burn as a fuel. To try the experiment, in the month of February, 1808, I had a grate constructed for the purpose, eight inches in depth, and eight inches in height, with feet eight inches high, and about twenty-two inches long, (the length is immaterial, as that may be regulated to suit its use or convenience,) and the coal, after being ignited in it, burned beyond the most sanguine expectation. A more beautiful fire could not be imagined, it being clear and without smoke. This was the first instance of success, in burning this coal in a grate, in a common fireplace, of which I have any knowledge; and this experiment first brought our coal into use for winter fires, (without any patent-right.)”
The principal occupations of the citizens are agriculture, coal-mining, and lumbering. There are also some manufactories of woollens, and a few of iron, among which is one of the largest rolling-mills in the country. There is a vast amount of water-power in the co. still unappropriated. On the Lehigh, in the great swamp formerly known as the Shades of Death, are vast forests of lumber, to which the Lehigh Navigation Company are now just opening a market.
It is scarcely necessary to say that the first settlers of this county were originally from Connecticut, with a few Germans and Scotch-Irish from Pennsylvania. The Germans from the lower counties and from Europe have more recently filled up the southern part of the co., and a great number of Irish and Welsh miners are settled around the principal coal mines. The people of the Wyoming valley, and along the Susquehanna above, still retain the manners, the steady habits, the enterprise and intelligence, and even the pronunciation of their New England fathers; and the external aspect of things, the villages with tall spires and shaded streets; the neat white houses with green blinds, and broad frontyards fragrant with flowers and shrubbery; and in the country the ancient red-painted or wood-colored framehouses, -all mark the origin of the people.
Professor Silliman, who visited this valley in 1829, very justly remarks:
“The severe and long-continued struggle for the possession of this country, which was sustained by the original Connecticut settlers from fifty to eighty years since, and the repeated attempts which were made to dispossess them by arms, sufficiently evince the high estimation in which it was held by all the parties. The prize for which the settlers contended was worthy of all the heroism, fortitude, and long-suffering perseverance, which, during so many years, they displayed - an exhibition of moral courage rarely equalled and never surpassed. Believing themselves, both in a political and personal view, to be the rightful proprietors of the country, they defended it to the death; and no one who now surveys this charming valley can wonder that they would not quietly relinquish their claim.
“The first glance of a stranger entering at either end, or crossing the mountain ridges which divide it, (like the happy valley of Abyssinia,) from the rest of the world, fills him with the peculiar pleasure produced by a fine landscape, combining richness, beauty, variety, and grandeur. From Prospect hill, on the rocky summit of the eastern barrier, and from Ross' hill, on the west, the valley of Wyoming is seen in one view, as a charming whole, and its lofty and welldefined boundaries exclude more distant objects from mingling in the prospect. Few landscapes that I have seen can vie with the valley of Wyoming. Excepting some rocky precipices and cliffs, the mountains are wooded from the summit to their base; natural sections furnish avenues for roads, and the rapid Susquehanna rolls its powerful current through a mountain gap, on the northwest, and immediately receives the Lackawanna, which flows down the narrower valley of the same name. A similar pass between the mountains, on the south, gives the Susquehanna an exit, and at both places a slight obliquity in the position of the observer presents to the eye a seeming lake in the windings of the river, and a barrier of mountains, apparently impassable. From the foot of the steep mountain ridges, particularly on the eastern side, the valley slopes away, with broad sweeping undulations in the surface, forming numerous swelling hills of arable
and grazing land; and as we recede from the hills, the fine flats and meadows covered with the richest grass and wheat, complete the picture by features of the gentlest and most luxuriant beauty.
“ The traveller will not fail to inquire for the battle-ground, and for the traces, now almost obliterated, of the forts which were so often assailed and defended; which frequently protected the entire population from civil and savage warfare; and which have been rendered memorable by events of the deepest interest.
“Gen. Ross was charged with burying the dead. It was more than a month after the event, and he assured me that, owing to the intense heat of the weather and probably the dryness of the air, the bodies were shrivelled, dried, and inoffensive; but, with a single exception, their features could not be recognised. They were buried in one common grave, on land now owned by Mr. Gray.
“The site of Fort Wyoming is now covered by the courthouse ; Fort Durgee was half a mile below the borough, near the Shawnee flats; there was another fort on the eastern bank, nearly opposite the hotel, a little below the bridge; the redoubts (an admirable 'look-out station,) are still visible on the hill at the north of the village, and near them the solitary grave, without a monument, of the first clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Johnson, who was buried there by his own request.
“ Mill creek empties into the Susquehanna, at the north of the borough, and near its mouth, both on the same and on the opposite shore, were blockhouses which were famous in the wars of the valley. Ogden's blockhouse was here. Two or three miles north of Wilkesbarre, and on the western side of the river, is the site of Forty Fort, near the tavern of Mr. Myers ; a mile or two still further north is the creek upon whose southern bank the little army of the planters, bravely led by Cols. Z. Butler and N. Denison, took their judicious station on the morning of July 3, 1778, intending there to await the enemy; and two or three miles still further north, is the plain on and near which most of them were destroyed, in and after the fatal battle accidentally and prematurely brought on, in the afternoon of that day. The left wing of the combined army of loyalists, Indians, and British, under Col. John Butler, rested on Fort Wintermoot, whose site near the river is now covered by the house of the late Col. Jenkins, while the right wing extended to the swamp at the foot of the hills."*
The valley of Wyoming is rich in historical incident, and its history, more than that of any other region, confirms the remark that “truth is more strange than fiction.” The annals of each ancient family form a romance of themselves ; there was scarcely a family that had not its hero—some, five, six, and seven !
Before entering upon the more engrossing points in the history of the valley, it may be well to notice briefly the movements of its aboriginal occupants. Not long after the original settlement of the province by Wm. Penn, a clan of the Shawanee Indians—a restless, warlike tribe, driven from the south-had been permitted by the Six Nations, the lords of the Susquehanna, to settle upon the borders of that river at various points. One of their stations was on the western bank of the river, near the lower end of the Wyoming valley, upon a broad plain which still bears the name of the Shawanee flats. Here they built a town, cultivated corn upon the flats, and enjoyed many years of repose.
When the encroachments of the whites interfered with the Delaware and Minsi or Monsey tribes above the Forks of the Delaware and Lehigh, and their lands were wrested from them by the subtlety of the “ Indian Walk," the Six Nations assigned them also an asylum on the Susquehanna—the Monseys occupying the country about Wyalusing, and the Delawares the eastern side of the Wyoming valley, and the region at Shamokin, at the confluence of the North and West branches.
Here, in the year 1742, with some aid from the provincial government, as stipulated by the treaty of removal, they built their town of Maugh
* Measures have been in progress, for some years past, to erect a splendid monument over the ashes of the dead, and the structure is commenced; but, either for want of funds, or in consequence of disagreement concerning the architectural design, or perhaps both, it still remains unfinished. Application for pecuniary aid, for this object, was made to the state of Connecticut, but in vain.
wawame, on the east side of the river, on the lower flat, just below the present town of Wilkesbarre. The Indian name of this town, modified and corrupted by European orthography and pronunciation, passed through several changes, such as M'ch wauwaumi, Wawamie, Waiomink, and lastly Wyoming. According to Mr. Heckwelder, Maugh-wau meant large, or extensive, and wame, plains or meadows. The Delawares had been removed from the east against their will, by the dictatorial interference of the Six Nations, who supported the pretensions of the proprietary government in its claim to the lands at the forks. This wrong rankled in the hearts of the Delawares; and though fear of the superior strength of the whites and the Six Nations suppressed the wrath of the tribe for some years, yet Teedyuscung,* their chief, did not fail to complain at every treaty of the wrongs inflicted on his nation. (See Northampton co.) The smothered fire continued to burn, and years afterwards broke out in fearful vengeance upon the heads of the settlers at Wyoming.
Soon after the rival of the Delawares at Wyoming, in the same year, 1742, the celebrated Moravian missionary, Count Zinzendorf, for a season pitched his tent among the Indians of this valley, accompanied by another missionary, Mack, and the wife of the latter, who served as in. terpreter. Becoming jealous of the Count-unable to appreciate the pure motives of his mission -and suspecting him of being either a spy, or a land-speculator in disguise—the Shawanees had determined upon his assassination. The Count had kindled a fire, and was in his tent deep in meditation, when the Indians stole upon him to execute their bloody commission. Warmed by the fire, a large rattlesnake had crept forth, and approaching the fire for its greater enjoyment, the serpent glided harmlessly over the legs of the holy man, unperceived by him. The Indians, however, were at the very moment looking stealthily into the tent, and saw the movement of the serpent. Awed by the aspect and the attitude of the Count, and imbibing the notion-from the harmless movements of the poisonous reptile--that their intended victim enjoyed the special protection of the Great Spirit, the executioners desisted from their purpose, and retired.
This anecdote was not published in the count's memoirs, lest, as he states, the brethren should think the conversion of a part of the Shawanees was attributable to their superstition. Mr. Chapman received the narrative from a companion of Zinzendorf, who afterwards accompanied him to Wyoming. The Moravian mission was maintained here for several years, and many, both of the Shawanees and Delawares, became—apparently, at least-converts to the Christian faith. When the men of Connecticut began to swarm thickly in the valley, and collision was feared, the mission was removed to Wyalusing, where another station had been previously planted.
The French, then in possession of the valley of the Ohio, had used strenuous efforts to induce the Shawanees to remove thither, where a part of their nation had originally gone ; but without success, in consequence of the influence of the mission. At length the object was effected in another way.
One summer's day, when the children and women of the Shawanee and Delaware tribes were together gathering fruit on the Wyoming side, a feud arose between them concerning the title to a large grasshopper caught by one child and claimed by another. This involved a question of boundary and territorial rights. When the warriors returned, (who were at the time peaceably engaged together in the chase,) they took part with their respective women: a sanguinary contest ensued, in which, after great slaughter, the Shawanees were defeat
* This name is variously spelt-by the Moravians Tadeuscund, and by the old provincial writers, Teedyuscung.