Including sections on:

                                    Early Roads

                                    Hickory Run





                                    East Haven

                                    Lehigh Tannery

                                    Mud Run


                                    Justices of the Peace

                                    The Great Fire of 1875


Page 727


The territory of Penn Forest township was taken from Tobyhanna in 1842, while it was a part of Monroe County.  The next year after it was taken off to form a part of Carbon County.  It was one vast tract of pine and hemlock timber.  Large bodies of the land had been purchased, upon which capitalists were erecting mills and manufacturing lumber.  In the fall of 1848 agitation was commenced of the project of forming a new township from the northern part of Penn Forest, which resulted in the following action of the court of Carbon County at its March term, 1849:

"And now, March 7, 1849, the court order and de­cree that the said township of Penn Forest be divided according to the report of the commission, and that a new township, being the upper part of said town­ship, be called and designated by the name of Kidder township,"

after Judge Luther Kidder, who was then on the bench.

Kidder township is bounded on the east by Toby­hanna Creek and Monroe County, on the north and west by Lehigh River, and on the south by Mud Run, which separates it from Penn Forest.  In the western part are several ponds,—Mud Pond, Moses Wood Pond, Big Pond, Round Pond, and Grass Lake.  Moses Wood and Mud Ponds are the sources of Black Creek, which flows easterly*, and empties into the Lehigh River below Lehigh Tannery.  The streams from the others flow westerly, and join the Tobyhanna.  Dilltown Creek and Muddy Run, form­ing the southern boundary, flow westerly, and join the Lehigh River.  Hickory Run rises in the high uncultivated lands in the central part of the town­ship, flows southwesterly, and empties into the Lehigh.  The greater portion of the township is uncul­tivated.  Its timber is cut off, and it will eventually be cultivated, but not for many years.  Farmers are yet very few who have cultivated more than a few acres of land.    


The first assessment-roll of Kidder township was made in 1849.  The large tracts of land at that time belonged to the following persons:

Evan Morris, 1346 acres.

Warner, McKean & Co., 1500 acres.

Mahlon K.  Taylor, 5000 acres.

William Tumbeson & Co., 500 acres.

Taylor & Warner, 800 acres.

Samuel D. Stryker, 1200 acres.

D. & R. Serfass, 1000 acres.

Serfass & Newhard, 640 acres.

Noll & Steckel, 432 acres.

Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, 1386 acres.

John Kelsey, 622 acres.

George Hollenbech, 3299 acres.

John Hawk, 860 acres.

David Hawk, 400 acres.

I. & S. Gould, 3300 acres.

Conrad Dreisbach, 760 acres.

Thomas Dreisbach & Co., 1600 acres.

Thomas Craig, 250 acres.


The persons who were assessed in that year as having mills were as follows:

Stephen Decatur, double saw-mill. 

Lug. Maxwell, double saw-mill and wharf.

Josiah Metlack, double saw-mill.

W. Robertson, double saw-mill and wharf.

Warner, McKean & Co., double saw-mill.



·         The Black Creek actually flows south westerly. (JS)



Page 728



Lucius Blokeltz, saw-mill and ferryman, East Haven.

Thomas Craig, saw-mill.

Abram Helisend, saw-mill.

Solomon Gangwere, saw-mill.

George Lehman, three saw-mills, store-house, eight dwelling-houses, steam-mill, and wharf,

John Starbirt, saw-mill and wharf.

Jost Johnson, saw-mill and wharf.

Joseph Serfass, saw-mill.

D. & E. Serfass, saw-mill and wharf.

D. Nyhart Serfass, saw-mill and wharf.

Jonathan Jacob, three saw-mills and wharf.

David Savior, three saw-mills.

Frederick Bates, saw-mill.

Jacob Eyerly, inn, saw-mill, and wharf.

Yardly, Post & Childs, paling-mill.


Men who were assessed as lumbermen carrying on business in 1849: David Jacob Hunter, John Kelsey, James King, William Leonard, Jonathan Passley, Joseph Serfass, Daniel and Reuben Serfass, William Tucker, J. W. Lessler, Samuel J. Tombleson, George Winterstein, Butler and Cornelius Cortwright, Josiah A. Cole, Stephen and Edward Clark, James Cole, John Corly, Thomas Driesbach & Co., Oliver and Thomas Driesbach, Jackson Durran, John, Isaac, and Stephen Gould, David and John Hawk.


Early Roads.—A State road ran through the town­ship from Emmetsburg to White Haven before it be­came a township.  The action of the Carbon County court in reference to a road was in March, 1845, when a petition was made for a road leading from the Wilkesbarre turnpike, near the house of Christian George, to the store of Mahlon K. Taylor, at the mouth of Hickory Run.


The following is an account of the early business interests of the township as far as can be ascertained:


Hickory Run.—Before 1843, Mahlon K. Taylor, of Bucks County, owned six thousand three hundred and ninety-four acres of land about the mouth of Hickory Run, where he had a store and wharf.  He soon after sold one thousand acres to Israel Day and Samuel Saylor, of Easton, who erected a large mill with two gangs of saws, a single mill, planing-mill, lath- and paling-mill, and a bark-mill.  In 1855 they erected on the hill a large boarding-house, capable of accom­modating about one hundred and fifty men, who were at work in the woods and in the mills.  Two double houses were also built.  In the spring of 1865 they were destroyed by fire, and rebuilt the same year.  They were then run till the timber on their lands was exhausted, and in about 1878 they were aban­doned.  The property now belongs to Alexander B. Allen, of Flemington, N.  J.


Mahlon K. Taylor & Co. owned a tract of land above Saylorsville, on which they built a mill.   A large dam which supplied the mill was swept away by a freshet in 1847, and in the rush of waters seven lives were lost,—the wife and four children of Jacob West, a blacksmith, a daughter of Isaac Gould, and a Mr.  Crawford.  The bodies were all recovered with the exception of one of the children.  The mill was not again rebuilt.


The second mill on Hickory Run from the mouth was built by Heckman & Auble, who purchased their land of M.  K. Taylor.  They had a double mill and a lath- and paling-mill.  This property later came to the Goulds.


Next on the run, and above the Heckman & Auble mill, Isaac and Samuel Gould owned a tract of three thousand three hundred acres, which in later years was largely increased.  Here they erected four mills, two on the run and two on Sand Spring Run, a fork of Hickory.  These were all single mills, with lath-and paling-mill to each one.  Tenement-houses were erected.  A store was opened, a post-office established, and a Methodist Church and school were erected.  About one hundred men were employed in their work, which was continued till the timber was exhausted.  The firm was dissolved, and Stephen Gould retained the business.  After his death, and in 1878, the prop­erty passed to Albert Lewis & Co., of Bear Creek.


At that time A. J. Brodhead took the store and post-office, which were continued till the summer of 1883.  In the November following Owen Eckert, sta­tion agent of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company at Hickory Run, was appointed postmaster, and the office is now kept at the station.


Above the Gould mill, in 1849, John Kelly owned six hundred and twenty-two acres of land, on which he had, in 1850, a double mill.  In the great fire of 1876 the mill, house, and barn were destroyed, and in 1878 Mr. Kelly sold the property to Isaac Butz.


Daniel and Reuben Serfass in 1849 owned one thousand acres on Sand Spring Run, a fork of Hickory, above the Gould land.  They erected two single mills and lath-, paling-, and shingle-mills, which, in 1866, were sold to Blakslee & Gillick.  The mills were de­stroyed by the fire of 1876, and not again rebuilt.  The property now belongs to T.  Dorney, of Allentown.


In 1867 a sash- and blind-factory was built on Sand Spring Run by Stephen Donner, and was sold, in 1868, to William Birny, who ran it till after 1875, when it was torn down.


About 1852, J. & J. Blakslee purchased a mill prop­erty above Serfass', on Sand Spring Run.


The Methodist Church that was erected on Hickory Run has, since 1878, been in charge of the following pastors: Revs. Bonford, Dunning, King, Bird, and Brice Hughes, who is now in charge.


Saylorsville, on the main stream of Hickory Run, above the Gould land, was bought from M. K. Taylor by Day & Saylor, who erected mills there, which were long since abandoned.  There are now two of their dwellings at the place, and the wintergreen distillery of Hawk & Botter.


Leonardsville to-day contains two or three dwell­ings and a distillery owned by Benjamin Krege.



            This spelling would refer to Lucius Blakslee, a brother of Mrs. Asa Packer



Page 729



About 1850, John Burk was owner of a tract of land there, and had erected a saw-mill.  In 1876 there were at the place one steam saw-mill and one run by water, and twelve dwellings.  They were all destroyed by the great fire of that year.  The place was named after William Leonard, who was foreman for John Burk from the commencement of the work there.


Bridgeport.—In the year 1856, Keck, Childs & Co. erected a saw-mill on the banks of the Lehigh River, a short distance above Lehigh Tannery, having a ca­pacity of cutting yearly two and one-half million feet of lumber.  They purchased three thousand two hun­dred and ninety-nine acres of land of George M. Hollenbeck, who had previously erected and run a saw-mill at the mouth of Hays' Creek.  About 1870, Day & Saylor built a steam saw-mill at Bridgeport, which was run till 1872, when it was sold to Davis, McMurtry & Co., who ran it till 1880, when it was destroyed by fire.  The site is now occupied by the mill of the Pioneer Kindling-Wood Company.  A school-house is also in this settlement.  It is also a station on the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


Albrightsville.—The property on which this settlement is located was part of the Brotzman tract, and passed to George Weaver, who owned it in 1839.  He sold the greater portion of it to Aquilla Albright & Vansickle in 1840.  Joseph Serfass bought twenty-five acres of Albright, and in 1844 erected the tavern-stand, which he kept till after 1850.  William Getz was landlord in 1856, Jacob Christman in 1875 and Paul Eckert now keeps it.  A post-office has been established there many years.  David Snyder and Jacob Christman have been postmasters, and Paul Eckert is the present incumbent.  Joseph Serfass started a store in a house adjoining the hotel, which was kept for many years.  None is kept there now.


The school-house was built in 1855 by people of the district (in both Kidder and Penn Forest townships, this having been made a joint district).  The old building is now unused, a larger and more commo­dious school-house having been erected.


The Lutherans organized a congregation in the place about 1873, which was supplied occasionally by missionaries.  The Rev. A. M. Strauss has charge of it at present.  Services were held in the school-house until 1883, when the new church edifice was com­pleted.


The Methodists have services in the school-house, under the charge of the Rev. Bruce Hughes.


The elections of the district are held at the hotel of Paul Eckert.


Francis Wernetz has a saw-mill a short distance above the village, and William Getz has one below.  Henry Deppe's saw- and grist-mill, on the other side of Mud Run, in Penn Forest township, is a shorter distance from the village.


East Haven.—In 1849, Lucius Blakslee owned and ran a saw-mill at this place, and a ferry across the river.  The Prutzman school-house is at this place, and a few dwellings.  It is a station on the Lehigh Valley Railroad.


Mud Run is a station on the Lehigh Valley Rail­road, at the mouth of Mud Run Creek, and also has a post-office.   

J. W. Slocum, the station agent, is the postmaster.


Lehigh Tannery.—Soon after the purchase of the large tract of land by Keck, Childs & Co., Thomas Smull & Co. purchased of them the land on which the settlement of Lehigh Tannery is located, and erected a tannery building four hundred and fifty feet in length, which, in 1860, was increased to six hundred and eighty feet, making it then the largest tan­nery in this country.  Eighty thousand hides are tanned per year at this establishment.  A store and hotel or boarding-house and dwellings were also erec­ted.  The tannery was operated by its builders several years and sold to Mr. Blakslee, who sold to C. P. Holcomb & Co. in 1865, who were in possession but a short time when the buildings were partially de­stroyed by fire.  Repairs were made and work carried on under the name of this firm until the death of C. P. Holcomb, when I. M. Holcomb & Co. became the firm-name (1866).  At this time a post-office was established, and kept by I. M. Holcomb until about 1875.  He was succeeded by George Stemson, and April 19, 1881, William F. Streeter, the present post­master, was appointed.  In 1875 the Knickerbocker Ice Company, of Philadelphia, erected here an ice­house with capacity of three thousand tons.  Alfred Lewis, of Bear Creek, also has an ice-house at this place.  The tannery was entirely destroyed by fire in 1875, and has not been rebuilt.


Shortz, Lewis & Co., in the year 1866, erected a steam-saw-mill at the foot of the dam, with a capacity of sawing from six to seven million feet of lumber annually.  The logs were mostly supplied from Tobyhanna township.  The mill was destroyed by fire in 1874, and not rebuilt.


The bridge across the Lehigh River at Lehigh Tan­nery was built by the county in 1867-68.  A petition was presented to Luzerne and Carbon County courts, which was granted, and report of viewers confirmed.  Carbon County court confirmed their action Sept. 30, 1867.


East Haven.—In 1849, Lucius Blakslee had at this place a saw-mill and a ferry across the river.  Since the lumber has been cut off the place is of little importance.  It now contains a school-house and a number of dwellings.


Mud Run is a station on the Lehigh Valley Rail­road, and contains the depot and a post-office.  J.  W.  Slocum is station agent and postmaster.  On Mud Run there have been many mills, from its mouth to Albrightsville.  In 1843, John Hawk owned seven hundred acres here, and built a mill below the pres­ent mill of Jacob Hawk.  Daniel Hawk had four hundred acres and a mill at Buskirk Falls.  John Hawk also built a mill about two miles below Al-…



Page 730



…brightsville, known as the Loch Mill, on land he thought was his, but which belonged to Serfass and Gangwere.  Joseph Serfass owned six hundred acres along the run, and erected three mills.  In 1875, Frederick Youndt owned a mill a short distance from the mouth of the stream.  Long & Boilieu owned one about half-way from the mouth to Albrightsville.  One was also owned by the Lehigh Grain, Coal, and Lumber Company, in the western part of the town­ship, on the stream flowing from Round Pond.


Schools.—There are seven school-houses, located as follows: East Haven, Bridgeport, Hickory Kun, Albrightsville, Lehigh Tannery, and two on the road from East Haven to Albrightsville.  In 1878 the scholars attending school were two hundred and sixty-two.  The total receipts for school purposes were $2294.62.  Expenditures were $2085.99.


The following is a list of the school directors of the township since its organization :

1849.—Lewis Billings, Jacob West, James W. Searles, W. Leonard, David Hill, John Kelsey.

1850.—Phineas Dreisbach, David Hawk.

1851.—Josiah A. Cole, George Orosley.

1852.—Joseph Serfass, Daniel Serfass.

1853.—Timothy Frable, Theodore C. Randolph, Henry German.

1854.—Adam Rough, Phineas Dreisbach.

1855.—Philip Woodring, T. C. Randolph, Timothy Frable, George H. Weiss.

1856.—Adam Rough, Jacob Alteman, John Gould, David Baggs, William J. Nicholson.

1857.—William Mocher, David Hawk.

1858.—Philip Shoch, Philip Woodring, James W. Adams.

1859.—Stoddard Driggs, Joseph Serfass, David Hawk.

1860.—Jackson Fackenthal, David Hawk.

1861.—Philip Woodring, William Mocher.

1862.—Reuben Young, M. Brockley, John Blakslee.

1863.—P. H. Gillick, William Wagner, John Blakslee.

1864.—Philip Woodring, J. Watson.

1865.—No record.

1866.—William Wagner, John Blakslee.

1867.—J. G. Hutmocher, J. D. Woodring.

1868.—David Hawk, John Everts.

1869.—William Wagner, Reuben Kolb.

1870.—J. G. Woodring, J. G. Woodmacher.

1871.—William F. Steeter, Jacob Hawk, Harrison Kimble.

1872.—A. S. Gould, William Rauch.

1873.—William F. Steeter, Jacob Smith.

1874.—Alex.  Campbell, J. S. Hawks.

1875.—William Rauch, A. S. Gould, William F. Steeter.

1876.—William F. Steeter.

1877.—J. S. Hawk, Edw. Transue, Leonard Shafler.

1878.—William Rauch, Jos. Heimbach, George M. Stimson.

1879.—William F. Steeter, Josiah Lower.

1880.—Joseph Heimbach, Edw. Transue.

1881.—George H. Stimson, William H. Rauch.

1882.—J. D. Woodring, William F. Steeter, Amos Bisbing.

1883.—A. Campbell, W. H. Miller.


The Justices of the Peace since the organization of the township have been as follows:

William Leonard, March, 1849.

Josiah A. Cole, March, 1850.

Joseph Serfass, March, 1851.

Henry A. Stark, March, 1852.

Thomas Kelsey, March, 1853.

William Wagner, March, 1854.

Josiah A. Cole, March, 1855.

William Mechler, March, 1856.

Washington Frable, March, 1857.

William Wagner, John Brugh, March, 1859.

Philip Woodring, March, 1863.

William Wagner, March, 1864.

John D. Harris, March, 1867.

William Wagner, March, 1869.

Jacob S. Hawk, Alex. S. Gould, March, 1872.

William F. Steeter, J. F. Hawk, March, 1877.

A. P. Carter, J. S. Hawk, March, 1882.


The present business interests of the township, as obtained from the assessment-roll of 1888, are as fol­lows :

T. L. McKeen & Co., steam saw-mill.

Tobyhanna & Lehigh Lumber Company, steam saw­mill, located in the east part of the township, on the stream that takes its rise in Round Pond.

Pioneer Kindling-Wood Company, at Bridgeport.

Knickerbocker Ice Company, at Lehigh Tannery.

Jacob S. Hawk, saw- and paling-mill, Albrights­ville.

Francis Wernetz, saw- and paling-mill, Albrights­ville.

Joseph Meckes, saw-mill.

Distilleries.1—William H.  Blakslee, Alexander Campbell, Charles Dutton, T.  H.  & J.  Dorney, Lefernes Hawk, Hickory Run; Jacob S.  Hawk, Al­brightsville


The population of the township, as given by the census of 1880, was in the North Kidder District 661, and in the South District 546, making a total of 1207.


The Great Fire of 1875.2On the 14th day of May, in 1875, a fire broke out near Mud Run, and burned slowly until the 22d, when a strong wind com­menced to blow from the west, and in less than two hours the fire swept from Francis Youndt's mill di­rectly up Mud Run, a distance of ten miles, destroy­ing mills, houses, logs, timber, and standing trees.  The estimated losses were: John Eckert, mills, house, lumber, and logs, $7000; Josiah Kunkle, mill and…



1Tbe distilleries were for the distilling of wintergreen and black birch for the essential oil.

2 Many fires have swept over part of the township and caused great destruction, but none as great as the one here mentioned.



Page 731


…house, $4000; Getz & Serfass, mills, 610,000; David Snyder, $12,000; Francis Wernert, $12,000.  Long & Boileau's mills were saved; loss on 500,000 feet of logs, $4000.  J. S. Hawk's mills were saved,—20,000 feet of sawed lumber and 150,000 feet of logs were burned; loss, $2500.  Much other valuable property was destroyed.  The fire swept eastward into Monroe County, and did much damage there.














The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,


Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford

Published in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1884


Transcribed from the original in March 2003


Stephen E. Fritz



Web page by

Jack Sterling

March 2003