Including sections on:
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)
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.
The following is an account of the early business interests of the township as far as can be ascertained:
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.
This spelling would refer to Lucius Blakslee, a brother of Mrs. Asa Packer
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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
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