Penn Forest Township

Pages 754 to 757



Including sections on:

                                    Early Roads

                                    Settlement of Penn Forest





                                    Justices of the Peace


Page 754

This section of country was part of that great dis­trict north of the Blue Ridge which, prior to 1768, was known as "Towamensing," meaning "the wil­derness."  In that year it was divided, and Towamen­sing township embraced all territory in Northampton County east of Lehigh River, and thirty-six miles north of the Blue Ridge.  After the Revolution the territory now comprising part of Monroe County and the townships of Penn Forest and Kidder was erected into Tobyhanna1 township.  Early in the year 1842, while the township of Tobyhanna was a part of Mon­roe County, it was divided, and all that portion of territory now Penn Forest and Kidder townships was erected into a township called " Penn Forest."  The next year (1843), upon the erection of Carbon County, it became a part thereof, and in 1849 the north part was set off as Kidder township.


It is bounded on the west by the Lehigh River, on the south by Franklin and Towamensing townships, on the east by Monroe County, and on the north by the township of Kidder.


It is watered by tributaries of the Lehigh, —Muddy Run, Drake, Stony, and Bear Creeks.  These rise in the east part of the township and flow westerly, and join the Lehigh.  Wild Creek and its tributaries, Tar Run and White Oak Run, in the south part of the township, flow southeasterly, and pass out near the southeast corner.


Early Roads. —Many years before the township was settled a State road was laid out, passing through its limits from Emmetsburg to White Haven.  The first action in reference to roads in this county was at the first term of court, in December, 1843, at which time a petition was presented for a road from a road leading from Weissport to the Monroe County line to a point on the Lehigh River opposite Penn Haven.  George Fegley at this time had a store at this place on the river.  This petition was granted and the road laid out.  Later a portion was abandoned, but part of it is yet in use.


Settlement of Penn Forest. —The territory now embraced in this township in 1835 was a wilderness of pine and hemlock forest, and is yet known as Pine Swamp.  About this time the timber attracted the at­tention of lumbermen, and the tracts which had been warranted to others were bought up by lumber com­panies, that were formed for the purpose of erecting mills and cutting and man-ufacturing lumber.  Mills were built at available sites on the streams, tene­ments were erected for the laborers, and the work com­menced.  Years elapsed, and the timber was mostly cut off.  Fires in the woods destroyed many of the mills, some of which were rebuilt, and others not.  The companies sold the denuded lands to other par­ties and disappeared.  The settlements around these mills often contained a store, tavern, and school-house.  There is given below an abstract from the assessment-roll of Penn Forest in 1843,—the names of corporations and persons owning large tracts of land, mills, and occupations of others not laborers.  The statement here given comprises what is now Penn Forest and Kidder townships.


There are one hundred and forty-four persons as­sessed for county, sixty-one for State, purposes, and sixty-four for unseated lands.  Fann Black, 400 acres; Peter Burger & Co., 1800 acres and a saw-mill; Butz, Meckes & Co., 1200 acres, tenements, and saw-mill; Joshua Bullock, gentleman; Jonathan Fell, 1017 acres, three saw-mills, and tenement; Thomas Craig, 400 acres, two saw-mills, and tenements; Christman, Craig & Co., 1200 acres and saw-mill; Anthony Christman, saw-mill; Christman, Stemler, Serfass & Co., 400 acres and saw-mill; Jost Dreisbach, 953 acres, tenements; Jonas Dreisbach, 111 acres; Aaron Dreisbach, 60 acres; Taylor & Co., 1200 acres; W. Edinger, 1400 acres, tavern, saw-mill, tenements; Fish, Green & Co., 1317 acres; George Fegley, mer­chant and tenements; Gower, Serfass & Co., 600 acres, sawmill, and tenements; Abram Good & Co., saw­mill; J. H. Hillman, gentleman; John Hawk, 700 acres and saw-mill; Daniel Hawk, 400 acres and saw­mill; Henry Kenholt & Co., sawmill; Charlotte Meckes, 400 acres and saw-mill; Owen Hume & Co., …



Footnote for page 754:

                      1 The township was named Tobvhanna from the creek of that name which flowed through it. It is a corruption of the Indian word Topibanne, which signifies a stream whose banks are fringed with alders.



PAGE 755



… 400 acres and saw-mill; Samuel D. Strike & Co., 1200 acres; Charles Scott, two saw-mills; Reuben Serfass & Co., 100 acres, saw-mill, and tenements; Joseph Serfass & Co., 600 acres and tenements; Frederick Sutter, innkeeper; John Smith, 400 acres, saw-mill; Jacob Steiner, 1300 acres and saw-mill; John Serfass & Co., 600 acres and saw-mill; Samuel Lywell, 573 acres, two saw-mills, and tenements; O. H. Taylor, gentleman; Warner & Taylor, 864 acres; Robert S. Trego, 1028 acres and saw-mill; Taylor & Brock, 1308 acres; Mahlon K. Taylor & Co., 6394 acres, one store; George Weaver, 2200 acres, two saw-mills, and tenements; Warner & Co., double saw-mill and 30 acres; I. & S. Gould & Co., 1196 acres and two saw­mills; Gould, Taylor & Co., 3664 acres and saw-mill; Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, 1266 acres; Jacob Brutzman, George Crosley, Samuel Hiller, Thomas Krom, William Johnson, David Kline, Michael Knerr, Ebenezer Ladle, Isaac Sepps, and Safford Willard, lawyers; Andrew Decker, Andrew McKreal, lock-tenders; Robert Alberton, James Harkins, and Jacob West, mechanics; Francis Gabrio, master-mechanic.


Mills.—These companies were located at the places given, as nearly as can be ascertained, as follows:

Peter Berger & Co., who owned eighteen hundred acres of timber land, built a saw-mill on Mud Run, about a mile below Adam Meckes.  They had been carrying on operations from about 1840, continued till about 1860, and sold to Christian and William Kramer, who sold to Jacob Frey.  It is now owned by Frank Gowen.


Butz, Meckes & Co. owned twelve hundred acres, and erected a mill on Stony Creek, about three miles above its mouth.  They ran the mill eight or ten years, and sold to Strouss & Miksell, of Easton.  It was burned down about 1860, and not rebuilt.


Jonathan Fell, who owned one thousand and seven­teen acres, built a double mill at the mouth of Bear Creek.  This mill was run until about 1862. It was also burned down.  The timber was exhausted.  The land is now owned by Caspar Nepp.  Joshua Bullock lived at this place, and had entire charge of the mills.


Thomas Craig, who owned four hundred acres, built one mill on Drake Creek, about two miles from the mouth.  He sold to Charles Smith, who still owns it.  Thomas Craig, Jr., built a mill later at the mouth of Stony Creek, which was burned down.  It is now owned by Adam Christman.


Christman, Stemler, Serfass & Co. owned four hundred acres of land on Stony Creek, where Enos Koch now lives.  The mill was built previous to their purchase by John Moyer.   Enos Koch bought two hundred and twenty-six acres of the property, and continued the operation of the mill, rebuilding it in fall of 1883.  He opened a tavern in 1848 in the old house, and in 1860 built the present house.


William Edinger owned fourteen hundred acres on the old State road from Emmetsburg to White Haven.  Here, before 1840, he built a tavern and owned a saw­mill.  The mill was built by Conrad Dotter on Joli Spring Run.  It passed from Edinger to Meckes & Fragle.  The mill was burned, and the parties built another on Mud Run, near Albrightsville, which is now owned by Daniel Christman.


Gowen, Serfass & Co. owned six hundred acres at the head of Drake's Creek, and they built there a mill and tenement-house about 1840, and continued opera­tions until about 1860.  Lewis Gowen, one of the part­ners, purchased the whole previous to 1860.  He sold to John Gowen & Timothy Frable.  It is now owned by Adam Christman.


John Serfass & Co. owned six hundred acres on Pine Run, a tributary of Big Creek, on which they erected a saw-mill.  It was sold later to Robert Weiss and Reuben Serfass.  It is now owned by Frabie Ser­fass.


William Serfass and Adam Kunkle owned a tract of land on Pinder Creek, about a mile and a half from the mouth.  They sold to Lawfer, Kresge & Poneir, who built a mill on Mud Run, above the mouth of Pender Creek.  They sold to Young & Sellers.  The property is now owned by John Eckert and wife.  The lower mill is now used.


Samuel Heller built a mill on Stony Creek, below Adam Christman.  It is now owned by Adam Christ­man.


Frederick and Jacob Brotzman owned a large tract of land where this settlement now is, and built on Mud Run two saw-mills about 1836.  They became embarrassed, and the property was sold to George Weaver, who owned in 1843 two thousand two hun­dred acres.  He sold, in 1850, to Aquilla Albright and —— Vansickle.  They built another saw-mill about a mile below.


A store was kept here at one time by Aquilla Al­bright.


The mills are not now standing.  This place was called by Albright Albrightsville, and the settlement across the stream has taken the name.


The following statement is from the assessment-roll of the township in 1882, and gives the names of persons now owning mills and distilleries:

August Behrens, saw- and paling-mill.

Daniel Christman, saw-mill.

Thomas Craig, saw-mill.

Christman & Freyman, saw-mill.

Henry Deppe, saw-mill.

Reuben Gregory, saw-mill.

William Getz, saw-mill.

Frank Gowen, saw-mill.

Enos Koch, saw-mill.

Abram Meckes, saw-mill.

Samuel Meckes, saw-mill.

Philip Meckes, saw-mill.

Frank Serfass, saw-mill.

Charles Smith, saw- and paling-mill.

Craig & Christman, shingle-mill.



PAGE 766.


Paul Donner, turning-mill.


About the year 1861, Samuel Donner commenced the distillation of wintergreen.  Since that time a number of distilleries have been started for that pur­pose and the distillation of oil from the birch.  The names are here given of those who now own and operate distilleries in the township: Catharine An­drews, Jacob Bartholomew, Charles Christman, Wil­liam Button, Paul Donner (two), Paul Frey, Jacob Kunkle, Enos Koch, Samuel Meckes, Philip Meckes, Reuben Meckes, William Oliver, J. J. Smith (two), Peter Serfass, Robert Serfass, Benjamin Serfass, Lydia Schoeb.


Hotels, Emanuel Kibler and Enos Koch.


Grist-mill, Henry Deppe.


There are but seven persons in the township who are assessed distinctively as farmers.  They are as follows: George Christman, Charles Christman, Adolph Henning, Josiah G. Harlan, Francis Lyer, and Henry Tracy.


The population of the township, by the census of 1880, is six hundred and fifty-three.


Taverns.—The first tavern built in the township was erected on the Pocono Mountain, and on the State road leading from Emmetsburg to White Haven.  It was first kept by Frederick Suter, about 1838, and soon after called "The Hunter's Hotel," a name by which it is still known.  It was kept by him till about 1850, and passed into other hands.  It is now owned and kept by Emanuel Kibler.  Soon after this was opened, and before 1843, William Edinger built a tavern a little distance northeast of the Hun­ter's Hotel, which was kept several years and discon­tinued.


About the same time the last tavern was opened George Fegley built a dwelling and a store, which last he kept. About 1850 he opened a tavern, kept his store, and built several dwellings. The place was opposite Penn Haven, and the Lehigh Canal passed here. Quite a business grew up here, and in a few years the settlement contained, in addition to the tavern-stand, a store and warehouse, a carpenter-shop, blacksmith-shop, boat-yard, stabling, with accommo­dations for one hundred and fifty horses, and twelve dwellings, and the place bid fair to become a consid­erable village. The great freshet of 1862 (January) swept the buildings all away or destroyed them, and nothing of consequence has been rebuilt there.


In 1848, Enos Koch, who had a saw-mill on Stony Creek, opened his house as a tavern, and has con­tinued to keep a public-house to the present time.  A new house (the present one) was erected in 1860.


About the year 1850, Adam Meckes, who owned a mill property on Mud Run, at what is now Meckesville, started a tavern, which he kept fifteen or twenty years.  None is kept there at present.


Churches. —In the year 1870, when the agitation concerning the building of a new school-house on Stony Creek was at its height, it was decided to make it large enough to answer also for church pur­poses.  There were members of Lutheran and Reformed German Churches in the community, and upon its completion services were held there.  The pastors who served were the Revs. —— Decker, Frederick Honberger, —— Struntz, —— Becker, and at present the congregation is served by the Rev. A. M. Strauss (Lutheran) and the Rev. —— Schloppe (Reformed).  In 1880, John W. Reed donated to the congregation, for church and burial purposes, three acres of land on the road from Mauch Chunk to Albrightsville, and about a quarter of a mile southwest from the residence of Adam Christman.  A portion of the ground was at once laid out for a cemetery, and is now used by the Lutherans.  The Reformed con­gregation purchased a piece of land near the hotel of Enos Koch, which is used by them.  A neat and commodious church edifice is now being erected on the lot donated for the purpose.  This is the only church and congregation in the township.


Schools. —In the year 1844, the first year after this township became a part of Carbon County, James W. Searles and A. W. Dreisbach were elected school di­rectors.  The township had accepted the school law.  Schools were in operation on Stony Creek, opposite Penn Haven, at Albrightsville (then in Penn Forest), and at Bear Creek.  The freshet of 1862 washed away the school-house at Penn Haven, but on Oct. 26,1866, the district was again established, and Philip Ginter furnished a house for school purposes free of charge.  In 1867 the township contained seven districts, as follows: Stony Creek, Bear Creek, Albrightsville (joint with Kidder), Behren's, Drake's Creek, Penn Haven, and Wild Kettle Creek.


The school at Drake's Creek was discontinued, and was again held in the years 1878-79.  There are now five districts in which schools are regularly held.


Stony Creek, 43 pupils; Bear Creek, 22 pupils; Wild Kettle Creek, 15 pupils; Meckesville, 35 pupils; and Albrightsville, 16 pupils. The old school-house at Albrightsville is no longer in use, and a new one built by Kidder township is used.  New school-houses were built at the following places in the years given, with cost of each; Stony Creek, 1869, $475; Meckesville, 1870, $343.75; Wild Kettle Creek, 1881, $276; Bear Creek, 1881, $275.  The directors for 1883 are Enos Kochard, Henry Sinedecker, Philip Shock, and W. V. R. Ash.


The following is a list of the school directors of the township since the erection of Carbon County:

1844.—James W. Searles, A. B. Dreisbach.

1845.—Joseph Serfass, Frederick Sutton.

1846.—John Kelsey, J. W. Searles.

1847.—Abraham Good, Lewis Billings.

1848.—Samuel A. Cook, Caleb Rowles.

1849.—J. B. Dreisbach, Lewis Gowen, Adam Meckes, A. E. Albright, Andrew McNeal, Daniel Lichtenwallner.

1850.—Enos Koch, John Decker.



PAGE 757


1851.—Henry Garman, William Snyder, William Serfass.

1852.—George Fegley, George Kissel.

1853.—Adam Meckes, William Serfass, John Gowen, John Berkley, Enos Koch.

1854.—Morris Evans, Charles A. Getzinger.

1855.—J. N. Umphread, George Fegley.

1856.—Lewis Gowen, John Gowen, Jeremiah Gangwere, Adam Meckes.

1857.—George H. Weiss, Enos Koch.

1858.—Charles Smith, John Hote.

1859.—Butler Cortwright, Cornelius Ziegenfuss.

1860—No record.

1861.—Enos Koch, Charles Smith, John Hote, Samuel Hawk, S. W. Meckes.

1862.—A. Christman, B. Cortwright.

1863.—Samuel Hawk, John Hote.

1864.—Enos Koch, Charles Smith.

1865.—Adam Christman, Butler Cortwright.

1866.—Enos Koch, Charles Smith.

1867.—Adam Meckes, John Haide.

1868.—Enos Koch, David Snyder.

1869.—Adam Christman, Charles Smith.

1870.—John Hade, Adam Rouch.

1871.—Enos Koch, David Snyder.

1872.—Enos Koch, David Snyder.

1873.—Tie vote on Adam Christman, Chr. Smith, Francis Sieger.

1874.—John Hote, Philip Schoch.

1875.—David Snyder, Henry Linedecker.

1876.—A. D. Christman, Charles Smith, Henry Deppe.

1877.—Philip Schoch, Henry Deppe.


1879.—Enos Koch, Henry Linedecker.

1880.—Philip Shoch, Henry Deppe.

1881.—A. D. Christman, Charles Smith.

1882.—Philip Shoch, W. V. Rash.

1883.—Enos Koch, Henry Linedecker.


Justices of the Peace.—The justices of the peace from 1844 to the present time have been as follows:

Stephen Gould, March, 1844.

John Kelsey, March, 1845.

Jost Dreisbach, March, 1847.

Enos Koch, March, 1848 (declined).

Henry Garmer, March, 1849.

Andrew McNeal, March, 1850.

A. B. Dreisbach, March, 1851.

Isaac Harleman, March, 1851.

Andrew Decker, March, 1852.

Samuel Siewell, March, 1853.

Robert Maxwell, March, 1853.

Adam Christman, March, 1855.

Lewis Hawk, March, 1856.

George H. Weiss, March, 1857.

Jacob Weiss, March, 1858.

Samuel Hawk, March, 1859.

Adam Christman, March, 1860.

Cornelius Ziegenfuss, March, 1860; March, 1862.

Adam Christman, March, 1865.

John Eberle, March, 1868.

Enos Koch, October, 1869 (declined).

Adam Christman, October, 1869.

Levi Kurtner, March, 1872.

Adam Christman, March, 1875.

A. D. Christman, March, 1880.

Charles J. Tidd, March, 1880.

J. J. Smith, March, 1881.


















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 April 2003


Stephen E. Fritz



Web page by

Jack Sterling

May 2003