History of the Lehigh Valley

 

History of the Lehigh Valley: containing a copious selection of the most interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc., etc., relating to its history and antiquities, with complete history of all its internal improvements, progress of the coal and iron trade, manufactures, etc.

Since the completion of the Lehigh Valley Railroad this region of country has been visited by thousands a large proportion of whom have come solely with the view of obtaining recreation, and a change from the old round of tours which, from frequent repetition, no longer yield them the same freshness of attraction as in former times. They have been gratified and delighted with the beauty of the scenery, novelty of the objects, and exhilarating salubrity of the mountain atmosphere. Many of them have returned from time to time, always finding something new on which they could dwell with pleasure. With but few exceptions, they have expressed their regret that a book descriptive of the many objects of interest had never been published. With the object in view of instructing not only the tourist, but also the resident of the Lehigh Valley, this volume was prepared. They endeavored to fulfil our promise made at the outset, to furnish an authentic and complete history of all the towns on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. To make the work still more entertaining, it has been profusely illustrated by beautiful lithographic views of the scenery, and portraits of the leading men in the valley.

We have commenced the work by an Outline History of Pennsylvania, and followed it by a History of Old Northampton County, Histories of Northampton, Lehigh, and Carbon Counties; complete histories of all the towns and villages in the valley, from their first settlement down to the present time; and histories of the Lehigh Canal, Lehigh Valley and Beaver Meadow Railroads, &c. &c.

The short biographical sketches interspersed throughout the work, of men distinguished in their own community, but not much beyond, seldom find an appropriate place in a history of the ordinary form, and yet it is important that they should be preserved. The topographical and statistical information embodied in the work, is designed to connect the history of the past with the present state of manners and improvements, and to present the features of the two periods in striking contrast: and although to some minds these details may seem out of place in an historical work, yet it should be remembered that the statistics of today may be the history of ten years hence. Many of the facts here recorded, both statistical and historical, may seem trivial or tediously minute to the general reader, and yet such facts have a local interest, and for that reason have been inserted. The materials for the work have not been gathered without great personal labor and heavy expense. Recourse has not only been had to many private and public libraries, but the compiler has spent much time in each of the counties, examining ancient newspapers and musty manuscripts, conversing with aged pioneers, and collecting from them orally many interesting facts never before published, which otherwise would probably not have been preserved.

 

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The Kittatinny Valley (in which the greater portion of the Lehigh Valley is included) is continuous and unbroken from Lake Champlain to Tennessee, if not to the Mississippi River. It is bounded by the Kittatinny or Blue Mountains on the north, and by the South Mountain (the Blue Ridge of Virginia) on the south. Its average breadth from the Delaware River to the Susquehanna is abouf twelve to fifteen miles. It is, take it all for all, the largest and most fertile valley of continuous land in the world. The name "Kittatinny," given to the valley, means "endless;" the length of it being so great that the Indians supposed there was no end to it. The northern half is argillaceous slate, and the southern limestone. Perhaps the richest portion of the land is near the line where the two soils meet, and in which the lime predominates. The streak extends along by Kazareth, Bath, Siegfried's Bridge, and Fogelsville, in Northampton and Lehigh Counties. It is at this point that hydraulic cement is found throughout the length of the valley, of the very best quality, and which is prepared in large quantities on the Lehigh near Whitehall. A distinguished statesman of the United States, who had occasion to pass through this valley, said, that previous to that trip, he had been disposed to put down what he heard about Pennsylvania husbandry, &c., to some extent, to State boasting but that he must now give it up; for he had never in all his life (during which he had travelled over a great deal of the United States, as well as considerably in Europe) seen any continuous one hundred miles which exhibits such uniform evidence of wealth and independence as he observed in the valley from Harrisburg to Easton. "There is," said he, "no place on the road where you can travel half a mile, that you do not find a good substantial farm house and barn of such dimensions as are nowhere else to be met with, with well-cultivated farms; the fence rows clear of brush, and the fields filled with such crops of grain and grass as are hardly to be met with, even in detached farms elsewhere. The horses and cattle are fine and well-fed, and their masters and mistresses are literally living on the fat of the land. Here the eye meets with the constant assurance that freemen own and freemen cultivate the soil."

As we have before said, the greater portion of the Lehigh Valley is included in this great and beautiful " Kittatinny Valley," The Lehigh River is a mountainous stream, and meanders through a series of natural scenes not excelled if equalled in the United States. Its extreme northern sources are in the southern part of Wayne County and in Luzerne near Wilkesbarre. The stream runs in a southerly course until it reaches Allentown, where it changes its direction and continues its course nearly due east for eighteen miles, and empties into the Delaware at Easton.