Friday, November 28, 2008

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Isaac Weld, Jr.'s, a Dublin Irishman, journey to Wilkes-Barre in November, 1796.
"Wilkesbarre contains about 150 wooden dwelling houses, a court-house and gaol. It was here that the dreadful massacre was committed during the American War. Several of the houses in which the unfortunate victims retired to defend themselves, on being refused all quarter, are still standing, perforated in every part with balls; the remains of others that were set on fire are also still to be seen, and the inhabitants will on no account suffer them to be repaired."

A Yankee's Impressions of Wilkes-Barre (1800-1)
" Dec. 5.—Arrived at Wilkes-Barre about 2 p.m. It is now in agitation to build a turnpike from here to Easton, sixty miles, and should this be effected Philadelphia will be the market via this route, which will shorten the distance one hundred miles from what it is by the Lancaster road... (More)

Wilkes-Barre, 1800 - 1806
At the end of River Street stood the residence of Rosewell Welles. It was a double house, ceiled with pine boards, and I believe was never finished in the second story. Nearly in front of Judge Welles' stood the residence of Jabez Fish, on the bank of the river. Mrs. Fish kept a school for juveniles. (more)

Borough Council Minutes (1806 - 1820)
In May of 1806 an election was held to select the first officials of the newly formed borough of Wilkes-Barre. The election was not contested, as all of the good citizens turned out to vote. The vote cast resulted in the election of Jesse Fell as the first Burgess of Wilkes-Barre... (more)

Memorandum of a Stranger in Luzerne, 1810
" Cloudy day — rain towards night — 4 o'clock, came in sight of a small town in this county — a delightful and extensive valley, sufficiently watered by Susquehanna and its tributary streams. Set this county down rich — the soil undoubtedly will reward the labors of the husbandman with an abundant harvest. Came down into the town (Wilkesbarre)... (more)

Wilkes-Barre, 1813
" I will now go back a few years with the occurrences of my boyhood at Wilkes-Barre. When I was ten years old (1813), my father carried on the blacksmith business... (more)

Wilkes-Barre, August 1815
The plain upon which the town is built is about a mile and a half wide, and about fifteen miles long, and surrounded by lofty mountains which form the "Valley of Wyoming," of which you have so often heard. This is the same Wyoming where those horrid scenes took place... (more)

That Old School (1832 - in verse)
Once on a time in eighteen-thirty-two
When joys were plenty and when cares were few,
When Hope's bright pinions swept all clouds away,
And life to me was one unclouded day,
I found myself, a youth both small and spare,
Seated in school upon the Public Square... (more)

An Old Stage Driver (1839)
"It is nearly sixty years ago (about 1839) since I began driving stage between Wilkes- Barre and Carbondale," said Mr. David Laraway. "That was before there was a house in Scranton and at that time Wilkes-Barre was a village of less than a thousand inhabitants... (more)

Amos Sisty - Lyrics and Verses (1839 - 1841)
Rise - Sons of the Free - July 4, 1839
An Ode: Birth-Day of Washington - February 22, 1839
Tip-Tyler-Reform! - July 4, 1840
The Star Flag's Streaming in the Breeze - July 4, 1840
Ode To Wyoming - July, 1841

A Visit to Wilkes-Barre by a Young Philadelphian in the Year 1840
At about one o'clock this morning we left Shickshinny for Wilkes-Barre, and of all the rough rides I ever had I think this was about the roughest. The road runs up through two mountains, and is covered with loose stones, which throw the stage up and down in a manner that is really scandalous—in fact, I was tumbled from one side to the other continually from the time I started... (more)

Wilkes-Barre in 1844
Some little girls who are not too old to listen to stories, whose mother lived in Wilkes-Barre when the cows found good pasture in the upper part of Franklin street, wish me to tell them something about Wilkes-Barre, the capital of Luzerne County, as it was twenty-five years ago... (more)

Wilkes-Barre Sixty Years Ago (1845)
Sixty years ago the old borough lines extended from North to South streets, and from the canal to the river, and the inhabitants numbered only three or four thousand. With very few exceptions there were no paved sidewalks and in general makeup it was like any other country village, with no street light at night except that furnished by the moon... (more)

Some Old Residents
Faces of Those Recalled Who Lived in the Borough of Wilkes-Barre (1840's)
In 1841 the limits of the borough were from North street to south street, and prominent people who resided here, and where they lived are given by taking the streets in their regular order. On North River street first was Harry Colt a land surveyor ... (more)

Trip on the Stage Coach to Wilkes-Barre
The time of which I write is between forty and fifty years ago (about 1847). There was no railroad to get there, hence I will take a seat on top of the old four-horse coach and with my visiting friend once more live over again, a trip down through the beautiful Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys... (more)

Wilkes-Barre, Summer of 1849
I may state my first visit to Wilkes-Barre was made in the summer of 1849, by way of the Broad mountain, and by stage, as that was the only public mode of conveyance. The roads were extremely bad, rough and muddy, (more)

Letter from Wilkesbarre - July 23, 1849
We up here in the woods, put off for "The Rocks," a fashionable watering place, or rather wetting place on the Susquehanna, about a short half mile from here. There, may be seen, almost any time, any number of bathers, enjoying themselves hugely in the clear water, quite as happy as the sea-bathers... (more)

Fire of 1859
During the time James R. Rutter was foreman the Neptune Company attended all fires which occurred, the first blaze of importance being the big one of 1859 which started on West Market street and swept everything before it clear out to the corner of North Main street and Public Square... (more)

Flood of 1865
A century has not witnessed a flood in the Susquehanna of the magnitude of this of 1865... (more)

Fire of 1867
A serious fire occurred in the spring of 1867 when a large fire broke out on West Market street, which started in the tin shop of Theron Burnett which adjoined the White Horse hotel. Burnett's building stood on the site now occupied by Reichard and Trethaway's grocery store... (more)

Wilkes-Barre, 1870's
On Tuesday, June 6, 1871, the election of the first city officers took place and a hot contest was waged all day long, with the result that Ira M. Kirkendall, the burgess of the borough, was elected first mayor of the city. His opponent was E. B. Harvey, who was badly defeated, receiving only 618 votes to 1,582 cast for Mr. Kirkendall. (more)

Little Locals - 1877
Mrs. G. R. Lennard, the popular Market street milliner, has a rare assortment of summer goods on hand. Ladies going to the seaside should examine her stock of straws, ribbons, laces, feathers, zephyrs, fancy hosiery and kid gloves a specialty... (more)