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of Freeland, Pa.
Bradsby on South Heberton, 1893
... The next pioneer in Foster was Joseph Birkbeck, who came in 1844 and settled at what was for a long time called South Heberton, in the valley between Freeland and Upper Lehigh. He purchased a large tract of land of Edward Lynch, a part of which is now in the borough of Freeland. He built first a log house, and then a frame which stands a short distance north of the Freeland north borough line. The next settler was Nathan Howes (Howey), who purchased the west part of the Birkbeck tract and built his house to the west a short distance from Birkbeck's. Mr. Birkbeck, after the opening of the collieries at Upper Lehigh, laid off a village and called it South Heberton.
Mr. Birkbeck's was the first clearing in this then forest; in it were raised the first crops, and here the first orchard was set out.
The first child born at South Heberton was Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Birkbeck, born in 1845. The first death at this place was that of William, son of Joseph and Elizabeth Birkbeck, which occurred February 11, 1846, aged four years.
In 1845 and 1846 Mr. Joseph Birkbeck cut the road through the woods from South Heberton through Eckley to Buck monutain. Eckley was then known as Shingletown, as no business was done there except by two or three parties whose occupation was making shingles, carting them to either White Haven or Hazleton and trading them for the necessaries of life, such as whisky, pork and tobacco.
The first store at South Heberton was kept by a man named Feist, a little west of Birkbeck's. Soon afterward a Mr. Minig kept a little store near Feist's.
The first tavern was kept by N. Howes, where Joseph Jamison now lives a little west of Birkbeck's. Previous, however, to the opening of Howes' tavern, Mr. Birkbeck accommodated parties who were prospecting in this region for anthracite deposits, with the best the house afforded.
The first schoolhouse at this place was built in 1878, and is a frame building.
When Mr. and Mrs. Birkbeck moved into this then wilderness they were far from any settlement. At Morrison, near White Haven, was the nearest store, and Straw's, over in Butler, was the nearest gristmill.
South Heberton has long since lost its identity and is now simply a cluster of houses midway between Freeland and Upper Lehigh along the wagon road.
-- Bradsby, H. C., editor. History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Selections. Chicago, S. B. Nelson & Co., 1893.
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