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History of Freeland, Pa.
Munsell on Foster Township, 1880

Foster Township

On November 15th, 1855, this township was set off from Denison and named after A. L. Foster, Esq., the principal early benefactor of the village of Eckley. It is noted for the excellent quality and large quantity of coal produced at its mines. John Lines was the pioneer settler. Besides his garden patch where he first located he cleared a piece of land at Terrapin Pond, about three miles southwest, and raised the first farm crop in this township. At that time Foster was not surveyed into lots, but was an unbroken and almost unknown wilderness, filled with wild beasts. The nearest neighbor was at Lowerytown, now Rockport, seven miles down the river, and visiting, especially in the evening, was a rare luxury.

About 1840 Thomas Morrison came in from the valley and located on Pond creek, three miles south of White Haven. Here he built two saw-mills and a grist-mill. The timber was soon exhausted and the saw-mills went to decay. Soon after Mr. Morrison settled he was appointed post-master, and the little settlement became known as Morrison's post-office. The grist-mill, yet in operation, is owned by Peter Moyer.

The following is a list of justices elected in Foster since its formation as a township: Reuben Leisenring, 1857; Thomas Morrison, 1860; Edward McHugh, 1864, 1869; James Morrison, 1865; John C. Roach, 1870; Francis Gabrio, 1870; William Sneddon, sen., 1874; William Sneddon, 1875.

The population of the township in 1880 was 5,118, against 3,000 in 1870.


Highland colliery, in the west part of the town, two and a half miles northeast of Jeddo, is owned by the Highland Coal Company and operated by G. B. Markle & Co. G. B. Markle is superintendent. At slope No. 1 there are four engines, with a total of 140 horse power, and 123 men and boys employed under ground and 75 on the surface. At colliery No. 2 there are three engines, with a total of 110 horse power. There are 81 men and boys employed under ground and 77 above. At slope No. 1 there were mined in 1878, 60,087 tons of coal and at colliery No. 2, 55,942 tons.

Sandy Run colliery, on a creek of that name southwest from White Haven, is owned by the Richardson estate and operated by M. S. Kemmerer & Co., with Thomas M. Righter as superintendent. There are nine engines at this colliery, with a total of 700 horse power. There are 97 men and boys employed under ground and 57 on the surface. In 212 days in 1878 they mined 82,032 tons of coal.

Buck Mountain colliery is partly in Carbon county. It is owned and operated by the Buck Mountain Coal Co. William Spencer is superintendent. The twelve engines have 525 horse power. There are 256 men and boys employed under ground, and 124 above the surface. The amount of coal mined in 1878 was 113,208 tons.

Heberton Circuit:

The Heberton circuit of the Methodist Episcopal church was organized May 15th, 1875, and embraced the following appointments:  Upper Lehigh, South Heberton, Highland and Jeddo borough in the township of Foster, and Latimer, Milnesville, Ebervale and Humbolt in the township of Hazle. Eckley was added, and Humbolt was dropped the same year. In 1876 Harleigh, in Hazle township, and Sandy Run, in Foster, waere added to the circuit. All of the above were school-house appointments except South Heberton and Milnesville. There were then 112 members and 46 probationers. Rev. N. S. Buckingham was the presiding elder, and Rev. John Horning preacher in charge, with Rev. Charles Buck junior preacher. The local preachers were Revs. George Bird and Joseph Evans.

Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, at South Heberton, was built in 1874, at a cost of $3,500 and opened for service without any formal dedication. There are 18 members at this place. The board of trustees consists of John M. Cunius, Jacob Mack, William H. Thomas, William Chalinger, John Burton, Joseph Evans, Alexander Steward, George Turner and William Carter.

Latimer Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1878, and dedicated the same year by Rev. J. W. Leckie. It cost $1,300. The trustees are D. S. Stine, William Martin, Joseph Evans, H. Wolf and Alexander Steward. Rev. William Porter was the preacher in charge in 1879.

The Methodist Episcopal Church at Jeddo was formerly a large school-house, and was purchased by the society , remodeled and fitted up for a church. The trustees are Jacob Mack, Robert Cowen, William Thomas, Edward Johnson, sen., and Thomas Miller.

At Ebervale the Methodist Episcopal society worships in a neat and substantial hall, built jointly by the society and the Young Men’s Christian Association of that place. There is also a flourishing union Sunday-school connected with the society, under the superintendence of Cyrus Young, Esq.

In October, 1876, the M. E. church at Milnesville was destroyed by fire, and the services have since been held in the school-house at that place.

According to the conference minutes in 1879 there were 352 members on the whole circuit.

The following preachers besides those named have served on this circuit since 1875: Rev. John Horning, 1875, 1876; Rev. C. L. Bennett, 1877, 1878, and the present pastor, Rev. Edmund White, 1879. The junior preachers have been: Rev. Charles J. Buck, 1875; Rev. J. R. Shipe, 1876, 1877; Revs. O. H. Huston and George E. King for a part or 1878, and Rev. J. C. Brown, 1879.

A union Sunday-school exists in nearly every school-house within the borders of the circuit, and at each church. There are 39 officers and teachers, and 297 scholars. The benevolent collections in these schools for 1878 amounted to $107.

-- From Munsell, William Watkins. History of Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties, Pa.: With Illustrations, and Biographical Sketches of Some of Their Prominent Men and Pioneers. New York: W. W. Munsell & Co., 1880.

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