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History of Freeland, Pa.
Munsell on Upper Lehigh, 1880

Upper Lehigh

Upper Lehigh is an exception to the rule in mining towns, as it is a model of neatness, presenting the appearance of a tidy New England village. The property is all owned by the Upper Lehigh Coal Company, and the stockholders are personally represented in every department of the work. The village was laid out in 1865 into regular streets and blocks, and the miners' houses, 205 in number, making 410 tenements of that class, are substantially built upon solid foundations, and are of a uniform size and neatly painted. The streets are broad and are kept scrupulously clean, as no rubbish of any kind is allowed to be deposited in the streets or alleys. The houses of the proprietors, superintendent, chief clerk and foreman are of modern architecture, and are painted a different color than those of the miners. The town is about 700 feet higher than the Lehigh at White Haven, and is approached from the east by the Nescopeck branch of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which was built to this place in 1867. The first building put up was the steam saw-mill, which was built in the fall of 1865 and commenced running that winter; in the spring of 1866 the company built 25 double homes, making 50 tenements. The first school-house, the double one on the Foster side of the line, was built in 1867, the second one in 1870, and the third one in 1876. The last two are on the Butler side of the line. George W. Kemmerer was appointed postmaster in 1867. At first the mails were received from Eckley; they are now received daily by the railroad. H. M. Merrick is the postmaster. In 1866 the company built a first class machine shop, where all its own work is done from the raw material. The company store, the only one here, was built in 1866. The Upper Lehigh Hotel, built by the Upper Lehigh Coal Company, was opened for the reception of guests January 28th, 1869, by Conrad Seiple as manager. This is the only hotel in the place.

The village is well supplied with pure spring water from the reservoir on the north side, above the double school-house. The water is carried in pipes to all parts of the town, and to the breakers.

The Upper Lehigh cemetery was laid out into lots in 1866.

T. J. Mays is the resident physician, employed on a salary and paid by assessment alike upon the employers and employed.

There are at this place two churches (Presbyterian and Welsh) and a Methodist Episcopal society without a church; a store, three school-houses and four schools, a hall, a shoemaker, and 1,400 inhabitants.

Mines at Upper Lehigh:

The mines were opened by the Upper Lehigh Coal Company in the summer of 1866, and the first shipment of coal was made in March, 1867. There are two ... [the rest of the text for this section is missing in the original publication]

Churches at Upper Lehigh:

Welsh Baptist -- This society was organized in 1868 in the double school-house, by Rev. John Johnson. He was succeeded by George H. Hammer, who was the first regularly installed pastor of the church, and remained with it seven years. The church is located on the south side of Main street, and was built in 1873 at a cost of $3,500. William Powell was at first and is now one of the deacons, elders, and trustees. The church is without a pastor. The present membership is 90. The value of the church property is $3,000. There is a flourishing Sunday-school, with E. M. Williams as superintendent.

Presbyterian -- This church owes its origin at this place to members of the Upper Lehigh Coal Company who belonged to the Presbyterian Church previous to locating here. John Leisenring, now of Mauch Chunk but at the time referred to mining coal at Eckley, was the first to purchase the land on which the present church edifice is built. With  him were associated such Christian gentlemen as Samuel B. Price, Daniel Bertsch, jr., and Walter Leisenring. No sooner were the mines in full operation than these men set about securing a place of worship, not only for themselves but for those in their employ. For a time they were supplied alternately by Presbyterian and Methodist ministers, and used an extemporized house of worship. The church was formally organized June 28th, 1868, by a committee appointed by the Presbytery of Luzerne for that purpose, with the following members: Mrs. Harriet B. Price, Miss Leisenring, Parker Price, Mrs. Anna Oliver and Mrs. Mary Jamison. An election for elder was held, which resulted in the choice of Parker Price.

The present church was built in 1871 at a cost for building and furnishing of about $4,500. The present value of the church property is $4,000.

Rev. John Johnson was the minister who gathered a nucleus for a church. With him Rev. Mr. Day, a Methodist minister, labored in preaching the gospel. Mr. Johnson continued to supply the pulpit, with the approval of the Presbytery, until the spring of 1870. Nov. 1st,  1870, Rev. George H. Hammer commenced his labors as a supply, which he continued until Nov. 18th, 1877. The present pastor, Rev. D. McLeod, a member of the Presbytery of Hudson, N.Y., commenced his labors as stated supply.
Good Templars' Lodge at Upper Lehigh:

Peerless Lodge, No. 1,283, Independent Order of Good Templars was instituted Feb. 5th, 1878. The original officers of the lodge were Thomas Jackson, W.P.C.T., William Stafford, W. C. T.; M. E. Boyer, W. V. T.; George Vanauker, W. S.; Alexander Vanauker, W. F. S.; W. M. Trescott, W. T.; Henry Helmer, W. M.; Emory Shelley, W. I. G.; Evan Moses, W. O. G.; Charles Trescott, W. C.;  W. D. Stafford, L. D.

The regular meetings of the lodge were held in the Butler school-house from the date of organization until the following October, since which time the lodge has occupied the Foster school-house.

The succeeding presiding officers have been M. E. Boyer, Goerge Vanauker, James Brookmire, Thomas Eastwood, Charles Croll, and W. G. Stafford.

The lodge is in a flourishing condition. The officers for 1880 are:  J. W. McMurtrie, W. C. T.; Thomas Eastwood, W. V. T.; M. E. Boyer, W. S.; W. W. Trescott, W. F. S.; Emory Shelley, W. T.; J. Sneddon, W. M.; William Kloss, W. S. G.; William Shelley, W. O. G.; Thomas Terry, W. C.; W. G. Stafford, L. D.

-- 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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