History of Spring Brook Township, Pa.

A short history on when Spring Brook Township was formed.

Spring Brook Township

Spring Brook Township was formed from Covington, Nov. 22, 1853. The population in 1870 was 426, and in 1880, 658. The north half was originally owned by Dr. Hoosic and the south half by Mr. Fisher, except 800 acres at Yostville, owned by H. W. Drinker.

Luzerne County was the original county, but later changed to Lackawanna County. The first settlement was made in 1832 by Abraham Turner. The original settlers, besides Turner, were Barney Casey and in 1833, Morgan Daniels, William Thomas and G. Laugher. Then in 1847. G. Y. Haines came.

The first pioneer sawmill was built in 1830 by Mr. Yeager at the mouth of Panther Creek on Spring Brook Creek. Later there were mills built by A. Dolph and William Dole and his brother who built a mill about 1845 on Spring Brook Creek. The main business was timbering which was large at the time but finally the mills were abandoned due to the lack of timber.

The pioneer schoolhouse was built in 1832. It was a framed building and stood on the site of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. The school was taught by Emeline Griffin and her students were Mary Thomas, William Daniels and Nathan Turner. A tannery was built by James Parry at Rattlesnake Falls in 1845 and was abandoned a few years later.

The first road was from Spring Brook Village to Daleville, Covington Township, and the next road was to Pittston. There were three bridges built on the Pittston Road near the Nesbitt Reservoir by Dave Dale. The first frame house was built around the time of 1845 to 1850 by Jonathan Price on the north side of the township, followed by John Thomas. The first wedding was in 1835 by Morgan Pugh and Mrs. Margaret Davis. The pioneer baby was born in 1834, Caleb Turner, son of Abraham and Mary Turner. The first death was Thomas Williams, who was killed by a falling tree. The first postmaster was William C. Turner, who was appointed in 1860. The first mail carrier was George Swartz, who carried mail between Moscow and Spring Brook. The railroad for transportation of lumber, was built by Sax and Hesler, up Spring Brook from Moosic to near the mouth of Plank Road Creek. The first Justice of the Peace was Nathan Turner in 1856. In the spring of 1880, there were 110 voters registered.

Our church community had a humble beginning. homes and barns were erected; fields were cleared and planted; and dirt roads were constructed. most of this work was done by hand and horses. There were three churches in the township; The Methodist Episcopal built in 1866 with 12 members, the Independent Methodist Church, built in 1869 with 39 members, and the Calvinistic Methodist Church built in 1861 with 12 members. The first man to hold religious services was Rev. Evan Evans, an independent Methodist clergyman in 1830 or 1832. At that time, there were 100 residents. At Maple Lake there was a steam saw mill, a blacksmith shop and a school house with about 75 residents.

In 1870 on the east border of the township, which is Yostville, Yost, Pile & Co. built a steam sawmill, store and several dwellings. A post office was built in 1876 with Joshua Yost as postmaster. There was a large lumbering business done at that time and most of the lumber was delivered on cars to Moscow to the D.L. & W. Railroad.

After 1853 when Spring Brook was divided from Covington Township, Spring Brook Township was divided into 400 acre plots and further into warranties of 100 acre plots and further to half lots, priced at $3 per acre, that could be purchased on time payments. When the Spring Brook Lumber Company located in the Township in 1855, the virgin forest was rapidly turned into saleable lumber, 69 million board feet in seven years. Approximately at that time, the Lackawanna Valley started coal mining.

Maple Lake, along Rattlesnake Creek, was a favorite location within the township because the land was more easily cultivated. German and Scottish immigrants followed shortly thereafter, and all were immediately engaged in either farming or timbering. Small farms and sawmills were scattered around what is now Maple Lake. The first homes were log houses, but as the sawmills became established, more elaborate frame homes were constructed.

The surrounding communities of Covington Township, Madison and Moscow were settled earlier through the efforts of Col. Henry W. Drinker, who owned thousands of acres in what is now know as North Pocono. Many immigrants were met at incoming ships as they landed in this country by a representative of Col. Drinker, whose sole purpose was to encourage them to settle on Drinker's property.

In 1856, an historic event took place; one that had a tremendous impact on the growth of Spring Brook. The Lackawanna Railroad was completed through the town of Moscow. Prior to the railroad, the primary method of transportation was the Drinker Turnpike, a stagecoach road that ran from Stroudsburg, PA to Great Bend, PA. The new railroad brought an instant expansion to Spring Brook and it opened the door to the outside world.

The first schoolhouse in Spring Brook Township was built in Maple Lake in 1870. Children walked to school and all students in grades 1-8 shared the same room and teacher. There was no running water or electricity, and it had outside sanitary facilities. A wood burning stove in the front room provided heat. As the township grew, other one room schoolhouses were established.

The viaduct bridge was built in 1890 over Spring Brook Creek near Watres Dam. It was one hundred and sixty five feet high and seventeen hundred feet long. it was owned by the Wilkes-Barre and Eastern Railroad and used for fifty years to transport goods between Wilkes-Barre and Easton. The services were discontinued in 1940, when at that time it was demolished. It was known as the High Bridge to the local residents.