Shavertown is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kingston Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States. It lies approximately northwest of the city of Wilkes-Barre and southwest of Scranton. The population of the CDP was 2,019 at the 2010 census.
Shavertown is named for an early settler, Philip Shaver.
In 1813, Philip purchased the land that would become Shavertown from William Trucks, the name sake of Trucksville. Trucks sold Bedford, lot 3, a 1,400 acre plot to Philip.
In the Genealogy and Family History of Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys, it was noted that a “cardinal principle with Philip Shaver was that a man was not really running into debt when he bought and owed for real estate at a reasonable price.”
That same year, 1813, Philip sold the northwest portion of his land to John McClellon. Upon Philip’s former land, McClellonsville was constructed, a small village, later named Dallas.
In 1818 Philip still owned nearly thousand acres of land in the Back Mountain area.
Philip was born in 1762 along the Danube River Valley in Vienna, Austria. He migrated to the U.S. in between 1765-1769 with his parents and brothers.
Philip Shaver married Mary Ann Wickizer at St. James Lutheran Church, Greenwich, Warren County, New Jersey, on December 12, 1786. They had 7 children John Philip Shaver, Peter Shaver, William G. Shaver, Elizabeth Shaver, James Henry Shaver, George Shaver, and Asa W. Shaver.
Circa 1804, Philip and his family arrived in Forty Fort, where they resided until 1810.
Philip came to the “Back of the Mountain” in search of a gigantic species of legendary evergreen trees. He was forced to carve out a path from a rugged foot trail and among heavily forested lands, now Route 309.
Philip and his sons constructed a sawmill in 1815. The first mill was on the north branch of Toby Creek and located near the Prince of Peace Church, Main Street in Dallas.
As late as 1886, a few of these trees still existed. In William Penn Ryman’s book on the history of Dallas Township, he quotes one account of the forest around Dallas:
"There was a growth of very large pine trees, may of them 150 to 200 feet high. There were also oak, maple, chestnut and hemlock in abundance. There were many other kinds of wood, but these predominated."
“A great number of large pine stumps can still be seen in the fields and numerous stump fences about Dallas, there was at one time a species of very tall pine trees covering that country. A very few of them can still be seen (1886) towering far above the other highest trees in the woods below Dallas, near the Ryman and Shaver steam saw-mill, but they are the last of their race. For some reason they do not reproduce and will soon be an extinct species. Many of them grew to a height of 175 to 200 feet, and often the trunk, would be limbless for 150 feet from the ground, with a diameter of from five to six feet at the ground."
Philip cut the wood for the first Market Street Bridge in Wilkes-Barre, 1820.
He had the constant desire to improve and he wished those around him to have similar opportunities. It is said that after years of watching children labor on farms, Philip wished that the farm girls and boys should learn to read and write. In 1816, he donated the land for the first school in the Back Mountain. The school was a one room log cabin on the site of the current Back Mountain Memorial Library on Huntsville Road.
Philip set aside lands for a public burying ground “On the hill near the pine grove just south of Dallas Village, on the road to Huntsville.” Philip also designated a plot of land for his family’s graves, visible from Overbrook Road.
In 1826, Philip died after a fatal accident. His left hand was crushed in the cider press that he and his sons were operating in November 1826. Philip was forced to amputated his own hand and died of blood poisoning a few days later on November 7, 1826. A relative, Bayard Taylor Shaver of Lake Minnetonka, MN, told of using that same cider press on a visit to the Shaver farm in 1876.
Philip’s Headstone rests at the very end of the Shaver Cemetery to this day, commanding a view of generations the deceased’s relatives. Inscribed upon his footstone reads a testament to Philip’s vast travels, miraculously visible over two centuries later, it reads, “Here lies my weary feet.”
Not a serious man, however, Philip is often noted as possessing a tone of humor.