Place:Carbon, Pennsylvania, United States

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source: Family History Library Catalog

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Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,249. Its county seat is Jim Thorpe, founded in 1818 as Mauch Chunk, a company town of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) as it built a wagon road nine miles to their coal mine at today's Summit Hill, and constructed the Lehigh Canal navigations.

In 1827, that wagon road became the nation's second operating railroad,[1] the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad which is regarded as the world's first roller coaster,[2] which became its main function between 1873–1931. The area around Mauch Chunk was known as the "Switzerland of America", the long wide slack water pool above the Lehigh's upper dam being surrounded by Mauch Chunk Ridge, Bear Mountain, Pisgah Ridge, Mount Pisgah, Nesquehoning Ridge, Broad Mountain and their various prominences and summits. Another railroad first, the first railway to operate steam locomotives as traction engines and prime movers in the United States was the Beaver Meadows Railroad, which connected from mines west of Beaver Meadows and Weatherly on the opposite side of Broad Mountain along a water path through the Lehigh Gorge at Penn Haven Junction (once supporting five railroads) to the Lehigh Canal opposite Lehighton.

In the 1830s, the first blast furnaces in Northampton County were built by the LC&N in an attempt to make anthracite iron, the foundation of the early industrial revolution in America. The LC&N also built the first wire rope factory in the U.S. in Mauch Chunk.

Carbon County is included in the AllentownBethlehemEaston, PA–NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the New YorkNewark, NY–NJ–CT–PA Combined Statistical Area. However, the Lehigh Valley directly borders the Delaware Valley, and Carbon County is included in Philadelphia's Designated Media Market. It is considered part of the state's Coal Region, though the eastern and northeastern sections are considered part of the Pocono Mountains—since they are east of the Lehigh River, the demarcation arbitrarily separating very similar mountain ridge and valley systems.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Carbon County was created on March 13, 1843 from parts of Northampton and Monroe Counties and was named for the extensive deposits of anthracite coal in the region, where it was first discovered (1791) and early attempts were made to exploit the deposits by the Lehigh Coal Mine Company (1792), whose expeditions broke trail and pioneered river bank sites using mule animal powered technology to log, saw, and build arks to carry bags of coal to Philadelphia, with only scant success.

The first settlement in Carbon County was the Moravian mission Gnadenhutten, established in 1745 in the Northampton County of the day. Deeply moved by the deplorable state of the Leni Lenape Indians in America, twelve Moravian missionaries left their home in Herrnhut Germany and traveled by sea to the wilderness of Pennsylvania, a place known for religious tolerance under the auspices of Count Zinzendorf. Located where Lehighton now stands, Gnadenhutten exemplified communal simplicity. Home to hundreds of Lenni Lenape (Delaware) and Mahican Indians displaced by white settlements, predation, bigotry and subjugation to the Iroquois, the Delaware peoples were being squeezed out of the southern counties and New Jersey westwards and against the Blue Ridge escarpment. The mission was a scene of quiet, humble and unobtrusive heroism and the Indians' shelter. Although the wilderness of Carbon County was quite treacherous, the Moravians traveled in the wilds of Carbon County undaunted. By 1752, increased hostility put Gnadenhutten at risk for attack, but the missionaries' pious good works did not go unnoticed. The frankness and earnestness of the simple Moravians had won respect with the many tribes of Pennsylvania Indians, and they lived without incident until 1755. At that point an Amerindian uprising drove settlements away from the Lehigh Gap, and whites didn't re-enter the area before the late 1780s according to Brenckman.[1] In 1791, a homesteader, Phillip Ginter hunting on 'Sharp Mountain' along Pisgah Ridge found a black 'stone coal' outcropping, and conveyed a chunk of it to Weissport, PA. (For a more complete set of details & events, see Lehigh Canal and Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company articles.)

Lehigh Coal Mine Company (LCMC) operations had managed to fell many trees and open up the mouth area of the Nesquehoning Creek by 1800. This area became known as Lausanne, or Lausanne Landing, after the Inn & Tavern built there called the "Landing Tavern". An Amerindian trail, crossed the stream near the confluence with Jean's Run and the camp grounds of their boat builders, climbing northwestwards along a traverse to the next water gap west, eroded into the southern flank of Broad Mountain (Lehigh Valley). Connecting across the barrier ridge it had just climbed to another valley whose waters originated in the saddle-pass in which Hazleton, Pennsylvania was built, the trail would become the 'Lausanne-Nescopeck road' (mule trail), then the Lehigh & Susquehanna Turnpike in 1804. Today, PA 93 follows this route in the main, save where modern road building capabilities allowed improved positioning. This road cut off from a trip from Philadelphia to the Wyoming Valley and the northern sections of the Coal Region.

Carbon County is the location of the trials and executions of the controversial Molly Maguires, an Irish secret society that had been accused of terrorizing the region.

Carbon County has a rich history. Some interesting people have passed through her mountains, including the Moravian mystic Count Zinzendorf, Benjamin Gilbert, John James Audubon, Benjamin Franklin, and many more.

Blessed with a unique geography, Carbon County dazzled the adventurous travelers of the Victorian era, just as it attracts adventurers today. Aesthetically not much has changed of this unique landscape; written in 1877, the following passage is still valid today: "Such rough and tumble experience, climbing mountains, falling over rocks, exploring wild ravines, diving into coal mines, and riding on every description of conveyance which it has entered into the mind of man to run on." Home of the Lehigh Gorge State Park, Carbon County is an ideal place for hikers, cyclists, history buffs and adventurers.[3]


Date Event Source
1843 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1843 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1843 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1850 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1850 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1850 15,686
1860 21,033
1870 28,144
1880 31,923
1890 38,624
1900 44,510
1910 52,846
1920 62,565
1930 63,380
1940 61,735
1950 57,558
1960 52,889
1970 50,573
1980 53,285
1990 56,846

Research Tips

External links

  • Outstanding guide to Carbon County family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, censuses, wills, deeds, county histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.

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