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Vol. I.

JULY, 1887.

No. 11.

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Interesting Reminiscence of the Old Sexton and High Constable Who Rang the Cnrfew Bell and Terrorized WilkesBarre Boys Half a Century Ago. John Michael Keinzle oame from Switzerland about the year 1802, and was elected high constable of Wilkes-Barre in 1806, and held the office until bis death in 1846. He was a small, aotive man, and the only thing high aboat him was his temper, and this only when exasperated by the bad boys of the town, by whom he was known and uniTersally called "Old Pickle." Naturally he had a kind and tender heart, and was fond of little folks, so long as they behaved well. I can remember being one of a soldier company of which Ned Mallery was captain, and Ned Babb first lieutenant. Our guns were made in the carpenter shop of John 1'. Babb, of good wood, with a snap spring on the side, whioh answered our purpose, and were not dangerous. We used to parade on the Saturday half holiday, and generally on the river bank, near old Michael's residence, whioh was in the *Arndt store house on the edge of the bank opposite Morgan's tavern. On these occasions Michael would frequently pass along our line as we were drawn up for review and give each of the boys a penny, which, to most of us, was considered quite a prize, and as Miohael was a poor man, it showed the kindness of his heart toward us, which we never forgot. Ue was not only the constable of the town, but was also the sexton of the churches, and attended to the opening and lighting, cleaning, bell ringing, grave digging, tolling the bill for funerals, etc. A more faithful servant never bad charge of the interests of a town. As a sexton of the churches, he had the lamps to keep clean and filled with whale oil. At the mid-week meetings he lighted the candles and attended to keeping them well snuffed. At the church be wore pump shoes, and moved about among the congregation silently with his snuffers reviving the lights at the time of singing, etc. On Sunday he sat in the gallery where he could watch the boys, and woe to any urohin who did not sit still or who made any noise. He rang the bell at 9 o'clock at night in the old Meeting House in the Public Square, as a notice to the mer

chants to close np, and for all who were abroad to retire to their homes and go to bed, and this he did without pay and in all kinds of weather, and never failed to toll the day of the month after the ringing. He had a pound on the river bank, near his residence, and all cattle found at large at night were driven into it and kept there until the owner paid his fine and took them away. When a drunken man was found lying asleep Michael went for his wheelbarrow and putting the poor wretch on it wheeled him to the pound and then dumped him in among the cows and swine until be reoovered his senses. In the winter when the deep snows would cover the ooal-ashsidewalks, Miohael would be np while the town was asleep and, with a snow-plow, drive aloDg the walks and have all the snow off by the time the people got their eyes open; and this he did, as far as I know, without any compensation, except the pleasure of doing it for the good of the town. He had the only hay soales in the town at his home on the river bank, where by means ot a beam t} which were attached long ohains whioh he fastened to the wheels of the wagons raising them and the hay clear of the ground and getting at the weight. He was the weigh master of the town and charged ten oents for the services. He was fearless when in discharge of his duty, and many a time he would make arrests and take the prisoner to the door of the jail, and then his goodness of heart would cause him to let the prisoner go after a good scare and the promise of reformation. This, of course, applied mostly to the boys of the town, when he was fortunate enough to catch them. As an example of his nerve, he at one time ascended the steeple of the old church and stood upon the small ball, 125 feet from the ground. If he found a cow daring enough to enter the church yard he would then show his temper, as he generally had to chase her several times around the church before he got rid of her, then he would swear in his broken Swiss until all was blue. Upon one occasion the writer rode np bare baok on a horse to get a switch from the willow tree that stood in front of the Episcopal Ohnroh. In order to do this it became necessary to ride upon the sidewalk, whioh was contrary to law, and in reaohing up with both hands, totally undonsoious of danger or harm. Michael, who was in the ohurch, discovered me, and quietly coming np behind the horse, struck him a whack across the back with his swordcane. The attack ooming so unexpectedly, and being altogether unprepared for it, the horse eprang forward and came very near breaking my neck. Ah soon as I recovered my seat I looked back at "Old Pickle," who was swearing gloriously, for he had splintered and broken his cane, which afforded me gratification enough, and I laughed heartily, which only served to increase his wrath. I was wrong for laughing at him and am sorry now as I think of it that I did it. How well I remember standing by the graveB he had digged and notioing his quite sympathetic ways as he dropped the dirt upon the coffin lid at the words "duBt to dust, ashes to ashes," and when, as was the custom then, the bystanders, after the service, would throw in the dirt until Michael would say, "Dis will do shentlemens" after which he would remain and fill up the grave. I presume if all the reminiscences of "Old Michael" during his 40 years of service could be collected they would fill a volume. Notwithstanding bis many engagements, he found time to cultivate a garden in the lot just below the residence of £. P. Darling, in whioh he cultivated besides vegetables a beautiful display of flowers. He lived entirely alone, having a room fitted up in the beforementioned store house. His death was occasioned by a fall down the stairs by which he reached his bedroom, tie was discovered by accident, or he might have died where he fell, but when found he was carefully nursed until be died. An old man faithful to every trust, and vigilant in the discharge of every doty, he was buried in the old burying ground on Market Street, where be had assisted in laying away Bo many of the citizens young and old, of the town, and the bell which he had tolled so often for others now tolled for him. I do cot remember that auy stone marked his resting place; and I have often wondered whether any one now living could tell where his remains rest at present, since the removal of the dead to the new cemeteries. If so, nothing could be more tilting than to ereot some kind of a monument as a slight tribute to his unselfish fidelity and worth.— Wilkes-Barre Telephone.

A Monument to Old Michael. In the Record of Tuesday, July 26, was an interesting article recalling Old Michael, Wilkes-Barre's sexton, and High Constable of half a oentury ago. In the article the suggestion was made that the admirers of

Old Michael raise a fund with whioh to erect a monument to his memory. The suggestion has drawn out a letter from a Wyalnsing gentleman who attended school at the old Aoademy on Publio Square, 50 odd years ago, to his brother, residing in this city, offering to contribute towards a suitable memorial. The Rkooed will be pleased to publish similar offers from other sources, together with any reminisoenoes of the sturdy old sexton which may be at hand. The letter reads as follows:

Dear Brother: Yesterday's Recobd contains some reminscenoes of "Old Michael." who served Wilkes-Barre so long and so unselfishly as High Constable and general sexton to the churches; and the suggestion is made that his grave may be unknown and unmarked. Feeling under some obligation to his memory, I would be willing to contribute to a suitable memorial for him. About 1882 there lived in the town an unfortunate "Jim Oridley." whom the boys used to delight in teasing when on his sprees. I was attracted to the intersection of Market and Franklin Streets ou one of these occasions, in which I participated as an outsider and onlooker. I was perhaps not as much on my guard as more active ones; and Old Michael caught and dosed me with the prescription "when taken, to be well shaken!" and the medicine was effective. I never assisted, even theoretically, in another "mill" of a drunkard.

The winter I boarded at Aunt B's, old Michael called one oold morning in regard to some question of church service, and Cousin Kmily (Mrs. Wright) brought him a glass of wine. He may have expected some snch recognition; and if he did, he deserved it. The hoys who value his memory should spesk out; as that memory ought to be perpetuated •>>■ a fitting memorial. a. H. W.

Wyalusjng, July 27, 1887.

The CoHntv Assessment. The assessments from all the districts of Luzerne County have been returned to the office of the county commissioners and the totals footed up. The total number of taxables in the county is 54,598; value of seated lands 88,225,647; value of building lots $3,034,227; value of houses 84,046,511; value of outbuildings and other improvements 82,115,224; number of horses 13,577; value of horses 8308.962; number of cattle 8,924; value of cattle $88,701; value of occupations 82,502,231; number of stages, omnibuses, etc., 282; value of same $8,880; total valuation of taxables for county purfoees $20,390,883.


The Objections It Had to Sleet 00 Tears Ago —Pronounced Visionary and Impracticable.

There is before as a copy of the Lycominy Gazette of August 24, 1825, which contains a six column artiole headed "Railways Inexpedient in Pennsylvania," in which the author, "H," argues strenuously in favor of canals, in preference to railway transportation, either by horse or by steam power. In his endeavor to show a railway from Philadelphia to Pittsburg to be impracticable, he unotes from a pamphlet on that subject, winch says, "in the majority of instances, if the ascent be not greater than 1:2' feet to the mile, hills offer no obstacles whatever to railways," the inference being that if a greater ascent should intervene that it would offer a serions obstacle. He regarded a horse railway as entirely inadequate to Hooommodate the local trade, locomotive power being regarded as oat of the question. He saye, "a bustle of business will alwHys occur in the spring of the year, after farmers have thrashed their grain. In that season it will not be nnusual for 15 or 20 individuals in the same village to wish to load their cars at the same time." He gays a car will carry about two tons, and the presence of a Hundred or more cars in a town at the same time would oause inextricable confusion among the patrons of the road.

Again he sayj. "as the advocates of the railroad system universally agree, that Pennsylvania cannot afford the expense of railway and locomotive engines, it is fntile to expect that the great objects of speed, cheapness of transportation and general accommodation will be accomplished by means of horse power."

"The expense of constructing a road with four Bete of rails—two for commodities and two for passengers, mails, etc.,with a locomotive engine, would be extremely unprofitable to the State, were it even practicable."

In conclusion the cautions Mr. H. says: "Let the people of Pennsylvania then pursue the even tenor of their way—in accordance with their characteristic caution, and refuse to sanction by their adoption, a yet visionary scheme about which they know nothing."

It is but sixty-one years since tho foregoing arguments against the introduction of railroads in our State were gravely pat forth as unanswerable in favor of canals and against railroads as a means of transportation, the practicability of the latter being even doubted, when 12! , feet to the mile asoending grade was regarded ns the maximum for railroading purposes, and yet by the light of experience we now find that the highest mountain range offer little obstruc

tion to the successful operating of railroads by steam, while 2}{ ton oars have given place to gondolas of 25 tons burden, as we see long trains of ooal laden oars of the largest oapaoity moving as if by magic op the steepest grades of our mountain systems. Who shall predict what the next half oentury may bring about by way of electrical motive power in thisoountry? w. j.

Peter Pence Again. Editob Recobd: Allow me to oommunioate the following letter from John Q. Dioe, E^q., of Wayne Station, Pa., which throws a little more light on Peter Penoe, a sketch of whom was published your columns.

a. F. H.

Wayne Station, Pa., June 8, 1887.— Deab Sib: Penoe had but one son. He died about 1809 in Wayne Township, Northumberland County. That was before Lycoming or Clinton was organized. He was buried in Wayne Township, which now is Crawford Township, Clinton County.

ili has three or four grand-ohildren living in Crawford Township, who are well off, and can give a fair account of their grandfather. As I am well acquainted with them I hope to get a full history from them. I may be able in the near future to get hold of some old documents that may lead to a more correct statement than hag yet been made. I have seen the plaoe where he is buried. I also saw a book where he voted in 1802, '3 and '6 in Wayne township, Northumberland County. That was about the last voting he did. I am trying to get his age and then will give his whole history as near as I can. I also saw the place where Penoe and Grove and others killed the Indians at the mouth of < < rove's Run on the Sinnamahoning. Thirty years ago when we were running a railroad line the marks of their axes were still on the trees and that is why it was oalled Grove's Run. That is 48 miles west from Wayne. They went up that run six miles and came down another run and struck the river six miles west of the mouth of the Sinnamahoning Creek and that ran is oalled Grove's Run. They then came down the West Branch River and returned to Northumberland without being molested.

John Q. Dice,

Now.. —Mr. Dice is evidently mistaken in his statement that Peter Penoe died in 1809, as the Legislature of Pennsylvania, March 10, 1810, passed a bill granting him an annuity which they certainly would not have done had be died the year before. The records at Harrisburg should show how this pension was paid him and when.—Ed.]

A Very Hot July.

It has been said over and over again that the month of July jnst ended was hotter than any other July within the memory of the oldest inhabitant. This seems to be a mistake, at least it is so figured ont by a Record man, who has examined the meteorological reoords made by Jndge Dana, who has an outfit of Government instruments. From his tables it appears that July of the present year was not as hot as was July in 1883, by one degree. The reason that the former has created so mnoh discomfort is that the humidity has been far above the common moisture. The rainfall for the month of July during the past six years has been as follows:

July 1883, rainfall 4.66 inoheB; rain fell on eight days; average of maximum temperature, 79X degrees.

July 1883, rainfall 6.41 inches; rain fell on 14 days; average maximum temperature, 81.

July 1884, rainfall 4.59 inohes; sixteen days; average maximum temperature, 77.

July 1885, rainfall 3.19 inohes, nine days; average maximum temperature, 75J£.

July 1886, rainfall 3.92 inches, nine days; average maximum temperature, 77%.

July 1887, rainfall 9.53 inches, thirteen dayB; average maximum temperature, 80.

The maximum temperatures noted by Judge Dana are taken at 2 pm., and the showing for the several years is as follows:


enced under ordinary circumstances. His instruments are within a house—Government standard—built for the purpose, and are not protected by trees. On the other hand Judge Dana's thermometer hangs on a tree in his garden, more or less protected also, by a grape arbor, his maximum for July of the present year ranging four degrees below that of Dr. Hodge, the latter's being 87.8 degrees.

Dr. Bodge says that according to his instruments July was the hottest of any month during the 19 years he has baen engaged in taking observations. There were 15 days on which the temperature reached 90 or over, a really remarkable continuity of heat. The highest temperature noted by Dr. Hodge was 99.1 degrees and the lowest was 57.5. Only once dnring the mouth, night or day, did the temperature fall below 60. The average maximum temperature was 87.8, the average minimum was 65.1 and the mean temperature for day and night was 75 3. Dr. Hodge sayB that September, 1881, was popularly styled the hottest month on record, but he was absent at that time and consequently has no observations:

Dr. Hodge kindly furnishes the following maximums and minimums for July, 1887:

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The observations of Rev. Dr. Hodge, who also has Government instruments, probably oome nearer to the degree of heat as expen

It ought to be said, however, that tbe temperature in the average home is far higher than that in the observation house where Dr. Hodge's Government instruments are situated. From his minimum it would look as if the nights ought to be oool enough for comfort, but the fact is that a standard thermometer in the sleeping apartment of the writer indicated a minimum of 80 through out the entire night on many dates, and never once went below 75. It is a pity we could not surround ourselves with the conditions which environ Dr. Hodge's instruments, hot as the latter show up.

The rainfall on Monday, Aug. 1, was phenomenal, the gauges of both Judge Dana and Dr. Hodge measuring an inch plus. It would be interesting to know what the rainfall was up Laurel Run.


The Beverages with Which Our Grandfathers Used to Warm Their Inside* in Winter and Cool Them in Summer.

The following description in the Detroit Free Press, of a tavern in the early part of the present century would probably apply more or less accurately to hostel ries elsewhere and we therefore reprint it:

In 1807 William Hodge, Sr., built an addition to his log house in Buffalo and established a tavern, about which his son, William Hodge, wrote thus: "This noble mansion consisted of two rooms on the lower floor, with a wide hall beteween them. It had battened doors, naked peeled beams and windows of 7 by 9 glass. The north room was used as a parlor, sitting room, main kitchen and dining room. The south room was the more public one. There the eye was caught by large black letters on an onpainted door, telling the visitors to 'Walk in,' and there too was the 'latch string,' hanging on the outer side of the door. This room also contained the bar, whioh was partitioned off in one corner.

"Under the shelves stood the whisky and cider barrels, and on them were the kegs of brandy, rum and gin, and one or two kinds of wine, as Madeira and Port. Maybe there was also there a keg of shrub or peppermint cordial, and occasionally one of metheglin. Sometimes, in the proper season, the bar would contain a barrel of spruce beer, home made of course. There was no lager beer in those days. The sugar box and money drawer were made to slide under the front counter board. The white sugar then used came in high, tapering, solid cakes oalled sugar loaves, done up in coarse brown or black paper. A few may yet be seen. The liquors sold at the bar were always measured out in the wine glass and gilt cup, or in larger quantities if desired.

"Cider was sold by the pint or quart, red pepper being added; and in cold weather it was set upon coals and embers to heat. The mixed drinks sold at the bar were termed 'slings,' and were made of sugar, water and brandy, rum or gin, well stirred with the 'sugar stick.' Hot slings were made the same way, except that a hot iron was put in, to temper them, a slight sprinkling of nutmeg being regularly added. A. 'sangaree' was made in the same way, using wine instead of the stronger liquors. Nearly all were as much in the habit of using these different kinds of liquors nn beverages as people now are of using tea, coffee and even milk.

"The fireplace in the barroom and that in the north room were without 'jambs'—

the chimneys being built with split sticks and plastered. That in the north room was furnished with a 'trammel pole' and 'trammel' with hook to match, for hanging kettles, etc., over the fire. The hearths were made of stones gathered from the fields. The cbam ber rooms were used for Bleeping purposes. An addition built on the east Bide of the barroom was used as a back kitchen and wash room. It had a sloping roof, being a 'lean to.' The fire place Wbb bmlt in one corner of it, and the chimney and hearth were of the same materials as those in the other rooms."

Something About Sea Coal.

An article in this week's Coal Trade Journal, headed "What is sea coal?" Bays: "In the proposals of coal wanted for the Navy there is one peculiar requirement laid down in the list; it is for ten barrels of sea coal for the Norfolk Yard. What an ancient rut the Department must have fallen into to keep up such a name! In the days of old, when Bess was Queen of England, such a term might do to designate a quality of fuel, but hardly in the 19th century."

There seem to be a few things yet for the editor of the Journal to learn concerning the Subject of coal in its various forms, when we discover that he does not know that "sea coal" is an article well known to sea faring men. But perhaps he has never Bailed very far on blue water for the purpose of acquiring information, as that is not supposed to be exactly the place to look for coal, except it be on board vessels in transit to some seaport town. But if he had ever had the misfortune to have been shipwrecked anywhere on the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico, he would have noticed in his wanderings along the beach masses of a substance resembling anthracite coal, though not so hard, and of specific gravity considerably less, scattered here and there among these vast beds of sand. This is called in common nautical parlance of the Gulf coast "sea coal," as it is thrown up by the action of the water and comes from the bed of the ocean during the prevailing northers of the winter months. It is nothing more or less than solidified bitumen, or asphalt in its natural state. What its use is in ship building we are not informed, but it maybe that it is used in a liquid form, applied hot, for coating iron in order to keep it from rusting, or it may be used as a stain to give a dark color to woodwork in some interior joiner work of vessels. w. j.

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