Page images
PDF
EPUB

at the hands of the Indians, who had become the enough to have been honored or dishonored by allies of Great Britain in her conflict with the a visit from “British Butler” himself, and which, Colonies. The inhabitants of these valleys, from you are astonished to hear, has yet only seen their vicinity to the Six Nations, and by reason about a single generation of human life, we set also of their depletion in strength to meet the out for Prospect Rock upon the mountain-range necessities of Washington's army, were peculiar- just east of Wilkesbarre. ly vulnerable to attack. This was too clearly The view from this point comprehends the seen by Major John Butler, who, with about 400 whole valley from Campbell's Ledge to NantiProvincials and 600 or 700 Indians, came down coke Dam; and on a clear day it is said that upon this valley of Wyoming on the last day of even Hyde Park, opposite Scranton, is quite disJune, 1778. This body of men could be opposed tinchly visible. The panorama spread before the by only 300, who came near reiterating the an- eye is magnificent. The valley, with the beaucient fate of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at tiful Susquehanna, dotted with many a verdant Thermopylæ. But has not all this been told in island winding through it; the pleasant old vilthe pages of this Magazine?

As we move down the river, every stage of our progress discovers some new token of this memorable contest. On the opposite side of the river, a little below Pittston, was situated Fort Wintermoot, from which Butler with his savages advanced; and a little below this, on the same side of the river, the tourist may still see Queen Esther's Rock, named after that celebrated squaw who, in revenge for the death of a brother, with her own hands beat out the brains of several captives taken in the battle. Further down, where the Wyoming Monument now stands, was the bloody battle-field, and just below stood Forty Fort, upon whose site a church now stands.

Passing by these sad mementos, we come to the town of Wilkesbarre, or rather the railroad station, from which we are conveyed a short distance by stage to Phenix Hotel, which is in the centre of the town itself. After a good dinner in a hotel, which, as regards its structure, seems to you old-fashioned

[graphic]

TUE WYOMING VALLEY, FROM PROSPECT ROCK.

lages, that lovingly cling to the banks of the Give me Prospect Rock for magnificence of river as if the stream which runs through them view; but if you want the material for a picture and links them together were a symbol of the you need not stir one step from your hotel. Sit beautiful chain of unity that in the former time down in the veranda with me, during that one bound them together against the common perils hour—the one which follows sunset-in which of the wilderness; the remembrancer of these hour of all others the Susquehanna wears its perils which one sees in yonder monument (for crowning glories. I can not describe what you it is distinctly visible); and, beyond all these, shall see—who could describe in words this meetthe threefold tier of mountain-ridges that rise ing together, through their shadowy reflections, one above the other along the western sky, one over the edges of this languid and luxurious river, of them near at hand, with its well-defined form, of all things near it and above-this meeting towhile the other two peer from above with their gether, as for caresses and last adieus, of woods blue tops, as from some other world; these are and clouds and sky, while the river that mirrors the prominent features of the scene.

| all glows with delicate and ever-changing tints,

as if it had an impassioned appreciation of the glory with which it is overspread ?

From Wilkesbarre two routes lie before us, which we shall pursue separately. Starting upon the longer of these, we continue our course through the Wyoming Valley, directly along the bank of the Susquehanna, through Rupert, where is the junction with the Catawissa Railroad, to Danville, where are the celebrated Montour Iron Works. If the reader desires to have some memorable impression of what manual labor is, let him visit the "puddling furnaces” of the Rolling Mills here, and he will be fully satisfied. For myself, I was 80 thoroughly enchanted that for two full hours I stood and watched the workmen at a single fur. nace through the entire process of transforming pig-iron into wrought-iron. It is so hot in the vicinity that you or I could, with great difficulty, stand for five minutes in the place of the workman.

At Northumberland we have the junction of the north and west branches of

[graphic]

READING.

the Susquehanna, whose united stream we fol- of this mountain, which towers upward to the low down to Clark's Ferry, where we are di- height of 1700 feet above tide-water, is exceedrectly opposite to the mouth of the Juniata, ingly picturesque. The whole scene is unand thence to Harrisburg. Just after we have touched by the modifying hand of man, rugcrossed the long bridge across the river, as we ged, just as it came from God, if we except enter Harrisburg, we can easily see the grave the road along which we have come, and of Harris, the founder of the borough, the only which, as we look behind us, we can see windmonument, above which is the stump of the ing its way backward and downward into the old tree to which the Indians once bound him valley—the one single token of intrusive civiliand attempted to burn him by setting fire to the zation. tree-a fate from which he was succored by a Eckley itself is a vast collection of shantiesband of friendly Indians from across the river. its uppermost social strata are yet to be formed ; The citizens have inclosed the spot with an iron it is a good example of the sort of town which railing and covered it thickly with flowers. The will grow up about a colliery. river here, as heretofore, is dotted with numerous islands.

From Harrisburg, through a rich and beautiful valley, we move on to Reading, stopping at Lebanon, to pay a visit to the Cornwall iron banks, about seven miles distant from that town. The peculiar characteristic which gives interest to these banks is the vast extent of iron ore lying open to the view; in the largest of the three, which is called Big Hill, it is estimated that more than 40,000,000 tons lie in plain sight above the water-level!

From Allentown we might move directly back to New York. But the reader will bear in mind that from Wilkesbarre I was to take him upon two separate courses. One of these, so far as it is distinct from the other, we have taken: let us now imagine ourselves back at Wilkesbarre, from which point we will take a shorter but more lively route.

By stage we ride up to the top of the mountain in order to take the cars of the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad to White Haven, descending over the last five miles of road by mere force of gravity. From White Haven we again take the stage for Eck. ley, which is seven miles distant, at the top of Buck Mountain. The view from the summit

[graphic]

BANDY VALLEY, FROM BUCK MOUNTAIN.

as

Over the Hazleton Railroad to Hazel Creek, of Paris to the shanties of Mount Eckley, and and from thence by the Beaver Meadow Rail- thence down to Mauch Chunk, where he was road, we proceed to Mauch Chunk, passing obliged to beg an opportunity to work. When along the beautiful banks of the Lehigh River. he undertook the Judge's grounds they were as So narrow is the defile between the mountain- rugged, barren, and unpromising as any of the spurs at this point that there is only sufficient surrounding mountain slopes. Now terrace room for a single street in the main part of the rises above terrace, the very soil of which they town.

are formed having been literally created by the The chief attractions for us at Mauch Chunk gardener; these are supported by conglomerate were two. The first of these was the grounds, stone, brought hither from a considerable disor garden rather, surrounding and belonging to tance and placed ingeniously so as to mimic a Judge Packer's residence. The gardener of natural situation ; and over these the myrtle Louis Philippe laid them out: the poor refugee spreads a luxuriant growth. had somehow found his way from the gardens | The second great charm of Mauch Chunk

was the ascent to the top of Mount Pisgah, and a trip to the mines over the Gravity Roads and the marvelous Switch-back.

We commence the ascent from the foot of Mount Pisgah. Here we seat ourselves in the open car, and, at a given signal, are hoisted up an inclined plane more than half a mile long over a grade of one foot to every four-up-up,

we were being drawn into the clouds by some invisible power! Here then we stand at the top, 880 feet above the sea, obtaining a most magnificent view. The Valley of the Lehigh seems directly under our feet; Mauch Chunk dwindles into nothingness, as seen under the mountain-spurs that surround it; tier above tier of mountains arise in the distance; and far above, prominent as the crowning feature of the scene, tower up the cleft sides which form the Lehigh Water Gap. But we

our full height—though this is the most advantageous view that we shall get. Another plane, six miles further on, lies before us, up which we are again elevated to Summit Hill: from which point we descend into the mines. These lie in quarries, which we enter not by shafts, but directly, by means

[graphic]

MAUOI CHUNK.

are not

at

of tunnels, into the coal-measures, which have ductor, again assuring them of their perfect here a greater thickness than any where else security. The Quaker couple were now obin the coal-fields. But the road itself is far served to hold an anxious consultation, the remore interesting than the mines to which it sult of which was that they agreed to make the ministers. We descend from our high eleva- venture upon one condition.

" Thee will go no tion by gravity, changing our directions at va- faster than we want thee to?" stipulated the rious points by means of what is called a Quaker. “Not a whit,” replied the conductor, switch-back. The car, by the momentum it now certain of his prey. The cars are mounthas gained, is carried for a short distance up ed, and up they are hoisted. The poor couple a steep ascent, from which, by the returning look at each other in amazement and affright, descent, it gains an impetus which forces it but are persuaded to try the second plane. Then over another track (upon which, by a self-reg- commences the descent. The novelty of the ulating arrangement, it has been switched). I ride exhilarates and inspirits. The old Quaker's The arrangement of these switch - backs is such that we are car. ried around a circuit of several miles, returning again to Summit Hill, the point from which we started, being again drawn up, of course, to the top by means of inclined planes. All the way our course is through the wildest woodland scenery, and our velocity, oftentimes exceeding that of the locomotive, adds to the excitement with which we are inspired.

An anecdote is told of a Quaker couple who once visited Mauch Chunk, on purpose, as they said, to see “ Josi. ah's works” — meaning this novel system of inclined planes, together with the switch - back, which were the work of Josiah White. Looking up, however, from the foot of Mount Pisgah, the bump of prudence began to predominate against that of curiosity. Some efforts were made to induce them to enter the car; but they held back. They wanted much to see Josiah's works, but --” and shaking their heads deprecatingly they looked up the long plane. Continually the visitors came thronging in and took their seats in the cars. “Does thee mean to say," asked the Quaker, “that all these people are going up?" “Certainly,” said the con

TUE INOLINED PLANE, MOUNT PIGGAR. Vol. XXVII.—No. 160.-GG

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »