Back in 2008, I traveled to Pennsylvania. I had won the registration for the Federation of Genealogical Society conference in Philadelphia and it was way too tempting. So I planned my trip with the idea that I would visit the Goss history sites in Pennsylvania.
To document that trip my first blog “Pennsylvania Wanderings,” was born. Sadly that blog is getting old and dated, so I have tried to incorporate the information from it into this blog. I am inserting it in various places that are actually more appropriate for the content. The blog will be turned into a PDF and removed from the web and placed on a page of this blog. So if you are interested, I suggest that you go to it and read it now and print of the posts that you like. There should be a link on the right side of this blog.
Back then, I decided to use Wilkes-Barre as my home-base. This meant that I would have to drive from Wilkes-Barre and go west to see Plymouth Twp., Huntington Twp., Fairmount and any other area of interest. It was very easy and pleasant. I also had wonderful sunny weather the whole time. It took about 36 minutes and was about 23.6 miles to get to the area.
Huntington Twp. and Fairmount Twp. are still pretty rural and have municipal governments that require you call or visit the building, no websites. So if you want to learn what is there in these two townships go to Google and Google maps an explore. Use both the street version and the satellite version.
The only other town or borough that is big enough is Shickshinny which lies on the Susquehanna River around a big curve. http://www.shickshinny.org/index.asp
Shickshinny has a Shickshinny Area Historical Society (on Facebook). They were in the process of moving into a new building when I visited. Since then I tried to help a cousin. I sent her to the society and was told they will not acknowledge genealogy. Sigh! So approach them from an historical perspective to see if you can make headway.
I did most of my research at the Luzerne County Historical Society (see my page above on this society) and the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (which has moved to Wilkes-Barre).
Be advised that Shickshinny is a borough in Luzerne and not a county. Here is a little something to explain the area: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shickshinny,_Pennsylvania
At the time I visited, I made contact with Donna. She was with the historical society at that time but something happened and she decided to go another direction. She was kind and drove me around showing me the sites which helped a lot. She took me to views and places I might not have know about.
Be advised that the Susquehanna River likes to flood and about a year or so after my visit they had a bad one in the town. In the city of Wilkes-Barre there were building these big walls along the river for just that reason.
I drove down the Hwy 11, which is called Chestnut on the map. I would cross the amazing bridge in Wilkes-Barre and turn left driving west through part of Kingston and then Plymouth and continue on to Shickshinny. The road is on the north side of the Susquehanna River and follows it. It starts to curve south.
One of the places to eat at the time was the Wagon Wheel, but I guess it is closed now. I had fun there. Sigh!
This imposing church greets you as you come into town on Hwy 11th. I gave a lecture there for the Historical Society and because Donna asked.
Here are some street scenes in Shickshinny:
Here is a little from the History of Luzerne Co., by Bradsby describing Huntington Township, I think it is rather amusing. It was published in 1893, Chapter XXI:
This and Fairmount township are the richest agricultural portions of Luzerne county. Not only noted as the well-to-do land of farmers, but here is that superior general intelligence and refinement, as well as better culture, that mark the entire length and breadth of beautiful Huntington valley as the most favored place after all in the county. This entire region is without a railroad, without a town that deserves the name, and in the two townships there is but one licensed hotel. A licensed hotel is a place where liquors are sold. There are places for the entertainment of strangers, plenty of them, but licensed hotels there is but one, and that is away up in the mountain, on the old turnpike, where was a tollgate. This bespeaks the morals as well as the thrift and intelligence of the people of this favored locality.
[p.585] Huntington valley runs along north and south through the two townships, is not a valley after the fashion of the Wyoming valley. It is rolling, might be called, perhaps, better a “second bench,” but is, until you strike the mountains in the north of Fairmount township, all a fine quality of arable land. The farmers find their outlet to Shickshinny on the river by a turnpike road, and in an early day the old Berwick turnpike led north to Elmira and south to Berwick.
Here is a little of my tour back in 2008 of the area:
Pennsylvania Wanderings, A Tour of Huntington and Fairmount Townships, Luzerne Co., Part II published September 18, 2008, excerpts. Fairmount Twp. was established in the mid 1830’s.
The Town of Huntington Mills, Huntington Twp., Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania (formerly Hublerville)
This town (Huntington Mills) is up the road about 1 mile from the Scott Cemetery. I was interested in the gristmills that were supposed to have been built there. I was told by Donna that there were stones from them somewhere in the area. She thought it was about where the post office stood. The location of these historical sites is fast fading and need to be better identified for future generations. I did not have time to really dig in. I was getting a general idea. The white church was pretty in the sun but Donna said it was no longer being used.
The town of Harveyville, Huntington Twp., Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania
Years ago Huntington Mills, Harveyville, and Fairmount Springs were lovely little town hamlets but they were not like that when I visited. A lot of the buildings were abandoned and empty. Now the names of these locations are fading from the maps. What I remember as I drove along is that it was easy to get around, find the cemeteries I wanted to visit. There was little traffic. The roads were two lane and in good condition. The weather was pleasant. It was smooth, gentle curves, a little up and down and I glided along driving by houses in large lots and surrounded mostly by green. It was lovely. I can understand what kept the Goss family there.
There will be more from Pennsylvania Wanderings in future posts.