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The first inhabitants of the Pocono Mountains were the Delaware, Iroquois, Shawnee, Minisink, Lenape and Paupack Indians. The Dutch established settlements in 1659 near the Delaware Water Gap, a gorge with 1,200 foot cliffs on each side of the river. The Dutch were forced to leave by the English in 1664.By 1742, English and German settlers began to arrive and the first permanent residence was established in 1725 by Nicholas Depui at Shawnee.

A treaty was signed with the Minisink Indians to acquire all the land from the Delaware River to as far north as a man could walk in three days. The Minisinks claimed they had been cheated and retaliated with terror and massacres. Many years later Benjamin Franklin ordered a string of forts to be built along the frontier in Bushkill, Shawnee, Stroudsburg and Kresgeville.

General John Sullivan's expedition against the Iroquois Indians came through the Pocono region in 1779. The troops marched from Scoita to Tannersville along what is now Route 611 and is known as Sullivans Trail.

Of the four counties that make up the bulk of the Poconos, Wayne was the first to be formed on March 21, 1798, cut from Northampton County. Wayne County is named in honor of General Anthony Wayne.

Honesdale, the county seat was named after Philip Hone, owner of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. Coal was brought to Honesdale by a gravity railroad from mines in the Lackawanna Valley for transport by canal to New York. In the mid 1850's more than a million tons of coal passed through Honesdale.

Pike County was established on March 26, 1814, from the land in Wayne County. Its name comes from Colonel Zebulon Pike, a hero of the War of 1812 who later discovered Pikes Peak.

The early means of crossing the Delaware River in Pike County was by ferry boats near what is now Dingmans Ferry. Ferry boats carried passengers across the river for more than 200 years until the early bridge crossings were built around 1900.

Originally part of Pike and Northampton counties Monroe County was formed on April 1, 1836 and named for President James Monroe.

Colonel Jacob Stroud founded Stroudsburg in 1799. He built a home at Ninth and Main streets that is now operated by the Monroe County Historical Association.

Northampton and Monroe counties contributed the land for Carbon County on March 13, 1843. The name comes from carbon, the basic element of the area's rich anthracite coal deposits.

The county seat is Jim Thorpe, which was originally two towns Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk until the communities merged in 1954 and were renamed in honor of the famed Olympic athlete, who is buried there.

MAsa Packer, founder of the Lehigh Valley Railraod and founder of Lehigh University built a beautiful ornate Victorian mansion in 1868 in Mauch Chunk. The home is open to tourists daily.

By the turn of the century approximately 500,000 people were visiting the Pocono Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap each year. In 1910 Theodore Roosevelt visited the region and stayed at the Water Gap House. A few years later in 1912 John Philip Sousa peformed in the Pocono's. It was also a time that many huge resorts began operations like the Pocono Manor, Skytop and The Inn at Buck Hill. The regions first golf course was built in 1904. Train service was also peaking at this time with the arrival of the legendary Phoebe Snow, the finest passenger train in the world!

Pike County had a number of resorts that hosted D.W.Griffith, film director of the famous Birth of a Nation in 1915. Accompanying Griffith was actresses Mary Pickford and Dorothy and Lillian Gish.

Another historic attraction, Rohmans Inn, in Shohola, hosted Gloria Swanson, Charles Lindbergh, Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Babe Ruth and many other stars of its era. Western Novelist Zane Grey had a home along the Delaware River in Lackawaxen and lived there from 1905 to 1918. His home is maintained as the Zane Grey Museum and contains many original manuscripts

In 1924 the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company purchased 12,000 acres between Pike and Wayne counties and built Lake Wallenpaupack to use the waters for hydro-electric power. The lake is 5,700 acres, 13 ½ miles long, has 52 miles of shoreline, has 2 ½ billion gallons of water and serves the region as a premier lake with thousands of lakefront homes.

The four-season appeal of the Pocono Mountains was enhanced with the opening of the first commercial ski area in Pennsylvania, Big Boulder Ski Area, in 1946. In 1950, the first patent application for the making of snow by blowing water through a nozzle was filed, and by the winter of 1956, the system was perfected and in place at Big Boulder Ski Area. This first helped to establish the Pocono Mountains as a ski destination.

Beginning in the late 1950s and continuing into the late 1960s, Interstates 80 and 81 were constructed in the Poconos Mountains four-county region. The opening of these major interstate highways made the Pocono Mountains easily accessible by motor vehicles, thus the Pocono Mountains became an even more popular all-season destination. Currently, with Interstates 80, 81, 84 and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike criss-crossing through the Pocono Mountains, driving to the Pocono Mountains is more convenient than ever.

In 1963, the first heart-shaped tub was introduced at Caesars Cove Haven in Lakeville, Pennsylvania. Life Magazine ran photos of this latest novelty and a flood of publicity followed, resulting in the naming of the Pocono Mountains as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World.” The popularity of the family-owned and operated resorts also permeated the lifestyle of most families in the Fifties. The ideal summer vacation included family picnics, zany family games, organized family sports and activities. All the comforts of home could be found with the convenience of a full-service resort.

Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania opened its 2½ mile super speedway in 1971 with the first of a series of Indy car races. NASCAR soon followed in 1972 and brings over 100,000 race fans to the Pocono Mountains two times each summer. In the 1980s, the growth of whitewater rafting, golfing, outlet shopping and other attractions further broadened the four season appeal of the Pocono Mountains. 

Historical Figures

JACOB STROUD

Jacob Stroud is Monroe County’s most historic founding father. He symbolized the frontier spirit of the 18th century and helped take America from colonialism to nationhood. He was a soldier in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. He served as a delegate to the first Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and was a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Jacob Stroud was born on January 15, 1735 and moved to Lower Smithfield Township in Northampton County (now Monroe County) at an early age. He was an apprentice to Nicholas Depui, the earliest permanent settler in the region. In 1761 he married Elizabeth McDowell, granddaughter of Nicholas Depui.

Jacob Stroud became a prominent businessman and in February 1769 he purchased 300 acres of land west of Dansbury. The purchase included a grist mill, a residence and other dwellings. Over time he built and developed a saw mill, blacksmith shop, a tavern and general store. While the business grew so did the Stroud family – they were blessed with 12 children, 9 girls and 3 boys. He built a large home for his family near the corner of present day Main and Fifth Streets.

During the American Revolution Jacob Stroud served as a Captain and then a Colonel, a rank he held throughout the war. Stroud also served in the political process and was a delegate to the first Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and later served as a representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

After the war Stroud spent his remaining years developing his landholdings and business. By 1788 he owned 1,400 acres and then increased his holdings to over 4,000 acres.

As his children grew and got married, he built homes for those who remained in the area. The home he built for his son John is presently the Clubhouse of the Glenbrook Country Club. The home he built for Daniel Stroud in 1795 is today the headquarters for the Monroe County Historical Association at the corner of ninth and Main Streets in Stroudsburg

Jacob Stroud died on July 14, 1806. His legacy is far reaching. He was a frontiersman, a soldier, a patriot, a successful businessman, and most importantly, a family man.

GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN

An important event in Pocono History was an expedition across the Pocono Mountains known as “Sullivan’s March” in June 1779. It was an expedition planned by General George Washington to exterminate and destroy the hostile tribes of the Indians of the Six Nations. It was a mission to which the Congress assigned as a high priority.

The colonies were not only fighting for the survival of a nation with the British, but also fighting native Indian tribes. For many years the Indian tribes felt cheated by “white people in an Indian World.” The Walking Purchase of 1737 was an agreement with the Indians that was misunderstood and left the tribes frustrated and infuriated. It led to many bloody attacks and massacres on local settlers.

George Washington needed a top rate commander to end hostilities once and for all. He first offered the position to General Horatio Gates, hero of Saratoga. When General Gates declined, Washington offered the job to General John Sullivan. Colonel Daniel Brodhead, raised in East Stroudsburg was also considered for the position.

The plan was simple. General Sullivan would gather his forces near Easton and advance through the Pocono Mountains, going through Sciota and Tannersville, then up the Susquehanna River Valley to Fort Wyoming. Sullivan’s instructions were to destroy the Indian nations and everything in their path, including their reservations, crops and food supplies.

Washington instructed Sullivan not to accept any offers of peace under any circumstances. Washington felt the Indian tribes would offer insincere proposals of peace to spare their reservations. He also felt our nation’s future security would rest on how much terror our forces could inflict upon them. He suggested that small parties be sent out to destroy villages out of the main line of march and follow Indian trails wherever they may lead. Sullivan’s men were trained to conduct tactical exercises for fighting in the wilderness against an enemy that defied traditional tactics.

Sullivan reached Easton in early May and encountered many setbacks. His troops could not embark ontheir mission due to the impassable roads and woodlands to Fort Wyoming. With artillery and supply wagons roads needed to be cut. Woodlands were so thick “that man cannot get through them but on his hands and knees.” Washington sent road building regiments to clear the way for the expedition. Heavy rains delayed the work and there were engineering problems – like getting a bridge constructed over the Tobyhanna Creek. Tall trees, underbrush and boulders blocked the way. Only after six weeks of work by hundreds of men could General Sullivan declare the road work complete.

Once the Wyoming Road opened June 10th, the regiments left Easton for Wyoming. The expedition was already far behind schedule, but on June 18th General Sullivan ordered his troops to break camp and set out for Wyoming.

There were 2,500 men with over 2,000 horses and baggage wagons. They advanced 12 miles on their first day and camped near Wind Gap. On Saturday morning the expedition made its way to Brinker’s Mill in Sciota. From Brinker’s Mill the expedition traveled to Learned’s Tavern near the foot of Big Pocono.

There is a historical marker on the corner of Route 611 and Old Mill Road in Tannersville. It states “Learned’s Tavern marked the end of the second day march from Easton to Forty Wyoming at Wilkes Barre. The army camped here June 19th 1799 after a 16 mile march from Heller’s Tavern.”

The longest, most tiring day of the expedition was Monday, June 21st after they advanced over 21 miles. They crossed Tunkhannock and Tobyhanna Creeks, then pressed through what soldiers called the “Shades of Death” before finding a suitable campsite.

The Sullivan Expedition was the first major Continental Army to cross the Pocono Mountains. There were no major engagements, but its operation forced the opening of a major road that made the region accessible for future transportation needs.

Though the military significance of Sullivan’s campaign is a matter of argument, its social and economic importance is generally not in dispute. The expedition had not destroyed the bands of hostile Indians but it had dispersed them.

DANIEL BRODHEAD

Brodhead is a family name that is quite familiar to the residents in Monroe County. Brodhead Creek and Brodheadsville are well known landmarks in the community. Daniel Brodhead Sr. was one of the founders of Dansbury, later known as East Stroudsburg. His son, Daniel was a General in the Continental Army and served under George Washington.

Daniel Sr. settled on a 640 acre estate called Brodhead Manor with his family in 1738. This was just a year after the Walking Purchase of 1737 when young Daniel was just two years old. The Brodhead family invited Moravian missionaries to establish a station there. Other settlers soon made their homes nearby. The elder Daniel died in July 1755. That same year nineteen year old Daniel helped his family and neighbors defend their homes against an attack by the Delaware Indians under Chief Teedyuscung.

In 1770 Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Depue had moved their family to Berks County. He operated a grist mill and accepted an appointment as deputy-surveyor for the Colony of Pennsylvania. In 1774 he served as a delegate for Berks County and was appointed to a convention committee where he worked with other young men destined to be among the Founding Fathers of the new nation, including John Dickinson, Joseph Reed, and James Wilson, who later purchased the Wallenpaupack Manor in 1793.

In 1775, with the War for Independence beginning, Daniel and his two brothers joined the army. All three sustained wounds and suffered hardships, but it was Daniel who earned a place in history during the Revolutionary War. In July 1776, he received a commission of Lieutenant Colonel and later fought in the battles of Long Island, Brandywine and Germantown. He served under General Anthony Wayne (for whom Wayne County is named) and was with Washington at Valley Forge. In June, 1778 he was ordered to lead the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment across the mountains to Fort Pitt for service on the frontier. He later obtained the rank of Brigadier General.

In 1788, following the death of his wife, he married Rebecca Mifflin, widow of Samuel Mifflin. Samuel’s brother Thomas was later elected the first Governor of Pennsylvania. Daniel attained his highest civilian post in 1789 when he as elected surveyor-general by the Pennsylvania State Executive Council and then worked under Governor Thomas Mifflin, elected in 1790.

Upon his resignation as surveyor-general in 1800 the Brodheads moved to Milford, Pennsylvania where he died in the summer of 1809.

 
 

 

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