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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.