Wayne County PA  History

Lake Lodore (Ladore) History found on the Waymart website

Old Stone Jail in Honesdale at Wayne County Historical Society website

See Resources Page for Publications on Wayne County History

The first permanent white settlement in Pennsylvania is recorded as 1634 by the Swedes.  Descendants of these early settlers were the nucleus for William Penn's colony.  In 1681, King Charles II granted William Penn a charter which made Penn proprietor and governor of PA. 

In 1798 Wayne County was established from part of Northampton County.  It is named after Anthony Wayne, a Major-General in the Revolutionary War.  He was born in Chester County, PA, in 1745 and died at Presque Isle (Erie), PA, in 1796.  The courts for the new county were temporarily established in Milford. In 1799 they were moved to Wilsonville (Lake Wallenpaupack area).  In 1802 the courts moved back to Milford.  Bethany became and remained the county seat from 1814-1841. The opening of the Delaware & Hudson Canal in 1829 and pressure from the lower end of the County finally in 1814 caused the Legislature to set off the section as a new County to be called Pike, with the seat of Justice at Milford.  In May 1841, the County Commissioners fixed Honesdale as the new county seat and Bethany lost that distinction.   

Old Tannery's of Wayne County

The area that is now Cherry Ridge contained Wayne County's first tannery, which began operation about 1800 and used only one vat.  Eventually, the Middle Valley (Clemo) tannery became the largest in the state with 365 vats and it employed 80 to 100 men.  It caught fire and burned in 1871 and was sold to William Gale.  he rebuilt it and operated it until 1883 when the supply of bark was exhausted and the tannery closed.  Present day Wayne County Map has both a number and a name for "Old Tannery Road".  The route number is 3024.
The 1860 Wayne County Map of Cherry Ridge Township shows a rather large building which is called "Tannery of L. A. Robertson and Company".  It is located in Middle Valley (present day Clemo) on the north side of the road, between the road and Middle Creek. The same 1860 Cherry Ridge Township Map shows another, smaller, tannery located in the northwestern part of Cherry Ridge Township near present day Prompton Road.

SOURCES:  (emails dated 9/22/99 and9/24/99 from Carl Smith, CARLHSMITH@aol.com; and The History of Wayne County Pennsylvania (1798 - 1998), Barbe/Reed.

Maple Sugar Stories

In the early days of Wayne County, many of the settlers used Maple Sugar as currency, to barter for goods; some might even have paid for land with sugar.  There is one story that details how local settlers of Wayne County, PA made a huge wheel of Maple Sugar to send to George Washington , in an attempt to promote their product.  The attempt was not a huge success though.

From the : "History of Wayne, Pike & Monroe Counties," Page 258-259 (Published 1886)", Mathews describes the abortive effort to make maple sugar a cash crop in Wayne County. It was, of course, a major sweetener for a long time (and is still made and in Wayne County), but it was produced for local or personal consumption and the industry never caught hold. 
"The popular impression that the present Wayne County Agricultural Society is the only organization of its kind which has ever existed within her borders is a very erroneous one. Nearly a hundred years ago a quantity of maple sugar, made in what is now Manchester township, was sent by Samuel Preston and John Hilborn to Henry Drinker, at Philadelphia. He forwarded a box of it to George Washington, and received in reply a letter in which the President wrote: 'And being persuaded that considerable benefit may be derived to our country from a due prosecution of this promising object of industry (the manufacture of maple sugar), I wish every success to its cultivation which the persons concerned in it can themselves desire.' Mr. Drinker, who was a large land-owner in this county, at once had a little book printed setting forth the pleasures and profits of the sugar industry, and shortly afterward set about organizing a society which was to be called 'The Union Society, for promoting the manufacture of sugar from the maple tree and furthering the interests of agriculture in Pennsylvania.' The society's attention, it was further set forth, should be 'primarily and principally confined to that purpose and to the manufacturing of pot and pearl ashes.' This society was organized in Philadelphia in 1792, and had among its trustees and shareholders not only Mr. Drinker and other large and speculators, but some of the most prominent men in the country, including the United States treasurer, two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, judges of the United States Supreme Court and others of equal note. Its capital stock was fifteen hundred dollars, which was expended for three thousand acres of land in Manchester township.  Four years later it was disbanded. An inventory of its effects taken at that time will give some idea of the extent of its operations. There were on hand thirty-seven potash kettles and twelve hundred sap troughs.  Thirty-eight acres of land had been cleared and three houses and a saw-mill built. The concern was solvent, but had not been sufficiently profitable to warrant its continuance, and its personal property was sold to Mr. Drinker and his agent, Mr. Preston. Notwithstanding the clause in its title pledging the association to a furtherance of the interests of agriculture, its immediate influence upon that industry was, in all probability, not very apparent. Still, as it brought large tracts of land into market, which have since become among our most profitable farms, it doubtless had an indirect bearing upon husbandry sufficient, at least, to warrant its being mentioned as the initial society of its kind in the county."


Return to Home Page

Compilation Copyright Linda Blum-Barton

August 2008 - Present  - All Rights Reserved.

This site was last updated on -12/30/2012