Note: These pages are not intended as complete documentation of events but are brief sentences and notations regarding events that shaped Pennsylvania history. The reader is advised to search elsewhere for more complete documentation of the events listed here. The reader is free to contact the author of this site regarding additional information, new information or corrected information.
1492 October 12 Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere. Trout fishing in the Western Hemisphere was changed forever.
1498 John Cabot and Sebastian Cabot claimed Pennsylvania for the English.
1507 The German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller published an account of Vespucci’s voyages and named the new continents America.
1517 October 31 Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg starting the protestant reformation
1523 Giovanni da Verrazano sailed into New York harbor.
1572 Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the Spanish governor of Florida, explored the Chesapeake Bay.
1588 homas Hariot gave the first description of fishing by American Indians in A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia.
1603 Seur Samuel de Champlain first visited the New World. He never got to Pennsylvania but his visit to what is now Canada had a great influence on Pennsylvania.
1608 Captain John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay which means “Great Water” to ‘Smith Fales’ or what is now known as Conowingo Falls. The falls are now inundated by the Conowingo Reservoir.
1609 Henry Hudson claimed the Delaware River for the Dutch
1610 Captain Samuel Argall named Delaware River in honor of Virginia governor Lord De La Ware. The governor’s brothers Silver and Whatto were more concerned with domestic issues and did not have rivers named after them
1612 Alexander Whitaker made the first known record of angling in the New World in Jamestown, Va.
1615 Eitenne Brule a French explorer began a trip down the Susquehanna River. It is believed that he was the first European to do so. It should be noted there were no smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the river then. Smallmouth Bass would not be imported and stocked in the Susquehanna River until the 19th century.
1616 Captain Cornelis Hendrickson, in command of the Onrust, was commissioned to explore the Delaware River to the mouth of the Schuylkill River
1621 The Dutch West India Company was formed in Holland. It began operations in 1623.
1622 Edward Palmer was given a grant of land by the Virginia Company for land that included an island in the Chesapeake that he called Palmer’s Island. In 1627 a trading post was set up on the island. The island was later named Garret’s Island after the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad during the civil war.
1623 Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey was sent by the Dutch West India Company to explore the Delaware Valley and he built Fort Nassau on the New Jersey side of the river.
1626 June 14 The Swedish West India Company was chartered.
1627 Swedish settlers arrived on the Delaware River.
1632 June 20 The Maryland Charter was granted to Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Lord Baltimore by King Charles I.
1634 March 25 The first landing of settlers at St. Clement’s Island, Maryland, took place.
1634 William Clairborne was licensed by King Charles I to begin trading at the mouth of the Susquehanna River.
1637 December 31 Peter Minuet began an expedition to the New World in command of the Kalamar Nyckel and Gripen
1638 March Peter Minuet, a Dutch trader operating in the employment of Sweden travelled upriver from Fort Christina (present day Wilmington, Del.) and established the first permanent settlement in Pennsylvania. After establishing the colony of New Sweden, purchasing land from the Indians, building and garrisoning a fort he left to return to Sweden. His ship was lost at sea and he was never seen again.
1640 Peter Hollender succeeded Minuet as governor of Johan Printz, appointed as Governor of New Sweden to succeed Hollender, moved the colonial Swedish headquarters upriver to Tinnicum Island, the first permanent settlement in Pennsylvania. At the time Finland was a dependency of Sweden and a large number of the immigrants and settlers were Finns.
1644 Peter Lindstrom was the first European to draw a map showing the Schuylkill River. Previously, Arendt Corssen from Leyden named the river Schuylkill, meaning Hidden Creek, in Dutch.
1647 The Dutch built a fort on the east side of the Schuylkill River near present day Philadelphia.
1654 May 20 Johan Classon Risingh of Sweden commanded an expedition that captured the Dutch Fort Casmir, the headquarters for the Dutch in the Delaware Valley.
1655 September 16 Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam and in the employ of the Dutch West India Company captured Fort Casimir and Fort Christina from the Swedes. Fort Casmir was renamed New Amstel.
1655 The Erie tribe was completely subjugated by the Iroquois and largely ceased to exist as an individual tribe.
1657 Evert Pietersen was the first schoolmaster on the Delaware River at Newcastle.
1659 The first permanent Dutch settlement in Pennsylvania was established on the Minisink Flats near present day Stroudsburg, in Monroe County. It was settled by Dutch settlers from New Netherlands (New York City) who came to the territory for the purpose of working the mines which had been opened in the area.
1662 King Charles I granted the Connecticut Charter to John Winthrop et.al, leading to a claim of the Wyoming Valley in present day Pennsylvania. John Winthrop was appointed as the first governor.
1664 There were 650 Swedes and Finns living near the Delaware River. These were the first permanent European settlers in what is now Pennsylvania.
1664 August 29 New Amsterdam surrendered to the English expedition under the command of Colonel Nicolls, and was renamed New York. Peter Stuyvesant was the last governor for the Dutch West India Company. He died in New York City in 1672.
1665 June Admiral Penn participated as a captain in the Battle of Lowestoft where the Dutch fleet was defeated. Had it not been for this bit of nautical privateering, King Charles I would not have been indebted to the admiral and his heirs. Hence, Pennsylvania might have become something else.
1669 The explorations of Robert Cavelier de la Salle, of France, claimed the Ohio Valley for France. La Salle is credited with exploration of the Mississippi Valley and claiming what is now Western Pennsylvania for the French.
1672 The earliest mention of coal in North America is made on Cape Breton Island in Canada.
1673 The Canadian born French explorer Louis Joliet drew the location of a coal deposit on a map in what is present day Illinois. It is believed that this is the first mention of coal in the present day United States of America.
1673 John Pierron from Canada was the first Catholic priest who can be traced to Pennsylvania. He travelled through present day New York and down the Susquehanna River to Pennsylvania.
1674 The Treaty of Westminster which ended the Third Dutch Anglo War gave the English control of Pennsylvania.
1675 The first Quaker meeting was held at the Upland home of Robert Wade.
1675 The Susquehannocks were conquered by the Iroquois and declined rapidly to only a remnant tribe, called the Conestogas who lived in present day Lancaster County.
1676 The Duke of York’s laws were introduced on the Delaware. This was the first law of the land in Pennsylvania. New Amstel was renamed New Castle. The Duke’s Laws were enforced by three courts sitting at New Castle, Hoornkill and Upland.
1680 William Penn made a claim to King Charles II for a land grant.
1681 Fishing clubs were established in and around Philadelphia. It wasn’t called Philadelphia then and fishing was pretty good.
1681 March 4 A charter to give William Penn land that would become Pennsylvania was signed by King Charles II.
1681 April 2 William Penn’s Pennsylvania Charter was published and so it became official that an English colony named Pennsylvania was established. The charter defined the eastern boundary of the colony as the Delaware River, from which the grant was to extend westward five degrees of longitude and “to be bounded on the north by the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of northern latitude, and on the south by a circle drawn at twelve miles distant from New Castle, northward and westward, and then by a straight line westward to the limits mentioned above.” Penn was constituted a “true and absolute proprietary of the country aforesaid,” but the King’s sovereignty was to be recognized by the payment, annually, of two beaver skins and the fifth part of all the gold and silver found in the province. The leading representative of the Indians was Tamanend (Tammany) who was chief of the Turtle Clan of the Delawares.
William Penn in his Charter of Rights required settlers to leave one acre of trees for every five acres cleared. The first group of English immigrants who left England to head directly to Pennsylvania set sail on three ships, the John and Sarah, the Amity and the Bristol Factor. They were predominantly Quakers. Welsh Quakers visited William Penn in London and agreed with him upon the purchase of forty thousand acres of land. This was the origin of the Welsh Barony or Welsh Tract. It was located along the west side of the Schuylkill River located in the present counties of Delaware, Chester and Montgomery.
1681 August 3 Markham’s Council, the first government in Pennsylvania under Penn’s charter, went into effect.
1682 The first Quaker meeting house in Philadelphia was erected.
1682 October 29 William Penn arrived from England on the Welcome, which landed at Upland, which he renamed Chester. Markham had laid out an eight thousand acre estate called Pennsbury Manor as a country manor for William Penn’s residence but Penn would not occupy it until 1699.
1682 November 1 William Penn met with the Indians at Shackamaxon. The Indians were probably Lenni Lenape and possibly Susquehannocks were also party to the treaty.
1682 December 4 The first assembly of Freeholders was held at Chester.
1682 December 7 The Great Law was adopted. Among other things it incorporated that the inhabitants of the Lower Counties, New Castle, Kent and Sussex (present day Delaware) were incorporated under one executive and legislative authority and the naturalization of all Dutch, Swedes and Finns then living in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The act also established responsibility for damage to the woods by fire.
1683 The first Mennonites arrived in Pennsylvania
1683 March 10 The second session of the General Assembly convened in Philadelphia where the Second Frame of Government was adopted. This “new” constitution amended the First Frame of Government drawn up by Penn. Along with the adoption of the new constitution 81 other separate bills were passed before the General Assembly adjourned on April 3.
1683 October Francis Daniel Pastorius, the leader of a band of German Quakers and Mennonites arrived on the Concord in search of religious freedom. This marked the actual beginning of German immigration into Pennsylvania. They soon founded Germantown.
1683 The Quaker School opened in Philadelphia
1683 William West opened the first shipyard near Philadelphia.
1684 The first Baptist Church in Pennsylvania was constructed at Cold Springs with the Reverend Thomas Dungan as pastor.
1684 August William Penn returned to England aboard the Endeavor to, among other things, refute claims by Lord Baltimore to the Lower Counties.
1685 The Market Street Ferry across the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was opened.
1686 William Bradford set up the first printing press in Pennsylvania.
1688 The English Revolution occurred. King James II was ousted and William and Mary came to power. George Keith, a former headmaster of the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia and a Quaker scholar began to question Quaker teachings and was summarily expelled from the Society of Friends. This schism provided another excuse for William of Orange to deprive William Penn from his right to govern Pennsylvania and the Lower Counties.
1688 The first permanent Baptist Church was erected at Pennypack with the Rev. Elias Keach as pastor.
1689 The Monthly Meeting of Friends founded the William Penn Charter School. George Keith was the first teacher.
1690 German immigrants began manufacturing paper at a mill erected by William Rittenhouse on Wissahickon Creek.
1692 October 21 Benjamin Fletcher, Governor of New York and friend to William and Mary was commissioned as governor of Pennsylvania by the new rulers in England.
1693 Benjamin Fletcher visited Philadelphia to secure men and supplies for the defense of New York against the French and the Indians. The assembly granted him seven hundred and sixty pounds, but refused to pass a bill to create a militia.
1694 August 20 William Penn’s power to govern Pennsylvania was restored following a trial by the privy council.
1696 Markham’s Frame, a new constitution was adopted and was a more complete recognition of the popular will than the former constitution had been.
1698 Coming from the south the Shawnees entered Pennsylvania and settled in considerable numbers along the banks of the Susquehanna as far north as the Wyoming Valley.
1698 The Nanticokes entered Pennsylvania from eastern Maryland and located along the North Branch of the Susquehanna.
1698 Jedidiah Andrews organized the first Presbyterian congregation in Pennsylvania at Philadelphia.
1699 December 1 William Penn returned to Pennsylvania.
1700 The first brick church was built by Swedes in Wicaco known as “Old Swedes Church”
1701 October 25 Philadelphia was chartered as a city by William Penn as proprietor of Pennsylvania. Edwin Shippen was named the first mayor.
1701 October 28 The Charter of Privileges was established. It was the fundamental law of Pennsylvania until 1776. It included a unicameral legislature and embodies democratic principles the colonists had demanded from the beginning.
1702 William Penn returned to England. He had returned to England to defend his proprietary rights to Pennsylvania and prevent it from becoming a royal colony. The colony remained a proprietary colony in part due to the succession of Queen Anne to the throne following the death of William III. The Queen, the last of the Stuart Queens, was the daughter of James II and a friend of William Penn.
1703 The Lower Counties severed their connection with Pennsylvania and began to be governed by their own assembly. This was the beginning of the State of Delaware.
1703 The first Lutherans arrived in New Hanover, led by Justes Falkner.
1704 William Markham died in Philadelphia.
1706 The Queens Road from Philadelphia to Chester was opened.
1709 William Penn was sent to debtor’s prison in England. This was due to the chicanery of Philip Ford, his dishonest steward in whom Penn had placed the management of his Irish estate. The steward padded his account and Penn became indebted to him. Ford pressed for the claim to be paid resulting in Penn’s imprisonment. Penn remained in prison for nine months.
1710 The Scots- Irish immigration to Pennsylvania began.
1710 Swiss Mennonites led by Hans Herr and Martin Kundig settled along Pequea Creek.
1711 The Old York Road opened.
1712 William Penn had a debilitating stroke.
1713 Tuscaroras began to migrate into present day Pennsylvania and were adopted into the Iroquois nation. The Tuscaroras would eventually occupy parts of present day Franklin, Perry, Fulton, Huntingdon and Juniata Counties.
1714 The first Amish arrived in Berks County.
1716 Thomas Rutter established a bloomery forge at Manatawney Creek in Berks County. Rutter intended to gear his forge production for export to England to replace Swedish iron then being imported to England. A war between Sweden and England prevented the English from importing Swedish iron. Rutter’s iron was found to satisfactorily comparable to Swedish iron but the export of iron from his forge on the Manatawney Creek never significantly materialized.
1717 Samuel Nutt established the first iron forge in Chester County, and the second in the Commonwealth, at the confluence of the north and south branches of French Creek known as Coventry Forge #1.
1718 July 30 William Penn died. He was buried beside his first wife in the village of Jordan in England.
1719 German Baptist Brethren, or Dunkers, under Peter Becher settled at Germantown, Oley, Skippack and Conestoga Creek.
1719 December 22 Andrew Bradford published American Weekly Mercury, the first newspaper in Pennsylvania and the third in the colonies.
1720 Rev. Joseph Wheaton, S.J., formed the first Roman Catholic parish in Philadelphia. Its first church, St. Josephs was begun in 1733.
1720 Thomas Rutter erected an iron furnace and refinery forge called Colebrookdale Furnace near present day Boyertown in Berks County. This is the first blast furnace in Pennsylvania with Thomas Potts as the manager. Thomas’ son John Potts would go on to found Pottstown in present day Montgomery County. John Potts used his extensive family ties to the Rutters and the Nutts to gain control over a large portion of the iron industry in colonial Pennsylvania, particularly his association with the Warwick Furnace. It was John Potts who erected a mansion at Mount Joy Forge, also known as Valley Forge that became Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution.
1720 James LeTort settled on the banks of the stream that bears his name, at a place called Beaver Pond
1722 William Penn’s second wife, Hannah Callowhill, died. She assumed the role of proprietor of Pennsylvania following Penn’s stroke in 1712. She paid of Penn’s debts, appointed governors and decided on matters important to Pennsylvania until her death.
1723 Seventeen year-old Benjamin Franklin arrived in Philadelphia.
1725 John Philip Boehm founded the first German Reformed Church in Pennsylvania at Falkner’s Swamp.
1727 The first European settlers in Indiana County were led by James LeTort, a French trader who set up a trading post for the Indians near what is now the town of Shelocta.
1727 Durham Furnace in Bucks County was built.
1728 The Scots-Irish became an important part of the population of Pennsylvania.
1728 The Ephrata Cloister was founded by Conrad Beissel and his group of Seventh Day Baptists.
1728 Shickellamy, which is Oneida for “He has lighted the sky for us” began his diplomatic mission of establishing peaceful relations with the European settlers in Pennsylvania.
1729 John Harris applied for 500 acres of land along the Susquehanna River at present day Harrisburg.
1729 Shipment of iron pigs from Pennsylvania furnaces to England began
1729 May 10 Lancaster County was created from Chester County.
1729 October 2 Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith took over publication of the Pennsylvania Gazette Universal Instructor in All Arts and Sciences which first published December 24, 1778.
1730 Benjamin Chambers and his brother settled at the juncture of Falling Spring and Conococheaque Creek and were the first settlers in what would later become Chambersburg.
1730 Benjamin Franklin became sole owner of the Pennsylvania Gazette.
1731 Charles Lord Baltimore petitioned the Crown to compel the Penns to come to an agreement about a boundary between the two colonies.
1732 The Schuylkill Fishing Company was founded in Philadelphia.
1732 November 26 Thomas Cresap, who had settled at what is present day Wrightsville along the Susquehanna River, was attacked by Pennsylvanians. Cresap had been granted land by Lord Baltimore and the Pennsylvanians believed he had no legitimate claim to the land.
1733 John Harris was granted a license to operate a ferry on the Susquehanna River.
1733 Old Saint Joseph’s Church, the first Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia, was built
1734 January 29 Tom Cresap’s home which he called Pleasant Gardens was again besieged by Pennsylvanians.
1734 Daniel Boone was born in Berks County.
1734 Stephen Rinebolt settled at what is present day Avonmore
1735 Harris’ Ferry and Wright’s Ferry, both on the Susquehanna River began operating. The first at present day Harrisburg, the latter at present day Wrightsville.
1736 August James Logan, friend confidant of William Penn became the governor of Pennsylvania. He served until 1738.
1736 November 24 During his term as governor Thomas Cresap, from Maryland attacked a party of German settlers in what is now York County. Cresap was captured and jailed by the Lancaster County sheriff and sent to Philadelphia. This was the final battle of the Conojacular War.
1736 December 7 A group of thirty men formed the first fire company in Philadelphia. The organization became known as the Union Fire Company.
1737 The Walking Purchase was made. If there was ever a blatant attempt to defraud the Indians this was it.
1737 Hopewell Forge in present day Lebanon County was founded.
1737 August 18 King George II commanded both provinces to cease hostilities in the Conjacular War.
1737 November 24 Samuel Neaves placed an advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette for fishing rods and flies for sale.
1739 March 17 Daniel Jones placed an advertisement in the Pennsylvania Gazette, offering a “fishing place” for sale on the Schuylkill River.
1740 Moravians, who have previously settled in Georgia began moving to Pennsylvania. By 1741 they were established at Bethlehem and Nazareth under the leadership of Count Zinzendorf and Bishop Spangenberg.
1741 Bethlehem was the newly established center for Moravian missionaries in Pennsylvania. The two party political system evolved in Pennsylvania. The Gentlemen’s Party was led by Governor Thomas and the Country Party was comprised mostly of Quakers and Germans. The issue was whether to raise a militia.
1741 January American magazine was first published in Philadelphia, the first magazine to be published in Pennsylvania.
1742 There was a conference in Philadelphia with the Six Nations to confirm the boundaries of the Walking Purchase.
1742 Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, “The Patriarch” of Lutherans in Pennsylvania arrived.
1742 Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove.
1742 The first blast of the Cornwall Furnace in present day Lebanon County was conducted. The furnace was operated by Peter Grubb. The ore at Cornwall Furnace is believed to be the best magnetite ore found prior to the discovery of the Mesabi Range.
1744 King George’s War or the War of Austrian Succession broke out, as England and France battled over who would be dominant on the European and North American continents.
1744 Benjamin Franklin and others founded the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became the first president of the organization.
1744 A conference with Pennsylvania, Virginia and The Six Nations was held in Lancaster. The outcome was the Iroquois ceded all claims to land in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Following the Treaty of Lancaster, the Virginia House of Burgesses granted the Ohio Company the rights to 300 square miles at the Forks of the Ohio.
1744 or 1747 Benjamin Franklin organized his battalion of “Associators” in Philadelphia, a militia that claims to be the roots of the U.S. Army 28th Division. This was Franklin’s first public service.
1748 The Schuylkill Fishing Company erected its first clubhouse.
1748 November James Hamilton was appointed governor of the colony. He was the first native born person to be named as governor.
1748 December 6 Shickellamy died at present day Sunbury
1749 York County was created.
1749 Celoron de Bienville led an expedition to the Ohio Valley for France and claimed virtually all of western Pennsylvania and Ohio.
1749 The English laid claim to the Ohio Valley and formed The Ohio Company, to develop it.
1749 August 22 Governor Hamilton purchased a large tract of land from the Six Nations between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers north of the purchase of 1736.
1750 The Shawnees had begun their westward trek and settled along Allegheny and Ohio Rivers.
1750 Conestoga Wagons began to carry freight.
1750 March Teedyuscung was baptized by Moravian missionaries at Huts of Grace (Gnadenhutten).
1750 Cumberland County was created.
1751 The town of Carlisle is surveyed and laid out and named county seat
1751 May 11 The Pennsylvania Hospital was chartered in Philadelphia.
1752 In that year or sometimes there about John Pattin discovered bituminous coal along the Kiskiminetas River near present day Saltsburg. This first discovery was near present day Foster. The coal would not be exploited until nearly a century later.
1752 Berks and Northampton Counties were created.
1752 Christopher Gist build a mill and a trading post in the Youghiogheny Valley approximately fifty miles west of Wills Creek (Present day Cumberland, Maryland).
1752 June 15 Benjamin Franklin demonstrated that lightning is electricity.
1752 October The Marquis Duquesne authorized a string of forts from Lake Erie to the Forks of the Ohio. These included Presque Isle (Erie), Fort LeBoeuf (Waterford), Fort Machault (Franklin) and Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh)
1753 The Susquehanna Company was formed by private entrepreneurs in Connecticut for the purpose of settling the Wyoming Valley. The Delaware Company, also from Connecticut secretly bought a large tract of land between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers.
1753 November 1 Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia sent George Washington to tell the French to leave. George Washington visited the Forks of the Ohio, and Forts Venango and LeBoeuf. Gardeur de Saint-Pierre, the French commandant at Fort LeBoeuf essentially told George to pound sand.
1754 The Albany Land Purchase was completed.
1754 Shickellamy gave the Isle of Que in the Susquehanna River to Conrad Weiser.
1754 April 17 Father Denys Baron, chaplain at Fort Duquesne, a French garrison in present day Pittsburgh offered the first Roman Catholic Mass to be said in what was to become Pittsburgh.
1754 May 27 George Washington attacked Jumonville at Great Meadows. Washington won this battle, considered the first battle of the French and Indian War.
1754 July 3 Washington was surrounded by a superior force of French and Indians which laid siege to Fort Necessity under the command of Coulon de Villiers
1754 July 4 George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity.
1755 A two party political system evolved. The Anti-Proprietary Party mostly of Quakers and Germans favored abolition of the Proprietaryship. The Proprietary Party was composed mostly of Anglicans, Presbyterians and Scots Irish.
1755 January General Edward Braddock left England with two regiments of British Regular Army thus leading the first substantial British troops in North America.
1755 July 9 General Edward Braddock was mortally wounded and the force he was commanding was ambushed and defeated along the Monongahela River.
1755 September – October Following Braddock’s defeat, the command devolved to Colonel Dunbar. Dunbar retreated and Indians raided the frontier at will. Settlers fled to Shippensburg and Carlisle.
1756 August Colonel John Armstrong set out from Fort Shirley in present day Huntingdon County to take the offensive against the Indians. He travelled along the Kittanning Path which today is closely followed by U.S. 422.
1756 Between 1756 and 1763 more than 200 forts and blockhouses were built between present day Easton and present day Fulton County.
1756 A stagecoach line between Philadelphia and New York City was established.
1756 September 8 Colonel John Armstrong defeated the Indians at Kittanning.
1757 William Pitt became prime minister of England. Benjamin Franklin was appointed by the Anti-Proprietary Party as Commissioner to England.
1758 Delaware Indian Chief Shickellamy died. A conference was held with the Delaware Teedyuskung.
1758 September 13 Colonel Henry Boquet arrived on Loyalhanna Creek near present day Ligonier. Boquet led a vanguard force that preceded General John Forbes. The remainder of the army including some 2000 Pennsylvania gathered at Raystown. While at Loyalhanna (Ligonier) Boquet sent Major James Grant (for whom Grant Street in Pittsburgh is now named) and a force of about 800 to reconnoiter the area around Fort Duquesne. Grant violated his orders and attacked and suffered a humiliating defeat.
1758 November General John Forbes captured Fort Duquesne from the French. Actually the French vacated the fort recognizing they were to be attacked by a superior force. Forbes left Colonel Hugh Mercer in charge of rebuilding the fort. He renamed the settlement Fort Pitt. This later became the home city of the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers.
1759 Col. James Burd discovered bituminous coal near Brownsville.
1759 The Southwark Theatre in Philadelphia opened.
1761 The earliest record of actual coal mining in Pennsylvania is shown on a “Plan of Fort Pitt and Parts Adjacent” The site of the mine also became the site of the first known mine fire in Pennsylvania that began in 1765 or 1766.
1761 Mary Ann Furnace was established in York County by George Ross, George Stevenson and William Thompson. It was the first furnace west of the Susquehanna River.
1762 The Carlisle Iron Works was established at present day Boiling Springs in Cumberland County.
1762 September 22 Two hundred settlers arrived along the North Branch of the Susquehanna River and almost immediately were attacked and killed by Indians.
1762 Anthracite coal was discovered near present day Wilkes Barre by John Jenkins. It was called “stone coal” because of its hardness. The Gore brothers are credited with being the first to utilized anthracite coal in their blacksmith business in Wilkes-Barre. It has been reported that coal mined from the Wyoming Valley was used in Carlisle to fuel forges for casting cannons and balls. It would not be until 1808 when Judge Jesse Fell reported burning coal on a grate for home heating.
1762 Heinrich Willhelm Stiegel laid out Manheim
1763 Pontiac’s uprising caused Indians and white settler clashes in western Pennsylvania.
1763 February 10 The Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years War also known as the French and Indian War.
1763 April 19 Teedyuscung died in a house fire caused by arson
1763 July 23 Colonel Henry Boquet left Carlisle for Fort Pitt.
1763 August 5 Col. Boquet defeated the Indians at Bushy Run.
1764 Frontiersmen marched on Philadelphia to protest the excesses of the Indians.
1764 Britain passed the Sugar Act.
1764 Benjamin Franklin went to England to press for Royal Government of the Colony.
1764 Henry William Stiegel started a flat glass works in Manheim.
1764 Partners George Stevenson, Robert Thornburgh and John Arthur built an iron furnace along Mountain Creek. They named it Pine Grove Iron Works. It manufactured plate stoves, fireplace backs, iron kettles and possibly munitions during the American Revolution.
1765 Britain passed the Stamp Act.
1767 May 1 Britain passed the Townshend Revenue Acts.
1767 Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were compelled to end the survey of Pennsylvania’s southern border which they had begun under royal orders in 1763. They quit near Mount Morris in what is present day Greene County. Their survey was ratified by the king in 1769.
1768 October The Treaty of Fort Stanwix (in present day Rome, N.Y.) The British purchased lands south of the West Branch of the Susquehanna from the Six Nations of the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix, NY for ten thousand pounds.
1769 The First Yankee Pennamite War between Pennsylvania and Connecticut started after forty settlers from Connecticut arrived in the Wyoming Valley and built a fort known as Forty Fort. Under the command of Major John Durkee they built cabins and Fort Durkee
1769 Captain Amos Ogden leading Pennamites captured the fort.
1769 February John Elder, a Presbyterian dominie organized the Paxton Boys near Harris’ Ferry.
1769 June 20 Willaim Grey began the first survey of Saltsburg.
1769 October 14 Lazarus Stewart led the Paxtang Boys in a massacre of Christian Conestoga Indians
1770 DeVore’s Ferry on the Monongahela River began operation
1770 The Great Bethel Baptist Church was built at Uniontown. It was the first church of any denomination west of the Alleghenies.
1770 Christopher Dock published a book on school management. It was the first printed on the subject in Pennsylvania.
1770 February John Durkee and Lazarus Stewart led Yankees and Paxtang Boys against the Pennamites in the Wyoming Valley. Captain Ogden was forced to surrender. Captain Zebulon Butler arrived as leader of the Yankee forces. Ogden re-captured the valley in September but in December Stewart, the Paxtang Boys and the Yankees re-captured the fort.
1771 April The First Yankee Pennamite War was won by Connecticut as Butler and Stewart besieged Ogden and forced the Pennamites to surrender later in the summer.
1771 The Delaware and Lehigh River as well as sections of the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers were declared public highways.
1772 Northumberland County was created.
1772 Charles Campbell settled in what was afterwards known as Campbell’s Mill on Blacklick Creek in what is now Indiana County.
1773 Dunmore from Virginia took claim and control of Fort Pitt and renamed it Fort Dunmore.
1773 Christopher Colles built an experimental steam engine in Philadelphia.
1773 A grammar school founded in Carlisle in 1773 served as the foundation of the new college.
1774 May 19 Paul Revere rode to Philadelphia to urge Pennsylvania to support the revolutionary cause of Boston.
1774 September 5 The First Continental Congress met at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia.
1775 April 19 The American Revolution began in Massachusetts.
1775 October The first English and German prisoners of war arrived in Lancaster
1775 September The Second Yankee-Pennamite War started as Dr. William Plunkett a physician from Sunbury and a rabid Tory led a band of Tories against the Yankees in the West Branch Valley and at Muncy.
1775 December 25 Stewart and Butler beat back the Tories.
1776 The first Quaker meeting house west of the Alleghenies was built at Westland.
1776 January 20 The Quakers issued a statement in Philadelphia where they declared that they did not approve of the oppressive acts of the British Parliament, but they did not believe in the revolution and could take no part in bearing arms, nor could they recognize a revolutionary government created by illegal means.
1776 July 4 In Philadelphia the Declaration of Independence was signed. When the vote was taken on the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Pennsylvania delegates to the Congress, Franklin, Wilson and Morton voted for independence. Willing and Humphreys voted against the Declaration. Dickinson and Morris were hesitant to support it and were absent when the vote was taken. At almost the same time, the Pine Creek Declaration of Independence was signed near present-day Jersey Shore.
1776 July 4 Beesontown or “The Town of Union” which later became Uniontown was founded by Henry Beeson
1776 August 12 Troops from Pennsylvania reached a maximum of about 35,000. There were 57 battalions of Associators, three battalions of state militia of about 500 each and the Flying Camp of several thousand and thirteen regiments of the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army.
1776 November 28 The first arsenal of the United States was established at Carlisle.
1777 September 8 The Battle of Brandywine, the first battle in Pennsylvania, was a loss for American forces.
1777 September 26 British troops occupied Philadelphia. The Continental Congress moved to Lancaster and then to York.
1777 October 4 American and British fought the Battle of Germantown. The British won the battle essentially ensuring that Philadelphia the capital of the new nation would remain in British hands at least through the oncoming winter.
1777 December 18 General George Washington and the Colonial Army camped at Valley Forge.
1778 Isaac Tripp, generally credited as the first settler in the Scranton area built his home
1778 April 29 Congress voted to offer 50 acres of land to any deserter of the British Army or their mercenaries.
1778 June 10 The Big Runaway took place as Indian raids, incited by the English, in northcentral and northeastern Pennsylvania drove settlers from their homes. Settlers living along both branches of the Susquehanna River fled as the Iroquois had planned a massacre of all white settlers above Sunbury.
1778 June 16 The British army evacuated Philadelphia.
1778 June 18 The Colonial Army broke camp at Valley Forge.
1778 July 1-3 The Wyoming Massacre took place. Tory John Butler and his son Walter led a party of Tories and Seneca Indians against the settlers in the Wyoming Valley. The valley was poorly defended by local militia and settlers and in the ensuing battle at least two hundred and twenty five settlers and militia died fighting the invaders. Queen Esther Montour, a French-born Indian personally killed many of the captives.
1778 September 27 – 28 Colonel Thomas Hartley of the Pennsylvania Line of the Colonial Army who had been named commandant of the Northern Frontier, led a retaliatory raid against the Indians and burned Tioga, Sheshequin, Queen Esther’s and Wyalusing.
1779 March General Washington appointed Major General Gates to plan an invasion of Tory held New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Gates declined the offer and the command fell to General John Sullivan with General Clinton as a subordinate.
1779 April 26 Fort Hand in Western Pennsylvania attacked by Indians.
1779 July 31 Sullivan’s expedition began.
1779 August 11 Sullivan’s expedition crossed the present day border between Pennsylvania and New York.
1779 September 30 Sullivan’s expedition concluded arriving back at Fort Sullivan after burning Indian villages, crops and attacking Tory troops and Indian warriors.
1779 November 27 The Divesting Act by which the Penns were deprived of their ownership of the unappropriated lands in Pennsylvania was passed. The land was vested in the Commonwealth. Thomas and Richard Penn received £130,000 at £15,000 to £20,000 per year and kept their private estates. On April 9, 1791 the legislature passed an act to provide the remainder of the payment to the Penns.
1780 February 29 The legislature passed and act for the gradual abolition of slavery. Pennsylvania was the first state to pass an abolition law.
1780 July 17 The Bank of Pennsylvania was established as a subscription bank to support patriot causes.
1780 November 25 The Congress “Resolved, That all the artificers in the department of military stores in Pennsylvania be removed to Carlisle and that in the future only an issuing store and an laboratory fixing ammunition be kept in Philadelphia.”
1781 March 28 Washington County was created from part of Westmoreland County
1781 October 19 British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Va., effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
1782 The Monongahela River and the Youghiogheny River were declared public highways.
1782 A committee was appointed by the Continental Congress to settle the Yankee-Pennamite issue. The committee decided that Connecticut had no claim to the Wyoming Valley but Yankee settlers already there could stay.
1782 John Franklin and Ethan Allen plotted for the secession of the Wyoming Valley from both Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The plot lost enthusiasm, Allen returned to Vermont and Franklin was arrested and sent to Philadelphia. Colonel Pickering was kidnapped but not harmed.
1782 July 13 The Hannastown Massacre took place led by Tory Dr. John Connolly.
1782 The Second Yankee Pennamite War ended.
1782 John Dickinson became president of the Pennsylvania Assembly returning moderates to power. He was an Anti-Constitutionalist. Anti-Constitutionalists were moderate Whigs.
1783 Benjamin Rush, a prominent Philadelphia physician, prepared the charter for Dickinson College in Carlisle in 1783.
1783 September 26 Fayette County was created on from part of Westmoreland County and named after the Marquis de Lafayette
1783 December 30 The Trenton Decree settled the disputed territory between Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
1784 The Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War.
1784 October A treaty was made at Fort Stanwix, NY between the United States and the Six Nations of the Iroquois, by which all the remaining Indian territory was transferred to the State. This land deal, known as “the Last Purchase” included land in the present counties of Bradford, Tioga, Potter, McKean, Lycoming, Clinton, Cameron, Elk, Clearfield, Indiana, Jefferson, Forest, Warren, Armstrong, Clarion, Butler, Venango, Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer, Crawford, and Erie.
1784 Blumston’s Licenses allowed people to settle west of the Susquehanna River before Indian claims were extinguished. They were given to settlers with the expectation that they would pay when those claims were extinguished.
1784 The first Methodist church west of the Alleghenies was constructed at Uniontown.
1784 Albert Gallitan built his mansion, Friendship Hill, near New Geneva.
1784 September 9 Franklin County was created out of Cumberland County by legislative action. Montgomery County was created from part of Bucks and Chester counties.
1785 Benjamin Franklin succeeded John Dickinson as President of the Pennsylvania Assembly and served until 1788.
1785 Dauphin County was created
1785 The first Episcopal Diocesan Convention in Pennsylvania was held.
1785 Robert Coleman took over control of the Cornwall Furnace from Curtis Grubbe, Peter’s son.
1785 January The Fort Stanwix Treaty was confirmed by the Wyandot and Delaware Indians.
1785 Brownsville in present day Fayette County was founded.
1786 Dr. William White was elected the first Episcopalian Bishop in Pennsylvania.
1787 New Yorker, Samuel Baker was the first white man to settle in present day Tioga County when he constructed a cabin on the Tioga River at Lawrenceville.
1786 Westmoreland County was erected and the land claims between Pennsylvania and Virginia were settled.
1786 Luzerne County was created.
1787 The Third Yankee Pennamite War started. In the October 1967 issue of the Pennsylvania Angler, Keen Buss, chief aquatic biologist for the Pennsylvania Fish Commission, stated that shad were such an important source of food for early settlers that the fish factored into the war between Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
1787 November 21 A convention was called to order to ratify the U.S. Constitution. After a session lasting three weeks with Federalists in control of the assembly the ratification passed 46 to 23. The Constitutionalist Party was known as the Anti-Federalist Party and the Anti -Constitutionalist Party became the Federalists.
1787 Huntingdon County was created.
1788 The northern Pennsylvania boundary was established. The survey was completed the following year.
1788 Benjamin Franklin was succeeded by Thomas Mifflin who held the office until it was abolished by the Constitution of 1790. Thomas Mifflin’s principle act of office was effecting the Constitution of 1790.
1788 May 12 David Mead and other settlers from the Wyoming Valley founded the town of Meadville. This is one of the oldest settlements in northwestern Pennsylvania.
1788 September 24 Allegheny County was officially created and was the first county in Pennsylvania to be given a native name.
1789 August 25 Washington, D.C. was selected as the site of the nation’s capital over other sites including Wright’s Ferry, present day Columbia.
1789 November 4 A convention met to revise the Constitution of Pennsylvania with Thomas Mifflin as President of the Convention.
1789 Mifflin and Delaware counties were created.
1790 John Carroll was consecrated as the first Roman Catholic Bishop of the United States with the entire country as his Diocese.
1790 The first Catholic Church in western Pennsylvania was founded at Unity Township in present-day Westmoreland County.
1790 February 6 The Constitution Convention concluded its work and recessed to give the people time to consider the new document.
1790 September 2 The new constitution became the law of the land and provided for a governor elected by the people for a three year term and a bicameral legislature. This document remained in effect until 1838.
1791 A federal excise tax was passed on whiskey.
1791 April 9 The legislature passed an act to provide the remainder of the payment to the Penns.
1792 The Erie triangle was purchased from the Federal Government for $151,540.25 giving Pennsylvania access to Lake Erie.
1792 The United States Mint was established in Philadelphia.
1792 August Eight families led by James and Margaret Jane Graham from the Counties of Armagh, Antrim, and Ulster arrived in the area of present day Armagh in Indiana County.
1793 French citizens, fleeing the Reign of Terror, fled to Azilum in Bradford County. 1793, nobles loyal to King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette fled France and sought refuge in America. Prominent Philadelphians, including Robert Morris (signer of the Declaration of Independence) and Steven Girard (founder of Girard College and Girardville) purchased 1,600 acres along the Susquehanna River and created a haven for French nobles facing the guillotine. They called it Azilum, a French word for refuge.
1793 October 30 Aristide du Petit-Thouars arrived at Azilum to lead the building of the expatriate French city. He eventually settled about twenty miles away at what is now the town of Dushore, a corruption of his name. The colony flourished for a few years during the French Revolution but when Napoleon came to power many of the French returned to France. Robert Morris, the financier who had bankrolled the community went into bankruptcy and then died. The community was soon abandoned,
1793 A paper mill was established at Roxborough.
1793 A large two story log house which stood at the point of the junction of the Conemaugh River and Loyalhanna Creek was built by James Johnston as a trading post with the Indians. The Indians, presumably Cornplanters used the adjacent area as a campground. From this locality pine log rafts were launched to ports as far away as New Orleans.
1794 The federal government attempted to enforce the excise tax on whiskey.
1794 Joseph Priestly arrived in Philadelphia from England. He had been attacked in England for his liberal religious views.
1794 The Lancaster Turnpike from Philadelphia to Lancaster opened.
1795 April 13 Lycoming County was created. It had been part of Northumberland County. In 1797, Lycoming County created a new township – Tioga – that included all lands of the present day Tioga County.
1795 July 15 Whiskey rebels fired upon Gen. Neville near Pittsburgh.
1795 Father Dimitri Gallitzin was the son of a Russian Prince who was the envoy of Catherine the Great to the Hague. The young Prince on visiting the colonies decided to become a priest and was ordained by Bishop Carroll in Baltimore. He was assigned to Conewago and remained there until 1799 when he moved to Loretto. He remained at the Loretto mission for 41 years and became known as the Apostle of the Alleghenies.
1797 What eventually became the Westinghouse Large site is that of the former Large Distillery, founded by Jonathan Large (1794–1862), who came to the area as a child in 1797 after the Whiskey Rebellion. The distillery originally produced Monongahela rye whiskey, which was a local favorite. Management of the distillery later passed to Jonathan’s son, Henry, who ensured the distillery’s success by making “Large Monongahela Rye Whiskey” a national brand. Eventually, the Large Distillery was sold to The National Distillery Company, which retired the Large label but continued to market the whiskey as Old Overholt. The Large distillery eventually ceased operations and the property was sold to a developer who leased it to Westinghouse in the 1950s.
1798 Wayne County was created from Northampton County and named after General Anthony Wayne.
1798 January 18 Glass production was begun at New Geneva
1800 William Stewart purchased the trading post and 69 acres at the mouth of Loyalhanna Creek from James Johnston.
1800 Pennsylvania led in the production of flour in the United States. The Commonwealth was also a leader in distilling alcohol from grain.
1800 Crawford County was formed from a portion of Allegheny County and named after Colonel William Crawford, an early military hero and close friend of George Washington.
1800 Mercer County was formed. When Mercer County was formed from Allegheny County, there were 3,228 residents.
1800 John M. Laird owned a mill on Letort Spring Run near Carlisle
1800 March 12 Armstrong County was formed out of parts of Allegheny, Westmoreland and Lycoming counties by act of the legislature. Erie County was formed from part of Allegheny County.
1801 Samuel Phillippe, who would become known as a bamboo fishing rod builder and who perfected the glued hexagonal rod, was born in Reading.
1802 Bloomsburg was founded
1803 Indiana County was created out of parts of five counties
1804 A Philadelphia-to-Pittsburgh stagecoach line was established.
1804 March 26 An act of the legislature broke the 12,000 square mile Lycoming County into five additional counties; they included Clearfield, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Tioga Counties.
1805 Benjamin Wistar Morris, an agent for the Pine Creek Land Company arrived in present-day Wellsboro with his wife Mary Wells. The settlement they founded together with their son Samuel Wells and daughter Rebecca was called Wellsboro. As legend has it the town was named after Mary Wells but some authorities dispute that claiming the town was named after Mary’s brother, William Wells a principal in the Pine Creek Land Company or even Mary’s and William’s father.
1806 The Old Town Mill on East Pomfert Street in Carlisle was erected and powered by the flow of the Letort.
1808 Judge Jesse Fell first burned anthracite coal in an open grate.
1808 April 8 Michael Egan, O.F.M. was appointed the bishop of the new diocese of Philadelphia, which at that time included the entire states of Pennsylvania and Delaware, and the western and southern parts of New Jersey.
1808 The nation’s first Bible Society was founded in Philadelphia.
1808 Simon Snyder was elected Governor and was re-elected in 1811 and 1814. He was Pennsylvania’s first governor to come from the working class.
1809 The Tammany Pea Shore Fishing Company was founded on the banks of the Delaware River.
1810 George Snyder of Hopewell, Ky., built the first quadruple multiplying or bait-casting reel.
1810 In Cumberland County, Middleton Township was divided to form North Middleton and South Middleton Townships
1810 February 21 Bradford County was created from parts of Lycoming and Luzerne Counties.
1810 February 21 Susquehanna County was created from part of Luzerne County.
1811 October 29 The first steamboat left Pittsburgh for New Orleans.
1812 The site of the present day city of DuBois was first settled.
1812 The state capital was moved from Lancaster to Harrisburg.
1812 A law was passed that required a listing, with the nearest Justice of the Peace, of logs, shingles or lumber placed in the Susquehanna or Lehigh Rivers and their tributaries.
1812 The war of 1812 began. While the war was not fought on Pennsylvania soil, Pennsylvania contributed men and supplies.
1812 April 2 Williamsport Academy, the earliest incarnation of Lycoming College opened.
1812 September 10 The Battle of Lake Erie was fought. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was victorious over the British fleet.
1814 Jacob Hoover was the first settler in the Punxsutawney area, building the first log cabin and probably the first grist mill. The Reverend David Barclay came to the area in 1816 and is considered the founder of the town. Punxsutawney is derived from a native word meaning sand flies or gnats.
1814 Simon Snyder was the first Pennsylvania Governor to win a third term.
1814 March 26 The County of Pike was separated from Wayne County.
1816 Andrew and Jane Boggs purchased land at what is now Saltsburg.
1816 Apollo was founded
1817 March 17 Joseph Hiester, from Reading ,who had served in Congress for 14 years, was nominated for Governor by the Independent Republican Party at a meeting in Carlisle and was elected Pennsylvania’s fifth governor in 1820.
1818 Local speculators built a blast furnace and mill at Titusville known as the Oil Creek Furnace. The furnace ran for forty years.
1819 A bank panic began that caused one third of all banks to fail by the following year.
1820 The Pittsburgh Anglers Club was founded.
1820 Benjamin Irwin was born in what is now Adams County. He moved west and lived many years near Ebenezer, Indiana county, Pa. He hunted much in his early life and in after years he could relate many reminiscences of his adventures. One amusing story ran as follows : “He treed a bear on a tall, dead oak. The bark came loose on which the bear was, and bark and bear together started down the tree, when bruin hugged the tree so he could stop himself and his bark, but he was not contented to be still and when he tried to ascend, he would again start coasting towards terra firma, which he reached in due time, all safe and sound, right side up with care, and dashing into the brush he easily made his escape, for Mr. Irwin was so nearly convulsed with laughter, that it was impossible for him to shoot.
1823 The Delaware and Hudson Canal Co. was organized under the laws of New York to build a canal, from Honesdale to Kingston on the Hudson, to transport coal from the mines near Carbondale to New York.
1823 Nicholas Biddle became the head of the Bank of the United States and stayed until the bank’s demise in 1838.
1824 Philadelphia became the headquarters for the American Sunday School Union. The Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of Internal Improvements was founded.
1824 The Historical Society of Pennsylvania was founded in Philadelphia.
1824 The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia was established for training in the “mechanical arts”.
1825 The Schuylkill Canal connected Pottsville to Reading and Philadelphia
1825 William Baird settled in present day Renovo on a tract of land purchased from Samuel Byron.
1828 February 25 The Pennsylvania Canal was authorized by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
1826 John Andrew Shulze of Berks County a Democrat from Berks County was elected in a landslide over the Federalist candidate, John Sergent. The implementation of the State Works of Pennsylvania was the most important achievement of Shulze’s administration. This provided for state owned infrastructure such as roads, bridges and canals.
1826 May 11 The first steamboat on the Susquehanna River, the Codorus that had been launched at York Haven reached Towanda.
1828 The United Bowmen of Philadelphia, the country’s first archery organization, was established.
1829 David G. Yuengling established the Eagle Brewing Company on Center Street in Pottsville.
1829 George Wolf, a Democrat from Northumberland County was elected to the first of his two terms as Pennsylvania Governor. Even though the state faced severe economic problems in completing the infrastructure or facing default, Governor Wolf continued on with the infrastructure improvements. He found new sources of revenue by levying a tax on mortgages, bonds, notes and bank and turnpike stocks.
1829 Friedrich List (1789-1846), an editor at the Readinger Adler, founded the Little Schuylkill Navigation Railroad and Coal Co
1830 Western Pennsylvania University (now the University of Pittsburgh) opened in Pittsburgh.
1830 Wellsboro was incorporated as a borough.
1830 John Rich, constructed his first woolen mill in Plum Run, Pennsylvania. By 1845, he expanded and moved to what is now Woolrich, Pennsylvania.
1830 April 26 The Sunbury Beacon reported: “Not less than 4,000 to 5,000 shad were caught on Saturday last within a quarter of a mile below the dam. Upward of 500 were taken by one dip net and several others averaged 200 and 300 each. We understand that several hundred were caught with dip nets yesterday.”
1832 Private turnpike building reached its peak.
1833 Jeremiah Church arrived at what is now Lock Haven. He bought Dr. Henderson’s farm for $20,000, and laid out the town. He left for the west in 1846.
1833 The Haverford School was begun by a group of New York and Philadelphia Quakers just outside the city limit of Philadelphia. It became Haverford College
1833 The American Anti-Slavery Society was founded in Philadelphia as was the Female Anti-Slavery Society headed by Lucretia Mott.
1834 April 1 The Free Public School Act became effective.
1834 The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal was completed from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh.
1834 The Pittsburgh Historical Society was founded.
1834 April 10 By an Act of the General Assembly, Armagh in Indiana County was chartered as borough
1835 State works included 601 miles of canal and slackwater routes and 108 miles of railroad lines upon which tolls were collected.
1835 William Dodge made his first purchase of land in Tioga County and began a company that would eventually become Phelps Dodge and Company when he merged with Anson Phelps.
1836 Fourteen artisan groups created the Central Labor Union in Pittsburgh.
1836 The first municipal gas works was begun in Philadelphia.
1837 A major bank panic swept the nation. The panic bankrupted Peter Ege’s Pine Grove Iron Works. At a sheriff sale the following year, Frederick Watts and his law partner Charles Bingham Penrose purchased Pine Grove to enter the iron business.
1837 The Institute for Colored Youth was founded and eventually became Cheyney University of Pennsylvania.
1837 The Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society was founded.
1838 The Lehigh Canal was completed
1838 A new state constitution was adopted. Among other things it allowed for a governor to serve six of any nine years.
1838 Charles Frederick Martin moved to Nazareth from New York City and opened his guitar shop.
1838 Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary was chartered in Wynnewood
1838 The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad began hauling anthracite coal from Pottsville to Reading and on to Philadelphia. The railroad was a subsidiary of the Philadelphia & Reading Coal and Iron Company.
1838 John Dubois, Jr. and his brothers purchased timberland and a mill along Lycoming Creek.
1839 An academy “to teach the youth the elements of a classical education” was established in Bloomsburg. The academy continued until 1856 when it was reorganized as Bloomsburg Literary Institute. It eventually became Bloomsburg University.
1839 March 11 Clarion County was created from parts of Armstrong and Venango Counties.
1839 April 9 Joseph Trimble Rothrock born in McVeytown, Mifflin County.
1840 The Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal linked Havre de Grace with Wrightsville.
1840 Brothers Selden T. and George W. Scranton founded what would become the Lackawanna Steel Company in the city that bears their name.
1840 John Alfred Brashear, astronomer, was born in Brownsville
1841 Commercial production of coke began in the Connellsville area.
1841 Williamsport Academy, the forerunner to Lycoming College, moved from West Third Street to the current Lycoming College campus and opened a new building.
1841 April 6 The town of Clarion was incorporated as a borough
1842 The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh was created and the Reverend Michael O’Connor was installed as the first bishop. At the time the diocese covered twenty-seven western Pennsylvania counties.
1842 The west branch of Pine Creek was made a highway by act of assembly.
1842 Villanova University was founded by the Order of Saint Augustine outside of Philadelphia
1842 Coal miners in Minersville walked off the job and were attacked by the militia.
1842 Sylvania Phalanx was founded in Pike County.
1842 Wyoming County was created from part of Luzerne County
1843 The Schuylkill Fishing Co. acquired its own property.
1843 The wooden covered bridge spanning the Kiskiminetas River at Saltsburg was completed
1844 Erie was linked to the state canal system
1844 May 3 Anti-Catholic rioting began in Philadelphia. The rioting continued through July of that year.
1845 Samuel Phillippe produced his first four-strip fishing rod.
1845 Henry Robeson built an anthracite furnace named Robesonia Furnace beginning a transition in the iron industry.
1845 April 10 The Great Fire of Pittsburgh occurred as a laundress accidentally started the fire. The conflagration covered fifty acres or twenty square blocks and burned 1,200 buildings at a loss of $9 Million.
1845 October 8 Iron T-rails were first manufactured in America at the Montour Iron Works in Danville.
1846 Among the establishments listed in Carlisle were 10 churches, 12 taverns, 3 distilleries, 2 breweries, and 2 cigar makers. But no tackle shops. It was an almost ideal situation for anglers.
1846 April 13 The Pennsylvania Railroad was chartered.
1846 Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B. with a company of eighteen young postulants, arrived in western Pennsylvania in response to an invitation the bishop of Pittsburgh had extended to him to work in that diocese. Father Boniface and his confreres settled at the parish of Saint Vincent de Paul, which was founded in 1790 and is near what is now the City of Latrobe. This was the beginning of Saint Vincent College.
1846 At the urging of James H. Perkins the Susquehanna Boom Company was chartered by the state legislature to operate at Williamsport.
1846 Schuylkill County miners presented demands to the mine owners concerning hours, pay and safety. The owners responded by shutting down the mines.
1847 The American Medical Association was founded at Philadelphia with Dr. Nathaniel Chapman chosen as the first president.
1847 The Lackawanna Steel Company began producing iron T-rails for the Erie Railroad in New York state. Soon after, Scranton became a major producer of these rails.
1847 Saint Matthews Catholic Church is one of the oldest meeting houses in Saltsburg, and one of two such facilities built under the auspices of Fr. Wimmer, the founder of St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., who became the first arch-abbot in America. The land on which it sits was donated by one of the town’s well-known citizens, Mathias Rombach. He owned a great deal of land just northeast of the town boundary, which he sold to the Right Reverend Michael O’Connor, Bishop of Pittsburgh, for the token price of $1. The building was constructed by stone mason John Martin of Saltsburg, who donated his services to the project for an earlier kindness the church bestowed on his family: when Martin’s father had fallen ill with cholera, some Catholic Sisters of Charity nursed him back to health. The bricks used in the building were made from clay taken from the nearby Chestnut Knoll (located between the church and the present high school) and baked in a kiln Martin erected on site; the foundation stones came from materials left over from the construction of the canal tunnel at Tunnelton.
1847 What was to become Saint Francis University was begun by six Franciscan friars from Ireland who founded a boys’ academy in the mountain hamlet of Loretto.
1847 Major flooding struck the Susquehanna Valley
1848 Samuel Phillippe produced his first six-strip rod for sale through Andrew Clark & Company.
1848 A new state constitution was enacted that provided fifteen year terms for a supreme court justice but excluded women and blacks from voting or holding office
1849 Joe Barker was elected Mayor of Pittsburgh while in jail for inciting anti-Catholic riots.
1849 May The community of California was plotted by Job Johnson, George Hornbake, Abram Frye, William Jackman, William Ashmead, and John Wood. They named town California due to excitement over the Gold Rush.
1849 Construction began on the Susquehanna Log Boom at Williamsport.
1850 Punxsutawney was incorporated as a borough
1850 The first sawmill was built in West Branch Township, Potter County, by Daniel Dewey and Theodore Larrison.
1850 September 2 A major flood struck the Schuylkill River leaving only one bridge standing at Tuckerton.
1851 First log boom completed on the Susquehanna River
1851 Joshua Kite’s escape from slavery precipitated the Christiana Riot in Lancaster County.
1851 The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) was founded by the Scranton brothers to transport iron and coal products from the Lackawanna valley.
1851 The first post office was opened in Renovo
1851 August 1 Deer hunting was banned for five years in Cumberland and Franklin counties.
1852 The Pennsylvania Railroad reached Pittsburgh.
1852 The Pencoyd Iron Works was started by the Roberts family on fifty acres along the Schuylkill River. The company became a major bridge and structural steel supplier.
1852 What would eventually become California University of Pennsylvania was begun.
1851 John Magee obtained the lease for the coal mines at Blossburg, Pennsylvania, held earlier by Mallory & Bostwick of Corning, New York. Magee’s son, Duncan, began searching for new coal lands which resulted in the discovery of coal near Fall Brook, Tioga County, in 1856. The discovery led to the organization of the Fall Brook Coal Company in 1859. The discovery of coal near Wilson’s Creek in 1866 led to the construction of the Wellsboro and Lawrenceville Railroad, which was completed to the mines at Antrim in 1872. The Blossburg and Corning and the Wellsboro and Lawrenceville were consolidated to form the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim Railway Company, which was incorporated under the laws of New York and Pennsylvania in 1873. The Cowanesque Valley Railroad was purchased by the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim in 1874. The name of the Corning, Cowanesque and Antrim was changed in 1892 to that of the Fall Brook Railway Company.
1851 Ole Bull, a Norwegian violin virtuoso, began an attempt to create a New Norway in Potter County.
1851 Saint Joseph’s University was founded by the Society of Jesus in Philadelphia.
1852 The first all-rail link between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in was completed
1853 Samuel Kier established America’s first oil refinery in Pittsburgh on Seventh avenue near Grant Street. He invented a product he called “rock oil” or kerosene that was used for lighting. Kier came from a family of early settlers and entrepreneurs who settled around Livermore and Saltsburg.
1853 Mount Aloysius College was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in Cresson
1853 September The American Iron Works was founded by Bernard and John Lauth. This was the forerunner to Jones and Laughlin Steel Company which would remain an independent steel producer in Pittsburgh until 1974 when it was sold to LTV.
1853 December 25 Mira Lloyd Dock born in Harrisburg
1854 Theodore Gordon was born in Pittsburgh.
1854 John Magee obtained ownership of the Corning and Blossburg Railroad, which was incorporated one month later as the Blossburg and Corning Railroad.
1854 June 13 The accordion was patented in Philadelphia by Anthony Faas.
1854 June 27 The Westmoreland Coal Company was incorporated.
1855 The Lancaster County Normal School was founded which became the Millersville State Normal School in 1859 and eventually Millersville University.
1855 The Pennsylvania State College was chartered at the request of the Pennsylvania State Agricultural Society.
1855 March 2 Snyder County was formed from part of Union County.
1856 Andre Michaux bequeathed $12,000 to the American Philosophical Society to promote agriculture, particularly silviculture in the United States.
1856 April 10 Deer hunting banned for five years in Adams County.
1856 James Buchannan was elected president. He was the first president to be a native Pennsylvanian.
1857 May The Pennsylvania Legislature authorized sale of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal. It was finally sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad for $7.5 Million, $2.5 Million less than the construction cost.
1857 April 8 What would become the Bethlehem Steel Corporation was founded as the Saucon Iron Company in Bethlehem.
1857 May 20 The Normal School Act was passed by the Legislature.
1857 Kane was founded by Thomas Leiper Kane, brother of the famous explorer Elisha Kent Kane who died two years before the town was founded. Thomas Kane would go on to serve in the civil war and fight at the battle of Gettysburg among other engagements. He was wounded in battle and taken prisoner by Confederate forces.
1857 The educational institution that evolved into Edinboro University was founded in northwestern Pennsylvania.
1857 Mansfield Classical Seminary opened. In 1862, Mansfield became a state normal school and eventually Mansfield University.
1858 Missionary Institute was founded at Selinsgrove. In 1895 it became Susquehanna College.
1858 The legislature created the first statewide small game seasons however counties could circumvent these seasons by setting their own. Pheasants, September 1 to January 1; woodcock, July 4 to January 1; and partridge and rabbits, October 1 to January 1.
1858 March The Seneca Oil Company was formed by George Bissell and Jonathan Eveleth with Edwin L. Drake named as general agent.
1858 July 24 Robert S. Conklin was born at Mountville, Lancaster County
1859 Eight year old Henry John Heinz began peddling vegetables from his mother’s garden to neighbors in Pittsburgh.
1859 A new Martin Guitar plant was constructed on the corner of Main and North Streets in Nazareth.
1859 The Philadelphia Zoo was chartered but it would not open until 1874 having been delayed by the Civil War.
1859 August 28 Edwin Drake drilled the first successful oil well at Titusville.
1859 November Middlesex Township in Cumberland County was formed.
1859 Barrett Township, Monroe County was formed from portions of Paradise and Price townships.
1860 Andrew Curtin was elected governor.
1860 Pennsylvania led all states in lumber production. Setting forest fires became a misdemeanor subject to a fine not exceeding $100 and imprisonment not exceeding 12 months
1860 June 30 A severe tornado struck Clarion county killing four people, injuring forty and causing $400,000 in damages and completely destroyed the village of Hessville.
1861 Edward Frauenheim, a German immigrant, formed Iron City Brewing Company in Pittsburgh. Christian Schmidt, an immigrant from Wurtemberg, Germany, purchased the Robert Courtenay brewery which primarily produced ale.
1861 Julius Sturgis began baking pretzels in Lititz and started what is today Tom Sturgis Pretzels in Shillington.
1861 April 12 Fort Sumter was fired on by the Confederacy starting the Civil War.
1861 April 18 The Pennsylvania Legislature pledged to support the Union.
1861 April 24 Under the leadership of Thomas L. Kane, 100 volunteers gathered in Smethport to travel to Harrisburg to enlist in the Union Army. They wore a bucktail on their hats and were given the nickname ‘Bucktails’. The unit served with distinction throughout the civil war. Officially designated the 42nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, the unit was also known as the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, the 1st Pennsylvania Rifles, and the Kane Rifles.
1862 The 131st Pennsylvania Volunteers formed, mostly from men in Mifflin County
1862 Flooding wiped out the dams on the Lehigh Canal
1862 The Oil Creek Railroad was completed from Corry to Titusville
1862 The Philadelphia and Erie (P&E) Railroad construction train entered the village of what would become Renovo, with workmen and crews. The P&E railroad decided to erect shops at northern end of the town. Land not used by the railroad was laid into streets and individual lots for homes.
1862 The federal Homestead Act allowed settlers to claim land, usually 160 acres on which to live.
1862 The Morrill Act, set federal public lands aside for state colleges that became the “land grant universities” of today.
1862 August The Pennsylvania 135th Volunteers were organized with James R. Porter, of Indiana County appointed colonel, and the staff officers were from the three Indiana county companies A. D, and I, commanded by Captains Samuel T. Nicholson, John G. Wilson and John A. Kinter.
1862 September Joseph T. Rothrock wounded in battle at the Battle of Antietam.
1862 October 10 Gen. J.E.B. Stewart and his Confederate Army invaded southcentral Pennsylvania following the battle of Antietam. It attacked Chambersburg.
1863 The Baer & Stegmaier Brewery was opened in Wilkes-Barre and lasted until the Panic of 1873.
1863 Renovo was named.
1863 La Salle University in Philadelphia was established through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order
1863 May Joseph Rothrock was discharged from Union Army
1863 June 22 The forces of Gen. Robert E. Lee invaded Pennsylvania attempting to capture Harrisburg. They succeeded in capturing Carlisle at what is generally considered the “high water mark” of the Confederacy.
1863 July 1-3 The battle of Gettysburg was fought between Union and Confederate forces. About a third of the forces on the battlefield were Pennsylvanians.
1863 July Joseph T. Rothrock was commissioned a captain in the 20th Regiment, Pennsylvania Calvary. Mustered out after six months duty in West Virginia.
1863 November 19 The cemetery for the fallen soldiers at Gettysburg was dedicated. It was here that President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address.
1864 Joseph Rothrock returned to Harvard. Served a term in a volunteer unit made up of Harvard faculty – he volunteered to take Dr. Asa Gray’s place – guarding Cape Cod. And they were successful and the Confederates never invaded Cape Cod.
1864 Joseph T. Rothrock attended his first course of lectures at the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania.
1864 Thaddeus Norris published The American Anglers Book: Embracing the Natural History of Sporting Fish and the Art of Taking Them.
1864 The South Shore Wine Company was established as the first commercial winery in Erie County by William Griffith and Smith S. Hammond. The operation lasted until prohibition took effect.
1864 July 30 Chambersburg was burned by Confederate forces under the command of Gen. John McCausland. This really put off the fishing in Falling Spring.
1864 August 13 Union troops began to occupy Bloomsburg. The troops under the command of Major General Darius M. Couch commanded the army with the express purpose of routing the Fishing Creek Confederacy from the area. The rebel army was fictitious though anti-Union sentiment was prevalent in the valley and it was a Copperhead stronghold. On August 30, thirty-four sympathizers were rounded up and sent to Fort Mifflin for trial. Most were pardoned.
1865 March Joseph T. Rothrock set sail for Canada and Alaska to help map a route for a trans-Siberian to North America telegraph line. He returned home to McVeytown in October 1866
1865 August, 11 Gifford Pinchot was born
1866 A convention was held in Harrisburg to investigate pollution, bad conditions existing in mountain lakes and streams, and the stopping of spring shad runs by dams. Gov. Andrew G. Curtin signed the law that named James Worrall Pennsylvania’s first commissioner of fisheries.
1866 May 26 Renovo Borough was incorporated. A petition, signed by 106 citizens on May 15, was sent to the court at Lock Haven.
1866 September 15 The Keystone Normal School was established and eventually became Kutztown University.
1867 The first fishway was constructed at the Columbia Dam on the Susquehanna River.
1867 The Pennsylvania Steel Company opened it plant in Steelton, Pennsylvania.
1867 The Clarion Normal School, which would become Clarion University, was founded.
1868 The Legislature passed a law prohibiting the use of seines for taking fish within 200 yards of any device erected for the passage of fish.
1868 February Joseph T. Rothrock receives his M.D. from University of Pennsylvania
1868 March Joseph T. Rothrock began teaching at Pennsylvania Agricultural College (now PSU)
1868 June At the regular meeting of the Schuylkill River Fishing Co. the fish were found to be inedible due to an oily waste residue.
1869 September 6 A fire broke out in the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County and claimed the lives of 110 men.
1869 The Westinghouse Air Brake Company was established by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh.
1869 St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Renovo was organized.
1869 Judge Thomas Mellon founded Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh
1869 Henry John Heinz launched the forerunner of what would become the H.J. Heinz Company.
1869 May 27 Joseph T. Rothrock married Martha “Mattie” May of West Chester
1870 The Forest Fire Act made it the duty of county commissioners to prosecute individuals who set fires.
1870 The first logging railroad was built outside of Corry
1870 March 4 Bloomsburg in Columbia County was incorporated
1870 April Joseph T. Rothrock left the Pennsylvania Agricultural College
1870 October 26 Thad Norris purchased 450 bass taken from the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry for $313 and released them in the Delaware River just below the Lehigh River Dam at Easton. Supporters of his project included Howard J. Reeder and G.W. Stout. Residents along the Susquehanna and Schuylkill rivers later did the same thing.
1870 The Central State Normal School which became Lock Haven University was founded.
1871 What would become Shippensburg University began as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School. The school received official approval by the state on February 21, 1873, and admitted its first class of 217 students on April 15, 1873.
1871 February President Ulysses S. Grant signed the U.S. Fish Commission into existence and appointed Spencer Fullerton Baird, a former professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, as its head.
1871 David Saylor began manufacturing Portland cement at Coplay.
1871 Congressman Richard J. Haldeman of Harrisburg, introduced the first forestry bill, in Congress. It provided that 10 percent of the land shall be kept in timber or, if not timber, it shall be planted in timber. The bill failed.
1871 September 25 West Chester Normal School admitted its first class, consisting of 160 students. The school traces its roots to a private academy that operated from 1812 until 1869.
1871 October 8 The great Peshtigo Fire happened in Wisconsin killing at least 1200 people. At the same time the great Chicago Fire occurred.
1872 July 1 Sawmill workers in Williamsport went on strike causing the “Sawdust War.”
1872 The Rochester & State Line Railroad changed its charter to make Salamanca, New York its southern terminus. In nearby Carollton it would connect with the Buffalo, Bradford & Pittsburgh Railroad which came north from the coal fields of Pennsylvania. On January 20, 1881 the Rochester & State Line Railroad was sold to a New York syndicate which incorporated the Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad on January 29, 1881. The Rochester & Pittsburg Railroad ambitiously began building a number of linked railroad companies extending south from Salamanca with the ultimate goal of reaching Pittsburgh. The company was short lived and by 1885 was bankrupt. The Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad was purchased on October 16, 1885 by Adrian Iselin, one of the Directors of the R&P, and was broken into the Pittsburgh & State Line Railroad Company, which operated in Pennsylvania, and the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railroad Company which operated the New York sections. On March 10, 1887 the two companies were reunited as the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway Company. The BR&P continued until January 1, 1932 when it was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.
1872 October Joseph T. Rothrock helped found a hospital in Wilkes-Barre
1873 Governor Hartranft first asked for legislation to deal with wanton destruction of Pennsylvania forests.
1873 Joseph T. Rothrock’s first western expedition began.
1873 April 29 An act signed into law established a state-owned hatchery on Hoover’s Spring, one of the famous Donegal Springs. John P. Creveling was the first superintendent.
1873 All Sunday game hunting was banned.
1873 Pennsylvania’s first comprehensive Wildlife Act was passed. This act was the forerunner of the Game Code.
1873 The State of New Jersey in May and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in September ratified an agreement, “That the Delaware River between certain points in the whole length and breadth thereof is, and shall continue to be, and remain, a common highway, equally free and open to the use, benefit, and advantage of the contracting parties.” Approximately 2.7 million young shad were hatched and planted in the Susquehanna River. About 2,044 bass were taken from the Delaware River and stocked in other waters of the commonwealth.
1873 September 18 The banking house of Jay Cooke & Company of Philadelphia went into bankruptcy and started the Panic of 1873, the effects of which were felt for several years to come.
1874 John Dubois moved to Clearfield County where he built the largest sawmill in the commonwealth and founded the town named after him.
1874 Joseph T. Rothrock’s second western expedition began.
1874 A brick factory was established as the Kier Fire Brick Co. in Salina. Its founder, Samuel Kier, is credited with developing the process to refine oil. Kier was the son of Thomas and Mary Kier, who owned the famous salt wells near Saltsburg. Years earlier, Samuel Kier teamed up with President James Buchanan for another brick refractory in Bolivar, Westmoreland County, as well as a merchant line of canal boats. Also, Kier was one of the investors in some iron foundries that went on to become the Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.
1874 May 21 By the Act of May 21, 1874, P.L. 299, the Pennsylvania Legislature declared the First Fork of Sinnemahoning Creek to be a public highway. It was used at that time by the lumber industry to transport logs into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
1874 December The Anthracite Coal strike began. The strike lasted until June 1875.
1875 The Legislature appropriated $2,000 to purchase nine acres in Corry and $3,000 for its immediate improvement to construct the Western Hatchery. William Buller was appointed as superintendent.
1875 The Sisters of Mercy arrived in the Wyoming Valley area from Dublin, Ireland
1875 Indiana Normal School which became Indiana University of Pennsylvania was founded.
1875 Longwall coal mining was introduced to Pennsylvania by newly arrived Welsh miners where the technique originated.
1875 The National Forestry Association, that later became the American Forestry Association, was founded in Chicago, led by John Aston Warder, a physician and horticulturalist.
1875 May 20 Osceola Mills in Clearfield County was destroyed by a forest fire
1876 The State Board of Agriculture was established.
1876 Calico bass (crappies) were first planted in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.
1876 Fifteen Molly Maguires were hanged at Pottsville for their alleged roles in labor violence in the anthracite coal region.
1876 The Philadelphia Centennial Exposition was held to celebrate 100 years of American independence.
1877 May 4 $200 from the estate of Andre Francois Michaux was appropriated for the expenses of a course of lectures contributing to the extension and progress of silviculture. Dr. Rothrock became a Professor of Botany and delivered the first of the Michaux lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, brought about by the money provided earlier by the Michaux’s
1877 Samuel Phillippe died in Easton.
1877 The Schuylkill Fishing Co. moved to Wissahickon.
1877 June 23 The railroad strike riots occurred in Pittsburgh.
1878 Lackawanna County was formed in 1878 from part of Luzerne County after a long dispute. Lackawanna County was the last county to be formed in Pennsylvania
1878 June 3 An act of the Legislature forbade fishing on Sundays.
1878 October 1 Pike County banned deer hunting for three years.
1878 October 1 Duquesne University was founded by the Spiritans in Pittsburgh
1879 The United States Fish Commission distributed 12,000 carp to individuals in 25 states, including Pennsylvania.
1879 Forest & Stream magazine mentioned Pennsylvania as the best natural trout region in America.
1879 The Pennsylvania Fish Commission was enlarged by three additional members.
1879 Thad S. Up De Graff published Bodines, or, Camping on the Lycoming: A Complete Practical Guide to Fly Fishing and Camping Out.
1879 The Carlisle Industrial School was established. Its purpose was to “civilize” Indian children so they could more easily assimilate into society.
1879 – 1880 Robert Moffitt and Daniel Cox of Harrisburg built the first frame building which is now occupied by The Kiski School. Moffit and Cox used the building as a summer resort for primarily people from Pittsburgh. The area had mineralized spring water (that is why Saltsburg is called Saltsburg duh!) and the visitors also came for fishing in the Loyalhanna Creek, Conemaugh and Kiskiminetas Rivers.
1879 March 12 General Order No. 1 officially established the 28th Division also known as the Keystone Division. Governor John F. Hartranft became the 28th Division’s first commander. The Division mustered into federal service in 1898 for the Spanish-American War. Elements saw action in Puerto Rico and the Philippines. On Oct. 27, 1918, the Red Keystone was designated the shoulder sleeve insignia of the Division. The distinctive Keystone was the second shoulder sleeve patch to receive official Army approval.
1879 An act of the legislature provided for a fine not to exceed $300 and imprisonment of not more than 12 months for willfully setting a wildfire. The act provided that any person or persons who shall wantonly and willfully kindle any fire on the lands of another, so as to set on fire any woodlands, barrens or moors, within the limits of this Commonwealth shall be guilty to pay a fine not exceeding three hundred dollars, and undergo an imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or either or both) at the discretion of the court; and prosecutions for such offenses may be commenced at any time within two years from the commission thereof
1880s The band saw was introduced to Pennsylvania sawmills
1880 Joseph T. Rothrock obtained a nine-month leave from the University of Pennsylvania to study in Europe at the University of Strassburg under the Professor Anton DeBary, a world-renowned botanist. Rothrock left for Europe on June 19, 1880. While in Europe he was promoted to a full professorship and became a Professor of Botany.
1880 November 28 George H. Wirt born in McVeytown, Mifflin County.
1880 Local entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh, including George Westinghouse formed the Allegheny County Light Company.
1881 The Jones Brewing Co. was founded when William B. “Stoney” Jones, a Welsh immigrant, won the brewery in a friendly game of poker in Sutersville, PA.
1881 The Pittsburgh, Virginia and Charleston Railroad opened a line between Pittsburgh and West Brownsville. It provided Brownsville and Bridgeport with valuable rail connections to outside markets.
1881 May 27 Harrison Wright, chairman of the Wayne County Historical and Geological Society, published a paper stating there were 40 permanent fisheries on the North Branch of the Susquehanna between Northumberland and Towanda before the erection of dams. The purpose of these fisheries was to capture shad and eels.
1881 The Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal Company was incorporated in Indiana, PA by Walston H. Brown and Adrian Iselin, financiers from New York City.
1881 The Borough of DuBois in Clearfield County was incorporated. Originally founded by John Rumbarger in 1812 and named after him. The town was renamed after John DuBois a local lumber baron of French Huguenot descent. It would become a city in 1914.
1882 The Foster Coal & Mining Company was chartered in Philadelphia. The mine was opened in November. By the late 1880’s, the Foster Coal & Mining Company was acquired by the Fairbanks Coal Company. By 1889 the Saltsburg Coal Company took over the mining operations.
1882 Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh opened.
1883 The “Eastern Station” was built by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission on leased property on the Little Lehigh River.
1884 Joseph T. Rothrock, following a sailing trip in the Chesapeake Bay, published Cruising on the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays
1884 The “Rogers” fish ladder was erected at the Columbia Dam on the Susquehanna River.
1884 Work was begun on railroad tunnels through the Allegheny Mountains in a project funded by William H. Vanderbilt. The railroad would be under Vanderbilt’s control and a competitor of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Through financial chicanery Vanderbilt lost control of the project and the project was abandoned in 1885.
1884 “The ‘Great Fire” occurred in Cameron County in 1884 and burned the sawmill of Steinhelfer and Otto and the sawmill of Joseph Goetz near Swissmont, the mill of Andrew Kaul on Spring Run, one million feet of logs and 300 cords of bark, a camp in Wolf Run, a sawmill at Sterling Run, the Otto Mill at Hemlock Station and the forests in between…”
1885 December 12 A $5,000 legislative appropriation established a hatchery in Erie that began operating this day.
1885 Legislation was adopted allowing the governor to designate an Arbor Day.
1885 Grampian Borough in Clearfield County was established.
1885 The Solid Comfort Fishing Club was founded by W.O. Skelton in Cambridge Springs, PA.
1885 The Sisters of Charity founded what came to be known as the Seton Hill University in Greensburg.
1885 Bryn Mawr College was founded.
1886 The first 10,000 brown trout eggs were received from Germany and hatched at the Corry Hatchery
1886 George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh
1886 March 27 Joseph Pew and Edward D. Emerson began a partnership that would become Sun Oil Co.
1886 The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the public good outweighed “the trifling inconvenience of particular persons whose streams or air were poisoned.” In the Pennsylvania Coal Company vs. Sanderson and Wife. Eliza McBriar Sanderson sued the coal company for severely polluting a stream that ran through her property. The ruling would guide environmental cases for the next several decades. The court noted the coal company could not conduct business as normal if they were to be held liable for damage caused by their normal operations.
1886 November 30 The Pennsylvania Forestry Association was organized in Philadelphia. Bernard Fernow gave the principal address
1887 Schuylkill Fishing Co. moved to the Delaware River across from Beverly, N.J.
1887 Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell started the Boone and Crockett Club, which soon became the most powerful conservation organization in the country.
1887 April 26 A Joint Resolution of the General Assembly authorized the governor to appoint a committee of not more than five persons, who shall serve without compensation, to examine and consider the subject of forestry in Pennsylvania, and report the results of their labors, by bill or otherwise, to the next regular session of the Legislature.
1887 April 28 The Pennsylvania State Forestry Commission was created by Concurrent Resolution 31 of the General Assembly and approved by Governor Beaver
1887 April 30 The Pittsburgh Alleghenys played their first National League baseball game. They defeated the defending league champion Chicago White Stockings, 6-2, in front of nearly 10,000 fans at Recreation Park. Pittsburgh would go on to finish in sixth Place with a 55-69 record. The baseball club would be renamed the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1890
1888 The first recorded planting of rainbow trout in the Susquehanna River took place.
1888 May Camp Necessity was established as the forerunner of the Whistle Pig Fishing Club on Young Womans Creek, Clinton County.
1888 The University of Scranton was founded by the Jesuit order.
1888 Kiskiminetas Springs School at Saltsburg was founded by Andrew W. Wilson, Jr. and R.W. Fair.
1888 Henry John Heinz founded the H.J. Heinz Company in Pittsburgh.
1889 January 9 A severe storm wreaked havoc across Pennsylvania with Pittsburgh and Reading being among the hardest hit cities.
1889 March 26 Slippery Rock State Normal School began holding classes
1889 May 31 The Johnstown Flood occurred when a dam on the South Fork of the Conemaugh River failed following torrential rains. Those same torrential rains caused flooding on the West Branch of the Susquehanna and broke the log boom at Lock Haven.
1889 American Forestry Congress met in Philadelphia
1889 Gifford Pinchot graduated from Yale
1889 October Gifford Pinchot began his European tour and formal forestry education
1890 The Glatfelter Company began acquiring forest lands in Pennsylvania as well as other states to assure a continued supply of pulpwood.
1890 October Gifford Pinchot returns from Europe
1891 George Wirt graduated from Juniata College
1891 The “Beaver Commission” made a report on forestry in Pennsylvania
1891 May 12 The Moores Run forest fire disaster in Potter County happened. Seven men were killed outright, scores more were injured, some seriously enough that they died from their wounds and a number of others were missing. It was the worst forest fire disaster in Pennsylvania history
1891 Anthony J. Drexel established the Drexel Institute of Art, Science and Industry in Philadelphia. Drexel began conferring the Bachelor of Science degree in 1914, when its 18 departments were organized into four schools. In 1927, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted Drexel the privilege to confer the Master of Science degree, and in 1965, the Doctor of Philosophy degree.
1891 November New Kensington, Citizens Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 chartered. The first fire company in the new city in western PA.
1892 The Schenley, Pennsylvania distillery was begun when the Sinclaire brothers and Henry Bischoff started Schenley Distillery, Limited
1892 Ringneck Pheasants were successfully established for first time in Pennsylvania when several hundred were released in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
1892 January Gifford Pinchot went to work for the Vanderbilts at Biltmore, near Ashville, NC
1892 Joseph T. Rothrock became the General Secretary of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association
1892 June 4 Heavy rains caused a dam to collapse on Oil Creek and water raced down the valley toppling oil storage tanks and igniting explosions at refineries in Titusville and Oil City. The spreading fire killed 132 people and destroyed countless homes and businesses.
1892 June 5 Jackson and Sharp of Wilmington, Del., built a rail car called “Susquehanna” to transport fish. The Susquehanna was delivered to the Pennsylvania Fish Commission on June 5, 1892.
1892 July 6 The Homestead Steel Strike occurred.
1892 The Kinzua Viaduct was completed. It was rebuilt of steel in 1900 and severely damaged by a tornado on July 21, 2003. Located in the Allegheny National Forest in McKean County it was nearly a half mile long and 301 feet above the valley bottom. Following the tornado the DCNR Bureau of State parks closed the viaduct to pedestrian traffic and on July 21, 2004 it was removed from the Register of Historic Places.
1893 Bethlehem Steel Co. was the largest steel company in the world.
1893 The Pennsylvania Fish Commission participated in Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, named “The Columbian Exposition,” with live fish displays. Legislative appropriation enabled the establishment of the shad propagation station at Bristol. Valley Forge became Pennsylvania’s first state park.
1893 The Latrobe Brewing Company was founded in Latrobe, PA. Their signature beer was Rolling Rock.
1893 January D. Smith Talbot, a legislator introduced a measure on behalf of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association. House Bill 173, titled “An Act Relative to a Forestry Commission and Providing for the Expenses Thereof
1893 May 23 The act to create a forestry commission was passed and signed by Governor Robert E. Pattison
1893 May 30 Valley Forge, Pennsylvania’s first State Park, was created by Act 130 “for the acquisition of ground at Valley Forge for a public park.” This act also created a ten-person commission that worked to acquire more land and get facilities constructed.
1893 June 8 Governor Pattison named Dr. Joseph T. Rothrock the botanist member of the Commission and Col. A. Harvey Tyson the engineer member
1893 September 4 East Stroudsburg Normal School opened its doors to students.
1893 Carl Schenck replaced Pinchot at Biltmore
1893 A bill establishing a Pennsylvania Forestry Commission signed into law. Joseph Rothrock was appointed the commission botanist.
1894 Frank and Charles Goodyear arrived in what is now Galeton and began logging operations.
1894 September 5 English Center in Lycoming County was destroyed by a forest fire
1895 The State Department of Agriculture was created and charged with encouraging and promoting the development of agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. The act created a position of Commissioner of Forestry.
1895 A Division of Forestry was created in the new Department of Agriculture. Joseph T. Rothrock was appointed as the first commissioner of forestry in the state of Pennsylvania
1895 Output of hemlock lumber from Pennsylvania estimated at between 800,000,000 and 1,300,000,000 board feet
1895 The Fish Commission abandoned the cultivation of German carp and attempted to raise black bass.
1895 March 14 The Forestry Commission presented its 342 page comprehensive report on forestry in Pennsylvania to the Legislature under the signatures of J.T. Rothrock, M.D. as the Botanist Member and Wm. F. Shunk, Engineer Member
1895 June 3 Coon Run, McKean County wiped out by a forest fire.
1895 June 5 Russell City, Elk County was destroyed by fire and five men were reported to have died in the fire.
1895 June 25 An act creating the Board of Game Commissioners became law
1895 October 22 Oil was struck on the Lathrop Property on Callen Run in Jefferson County.
1895 November 8 Robert Conklin appointed clerk to the Division of Forestry. In 2016 parlance Rothrock would be the department’s Secretary and Conklin would be the Deputy Executive Secretary or Deputy Secretary for Administration.
1896 Boies Penrose won a Republican U.S. Senate seat as a senator from Pennsylvania. According to McCullogh, “Penrose too descended from a wealthy distinguished line. He was a ‘lover of vigorous outdoor sports’, an aspiring author, and he too started of exactly as Theodore, by running for the state (Pennsylvania) legislature as a gentleman champion of reform. But Penrose was to become another of the era’s flagrant political bosses, overbearing, power obsessed, the antithesis of the reform spirit. Penrose was a perfect, Harvard-cultivated, Harvard-sounding aristocrat-and when among his political cronies, to quote one biographical sketch, ‘capable of conduct and utterances which caused the judicious to grieve and moved the pious to indignation.’”
1896 The Laurelton Lumber Co., which grew out of smaller operations headed by Hartleton native Robert F. Whitmer and Charles M. Steele, of Northumberland, was incorporated.
1896 The Pittsburgh Symphony was formed
1896 The Pennsylvania chapter of the Audubon Society was formed.
1896 April 25 Congress created Division of Biological Survey in U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
1896 May 12 Karthaus, Clearfield County was partially destroyed when a forest fire swept into town.
1896 November 17 The first six Game Commissioners were appointed and began service. Dr. B. H. Warren of West Chester, formerly Lewisburg, served as first Secretary of Game Commission.
1896 Mira Lloyd Dock entered University of Michigan to study botany, chemistry and geology.
1897 James H. Reed reshapes the Philadelphia Company into a holding company that consolidates the Pittsburgh area energy and transportation interests. In 1898 the Philadelphia Company acquired the Allegheny County Light Company.
1897 February 2 The State Capitol Building burned in Harrisburg
1897 March 30 An act signed into law making township constables fire wardens.
1897 March 30 Legislature authorized purchase of unseated lands by the Commonwealth for State Forestry Reservations. Another act created a Forestry Commission, with members appointed by the Governor for the purpose of securing State Forest Reservations.
1897 Under the tax sale Act of 1897 the state purchased 415 acres in Beech Creek Township, Clinton County for $30.70.This was the first purchase and began the process of land acquisition for state forest reserves.
1897 September 10 The massacre at Lattimer Mines near Hazleton occurred
1898 Pinchot was appointed head of USDA Division of Forestry
1898 Local residents were arrested and convicted of trespassing on the grounds of the Pohoqualine Fish Association.
1898 Mira Lloyd Dock from a prosperous Harrisburg family, a botanist by training and a devoted conservationist, founded the Civic Club of Harrisburg. The organization was founded in part to develop parkland along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg and Capitol Park.
1898 June 13 409 acres purchased in Cummings Township, Lycoming County from A.D. Updegraff for $72.99. This was the beginning of the Tiadaghton State Forest.
1898 June 13 The first acquisition of what was to become the Delaware State Forest happened when the Commonwealth acquired 1,521 acres for fifteen cents an acre at a tax sale.
1898 July 8 Dr. Joseph Kalbfus of Harrisburg began his term as the second Secretary of Game Commission. He served until his death in 1919.
1898 July 28 The first land was acquired by the state as a State Forestry Reservation. It was a 7,380 acre tract in Young Womans Creek in Clinton County. This was also the beginning of the Sproul State Forest
1898 September 28 The Commonwealth purchased 353 acres at a tax sale on the headwaters of the North and West Branches of Montgomery Run in Pine Township, Clearfield County. This was the beginning of the Moshannon State Forest.
1899 Lumber production peaked in Pennsylvania at 2,300,000,000 board feet but Pennsylvania was listed as third in lumber production
1899 The 1897 Act was amended to include purchase of other lands for State Forest Reservations. The Forest Reservation Commission established by legislative fiat and Joseph T. Rothrock was appointed as president
1899 March 22 The game law which has passed the legislature make the constables of the state, fire, fish and game wardens. They will have authority to arrest without warrants any persons fishing or hunting illegally and they may search any person believed to have fish or game in his possession illegally or any illegal device.
1899 First tree planting on State Forestry Reservation land was 1,000 Carolina poplar cuttings set out in the fall of 1899 on three acres in Pike County. This experimental plantation was a complete failure due to poor soils, scrub oak competition and fire.
1899 December 14 The State Forest Reservation Commission met for the first time at Harrisburg. The first commissioners included Dr. Joseph Trimble Rothrock of West Chester; Mr. John Fulton of Johnstown, President of the State Board of Health; Mr. Isaac B. Brown of Corry, Secretary of Internal Affairs; Mr. Albert Lewis of Bear Creek, Luzerne County; and Mr. A.C. Hopkins of Lock Haven. The latter two were appointed by Governor William A. Stone who was also in attendance. Brown quickly moved to have Dr. Rothrock elected as Chairman of the Commission and Brown was elected Secretary of the Commission.