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The

1841 Free Bridge Meetings

In

Mauch Chunk

&

Upper Towamensing

 

            The start of 1841 brought a devastating flood to the valley of the Lehigh River.  This was the worst flood known up to that time, and the first major flood since the beginnings of operations of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co.  The canal from Easton to White Haven had only been completed a couple years prior, and much of it was washed away in the flood.  The few bridges over the Lehigh also fell victim to that flood, including the only bridge north of the Blue Mountain, joining the villages of Weissport and Lehighton.  Following the flood, there came the reconstruction, and at that time it was proposed that the Lehighton to Weissport bridge would be made a toll bridge instead of a free bridge as it had originally been.  This caused a major protest among those living and doing business in this area.  Jacob Weiss, founder of Weissport, had given the land for the bridge to the county many years prior on stipulation that it would be kept a free bridge. 

            Two meetings were held, one in Mauch Chunk and the other in Towamensing Twp.  Many of the leading citizens of that time were involved in the proceedings, the following being a list of the leading members, their positions on the committee and their places of residence.

 

THE MAUCH CHUNK MEETING

Held at the public house of Cornelius Conner on February 19, 1841.  All the following were of Mauch Chunk Twp. and Lausanne Twp.

 

Leisenring, John                                    Chair

Foster, Asa Lansford                            Vice president

Barber, Samuel S.                                Vice president

Cox, John P.                                        Vice president

Salkeld, George Washington                 Vice president

Christman, William                                Vice president

Fincher, Jonathan                                  Vice president

Wilber, Henry                                       Vice president

Brink, Nicholas                                     Vice president

Wallace, Jacob S.                                 Secretary

Simpson, Jonathan                                Secretary

Broderick, Thomas                               Secretary

Ripple, Silas                                         Secretary

Shortz, Abraham                                  Committee of sixty

Packer, Asa                                         Committee of sixty

Painter, John                                         Committee of sixty

Christman, Casper                                Committee of sixty

Harris, Abraham                                   Committee of sixty

McConnell, Benjamin Rush                   Committee of sixty

Gould, Justus                                        Committee of sixty

Ebert, Henry                                         Committee of sixty

Lippincott, Edward                               Committee of sixty

McLean, Alexander                              Committee of sixty

Mank, Philip                                         Committee of sixty

Dodson, Isaac T.                                  Committee of sixty

Thompson, John D.                              Committee of sixty

Brelsford, Thomas                                Committee of sixty

Williams, Benjamin                               Committee of sixty

Sherry, John                                         Committee of sixty

Miner, Elijah                                         Committee of sixty

Andress, A.                                          Committee of sixty

Belford, George                                    Committee of sixty

Stedman, Alexander                             Committee of sixty

Minehard, Joseph                                 Committee of sixty

Cortright, Ira                                        Committee of sixty

Barnes, James W.                                 Committee of sixty

Butler, William, Sr.                               Committee of sixty

Lockart, Alexander                               Committee of sixty

Warner, Jacob                                      Committee of sixty

Salkeld, Jacob H.                                 Committee of sixty

Horn, Jacob, Sr.                                   Committee of sixty

Smith, George Washington                    Committee of sixty

Swank, Jacob                                       Committee of sixty

Mears, John                                         Committee of sixty

Weiss, George                                      Committee of sixty

Brodrick, James                                   Committee of sixty

Harlan, E. W.                                       Committee of sixty

Pryor, Jesse K.                                     Committee of sixty

DeYoung, Philip                                   Committee of sixty

Crawford, Samuel                                Committee of sixty

Fatzinger, John                                     Committee of sixty

Conner, Cornelius                                 Committee of sixty

Davis, George H.                                  Committee of sixty

Fegley, George                                     Committee of sixty

Miller, Conrad                                      Committee of sixty

Warner, John                                        Committee of sixty

Mears, Henry                                       Committee of sixty

Dodson, George Washington                Committee of sixty

Solomon, Nathanial                              Committee of sixty

Butler, Joseph                                       Committee of sixty

Wallace, William                                   Committee of sixty

Williams, William                                  Committee of sixty

Barnes, J. E.                                         Committee of sixty

Wetherhold, William                             Committee of sixty

Lippincott, Joseph                                Committee of sixty

Allen, Nathan                                       Committee of sixty

Bertsch, Daniel                                     Committee of sixty

Walker, Joseph                                    Committee of sixty

Leidy, Sebastian                                   Committee of sixty

Nowlin, James                                      Committee of sixty

Woodwarth, William                             Committee of sixty

Sherry, George                                     Committee of sixty

Hunter, S. V. R.                                   Committee of sixty 

 

 

The Committee of Sixty was formed to draft resolutions stating the opinions and positions of those assembled.

 

THE TOWAMENSING MEETING 

This meeting was held at the public house of Major John D. Bauman on February 20, 1841 in Towamensing Twp.  Those whose residence is listed as “Towamensing Twps.” were either of Upper or Lower Towamensing.

 

NAME                                                 POSITION                  RESIDENCE

 

Hanline, A. B., Esq.                              President         

Craig, Thomas                                      Secretary         

Long, Joseph                                        Secretary         

Snyder, Jacob                                      Secretary         

Lilly, William, Col.                                Secretary         

Brown, Joseph                                     Secretary         

Gearhart, William T., Rev.                    Committee of 24           Lehigh Twp. (of present day Northampton Co.)

Bauman, Jacob                                     Committee of 24           Lehigh Twp. (of present day Northampton Co.)

Long, Joseph                                        Committee of 24           Lehigh Twp. (of present day Northampton Co.)

Brutzman, Abraham                              Committee of 24           Lehigh Twp. (of present day Northampton Co.)

Wagner, George, Jr.                             Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Dreisbach, Daniel                                 Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Snyder, Charles                                    Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Wentz, Daniel, Esq.                              Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Kern, William                                       Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Bauman, J. D., Major                           Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Bauman, Henry                                     Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Zeigenfuss, J. A.                                   Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Snyder, Thomas, Capt.                         Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Haintz, Jonathan, Capt.                         Committee of 24           Towamensing Twps.

Arner, T.                                              Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Musselman,Peter                                  Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Kemmerer, George                               Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Bower, C. G.                                       Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Evert, Philip                                          Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Musselman, Jacob                                Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Nimson, A. B.                                      Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Law, A. H.                                           Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Dengler, Charles                                   Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

Raver, Andrew                                     Committee of 24           East Penn Twp.

 

The Committee of 24 served the same function as the Committee of Sixty at the Mauch Chunk meeting. 

When the bridge connecting Lehighton and Weissport was eventually rebuilt, it was as a free bridge.

 

 

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By

Jack Sterling

2001