The Mauch Chunk
A compilation of marriages and obituaries from the early Mauch Chunk Newspapers
1829 – 1850
Mauch Chunk’s first newspaper printed its inaugural issue on May 30, 1829 when Asa Lansford Foster began publishing The Lehigh Pioneer & Mauch Chunk Courier. In that first issue, Foster wrote:
We have at length issued our first Number, and present it to the public without apology or recommendation; – and although custom has in a measure rendered it necessary that where a person appears in the garb of a public character, he should let his audience or patrons become acquainted with his intensions, and the course which he expects to pursue; – yet, fearful that we might promise more than we should be able to perform, we shall say but little of our intended actions, – except, that we shall use every exertion to render our paper valuable – so that we may secure the encouragement already given and merit what we may hereafter receive.
Newspapers were published continuously in Mauch Chunk / Jim Thorpe up to about 1970, when The Times News moved from its cramped offices on Race St. in Jim Thorpe to a more spacious location in Lehighton. Over the years the paper had gone through several name changes and many different owners.
When Foster began, the newspaper business was still in the process of development. A look through these old papers and one thing you’ll notice is the lack of much in the way of local news. Outside of the business items and advertisements, local news could mainly be found in the short mentions of deaths and marriages.
With the cooperation of the Dimmick Memorial Library, I began going through the old papers in order to extract the main news of local interest, the marriages and deaths. There were times when I could go through months of newspapers without finding either. There were prominent local people who died during this era and the paper makes no mention of the death. And there are people with no apparent local connection who died in far-flung places and the paper did publish mention of their passing. The same can be said for the marriage records.
Perhaps the most important reason for doing this pertains to the marriage announcements. Before 1834 there were no organized churches in Mauch Chunk. Since most of the marriages prior to that year (and many in the years following) were performed by judges, lawyers and magistrates (the “Esquires”), they do not appear in any church record.
Since these notices were very short and to the point, they lent themselves well to data basing. Information that does not fit into other columns appears in the Notes column, with comments of my own in parenthesis.
THE ULTIMO AND THE INSTANT
(confusing dates in the newspapers)
In the mid 1800s, the editors of the Mauch Chunk papers (and elsewhere) confused their dates a bit. They sometimes used the abbreviations “Inst.” and “Ult.” for the terms “Instant” and “Ultimo”. The first means the event occurred in the present month, as in a July 27th newspaper stating a death or marriage occurred on the “20th inst.”, meaning the 20th of July. If the same paper had the date of the event as the “20th ult.”, that would mean the 20th of June. However, sometimes and it wasn’t clear exactly which month they were referring to. Alternate sources sometimes cleared things up, but where there were no available alternate sources, I did as best as I could with the dates. These questionable dates occurred a small amount of the time, and usually when the newspaper was early in the month. Hopefully, I got the dates correct on my pages.
Several Mauch Chunk newspapers are represented here. To facilitate things, I’ve abbreviated the names of the papers. The key to those abbreviations are as follows:
C = Mauch Chunk Courier (or The Courier)
CCG = Carbon County Gazette. In the later 1840s the full name of this paper was “Carbon Co. Courier and Mauch Chunk Courier”.
CC T = Carbon County Transit
CD Carbon Democrat
The Mauch Chunk newspapers have a sort of genealogy of their own. The Courier was the first, under Asa Lansford Foster. He sold the paper and it became the Carbon Co. Transit. These owners sold the paper back to the Foster family (sons of Asa’s) and it became known as the Carbon Co. Gazette, later the name expanding to the Carbon Co. Gazette & Mauch Chunk Courier. The Foster family again sold the paper in the early 1850s and the paper evolved, eventually, into the Coal Gazette, which published under that name for several decades.
The Carbon Democrat was a rival publication. Later another paper, the Mauch Chunk Democrat, joined the field and Mauch Chunk had 3 weekly papers. In the 1860s the two Democrats merged into “The Democrat”, which, like the Coal Gazette, continued to publish for several decades, into the early 1900s.
This record covers the years 1829 to 1850 (inclusive). To the best of my ability, all reported marriages from this era are shown here. Exceptions include a few pages that were in such poor condition that facts could not be gathered reliably. Much of the problem had to do with the micro-filming process. Some pages were blurred, and in many cases the edges of the pages were not filmed properly. Each marriage appears twice in the following pages, appearing under both the bride’s and groom’s name. In many cases, the surname spellings were much different from how the names are commonly spelled. I usually spell the surnames as they are commonly spelled, noting how they are spelled in the notice in the “Notes” column.
The problems that occurred with some of the marriage notices also occurred with the death notices. That is, poor condition of the newspaper and oddly spelled surnames. To make lookups easier, I did the same “corrections” as in the marriage notices with the spellings. With the newspapers in poor condition, I did as best as I could.
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