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From the Sarah McCool papers 1875 - Shenandoah Herald

"East Norwegian township was originally a portion of Schuylkill township and including the borough of Port Carbon, a portion of Norwegian township.  In 1846 it was created, with the boundaries as follows:--Limited on the north by New Castle township and the borough of St. Clair, on the east by Blythe township, south by North Manheim and borough of Port Carbon, and west by Port Carbon and Norwegian township.  This section with Norwegian township constitutes the heart of Schuylkill coal region, and from the earliest days of coal searching has been a center of marked and rapid developments.  Enclosing  two boroughs, which have been noted in time past for their activity, the entire surface of the district has been perforated with drifts, slopes and shafts, from north to the direct line of Mine Hill, every elevation of land, every possible valley has been explored in search of the valued mineral.   Incorporations and private enterprises have sought to enrich themselves by attempts to impoverish the earth.  Some have gained highest hopes, while many more have abandoned their projects as futile and fruitless.  Nevertheless, these failures have not existed without their value in impairing wisdom and speaking warning to the future fortune hunter, and the entire section is now through the light of science and scientific investigation thoroughly understood and its worth to a great degree appreciated."

"Five Points" now more familiarly known as Belmont, is a short distance to the west of Cumbola, just on the boundary line of Blythe and East Norwegian townships.  Probably the acquisition of the name "Five Points" was based upon the peculiar matter used to designate distance in that section.  It is said that every half mile was staked or indicated by a wide post, and this place, counting five of these divisions or points from some given station, came to assume the number and name, "Five Points".  This name, as in the case of Hubleyville; has grown almost obsolete, and the more euphonious title of Belmont carries with it beauty, as well as historic character.  The land in this section came into the possession of Mr. Wm Bell at an early date, who, upon his decease, gave it by will to the children of his brother, Mr. Samuel Bell, who was the father of Samuel Bell, Esq., of the city of Reading.  This last named gentleman, it is said, applied to it the name of Belmont Note: This article form 1875 indicated the name "Five Points" was fading away into history and the area would more familiarly known as Belmont.  In fact, the opposite came true, to this day this area is still known as "Five Points"

"The land through which Mill Creek takes it course immediately south of St. Clair, was taken up by Job Hughes, in October, 1765, and designated Shady Grove.  To the northeast of this tract, tow tracts named Ash Hill and Liberality, were taken up by patents from the Commonwealth, the former by Joseph Zombroh, in December, 1754, and the latter by Samuel Potts, in August 1787.  Upon these two tracts are located the mines and mining settlements of Crow Hollow and Ravensdale.

In the Fall of 1826, Mr. John Bailey, the father of John Bailey, Esq., now residing in Port Carbon, drilled several openings prospecting for coal.  He succeeded in penetrating a vein of six feet in thickness and another vein about fifteen feet in thickness, when by some means the drill became irrecoverably fastened in the mass of coal.  This accident terminated the undertaking for a time.  In 1829 Mr. George Kaufman, in the employment of Messrs. Haas and Leiseuring, made an opening near to the same place, but the work was abandoned in 1831, owing to the depreciation of the market value of coal, and the small demand.  In 1830, Mr. Bailey drove a tunnel to the Big Vein, as it was called, and built a house in the valley called Crow Hollow.  This second enterprise was shortly afterward abandoned after expending a large sum of money in the operation, for the reason of the small demand and reduced market value.  In 1837. John Silliman, Esq., of Pottsville, commenced operating the mines at Crow Hollow, continuing for a number of years.


1881 Mansell History of Schuylkill County

"East Norwegian township was taken from Norwegian in 1811.

The first settlers-Peter Newschwander, John Hughs, Philip Delcamp, John and Conrad Heim, Solomon, Jacob, Peter and George Reepall located near Mill creek, contemporary with Boechtel at St. Clair. The earlier villages were Conquenac and Mill Creek. These villages are collections of miners' homes. There was once a grist-mill in operation here. Some years since Martin Dormer was running a brewery here. He now calls it the Atlantic Hotel. 

There are four school-houses in the township. The one at Mt. Hope is rented from the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company.  The sum appropriated for school purposes for 1880 was $2,200.


Mining is the absorbing interest in the township. Sillyman & Evans opened a drift on the Mammoth in 1831, at Crow Hollow. Kirk & Baum, from St. Clair, had four drifts open here, using a breaker and shipping 400 tons per day. They were followed in 1864 by Mr. Gross, who ceased operations in 1869. 

Pine Forest Shaft.-Thomas Maguire commenced sinking Pine Forest shaft May 5th, 1864, for George Snyder by contract, but abandoned the undertaking on account of trouble from water.  Snyder himself then pushed the work forward, hiring workmen by the day, and completing the task in November, 1866. The size of the shaft is 12 by 20 feet. The depth is 362 feet where it reaches the "Seven-feet" vein. 

The Primrose crops out at the top of the shaft. The Holmes vein is cut 100 feet from the surface and the "Four-feet" at a depth of 270 feet. A tunnel is driven from the main gangway in the "Seven-feet" thirty feet north, to the Mammoth vein; thence north again 270 feet, cutting the Skidmore, which is found 5 feet thick. This shaft is a continuation of the old Pine Forest colliery. The original firm, Milnes, Haywood & Snyder, first started mining about 1840, by operating some drifts in the south part of the township, on Mill Creek, starting this colliery in 1845. 

In 1872 Snyder sold his interest to the Philadelphia and Reading Coal andiron Company, the present operators and owners of the land and coal. The machinery was all manufactured at Snyder's machine works. The operators are using one 500 horse power Cornish bull pumping engine, working four 20 inch pumps, 10 feet stroke; two double sets of air compressors; four cylinders, aggregating 80horse power; a double pair of slope engines, 95 horse power each; a breaker and a dirt plane engine, each 30 horse power; and a 25 horse power engine turn-a 15 feet fan. In 1871 they shipped120,000 tons of coal. In 1880 they were shipping 6,000 tons per month and employing over 200 men and boys. Thomas Maguire, the first inside foreman, died in 1877, when his son, John Maguire, became the foreman. John Morrison has been outside foreman since the shaft was started. In 1870 work in the colliery was suspended for three months, and the time occupied in taking out the water which had burst in from the old workings. Previous to 1877 there was considerable gas, which trouble is now obviated by a better system of ventilation. 

There are fifty tenement houses in connection with the colliery, the average rent of which is $3.00 per month."

TAKEN FROM THE 1881 Mannsell History of Schuylkill County

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To get an idea what life was like in 1830, read 

the "Reminiscences of East Norwegian Township"


Diener's Hill Fire Company