Mahanoy City's Petition for Charter as a Borough -1863



Note: The document below has been recreated by the web master since the Historical Society does not have a copy of the original charter. Hopefully we will be able to obtain a scanned image of the charter to put on this page in the future.








"The opening of the new mines by individual operators in the bonanza coalfields caused a great influx of pioneers to settle in this new town. In September 1863 a movement was begun to have the town incorporated into a borough. Seventy-two representative citizens signed a petition for a charter which was granted by the Court of Schuylkill County on December 11, 1863. The names of the signers of the petition for the charter appear below. Miss Julia Lebo has the distinction of being the only woman signer. The town was named for the Mahanoy Creek which flowed through its entire length, Mahanoy City. The creek had been named for a tribe of Indians."

T.L. Thomas


Short Biography of the Men Who Signed the Petition for a Charter for the Borough of Mahanoy City ----- Written by Thomas L. Thomas


Data given by: Mrs. Mary Dwyer, Mrs. Isabel Dillman, Miss Kate Kemery, John Cleary, William Bradbury, John Roth, John Feichtner, William Boyer, James Creeden and Mr. & Mrs. Edward Fisher



Patrick J. Barry, better known as P.J. Barry, came to Mahanoy City from Lancaster, Pa. He was the contractor who constructed and excavated and laid the tracks for the Philadelphia and  Reading  Railroad Company through the Mahanoy Tunnel to the P & R RR station on Railroad Street. This station was then located in the 200 block on that street. P.J. Barry lived in the center of the 100 square on the north side of West Center Street, where the Kline Apartments are now situated. He had a son Philip Barry.

John Frick was a stone mason. He was a native of Germany. He and his friend, Henry Litsch, prepared the face stone by hand from the rough mountain stone, taken from the hills surrounding our town, for the tower of the old St. Canicus Roman Catholic Church. John Frick owned property at 104-106 East Mahanoy Street but later moved to 122-124 East Market Street, where he had an office as Justice of the Peace for many years. He was a member of St. Fidelis Roman Catholic Church. He had nine children, six of whom grew to maturity. Three died during the smallpox epidemic in 1872-1873. Later in life John Frick moved to Catasaqua, Pa. where he operated a knife and saw factory. John Frick also helped to build the masonry of the old Center Street School and helped to build the first stone bridge at Main and Market Street over the Mahanoy Creek.

George F. Wiggan was in partnership with the firm of Wiggan and Trebles, who operated the Wiggan Colliery near Wiggan’s village. George Wiggan lived at the corner of Center and Linden Streets in a large house set back in a beautiful yard. The house was surrounded with porches and giant shade trees. Later when George Wiggan moved to Philadelphia, Edward Smith the hardware merchant lived here. This is the present site of the T.J. Horan and Whittaker estates


Charles M. Hill, Jr. operated the Hill’s Colliery known as the Mahanoy City Colliery. This mine was owned  by the firm of Hill’s and Harris. Charles Hill lived at the extreme end of South Main Street ( 111-115) in a large and beautiful home with a large lawn to the  south. On the lawn young ladies and gentlemen of the town played many games of croquet. The Hill family were members of the Episcopal Church.

Seth Kaley was proprietor of the Eagle Hotel on North Main Street ( the site of the Kaier Hotel). Later he moved to Reading, Pa. His daughter, Ellen, married Isaac Wingert.

Edward Boyer was in business on the second lot below the Co-operative Building ( now the site of the Union National Bank). This store was a frame building which he had built. Later Edward Boyer’s place of business was occupied by Wesley Hammer. Boyer then erected a brick structure on East Center Street( site of Kleckner’s Store). Here he conducted a grocery store. His residence was on Mahanoy Street above Christ’s Lutheran Church (26 East Mahanoy Street). At Edward Boyer’s first place of business on West Center Street( 11-13 W. Center St.) he had enclosure to the west where deer were kept. Below this was a tent where enlistments for the Northern Army were made during the Civil War.

Rufus Vastine was the son of the junior member of the firm Pott & Vastine at Washington and Coal Street, Pottsville. Rufus Vastine was a stone mason and plasterer. He lived at 34 West Mahanoy Street.

C. Bartholomew lived at the corner of Main and South Streets ( site of the residence of Dr. A.P. Seligman). He was a bricklayer and contractor. He built the Methodist Church. He married Miss Kaer whose father sold land on our borough.

Dr. George F. Brendle came to Mahanoy City when the town was still a wilderness and practiced medicine until his death in 1907.He married Maria Smith, sister of Edward F. Smith, a hardware merchant. Dr. Brendle was an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Mahanoy City.

Charles W. Smith came from Vermont when his brother, Wilbur Smith, became proprietor of the Mansion House in 1862. Charles Smith conducted a hat store in the Mansion House block and also managed  the livery stables connected with the Mansion House. He continued to live in the borough until his death in April, 1903. He had two children Charles O. and Miss Maude. Charles W. Smith lived at the gashouse and made illuminating gas for the borough.

Harrison Derrick had a hotel , known as the Washington House, at the corner of Center and First Streets, where Timm’s Hotel is now located. He then had a hotel at 101-103 East Pine Street. From here he moved to North Main Street and ran the Eagle Hotel which he named the Derrick House ( site of the Kaier Hotel). Harrison Derrick’s son, Charles, was a clerk at the hotel. He married Margaret Fox. The Derrick family moved to Buffalo in 1884.

Peter Otterbach was a German who had a saloon in the first square on East Center Street. He built a beautiful mansion in the 700 square on East Center Street ( now occupied by Mrs. Lloyd Fahler, a daughter of Charles D. Kaier, Sr.) Peter Otterbach’s wife and child died and never enjoyed this beautiful mansion he had built for them. He lived there several  years. He adopted a child, Harriet Sheetz, who later married Michael Salmon, a soldier of the Civil War. Peter Otterbach was one of the directors of the First National Bank.

David Stewart  lived on South Main Street at the rear of Christ’s Lutheran Church ( the site of 75-77-79 S. Main St.) He was land agent but his occupation was civil engineer. Later, David Stewart lived at 32 East Mahanoy Street. He was very active in the Presbyterian Church. His office was where the P&R. C. & I Co. offices now stand. Here he sold land for Dundas, Biddle, Troutman & Company.

Matthew Donahue lived on the second lot on the north side in the 300 square on West Center Street, next to Squire Groody. He kept a saloon which was the polling place in the second ward.( The borough  had only two wards in the beginning of the town’s history. The polling place of the East Ward was at Patrick Ryan’s at what is now 406 East Center Street. Patrick Ryan was blind from a premature blast at one of the mines.)

William Nagle had a flour and feed store on North Main Street ( the site of the residence of Mrs. E.S. Silliman). He also managed the store for Edward S. Silliman, Sr. which was also in this lot.

Charles Egolf was a carpenter. He built and lived in the property later owned by David Bowman at the corner of Main and Mahanoy Streets. Charles Egolf went into partnership with William Nagle in the flour and feed business. He built many houses in our borough. He married Miss Reese, who lived at 216 East Center Street.

Emanuel Boyer was the first resident of Mahanoy City.  He came here from Tamaqua, Pa. on April 20, 1853.  The possession house he occupied was located on South Main Street between the Mansion Houses  and the Knapp building, corner of Main and Market Streets.  Emanuel  Boyer  later had a saloon in the basement at 10 East Center Street (site of the present Noonan Furniture Store).  His sons were:  Benjamin, William, and Robert.


John Schuth was a German tailor.  He originally lived at the site of Prensky’s store 110 East Center Street.  Later he moved his clothing store to what is now the Reidinger property at 132-134 East Center Street.  Later he went into the bakery, confectionary, and ice cream business.  Mary O’Keefe, who later became Mrs. Dywer was tailoress at his clothing establishment.  John Schuth had three children:  John Schuth who married Barbara Klitsch, Katie, who married William Frank, and Lizzie who married George Meyer.  John Schuth was a very good, conscientious citizen.


Edward Silliman was a coal operator.  He lived in the 600 square on East Center Street but later moved to 46 North Main Street.    He owned the Silliman colliery, was first president of the First National Bank, president of the Mahanoy City Water Company.  He was a member of the Episcopal Church.  He had six children:  Edward, James, Charles, Howard, Ellen, and Emily.


Alfred Lawton was a coal operator and owner of Lawton’s Colliery.  He lived in Mahanoy City until 1866.


William Krause was a butcher.  He had a slaughter house at the rear of 104-106 West Center Street.  Later he moved to Locust Valley where his descendents still live.  His daughter, Annie, married John Latham.


Edward F. Smith signed the petition for his company.  He was a hardware merchant and tinsmith.  His store was located where the Seivert building now stands.  He came from Port Carbon, Pa with his sister who kept house for him in an apartment over the store building. She subsequently married Dr. George F. Brendle. Edward F. Smith married Frances Hughes of Catawissa, Pa.  and resided in the former Wiggan home at the corner of Center and Linden Streets. In 1885 he moved to Philadelphia. He had three children: Marshall, Carrie and George Smith.

Valentine Benner lived at 212-214 East Center Street where he had a  saloon. He was one of the first four school directors of Mahanoy City and was at one time Commissioner of Schuylkill County.


Nathan Fehr was a grocer living at 32 West Mahanoy Street. Later his son, Charles, had a store at the corner of Mahanoy and Linden Streets.

John Tobias lived on East Mahanoy Street on the north side between First and Second Streets.

Edward Britt had a saloon at 234 East Center Street in the property he had built. Later he moved to Ashland, Pa.

Philip Young had a saloon at 133-135 East Mahanoy Street ( site of the Britz estate). He had several sons and two daughters, Abbie and Elizabeth, who married John Schaeffer, a machinist of Delano, Pa. Philip Young was leader of the Citizen’s Band at one time.

Jacob Rudloff lived in the eastern end of town. He was the town’s only policeman in the ‘60s and ‘70s. He had two daughters, Louise and Lizzie, and one son, George Rudloff who later was a policeman also in our borough.

Blasius Dreyer was a carpenter who lived on East Mahanoy Street. He had a son Christ Drehr. A grandson, Ronald Drehr, lives in Robinson’s village.

David Bowman was part owner with his brothers, Peter and Jonas, in the Bowman Colliery. He first lived at 104-106 West Center Street where he managed the company store for the colliery. Later he moved to the corner of Main and Mahanoy Street and resided here until his death in 1895. He had four sons and three daughters. His sons were: Oliver, John, Alexander and David; his daughters were Harriet, wife of James Jarred, Mary, wife of Dr. Phaon Hermany and Sallie wife of Harry Swalm

Charles Kaier had a liquor store at the corner of First and Center Streets but soon moved to 114-116 East Center Street. He resided in Mahanoy City until his death in 1895 ( Webmaster’s note: Kaier died in 1899). He purchased the beautiful home built by Peter Otterbach in the 700 square on East Center Street. He had six daughters and one  son: Ella, who married John Lieberman; Josephine, who married Michael Haughney; Margaret , who was the second wife of John Lieberman; Mary, wife of Lloyd Fahler; Cresentia, wife of Charles Kirby; Amelia, wife of Henry Schreyer; and Charles Kaier, Jr.

Charles C. Hagenbuch had a drug store at 102 West Center Street. He was the second postmaster of Mahanoy City. Later his drug store was on the opposite side of the street  at 101-103 West Center Street. He came from Bloomsburg, Pa. accompanied by his brother, Abner and his sister, Nellie. Nellie later married Dr. William Harris of Hamburg, Pa.  Abner Hagenbuch lived in the 500 square on East Center Street. Charles Hagenbuch married Anna Ramsey of Bloomsburg. He had four sons and one daughter: Dr. James, George, Horace, Bert and Nellie. Charles Hagenbuch died in 1893.

Henry Litsch came from Germany and located in New York City. He located in Mahanoy City in 1858 after living in the nearby town of Ashland since 1854.He had twelve children, six of whom grew to maturity: John, Maurice, Henry, Peter, Mary and Lena. He was a stone mason by trade and assisted John Frick in building the old St. Canicus Church and the old Center Street school building. The walls of the Mahanoy Creek were built by these two men. He lived at the corner of Center and Third Streets and then moved to Pine and Third Streets. In his declining years Henry Litsch lived in the 800 square on East Pine Street. He was a member of St. Fidelis Roman Catholic Church.

D.A. Crawshaw was a boot and shoemaker located at 121 West Center Street ( site of the Dillon property ). Mr Crawshaw was a very tall man. His son, George was killed in the St. Nicholas Colliery.

Matthias Wallerius was a breaker carpenter. He lived on the south side of the 300 square on East Center Street . He had two daughters and one son, Matthias Wallerius, Jr. The family moved to Salinas, Kansas.

Michael Flanagan originally located at 134-136 East Mahanoy Street. He moved to 31-33 West Center Street where he had a liquor store until his death. He had two sons and three daughters: Peter, Thomas, Margaret, wife of John Dolphin, Esq., Mary and Elizabeth.

Mathias Herres was a brother in- law to Matthias Wallerius ( mentioned above ). He lived on East Mahanoy Street opposite the Humane Fire Company. He married a widow, Mrs. Kate Klitsch.

John Hughes was an Englishman who had a saloon in the basement of Seth Kaley’s house in the 100 square on East Pine Street. He formerly had a saloon in the 200 square on West Center Street. Later he conducted a shoe store at the same place on West Center Street.

William Schweitzer was a blacksmith living at 537-539 East Mahanoy Street where he had a saloon. The blacksmith shop was in the rear on Pine Street. He was a member of the Reformed Church.

John Eichman was the first Chief Burgess of Mahanoy City, and served in that capacity six times. He was also tax collector. He was born in Germany and was a member of St. Fidelis Roman Catholic Church. He and his son, Peter, had a grocery store in the 300 square on the north side of East Centre Street.


Henry Pirman ( Pierman )had a grocery store in the 500 square on the north side of East Mahanoy Street. Later he lived at 115-117 East Centre Street where his daughter had a millinery store. His family were members of the Reformed Church. He had five daughters: Susan, wife of Alfred Scherer, Lizzie, wife of Charles Drumm, Lena, wife of Charles Sunday, Clara, wife of Fred Kleindienst, and Carrie.

Dr. Robert Swayze came from Bloomsburg to Mahanoy City locating in the middle of the 200 square on West Centre Street ( site of the Graham property ) above Parmley’s Store. He had two daughters and two sons: Lizzie, Mary, Clark and Robert. Lizzie was a milliner. Mary studied medicine and practiced in Pottsville many years.

Samuel Rinehart lived on West Spruce Street and was one of the early pioneers of the borough. He had property and 329-331 East Mahanoy Street where he had his office and lumberyard. He was a carpenter contractor. He lived at 700 East Mahanoy Street. He built many houses in Mahanoy City. Samuel Rinehart had five children: William, Benjamin, Winfield and Nora.

William Raegan lived on East Mahanoy Street for a short period and then moved to his house at 30 East Spruce Street. This house had been built and occupied by Frank Carter the engineer who laid out the town of Mahanoy City. Mr. Carter moved to Pottsville and William Raegan bought the house. (This is the site of the Leon E. Lewis’ home). William Raegan and his brother, Washington Raegan, and Eli Washburn built the Co-operative Building, which stood at the corner of Main and Centre Streets for fifty years. (This is the present site of the Union National Bank Building). William Raegan had two sons and a daughter: Maurice, James and May Raegan, wife of Rev. Kirkland an Episcopal clergyman.

Henry Lightenberger was in the furniture and undertaking business in the middle of the 200 square on the south side of East Centre Street. Later this property was owned by Jacob Becker, Sr. Henry Lightenberger, then moved to the opposite side of the street. He had a confectionary store in the Co-operative Building on North Main Street. He had two sons and three daughters: Charley, Harry, Isabel, wife of Dr. Hains; Emily, wife of Harry Crum; and Lizzie.

Carl Scheurman lived at the corner of Mahanoy and Sixth Street and had a hotel there. He was president of the German Building and Loan & Saving Fund Association which met in Roo’s Hall at 239 East Mahanoy Street. Carl Scheurman had two children: Henry and Lena who married Fred Eichler.

Ferdnend  Metz  had a hotel at the corner of Main and Market Streets. Above the hotel was Metz’s City Hall ( the site of the present Victoria Theatre ). Metz’s Hall was the opera house of the early life of  Mahanoy City. In 1885 Charles Kaier purchased this place and erected a beautiful theatre on this site in 1893. Ferdinand Metz’s son, Constantine, kept this hotel and operated the opera house until Charles Kaier purchased it. Ferdnend Metz’s daughter, Lizzie, married Frederick Bosch who after living many years in our borough moved to St. Louis, Missouri.

Edward D. Cronin lived at the eastern end of the tunnel and worked for P.J. Barry, the contractor, helping him while the tunnel was being built. He was a blacksmith and had a shop at the foot Rumgarten’s ( 104-106 East Centre Street). Later Edward Cronin moved his residence from the east end of the tunnel  to North Main Street where he had a flour and feed store, (the site of the home of Mrs. Edward Fogarty). He had the following children: Edward, William, John, Annie, and Kate.

Julia A. Lebo is the only woman who signed the petition for a charter for Mahanoy City. She had a clothing and dry goods store opposite the Mansion House and later at 100 East Centre Street.

Frank Wenrick came from Lebanon County to Tuscarora and thence to Mahanoy City in 1862. He opened a butcher shop in partnership with Jonas Hines. In 1872, Frank Wenrick was chief burgess of our borough. He also was lieutenant when the Silliman Guards was formed as a military company in 1875. He was a very public spirited citizen. Several  children were born to Frank and Kate Wenrick but Francis was the only one that grew to maturity. William, his son, was killed when the “Gem” exploded at the Reading Station in 1878.

Joel Miller was a butcher who worked for John Knapp. He lived in the 600 square on the south side of Centre Street.

Thomas Fitzgerald and his brother , Michael, were railroad contractors. They lived on North Main Street next door to John Quinn’s home.

George Gunthner ( Ginthner) was a blacksmith and lived at the northwest corner of Pine and First Streets, the site opposite the Citizen’s Fire House. He built the Steiff property at the corner of Main and Mahanoy Streets. His wheelwright shop was on Pine Street. Soloman Kleckner the first wheelwright in Mahanoy City worked for George Ginthner. His son George Ginthner Jr. lives at Centre and Fourth Streets at the present time.

J.O. Robinson had a store at 33 East Centre Street ( site of Tregellas Shoe Store) and later had a store on West Centre Street next to the Mansion House. Robinson’s Colliery was named for him as manager. He was brother-in-law of the owner who lived in New York City and never lived in our borough.

Thomas S. Westcott lived at 3 East Pine Street. He was a civil and mining engineer. He served as clerk for several fraternal organizations. He was a vestryman in the Faith Episcopal Church.

Schone Horsker( John Hersker) was a locksmith and lived in the 600 square on East Mahanoy Street. He also repaired shoes. Later he moved to 29 East Centre Street where he had a saloon. He built the Hersker Opera House( Family Theatre) in 1895. He had a confectionary store after he went out of the hotel business and also a hardware store at 101 East Centre Street. John Hersher had four sons and six daughters: William, John, Henry, Louis, Mrs. Mary Klinger, Mrs. Minnie Seivert, Mrs. Christina Knoblauch, Mrs. Annie Loyd, Emily and Matilda.

Jacob Frank lived at 433-435 East Mahanoy Street where he had a four story hotel. The top floor was used as a lodge room in the early days. For many years the Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge met here. Later, Jacob Frank owned the Frank Hotel at the corner of Centre and First Streets. His children were Frederick, Jacob Jr., Carrie and Mollie.

Jacob Deem was a wheelwright at the corner of Mahanoy and Second Streets( site of the P.O.S.of A. buildings). He erected two houses at 203-205 East Mahanoy Street living in the latter. Some years afterward he moved to 518 East Mahanoy Street. His brother, William, worked with him at the wheelwright shop. Later Jacob Deem moved to Locust Valley where he died. He had a daughter, Annie, and a son, George. Annie married and died a few years ago in Locust Valley. George is still living at the farm.

Conrad Gurs ( Guers) was also one of the early pioneers of our town. He lived on West Spruce Street. From there he moved to his farm in Locust Valley. He conducted a dairy route through Mahanoy City for many years until his death. He had several sons and daughters.

Frederick Rommel had a saloon at 112-114 East Centre Street. Later he bought a farm in Hasensack   Park Crest) where he died a few years ago. He had several sons and daughters. Two orphan nieces also lived with the family.

M.L. Johnson was a plasterer and stone mason. He lived on the west side of North Main Street beyond the P.& R.R.R. bridge. Later he became a sewing machine agent and resided in the 200 square on the south side of East Centre Street.

John Miller lived on the south side of the 300 square on East Centre Street ( about 308-310 East Centre Street). His son, John Miller Jr., married Mary Weber, daughter of John Weber, a beer agent. Their daughter was Mrs. Charles Metzinger. John Miller Sr. , the signer of this petition, married the daughter of Peter Forster.

Franklin Davis was in the freighting business and lived in the 200 square on East Centre Street. He had a fine team of horses to carry on this business. His children, Robert, Emma and Agnes were born in Mahanoy City. He left here for Sterling, Illinois in 1870 and two more children were born Curtis and Hattie. In 1878 he left for Oronque, Kansas, staying here until 1880 when he migrated to Salt Lake City and died there in 1902. His wife survived him until 1921. When they lived in Mahanoy City they were Methodists but they joined the Church of the Latter Day Saints in the state of Utah.

Benjamin Walborn was in the saloon business at  11-17 East Centre Street. One night ruffians cleaned him out of eatables and drink. He immediately closed the business and moved to 436-438 East Centre Street, where he lived until his death. He owned considerable property in town and was one of the first four school directors. He had four daughters.

William Henry Heidenreich lived at the eastern part of the town in the 600 square on East Centre Street. He also had a farm near the tunnel where he subsequently lived. He returned to Mahanoy City about 1897 residing here until his death several years ago. He owned many properties in this borough and was one of the first four school directors. His children were William, George, Edward, Mary, Louise, Annie and Katie.

George R. Goodman had a dry goods and grocery store at 32-34 East Centre Street. In 1890 he went into the wholesale fruit and poultry business at 136-138 West Pine Street. He died about 1927. He had five children: Grant, Oliver, James, George, and Emily.

Tobias Schroeder lived in the 600 square on East Mahanoy Street.  He was a blacksmith.  Later he left Mahanoy City and became a farmer in a neighboring county.

Jonathan Lindenmuth was the first postmaster of Mahanoy City.  He lived on the east side of North Main Street below where the Kaier Hotel now stands.  Later he moved to Barnesville.

Evan J. Griffiths, a contractor and builder, lived on North Main Street.  He built the three houses which lie between the Penn Garage offices and Phillip-Jones Corporation building.  He was a member of the Welsh Baptist Church.  He had three sons and a daughter:  Ryce, John, and William.  His grandson, Evan J. Griffiths was a member of the Pennsylvania State Legislature from this district in the ‘90’s.

Jonas Bowman was one of the Bowman brothers who came from Carbon County to operate the Bowman Colliery.  He lived at 125 East Center Street (the site of  Schertzinger’s Jewelry Store).  Later his daughters conducted a millinery store here.  He had thirteen children:  John, Frank, Lewis, Jonas, Howard, Ellen, Alice, Emma, Jennie, Lizzie, Sallie, Laura, and Lillie.

Henry Sharp was the proprietor of the Merchants’ Hotel, later known as the Pennsylvania Hotel, on the north side of 200 square on West Center Street.  Henry Sharp married Mrs. Kuder, mother of Dr. Eugene Kuder.  After Mr. Sharp’s death she married John Wadlinger of Minersville, Pa.  Henry Sharp prior to his second  marriage lived in the Haas property at the southwest corner of Catawissa and Spruce Streets.  He had a son, Anthony Sharp, who was a tinsmith.

William Monroe was a railroader but prior to his taking up that occupation he was a carpenter and built many houses in town.  He was the carpenter who built the Klitsch property at the corner of Center and Fourth Streets.  He owned this place and had a saloon here.  Later it was bought by Mr. Klitsch and William Monroe moved to 24 East Center Street and opened a grocery store.  Later he moved to Illinois and took up farming.  The grasshoppers were his ruination when they ate up his farm produce.

Of the seventy-two signers of the petition for a charter for Mahanoy City, there are only twenty of them, whose families are still connected with the life and activity of the borough, seventy five years after its incorporation.  The families who are here now and whose ancestors signed the petition are:
Frick, Donohoe, Boyer, Silliman, Dreyer, David Bowman, Kaier, Hagenbuch, Litsch, Flanagan, Eichman, Scheurman, Metz, Cronin, Gunthner, Hersker, Frank, Heidenreich, Rudloff, and Goodman.