History

Taylor Borough Panoramic

The history of Taylor Borough is an interesting journey dating back beyond the 1800’s. It is our intention at TaylorBorough.com to provide it’s visitors with an informative recap of our community.

Historically it is reported that the Borough of Taylor had been named for millionaire, Moses Taylor.

Taylor was the owner of the Delaware , Lackawanna and Western Railroads.

Some of the monies he accrued throughout his lifetime were dedicated to building a hospital, which today bears his name, Moses Taylor Hospital, in nearby Scranton PA. The hospital was constructed in 1892 for the treatment of the sick and injured coal miners and railroad workers who populated the area.

Originally, Taylor Borough, was named “The Union”. Later it was decided to rename to community to honor Moses Taylor by renaming the community “Taylorville”. In the early 1900 the name was again changed, due in part from the United States Postal Service to Taylor.

It is unclear if Moses Taylor was ever actually in Scranton or Taylor, but he left a dramatic impact on the communities by sharing his fortunes with much of Lackawanna County. He was a resident of, and spent much of his life in New York City.

Famous People

Ira C. Atherton
Ira C. Atherton was the son of John Atherton, Jr. and Catherine “Katie” Ward Atherton. He was the grandson of John Atherton, Sr., a founding father of Taylor. He was born in 1819 and died in 1897.

Ira was a carpenter then later became a farmer. He had interests in local real estate and served as a Lackawanna Valley School Director. He was married to Mary Pulver Atherton, and together they had seven children.

The Atherton’s raised their seven children on South Main Street.

John Atherton, Jr.
John, Jr was the son of John Sr., and Mary Atherton. His father John Sr. was a founding father of Taylor, along with his Uncle Eleazer. He was born in 1790 and died in 1873.

His wife was Catherine “Katie” Ward Atherton. Together they had six children. Throughout his life John Jr. Saw a major industrial transition take place in this town. In the year he was born our young nation’s leader was President Washington and farming was our chief industry. In the year he died Ulysses S. Grant was our country’s leader and Anthracite Coal Mining was the booming industry here.

It was during this generation of the Atherton’s when the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, led by New York City investor, Moses Taylor, purchased the Union Coal Company, which was the first colliery in Taylor.

Margaret Atherton
Margaret Atherton was the daughter of Eleazar and Martha. She was born in this town in 1794 and died in 1861. She was the first white (non-Native American) girl born in the Lackawanna Valley. Margaret taught school in the Atherton School for many years and said to have been very successful. She was a self-educated teacher and besides this work she cared for her father and mother as long as they lived.

Thomas Y. Atherton
Thomas Y. Atherton was the son of Eleazer and Martha. He was born in this town in 1792 and died in 1868. Thomas Y. was the first white (non-Native American) boy born in the Lackawanna Valley. He was a very vigorous man who spent much of his life chopping and clearing the land and threshing with a flail, as machinery on the farm was then unknown.

He became a very religious man and great reader of national history, as well as one of the best statisticians of the time. As long as he lived he could give the majorities by which all the presidents and governors of states were elected from memory.

Thomas Y., along with his sister Margaret, cared for his father and mother as long as they lived.

Thomas Y. Atherton
Thomas Y. Atherton was the infant son of Joseph and Phebe Vosburg Atherton. He was born in 1834 and died on March 25th of that same year. His marker is the oldest in the Taylor Memorial Cemetery.

His death preceded the deaths of all the Athertons in this town including the death of his Grandfather Eleazer.

Morgan J. Harris
Morgan J. Harris was born May 22, 1863, in Morganshire, South Wales, and in 1863 emigrated to the United States. He settled in 1868 in the Lackawanna Valley, and being an experienced miner he was appointed in 1869 foreman of the the Taylor Mine, a position he held the remainder of his life.

His wife was Ann Price, born in 1837, born in the same country as her husband. They were married in their native country, where two of their eighteen children were born. These two they borough with them to Minersville, Schuylkill County, which was their first home in the new land, and where they remained until they moved to Lackawanna County.

One of their children, Henry E. Harris, became a well-respected inside mine superintendent of the Archbald Colliery in Taylor. He succeeded in keeping this colliery of over 600 inside mine workers very safe during his reign.

Another son, John B. Harris, became a well respected member of the Lackawanna County Bar Association. He was responsible for writing up the incorporation papers for Taylorville in 1894. He was Taylor’s first solicitor.

Parley Hughes
Parley Hughes was a soldier of the American Revolution. Parley was born in Killingly Connecticut in 1753 and died in the Taylorville section of Lackawanna Township in 1841. He was married to Mary (Polly) Stimson Skinner in Connecticut in the year 1826. Parley was Mary’s second husband and she was his second wife.

As of today we are not certain that Parley served as a personal bodyguard to General Washington. Perhaps this is just the local lore passed down through the generations. No mention of it appears in numerous pension affidavits that were filed by Hughes. It is quite possible, however, that he was chosen as an auxiliary guard on one isolated occasion and this has been his great claim to fame.

Parley’s step-daughter, Rebecca, was the wife of John Atherton, son of Eleazer, founding father of Taylor.

Thomas H. Jenkins
T.H.Jenkins was born on January 19, 1837 in Wales. In 1863 he emigrated to the United States first locating in Minersville, Schuylkill County. In 1869 he moved to and was employed in the Taylor mines by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Company where he served as a fire boss.

“This responsibility required men who were sober, courageous and faithful to the trust reposed in them, for upon their faithfulness to duty depends the lives of the miners.”

He was truly dedicated to this position and respected by the miners, since during his 31 years as a fire boss he never met with any accident that was attributable to his carelessness. He once served as a member of the Taylor Borough Council. Thomas was married to Catherine Davis, and together they had nine children. Their children were named: Priscilla, William G., Rebecca, Sara J., Gwinnie, George W., Mary, Richard and an unnamed infant.

David E. Jones
David E. Jones was born in South Wales on October 3, 1823 and died while visiting in the United States on November 11, 1887. Upon learning of his death, his son, Professor D.E. Jones, emigrated to this country. He brought along with him his mother, Tabitha Smith Jones, who was also born in South Wales on July 27, 1894 and died in Taylor in 1894. They were Ann, Jenny, Hannah, Miriam and Bessie.

David’s son, Professor Jones became a leading name in the music circles of Scranton. The professor served as an organist in the Methodist Episcopal and Calvary Baptist churches in Taylor. He was especially gifted as a conductor, and in 1901 gave a very successful performance in Taylor of Handel’s “Judas Maccabeus”, with full orchestral accompaniment.

In 1893 Professor Jones married the former Caroline Neiger of Taylor. Their two children were named Verna and Rhea.

George Kehr
George Kehr was born in Germany in 1848 and died in Taylor in 1923.

“He was a fair representative of the native-born sons of that country, who are noted for thrift, industry, and perseverance and who became loyal and staunch adherents of whatever country they adopted as their own.”

In 1864, at age 16 he emigrated to the United States locating in Scranton. In 1883 he was relocated to Village of Sibley, where he was a miner. He contributed to the growth and development of the Village of Sibley by the erection of a block in 1887, where he built his hotel. This hotel was used for miners. He was honored by his fellow citizens by election to offices of Township Clerk, Supervisor and Tax Collector.

In 1878 he married Miss Elizabeth Gusser. Their children were named Hannah, Sabina and Ella.

Photos

Pictured to the left is the original home of Ira C. Atherton. The residence was built on 422 South Main Street by Willard Atherton. The home was destroyed by fire but rebuilt. It is currently the Davis Funeral Home.
The former McKinley Elementary School located on North Main Avenue, across from St.John’s Church today.
The Taylorville Furniture House dated 1880’s. Today the Main Street structure is home to the Diane Haduck School of Dance.
The Taylor United Methodist Church. It was reportedly constructed on South Main Avenue about the turn of the century (1900’s).
The original Taylor Borough Hall which stood on the same grounds as the current Municipal Building. This structure was destroyed by fire in 1973. Prior to it’s destruction the beautiful architectural design adorned Union Street and housed the Police station, library, Mayor’s Office and public meeting rooms. Many of the town’s children relied on the large clock located in the steeple to remind them of their curfew time.
The Davis’s Hotel located on Main Avenue. The structure still stands today on North Main Street south of Albrecht’s Garage.
The J. E. Davies Livery & Undertaking Building. Legend states the once famous 12 Mule Detergent Horses rested here. The structure is the current home to Albrecht’s Auto Body Shop located on North Main Street in the borough.
The Moffat Coal Company breaker as it appeared some time after the breaker closed.

 

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