Patrick Henry once said: "I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past."

COALDALE can best be understood by knowing some of the forces which fashioned and developed it. The dignity and mutual respect by which Americans of every conceivable racial, religious and national orgin have learned to live together is the outcome of an ideal nurtured at the very begining of community life here in the PANTHER VALLEY.

JOHN MOSER, first settler of COALDALE, was of Dutch extraction. He settled here in 1827. His daughter, MARY, was the first white child to be born in COALDALE. She was born SEPTEMBER 14, 1832. In addition to being the first child born in the new settlement, MARY MOSER was one of the participants in the first wedding ceremony in which COALDALE people took part. She was married to THOMAS BARRETT in St. Joseph's Church, Summit Hill in the year 1850. The officiating clergyman was Rev. William C. Fitzpatrick.

If there is one single characteristic distinguishing the people of COALDALE from that day to this it is that of tolerance---a tolerance some- times bewildering to other people, but a tolerance that is bounteous in its welcome to all.


John Moser, first settler of COALDALE, was born in Tamaqua May 24, 1805. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. BURKHART MOSER settled at the junction of the Little Schuylkill and the PANTHER CREEK in Tamaqua in the year 1799.

At the age of 22 years JOHN MOSER took over by right of settlement a considerable section of acreage four miles east of the family site in Tamaqua. Coming to the PANTHER CREEK area he located on a plot of ground near what was later to be known as MOSER'S FARM. Slightly northwest of the pres ent intersection of FIFTH and RAILROAD STREETS he built a LOG CABIN. In subsequent years he cleared the original farm site together with a large tract of land known as MOSER'S FIELD on which COALDALE STATE HOSPITAL presently stands.

For many years COALDALE'S original settler trucked his farm produce to Tamaqua. His favorite pastimes were hunting and fishing. In the year 1888, he was appointed first tax collector of Rahn Township, COALDALE at that time being part of the township.

Combing the duties of dairy farming with that of tax collector, JOHN MOSER abandoned his farm in the year 1887 to take up residence with his grandson, JOHN BARRETT, where he continued to serve the people of the growing community with milk until his death in the year 1895. JOHN BARRETT continued to operate the dairy until 1904 when he sold the business to JOHN GALLAGHER and JAMES L. "FOAG" GALLAGHER.

COALDALE'S first settler was twice married; his first wife was CAT HERINE WERTMAN, and his second wife was MRS. JOHN KERSCHNER. He was the father of FOUR DAUGHTERS, NAMELY, MARY, ELIZABETH, CATHERINE, and ESTHER. His oldest daughter, MARY, had the distinction of being the first white child born in COALDALE, and also the distinction of being the first bride claimed in marriage in the new settlement. From her union with THOMAS BARRETT nine children were born, three sons and six daughters, namely,

CATHERINE, married to Wm. Delay;

ELIZABETH, married to Lewis Moser;

THOMAS, married to MargaretGallagher, then


MARY, married to Thomas Mitchell;

ESTHER, married to Andrew Walker;

JOHN, married to Julia Monahan;

FRANK, married to Ada Miller;

JOHN and FRANK were TWINS; EL LA married to James Bottomley, and ANNA, married to Lewis Olson, the Aaron Haenel.

Descendants of COALDALE'S first settler still play a prominent part in the life of the community. Their sons and daughters helped the community grow.

And so also familiar names are found in the list of early residents who came to COALDALE following the discovery of COAL near the site of the original settlement.

The ancestral tree of many of today's citizens took root when the first miners came to JACKSON STREET, BUGTOWN, and WATER STREET, 19 years after JOHN MOSER first located his home site near No. 12.


On the roster of FIRST SETTLERS we find the following names :


James Cunning Owen Carr

Thomas Williams Owen Fisher

James Gildea Christopher Burns

John Lewis Hugh Scott

Silas Hoffman James Cunnin

Henry O'Brien Billy Sweeny

Dennis Carr David Hoben

Humphrey Delay Patrick Scott

Jacob Homan

Peter Gallagher (WATER STREET)

James Keonan (Keenan)

Hugh Crosson William Sweeney

Samuel Oliver Thomas Boyle

John Reichard Thomas Barrett

Jam es Logan Thomas McLane

Thomas Thomas John Roper

George Guidnor John Gallagher

John Dick Charles Powell

Harry O'Neill Thomas Phillips

John Morgans

D.E. Hughes

Nathan Minnick

Silas Hoffman


The first dwelling houses were erected in 1846 and were composed of six blocks, two in each, standing where No. 8 culm banks later covered the original " BUGTOWN ."In the early 20's shovel operators for the LNC COMPANY uncovered the remains of these original homes. They marveled at the conditions of the frame work and the outdoor bake ovens still remaining beneath the weight of rock and mine refuse.

Homes were erected in 1848 at old COALDALE, JACKSON STREET, now FIRST STREET; NEW WALES on what is now RUDDLE STREET and in later years the development of LAUREL HILL and all property west of FIFTH STREET.

Villages formerly in RAHN TOWNSHIP, included as part of COALDALE BOROUGH at the ti me if its incorproation in 1906 were BULL RUN, GEARYTOWN, FLICKERVILLE, CENTERVILLE and BUGTOWN. SEEK, comprising GEARYTOWN and BULL RUN, had a separate postoffice and was listed in the 1890 census as having a population of 658 with COALDALE showing a population of 1,849 in the same census.

Later day census figures showed COALDALE with a population of 6,921 in 1930; 6,163 in 1940; and 5,763 in 1950.

The trend has been downwards in population the following the production trend of KING COAL since

its peak year of 1917.


The beginning of Coaldale (Coal Dale) dates back to the year 1827, when John Moser and his wife settled there. Moser was born on May 24, 1805, in Tamaqua and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Burkart Moser, the original settlers of Tamaqua. Upon arriving at Coaldale, John Moser built a log cabin on the north side of what was known as the Manila Grove Park. At present, the Coaldale Hospital is located on this very site. After building the cabin, Moser cleared the land for the purpose of raising products for his own use. His principal occupation was hauling coal and timber to Tamaqua. This he continued until about 1887 when he vacated his farm due to the fact that a coal company possessed his land and began the building of a breaker for the purpose of preparing coal. This breaker was known as the Number 12 and was owned by the Lehigh Navigation & Coal Co.

MOSER, John, 1830-1894

From Freeland PA Tribune, Thurs. May 10, 1894

John Moser, one of the heirs of the Moser estate, died in the almshouse at Laurytown on Tuesday. John Moser was the grandson of Burkhart Moser the first white settler in the Panther Creek valley. In 1777 Burkhart Moser bought 200 acres of land along Panther creek near what is the present town of Tamaqua. He shortly after discovered coal along the banks of the creek. His brother Jacob joined him and together they conducted a business of selling coal to the farmers in Lehigh and Berks counties by the bushel. Later Burkhart purchased 1,000 acres of land extending northward towards Coaldale and settled on a farm. Here John was born in 1805. During the war the operations of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company were gradually extended from Nesquehoning towards Coaldale, and, it is claimed, the Moser tract, which proved to be exceedingly rich in coal, was usurped by this company. The heirs to the estate have been for years trying to regain possession of the estate and have spent a fortune in litigation. John Moser spent whatever money he had in trying to establish his claim, and became so poor that to earn a livelihood he was at length obliged to accept a position of slate picker. He had followed this occupation during the past several years working in the breakers around Hazleton. Lately his health had been failing and his inability to secure the money which he believed by right belonged to him preyed heavily upon his mind and he began to show signs of insanity. Being deprived of his only means of support he was last February sent to the almshouse, where he died heart-broken and penniless. His wife, who is infirm and aged, survives him.