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.