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.
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
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,
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
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
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
JACKSON ( FIRST STREET ) - - - (OLD BUGTOWN)
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
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
ORIGINAL TOWN SITE
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.
SUBMITTED BY : RICHARD C. REHATCHEK