A Tour of Huntington and Fairmount Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Part I

My goal this trip was to search out the cemeteries of Huntington and Fairmount Township for family and visit the little towns along the way like Harveyville, Huntington Mills and Fairmount Springs.

I had studied the cemetery listings that you find online at Interment and at the USGenweb for Luzerne County. They are not always complete so read the introductions carefully. Many thanks to those who have contributed to these websites. Their hard work is greatly appreciated by those of us who do not live in the areas of our ancestors.

The Northeast Genealogical Society in Shavertown has a map on their wall with red dots and that map shows the locations of the cemeteries. Each red dot has a number for that township and they reference them in a binder that lists the cemeteries by township, number, the name of the cemetery or other names of that same cemetery, and whether they have them on microfilm. Otherwise there are listings in the binder for the cemetery. Check the website for more information.

The Luzerne County Historical Society has in the subject filing cabinets cemetery file folders that contain similar information, newspaper articles about the cemetery and more. They have a cemetery surname card file that lists the name of the person and what cemetery they are buried in. You can also check the card catalog to see if a book exists for a cemetery. There are some published cemetery volumes I believe they are NE Gen Society titles? Check for those as well.

Armed with this information I was off to Huntington Twp. to do cemetery visiting on Sunday, September 14th. I picked a hot and muggy day to do this and that would prove to be a challenge. My guide was Donna Goobic of The Greater Shickshinny Historical Society. This society will be located right on the main street of Shickshinny at the stoplight. I had contacted Donna to find out if the historical society had any records and if I could do some research. At this time they are not open to the public. She did tell me they have a building now and are in the process of renovating it. The plan is the building will be opening next year. When that happens they can start getting set up to assist people with their research. This is exciting news!

Donna was born in Shickshinny and now lives in Huntington Mills. She offered to drive me around. Thank you Donna! I met her at the Wagon Wheel restaurant in Shickshinny for breakfast. We did not waste any time and launched into a very intense discussion about family. I shared mine and she shared her stories. She has German heritage while mine is English. This conversation lasted the whole day and I think we talked about everything! Donna knows a lot of people in the area and was going from table to table greeting others.

Since Donna is a native to the area, she had lots of stories to tell. She was getting a big kick out of my stumbling on the names like Wapwallopen. I still have not mastered that one. HA!

Our first destination was the Wapwallopen area. The story is that Philip Goss was killed below Wapwallopen in a canoe along with Capt. [Daniel] Carr. This story is told in several of the history books starting with Charles Miner’s book in 1845. Harvey’s book on Wilkes-Barre suggests he died in the later part of 1779. There is a probate in the Westmoreland Township Records for Philip Goss administered by his one of his sons Nathaniel Goss. This story is disputed later by the family and it is said that it was David Goss a son that was killed? We may never really know. There is no grave for Philip Goss the father who came from Massachusetts/Connecticut and settled in the area in 1769. Cousin Paul tried to find it nor one for David that I can see in the cemetery records. If they were lost to the elements after being killed by the Indians that is understandable. There was a lot of confusion after the Battle in July records are wanting. Remember that there is a lot of unreadable, broken and missing tombstones in these cemeteries. This is not unusual. Sadly, time has a way of slowing removing traces of the past.

Seeing the area was important to me for I wanted to get the distances between places. When I get home I will do a postscript giving more details of the books I am referencing. I am on the road at this time and really busy.

In reviewing Cousin Rev. Paul H. Goss’ manuscripts he suggests after talking to family members back in the 1940’s that both were killed – David and Philip. Charles Minor in his book the letters to his son published in 1845 states that Phillip was killed in Oct 1778 along with Capt. _____ Carr. Then under the Recapitulation page in the back of the book he states that Philip Goss was killed in Nov. 1778? What does this mean? They were supposedly scouting for Indians? This is months after the Battle of Wyoming in July 1778. I am using Miner’s book to start from because it is the oldest published book. Chapman’s may be older but I don’t believe I have seen it yet?

Donna suggested that I get a larger view of the area and I agreed, so she took me up to an overlook called Council Cup. She waited in the parking lot while I trekked up the path. Be careful it is a little confusing and consists of loop trails so read the information boards and note where you are going so you can get back quickly. Coming back from the look out was downhill and slippery with the rocks and rain from the night before. It was also hot and muggy.
The view was spectacular!!!! I was able to see the nuclear power plant but mostly to see the Susquehanna River and look to see the area of Huntington and Fairmount and probably Union Twp. (Remember I live in the West). If you look down sharply you can see the town of Wapwallopen. You can observe the curve of the Susquehanna River. So if either Philip or David were in a canoe you can get an idea of the area as it is today, rivers do change their course.
The description in other history books mentions “Beach” or “Beach Grove.” Donna said that was on the other side of the river from Wapwallopen.

Mysteries are great…!

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About BJ MacDonald

Interested in travel, really into genealogy and researching my family history, classic novels and movies, fantasy and science fiction, photography, history and more... Here is a tip. Make sure you are commenting on the blog you were visiting and the post you were interested in. My blogs are listed by hovering over my pictures and clicking. Clicking one of them will take you back to the correct blog. You can try me here: bjmcdonell@gmail.com
This entry was posted in Charles Miner, Fairmount Twp., Greater Shickshinny Historical Society, Huntington Twp., Wapwallopen. Bookmark the permalink.

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