A HISTORY OF THE INDIAN VILLAGES AND PLACE NAMES
IN PENNSYLVANIA WITH NUMEROUS HISTORICAL NOTES AND REFERENCES
By DR. GEORGE P. DONEHOO
CHUGNUT. A creek which rises in Susquehanna County, called Choconut, enters the Susquehanna from the south, at Vestal, New York; also the name of a town in Susquehanna County. The name Choconut is a corruption of the Nanticoke word Tschochnot, according to Heckewelder. Cusick says that the name means, "place of tamaracks" (Aboriginal Place Names of N. Y., 27. 1907). Mooney, In Handbook of American Indians, gives the form Chugnut, as the correct one. He says that this was the name "of a small tribe living, about 1755, under Iroquois protection in a village of the same name." The name was not that of a tribe as Mooney says, but was a geographical group, composed of Iroquois, Delaware, Nanticoke, Conoy and Shawnee, to whom the name of the village in which they lived was applied. There were two villages to which this name applied. One was situated on the north side of the Susquehanna at the mouth of the present Nanticoke Creek, at the site of Union; the other village was on the opposite side of the river, at the mouth of the present Choconut Creek, at the site of Vestal, New York. A number of the Indians from this settlement were present at the Council at Easton in 1758. During the French and Indian War, as well as during the Revolution, it was a rendezvous for the Indians hostile to the settlers in Penna. In 1779, when the expedition of Gen. Sullivan went up the Susquehanna, the settlement here was destroyed. At that time there were 50 or 60 houses in the place, mostly on the south side of the river. The Brigade of Gen. Poor reached the village on Aug. 19, 1779, and destroyed it. The detachment under Gen. Clinton united with that of Gen. Poor at this place—hence the name of Union.
See information about Choconut history at the Susquehanna County Historical Association web page.
Information compiled by James Mordovancey and incorporated into book "Choconut Township - The Way It Was" which includes Stories, illustrations and photographs of local history, published in 2006 and available in local stores or from James at 570-553-2307.
Numbers refer to locations on map to be added later.
1. Pennsylvania / New York State Border at 42° North Latitude
State line survey and monument marking thereof. Original survey was performed in 1787. In 1884, a second survey was done and granite markers installed every mile Milestone #32 marks the corner of Choconut and Silver Lake townships. The white Susquehanna County marker is set next to the New York / Pennsylvania granite marker, seen on the west side on highway at state line.
2." Modern " Pennsylvania Route 267
Rerouting and major improvement to north-south arterial accomplished in late 1920's and early 1930's. Joseph Bahan, long-time Choconut resident and former township supervisor worked on the road project... " The road is concrete from the state line to the Choconut Inn." Joe continued on the project from the Inn, 13 miles south. The last section of the present road was completed in years after World War II.
3. School House
John HIckey went to school here as did the Kellum's.
5. Bahan Sawmill
With the help of good friend, Al Sweeney, Joe Bahan picked a site and built the sawmill. Joe took orders and delivered as far as Owego, Vestal and Montrose. The pallet mill in Montrose was a regular customer. Joe sold dimension lumber onsite to local residents. As Joe put it," Some paid, some didn't".
6. Gas Station
7. Church 1800's
Near the present location of the Border Cafe. Built about 1814 by the Baptists , who may have been the first organized religious group in the township. Later used by the Methodists. The building burned in 1870s.
8. Ice House
Most of the farms and businesses of the 1800's had an icehouse nearby. On the grounds of the present day Addison House Bed & Breakfast, this icehouse is unusual, in that it's mostly of stone and it is still standing.
9. Cemetery for Church
10. Water Works. Possibly a Grist Mill or Creamery
11. Present-day Choconut Inn. At various times, the Inn served as a stagecoach stop and hotel
12. School House
13. Post Office The second house south of Choconut Inn, this property also at various times served as a barber shop and ice cream parlor.
14. Creamery Stone foundation is still visible.
15. 1800's Raymond Donnelly's house served as a post office.
16. "Donnelly schoolhouse" In operation into the 1940's, the last use of the site was a polling/ voting location. The one-room, grades 1-8, Donnelly school house was actually built next to a previous schoolhouse which burned down in the middle of the school term and children had to be transported to Endicott NY.
17. Gas station & store in the 1940's.
18. "Island of logs" Andrew Kannenburg would cut trees all winter, then saw in the spring. As local Martin Golden remembers, "there'd be enough logs to build two barns".
19. Waterworks / Sawmill. Remains of dam are still visible.
20. Golden Schoolhouse
21. Tannery, afterwards farmed by the Edward Hand & family.
23. 1800's Waterworks / Grist Mill. The mills would service the local community, accepting grains as buckwheat, corn and oats, grind the grains into stock feed or flour.
24. Waterworks. "Nugent Mill" Series of three dams, some still visible.
25. Stanley Blacksmith Shop
26. Stanley Slaughterhouse. One of two, the second located by Choconut Lake. "Rip roarin' business", according to Joe Bahan. People brought their animals in from miles around. In addition being an excellent truck mechanic. Bill Stanley reportedly could slaughter 40 lambs in one afternoon... quite a feat for the time.
27. Jones' Sawmill
29. Dunn Schoolhouse
30. Private Cemetery, mostly Stanley family
31. Waterworks, possibly a grist mill
32. Site of the Charles Lindbergh "emergency landing" November 4th ,5th & 6th. 1927. Lindbergh was in Choconut, until repairs could be effected to his plane.
34. Cemetery. Early 1800's. Contains the remains of John Locke, a participant in the Boston Tea Party and officer in the Continental Army.
35. Presbyterian Church. Congregation later moved meeting place to Laurel Lake. This structure was then lived in by the Sweeney family, who had nine children.
36. Field where Major Thomas Lanphier landed his plane on November 4, 1927. Lanphier was flying with Charles Lindbergh when both were forced down in icy, inclement weather.
37. "Camp Choquita" sister camp to Camp Choconut. In operation 1941-1949. Original house built in 1800's was home to Caleb Carmalt, said to be a stop on the underground railroad.
38. "Quaker Church" Originally, the site of Quaker meeting house. Present structure never used by Quakers; built by Episcopalians.
39. Stanley Schoolhouse. Foundation is still visible. The school burned down in the early 1970's.
40. Camp Choconut. Established in 1896. Long-time boy's camp is now called Camp Susquehannock for girls.
41. Stanley Slaughterhouse
42. McHale Sawmill
43. "Byrne Schoolhouse"
44. Lee's Atlantic Gas Station and general store
45. St Joseph's Rectory built in 1800's. Charles Lindbergh slept here November 4th and 5th 1927. The church hall also was located here before the Newman Center was built.
Father John E. Walsh, Charles Lindbergh, Richard L. Bennett, (president of the Binghamton Aero Club), Maj. Thomas E. Lanphier, and student pilot Edwin A. Link stand before one of the downed planes on the farm of Matt O'Connell near Choconut, Susquehanna County.
46. Brick factory and Waterworks circa 1850. Facility was used to make bricks for St Joseph College and related buildings.
47. St. Joseph Catholic College and Seminary Operated 1852-1864. It burned to the ground, possibly set by a disgruntled student. Founded by Rev. John V. O'Reilly.
48. St. Joseph Academy for girls, operated 1856-1866. Previously the site of the Mannington School, founded by John Mann in 1833. Part of the structure is incorporated into the present home of Helena Flaherty.
49. Original rectory for St Joseph's.
50. St Joseph's Church. The cornerstone of the original church was laid in 1859.
Cornerstone of the present church laid in 1880.
51. Convent. This was home to the sisters who ran the Mannington School for girls.
52. Quinn's store. Was a gas station and store and at one time was the post office.
101 Friendsville Hotel
102 Gary Store
103 Ryan Hotel
104-63 Blacksmith shops
108 Old Catholic Church in cemetery
109 Moran Store
More history to come!!!
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