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Originally part of Pike and Northampton counties, Monroe County was formed on April 1, 1836, and named for President James Monroe. The most famous names in Monroe County history is Jacob Stroud and John Sullivan. Read about them and lots more about Monroe County history right here!

General John Sullivan East Stroudsburg University
Jacob Stroud George W. Bush Visits Tobyhanna Army Depot
Tobyhanna & Gouldsboro
State Park
The Appalachian Trail
Tocks Island Dam Project General Daniel Brodhead
The Flood of 1955


GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN

An important event in Pocono History was an expedition across the Pocono Mountains known as “Sullivan’s March” in June 1779. It was an expedition planned by General George Washington to exterminate and destroy the hostile tribes of the Indians of the Six Nations. It was a mission to which the Congress assigned as a high priority.

The colonies were not only fighting for the survival of a nation with the British, but also fighting native Indian tribes. For many years the Indian tribes felt cheated by “white people in an Indian World.” The Walking Purchase of 1737 was an agreement with the Indians that was misunderstood and left the tribes frustrated and infuriated. It led to many bloody attacks and massacres on local settlers.

George Washington needed a top rate commander to end hostilities once and for all. He first offered the position to General Horatio Gates, hero of Saratoga. When General Gates declined, Washington offered the job to General John Sullivan. Colonel Daniel Brodhead, raised in East Stroudsburg was also considered for the position.

The plan was simple. General Sullivan would gather his forces near Easton and advance through the Pocono Mountains, going through Sciota and Tannersville, then up the Susquehanna River Valley to Fort Wyoming. Sullivan’s instructions were to destroy the Indian nations and everything in their path, including their reservations, crops and food supplies.

Washington instructed Sullivan not to accept any offers of peace under any circumstances. Washington felt the Indian tribes would offer insincere proposals of peace to spare their reservations. He also felt our nation’s future security would rest on how much terror our forces could inflict upon them. He suggested that small parties be sent out to destroy villages out of the main line of march and follow Indian trails wherever they may lead. Sullivan’s men were trained to conduct tactical exercises for fighting in the wilderness against an enemy that defied traditional tactics.

Sullivan reached Easton in early May and encountered many setbacks. His troops could not embark ontheir mission due to the impassable roads and woodlands to Fort Wyoming. With artillery and supply wagons roads needed to be cut. Woodlands were so thick “that man cannot get through them but on his hands and knees.” Washington sent road building regiments to clear the way for the expedition. Heavy rains delayed the work and there were engineering problems – like getting a bridge constructed over the Tobyhanna Creek. Tall trees, underbrush and boulders blocked the way. Only after six weeks of work by hundreds of men could General Sullivan declare the road work complete.

Once the Wyoming Road opened June 10th, the regiments left Easton for Wyoming. The expedition was already far behind schedule, but on June 18th General Sullivan ordered his troops to break camp and set out for Wyoming.

There were 2,500 men with over 2,000 horses and baggage wagons. They advanced 12 miles on their first day and camped near Wind Gap. On Saturday morning the expedition made its way to Brinker’s Mill in Sciota. From Brinker’s Mill the expedition traveled to Learned’s Tavern near the foot of Big Pocono.

There is a historical marker on the corner of Route 611 and Old Mill Road in Tannersville. It states “Learned’s Tavern marked the end of the second day march from Easton to Forty Wyoming at Wilkes Barre. The army camped here June 19th 1799 after a 16 mile march from Heller’s Tavern.”

The longest, most tiring day of the expedition was Monday, June 21st after they advanced over 21 miles. They crossed Tunkhannock and Tobyhanna Creeks, then pressed through what soldiers called the “Shades of Death” before finding a suitable campsite.

The Sullivan Expedition was the first major Continental Army to cross the Pocono Mountains. There were no major engagements, but its operation forced the opening of a major road that made the region accessible for future transportation needs.

Though the military significance of Sullivan’s campaign is a matter of argument, its social and economic importance is generally not in dispute. The expedition had not destroyed the bands of hostile Indians but it had dispersed them. After a winter of relative quiet, the spring of 1780 was marked by a renewal of terror.

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JACOB STROUD

Jacob Stroud is Monroe County’s most historic founding father. He symbolized the frontier spirit of the 18th century and helped take America from colonialism to nationhood. He was a soldier in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. He served as a delegate to the first Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and was a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Jacob Stroud was born on January 15, 1735 and moved to Lower Smithfield Township in Northampton County (now Monroe County) at an early age. He was an apprentice to Nicholas Depui, the earliest permanent settler in the region. In 1761 he married Elizabeth McDowell, granddaughter of Nicholas Depui.

Jacob Stroud became a prominent businessman and in February 1769 he purchased 300 acres of land west of Dansbury. The purchase included a grist mill, a residence and other dwellings. Over time he built and developed a saw mill, blacksmith shop, a tavern and general store. While the business grew so did the Stroud family – they were blessed with 12 children, 9 girls and 3 boys. He built a large home for his family near the corner of present day Main and Fifth Streets.

During the American Revolution Jacob Stroud served as a Captain and then a Colonel, a rank he held throughout the war. Stroud also served in the political process and was a delegate to the first Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and later served as a representative in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

After the war Stroud spent his remaining years developing his landholdings and business. By 1788 he owned 1,400 acres and then increased his holdings to over 4,000 acres.

As his children grew and got married, he built homes for those who remained in the area. The home he built for his son John is presently the Clubhouse of the Glenbrook Country Club. The home he built for Daniel Stroud in 1795 is today the headquarters for the Monroe County Historical Association at the corner of ninth and Main Streets in Stroudsburg

Jacob Stroud died on July 14, 1806. His legacy is far reaching. He was a frontiersman, a soldier, a patriot, a successful businessman, and most importantly, a family man. The town of Stroudsburg still remembers his spirit and aspirations 200 years later!

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TOBYHANNA AND GOULDSBORO STATE PARK

From 1900 to 1936 Tobyhanna and Gouldsboro lakes in Monroe County were the site of active ice industries. The ice was cut from the lakes over the winter months and stored in large underground structures. During the summer months the ice was packed in railway boxcars hauling fresh produce all over the east coast.

In 1912 the federal government acquired the land that became the Tobyhanna Military Reservation. In World War I the Army used the reservation for tank training and was an ambulance corps training center. After the war the reservation was used for artillery training until 1931. In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corps had more that 400 men housed there. They planted thousands of trees in the county.

From 1937 to 1941, the reservation served as an artillery training center for West Point cadets. During World War II the base served the Air Service Command where Gliders were boxed and sent to England for use in the Normandy invasion in 1944. German prisoners-of-war were also interned there. In 1949 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased 25,000 acres from the federal government, with the remaining lands becoming the Tobyhanna Army Depot, which still remains today.

Tobyhanna State Park opened in 1949 with parking areas, swimming beaches and boat rentals. Camping was added in 1959. Gouldsboro State Park opened to the public in 1958 and also has parking areas, swimming beaches and boat rentals.

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TOCKS ISLAND DAM PROJECT

The Tocks Island Dam was a huge multi-purpose reservoir project proposed for the Delaware River six miles upstream from the Delaware Water Gap. The project involved the purchase of 70,000 acres of land, construction of a 40 mile long lake with depths up to 150 feet with a storage capacity of 250 billion gallons of water. It would have been the largest dam project east of the Mississippi River.

The thought of building a dam along the Delaware River began in 1934, when the Army Corps recommended a large dam be built by Tocks Island. In 1942 the corps conducted tests to see if the ground was stable enough to support a dam. The borings were taken down to 140 feet below the riverbed, but no bedrock was found to secure a firm foundation for the dam. The costs would be astronomical.

The dam was to have served four purposes: flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power and recreation. The most exciting spin-off was that the project would have created a national recreation area serving both New York and Philadelphia metro areas including New Jersey.

In 1961 the formation of the Delaware River Basin Commission was established, comprised of representatives of the Governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. A year later Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1962 calling for the Tocks Island Dam Project to be built. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson authorized construction of the dam. Construction was to begin in 1967 and by 1972 the reservoir was to begin filling and be fully operational by 1975.

Opposition to the project began almost immediately among landowners on both sides of the Delaware whose properties were targeted for condemnation. The Delaware Valley Conservation Association was established in 1965 with more than a 1,000 members to fight the project.

The Army corps were accused of having properties appraised at much lower values than they were actually worth. The Corps were demanding many sellers evacuate their properties immediately, even though the flooding would not take place for years. Families that had farms for generations along the Delaware were treated like second rate citizens as the federal government rode roughshod over their lives. At least two landowners committed suicide.

A number of other problems developed for the project. Costs for the dam began to mushroom in the late 1960’s and the Johnson Administration was mired in the escalating cost of the Vietnam War. In addition, “squatters, family communes and flower children” began living along the Delaware in abandoned houses - others set up tents and teepees.

Many Pocono residents resented the “hippies” cultivating marijuana and living in the homes that they had to vacate. Nude bathing and drug dealing was commonplace.

Finally, in 1973 a judge ruled the squatters were illegally occupying the valley and ordered to vacate within 30 days.

On July 31, 1975 the Delaware River Commission voted 3 – 1 against the immediate construction of the Tocks Island Dam. Pennsylvania was the only state to approve the dam, while the federal government abstained. The Commission stopped the dam, but the true end of the project came in 1978 when Congress designated the section of the river that is within the recreation area as a “Wild and Scenic River,” in effect barring the construction of any dams at the Tocks Island site or anywhere along this section of the river. In 1992, the Tocks Island Dam Project was officially de-authorized by Congress.

Today, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a 70,000 acre national jewel with more than 10,000,000 visitors each year.

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THE FLOOD OF 1955

The Flood of 1955 was the most destructive force and greatest natural disaster ever to hit the Delaware River Valley. Two hurricanes, Connie and then Diane, delivered a devastating one-two punch within a week of one another in August 1955. On August 11th Hurricane Connie deposited 10+ inches of rain in a 48 hour period in the Pocono Mountains, putting the Delaware and its tributaries at flood stage. A week later on August 18th Diane brought another 11 inches in a 36 hour period, with disastrous results.

Trillions of gallons of water roared down the mountainsides, uprooting trees and homes from their foundations. Boulders weighing more than ten tons were carried along like pebbles by the force of the water. Bridges were destroyed and cars were tossed about like toy cars. Residents fled for their lives. Tributaries swelled unbelievably, some rising 30 feet in fifteen minutes.

A 30 foot-high flood wave on Brodhead Creek disintegrated the building of a religious camp south of Analomink, sweeping away 46 campers, most of them children. Eight were rescued, but 30 others perished.

Several other Pocono camps were destroyed. Another 32 people died in East Stroudsburg as flood waters ripped apart homes in Maplehurst flats behind the high school. The main Stroudsburg-East Stroudsburg Interborough Bridge was swept away. A number of people were killed when the flood roared into the Day Street Fire Hall.

On the evening of August 20th, with the population overwhelmed by the disaster, water was observed flowing over the top of the Wallenpaupack Dam. A rumor began to circulate that the dam was going to burst. Many residents began evacuating the Lackawaxen River region for fear of the worst.

Shelters were set up at schools, churches and fire halls all over the Pocono region to provide temporary shelter and food. Air Force helicopters brought children out of isolated camps. Civil Air Patrols dropped food to others. President Eisenhower declared a state of emergency and Governor Leader estimated the damage at near one billion dollars.

Down river the devastation was just as bad. In New Jersey flood damage totaled $100,000,000 - an incredible sum for those days. The Washington Crossing Bridge had flood waters raging over the road surface, while further downstream the Ewing Bridge was destroyed.

When all was said and done more than one hundred Pocono residents lost their lives in the Flood of 1955. There were dozens of people missing and hundreds left homeless. Bodies were still being recovered years later while others were never found.

The worst flood in the history of the Poconos destroyed 42 highway bridges, 17 railroad bridges and more than 20,000 homes were lost.

The Flood of 1942

In Wayne County records show that the Flood of 1942 was worse than 1955. Honesdale was hardest hit when a dam on the Lackawaxen River above Honesdale gave way, causing a ten foot wall of water to sweep through the town. It was said that the water rose 15 feet in 15 minutes.

Six bridges in Honesdale were destroyed, 46 homes in ruin and 1,200 homes were damaged. Worst of all 24 people from Wayne County lost their lives. Visit the Flood Gallery.

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EAST STROUDSBURG UNIVERSITY

East Stroudsburg University is one of fourteen institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the only one located in the Pocono Mountains.

East Stroudsburg Normal School opened its doors on September 4, 1893. A faculty of fifteen greeted a group of 320 students who had entered the two-year programs in Elementary and Science Education. The Normal School was privately owned until ownership was transferred to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1920.

In 1927, the right to confer the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Education and Bachelor of Science in Health Education was granted, and the School’s name then became the State Teachers College at East Stroudsburg.

In 1960, the College’s name was changed to East Stroudsburg State College. In 1962, the College received the right to confer graduate degrees and the University awarded its first Graduate degrees in 1964. At that time the Graduate School enrollment was 194, it is now over 1,000.

The College achieved university status and officially became East Stroudsburg University on July 1, 1983.

Today there are 61 campus buildings located on 213 acres in the East Stroudsburg community. There are nine residence halls housing 2200 students, and a 1,000 seat dining room on campus. The University faculty totals 274 while another 382 employees make up the management and non-instructional staff. ESU is a comprehensive university offering an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH VISITS
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT

President George W. Bush made history in Monroe County when he gave a Veterans Day speech on November 11, 2005 to 2,500 dignitaries, veterans and employees at Tobyhanna Army Depot. He become the first sitting President to ever visit Monroe County.

President Bush flew from Andrews Air Force Base to Scranton/Wilkes Barre Airport in Air Force One, then flew by helicopter from the airport to the army depot. Guests included Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Spector, Representatives Paul Kanjorski and Don Sherwood and Presidential advisor Karl Rove. Senator Rick Santorum was conspicuous by his absence, stating that he had a prior commitment for a Veterans Day function in Philadelphia. The Pocono Mountain West High School band performed as the crowds filed in before the president arrived.

The President’s theme was “A Strategy for Victory” when he blasted Iraq war critics and praised local veterans. He thanked the Tobyhanna Army Depot staff for their technical expertise and bravery. The depot has 4,400 workers that specialize in repairing and maintaining high-tech communications systems throughout the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

In his fifty minute speech the President urged Americans to stay the course on the War on Terrorism. He said “We’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed, we’re facing a radical ideology.” He went on the say that “As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them.” After his speech the President walked through the crowd and greeted many of his supporters.

The review ranged from positive to ecstatic. “God Bless you, Mr. President!” one supporter called out. “Thanks for coming!” another yelled. Another supporter said “I knew I was coming to hear a good speech.” One of the depot employees said “It was a real morale booster.”

The depot is an economic powerhouse as the region’s largest employer and draws workers from ten counties. Employment at the depot is at an all time high with another 300 to 500 jobs expected in the near future. Since 9/11 the depot has doubled its production of electronics equipment for all branches of the armed forces. Today the Tobyhanna Army Depot is the largest, full-service electronics maintenance facility in the Department of Defense – including voice and data communications, satellite communications systems, communications security systems, wire communications, airborne surveillance, navigation, radar/ground surveillance, night vision and many other systems.

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THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

The Appalachian Trail is a footpath of more than 2,150 miles with 232 miles lying in Pennsylvania and 45 miles lying in the Pocono region. In 1921, U.S. Forest Service Planner, Benton MacKaye, wrote a magazine article suggesting a trail be established to connect Mount Washington in New Hampshire to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina.

MacKaye, a Harvard graduate, was convinced that the pace of urban and industrial life along the east coast was harmful to people. He envisioned the Appalachian Trail as a path interspersed with planned wilderness communities where people could go to renew themselves. As a result, in 1925 he gathered hikers, foresters, and public officials to embrace the goal of building the Trail. The Appalachian Trail Conference in Washington, D.C. appointed MacKaye as its “field organizer” and chose the exact path, flagged the path, built various sections, including shelter, bridges and steps. They wrote a guidebook to aid hikers and backpackers.

In 1968, Congress passed the National Trails System Act, making the AT the first

National Scenic Trail. Today there are 30 clubs that help maintain the trail, which now extends from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.

The Appalachian Trail runs more than 45 spectacular miles through the Pocono Mountains along the southern borders of Carbon and Monroe Counties, then through the Delaware Water Gap into the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The Pocono’s have hundreds of miles of spectacular hiking trails, but none as famous as the Appalachian Trail.

The Appalachian Trail through the Pocono Region

For practical purposes we will begin the Appalachian Trail in the Pocono region at the southwest corner of Carbon County and the southeast corner of Schuylkill County. From this point the trail and the Carbon County line runs along the ridge of Blue Mountain at approximately 1,500 feet elevation for 9 miles to the Lehigh Gap. Along the way there are spectacular vistas both to the north and south. Your hike takes you past Bake Oven knob, over the Lehigh Valley Tunnel and then down to the Lehigh Gap.

The Lehigh Gap is a break in Blue Mountain carved by the Lehigh River. It has been a natural avenue of commerce, with a highway, canal and railroads squeezed through the narrow river banks. The canal opened in 1829, allowing delivery of coal to the iron industry of eastern Pennsylvania. The first road bridge over the river was in 1818.

Palmerton is just to the north and named after the President of the New Jersey Zinc Company.

From the Lehigh Gap (at less than 500 foot elevation) the hiker must climb back to the 1,500 foot ridge of Blue Mountain for another 36 mile hike to the Delaware Water Gap. Along the way the trail will pass Little Gap into Monroe County. The trail continues to follow the ridge of Blue Mountain along the boundary line of Monroe County and Northampton County. The trail continues past Smith Gap, then across Route 33 at Wind Gap, past Pen Argyl to the south on to the Kittatinny Mountain ridge. The trail goes through Fox Gap, Tots Gap to Mount Minsi , then dramatically drops down over 1,000 feet to the Delaware River and the Delaware Water Gap. Once you cross the river you enter New Jersey and the trail rambles through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

The Delaware Water Gap twists through a 2 mile cleft in the Kittatinny Mountain. Mount Minsi , named after the Indian tribe, rises on the Pennsylvania side of the 1,200 foot deep gorge. Mount Tammany on the New Jersey side was named after a distinguished Indian chief. Passage through the Gap was so rough and dangerous to early settlers that the first road was not constructed until about 1800.

The 45 mile trail through the Pocono region is considered “moderate” to “strenuous” to “easy.” The trail can challenge experienced hikers but also can be enjoyed by novices as well. It is a trail that can be enjoyed by all with natural beauty second to none!

The Appalachian Trail Conference became the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in 2005. Their mission is to ensure that future generations will enjoy the clean air and water, scenic vistas, wildlife and opportunities for simple recreation and renewal along the entire Trail corridor.

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DANIEL BRODHEAD

Brodhead is a family name that is quite familiar to the residents in Monroe County. Brodhead Creek and Brodheadsville are well known landmarks in the community. Daniel Brodhead Sr. was one of the founders of Dansbury, later known as East Stroudsburg. His son, Daniel was a General in the Continental Army and served under George Washington.

Daniel Sr. settled on a 640 acre estate called Brodhead Manor with his family in 1738. This was just a year after the Walking Purchase of 1737 when young Daniel was just two years old. The Brodhead family invited Moravian missionaries to establish a station there. Other settlers soon made their homes nearby. The elder Daniel died in July 1755. That same year nineteen year old Daniel helped his family and neighbors defend their homes against an attack by the Delaware Indians under Chief Teedyuscung.

In 1770 Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Depue had moved their family to Berks County. He operated a grist mill and accepted an appointment as deputy-surveyor for the Colony of Pennsylvania. In 1774 he served as a delegate for Berks County and was appointed to a convention committee where he worked with other young men destined to be among the Founding Fathers of the new nation, including John Dickinson, Joseph Reed, and James Wilson, who later purchased the Wallenpaupack Manor in 1793.

In 1775, with the War for Independence beginning, Daniel and his two brothers joined the army. All three sustained wounds and suffered hardships, but it was Daniel who earned a place in history during the Revolutionary War. In July 1776, he received a commission of Lieutenant Colonel and later fought in the battles of Long Island, Brandywine and Germantown. He served under General Anthony Wayne (for whom Wayne County is named) and was with Washington at Valley Forge. In June, 1778 he was ordered to lead the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment across the mountains to Fort Pitt for service on the frontier. He later obtained the rank of Brigadier General.

In 1788, following the death of his wife, he married Rebecca Mifflin, widow of Samuel Mifflin. Samuel’s brother Thomas was later elected the first Governor of Pennsylvania. Daniel attained his highest civilian post in 1789 when he as elected surveyor-general by the Pennsylvania State Executive Council and then worked under Governor Thomas Mifflin, elected in 1790.

Upon his resignation as surveyor-general in 1800 the Brodheads moved to Milford, Pennsylvania where he died in the summer of 1809.

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