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Country: United States
City: Milford, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 503
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 2,014
Earliest Date: 1 November 1895
Latest Date: 30 December 1910
Zebulon Pike, the explorer who named Pike’s Peak, died on April 27, 1813, a casualty of the War of 1812. The new Pennsylvania county formed 11 months later, on March 26, 1814, was named in his honor. Located in the far northeastern corner of the state, Pike County encompasses picturesque terrain rising from the Delaware River valley in the east into the foothills of the Pocono Mountains in the west. Originally inhabited by Lenni Lenape Indians, Pike had white settlers by 1725. Disparate famous names associated with the county include Thomas Quick, Jr., a notorious Indian killer, and Gifford Pinchot, twice Pennsylvania governor. Quick, who murdered 99 Indians in 40 years and on his deathbed begged for one more to be dragged in so he could reach 100, was born in Pike County. Grey Towers, an 1886 mansion located in the county seat of Milford, was the site of the Pinchot family estate-- the summer residence of the Governor and Mrs. Pinchot.
The settlement that later became known as Milford, situated on the Delaware River, dates to 1733, when Thomas Quick, Sr., arrived in the area. In 1796, John Biddis of Germantown, Philadelphia, bought a huge land tract and brought his family, escaping the city’s yellow fever epidemic. Biddis laid out the town of Milford, thought to be named after Milford Haven, his father’s hometown in Wales. The legislative act creating the county stated that Milford could be the county seat if its people contributed at least $1,500 toward constructing public buildings. This was quickly accomplished and a courthouse was built. When a new courthouse was planned in 1871, a move by rival Blooming Grove, 20 miles west, to become the county seat was thwarted in the legislature.
The 19th-century economy in Milford depended on activities associated with being the county seat, some small industries such as sawmills, and a few oddities such as silver and gold watch case factories. Milford’s enduring success, however, well-established by the late 1880s, was as a resort area. As the Pike County Press rhapsodized on May 28, 1897, “No one could fail to be charmed with the attractiveness of our valley. The hills, the fields, the flowers, the birds. No finer roads for wheelmen can be found in the State. This valley is a paradise. Health renewing, life invigorating, to those seeking relaxation and rest, and to those to whom life has become burdensome, Milford offers a good elixir. Come and see us and we will do you good.”
The weekly newspaper’s founding editor, John Hixson Van Etten, was a lawyer descended from 18th century Milford settlers. The first issue of the Pike County Press was published in Milford in 1895. Although announcing its support for the Republican Party, the paper covered more than just politics, reporting a great deal of local news, especially related to the resort business. Strangely juxtaposed with word of war casualties among Pike’s recruits, in May 1918 the paper acquired a new slogan: “Published in the playground of America, in picturesque Pennsylvania, where mountain and river meet, where zephyrs frolic, and trout await the angler.”
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