Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Pennsylvania
PENNSYLVANIA, one of the original thirteen States of the North American Union, lying between 39° 43' and 42° 15' N. lat., and between 74° 40' and 80° 36' W. long., is 160 miles wide, and more than 300 miles long from east to west. Its northern, southern, and western border-lines were meant to be straight; the eastern follows the course of the Delaware river. It is bounded by the States of New York and New Jersey on the N. and E., by Ohio on the W., and by Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia on the S. At its north-west corner a small triangular addition gives it a shore-line of 40 miles, with one good harbour, on Lake Erie. At its south-eastern corner, a circle of 10 miles radius (struck from the court-house at Newcastle) throws a small area into the State of Delaware. Its surface, subdivided into sixty-seven counties, measures nearly 28,800,000 acres or 45,000 square miles; less than one-half of its acreage is in cultivated farms, and only 1,000,000 of the people live in separate farm-houses. Out of a population of 4,283,000, nearly 2,000,000 lived in towns and cities in 1880, and more than 2,000,000 in country hamlets or factory villages, at iron mines and furnaces, at coal-mines and coke-ovens, at lumber-camps and oil-wells, or along the many lines of canal and railroad which traverse the State in all directions.
Physical Features.—Pennsylvania is topographically divisible into three parts: a south-east district, the open country between the South Mountains and the sea; a middle belt of parallel valleys separated by low parallel mountain-ridges; and a northern and western upland, behind the escarpment of the Alleghany Mountain. One and a half millions of its people inhabit the fertile and highly-cultivated south eastern triangle, which is nowhere more than 600 or 700 feet above the level of the sea. One million inhabit the middle belt of higher-lying valleys, rich in iron ore and anthracite coal. One and a half millions occupy the great bituminous coal and oil regions of the northern and western counties, elevated from 1000 to 2500 feet above the sea, which constitute at least one-half of the State, and drain, not eastward into the Atlantic, but northward into the St Lawrence and westward into the Mississippi.
The valleys of the middle belt are of two characters, distinguished by the farming population of the Atlantic States as “rich valleys” and “poor valleys.” The former, whether large or small, are completely enclosed and comparatively level arenas of limestone land, surrounded by rocky and wooded barriers, less than 1000 feet high, through narrow gaps in which streams enter or issue. A curiously sculptured slate-terrace, half the height of the encircling mountain, overlooks each of these secluded valleys. Their entire limestone floor has been under cultivation for a century, and the best iron-ore deposits of the State and its oldest mines are situated in them. They are gardens of fertility, yielding heavy crops of wheat, rye, and maize to the frugal, thrifty, and laborious descendants of their early settlers. Innumerable caverns ramify beneath the surface; sink-holes receive the drainage of the fields; many of the water courses appear and disappear beneath sunken arches of limestone; and wells are the chief source of supply. Old orchards and great planted trees abound, and more picturesque landscapes cannot be found. Nittany, the largest of these isolated valleys, occupies the centre of the State. It is 60 miles long, but its greatest width is only 10 miles; and it is subdivided at its north-eastern end by long projecting mountain-spurs into narrow parallel coves, each of which is known by a special name, Brush valley, Penn's valley, &c. Sinking Spring valley is at its south-western end, and here it is traversed by the Little Juniata river, along the banks of which runs the Pennsylvania Railroad. A narrow valley, called Canoe valley, leads southward into Morrison's cove, which is half as large as Nittany valley. The next largest limestone valley is Kishicoquilis, 40 miles long by 5 miles wide, ending southward in a point, and split at its north-east end into three. German Amish (Mennonite sect) and Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlers, separated by an ideal cross line, have made this valley famous for its loveliness and wealth. Farther south is M‘Connell's cove, west of this Friend's cove, and still farther west Millikin's cove. Two little oval holes in the mountains north-east of Nittany valley, Nippenose valley and Oval valley, and two long slit-like depressions in Tuscarora and Black Log Mountains conclude the short list of these remarkable limestone threshing-floors of Pennsylvania.
Across the whole State, however, stretches the Great Valley in a wide and gentle curve from east to south, one-half its surface covered with the soil of the terrace-slate, the other half with the same limestone soil which causes the exceptional fertility of the isolated valleys above enumerated. This very remarkable feature of the Atlantic side of the continent extends in an unbroken line for nearly 1000 miles, from eastern Canada to the lowlands of the Gulf of Mexico, only 150 miles of its length being in Pennsylvania, where its average width may be called 15 miles. Everywhere on its north-west side rises a sharp and regularly level-crested ridge, about 1000 feet high, heavily timbered. On its other or southern side a range of irregular mountain-land completely secludes the Great Valley from the seaboard, except for about 50 miles in Pennsylvania. This mountain-range is known in Vermont as the Green Mountains, in Massachusetts as the Taconic Mountains, in New York and New Jersey as the Highlands, in Pennsylvania and Maryland as the South Mountains, in Virginia as the Blue Ridge, in North Carolina as the Unaka or Smoky Mountains. In their northern extension they rise to heights of 3000 and 4000 feet; in the southern States they have summits from 4000 to 7000 feet above the sea. In Pennsylvania few parts of the range exceed 1500 feet; and at the broken gap of 50 miles already mentioned the Great Valley limestone land protrudes southward through the interrupted range, to make of Lancaster the richest agricultural county in the State. Before the era of railways Lancaster county made the markets of Philadelphia the cheapest and most luxurious in the world. It was on this exceptional outspread of the Great Valley limestone that the Germans of the first immigration settled. The limestone plain of Lancaster spreads west across the Susquehanna river into York county, and east into Berks and Chester counties to within 20 miles of Philadelphia. The whole plain swarms with life; the houses are small, but the stone barns are of colossal size, 100 and even 150 feet long and from 30 to 50 feet high, the barnyard-wall supported on ranges of heavy columns, while on the other side of the building an earthen slope ascends to the great barn door.
The eight counties which lie along the face of the South Mountains, in the south-eastern region of the State, are in the highest state of cultivation, and resemble the most picturesque rural districts of England,—a country of rolling hills and gently sloping vales, with occasional rocky dells of no great depth, and low cascades utilized for grist-mills, factories, and machine shops; a country of wheat, rye, maize, potatoes, tobacco, turnip-fields, orchards, meadows, and patches of woodland; a country of flowing water, salubrious, fertile, and wealthy; dotted with hamlets, villages, and towns, and with the country-seats of affluent citizens. But the region as a whole is divisible into at least four districts, differing as much in population as in soil and situation. The counties of York and Adams, lying west of the Susquehanna river along the Maryland line, are inhabited by Germans, who for the most part still use the patois of their fatherland, mixed with English words and phrases. The counties of Montgomery and Bucks, lying between the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, have a mingled population of the descendants of Germans, Quakers, and French Huguenots. The hilly district of northern Chester is also partly German. Southern Lancaster, southern Chester, and Delaware counties support the most intelligent and virtuous population in the State, largely composed of the descendants of Penn's colonists, who have mostly escaped the narrowing and enervating influences of the city, and enjoy the mental and physical activity, the simplicity of manners, and the loyalty to truth, justice, and charity which characterized the Quakers at the origin of the sect in England. The district which they inhabit is a veritable fairyland, and its principal town, Westchester, has been for a long time one of the notable centres of scientific life in the State.
Climate.—The climate of so great a State is necessarily various, and is made more variable by its situation on the eastern side of the continent facing the Gulf Stream. The north-west wind is dry and cold in winter, the south-west wind always mild and rainy, and the south-east ocean wind wet and sultry in summer; but the dreaded north-easters of New England lose much of their rigour by the time they reach the Delaware. The northern highlands of the State are buried under 4 or 5 feet of snow four months of the year. The southern middle counties enjoy genial weather the whole year round, interrupted only by a few short intervals of intense heat or cold, never lasting more than three consecutive days. The midland valleys are very hot in midsummer and very cold in mid-winter, the thermometer ranging between 0° and 100°, with a not unfrequent sudden fall after a sultry week of 30° or 40° in a few hours, ending with thunderstorms, and followed by dry, clear, cool weather, with winds from the north-west. The climate of the south-western counties is comparatively dry and equable, but with a sufficient annual rainfall, and plenty of snow in winter, productive of great river-floods in spring. The average annual rainfall ranges from 36 inches in the western counties to 42 inches at Philadelphia. Destructive “freshets” descend the eastern rivers when the ice breaks up; for the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers are almost every year frozen over from tide-water to their sources; thunderstorms happen in the midst of winter; the January thaw is always to be apprehended; and when heavy rains break up the ice and it accumulates in the gaps of the mountains, the main river-channels become scenes of inevitable disaster. In 1837 the valley of the Lehigh was swept clean for 60 miles, the dams and locks of the canal were all destroyed, and every bridge and mill disappeared. Along the lower Susquehanna the floating ice has often been piled upon the railroad embankment to the height of several yards. Even in midsummer a heavier downpour than usual in 1836 carried destruction through the valley of the Juniata. But the affluents of the Ohio river in the western part of the State are subject every year to this danger.
Geology.—For unknown geological reasons Pennsylvania is peculiar for exhibiting the Palæozoic system in its maximum development, that is, from the Permian formation down to the base of Murchison's Lower Silurian, with a total thickness of more than 40,000 feet at the eastern outcrops, diminishing to half that amount in the western counties. As all the formations are thrown into great anticlinal and synclinal folds, and cut through transversely by the rivers, they can be measured along numerous continuous and conformable section lines. Near Harrisburg, at Pottsville, and at Mauch Chunk the Carboniferous, Devonian, and Upper Silurian rocks, standing vertical, show a cross section 5 miles thick. At the Delaware and Lehigh water-gaps the Lower Silurian slates are 6000 feet thick. In Canoe valley the underlying Lower Silurian limestones have been measured 6500 feet thick. In the south-western corner of the State about 1000 feet of Permian rocks overlie the Coal-measures proper. Thus the following Palæozoic column can be studied with peculiar advantages in Pennsylvania, many of its more important stages either becoming greatly attenuated or wholly disappearing when followed into the neighbouring States of New York, Ohio, and Virginia.
|13.||Permian, or Upper Carboniferous.|
|Upper productive Coal-measures||Middle Carboniferous.|
|Lower productive Coal-measures|
|11.||Mauch Chunk red shale||Lower Carboniferous.|
|10.||Pocono grey sandstone|
|9.||Catskill red sandstone; Upper Devonian.|
|8.||Chemung and Portage shales; Middle Devonian.|
|Tennessee, Hamilton, and Marcellus||Lower Devonian.|
|Upper Helderberg limestone|
|6.||Lower Helderberg limestones||Upper Silurian.|
|4.||Medina and Oneida sandstones|
|3.||Hudson river and Utica slates||Lower Silurian.|
|2.||Trenton and Great Valley limestones|
The geology of south-eastern Pennsylvania is not understood. There can be no doubt that the copper-bearing porphyritic Huronian system is well represented in the South Mountains, south of the Chambersburg fault, on the borders of Maryland; but the systematic age of the gneisses, mica schists, garnetiferous schists, serpentine and chrome iron rocks, of the Philadelphia belt, commencing at Trenton, crossing the Schuylkill river on a section line 15 miles wide, and extending through Delaware and Chester counties into Maryland, is still under discussion, some geologists considering them of pre-Cambrian age and others regarding them as metamorphosed Silurian rocks. They contain minute quantities of gold and are evidently a prolongation of the great gold-bearing belt of Virginia and the Carolinas.
Minerals.—The mineral resources of Pennsylvania have never been exaggerated except by those who compare its iron-mines with those of other States. It possesses a virtual monopoly of anthracite. The output of rock-oil is still amazing. The bituminous, coking, and block coal district is only one large part of an enormous area which includes eastern Ohio, West Virginia, middle Tennessee, and northern Alabama; and the ranges of iron-ores extend through New Jersey and New York into New England and Canada, and through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee into Alabama, with no sensible difference of quantity or quality in either direction. But Pennsylvania has the advantage over other States of a first plant, both in iron-works and coal-mines, and in a consequent multiplication and concentration of capital for these industries, which must keep her facile princeps in this respect for a long time to come. Sooner or later she must take a second rank in iron, but never in coal and coke. It is possible that the oil-fields of the three States to the south and west of her may become as productive as her own, although no signs of such an event are visible yet to geologists; but no contingency of events can affect her absolute control of the anthracite market.
Three anthracite coal-regions in eastern Pennsylvania are recognized by railroad men, coal-dealers, and statisticians; but they do not exactly correspond to the three anthracite coal-fields of the geological survey reports. (1) By the Schuylkill region is meant all the surface of coal-land which is drained by that river, with two small additions from the upper water-basins of the Shamokin and Swatara rivers, affluents of the Susquehanna. In 1822 it supplied the Philadelphia market with 1480 tons of coal; in 1880 it distributed, in all directions along the lines of the Reading Railroad, 9,500,000 tons. (2) By the Lehigh region is meant all the coal-lands on that river, furnishing in 1821 1073 tons, and in 1882 5,700,000, chiefly to the city of New York. (3) By the Wyoming region is meant the isolated valley of the Susquehanna (north branch) and Lackawanna rivers, commencing its shipments in 1829 with 7000, and sending in 1882 14,000,000 tons of coal eastward, northward, and westward, to Boston, Montreal, and Chicago. In 1883 these three regions shipped a total of 31,800,000 tons.
The three anthracite coal-fields into which the region divides itself geologically—the southern, the middle, and the northern—are three groups of narrow parallel basins filled with crumpled Coal-measures. Each field has a characteristic grouping of its basins different from the other two: the southern in perfectly straight lines, except at its western end, which has a long fork or fish-tail; the middle in echelon; the northern in a long sweeping curve from west by east to north. The southern field has for its southern border a sharp low mountain-ridge, 62 miles long, bearing about N. by 60° E., and ending abruptly westward near the Susquehanna river and eastward at the Lehigh river. It is gapped in four places, by the Swatara, by the Schuylkill, and by its two principal branches, giving passage to three railways and two canals, one of which has been abandoned and the other is little used. In this mountain the lower Coal-measures descend vertically to a depth of 3000 feet below tide-level, and then rise again in a series of waves to the top of a much higher mountain which borders the field upon the north. From the top of this broad mountain the Coal-measures have been swept away. They are next seen descending steeply northward into the middle iield, where they sink to various depths of 1000 or 2000 feet below sea-level, rolling six times so as to make that number of mining basins, and then rise into the air, along a bounding mountain at the northern edge of the field, not to descend again to the present surface of the earth for 40 miles. Only the lowest beds, however, appear there in narrow strips upon the highest plateau of the State, and not as anthracite, but as bituminous coal. This description, however, only applies to the western division of the middle field. Its eastern division has a very different character. On the broad rolling top of the Beaver Meadow Mountains, west of the Lehigh river, lie a group of closely-folded parallel troughs, in which the coal-beds descend steeply to depths of 1000 or 2000 feet, and rapidly rise again to the surface, each trough being pointed at both ends and disappearing on the summits of mountain-spurs, which look down upon deeply-indented red-shale valleys. The collieries of this eastern division of the middle field are all on very high land, from 1600 to 1800 feet above the sea; and branch railroads descend from them by steep gradients to the two rival main lines, which follow the banks of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers to the Atlantic coast.
The northern field corresponds exactly to the Wyoming region. It is a moon-shaped trough, 50 miles long by 6 miles wide, tapering to a point both ways. Its eastern half is drained by the Lackawanna river westward into the Susquehanna river, where the latter breaks through the northern mountain-wall and begins to meander westward through the Kingston flats in the centre of the coal-field made famous by the incidents of Indian warfare. A few miles farther on the river breaks half through the northern wall, splitting it lengthwise, and then cuts off the western point of the basin, leaving a little patch of it capping the isolated spur. This magnificent coal-field is traversed diagonally by anticlinal and synclinal folds in the Coal-measures in such a manner as to subdivide it into more than thirty small coal-basins, all connected underground, the deepest of which hold more than 3000 feet of Coal-measures; so that in a hilltop near Wilkesbarre fossil-shells of the Permian formation, the uppermost division of the Carboniferous system, have been collected.
Until the maps of the anthracite section of the State Geological Survey have been completed, the area of anthracite coal-land in all three fields cannot be accurately stated. The total number of coal-beds cannot be stated, because some are hardly noticeable; others are composed of several layers separated elsewhere by 50 or 100 feet of intervening rock. The identification of the beds across the intervals which separate the fields, and even from colliery to colliery, is not in all cases satisfactory. It may, however, be said generally that the whole column of Coal-measures contains more than a hundred coal-beds. Less than one-fourth of these have hitherto been considered of desirable size and quality for mining. Most of the output in past years and at present comes from five or six of them, from the Lykens valley bed, from the Buck Mountain bed, especially from the Mammoth bed—all of
them white ash—and from two or three red ash beds next higher in the series. The first quantities of coal which were sent to the market came from an open quarry on the summit of the mountain at Mauch Chunk, where the Mammoth bed is 60 feet thick. In subsequent years a long range of extensive collieries were created on the Mine Hill slope of the bed behind Pottsville. Later still the Mahanoy and Shenandoah collieries were established behind the Broad Mountain. From early years the great bed was worked in the Wyoming region by the Baltimore Company. Other corporations have extensively exploited it throughout the valley. Old mines in this bed are worked on a great scale also at Hazelton and Beaver Meadow, and later plants were made at Jeanesville, Clifton, and elsewhere. A choice though smaller bed, called the Buck Mountain vein, extends through all three fields, and is largely mined in many places, sometimes in tunnel-connexion with the Mammoth and sometimes alone. The Lykens valley bed, holding 10 and 12 feet of exceedingly choice coal, lies near the bottom of the Millstone grit (the base of the Coal-measures), but is scarcely workable anywhere except at the western end of the southern field.
The waste in mining anthracite coal is enormous, although it has been somewhat diminished by the concentration of most of the coal-properties under the control of a few railway companies, who employ competent engineers and superintendents. But the markets demand the delivery of the coal in sizes. Iron furnaces alone accept the run of the mine. The “breaker,” an anthracite invention, and a monster of destruction, is an edifice of wood and iron 100 feet high, furnished with slopes and lifts to take the mine-cars to the top, with rollers set with teeth to crush the larger lumps, with bolting screens to separate the sizes, with picking banks and boys to throw out slate descending the shoots, and with bays or pockets from which the coal is drawn at will to fill railway trains passing underneath. The waste is carted off to a neighbouring hillside. Hills of this “dust,” 100 feet high and hundreds of feet long, encumber the country, and awaken the anxiety of proprietors respecting its future disposal. All plans for utilizing it cheaply on a large scale have as yet failed, and no serious change in the situation can take place until the supply in the earth begins to fail. The time for that is distant. The annual output can reach 50,000,000 tons, and, in spite of the waste, can continue at that figure for three centuries. An exact calculation of solid contents in the ground, of waste in mining and breaking, and of quantity sent to market has been made for only one division of one field.
At the eastern end of the southern field, for instance, six beds, as yet locally worked by only thirteen collieries (four of them now abandoned), contained originally 1,033,000,000 tons, of which only 54,000,000 have been extracted (between 1820 and 1882), leaving 979,000,000 tons still untouched. The output in 1820 was less than 400 tons, that of 1849 nearly 400,000 tons, that of 1882 838,000. In a few years it will reach 2,000,000, and might continue at that rate five centuries.
The number of working collieries in the anthracite region is constantly changing. The list for 1881-82, reported by the official mine inspectors, numbers 141 in the northern field, 51 in the eastern middle, 91 in the western middle, and 70 in the southern field, 353 collieries in all. The fuel they send to market is both white coal from the lower and red-ash coal from the higher beds of the series, the market sizes being designated egg, stove, chestnut, pea, and buckwheat. By sampling carefully the contents of five cars from one colliery carrying each a different size of coal, and analysing the samples, it was found that, while there was little difference in the percentage of water (say 1.7), of sulphur (say 0.7), and of volatile matter (say 4.0), the percentage of ash regularly increased as the size diminished (egg 5.662, stove 10.174, chestnut 12.666, pea 14.664, buckwheat 16.620), showing the finer breakage of the slaty layers, and the mixture of slate-dust with the smaller sizes of coal. The percentage of solid carbon, of course, diminished directly with the size, from 88.5 in egg-coal to 76.9 in buckwheat. The coal-dust of the heaps about the mines, before alluded to, is therefore, no doubt, still lower in solid carbon; yet Captain Wootten's dust-burning locomotives on the Reading Railroad have been a success; and the dust or “braize” of the Philadelphia coal-yards is sold for use in fire-boxes of suitable construction.
The bituminous coal-region of Pennsylvania covers the western third of the State, the greatest thickness of Coal-measures being in the south-western corner. Six wide parallel basins sweep round from the boundary-line with New York State south-westward into Ohio and West Virginia. The summit of the Alleghany Mountain, containing the lowest coals, limits the region towards the south east; an irregular line parallel with and 30 miles distant from the shore of Lake Erie limits it on the north-west. The basins all gradually deepen going south-west, and are all subdivided into smaller local basins by gentle rolls. In one or two neighbourhoods the coal-beds dip as much as 30°; but over almost the entire area they are so nearly horizontal that a dip of 2° or 3° is exceptionally great. Over thousands of square miles they lie as flat as geological formations can ever lie, considering the accidents of original
deposition in the quiet Carboniferous sea. There is a striking uniformity in the composition of the whole formation, which is naturally divisible into: (1) upper (Permian) barren-measures; (2) upper (Pittsburgh) productive Coal-measures; (3) lower barren-measures; (4) lower productive Coal-measures; (5) Millstone grit (Pottsville conglomerate); (6) Mauch Chunk shale and mountain limestone; (7) Pocono sandstone and lowest (worthless) coal-beds. These rest on more than 10,000 feet of Devonian rocks.
The area of the State actually covered by one or more workable bituminous coal-beds is about 9000 square miles. Dr H. M. Chance's calculation of area, thickness, content, &c. (in a paper read before the Am. Inst. Min. Eng., October 1881), is the most trustworthy yet made. He assumes sixteen important coal-beds, none workable over the whole area of thirty-one counties,—only the lowest beds being preserved in ten, and the principal upper beds only in seven of these counties. Beds less than 2 feet thick are ignored. Beds from 2 to 3 feet thick are estimated only from outcrop down to water-level; beds from 3 to 5, to 150 feet below water-level; beds over 5, to 400 feet below water-level. Allowing 1650 gross tons per foot to the acre (less 11 per cent, for slate, bone, and sulphur partings, say 1500 gross tons) the mass of beds over 6 feet is 11,000,000,000 tons; of beds between 6 and 3 feet, 19,500,000,000; and of beds under 3 feet, 3,000,000,000,—making a total of 33,500,000,000 gross tons, 75 per cent, of which can be mined, i.e., 25,000,000,000 tons; of this 10,500,000,000 are in the Pittsburgh bed. An exaggerated statement was current thirty years ago that the Pittsburgh coal-bed within the limits of the State of Pennsylvania would equal the whole annual British coal-trade (then 100,000,000 tons) for 2000 years. According to our present knowledge such an output would exhaust it in a single century.
The upper productive Coal-measures, about 300 feet thick, contain four workable beds, of which the lowest (Pittsburgh) is the mainstay of the coke and iron interests of the seven south-western counties, furnishing to 77 collieries in Allegheny county 4,000,000 tons, to 50 in Fayette county 1,566,000, to 45 in Westmoreland county 2,335,000, to 31 in Washington county 798,000, to 14 in Somerset county 200,000,—total nearly 9,000,000 tons mined out of 217 collieries, most of them mere adits into the hillsides, at various levels (from 30 to 300 feet) above the water-level of the Ohio river, or its main branch, the Monongahela river, and its branch the Youghuogheny river. Along these streams railroad stations and slack water pools receive the coal let down by trestle-work slopes from the adits. A few shafts are sunk to the bed where, for short distances, it sinks a few yards beneath water-level.
The iron-ores of Pennsylvania formerly sufficed for stocking the furnaces of the State; but for more than twenty years past large outside supplies have been in demand,—the red hæmatites of Michigan, the magnetic ores of Canada, northern New York, and especially of northern New Jersey, and the limonites of Virginia, not to speak of numerous cargoes of Algerian ore. To understand the native ores it will be necessary to refer to the schedule of the geological formations of the State (see p. 500 above). The more recent formations—the Tertiary and the Cretaceous—poor in iron ores, are not found in Pennsylvania, being confined to the Atlantic seaboard. The next older formation—the Trias—also poor in iron ore, makes an independent belt across the State through Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster, York, and Adams counties. Hence we have only to consider five sources of supply,—(a) the carbonate ores of the Coal-measures, with brown hæmatite outcrops; (b) the lower Devonian brown hæmatites; (c) the Upper Silurian red fossil-ore; (d) the Lower Silurian brown hæmatites; and (e) the Azoic magnetites, some of them apparently in Cambrian rocks, overlaid by Trias, and the rest of them interbedded with the oldest (Laurentian ?) gneisses.
The ordinary ironstone of the Coal-measures occurs in ball or plate layers throughout the bituminous coal-region, but is almost wanting in the anthracite region. Brown hæmatite deposits, always connected with the limestone beds in the Coal-measures, were formerly extensively mined, but the supplies of Carboniferous ore of both kinds are far from meeting the present demand, and the make of charcoal iron from them has been virtually abandoned. At the base of the Devonian series the Marcellus still yields considerable quantities of brown hæmatite from the outcrop of a ferruginous clay-bed, but only in two or three noteworthy localities. The Clinton beds of red fossil-ore (soft and rich at the outcrop, hard and lean lower down) at Danville and Bloomsbury, at Frankstown and Hollidaysburg, at Bloody Run and Bedford, kept furnaces going for a good many years, and are still used as mixtures at Johnstown and elsewhere. The Lower Silurian brown hæmatite mines, however, have been the chief dependence of the industry. They are very numerous in the isolated limestone valleys and along the whole course of the Great Valley. Some of these open quarries are of vast size, and between 100 and 200 feet deep; furnishing shot and ball and pipe ore of the finest quality, both cold-short and red-short; and the high reputation of American or Juniata iron is based upon the history first of the charcoal and then of the anthracite make of pig-metal from these special ores. Railroads now
carry them long distances to the present centres of the iron manufacture, in the heart of the bituminous coal-region, or in front of the anthracite region, on the Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehanna rivers, where they can be mixed with the subcrystalline iron ores of the South Mountains or of the Highlands of New Jersey. The. South Mountains of Pennsylvania, however, cannot be said to be rich in these last-mentioned deposits, a few of which are indeed mined to a considerable extent; but no thorough exploration of the range has yet been undertaken to see if the deep-lying strata contain the Canadian and New York magnetites which are to be expected. Some of the oldest and largest mines are situated at the edge of the Trias belt, and were formerly supposed to be of Trias age; but it seems now probable that they belong to a Cambrian slate formation covered by the Trias; and in all cases they are touched or surrounded by trap-dykes, which cut the Trias or trap-beds that interlie the Trias. The most remarkable of these mines is the “Cornwall” near Lebanon, where great quantities of cupriferous magnetite are obtained by stoping the walls of a vast open quarry.
The iron industry of Pennsylvania has always competed with the cotton growth of the southern States and the cotton industry of the eastern States for political power in Congress, to save itself against a foreign importation of rolled iron. The iron-masters of Pennsylvania have led in every debate upon a protective tariff. Pennsylvania has always furnished one-half of the total amount of pig-iron cast in the United States. In 1883 it made 2,638,891 tons out of a total of 5,146,972 tons made in twenty-four States and one Territory. Of these 1,416,468 tons were anthracite pig, 1,184,108 coke and raw coal pig, and only 38,349 were charcoal pig; and the number of furnaces at the end of 1883 was 142 in blast and 129 out of blast. In like manner Pennsylvania has always rolled more than one-half of the iron and steel rails of American manufacture,—in 1883, for instance, 857,818 tons out of a total of 1,360,694, and of these 819,544 were Bessemer. So of crucible-steel ingots Pennsylvania in 1883 made 63,687 out of a total of 80,455; open-hearth steel ingots, 72,333 of a total of 133,679; in a word, of all kinds of rolled iron, 1,081,163 tons out of a total of 2,348,874. The petroleum statistics for 1882, partly mixed with those of an adjoining district in New York, show a product of 30,541,740 barrels (of 42 gallons).
Vegetation.—The vegetation of the State corresponds in variety with the variety of elevation and distance from the seaboard. The mountains are clad with forests of pine, hemlock, oak, beech, maple, walnut, wild cherry, cucumber, dogwood, and laurel, and cultivated apple, cherry, pear, and peach trees grow in the clearings. Wild grapes grow in sheltered places; wild huckleberries, strawberries, and blackberries flourish. Oats, barley, and timothy grass yield heavy crops. The original forest remains only here and there in secluded spots. All its white-pine timber has been cut, and none grows to replace it. The spruce-pine, hemlock, and oak woods have been girdled by settlers, or barked by tanners and left to die. Extensive iron-furnace tracts have been systematically cut several times; the deserted charcoal grounds in the anthracite and coke districts have become covered with a dense low growth of oak, maple, birch, dogwood, and other deciduous vegetation. Two other motives have co-operated for the destruction of the original forest,—the demand for railway sleepers and the still greater demand for timber and slabs in mines. The annual forest fires, sometimes of enormous magnitude, help to keep the size of forest-wood small, and to cover the uncultivated part of the State with brushwood. The early settlers of the low country also cut without mercy and without fear; no shadow was allowed to fall on a field. The traditional practice lasted long; but the scarcity of wood at length made itself felt. The last generation began to plant; the present cherishes and multiplies trees, in and around fields, along roads, and on rough ground. The old settled parts of the State are becoming again well wooded. The mountain-ridges will always remain so, for outcrops of sandstone make them rocky, and the terracing of their steep slopes is not yet to be thought of. In the north-western counties the discovery of petroleum in 1859 produced a great demand for derrick lumber, and the ephemeral wooden cities which sprang up during the succeeding twenty-five years caused a rapid bringing under cultivation of at least 5000 square miles, lying between 1000 and 2000 feet above the level of the sea.
Two hundred and eighty-four genera and 544 species of plants are enumerated as growing on the plateau of Wayne county, in the north-east corner of the State, a typical portion of the whole upland region, covered with glacial drift-sand and gravel, with innumerable lakes, ponds, and small swamps, lying at various elevations from 1100 to 2000 feet above the sea.
Fauna.—The zoology of Pennsylvania exhibits that transition stage of its history in which we live. The elk has disappeared; but the panther (puma) and the small wolf are occasionally met with. The black bear is not by any means extinct, and can always find its way anew into the State from West Virginia. The wild cat is common in the least settled counties. Hedgehogs, groundhogs, weasels, polecats, squirrels of three species, mice of several
species, and musk-rats abound; but the beaver, which has given name to so many mountains, rivers, creeks, and swamps all over the State, no longer exists. The wild turkey is practically exterminated, but is occasionally shot on the mountains. Owls, wood-doves, thrushes, and other birds are abundant. Harmless snakes of various species are innumerable, especially a constrictor, the black snake, which grows to a length of 5 or 6 feet. Two venomous snakes are still numerous, the copper-head in the half-cultivated districts and the rattlesnake in the mountains. The latter, in spite of all efforts to exterminate it, breeds with incredible rapidity. In summer it descends into the valleys. But, while the more dreaded copper-head is active and malicious and bites without warning, the rattlesnake is always sluggish and timid, and takes so much time to get into coil, and is so noisy about it, that it is an object more of contempt than of apprehension. The black snake is its worst enemy and is always victorious; the deer also bounds around it, leaps upon it, and scatters it in pieces; the hog feeds upon it; and yet half the State is infested with it. Poisonous insects are almost unknown; but infinite swarms of gnats torment cattle and men in the forest counties. During a short season in summer mosquitoes abound along the tidal rivers, when the south wind blows. Fleas have only recently been imported; but ticks are common in the lowland woods, and the native bed-bug, which breeds under the bark of the hemlock, has become domiciled throughout the State, and is the curse not only of the traveller but of a large part of the resident population.
Government.—The constitution of 1874 gives the right to vote to every male citizen over twenty-one years of age who has been a citizen of the United States one month, resident in Pennsylvania one year, and in his election district two months; but, if over twenty-two years old, he must have paid a tax at least two months before the day of election. The legislative power is vested in a general assembly of two houses,—fifty senators elected by the people for four years and two hundred representatives for two years. There are strong constitutional guards against special legislation. The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant-governor, and secretary of internal affairs, elected each for four years, an auditor for three, and a treasurer for two, together with a secretary of state, an attorney-general, and a superintendent of public instruction, each appointed for four years by the governor with consent of the senate. The judiciary consists of a supreme court of seven judges elected for twenty-one years; forty-three district courts of common pleas each with one or more judges elected for ten years, and exercising probate jurisdiction except in cities where there are orphans courts; and local magistrates of minor jurisdiction. The State sends twenty-seven representatives to the national Congress; and federal courts for the eastern districts are held at Philadelphia, and for the western district at Pittsburgh, Williamsport, and Erie.
Population.—The population was estimated in 1755 at 200,000. The results of subsequent censuses are shown in the following table—
Of the last total 85,535 were coloured; 587,829 were of foreign birth, including 80,102 English, 236,505 Irish, 20,735 Scotch, 29,447 Welsh, and 168,426 Germans.
Education.—In 1880 but 4.6 per cent, of the population over ten years old were unable to read, and 7.1 per cent, unable to write. The State is divided into 2215 districts, which hold school property valued at $28,341,560, and maintain 19,183 schools, of which 7812 are graded. Directing boards elected by the people appoint county superintendents. The State superintendent has two deputies. The teachers number 21,289, of whom 12,778 are women, the average monthly wages for men being $35.12, and for women $28.89. There are fourteen normal schools, ten being under State patronage. The total school expenditure for 1882 was $8,262,244, including $l,000,000 of State aid, given every year. The schools are free to all persons from six to twenty-one years of age; and this “school population” in 1880 numbered 1,422,377. In 1883 there were 945,345 on the registers; the average attendance was 611,317. There are twenty-eight colleges giving four-year courses, but only five confine themselves strictly to college work, viz., university of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Lehigh university at South Bethlehem, Lafayette college at Easton, Haverford college at Haverford, and Dickinson college at Carlisle. The grounds, buildings, and apparatus of twenty institutions are valued at $3,186,000, and they hold $3,951,000 in productive funds. Swarthmore college and eight others admit both sexes to equal privileges. The
peculiar industries of tho State have led to extensive provisions for technical and scientific instruction. There are seventeen theological schools, a law department in the university of Pennsylvania, five medical colleges, all in Philadelphia, an academy of fine arts, and about two hundred academies of various grades.
Prisons, &c.—There are two penitentiaries, the Eastern, at Philadelphia, on the separate-cell system, with about 1000 convicts, and the Western, at Allegheny, on the congregate system, with about 650 convicts. The reform school at Morganza (cottage system) and the house of refuge at Philadelphia receive youthful offenders, who in both institutions average over 1000. An industrial reformatory at Huntingdon, with room for 500 youthful criminals sentenced for first offences, is near completion (1884). There are 69 county jails, costing annually $750,000; the commitments for the year ending 30th September 1883 were 2323, and the inmates 1127.
Pauperism, Insanity, etc.—On 30th September 1883 there were 38 county almshouses, containing 8313 inmates, costing for the year $1,296,945, to which add $203,830 for township poor and $226,000 for outdoor relief. A law of 1883 forbids the retention of children over two and under sixteen in almshouses with adult paupers for more than sixty days. Charitable institutions and societies are numerous. Since 1879 a society for organizing charity has been operating in Philadelphia to prevent indiscriminate and duplicate giving, and mendicancy. There are five State hospitals for insane,—at Harrisburg, Danville, Warren, Dixmont, and Norristown. These with three other prominent establishments had 3575 inmates on 1st October 1882, of whom 2220 were indigent. In one year 5107 cases were treated, 1552 newly admitted, 968 persons discharged, 368 died. In 1880 there were 3884 blind persons in the State; in January 1884 there were 373 in institutions assisted by the State. Of those discharged about two-thirds have a fair prospect of self-support. In institutions for deaf and dumb there were 321. Of 404 children in the institute for feeble-minded at Media only 100 were deemed incapable of improvement.
Agriculture.—By the census of 1880 there were 301,112 persons engaged in agriculture, and 1,154,955 in all other occupations. The number of farms was 213,542, averaging 93 acres each. There were under improvement 13,423,007 acres, an increase of 1,907,042 since 1870; the value of products was 129,760,476. The principal crops are wheat, maize, hay, and tobacco, the cultivation of the last having greatly increased of late, so that Pennsylvania ranks third among the tobacco-raising States of the Union, its product in 1880 being 36,943,272 ℔. It is most largely grown in Lancaster county. There is a large yield of honey and maple sugar, and the butter product of 1880 was 79,336,012 ℔.
Manufactures.—The manufacturing industry has more than trebled since 1860. In 1880 the capital invested in 31,232 establishments was $474,510,993, the cost of material used in a year $465,020,563, the total sum paid in wages $134,055,904,—the number of persons employed being 387,072, and the value of product $744,818,445, or nearly one-seventh of the total product of manufactures in the United States ($5,369,579,191). Iron and steel take the lead; textile fabrics, including carpets, cottons, woollens, silks, yarns, hosiery, and hats make a large item; 333 tanneries yield in leather $23,735,814; flour and grist mills do a large business; the lumber interest centres at Williamsport and glass-making at Pittsburgh, and there are salt-wells at Allegheny.
Communications.—Connexions between the navigable rivers were effected in former years at a cost of over $50,000,000, by a system of canals now chiefly used for the carriage of coal, subordinate to the mining and railway corporations, which are closely related. There are about 5500 miles of railroad in the State belonging to numerous companies, but the Pennsylvania Railroad system and the Philadelphia and Reading system are by far the most important. The Pennsylvania has not only consolidated under its management many lines within the State but has gained control by purchase or lease of trunk lines and branches leading through other States, east, west, north, and south, including in all over 6000 miles of road. Of these 2555 belong to the Pennsylvania division, of which the gross earnings in 1883 were $32,017,818, and the net earnings $13,696,399. The Philadelphia and Reading owns or controls 1583 miles of road, and along with a heavy passenger business (18,195,264 carried in 1883) is largely occupied with transportation of coal from the mines to Philadelphia and New York. Its gross earnings in 1883 were 29,797,927, its net earnings 14,464,070, exclusive of rentals of leased lines and interest. In conjunction with the Reading Coal and Iron Company, a separate corporation, it controls seventy-four collieries, covering 163,317 acres of anthracite coal lands. The gross earnings of the Coal and Iron Company for 1883 were $17,038,858, and the net earnings $921,771. Other companies control lines leading from the coal and iron regions to New York city. The railroad interest gives employment to over 76,000 men, besides the 3000 employed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia.
Finance.—For the year ending 30th November 1882 the State revenue, exclusive of a loan of 9,360,120, was 7,068,529, of which over 4,000,000 came from taxes on corporations, and nearly all the
rest from various business licences. The State imposes no tax on real estate, but collects $437,776 from taxes on money at interest, watches, and carriages. The expenditure, exclusive of payment on debt, was $5,024,766. The debt was $20,225,083, with $7,992,983 of assets in the sinking fund. Thirty-eight counties report debts aggregating $76,301,876, and there are heavy municipal debts. The value of real estate reported in 1882 was $1,598,430,041, of which $110,000,126 were legally exempt from taxation.
Militia.—Distributed over the State and organized into regiments and brigades are 137 volunteer companies, containing 8220 men and officers, and called collectively the “national guard.” They include three batteries of artillery, three companies of cavalry, and 131 of infantry, and are armed, equipped, and supplied by the State at an annual expense of about $242,000.
History.—The grant of the extensive territory called Pennsylvania, made by Charles II. in 1681 to William Penn (q.v.), carried with it full proprietorship and dominion, saving only the king's sovereignty. Penn at once created a quick market for lands by publishing in England and on the Continent his liberal scheme of government and his intention to try the “holy experiment” of “a free colony for all mankind.” In 1682, when he crossed the sea to take possession, he found the western bank of the Delaware already occupied by nearly 6000 Swedes, Dutch, and English, the Swedes having begun a settlement in 1638. To these, as to settlers from all nations, he conceded equal liberties. The desire to escape from spiritual and temporal despotisms, and the chance of acquiring rich lands in a salubrious climate on easy terms, drew thousands of immigrants: English Quakers, Scottish and Irish Presbyterians, German Mennonites, French Huguenots, men of all religions, were alike welcome; the population increased for a few years at the rate of one thousand a year; then more rapidly, so that at the end of seventy-five years it exceeded 200,000. Penn twice visited Pennsylvania, staying each time two years. In December 1682 he .summoned delegates to meet him at Upland (now Chester) to confer about government; the land was divided into counties, and in March following representatives chosen by the people of these districts agreed on a constitution, based upon popular suffrage, and guaranteeing liberty of conscience. All magistrates and officers were to be chosen by the people, Penn surrendering all claim for revenue by taxation, and retaining for himself and his deputies only the governorship. For his further connexion with Pennsylvania, see Penn. In 1682 Philadelphia (q.v.) was founded. The failure to settle the boundary-line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, in dispute between Lord Baltimore and Penn, long caused great irritation among the settlers, who were liable to double taxation; but in 1750 Lord Hardwick's decree in Chancery confirmed the original claims of Penn, and in 1763-67 Mason and Dixon definitely fixed and marked 246 miles of the line, since made famous as the separation between free and slave States.
For over sixty years the predominance of the Quakers in the assembly had prevented any legislation for public defence,—of which, indeed, there was little need so long as Indians and whites kept their covenant. But in 1744 the Indians became allies of the French, then at war with Great Britain. French military posts established in western Pennsylvania not only violated the integrity of the province but threatened to confine the English to the east of the Alleghanies, and perhaps to crowd them off the continent. The party of non-resistance was overborne by a sense of public danger, which found strong expression in a pamphlet by Franklin; and in 1747 the assembly permitted volunteer organization. One hundred and twenty companies were soon enrolled, ten of them, of a hundred men each, in Philadelphia. But there was no efficient management nor hearty co-operation with adjacent colonies. Braddock's defeat in 1754 intensified the alarm; Fort Duquesne (site of Pittsburgh), which he aimed to reduce, was held by the French till 1758. The peace of Paris in 1763 did not quiet the lied Men. Pontiac, a famous sachem, united the western tribes in a war of extermination, only ended when the whites had proved their mastery. The royal council, displeased with self-governing tendencies, annulled the militia law of Pennsylvania; but the pressure of common danger and the dread of tomahawk and torch not only led to the offer of a bounty of $130 for Indian scalps, but taught the lessons of comradeship, and co-operation, and nourished the self-reliant courage of the generation which was to strike for independence. Though stout against the Stamp Act of 1765 and other parliamentary encroachments, Pennsylvania was not swift to move; the assembly sought to mediate between the parliament and the colonies, but the course of events soon made neutrality impossible. A long adjournment was construed as abdication; a committee of safety seized the reins till the people could speak through a representative convention. The convention espoused the revolution; in September 1776 a State constitution was promulgated; in 1778 the old charter was formally annulled and the Penn claims silenced by payment of £130,000. During the war Pennsylvania was the scene of important events,—the deliberations of the Congress and the Declaration of Independence in 1776; the battles of Brandywine and Germantown in 1777; the British occupation of
Philadelphia, and the encampment of Washington at Valley Forge, in 1777-78. A brief but violent mutiny of the unpaid soldiery of Pennsylvania in 1781 led Congress to adopt a better system of finance, under the wise guidance of Robert Morris of Philadelphia. In 1812, at the outbreak of war with Great Britain, Pennsylvania promptly furnished its quota of troops. At the opening of the war with the southern States in 1861, in response to the president's call for 14,000 men as the State's quota, Pennsylvania sent 25,975, and during the war furnished a total of 387,284. No other northern State was invaded. At Gettysburg, near the State border, a three days battle was fought, 30th June to 3d July 1863, resulting in a decisive victory of the Federal forces. In 1864 Chambersburg was burned by the Confederates. For more than two centuries Penn's commonwealth has been advancing in population and prosperity, and the great body of the people have dwelt in peace. There have been five serious local disturbances. Between 1791 and 1794 there was organized resistance to the collection of a federal tax on distilled spirits, but a strong display of force quelled the insurrection without bloodshed. In 1844 there were riots in Kensington, a suburb of Philadelphia, between “native Americans” and Catholic Irish, resulting in the destruction of thirty dwellings, three churches, one convent, and many lives. Between 1835 and 1861 anti-slavery meetings in Philadelphia were often roughly interrupted, and in 1838 Pennsylvania Hall was burned by a pro-slavery mob. A criminal combination in the anthracite mining region, known as the “Molly Maguires,” was broken up in 1876 by due course of law, twenty men being hanged for murder. In 1877 the “railroad riots,” an outbreak of dissatisfied railway employés, caused a vast destruction of property at Pittsburgh and vicinity, but were quelled by the military. The constitution has been four times revised,—in 1838, 1850, 1857, 1874.
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|ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, NINTH EDITION|