Newton Lake - A Rich History
William Penn, Jr., a practicing Quaker, received a Charter to the land of the Pennsylvania Colony in 1681 from King Charles II of Great Britain. The Charter for 45,000 square miles was granted as the payment of a debt the King owed Penn's father.
To solidify Penn's ownership of the lands of the Pennsylvania Colony, he began purchasing these same lands via treaties from the Leni Lenape, the Native Americans of the Delaware Nation. After nearly a century of conflict during the Pennamite Wars with the Connecticut colony for the upper third of Pennsylvania, Congress under the Articles of Confederation settled the land disputes in favor of the Pennsylvanians.
The first settlers began reaching the forested mountains and valleys of the northeast counties in the early 1800s. Greenfield Township, originally part of Luzerne County, was established in 1816. The original land owners in Greenfield Township were issued patents ("deeds") by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The original land patents for the lands surrounding and including Newton Lake and Mud Pond (see the Map) were issued to Nathan Levering on April 30, 1787 and Samuel Meredith on October 24, 1800. These two prominent men brought their own rich colonial history to our Newton Lake community.
Samuel Meredith (1741 – 1817) was a Revolutionary War hero and a true patriot in the early history of the United States. In 1789, at the urging of George Washington, Samuel Meredith became the first Treasurer of the United States. He served under Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States. During his tenure in the Treasury Department, Meredith lent the government more than one hundred thousand dollars to help pay for the Revolutionary War—a sum that was never repaid to him. According to biographical information, Samuel Meredith left his Treasury post in 1801. He then returned to his estate, Belmont Manor, in Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania, to manage his prior mercantile and land management business interests.
His vast land holdings in Northeast Pennsylvania, including the original Patents for lands surrounding Newton Lake, were granted as partial payment for his financial support of the American Revolution. He spent significant time with his family and in the territory called the "Ragged Islands" which later became Carbondale Township. His influence in our area remains today, as the Meredith Fire Company carries his name.
Thomas Meredith was one of the six children of Samuel and Margaret Meredith. He served in the United States army during the War of 1812, eventually becoming a Major in the army. In 1822 Thomas married Sarah Gibson. The couple then built a home near Carbondale, PA, known as Meredith Cottage, where they had several children.
Those purchasing land tracks from William Penn at the end of the seventeenth century consisted predominantly of Quakers and Germans who established millseats along the Wissahickon River or cleared the uplands for farms.
On the eve of the Revolution, the Wissahickon millers had established one of the most important flour centers in the mid-Atlantic region. In the case of the Nathan Levering, he was instrumental in providing a route from his plantation on the Schuylkill up to the 300 foot ridge, connecting his farm with the community of Leverington. These improvements in 1812 finished the route to Philadelphia, creating the Ridge Turnpike, and resulting in the only route along the Schuylkill River to Philadelphia. He was also instrumental in making the Schuykill River navigable for commerce.