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Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
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Wyalusing Borough History

Wyalusing Baptist Church


Situated where Wyalusing Creek enters the Susquehanna River, the town of Wyalusing is presently built upon a low hill nestled within the morning shadow of Browntown Mountains, while the evening light is dimmed by the hill from which the renowned Wyalusing Rocks outbreak far above the Susquehanna. The river enabled the first explorers and settlers the earliest means of transportation through the Endless Mountains region; named for the many hills and ridgetops remaining from the heavily disected peneplain.

Prior to European settlement, the area was populated entirely by Native American Indians. By the coming of the white man, the Wyalusing Plains were occupied by a tribe of the Susquehannocks, known as the Andastes; a name given them by the French explorers. Prior to 1750, a settlement known as the Gahontato opposite Sugar Run was inhabited by the Tehotachsee; named by the Iroquois. This small tribe was completely exterminated by the Cayugas in wars waged before the introduction of firearms. With the diffusion of firearms and iron utensils, the Iroquois nation flourished and subjugated the entire region.

In 1752, Paupanhunk, a Minsi or Monsey Cheiftan of the Delaware Tribe, established a settlement with about 20 families. This village was built upon the ashes of the previously destroyed settlement and was named M’chwihilusing; meaning “home of the honorable warrior,” from which the Anglisized Wyalusing is obtained. Charles Frederick Post, while spending a night at M’chwililusing, introduced Christianity in 1760 at the request of the Indians. In 1763, the Moravian apostle, David Zeisberger, and Quaker Evangelist, John Woolman, preached to Paupanhunk’s people. Returning in 1765, Zeisburger, assisted by John Jacob Schmick, established a Moravian Mission named Friedenshutten. Within 2 years, the mission was of considerable size and remained until the outbreak of the American Revolution when the Indians relocated to Lock Haven.

The first permanent settlement thereafter occurred in 1774 by Connecticut Yankees claiming lands granted or leased through the Susquehanna Company. Conflicts with the Revolutionary War, white settlers in the town sought refuge at Fort Wyoming. In 1778, Wyalusing was burned to the ground by Indians sympathizing with the British. Thereafter, the settlers slowly returned to the town.

Through the 1800’s, Wyalusing served as a hub for the shipment of logs down the Susquehanna River and grew as a commercial center for the surrounding farms. The Welles Mill Company, established along the Wyalusing Creek in 1820, was a prime reason settlers came to reside in the town and farm the surrounding countryside. The present town is comprised of farmlands once owned by the Gaylord family.

As the town grew, it became a shipping center on the North Branch Canal which followed the Susquehanna River through this region and crossed the Wyalusing creek by way of an aqueduct. By the mid-1800’s, a railroad was built through this area and Wyalusing became a main shipping point for livestock, grain, lumber and flagstone. The town’s business section, which was built between 1840 and the early 1900’s, has been fortunate in escaping any serious fires such as have swept other towns in this area. Consequently, the charming, old store fronts still exist today as they were more than a century ago.

Wyalusing was incorporated as a Borough in 1887, the same year the town’s newspaper, “The Wyalusing Rocket,” which continues to serve the community to this day. In the mid-1920’s, Wyalusing became a main shipping center for a vast dairy industry that has grown in the region surrounding the town.

Today, Wyalusing is a commercial, social, recreational, educational and spiritual hub for a diversified area. Its business district contains some fine shops answering the needs of many who shop in the town each week. The town is an educational center for a wide area supporting a junior-senior high school and four elementary schools.

Wyalusing’s most dominant feature is the natural beauty in which the town is set. The Wyalusing Rocks overlook, just one mile west of the Borough on State Route 6, is of particular interest to tourists and residents alike.

The future of Wyalusing Borough is directly bound to its citizens, industries, and trades which combine to struggle and flourish in its boundaries. Wyalusing, together with its agricultural and commercial communities, and natural landscape must be preserved for those generations yet to pass. Building upon an individual, yet not so unique history, will allow the Borough to progress in the upcoming centuries. In viewing the upcoming centuries, present ideas and planning must be perceived as but a small part in an intricate and slowly evolving history. The end result, which is difficult, at times to perceive is a resolution of, and identification of current problems and to anticipate unrealized opportunities, of which this plan has so established.