Prior to the 1850s, Eckley was known as Shingletown. Shingletown was rural and was known as a forest community. Tench Coxe Estate, who were the owners of Shingletown, used Shingletown as a place to manufacture shingles.
In 1853, Richard Sharpe, Asa Lansford Foster, Francis Weiss, and John Leisenring traveled to Shingletown with the intent to explore the land in search for coal. The men found an abundance of coal in Shingletown and decided to create a company, which is known as Sharpe, Weiss, and Company. The primary owner of the Tench Coxe Estate, Judge Charles Coxe, decided to give the four men a lease on his establishment, so they could operate as coal miners. One year later, the men started working.
Within the first year of operations, the company made many advancements in the coal mining industry. Firstly, they created a saw mill to supply the town with their own lumber. Then, they began creating a small village where coal miners could rest and spend their free time. Initially, the town was named Fillmore. A few decades after, the town was renamed Eckley to honor Eckley B. Coxe, who was Judge Charles Coxe’s son.
Eckley’s first inhabitants primarily came from Great Britain. This community of English and Welsh immigrants were mostly made of coal miners. Throughout the 1850s and 1860s, Irish farmers began immigrating to Eckley. Then from the 1880s to 1890s, Eastern and Southern European immigrants moved to Eckley. Many immigrants who came to Eckley throughout the mid to late 1880s traveled with the intent of working long and hard hours in coal mines, which would allow them to make and save enough money to eventually purchase their own land and resume their old career and lifestyle as farmers. Unfortunately, few people were able to successfully carry out this dream since it was hard to rise from poverty and leave the company system. Photo: Eckley Miners’ Village
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