Thomas F. Mangan was a merchant in Hawley in the early 1900's who had a vision for things to come: a great lake providing power to create electricity, the wonder of the age, and a related economic boom for the region.
HAWLEY - Thomas F. Mangan was a merchant in Hawley in the early 1900's who had a vision for things to come: a great lake providing power to create electricity, the wonder of the age, and a related economic boom for the region.
Mangan is one of numerous business people and civic leaders who spoke out for the great change that he was sure would come to the Wallenpaupack Valley. Mangan's name has been preserved to this day by visitors to Lake Wallenpaupack. The only Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission access on the 5,700 acre lake is called Mangan Cove, located right off Route 590. It is also a PPL public picnicking area.
He was also the first president of the Hawley Bank, which was founded in 1910.
Thomas Francis Mangan was described in 1900 as "one of the active, enterprising and progressive business men of Hawley."
His general store was located at his residence at 302 River Street, at the corner with Chestnut Avenue. Most recently, this was the home of the late Regina Bennett and is across from the ambulance building. It was not uncommon in Hawley in the 19th Century and into the 20th, to find stores off of the principal thoroughfares such as Main Avenue and Church Streets. Markets sometimes were started deep into the residential neighborhoods, easy to reach. River Street, north of Main, was also a way to reach the bridge that spanned the Middle Creek from Marble Hill, connecting with the top of River near Wangum Avenue. Wangum Cut Glass factory was also near the bridge at the end of Wangum.
There would have been good foot traffic past Mangan's establishment. The business was begun by his father, also named Thomas Mangan (Sr.)
The December 25, 1913 edition of The Honesdale Citizen comments on Mangan's store. It was on a page filled with promotional merchant articles under the banner, "Hawley at Christmastime."
"The general store that Thomas F. Mangan conducts on River Street looks just as Christmasey this year as ever, and it was always a splendid store to patronize... " It says that quality merchandise remains as important now as it did then to the Mangans. Groceries and general merchandise were offered.
••• Irish parents
Thomas F. Mangan was born November 8, 1864 in the same house, the son of Thomas and Ellen (Flannery) Mangan, immigrants of County Mayo, Ireland. His parents met at Hawley where they were married.
The elder Mangan emigrated in 1847 and arrived in Hawley, working two years for the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company. He then worked for the PCC for eight years. This was a bustling time for Hawley, as the PCC set up its rail operations and moved to expand the village.
In 1859 he took charge of the store started by his brother Patrick four years earlier, and carried on this business the rest of his days. Mangan Sr. died at age 62, March 21, 1885. He was described as a cheerful and generous man, active in the community. When Hawley was established as a borough in 1884, Mangan Sr. became a member of the first council. He served as borough treasurer many years and school director 21 years.
Thomas and Ellen had six children; four died within a year, Edward, age 9; Margaret, age 7; Patrick, age 3 and Mary, only 18 months. Thomas F. and his sister Helen survived to adulthood and in 1900 were residing with their aged mother.
Thomas F. Mangan attended Georgetown University in Washington for three years, and upon his father's death returned home to care for the estate. Mangan was an ardent Democrat. He served one year as president of Hawley Council, and 11 years as an elected school director.
Mangan was a devout Catholic and was very active at St. Philomena's (today, Queen of Peace) in the Knights of Columbus. He served as a District Deputy.
We also learn that Mangan enjoyed fishing trips with his male friends.
He frequently submitted little Irish riddles to the Down Hawley Way columnist in the Honesdale Citizen newspaper. One of them he handed down in 1913 from a Hawley schoolmaster Thomas Burke, who died years before.
"In a garden was laid
A most beautiful maid,
As fair and as bright as the morn;
The first hour of her life
She became a lov'd wife
And she died before she was born."
Who was she? The answer: Eve.
He also told a story to the columnist about a farmer who objected to the laying of telephone lines. He said the farmer complained that "Hawley storekeepers will put their ears to the blamed things and hear our hens lay, and then fix the price of eggs before we even have a chance to cart them to town."
The 1910 Bell Telephone directory lists 110 customers in Hawley. Mangan's phone number was 27-5.
••• Bank president
The Hawley Bank was organized on September 22, 1910, and opened January 19, 1911. Mangan was president, and Charles S. Houck was cashier. We have no confirmed pictures of Mangan, but a picture has been found of a large group of distinguished-appearing men in front of the Hawley Bank when the building at 202 Main Avenue was opened in January 1911. After the bank moved to Keystone and Main in 1929, the building became the post office and later Brown's Pharmacy. Today it is a dental office, About Face Orthodontics.
Right in front of the men is a sign saying, "Watch Hawley Grow." Among the older gentlemen right behind the sign is a younger man who may well be President Mangan. He was 47 at the time.
The picture was shared by Thomas E. Sheridan, who became Hawley Bank President many years later.
On January 24, 1913, a "sumptuous dinner" (roast turkey) was enjoyed at the Parkview Hotel in Hawley, celebrating the Hawley Bank reaching $200,000 in deposits. President Mangan was the toastmaster. There were 37 people attending.
••• Backed power plant project
At the time of the bank's opening in 1911, a wave of prosperity was anticipated with the promised advent of a grand hydroelectric project and formation of a new lake.
As early as 1899, a group of Philadelphia investors formed the Pike Water Power Company and purchased the four-acre lake and dam at Wilsonville that had been built for sawmill operations. In 1903 this power company announced plans to build a larger dam and lake exceeding 5500 acres.
A second group of investors led by Col. Louis Arthur Watres of Scranton, in 1910 and 1911, formed the Paupack Power Company and Wallenpaupack Power Company. These partners, along with James Butler, had started to buy land on either side of the Wallenpaupack River in Wayne and Pike counties. They then formed two new corporations and merged these into the Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey Power Company.
Pike Water Power Company was dissolved by court action in 1912. Later -in 1923- Pennsylvania Power & Light Company (PP&L) would carry the day, and purchase the Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey Power Company. The great dam would be under construction the year later, and in 1926, Lake Wallenpaupack was formed, giving power to the electrical turbines at the new plant at Kimbles.
The March 29, 1911 issue of the Honesdale Citizen interviewed Thomas Mangan among other local business and civic leaders, concerning the power company project of Col. Watres and his partners.
"The enterprise is not devised for the destruction of local interests," Mangan said. "They want to increase the number of manufacturing plants, and be a benefit, not a detriment to the region. In buying up the properties, they gave every man more than he asked. No man but got more than twice what it was worth. The object of the corporation is not to do any damage to any local industry. We don't want to cripple any industry in town. The people who are back of the project have the welfare and progress of the community at heart."
The Citizen report states that Mangan was said to be "financially interested" in the project. Mangan was said to be eager to state that the company would be a help rather than a hindrance to Hawley, as many were declaring it would bound to be.
Mangan was asked if American labor would be used on the hydroelectric project. "I'd like to see nothing else," Mangan said. "But where in the world would you get American labor? I'd have whiskers on me as long as Abraham before we'd get enough Americans to do the work. You couldn't get a building put up in Honesdale even without sending to Scranton for workmen."
He also ridiculed the rumor that the company would furnish water to Scranton.
On June 27, 1913, Senator McNicholl and his wife of Lackawanna County, motored to Hawley and paid a pleasant call on Morgan. The newspaper rumored the senator had heard about the "great inland lake" that was being made, and wanted to see the landscape.
••• Married at age 48; died at 49
Mangan was married on June 6, 1913 to Celia Winters of Scranton. They had the wedding at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Green Ridge. After a "fortnight wedding trip" they came back to Hawley. Thomas was 48.
His wife's bother, Rev. Peter C. Winters, had been the priest at St. Philomena's in Hawley from 1899 to 1910. She was 14 when her parents died and moved in with her brother. She worked for the church or as a dressmaker until she married Thomas.
Her brother was pastor here when the original, wooden parish church was torn down and the present, brick church was dedicated in 1901.
Sadly, Thomas and Celia were together only just over a year. On July 17, 1914, Thomas F. Mangan died suddenly at his home, age 49. The Scranton Truth reported that there was a "general suspension of business" in town during his funeral Mass at St. Philomena's. Scores of Knights of Columbus members from parishes as far as Scranton attended.
Eleven priests attended Mangan's funeral. Rev. John McHale of Scranton presided.
After his death, his widow went to live with her brother, Rev. Winters, who had become pastor at St. Paul's in Scranton. Mrs. Mangan was only 40 when she died, seven years later on March 7, 1921 after a week's illness.
Mangan had still not settled the estate of his father or mother by the time he died. Mangan did leave a will, bequeathing $2000 to his widow and the remainder to his sister, Ellen.
Thomas Sheridan said he recalled Ella Mangan as a very nice lady. She had never married, and was working as a clerk in the PP&L office.
••• Mangan Cove
Jon Tandy, Treasurer of the Wallenpaupack Historical Society, has been researching the property owners who had lands in the Wallenpaupack Valley when the plans were being made for a hydroelectric power project.
He learned that in July 1910 Thomas F. Mangan purchased a small parcel just northeast of the present Mangan Cove boat ramp. It had a house and barn on it and fronted on the Milford-Owego Turnpike. Mangan in turn sold it to James Butler of the Paupack Power Company in September 1911.
Mangan’s father owned the farm just north of the Christian Epple (Epply, Eppley) Jr. farm, which included the hill that became Eppley Island when the lake was created. Tandy said the property with the island was not in Mangan’s name since the son had not closed the estate.
When the dam was being built, sand and gravel for the project was being quarried from a pit at what became Mangan Cove, a few hundred yards away. The old village of Wilsonville lay between the pit and the dam.
With the finishing of the lake he had strongly endorsed, Thomas F. Mangan’s name became permanently linked with Mangan Cove. Although he would not live to see it, a new era had begun.