Charles Daniels served as burgess (mayor) of Hawley, Pa. beginning in 1893. Daniels worked on the canal and was a lumberer and farmer.

HAWLEY - Charles Daniels served as burgess (mayor) of Hawley, Pa. beginning in 1893. Daniels worked on the canal and was a lumberer and farmer.

He witnessed exponential growth in Hawley, born when it was a tiny hamlet, his life encompassing the entire 70 years the canal was in operation. He saw the town boom as a manufacturing and railroad center. He was credited in 1900 as being responsible for much of its advancement.

Paupack Eddy

Daniels was born March 1,1820 in an old log house in Paupack Eddy, as Hawley was called in the early days. It was here that his parents, Lemuel and Anna (Chapman) Daniels were married.

Like many of the pioneer settlers in Wayne County, they hailed from Connecticut. Lemuel Daniels (1786-1852) arrived when it was almost an unbroken virgin wilderness. He spent many years as a builder. His wife lived, 1795-1868.

Charles was one of eight children.

At the age of 14, Charles started work boating on the Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal, which had begun operation in 1828.

After being employed five years he was given the position of lock tender, at the second lock above Hawley for two summers. Apparently this was not Lock 31,where the present D&H Canal Park is located, but Lock 32, in a small settlement commonly known as “Riverdale” between Hawley and White Mills.

One winter he had a contract to put lumber into Middle Creek for the sawmills, and earned about $400. With this money he purchased a yoke of oxen, and engaged in lumbering for Joseph Atkinson for three years.

Atkinson was a prosperous lumberman and early settler in Paupack Eddy. His home still stands on Welwood Avenue, next to Cora’s 1850 Bistro (the Eddy Hotel).

On July 4, 1840, Daniels was married to Miss Mary Ann Smith, of Purdytown (now called Lakeville).

Farmed “Marble Hill”

After his marriage, Daniels purchased a small farm for $350 at the present site of the Marble Hill neighborhood, just west of Hawley Borough long Columbus Avenue.

The Pennsylvania Coal Company (PCC) built their gravity railroad through this site in the late 1840’s and began operation in 1850, shipping coal to the canal boats waiting at Hawley. The PCC paid Daniels $3,000 for his farm, and constructed “Shanty Hill,” a settlement for the newly arriving Irish immigrant families. The Irish found work on the PCC and the D&H Canal, and helped to make Hawley prosper.

Accounting for inflation, $3,000 in 1848 would have been valued at about $95,300 in 2018.

For seven years, Daniels worked for the PCC as a carpenter, at first receiving only even shillings a day. He worked his way up to crew foreman.

By this time, the PCC had laid out many new streets and was selling off lots, greatly enlarging the town of Hawley. In 1854, Daniels embarked in merchandising here but three years later sold out and bought two farms in Pike County (Kimbles) for speculation. He sold them for good profit at the end of six years.

Contrary to the advice of friends, he then invested $4,000 in the lumber business, and a few months later sold, realizing $4,000 on the investment. Returning to Hawley, he began loaning money and speculating in general, making a tidy profit.

A news article from August 1874 told of a man who sold a $500 note to Daniels, but suspicions arose and Daniels obtained a warrant for the man’s arrest, having been charged with forgery.

The man went before the township justice and was subsequently jailed.

Family

His wife Mary was born August 25,1815, and died January 2,1864. She was laid to rest at the old (Walnut Grove) cemetery in Hawley.

Charles and Mary had the following children: Lott, Elizabeth, George, Janet, Charles, William, Mary A., and Emma J.

It’s not clear if this concerned the elder Charles Daniels, or his son Charles (born in 1850). A couple news briefs were found telling about his horses. “Charles Daniels drives the fastest horse in his town,” the Hawley columnist in the Tri-States Union  (a Port Jervis paper) said in August 1880. The same column in 1887 (or 88) said that Charles Daniels bought one of the best horses in Wayne County and the best in Hawley. The horse was valued at $500. “He is a goer,” the columnist penned.

The younger Charles was a Wayne County farmer.

George Daniels perished in a boating accident, October 11,1861, on the Lackawaxen River. He had tried to navigate the rapid of the Narrows (at Kimbles, just below Hawley). George was 18. His brother Lott was with him but survived.

In 1870, Charles Daniels (Sr.) was married a second time, to Miss Mary E. Moore, native of Canaan Township, Wayne County. She died only two years later, at the age of 50. In 1881, Charles Daniels later married a third time, to Miss Alvina Schardt, who was born in Germany in 1847.

His daughter Janet (another reference gave her name as Jeanett) had married William Schardt, a merchant of Hawley. Schardt had a confectionary on 18th Street (Main Avenue). He and Janet lived with her father in his (Charles’) house, at the corner of River and Main, 502 River Street. The house occupies the current site of AMSKier Insurance Co.’s gazebo garden.

Charles’ third wife, Alvina, was a sister of William Schardt. The 1870 census listed Charles Daniels as a “pauper” but the 1900 census, when Charles was 80, listed him as a “capitalist.”

Tri-States Union, January 16, 1899 (or 1900) reported on a large fire in Hawley. Among the loss was a large store and residence combined, owned by Charles Daniels. The building had been occupied by William Bigart, as a confectionary store.

Abolitionist

The elder Charles Daniels was on a committee of local abolitionists that met in Hawley in 1850 to take a stand against the Fugitive Slave Law.

He was also an ardent supporter of temperance from alcohol. There was a very active temperance movement in Hawley, balanced with several saloons. A news item in the Tri-States Union’s Hawley column, January 17, 1885-87 (year unclear), said that the elder Mr. Daniels “hoped to see the day that a law would be passed prohibiting the importation, manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors for drinking purposes.” He said he would cast his vote for prohibition, a law that never became realized until 1920.

His parents were listed as faithful members of the Baptist Church; Charles may have been connected with the church as well, in Hawley.

Politics

An active Republican, Daniels was elected in 1864 as justice of the peace in Hawley. He declined re-election five years later to give attention to business. Daniels served as supervisor (Hawley was part of Palmyra Township until 1884) and auditor. In 1893, he served as burgess of Hawley Borough. He apparently served no more than one or two years. James Rodman (whose story was told last week) was burgess three years, ending in 1896.

The burgess before Daniels appears to have been Isidore Levine, who was elected about 1888 and serving about eight years.

Daniels’ 1900 biographer stated, “He has been a champion of every movement designed to promote the public welfare, a supporter of any enterprise for the general good.”

Charles Daniels died in 1905. Alvina, who was 20 years younger, lived to July 13,1917.

Main sources:
Commemorative Biographies of Northeastern Pennsylvania (1900)
Vintage newspapers found at Fultonhistory.com