HAWLEY - He was tall, dashing, and with posture straight as an arrow. He wore a tall silk hat. His name was James “Jimmy” A. Fitzpatrick, and he could shoe your horse if you were living in Hawley, Pennsylvania, back in the canal and gravity railroad days. Years after both operations were closed and people were turning to automobiles in droves, “Jimmy” was back in town for a visit.

HAWLEY - He was tall, dashing, and with posture straight as an arrow. He wore a tall silk hat. His name was James “Jimmy” A. Fitzpatrick, and he could shoe your horse if you were living in Hawley, Pennsylvania, back in the canal and gravity railroad days. Years after both operations were closed and people were turning to automobiles in droves, “Jimmy” was back in town for a visit.
“Down Hawley Way,” a weekly column in The Wayne County Citizen penned by a Hawley scribe whose identity wasn’t published, told of Fitzpatrick’s homecoming in the Friday, July 31,1914 edition.
Some explanatory notes are inserted in brackets.
“Years ago, in the [18]60’s, one day the writer was over near the head of old No. 15 on the gravity railroad’s ‘light’ track…
[The Pennsylvania Coal Company (PCC) gravity railroad operated from 1850 to 1885. Coal mined in the Pittston region along the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County, was shipped to Hawley, at first to transfer it to waiting canal boats. After 1863, the coal was transferred to waiting Erie steam trains at Hawley. Coal-laden cars, as well as passenger coaches, coasted to Hawley by gravity. Empty hence, light) were hauled back up on the separate “light’ track by stationary steam engines pulling a cable. Each engine station was numbered; No. 15 was in Paupack Township near Hoadley Road.]

Description

“On the day in question [in the 1860’s] a distinguished looking man was using the dusty, ‘coal jimmies’ as a means of going over the mountain to the charmed regions beyond. The passenger was young. He was very tall. He was as straight up and down as 6 o’clock. He wore a dark mustache. His head was crowned with curly locks, and he wore a tall, glossy silk hat. He was a very handsome man.
“Inquiry as to his identity led to the conclusion that it was James (they call him ‘Jimmy,’ I believe) Fitzpatrick of Hawley. I was a boy - he was a young man…
“Last week when I was in Hawley I was told that James Fitzpatrick was in the town with two of his nieces, and that he was looking things over and telling some very interesting things about the changes that had taken place.
“[I recalled…] that beautiful autumn day, the coal cars and the tall man with the mustache, the healthy-hued face and the silk hat we had seen just once, and had only conjectured as to the identity of the individual, and we decided to try an experiment.
“Forth on the Hawley streets we went on a man hunt - a hunt after a man seen but once, and that more than 50 years ago.
“On Penn Avenue we saw a very tall, old gentleman leisurely walking. He was as straight as a gun barrel. He wore a soft hat of a grayish color. Hit or miss, that was the man we were hunting after.
“‘Beg your pardon, sir, but is this Mr. James Fitzpatrick?’
“‘Yes sir, that’s my name,’ said the gentleman as he turned.

Shod canal horses

“His mustache was gray, but it was the same man seen in the 60’s, only softened and whitened by the passing of time.
“It did not require much by way of introduction. He told of how he and a Mr. McCane had conducted a blacksmith shop in the East Side. They shod canal horses. Hawley was a booming town with everybody working and drawing cash money every month, The Penna. Coal Co.’s car shops were located in Hawley at the time, employing a lot of men.
“Then the shops were removed to Dunmore, and Hawley ceased to prosper as formerly. Trade too, fell off somewhat on the canal and McCane & Fitzpatrick decided to dissolve partnership. They made a division of their profits and when James Fitzpatrick left Hawley for Pittston his share was $5,000, every dollar of which had been earned by honest toil.
“In Pittston he opened a blacksmith shop. After a time he became security for a livery business, and in time he had to take the business or lose what he had invested. He took over the business, and it proved so successful and satisfactory that he sold out his blacksmithing enterprise and made a specialty of his livery stable.
“For 42 years Mr. Fitzpatrick shod horses yet his firm is as erect as a flag pole, and he shows no indications whatever of such a strenuous existence. He is now well past the 70 year period in life, and walks, talks and thinks with the freshness and buoyancy of young manhood. He does no active work. His investments have all been successful, and he finds delight in looking over old scenes and reviewing old memories.
“He lives in Pittston, and promised the writer a good time if he would venture over there when he had a little leisure on his hand; and, g-whiz, we’re going to surprise Mr. Fitzpatrick some day by calling on him.”

His family

Further research shows that James Fitzpatrick was born in Ireland, September 26, 1837. Another reference gave 1842.
He arrived in Hawley, Pennsylvania by 1863; that June he registered for the draft during the Civil War. He was listed as single, and working as a blacksmith in Palmyra Township, Wayne County (which included Hawley).
If this is the same family, the 1870 census for Pittston listed a Maria Fitzgerald, who may have been his mother, age 63. In the home were Esther, 20; Ellen, 12; Thomas, 10; James, 29- a blacksmith, and James’ wife Maggie, 20 (all with the last name of Fitzgerald). James and Maggie were wed in May 1870.
We do know that the subject of this story was wed to Margaret P. Barrett, who was from nearby Lackawaxen. She was born May 11, 1848 to Patrick and Ann (Burke) Barrett, who had both immigrated from Ireland.
She and James had at least five children; the 1880 census listed them with their ages: Annie, 6; James, 5; Joseph, 3 and Leo, 1. They also had a son, Edward. In 1880 they lived at 254 Main St., Pittston, later at the corner of Main and Railroad Streets, and afterwards, at 43 William Street.

Son took over livery

Although no more information has been found on Mr. McCane, his business partner in Hawley, an 1869 roster for the police department in Pittston listed James McKane as chief. One of his 35 police officers was a man named James Fitzpatrick.
The Pittston Gazette listed five cab and livery stables shops in a directory published in July 1870. One was for J. A. Fitzgerald. The advertisement read, “Light hiring, heavy teaming, boarding horses a specialty. 137 South Main St., Pittston, Pa.”
After James Fitzgerald retired, his son, James A. Fitzgerald, took over the livery business. An October 1915 Gazette article stated that he had “kept pace with the times” and added an automobile livery with the horse livery. He and his workers delivered furniture and other goods for customers.
“Mr. Fitzpatrick believes in having everything of the best. His horses are good animals, his buggies rubber tired, and he uses 1916 model cars in his auto livery, as well as modern auto trucks for handling pianos and furniture,” the article stated. James the younger had learned the business from his father. The livery operation was said to be the largest in the area.
James the younger was 39 - 40 years of age when he died, January 28, 1919.
Annie Fitzpatrick, aged 13, years, died May 10, 1886 from typhoid fever in its most virulent form. The Gazette penned, “From the commencement of her illness she was attended by the best medical skill at home and from abroad, but the best attention could do nothing to stay the disease. Annie has been ill but little more than a week, and general sympathy was aroused in her behalf. She was beloved by a large circle of friends who mourn her death as that of a sister.”
Edward A. Fitzpatrick was only 42 when he died, April 19, 1914. In 1896 he married Catherine V.H. Craft; they had two daughters, Martha and Mildred. Edward worked for Lehigh Valley Railroad, and later for Miners Savings Bank in Pittston.
Joseph P. Fitzgerald was born April 30, 1877.  We know he was living in Philadelphia in 1908. He lived the longest of any of the children, dying at age 80 on October 9, 1957.
No more information was found about their brother Leo.
Their mother, Margaret Fitzpatrick, died April 5, 1908, at the age of 59, at the home on William Street. She had suffered a stroke of paralysis nine years before from which she never fully recovered, and had been an invalid ever since.
The Gazette stated that she was one of the best known and most highly respected women in the city.
The 1915 article said the elder James had been one of the most “progressive businessmen of the city” and was widely respected.
The father’s death certificate in 1923 listed James Fitzpatrick’ trade as “Gentleman.” He was 85. James “Jimmy” Fitzpatrick died March 10, while living in Pittston. He and Margaret were laid to rest at St. John’s Cemetery in Pittston.

Main sources:
Wayne County Citizen (Wallenpaupack Historical Society)
Pittston Gazette (Newspapers.com)
Ancestry.com (Hawley Public Library)