Eyewitness to History: Jermyn’s Sesquicentennial celebration

Local News

JERMYN, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The fabric of our region is sewn together by small towns with hardworking families with strong values and cherished ethnic traditions. A town known as ‘the birthplace of first aid in America” put a big birthday on hold due to covid.

“John Jermyn had a background in mines from England and then Scranton. Came up here made the mines work and all of a sudden he became a multi-millionaire, and Jermyn prospered it was one of the largest communities in the valley at that time,” said Bruce Smallacombe, who is the president of the Jermyn Historical Society.

Smallacombe knows quite a bit of history when it comes to the history of the small town in Lackawanna County.

“My family came here in 1870, so my family is here 150 years. They came here to work in the mines. They were Welsch and English, and that’s who came here. And it all evolved from England from the saint john’s ambulance society, who had a first aid manual,” explained Smallacombe, “And the miners had to wait for somebody to come from a doctor who had to hitch up a horse and bring a carriage over to the mines before he could treat miners. So the (local) miners wanted to do that. And it’s a big deal to us, that first aid was formed in Jermyn. Jermyn had seven churches and three fore companies. I remember going to Sunday school every Sunday, going to the church.”

“We really have a lot of heritage here, and we want to share, and the 150th is perfect. It’s perfect to share all this information and history of Jermyn,” said Joanne Wilson who is Jermyn Borough Sesquicentennial Banquet Chair

Smallacombe has a lot of artifacts from the town like the senior class of 1925 yearbook and even a piece from the dearborn glass company from Dearborn, Michigan. Which had only two factories one of which was in Jermyn.

“We have an intricate mining history here. All these towns, up and down the valley here. And we have probably fifty or sixty members here. We have a nice society headquarters here. We bought a new building up on the other side of Jermyn and we are remodeling that right now,” explained Jermyn Historical Society Videographer Dale Keklock,

“The ancestry just shows us how hard they worked, to keep this town going. Their work ethic. The mines, the dress factories. Everything. That’s why we have the volunteers that we have, because their parents. Their heritage showed us how to share, work, and volunteer for one another. So it is very important that we share our history, and not forget it. We must preserve it. That’s why I am looking forward to this dinner. I really am,” said Wilson.

The 150th Sesquicentennial celebration of the birthplace of first aid in America will be held Saturday, October 9 at st. Michael’s center, Delaware Street, in the borough. Tickets are available from the borough office or from the Jermyn Historical Society. Happy birthday, Jermyn!

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