Blakely Borough is only a small part of what was once Blakely Township which at one time was the Lackawanna Valley north of Scranton all the way to Carbondale.
Blakely Township was formed in 1818 from Providence and Greenfield townships. It was named after Captain Blakely who commanded a warship against the British in the War of 1812. It is from this Blakely Township that the Mid Valley boroughs of Blakely, Archbald, Dickson City, Throop, Winton, Jermyn, Mayfield, and Olyphant were formed.
However, some of the names of these boroughs changed throughout the years. Blakely borough became official on Aug. 27, 1867. While the name Blakely never changed, Peckville became a part of the borough. Also, a part of Blakely borough near the Ontario mine was known as Ontario.
Archbald was originally called White Oak Run, which was the name of the only mine in Archbald up to 1845. For a time Archbald was called Ridge. Eynon was called Welsh Hill and later referred to as Ridge. The name Archbald was chosen to honor James Archbald, the chief engineer in the building of the local railroad.
Dickson City was called Priceville or Priceburg after Eli Price. Throop was actually a part of Dickson City until the efforts of Dr. Benjamin Throop resulted in its separation. The name has never changed.
Jermyn is one of the towns with many names. First it was called the Four Mile town because of its proximity to Carbondale, next it was called Baconville, then Rushdale and then Gibsonburg until finally it became Jermyn, the name of its first mayor.
Mayfield and Carbondale City were formed from Carbondale Township which was a part of Blakely and Greenfield townships. Mayfield and Jermyn were often referred to as the “twin boroughs.” Before becoming Mayfield, the borough was known as Glenwood and then as Mayville. The name Mayfield was chosen because another town in Pennsylvania was named Mayville, creating confusion with mail delivery.
Jessup was carved out of Winton, which was once called Mount Vernon.
Olyphant was often referred to as Tiger Valley and later it was (and still is) called The Queen City. Grassy Island refers to a section of Olyphant where the Grassy Island mine was located. It extends into Jessup borough.
The history of the towns and their first inhabitants and/or founders tell a very interesting story of the Mid Valley and our ancestors. Future columns will explore the towns individually.
“Back in the Day” is a new, occasional feature taking a look back to the Advantage area’s past. If you have a photo and story you would like to share, email it to Advantage@timesshamrock.com.