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Judy's Jermyn

Jermyn is a borough in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, on the Lackawanna River, 12 miles northeast of Scranton.

John J. Jermyn was born in 1825 in Rendham, Suffolk, England. At the age of 22, he immigrated to the United States, where he settled in northeastern Pennsylvania and worked for the Lackawanna Iron Furnaces while honing his knowledge and engineering skills.

In 1865 John J. Jermyn moved to Gibsonburg and in five short years, he was responsible for turning an abandoned and unprofitable mine into a successful operation that produced 600 tons of coal a day, employing 300 men and boys in Breaker #1. Seven years later, Breaker #2 was producing 800 tons a day. He built a four-story steam-operated flour mill which turned out 100 barrels of Valley Star Flour and 20 tons of feed. Along with a company store and office, he built a home for himself and his family in the little town. He became a well-known and respected businessman in the coal mining industry and contributed much to the area in the way of construction and mining projects.

Gibsonburg was incorporated as a borough in 1870 and John J. Jermyn was its first mayor. When Lackawanna County was formed in 1878, it was decided to formally change the town’s name from Gibsonburg to Jermyn in honor of John J. Jermyn, in 1900, was the site of a productive anthracite coalfield. I know this because my maternal grandfather worked in the mines after immigrating from Eastern Europe.

Jermyn is also known as "The Birthplace of First Aid in America." I did not know this when I was growing up; either that, or I didn't think it important. The historical accounts are as follows: On October 25, 1899, Dr. Matthew J. Shields conducted the first training class on First Aid in American History in a Jermyn hotel (The Windsor Hotel). In attendance were 25 miners of the Jermyn Coal Colliery, believing that many lives could be spared with quick, efficient medical care until a physician could reach the mine. Once the course was completed, each of the miners was prepared and able to render first aid to injured miners. Shields moved his practice to Scranton and, in 1910, took the concepts of first aid nationally with the American Red Cross. This led to marked decreases in serious mining injuries and fatalities as well as creating laws and guidelines for safer workplaces all over the country. The designation, "Birthplace of First Aid in America," remains the most famous happening in borough history.

In the early years of the twentieth century, coal mines, cut-glass works, silk, powder, grist, planing, and sawmills, bottling works, and fertilizer factories dotted the borough. My dad worked in the cut-glass factory known as Dearborn Glass Company, and my mom was a seamstress in one of the dress factories. Most of my friends' parents were factory workers.

For 52 years, my uncle worked for the Miller Casket Company (begun in1872 by the Miller Brothers and, continues to serve the community today) and told us he would always have work because people died all the time. Since I had never seen a coffin at my young age, I didn't make the connection.

Residents of Jermyn were tallied at 3,158 in 1910. The population of Jermyn was 2,169 at the 2010 census.

Prior to 1950, there were three small movie theaters in Jermyn, one was nicknamed "The Rat Trap."

Jermyn is the mailing address of the Lakeland School District.

Jermyn has a total land area of eight-tenths of a mile.

East Jermyn is commonly referred to as "Calico Lane" or "The Lane."

Jermyn celebrated its Centennial in 1970 with a week-long celebration. In 2020 during the COVID 19 pandemic, the town celebrated its 150th year with a dinner and comments from local dignitaries.

*Thanks to Walter Avery, Jermyn Historical Society and Wikipedia.

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Oct 22, 2021

Interesting that the only thing I knew about Jermyn was that it was the birthplace of first aid. There was a sign at the old route 6 ramp going to Eynon. The other information was very informative. You should submit it to Wikipedia add it what is already there.

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