Bushkill To Port Jervis
( Originally Published 1900 )
Bushkill village is in a picturesque location, opening pleasantly towards the Delaware. It is also just over the Monroe border, in Pike County, long ago described by Horace Greeley as " famous for rattle-snakes and Democrats," but now more noted for its fine waterfalls and attractive scenery, its many streams draining numerous beautiful lakes, and dancing down frequent roaring rapids in the journey to the Delaware. The falls of the Little Bushkill near the village is the finest cataract in Pennsylvania. From Bushkill, bordering the eastern bank of the Delaware, for thirty miles up to Port Jervis, is one of the best roads in the world. The Marcellus shales of the Buried Valley, which form the towering cliffs bordering the river along the base of which the road is laid, make a road-bed as smooth and hard as a floor, the chief highway of this district, for the railway has not yet penetrated it. Over on the other side of the river the great Kittatinny ridge presents an almost unbroken wall for more than forty miles from the Water Gap up to Port Jervis. Frequent creeks come in, all angling streams, the chief of them being Dingman's, which for several miles displays a series of cataracts, and at its mouth has the noted Pike County village of " Dingman's Choice," at which is located the time-honored Dingman's Ferry, across the Delaware. The source of Dingman's Creek is in the Silver Lake, about seven miles west of the Delaware, and in its flow it descends about nine hundred feet, breaking its way over the various strata of Catskill, Chemung and Hamilton sandstones. The upper cataracts, called the Fulmer and Factory Falls and the Deer Leap, are located in a beautiful ravine known as the Childs Park, while, below, the creek pours over the High Falls, one hundred and thirty feet high, a short distance from the river. Near this is the curious Soap Trough, an inclined plane descending one hundred feet, always filled with foam, down which comes the Silver Thread, a small tributary stream. The gorge by which Dingman's Creek comes out is deep and massive, the entrance being a narrow canyon cut down into the Marcellus shales which make the towering cliffs along the river. There are also fine cataracts on the Raymondskill and the Sawkill, flowing into the Delaware above. The cliffs here rise into Utter's Peak, elevated eight hundred feet, giving a magnificent view along the valley.
The little town of Milford, the county-seat of Pike, is one of the gems of this district, spread over a broad terrace on the bluff high above the Delaware, with a grand outlook at the ponderous Kittatinny in front, rising to its greatest elevation at High Point, six miles away, where a hotel is perched on the summit. Surrounded by mountains, the late N. P.Willis, when he visited Milford, was so impressed by its peculiar situation that he described it as "looking like a town that all the mountains around have disowned and kicked into the middle." Thomas Quick, Sr., a Hollander, who came over from the Hudson in 1733, was the first settler in Milford. His noted son, Thomas Quick, the "Indian Killer," was born in 1734. " Tom Quick," as he was called, was brought up among the Indians, and had the closest friendship for them ; but when the terrible Colonial war began, the savages, in a foray, killed and scalped his father almost by his side, Tom being shot in the foot, but escaping. Tom vowed vengeance, and ever afterwards was a perfect demon in his hatred of the Indians, sparing neither age nor sex. After the French and Indian war had closed and peace was proclaimed, he carried on his own warfare independently. The most harrowing tales are told of his Indian murders, some being horribly brutal. He never married, but hunted Indians and wild beasts all his life, and was outlawed y the Government, it being announced that no Indian who killed him would be punished ; but he finally died in bed in 1796. He was entirely unrepentant during his last illness, regretting he had not killed more Indians ; and after saying he had killed ninety-nine during his life, he begged them to bring in an old Indian who lived in the settlement, so that he might appropriately close his career y killing the hundredth redskin. The most noted Milford building is " Pinchot's Castle," on the hillside above the Sawkill, a Norman-Breton baronial hall, the summer house of the Pinchot family of New York, whose ancestor, a French refugee after Waterloo, was an early settler here.
Seven miles above Milford the Delaware River makes the great right-angled bend in its course, from the southeast to the southwest, which is known as the "Tri-States Corner," and here, on the broad flats at the mouth of the Neversink River, is the town of Port Jervis. From the village of Deposit, ninety miles above, the Delaware descends in level five hundred and seventy feet; and from Port Jervis down to the Water Gap, forty-three miles, the descent is one hundred and twenty-seven feet. In the first it falls six feet per mile and in the latter only three feet, the difference being caused by the entirely changed conditions above and below the great bend. Above, the Delaware flows through the ridges by a winding ravine cut transversely across the hard rocks almost all the way, while below, it meanders parallel to the ridges along the outcrop of the softer rocks of the Marcellus shales and Clinton formations in the long, trough-like buried valleys. The Neversink comes from the northeast through one of these val leys which is prolonged over to the Hudson, the source of the Neversink being on a divide of such gentle slope that the large spring making the head sends part of its waters the other way, through Rondout Creek into the Hudson. A long, narrow peninsula, just at the completion of the great bend, juts out between the Neversink and the Delaware, ending in a sharp, low, wedge-like rocky point, the extremity being the " Tri-States Corner," where the boundary line between New Jersey and New York reaches the Delaware, and ends in mid-river at the boundary of Pennsylvania. This spot was located after a long boundary war, and the fact is duly re-corded on the " Tri-States Rock," down at the end of the point. The Delaware and Hudson Canal, constructed in 1828, and coming over from Rondout Creek through the Neversink Valley, made Port Jervis, which was named after one of its engineers. The canal goes up the Delaware to the Lackawaxen, and then follows that stream to Honesdale. The Erie Railway also comes through a gap in the Kittatinny (here called the Shawangunk Mountain, meaning the "white rocks "), descends to Port Jervis, and then follows up the Delaware. These two great public works have made the prosperity of the town, which has a population of over ten thousand. The long and towering ridge of Point Peter, forming the north-western boundary of the Neversink Valley, and thrust out to the Delaware, bounding the gorge through which the river comes, overlooks the town. On the other side is the highest elevation of the Kittatinny and the most elevated land in New Jersey, High Point, rising nineteen hundred and sixty feet.