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Sunbury City


Sunbury City Hall is located at 225 Market Street, Sunbury PA 17801; phone: 570-286-7820.

Beginnings [1]

Sunbury was laid out 1772, by William Maclay and John Lukens, by order of Governor Richard Penn, who named it. William Maclay, first United States Senator from Pennsylvania, built his stone residence, still standing, on the river bank in northwest part of town; the city plan is like that of Philadelphia, and many of the streets have the Philadelphia names; Market Street faces a public square between Second and Third Streets, known as Cameron Park, in which is the Civil War Soldiers' Monument, granite shaft surmounted by a life-size, granite statue of Colonel James Cameron, who organized a regiment from this county. Courthouse, Second Street, facing west side of Cameron Park, originally built in 1866; Georgian; brick with Hummelstown brownstone trimmings; was remodeled in the same style in 1915 and enlarged, in the rear, with a cross wing, giving two fine courtrooms, last architect, William H. Lee, Shamokin. The prison, one block away, at the corner of Second and Arch Streets, medieval castle style, built, 1878, dark gray stone, with stone wall twenty feet high, surrounding the whole structure, has wing used as a penitentiary, where prisoners serve out their sentences; they weave carpets and make coarse hosiery.

County seat, Sunbury, population 15,721, on site of a populous Indian village named Shamokin, occupied variously by different tribes; in 1745, the town contained about fifty houses and three hundred inhabitants; the Six Nations used it as a tarrying place for their war parties against the Catawbas of the South. It was the residence of Shikellimy, an Oneida chief sent by the Iroquois, who claimed the land by conquest in 1728, he was the Indian diplomat, and land agent of the three great tribes of Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware, with supervision of the Delaware, Shawnee, and other tribes. He also had to look after all matters relating to the settlement and purchase of Indian lands by the whites. In 1742, Count Zinzendorf, with Conrad Weiser and others, came to Shamokin; Shikellimy gave them a hearty welcome, and promised to forward their design of having a Moravian Mission there; it was established in 1747 by Martin Mack and his wife; Bishop Cammerhoff and Zeisberger visited the town the next year, In 1748 Shikellimy died; "the Chief who never swerved in his friendship to the Province"; he had been baptized in the Christian faith in Bethlehem, and was buried just outside of what was later Fort Augusta; James Logan, his second son, was perhaps the best known of his children; made so by the murder of his family, near the mouth of Yellow Creek, on the Ohio, in 1774, and the famous " Logan's Lament." A large boulder, with memorial tablet, marks Shikellimy's grave; it was placed, in 1915, by the Fort Augusta Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Pennsylvania Historical Commission; the boulder is of very close grained rock, of the kind used by the Indians for their hardest and strongest implements; it was quarried near Wapwallopen, about forty miles above Sunbury; this rock boulder, from our local mountains, will resist the forces of nature for centuries to come, as it has done for ages past.

  1. Archambault, A. Margaretta, ed., A Guide Book of Art, Architecture, and Historic Interests in Pennsylvania, John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia, 1924
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