Looking back

By ANN O'HARA
Posted 12/18/19

When Wayne County was established in 1798, the Pennsylvania Legislature designated Milford as the county seat. Citizens of the northern part of the new county were seriously dissatisfied, and on …

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Looking back

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When Wayne County was established in 1798, the Pennsylvania Legislature designated Milford as the county seat. Citizens of the northern part of the new county were seriously dissatisfied, and on April 1, 1799 the legislature changed its mind. It called for a new site to be established within four miles of Dyberry Forks—the future site of Honesdale, but at the time, it was an uninhabited swamp. 

After much debate, Bethany was chosen to be the county seat, with a temporary stay in Wilsonville while Bethany prepared a courthouse, jail and other necessary buildings. With the advent of the Delaware and Hudson Canal and Gravity Railroad, the uninhabited swamp became Honesdale, a bustling community which believed it should be the county seat. During the legislative session of 1840-41, proponents of moving the county seat to Honesdale secretly circulated petitions, rushed them to Harrisburg and received the approval of the Legislature and Governor before their opponents were aware. By 1843, the courts were moved to the new courthouse in Honesdale, which survived until the present building was completed in 1880.

From the files of the Wayne County Historical Society. The museum and library are open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday through March.

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