Before Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania

Before Pennsylvania was Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley was New Sweden.

When, on March 4, 1682 Charles II of England granted a charter for the colony that would become Pennsylvania, William Penn would be taking over an existing colony—one that had been colonized for forty years. This colony was New Sweden.
In April 1638, two ships, the Kalmar Nyckel and the Fogel Grip, which had sailed from Sweden the previous autumn, arrived in the Delaware Valley, and after exploring, founded New Sweden and settled in Wilmington, Delaware.

By 1644, the Swedish colony had expanded to the Schuylkill River, where Governor Johan Björnsson Printz established a capital on what is now Tinicum Island. Here, he built the first permanent seat of government in the Keystone state.

How did New Sweden come to be?

Following Columbus’ 1492 discovery of the Western Hemisphere, Spanish, French and British explorers sailed the coast of America—but there is no record of their actually landing in the Delaware Valley.

In 1609, sailing for the Dutch West India Company, British Captain Henry Hudson explored the Hudson and Delaware Valleys. Hudson was arrested for sailing for a foreign flag. He was released and allowed to sail under a British flag. He discovered Hudson Bay where his ship became trapped in the ice. His crew mutinied and set him adrift in a small boat, never to be seen again.

anding of the Swedes in 1638 under the leadership of Peter MinuitUsing this voyage as a claim of possession, in 1624 the Dutch West India Company established a trading post at Burlington Island, near Bristol, Pennsylvania. In 1626, the man who purchased Manhattan Island, Peter Minuit, became the third Dutch Director-General.

In 1631, after being recalled by the Dutch, Minuit joined the New Sweden Company and in 1638, led the two Swedish ships that established a trading post at Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, and claimed possession of the western side of the Delaware River. Minuit died in a hurricane on his way home for a second voyage.

After establishing a capital below current Philadelphia, in 1655, the Dutch, under Peter Stuyvesant annexed New Sweden. In 1664, the British under James – the Duke of York and brother of King Charles II, took the land from the Dutch. In 1682, in settlement for a large loan given Charles by William Penn’s late father, Sir William Penn. Penn called the colony Sylvania. Charles changed the name to Pennsylvania to honor Sir William.

Though short in terms of years, New Sweden contributed three ideals that helped form Pennsylvania. First, there was no slavery in New Sweden. Pennsylvania would become among the strongest of abolitionist states. Second, New Sweden established a policy of treating native peoples fairly and of purchasing land from them.

Third, New Sweden had a policy of religious liberty. When William Penn was just a boy, eleven expeditions had settled in New Sweden and when he sailed up the Delaware, he is said to have passed five Swedish Lutheran Churches on the way.

New Sweden was the result of Sweden’s emergence as a world power in the 1600s due to success by King Gustav II Adolph, in the Thirty Years’ War. King Gustav II Adolph, wanting to create a trading empire, chartered the New Sweden Company to set-up colonies in the new world.

Gustav died in battle in 1632, just after underwriting Peter Minuit’s first voyage. The Swedish crown was passed to his twelve-year-old daughter, Christina. When Minuit landed at Wilmington, the first settlement, Fort Christina, was named in her honor.

For further information about the Swedish role in Pennsylvania’s history, here are some places you can visit:

The American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia ( – founded in 1926, is the oldest Swedish Museum in the United States. The Museum is located on land that was once part of a 17th-century land grant from Queen Christina of Sweden to colonist Sven Skute. Three of the Museum’s 12 galleries are devoted to the history of the New Sweden Colony

Kalmar Nyckel ( in Wilmington Delaware is a recreation of the tall ship that brought settlers to New Sweden.

New Sweden Farmstead Museum in Bridgeton, NJ ( – offers a re-creation of a New Sweden farm.

The Swedish Cabin ( – a log cabin built in the period of New Sweden 1638-1655.

Lehigh River & Canal at Jim Thorpe, PA

Chapter 8 – Jim Thorpe, All American

Who was Jim Thorpe?

Jim Thorpe is considered to be the greatest athlete of the twentieth century. In the 1912 Olympics, he won both the decathlon and the pentathlon. He played professional baseball with the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves. In football, he was a three time All-American and leader of a national championship team, a professional football player and the first president of what is now the National Football League.

Describe Jim Thorpe’s early life.

Jim Thorpe was born on May 28, 1888 in what is now the state of Oklahoma. At that time, it was called Indian Territory. He was born in a log cabin along the North Canadian River, outside of Prague. He was a twin. His twin brother, Charles, died in his teens.

His American name was James Francis Thorpe. He was a member of the Sac and Fox tribe. His native name was Wa-Tho-Huck, meaning Bright Path. His father Hiram Thorpe was mixed Sac and Fox and Irish. His mother, Charlotte View Thorpe was a mixture of Potawatomie and French.

How did he become an athlete?

Jim Thorpe Canton BulldogsIn 1904, Jim Thorpe was sent to the Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The coach at Carlisle was Glen Scobie “Pop” Warner.

One day, Jim was watching the high jump squad practice. When the bar reached 5′ 9″ and no one could clear it, Jim asked for a turn. Without having ever high jumped previously, he easily cleared the bar. The next day, Coach Warner asked him to be on the football team.

Jim Thorpe was a nearly unstoppable halfback. “Pop” Warner’s Indian team became national champions and gained respect by defeating teams such as Harvard and Army. In the 1912 Carlisle-Army game, it was a halfback battle between Jim Thorpe and Dwight Eisenhower.

“Pop” Warner trained Jim Thorpe in track and field. In 1912, they went to Stockholm and Jim Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and the pentathlon. He broke several world records and set an all time high in the decathlon with 8,412.96 points. King Gustave V of Sweden called him “The greatest athlete in the world.”

Who was “Pop” Warner?

“Pop” Warner created modern football. On the field, he was a successful coach and was the created of the first football playbook. He was able to attract the public’s interest to football. He was the first coach to hire a publicity agent and together they helped develop the popularity of the sports page. Through aggressive marketing techniques, he was able to often have gate receipts of up to $8,000 (about $250,000 in current dollars).

Why did Jim Thorpe lose his medals?

While Jim Thorpe was at Carlisle, he took a leave and played baseball for Rocky Mount and Fayetteville in the Eastern Carolina League. Playing in the tobacco league, he earned about $15 a week. He was not aware that Olympic athletes were forbidden from receiving money for sports activities. In an interview after winning the Olympics, he told this story to a reporter. When the story ran, the Olympic committee asked that the medals be returned.

After his death in January 1982, the Olympic committee voted to return Jim Thorpe’s gold medals. In January 1983, replicas of his two gold medals were presented posthumously to his family .

Jim Thorpe’s final resting place is along Route 903 on the east side of Jim Thorpe. He rests in a park like area beneath a 20 ton red granite monument.

What about Jim Thorpe’s professional career?

Jim Thorpe played professional baseball as an outfielder from 1913 to 1919. He played for the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves. He had a lifetime batting average of .252 in 289 games and a .327 batting average in his final year.

In 1915, Jim Thorpe became a coach and player for the Canton, Ohio Bulldogs. In 1920, he became president of the American Professional Football Association. He continued to play football through 1929 with the Oorang Indians, Rock Island Independents, the New York Giants (football), St. Petersburg, Portsmouth (Ohio), Hammond (Indiana) and the Chicago Cardinals.

He retired from professional sports at the age of 41. He worked as a laborer and a stunt man. He managed a girl’s softball team and coached the Israeli National Soccer team on tour in the U.S.

Jim Thorpe’s most famous football game was against Harvard in 1911. Carlisle beat Harvard 18 – 15. Jim Thorpe scored a touchdown and kicked field goals of 23, 43, 37 and 48 yards. His 1912 achievement of 25 touchdowns and 198 points was long standing unbroken record.

Jim Thorpe is in both the college and professional football Halls of Fame. In 1950, in a poll of professional sportswriters and broadcasters, Jim Thorpe was voted the Greatest Athlete in Sports. Thorpe received three times as many votes as second place winner, Babe Ruth.

Additional information about Jim Thorpe and Old Mauch Chunk may be found at the Mauch Chunk Museum, 41 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA 18229.

© Al Zagofsky 1997

Smokehouse On Wheels

Walnutport smokehouse-on-wheels offers lip-smackin’, finger-lickin’, chin-dribblin’, rib-stickin’ Kansas City style barbecue

Jake's BarBQueEven if you don’t notice the smokehouse-on-wheels parked alongside the Fast Fill Mobil Station in Walnutport, you’re bound to smell the hickory smoke wafting as you drive past it on Rt. 145.I did. So I pulled off the road and parked in front of Crazy Jakes’ BBQ Pit and said “hello” to owner, Jake Trumbore of Slatedale.

Jake Trumbore and his son, Jake, been here since April 5. “This is something I always wanted to do,” said Jake. “I bought this rig just to do parties and picnics and decided to go full time with it.”

The “rig” is a smokehouse restaurant on wheels. It has a holding oven, and an enclosed food preparation area with refrigeration, hot and cold wells and sink. The large drum smoker is mounted outside. It has an external firebox with dampers for the air-in and the smoke-out.

“I’ve been barbequing as a hobby for twenty-something years,” Jake continued. “Barbecuing always intrigued me. I’m from Kansas City originally. So I learned Kansas City style barbecue.”

While Texas is known for its smoked brisket with a spicy sauce, and North Carolina is known for its pulled pork topped with a vinegar and mustard-based sauce, Kansas City – the home of over 90 barbecue restaurants – is known to smoke just about anything and tops it with a sweet spicy tomato based sauce.

Jake makes his own sauce that he takes up a notch with cayenne pepper. “I like it spicy,” he noted.

Ask to take a look inside his smoker and depending on the time of day you’re likely to see beef brisket, pork butts, pork spare ribs, chickens, or wings slowly rotating in a thick fog of mellow hickory, apple or cherry wood smoke.

Smoking requires slow cooking at a low temperature. Jake adjusts his smoker to hold a steady 250 degrees. This will cook a 2 –15 lbs. brisket or 8-10 lbs. pork butt in 12 hours. Ribs take three to four hours and chickens take an hour.

At 7 a.m., Jake starts his fire using a bag of charcoal to get a bed of coals going. Then, it’s wood the rest of the day. Smoking brisket and pork is such a long process that the meat that you see smoking is actually for tomorrow. The brisket and pork that Jake’s serving today was smoked yesterday and then allowed to braise overnight in its juices. Then it is placed in the 170 degree holding box where the continued slow moist cooking tenderizes the meat to the point that it falls apart.

That’s the meat that Jake piles on a sandwich. On the sandwich, he offers onions, pickles and barbeque sauce. “That’s a Jake tradition,” he said. “That’s the way I always ate them. I give a big sandwich and it fills you up.” It is a lot of food. I ordered a brisket sandwich to go and it lasted for two meals.

“So why barbecue?” I asked.

“It’s flavorful,” explained Jake. “The wood makes it so good. It’s a different taste. It’s all about flavor.”

Jake has his own spice rub, “Also a Jake tradition is the spice in my own rub. Before I cook the meat, I put a dry rub on it. My own rub.” and the sauce “I make my own barbeque sauce, Crazy Jake’s barbeque sauce.”

Barbecuing uses a lot of aromatic hardwood and initially Jake had to search for a source to supply him. “Some tree cutters started eating here and I started talking to them,” Jake said. “They asked me where I got my wood. Now, when they cut a hickory or an apple tree, they split it up for me and I buy it off them.”

Although Crazy Jakes’ is currently parked in Walnutport, on any given day, he might be called to cater a party. He’s done several and is getting ready to set up for one at Cabelas.

Crazy Jakes’ plans to be open from April until November, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to “around 8 p.m. unless I sell out first, which I do often.” To check if he is open, call 610-217-8959.

The Horse Painter

Palmerton artist lives a life of agony and ecstacy.

Do you like to paint horses?

“Oh, yeah!” ecstatically responds 49-year-old Patti Delong of Palmerton as she points to a photorealistic acrylic painting displayed at the Carbon County Art Show. “Especially when I can paint horses the way these are coming out.”

Man O'War's legacy- War Admiral & Seabiscuit donated to Horse Rescue organizationShe has a warm spot in her heart for horses and in this painting Delong honors three of the world’s greatest racehorses: legendary chestnut Thoroughbred Man O’War, his son – triple crown winner – War Admiral, and his grandson – the winner of the greatest match race in American history – Seabiscuit.

Delong once owned horses. She once rode a motorcycle. Now there are days that she cannot even hold a paintbrush much less walk up several steps.

Over the past twenty years a combination of wrist, knee and shoulder problems led to nearly twenty surgeries—many improving the immediate problem but introducing a debilitating long-term problem.

Delong describes herself as having a tendency towards developing scar tissue. Each time she has an operation, the disturbed area reforms as an enlarged stiff scar.

It started in 1984 with her first operation—to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists. It was just before carpal tunnel became better known because of this syndrome developing amongst computer users.

Delong thinks it runs in her family. After she had the operation, both her brother and sister had to have their carpal tunnels operated on. But by then, their surgeons needed to cut only one inch on each wrist. Delong’s surgeon cut four inches on each wrist—with the extra distance extending into the palms of her hands. When her surgery healed, the resulting scarring made painting difficult. Attempts to correct this problem led to further surgeries and further scarring.

Delong was diagnosed with arthritis in her knees – both her parents have this problem – and arthritis in the rotator cuff of her right shoulder. But while she can still hold a paintbrush in her right hand, her shoulder is often too weak or painful to support it when she works on an easel.

“There are days that I can’t paint,” said Delong. “There are times that my paintbrush will flip up and go airborne. It hurts but I’m not going to stop.”

Delong was born in Catasauqua in 1956, graduated from Catasauqua High School and studied commercial art at North Hampton County Area Community College. She worked at Tarkett Flooring as a photo-engraver until laid off in 1985 when she found work on a highway construction project. On the side, Delong painted motorcycle gas tanks for a local dealer.

She took a job taking care of 28 Arabian horses at a Danielsville horse farm. Soon, she fenced her yard and bought her first horse, an Arabian. “I broke the Arabian myself,” Delong said as her mind seemed to wander to a happier time. “Oh no. I didn’t do the bucking bronco thing. He just stood there and I was so happy.”

By 1990, the worsening condition of her hands and knees made riding impossible. So she sold the Arabian. “But I had this property with a fence all around and nothing out there, so I got an older quarter horse—just to mow the grass,” said Delong. “He was fun. You don’t have to ride a horse to have fun.” When he got too old, Delong got her last horse, a Tennessee Walker.

Two years ago when she could neither walk up her front steps nor afford the horse, she faced up to the fact that she would soon be living without the animal that she so dearly loved.

She moved in with her sister to a house in Palmerton once owned by her mother’s parents. And Delong began to paint horses.

She has painted a series of famous racehorses. “They would make a terrific calendar,” she said.

A current favorite among her paintings of horses is one of Singletary – winner of the Breeder’s Cup, a horse that bullied its way through the pack to win a $1.54 million purse at odds of 17 – 1.

The well-muscled Singletary, got its name from equally well-muscled Hall of Fame Chicago Bears linebacker, Mike Singletary.

Delong envisioned a scene of the linebacker floating in a cloud above the racehorse. She painted the jockey and the horse’s blanket in the Chicago Bears colors of navy, orange and white to bind the characters to one another and painted a 5 on the blanket and a zero on the bridle. Mike Singletary’s number is 50. “I guess the owners of Singletary, just liked Mike,” Delong figured.

Unfortunately, when people think racehorses, they do not think of Carbon County, and consequently, even the best paintings of racehorses don’t sell very well locally.

She has made some sales on eBay. But eBay is a little like horseracing as Delong noted, “Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I lost my shirt.”