The Wyoming Valley is a historic industrialized region of northeastern Pennsylvania once famous for fueling the industrial revolution in the United States with its many Anthracite coal mines. As a metropolitan area, it is also known as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area, after its principal cities, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, and make up its own unique physiographic province, the Anthracite Valley in the Geology of Pennsylvania.
The valley is a crescent-shaped depression, a part of the ridge-and-valley or folded Appalachians. The Susquehanna River occupies the southern part of the valley, which is notable for its deposits of anthracite which have been extensively mined. Deep mining has declined, however, following the 1959 Knox Mine Disaster when the roof of the Knox Coal Company's mine under the river collapsed.
The Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area covers Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming counties.1 It had a combined population of 563,936 in 2011, according to TrueKnowledge.com. The area also has the highest percentage of non-Hispanic whites of any U.S. metropolitan area with a population over 500,000, with 96.2% of the population stating their race as white alone and not claiming Hispanic ethnicity.2
When metropolitan areas were first defined in 1950, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre were in separate metropolitan areas. Lackawanna County was defined as the Scranton Standard Metropolitan Area, while Luzerne County was defined as the Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton Standard Metropolitan Area. The two metropolitan areas were merged after the 1970 census as the Northeast Pennsylvania Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, with Monroe County added as a component. It was renamed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area after the 1980 census, and Columbia and Wyoming counties were added. Hazleton was added as a primary city in the 1990 census, while Monroe County lost its metropolitan status. After the 2000 census, Columbia County lost metropolitan status, while Hazleton was removed as a primary city.
According to the Jesuit Relation of 1635, the Wyoming Valley was inhabited by the Scahentoarrhonon people; it was then known as the Scahentowanen Valley. By 1744 it was inhabited by Lenape, Mahican, Shawnee and others. From 1740s to the 1760s the valley was the site of Moravian mission work among the Native Americans living there. They envisioned a settlement there for Christian Indians. The French and Indian War however drove these settlers away with David Zeisberger, the Moravian "Apostle to the Indians."
Pennsylvania's and Connecticut's conflicting claims to the territory — King Charles II of England had granted the land to Connecticut in 1662, and also to William Penn in 1681 — led to military skirmishes known as the Pennamite Wars. After Yankee settlers from Connecticut founded the town of Wilkes-Barre in 1769, armed bands of Pennsylvanians (Pennamites) tried without success to expel them in 1769-70, and again in 1775.
The area saw the American Revolution Battle of Wyoming on July 3, 1778, in which more than three hundred Revolutionaries died at the hands of Loyalists and their Iroquois allies. The incident was famously depicted by the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell in his 1809 poem Gertrude of Wyoming. At the time, it was widely believed that the attack was led by Joseph Brant; in the poem, Brant is described as the "Monster Brant" because of the atrocities committed, although it was later determined that Brant had not actually been present. The popularity of the poem may have led to the state of Wyoming being named after the valley.
- METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-30.
- "Percent Non-Hispanic White, 2000: Metros Ranked by Percent of Population Selecting Race of Non-Hispanic/Latino, White Alone". CensusScope.org. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
- Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg. 576
The following printed resources are in the collection of the Connecticut State Library (CSL)
- Boyd, J. P. The Susquehanna Company, 1753-1803. [CSL call number: F157 .W9 B69 1931]
- Henry, William (ed.). Documents Relating to the Connecticut Settlement in the Wyoming Valley. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1990 [CSL call number: F157 .W9 D63 1990 v1, 2].
- Joyce, Mary Hinchcliffe. Pioneer Days in the Wyoming Valley. Philadelphia: 1928 [CSL call number: F157 .W9 J89].
- Smith, William. An Examination of the Connecticut Claim to Lands in Pennsylvania: With an Appendix, Containing Extracts and Copies Taken from Original Papers. Philadelphia: Joseph Crukshank, 1774 [CSL call number: Wells Collection F157 .W9 S55].
- Stark, S. Judson. The Wyoming Valley: Probate Records... Wilkes-Barre, PA: Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, 1923 [CSL call number: F157 .W9 S72].
- Warfle, Richard Thomas. Connecticut's Western Colony; the Susquehannah Affair. (Connecticut Bicentennial Series, #32). Hartford, CT: American Revolutionary Bicentennial Commission of Connecticut, 1979 [CSL call number: Conn Doc Am35 cb num 32].
- Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre (the "Diamond City"), Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre, PA: The Committee on Souvenir and Program, 1906 [CSL call number: F159 .W6 W65 1906].
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- Connecticut's "Susquehanna Settlers"
- History of the Wilkes-Barre area
- Sullivanclinton.com - the full historical context
- Sullivanclinton.com - Wyoming Valley today