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22

THE WENDIC.

The Wends were among the latest of the Southern European people to come to South Bethlehem. The Wendic nation is a part of the Slovenian people, who since the Sixth Century have been living in the northern part of Italy and the western part of Hungary. In the Ninth Century they were converted to Christianity by the Slovak Apostles, Sts. Cyril and Methodius through the efforts of the Slav Prince Kocel, of Panonian. One of the first Wendic men to come to South Bethlehem was Joseph Preletz, who came here in 1893. After a year’s stay here he returned to Hungary, but a year later came back to South Bethlehem accompanied by S. Shamenek and a man named Korpics. These were steadily followed by others until now there are about 4,000 Wends in the Borough. At a meeting held on July 4, 1912, the South Bethlehem Wendic Society was organized, and a year later they began a movement for the erection of a Catholic Church, to be called the First Slovenian Wendic Catholic Church. In a short time over six thousand dollars was collected among the Wends and a property purchased on Fifth Street, between Pine and Spruce Streets, upon which there is now being erected a handsome Catholic Church. The old dwelling that stood on the site has been removed across the street and converted into a rectory. The corner-stone was laid on July 4, 1914. The style of the church’s architecture is Romanesque, with two towers. The church will be completed in about a year. Like their fellow emigrants, the Wends are hardworking and thrifty.

 

THE POLANDERS.

There are quite a number of the natives of Poland among our people, and all of them are proud of their Fatherland, which since the 18th Century has been divided among Russia, Germany and Austria. These people are strong in the hope that their native land will soon again be restored to its own government, as it so justly deserves. The first Polander to arrive in the town, according to the best authority, was Sebastian Germuga, who came from Austria-Poland in 1885. He was followed in 1889 by John Bok, and in 1890 by Lawrence Becker. In 1895 those of that race that had gathered here organized St. Stanislaus Society, with Stanislaus Baranek as President. This led to the formation of a Catholic congregation, and in 1905 the Church of St. Stanislaus was built at the corner of Fifth and Centre Streets. There are a number of societies among the Polanders, one of which is particularly popular, the National Polish Sokol. The first of the Poles to engage in business here was Casimir Przybylsi, who had a hotel at the corner of Third and Oak Streets. Stanislaus Vavrinek was the first president of the Sokol.

 

THE ITALIANS.

Many of the sons of “Sunny Italy” are among the Borough’s population. They are a hard-working and thrifty people, and up toward the hills to the southeast of the town many of them have built cosy and picturesque homes. They enter into all of the town’s activities, and many of them are engaged in various businesses. Among the early comers here were: Chas. Vito, Antony Madeline, Louis Castellucci and Antony Castellucci. They made their advent here about thirty years ago. Many of the Italians have prospered greatly through their hard work and thrift. They have organized a number of societies, all of which have large memberships. About fifteen years ago a Catholic congregation was organized, and a church built on East Fourth Street, near Centre.

 

First Burgess

James McMahon

JAMES McMAHON
1865-1866

 

First Mayor

Dr. Mitchell Walter

DR. MITCHELL WALTER
1913-1915

 


23

CHIEF BURGESSES

Louis F. BeckelLOUIS F. BECKEL
1866 – 1868
E.P. Wilbur Sr.E.P. WILBUR, SR.
1869 – 1874
John H. WhittyJOHN. H. WHITTY
1874 – 1875
H. Stanley Goodwin
H. STANLEY GOODWIN
1875 – 1893
Charles F. Brown
CHARLES F. BROWN
1893 – 1894
H.S. Houskeeper
H.S. HOUSKEEPER
1894 – 1896
C.E. Webster
C.E. WEBSTER
1896 – 1899
Charles E. Snyder
CHAS. E. SNYDER
1899 – 1900
A.C. Graham
A.C. GRAHAM
1900 – 1903
M.L. Connolly
M.L. CONNOLLY
1903 – 1906
George D. Dobbins
GEO. D. DOBBINS
1906 – 1909
Oliver L. Peysert
OLIVER L. PEYSERT
1909 – 1911

 

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