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Peggy Runway:
whatís in a name

By RALPH M. BRAUSER

REGION ó There are many versions as to how Peggy Runway Mountain got its name.

This historic Pennsylvania mountain is located partly in Wayne County and partly in Pike County, and overlooks the Delaware River and Narrowsburg, NY. All the information below was handed down and given to me by native people, who live or have lived in the vicinity.

When my ancestors came from Germany in the early 1800ís, they landed in New York City for a short time and quickly decided it was not for them. Looking in a New York newspaper, they saw that there was land to settle. Finding a listing for land in Berlin Township of Wayne County that looked good to them, they left New York for Pennsylvania, in what transportation facility I never did know.

They purchased about 180 acres, which was divided between two familiesóone with 70 acres more or less, and the other with the balance of 110 acres. The 70-acre lot, located on top of Peggy Runway, became our homestead, where I, son of Michael Brauser, with my wife, Karen, raised our three children.

The second piece of land, located down toward Narrowsburg, was eventually purchased by Herman A. Brauserís mother, Augusta Bernstaff Brauser, where she and her husband built a three-story boarding house, known as the Hemlock Grove House, which still stands on the corner known today as Hubbs Corner. The Hemlock Grove House was busy at that time with guests coming from New York by way of the Erie Railroad.

My ancestors worked hard by hand, using oxen to pull out tree stumps to get a portion of the land cleared so crops and hay could be used to feed the cattle, and trees for timber were cut for building materials for a house. The cattle also needed to be housed, and a space cleared for a garden to grow food for the family. Itís hard to imagine the hard work involved to attain their goals, with so little to work with.

In the late 1830ís and early 1840ís, tanning mills were very prevalent in the Delaware Valley region. There was a tanning mill at the bottom of the mountain, near the brook just below where Peggy Runway Lodge once stood (now the home of Herman Feldheusen and his wife.)

Somewhere locally, lived a family known as Peggy. Mr. Peggy and some helpers cut hemlock timber up on the mountain. Hemlock bark was used at the mill for tanning hides used for clothing, footwear and other items. In winter, the timber men used bob sleighs pulled by large teams of horses to haul the hemlock to the tanning mill and the sawmills.

This particular day, as told by settlers, Mr. Peggy loaded his bob sleigh to the limit for carrying wood on the road. He used the road every day and it was well known to him, but he did not know that a previous thaw had created a hazardous trail. Once he started down, it was too late and impossible to stop.

The team of horses could not hold back the heavy load, and the sleigh kept gaining speed until it ran over the horses, causing fatal injuries. Before the crash, Mr. Peggy jumped off and saved his life with very few wounds. He was a lucky man, but he was shaken up and saddened by the loss of his prize team.

And this is my version (from authentic sources) of how the mountain came to be called Peggy Runway. If you have another version, I would like to hear from you.

[Ralph M. Brauser, at 82 years old, is a lifetime resident of the area. He has lived on the same homestead, settled by German ancestors 155 years ago.]


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