Biographical / Historical
Sharpe, Leisenring and Company was formed in 1854 as a partnership of Richard Sharpe, John Leisenring, Asa Lansford Foster, George Belford, Francis Weiss and Williams Reed. Most of the partners had been associated with the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (LC&N). Weiss was the grandson of Jacob Weiss, founder of the predecessor Lehigh Coal Mine Company in 1792. Foster was a contemporary of John Leisenring, Sr., who had been brought to Mauch Chunk to run the LC&N's first company store. He founded the town's first newspaper in 1829. Most of the men had been partners in Belford, Sharpe & Company or Daniel Bertsch & Company, contract operators of the LC&N's mines at Summit Hill and Ashton (now Lansford) in the late 1840s and 1850s.
John Leisenring moved from Ashton to Eckley in 1854 and remained in charge of operations there until he was appointed Chief Engineer and Superintendent of the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company in July 1860. As one of the conditions, he was required to devote full time to the LC&N's affairs, and he returned to Mauch Chunk. The firm was then reconstituted as Sharpe, Weiss & Company, which it remained until the end of 1874, when Richard Sharpe surrendered the lease and moved to Wilkes Barre. William Reed had sold out his interest in 1867, Foster had died early in the following year, and George Belford died in 1873.
At this point John Leisenring, now operating at Upper Lehigh, took over. The new firm of John Leisenring & Co. was formed on January 1, 1875, the other partners being Dr. John S. Wentz, Samuel B. Price and Daniel Bertsch, Jr. In later years, the firm appears to have been limited to John Leisenring, his sons Edward B. and John, Jr. and his sons-in-law J. S. Wentz and M.S. Kemmerer. Dr. Wentz was sent to Eckley as Superintendent. The firm was continued after John Leisenring's death until the end of 1885, when E. B. Coxe terminated the lease and assumed the operations of the mines himself. During the tenure of John Leisenring and Company the town of Eckley reached its maximum size with a population of 1500.
No records of John Leisenring & Company have survived. The Sharpe, Weiss & Company records from 1850 to 1874 were given to the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, and the village of Eckley has been restored as part of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Museum Complex.
From Eleuthuerian Mills Historical Library, Wilmington, Delaware