The Carbondale Historical Society has arranged a reunion, of sorts, between one of the area’s founding fathers, James Archbald, and his wife Sarah. Portraits of the couple existed in different locations but have been reunited with the help of the Lackawanna Historical Society and a donation by a member of the Archbald family.
The portraits were donated to the Lackawanna Historical Society by Carolyn Krach, on behalf of the grandchildren of James Archbald VI. The portrait of James will remain at the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Catlin House to join the Society’s existing portrait of Sarah Archbald, while the portrait of Sarah Archbald will join an existing portrait of James Archbald at the Carbondale Historical Society in Carbondale’s City Hall. Both paintings are copies done by John Willard Raught of original portraits painted by C.L. Elliot in 1845.
James Archbald immigrated from Scotland as a teenager. He was a self-taught engineer who designed and built a portion of the Erie Canal before being offered a position with the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. Archbald became superintendent in charge of the construction of the company’s gravity railroad and coal mines in Carbondale.
When Carbondale was chartered in 1851, James Archbald was elected as the first mayor. He succeeded George Scranton as general agent of the fledgling Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in 1855, and was named chief engineer in 1858. James married Sarah Augusta Frothingham in 1832, and the couple had five children. The family lived along Ridge Row in Scranton after moving from Carbondale in 1855.
At left: Mary Ann Moran Savakinus, executive director of the Lackawanna Historical Society and S. Robert Powell, president of the Carbondale Historical Society.