Historical Marker to Come to Milton

MILTON -- A man from Milton is being recognized for his work in Japan, as the house he was born in will soon receive historical designation.

Pennsylvania’s Historical and Museum Commission recently approved 18 new state historical markers.

A plaque of a well-known former member of the First Presbyterian Church of Milton hangs in the front of the church. Dr. James Curtis Hepburn was born in Milton and attended the church when he lived there. But Hepburn soon knew his calling was somewhere else.

"He was a medical missionary who felt called to go to Japan after the shoguns opened the country to Christians to be able to come in," Pastor Stephen Shirk said.

Pastor Shirk knows a lot about Hepburn.

"He translated the bible into Japanese for the first time. He developed a Romanized style for Japanese that is still in use today," Shirk said.

Hepburn even started a university in Japan, which is still going strong today. Shirk tells Newswatch 16 that sometimes visitors from Japan show up at his church looking for information on Hepburn.

Shirk decided Hepburn should be formally recognized in Milton. Recently, that request was approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Dr. Hepburn will soon get a historical marker.

"We have permission to put it up on the exact location of where he was born," Shirk said.

Also on the same day nearby, another historical marker will be dedicated to another well-known man who was born in Milton.

"Governor James Polluck, who also happens to be known as the Christian governor, they happen to be brothers-in-law," Shirk said.

The markers will be dedicated on June 17, during Milton's 200th anniversary celebration.

The Huber Coal Breaker in Luzerne County was also approved for a historical marker.