Cut in half and disemboweled!


Catasauqua, circa late 1890s

This is one of the more gruesome newspaper stories I've stumbled across thus far (from the Dec. 27, 1895 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian):


Cut in halves and disemboweled, the body of a young man 18 to 20 years was found Friday evening by the crew of Central train drawn by engine 319, midway between the Catasauqua and Lower Catasauqua stations of the railroad.

The men came across the ghastly sight about 6:30 o'clock.  The body was lying across the tracks near Bower's slaughtering house.  The corpse had been cut in two by the wheels of the cars.  The entrails lay scattered about.  The body was still warm.  It was supposed the young man had fallen off that same train and met his horrible death.  The body was removed to Undertaker Stewart's morgue and Coroner Yost was notified.

The circumstances connected with the case are extremely sad.  The youth, who was still a mere boy, was handsome and well-dressed.  He wore a blue suit, tan shoes, blue overcoat, and derby hat.  From letters found in his pockets it was learned that he was Joseph Girton, of Bloomsburg.  He was a silk worker.  The story of the letters is that he had a widowed mother.  A letter from his mother contains the usual affectionate terms.  She talks about John and Bernard, evidently brothers, cracking nuts in the kitchen, and mentions two other children, Alex and Lizzie.  The mother says that if he was determined to go off and see the world, he should always be a man and a Christian and do right, for that was the only way to get along.  The letter indicates that the boy left home against his mother's wishes.

(view the entire newspaper story here)

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