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Showing posts from June, 2013

Gold in Sullivan County

From the Bloomsburg Columbian., May 01, 1902:

Peter Gilmore, a Sullivan County farmer, has found gold on his farm.  Recently he discovered what he thought was gold quartz and sent some of it to an assayer, who yesterday returned the analysis, showing that the quartz contains gold to the value of $1.40 per ton.

As mines in the Western fields producing as low as 30 cents per ton are operated, Mr. Gilmore is elated, and all land in the vicinity has taken a sudden rise.

Unsolved Mystery: The Skeleton of Mocanaqua

In 1884, the bleached bones of a skeleton wearing the tattered remnants of an army uniform was found beneath the outcropping of rocks above present-day Lee Road.  The skeleton has never been identified.  Could it have been the skeleton of a deserter from the Union army?  Or perhaps a cave-dwelling hermit who had once fought in the Civil War?  Unfortunately, it seems to be a mystery that will remain unsolved until the end of time.  Here's the newspaper article about the skeleton, as it appeared in the August 8, 1884, edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:

A man named Michael Boylan, a resident of Teasdale City, was looking for young foxes Sunday afternoon at the foot of the high rocks along the road leading from Shickshinny to Wanamie.  Under an overhanging crag, in sight of the road, he came upon the bleached skeleton of a man.  Mr. Boylan made known his discovery and quite a crowd collected.  Mr. F.D. Yaple, who was returning from Nanticoke about this time, saw the bones, secured a…

Snake With Ears Found by Berks County Man

An 11 foot long snake with ears?  According to this story, which appeared in the October 1, 1875 edition of the Reading Eagle, a farmer killed such a snake and had it stuffed.  Could the hood of a cobra have been mistaken for "ears"?  The average length of a king cobra is around 12 feet, so that may be a possibility, although it begs the question:  Just how the heck did a cobra get loose in rural Pennsylvania?


A large snake, supposed to be of the swamp species, was killed on Saturday afternoon last, about one mile and a half from Beckersville, this county, by Elhannon Hauser.  Mr. Hauser was out on a hill cutting wood when a boy named Garman told him that in the road just below, a large snake was lying.  Mr. Hauser left his work and went to the place and the snake did not move, when he struck it with a stick and killed it.  It measured 11 feet 4 inches.  The most surprising thing is that it had two well developed ears on its head, two and a half inches long.  It was skinned…

Wire Cuts Man to Pieces

This article from the August 5, 1879, edition of the New Bloomfield Times gives an extremely graphic account of a gruesome accident which occurred in Cambria County.


A Frightful Accident

A terrible accident occurred at the Rod Mill, at Johnstown, Cambria County, on the 19th ult., which resulted in the horrible death of a promising young man.  The victim's name was Richard O. Jones, and he lived with his step-father, Wm. S. Jones, on Market Street, between Main and Vine.

The accident happened at the Rod Mill, where he was employed as "sticker-in" at the finishing rolls, his work being to catch the end of the wire rods as they came through the rolls and guide them through the last pass before they are wound upon the spindle at the north end of the building.  At quarter after 5 o'clock Saturday morning, only fifteen minutes before the usual quitting time, one of the long red-hot rods, whose end he had just inserted in his part of the rolls, became twisted as it was guid…

Boy Mangled by Trolley

From the Scranton Tribune, May 27, 1896:

Reading, Pa., May 26.-- The 2-year-old child of John Oplinger was horribly and fatally mangled by a trolley car at Nineteenth Street and Perkiomen Avenue, this city, today.  The lad had been playing in the street, and running to get out of the way of a coming milk wagon ran in front of the car.  He was immediately removed to the Homeopathic hospital.  His leg was amputated below the knee.

He also received internal injuries from which he died at 8 o'clock this evening.

Bearded Skeleton Found in Mine

From western Pennsylvania comes one of the most unusual and curious stories we have stumbled across.  A man named John Nevin made a discovery beneath the ground that was so bizarre, it caused him to faint.    So what did he find?  The November 10, 1892 edition of the Pittsburgh Dispatch explains:


Half sitting, half hanging was the dressed and booted skeleton of a man found in a coal mine in Braddock township.  Tuesday evening John Nevin discovered this weird, ghastly spectacle.  As his little lamp revealed to him the hideous sight, Nevin fell in a faint.

This is the most complete mystery unearthed in Allegheny county for many days.  The district where this case comes from is well suited as a birthplace of mystery.  The skeleton was found in Corry's deserted coal mine.  The old pit is on a hill above Copeland station and a half mile back from the railroad.  It has been over 11 years since any mining has been done there, the opening having become dangerous.  The land up on the hill b…