Skip to main content

Mystery Graves in Dickson City

Johnson Breaker, Dickson City


Founded by German immigrants shortly before the Civil War, the borough of Dickson City was originally known as Priceburg (later changed to Priceville). It was a tiny village which rapidly exploded in population in the 1880s, when the Johnson Coal Company began mining coal in the area. In 1897, employees of the Johnson Coal Company were digging sand from a hillside when they made a shocking discovery: two unidentified coffins. The most surprising part of the story, however, is that no one in the vicinity- including the town's oldest inhabitants- could recall anyone having lived near the hillside.

This is the account of the discovery as it appeared in the Scranton Tribune on October 27, 1897:

While digging sand from a hillside near the Johnson Coal company's breaker at Priceburg Monday, the workmen uncovered two coffins containing the bones of persons who were buried years ago. The oldest inhabitant thereabouts does not remember ever having heard of that plot being used as a burial place. The remains had evidently been properly and decently interred and the size of the bones indicated they were those of full grown persons. The bones were all carefully gathered together and reinterred.


(view original newspaper article here)

Popular posts from this blog

The Luzerne County Love Cult Murder of 1931

One of the most peculiar crimes in the history of Pennsylvania occurred in 1931 with the slaying of a reclusive elderly spinster from Forty Fort named Minnie Dilley. While most murders in our state's history were carried out by drunken thugs, heartless outlaws and seasoned criminals, Miss Dilley's slayer was a young female college graduate and the daughter of a minister. Stranger still, the unfortunate elderly victim was said to have belonged to a bizarre sex cult.

A media sensation was created on Wednesday, April 8, when a beautiful 29-year-old woman named Frances Thomsen confessed to the brutal bludgeoning and attempted decapitation of Minnie Dilley, a 76-year-old spinster from Luzerne County. The confessed killer, who graduated from the prestigious halls of Wellesley College, was a mother to three young children and a beloved school teacher. She had once lived across the street from the victim.

But what strange series of events had led to this heinous, ghastly crime?

Franc…

Natalie, Pennsylvania: A Murderer's Paradise

When a miner named Michael Wanzie was murdered in June of 1905, it was evident that something wasn't quite right in the tiny village of Natalie. Although the scenic mountain village had a population of less than two hundred, the slaying of Michael Wanzie was the fourth murder committed in the village in less than a decade.

By 1924 the population had nearly doubled, thanks to a building "boom" that saw the construction of 40 new homes during the preceding year by builders employed by the Colonial Collieries Company, owners of the Natalie Colliery. Twenty of these homes, many of which still stand today, were built by the Evert Construction Company of Kulpmont. In 1923 there were 56 homes in the village, housing 375 residents. By April of 1924 that number would swell to just under 400 residents and 93 homes.

Although the building boom lent a measure of respectability to the village, Natalie was still imbued with a notorious reputation as being one of the most lawless place…

The Lutz Axe Murder

A small two-story house standing at the corner of Franklin and Montgomery streets in West Pittston presents a humble appearance. Simple in design and white in color, it is remarkable only because it is so unremarkable. A local resident may drive by the house every day for years without ever noticing it, or thinking about it. Certainly, from its understated appearance, nobody would ever guess that this humble house was the home of John Lutz, who, in 1899, committed of the most heinous murders in the history of Luzerne County.

The tiny house at the corner of Franklin and Montgomery is, in fact, a murder house. It is the scene of a gruesome crime that took place more than a century ago. What you are about to read is the story of that house and the killer who lived inside.

On November 29, 1899, John Lutz came home to his 31-year-old wife, Augusta, and their five young children. Lutz, who was nearly ten years older than his wife, was said to have been suffering from feelings of jealousy. Th…