Skip to main content

The Infamous "Shorty" Jones

Shamokin Cemetery, the final resting place of Shorty Jones


During the late 19th century, farmers in northern Dauphin County were terrorized by a gang of mountain-dwelling bandits led by the colorful Thomas Frohm, better known as "Shorty" Jones. Shorty was killed in a shootout with a vigilante posse on the third of September in 1900, and here, from the September 13, 1900 edition of the Middleburgh Post, is the story of Shorty's last stand:


Thomas Frohm, alias "Shorty" Jones, of Sunbury, a member of the band of robbers who shot and seriously wounded Lafayette Strayer and Frank Grim, farmers, last Friday night near Elizabethville, was shot and killed on Berry's Mountain by a posse of Dauphin county farmers. Frohm was detected by Harry Stine, of Elizabethville, hiding behind a log on the mountainside, and was ordered to surrender. He refused, and fired eight shots from two revolvers at Stine, none of which took effect.

A posse was quickly organized, and the alleged robber was soon surrounded by a great crowd of armed and determined men. He again refused to surrender and fired several shots at the party. The farmers opened fire on Frohm in every direction, literally riddling him with bullets from head to foot. He fell in his tracks and died soon after.


Frohm was 38 years old, and formerly lived at Shamokin. He is alleged to have been the head of a trio of robbers who have been terrorizing the farmers in the vicinity of Elizabethville for some time. One of his companions, Frank Venaski, was arrested Saturday and is in jail here awaiting the result of injuries of Strayer and Grim. The posse is scouring the mountains for "Whitey" Streusser, the other member of the party.

Popular posts from this blog

Mount Carmel's Mysterious Suicide Cell

Tucked away at the head of North Oak Street in Mount Carmel is a quaint shop housed in a tiny historic brick building. The Shop at Oak & Avenue is a must-see destination for visitors, offering an impressive variety of gifts and handmade jewelry. It is a gem in an otherwise drab coal town whose glory days faded away with the demise of the steam locomotive and the trolley.

While this quaint small town gift shop gives off a pleasant appearance, the history of the building-- one of the oldest in the borough-- is tinged with horror and death. For this tiny building, erected in the 1880s, served as Mount Carmel's first city hall and jail, and this jail had a rather dark distinction of being the site of the cursed and mysterious "suicide cell".

History records six suicides taking place in the basement cell, along with scores of other attempted suicides. For a reason that has defied explanation, this tiny jail in this tiny town seems to bring out the darkest demons lurking wi…

The Mob and Marion Heights

To the casual observer, the borough of Marion Heights is a sleepy coal mining town, one of hundreds of similar soot-stained villages dotting the landscape of the Coal Region.  Prior to 1901, this borough of less than a thousand souls didn't even exist, and back then the village went by the name of Kaiser.

I grew up in Kulpmont, just a stone's throw away from Marion Heights, and the tiny village always fascinated me.  Being a descendant of Italian immigrants who toiled in various mines throughout the Coal Region, I used to love the stories my grandfather and other older relatives told me as a child.  Often, these stories revolved around the "gang warfare" which pervaded the region throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

These clashes were the result of various ethnic groups who settled in the Coal Region, arriving from places like Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Serbia.  Being strangers in a strange land, they banded together and formed fraternal clu…

The Kulpmont Mob Murders of 1939

When most Pennsylvanians think of coal region history, their minds invariably turn to the Molly Maguires, Yuengling beer, pierogies, and the Pottsville Maroons professional football team. However, there is a side of coal region history that is seldom discussed; a dark, violent side that resembles something out of a Martin Scorsese movie starring Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci.

Many Pennsylvanians would be surprised to learn that, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Northumberland County was a haven of organized crime, a place where gunshots rang out as regularly as church bells, leaving in their wake a blood-smeared trail of terror. Perhaps the most chilling mob murder in the county took place in early 1939, not far from the curve on Brennan's Farm Road in Kulpmont.




A Gruesome Discovery

On the morning of Thursday, March 2, 1939, two brothers from Marion Heights, Paul and Mickey Mall, set out from their Melrose Street home in order to engage in some bootleg mining at Brennan…