Skip to main content

A tragic love story of Connoquenessing Creek



When two young bodies were found at a deserted summer camp in western Pennsylvania in February of 1939, a tragic tale of love was brought to light. The following article appeared in the Shamokin News-Dispatch on February 11, 1939.

Man Commits Suicide After Slaying Girl

Beaver Falls, Pa., Feb. 11 (U.P.)-- Beaver County Coroner H. C. McCarter today blamed murder and suicide for the deaths at a deserted summer camp of a young Pittsburgh couple that went together for five years in a romance beset by financial trouble and paternal objections.


The girl was brown-haired Marie Sedlak, whose body was found sitting upright in a locked automobile. One bullet wound in the right temple had brought death. The man was 31-year-old Joe Veverka who, according to McCarter, apparently shot her and then went into a nearby cabin and hanged himself to a rafter.


Coroner McCarter said the two had been dead since Wednesday night when Veverka's body was found dangling in the damp little camp cabin on Connoquenessing Creek by Paul Pflug, a young farmer who became curious when the automobile was not moved for more than a day. Pflug did not notice the body of Miss Sedlak, but saw that the cabin door was open and there found Veverka. He summoned Pennsylvania Motor Police from their Beaver headquarters. They discovered Miss Sedlak's body.


In Pittsburgh, detectives who investigated events leading up to the final "date" of the couple, said the act might be blamed upon "jealousy" but uncovered no such unrequited affection.


Detectives said that Mrs. Catherine Sedlak, mother of Marie, had asked her daughter to stop seeing Veverka because he was out of a job and because the association "wasn't doing her any good".





Further newspaper reports indicate that the scene of the tragedy was just south of the village of Fombell, where a YMCA camp presently stands. The Indiana Gazette quoted Mrs. Sedlak as saying, "Marie and Joe had been going together for about five years, but they have had to meet secretly for the last year because I told her she oughtn't to see him anymore. He did not have a job and it wasn't doing her any good."

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…

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 places …

The True Story of Shamokin's Famous "Mystery Head"

Hardly a week goes by that I don't receive an email from a Pennsylvania Oddities reader asking me to write about the Shamokin "mystery head"-- yes, the very same human head, complete with curly hair and mustache, that was put on display in the window of the Farrow Funeral Home (presumably to show off the establishment's embalming abilities) and later displayed at a local mining museum. The head belonged to an unidentified murder victim whose headless body was found in the woods near the Hickory Ridge colliery in 1904, and the head has been a source of local pride and urban legend ever since.

I've resisted the urge to write about the "mystery head" for a few reasons. Having grown up in the area, I heard about it so many times that the story has worn thin. Secondly, the erroneous local legends and false claims are probably a lot more entertaining than the actual truth about the "mystery head". These local legends run the gamut from plausible to …