Skip to main content

"Cut in two from crotch to crown"

Old newspapers serve to remind us just how dangerous life could be in the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents. When they weren't busy dodging cholera, black lung and other diseases, they were busy dodging trains, carriages and trolleys. Sometimes they weren't always so lucky, as the following newspaper story from 1905 illustrates.

From the April 27, 1905 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:

AWFUL DEATH ON THE RAIL- Mangled remains of man found on Pennsy Railroad above Espy
About seven o'clock Sunday morning the horribly mangled remains of a man were found by George Kelchner who lives near Espy, on the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad above Espy. The body was literally torn to pieces and scattered along the track for thirty feet. It was cut in two from crotch to crown, the face was torn off, and the left side was cut in five pieces. A freight train that came along was stopped by Kelchner, and the crew brought word to East Bloom station, and a trackman was sent up to guard the body until the coroner could be notified.

The body was that of a man under thirty years of age, well dressed, with $8.21 in his pockets and two photographs, one of himself, and the other a group of which he was one. He also had a railroad pass from Altoona to Wilkes-Barre, and this led to his identification as J. Bupaski of Altoona. His watch had stopped at 12:30.

The body was brought to East Bloom on a handy car, and Director of the Poor Boyd Yetter, of Main township notified and he instructed undertaker G.G. Baker to take charge of the remains. They were brought here to his rooms at about noon on Sunday. One half the body was on a board, and the other half in a bag, in five pieces.

Coroner Sharpless learned from Supt. Allibone of the Pennsylvania R.R. that J. Bupaski boarded with Dominick Davis of Altoona where he worked, and that he left there on Saturday to visit his sister who lives in Scranton. The theory now is that the man missed his train at Sunbury and started to Wilkes-Barre on a night freight train and fell off while asleep.

His sister did not come to take charge of the remains and so they were sent to Altoona by express yesterday afternoon.

Popular posts from this blog

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…

The Murder of Daisy Smith

On a Monday morning in early October of 1898, about two miles below the iron railroad bridge which crosses the river to Selinsgrove, a farmer's horse had fallen ill.  Henry Smith sent out his teenage daughter, Daisy, to gather some sweet fern.  Hours passed and the Daisy had not returned with the medicinal herb so Mr. Smith decided to look for her after dinner.  He discovered the body of his beloved daughter next to the highway not far from the barn, face down beneath a large chestnut tree; her throat cut ear from to ear.

Of all the murders that took place in Northumberland County, it is the murder of pretty Daisy Smith which has become the most famous, largely due to the brutality of the crime. Daisy, who was just sixteen at the time, was found with a gash across her neck so deep that her backbone was visible, and her body had been riddled with several loads of buckshot.  It was the type of death befitting the most heinous of villains, and the fact that this fate had befallen su…