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Showing posts from June, 2017

A sensational suicide in Lavelle

With a population of approximately 750, the tiny village of Lavelle in Schuylkill County is easy to miss. There are no traffic lights or Walmart Supercenters, just a few scattered houses and a couple of gas stations, giving travelers on Route 901 one last chance to fuel up before getting on the Interstate. Not much goes goes on in a place like Lavelle, so when a man ends his life as spectacularly as Ray Feltzer did in 1924, it tends to be the sort of thing folks talk about years after the deed was done.

Ray was a young man, just 28 years old, a husband and father, living in a modest home at the west end of the village. Around 2 o'clock on the afternoon of November 2, his mangled body was found in a shanty behind his home by Miss Clara Hubler and two of her friends, who had dropped by to visit Clara's sister, who happened to be Ray's wife. Much to Clara's dismay, her sister and the two young Feltzer children were not home. Clara and her two friends went behind the house…

John C. Bell: Pennsylvania's 19-day Governor

The names of many governors in Pennsylvania history are familiar to most of us. Some are memorialized in the names of our counties (Mifflin, McKean, Snyder), while others are memorialized in the names of our cities, villages and townships (Shunk, Findlay, Wolf, Hastings, Bigler). Two of our governors even have state forests name in their honor (Sproul, Pinchot) while the names of many more grace our streets, highways, bridges, buildings and schools.

But when it comes to state governors, there's one name you won't find on a street sign or football stadium, however-- and it is a name that even many Pennsylvania historians might not recall.

That governor is John Cromwell Bell, and if you don't recognize the name, it's because his tenure as governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania lasted just 19 days-- making him the shortest-serving governor in state history.

A Philadelphia native, Bell came from a family with a political pedigree; his father served as Pennsylvania Atto…

An interesting story from Marietta

The following comes from the Harrisburg Telegraph on April 26, 1913.