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The Beaver County Axe Murders of 1939

  It was a Wednesday morning in May of 1939 when neighbors of the Cook family made a startling discovery-- a bloody axe lying upon the ground. Being a farming community not far from the Ohio state line, blades and bloody implements weren't terribly uncommon in South Beaver Township; the necessities of daily life often required the butchering of a chicken or the slaughtering of a pig. But there was indeed something about the bloody axe that was very uncommon, and grounds for some concern-- there was hair stuck to the blade, and the hair appeared to be human. That the axe was found on the property of Forrest Cook, a township tax collector, seemed to indicate the possibility of foul play. After all, few folks are as unpopular as the local tax collector. The neighbors-- Walter Gratz, Edward Younginger, John Knowlson, Robert Davis and Ted Young-- got in their car and drove back to Blackhawk to call the police. Sheriff Kennedy and Deputy Sheriff Dindinger left for the Cook homestead at o

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