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Notorious Outlaws: Kid Squeak

Dominick McKenzie, better known as Kid Squeak, was widely known throughout the Coal Region as a prizefighter-- and a colorful criminal. In the boxing ring he never amounted to much; although he faced dozens of opponents, his fights were almost always relegated to preliminary bouts. However, as a criminal, Kid Squeak was far more accomplished.

Kid Squeak earned his nickname on the rowdy streets of Shamokin as a teenager, presumably because he was the type of juvenile delinquent whose mouth always got him into trouble. It also didn't help that, at a mere 110 pounds, Kid Squeak was far from being a heavyweight. But the frequent drubbings he took in the ring didn't discourage him; by most accounts, he was scrappy and always put up a respectable fight.

McKenzie first entered the professional ranks in 1926 at the age of 17. In March of that year he was beaten by Mount Carmel's top bantamweight, "Pet" Muldoon, and fought to draw against Shamokin's Tony Scicchitano.…
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Mule eats miner's tool box

While Frank Shiffka of the United Mine Workers grievance committee was investigating complaints from miners in Nanticoke in 1937, he came across a complaint from one miner who was angry that he was being charged $4 for a new toolbox that had been eaten by a hungry mule. The following article appeared in the Shamokin News-Dispatch on March 17, 1937.

An unimaginably horrific way to die

Everyone knows that a steel mill can be a dangerous place to work. However, out of all the possible ways there are to die, it's difficult to envision anyone losing a life the same way that 25-year-old Thomas Alles did at the Lackawanna Steel Company mill in Lackawanna, New York in 1910.

Yes, I'm aware that this is a website devoted to weird things that have happened in Pennsylvania, not New York, but since Thomas Alles was born, raised and buried in Wilkes-Barre, it's close enough.

Herman Schultz: The first and last man hanged in Pike County

Hundreds of criminals have been hanged in Pennsylvania, but only one man has ever lost his life on the scaffold behind the historic Pike County Courthouse in Milford. In some ways this is a remarkable fact, considering that the cupola-topped red brick courthouse has stood at the corner of Broad and High streets since 1873. Yet the county's first-- and only-- execution wouldn't occur until twenty-four years after the last brick had been laid into place.

In fact, the whole story of Herman Schultz and his execution is remarkable; he was initially cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of his wife, and he may have lived to a ripe old age had it not been for his two sons, who ultimately sent him to the gallows in December of 1897.

Herman Paul Schultz arrived in this country sometime in the 1870s, and took for his wife a lovely young woman named Lizzie Kiefer. They settled in New York City, sharing the same dream of freedom and prosperity that had lured countless other German immig…

Killed by train hours after burying mother

Lost Treasure: The Hunt for Hopson's Diamonds

One of the greatest treasure hunts in Pennsylvania history took place in October of 1928, after airmail pilot "Wild Bill" Hopson suffered a fatal crash near the village of Polk in Venango County. Hopson had been transporting more than $50,000 worth of diamonds (a treasure worth nearly $720,000 in today's currency), and although more than 300 diamonds were eventually recovered, it is believed that nearly one hundred of the valuable gemstones are still out there waiting to be found.

On Thursday, October 18, 1928, the luck of veteran aviator William C. Hopson finally ran out. Hopson, known to friends as "Wild Bill", had been a night flyer for eight years, delivering mail between New York and Cleveland. He had flown the famously dangerous Bellefonte-Cleveland route over the Allegheny Mountains countless times without incident, though many of his colleagues had not been so lucky. And so, when a shipment of 900 pounds of mail and a fortune in jewels had to be delive…

Advertise on Pennsylvania Oddities!

Think online advertising is a poor way to reach your target audience? You're probably right. You may plunk down $200-$300 for a simple ad on Twitter or Facebook, only to have it seen (or not seen) by a few hundred users who live a thousand miles away. Great if you have an online business... not so great if you have a pizzeria or a barbershop (last I checked, no one is driving from Seattle to Scranton for a haircut).

And forget about newspapers. The circulation of a local newspaper these days is worse than that of a diabetic with peripheral artery disease. Radio? Television? Sure, that's great-- if you've got money to burn and none of your potential customers have ever heard of Pandora or Netflix.

How about a ridiculously affordable way to reach people who live in the same town in which your business is located?

If that sounds appealing to you, then keep reading.

Established in 2013, Pennsylvania Oddities has seen a steady rate of growth, presently averaging over 300,000 v…