Way Back When

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(September 2, 1896)


A dispatch to the Pittsburg Times, dated Saltsburg, September 1, says: "Martin Matson, a young farmer of Conemaugh township, committed suicide yesterday by hanging himself in a hay mow. He had lost his crops in the heavy storms, and had made several unfortunate investments. Matson has been married only a few months."

(September 9,1896)
A Nest of Gold
Found in an Old Cave Wall of Thomas Pifer

Yesterday while George and John Rudolph and William Pifer were engaged in repairing the wall of a cave on the farm of Thomas Pifer, of Winslow township, they found five twenty-dollar gold pieces. They were all clean and bright.

When Mr. Pifer was informed of the fact he explained how it happened. In 1887 he sold a team of fine horses receiving $520 for it. Part of the money, $160, was in gold, and the rest in paper.

He placed it all in a little tin bucket and hid it in the cave. He afterwards took the paper money out and left the gold there. In 1889 the cave burned down, and Mr. Pifer had forgotten all about his gold, and never had thought of it until yesterday when the finding of the five twenties recalled the circumstances to his mind.

The gold was found amongst the ashes and debris of the old cave, and a thorough search is being made for the other $60, which is supposed to be there also.

Louis Helman's Funeral
He is Buried in Accordance With the Rites of the Orthodox Jews
Louis Helman, the Jewish peddler who was murdered near Brockwayville last Wednesday, was buried in the Jewish cemetery near Punxsutawney on Thursday.

He belonged to the sect of orthodox Jews, and was buried in strict accordance with the laws and customs amongst the ancient Jews. This law prescribes that, in case of death by violence, none of the blood shall be washed off, and none of the bloody garments removed, but that the victim shall be buried as he was when death came.

This custom was strictly observed at Helman's funeral. He was laid in the grave without a coffin, his head resting upon a sack of earth. A small flat stone was placed over each eye, and over his mouth, and a green twig in each hand.

Boards were placed at each side of the corps, and above it, and then the grave was filled up. This custom is not observed by the Jews generally, but obtains amongst the orthodox, and as Helman belonged to this sect he was buried in accordance with the funeral rites of that ancient faith.