Gerald McCluskey, “Carrying Concealed Weapons”, 10 February 1949

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Gerald McCluskey

When he was twelve years old, Gerald McCluskey won an award for excellence in the YMCA cadet Bible club. His father died of a heart attack the following year. A few months later, he and an eighteen-year-old boy from his street, Donald Pontius, were walking through their neighborhood when they noticed a young girl, around Gerald’s age, walking alone on the road ahead of them.

It was a dark winter’s evening. A light snow was beginning to fall, and there was no one around. The boys crossed over and started walking close behind the girl. She got scared and started running. They ran after her, down the hill into town. When she got to Hemlock street—where, five years before, Paul Leroy Gold had raped a nine-year-old girl—she ran across the road into a gasoline station. She was too frightened to speak to the attendant. When she thought the boys had gone, she went next door to her grandmother’s house. Her uncle, Joseph Armond, was there. He had been a sergeant in the war. He went out and found Gerald and Donald in a nearby street and held them until the police arrived. Gerald was carrying a metal blackjack; Donald had a foot-long billy club hidden in his coat. They said they had chased the girl in order to frighten her. They denied any other motive.

The boys spent a night in custody: Gerald in the juvenile detention home; Donald in the county jail. The charges were dropped the next morning.

Gerald joined the air force when he left school, in the middle of the Korean war. When he came home, he moved to Pittsburgh. There is no further record of his life.

Sources: New Castle News (10 June 1947, “Awards Presented 76 YMCA Boys”; 7 August 1948, “Deaths Of The Day”; 11 February 1949, “Two Are Held By Police On Charge Of Pursuing Girl”; 13 MRCH 1952, “Enlist Three From Here Into Air Force”; 22 September 1966, “Deaths Of The Day”; 22 January 1977, “Deaths Of The Day”).


  1. Loved your article in that magazine about how your collection started. Your writing is a interesting as your collection. Kept me riveted throughout.

  2. Hi there. As always, good stuff. Just so happens I’m doing research of my own, about some people. One of the persons I’ve been detailing happens to have a similar name as McCluskey (spelled differently, though.) Here’s what I’ve come across, which may or may not be the Gerald McCluskey whom you’ve written of:

    “Gerald J Mccluskey

    United States Social Security Death Index

    birth: 10 July 1934
    death: 23 January 2011 Luzerne, Pennsylvania”

    Here’s the link to the above:

    Probably not the same fella, but who knows?

    Thanks for all of the wonderful tid-bits of history. 🙂

    • Hi Rich – thanks for the info! That could well be him, as his birth date would be some time around July 1934. Interesting. I’ll look into this…

  3. Just stumbled across this superb blog & have been fascinated by it for hours now. This is why the internet was invented. Great stuff Diarmid, keep it coming

  4. Alex Knisely says

    A Bank Holiday weekend and three hours well-spent in London reading the chronicles of the area in which my partner’s family were reared. Thank you.

    Never an Amishman, although New Wilminington is the heart of quite a settlement of those folks… I suppose that they stayed out of trouble.

    • Glad I didn’t waste three hours of your life! Thanks for commenting. On the two occasions I’ve visited New Castle, I’ve never managed to get up to Amish country — I intend to rectify that next time I’m over.

  5. Maggie Miller says

    I live in New Wilmington (Amish Country) great place to live 🙂

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