It's been two years, and the mystery of the New Britain Township skeleton still nibbles at the edges of my thoughts. I was able to pin down the house where the skeleton was found, but I'm too much of a chicken to knock on their door.
I'm curious, also, about where the mysterious remains ended up. I asked a reporter friend at The Intelligencer who covers police matters, and while he knew that official evidence is kept for a long time (I'd love to be that librarian), he wasn't sure if there was a time limit, or whether human remains were included. The mind boggles.
In the meantime, I've found two more articles regarding the discovery:
The Gettysburg Times
Saturday, April 27, 1940
Finding of Skeleton Revives Mystery
The bones, those of a man about 5 feet 8 inches tall, were found by a plumber renovating the rambling budding and were taken to Harrisburg for analysis. There was a hole in the skull and two ribs were missing.
District Attorney Edward Beister said the mystery concerned Christopher Rump, who bought the 65-acre farm half a century ago and disappeared 19 years later. The farm is near where artists and writers maintain summer homes.
Rump's wife died about 35 years ago. Later it passed into the hands of a Philadelphia notable, countess Maria Virginia Paris Cibotti.
The countess, a singer and patron of the arts, maintained an elaborate place until she died in 1938 at the age of 86.
Recently it was purchased by a New York attorney. It was being remodeled for him when the bones were found.
Friday, April 26, 1940
Find Skeleton; Scent Murder
In recent years, the farmhouse and the 65-acre tract surrounding it have been used by an Italian Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for summer outings of the congregation.
Every effort to identify the skeleton has proved futile. It is five feet, eight inches tall and was found by Arthur Roberts, a plumber and one of a number of workmen engaged in remodeling the farmhouse for a New York woman attorney, who purchased the property recently. The skeleton was taken to the state's crime laboratory at Harrisburg for further investigation.
All former residents of the farmhouse are being questioned by state police. At one time the property was owned by the late Countess Maria Virginia Miles Cibotti, who died in Philadelphia at the age of 86. The countess willed the farm to the Philadelphia church.
Christopher Rump, who purchased the farmhouse about 50 years ago, farmed the 65-acre tract for a quarter century before he purportedly went to Germany. Rump's son, police believe, is now a resident of Chester.
The present owner, who is having the dwelling remodeled at a cost of about $20,000, is said to be Mrs.
Shirley Moore, prominent retired corporation lawyer of New York. A widow, she is said to have purchased the property to get the "peace and quiet" offered by picturesque Bucks county.