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Strange Case of Anton Nagy - Chewton PA

Anthony “Anton” Nagy was born in Homestead, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1921. He was one several children born to Hungarian immigrants Stephen and Sofia (Kovach) Nagy. His father was employed as a steel worker in a local mill. At some point the family relocated to Ellwood City where Stephen began working at the National Tube Mill – or the “Tube Mill” as locals call it.

Nagy attended the local schools and graduated from Lincoln High School in May 1939. At his commencement ceremony held in the high school auditorium Dr. Ralph Hutchinson, President of Washington and Jefferson College, apparently had this to say, “One thing is true of any class, the deepest desire is not for wealth, or social position, but to count in life, that life may be worth something because you were here.”

Nagy saw military service during World War II and subsequently served in the U.S. Air Force from 1950-54 during the Korean War. Little is known of Nagy after this except that he became a member of the Ellwood-Wampum Rod and Gun Club and I think he may have been employed at National Tube. I do that his father, who retired in 1965, died at the age of seventy-two on February 7, 1972, and was buried in Locust Grove Cemetery. His mother passed away soon after and was buried alongside her husband.

In early 1975 my own father, a career U.S. Navy man, received orders to the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade, Maryland. For the next three years me and my older sister Carol spent our childhood summers with my maternal grandmother Irene (LaPatka) DeMarc in the Beaver View Trailer Court in Chewton, Pennsylvania. We spent our days playing badminton, visiting relatives, attending church services at St. Monica’s, and walking along the old quarries throughout the area. Of particular interest to us was my grandmother’s neighbor Anton Nagy – a very mysterious hermit who was rarely seen in public. We would often see him peeking out the front window of his trailer, but he only seemed to come out early in the morning or late at night.

In June 1978 my family transferred to Guam where we resided for the next four years. We returned to Chewton in June 1982, while my father went on to set up our new residence in the Washington D. C. area. On the morning of July 12, 1982, while me, my sisters Carol and Alison, and my mom were staying with my relatives George and Josephine Teck in Koppel, my grandmother called to say Nagy’s trailer was destroyed by a fire during the night.

It seems that just after 11:00pm Nagy’s trailer caught on fire and by the time the fire department arrived the central portion was gutted. It took some time but it was soon determined that Nagy, his truck missing, was not at home. What authorities did find was that Nagy had been keeping a small cache of weapons and explosives inside his trailer. The State Fire Marshal was called in to further investigate the suspicious fire. Neighbors said his truck was seen at the trailer not long before the fire broke out.

Meanwhile, Nagy, at age sixty-one, was missing and his truck was quickly located on the Chewton-Wurtemburg Road. A manhunt immediately got underway and was soon concentrated in the wooded area above the Ellwood Rod and Gun Club along Route 288 leading to Ellwood City. The search was led by the Wayne Township Police Department, assisted by various other departments to include the Ellwood City Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police. A helicopter was utilized but after a week-long search Nagy was still at large.

On the morning of Friday, July 23, a renewed search effort got underway near the old Medusa quarry east of Chewton. At 2:10pm a badly-decomposed body, soon determined to be that of Nagy, was located. An article in the Ellwood City Ledger of July 24, 1982, had this to say about the effort, “The search was started about 10 a.m. near Jockey Moore Rd. and continued west towards Chewton. Mr. Nagy’s body was found, face down, in dense undergrowth in a heavily-wooded area above the Ellwood-Wampum Rod and Gun Club rifle range…” Wayne Township Police Chief Jack Allen described the location by saying, “…those involved in the search could drive their vehicles about a half mile up a road leading to an old Medusa quarry and then had to go on foot another half mile to reach Mr. Nagy’s body, which was found on a cliff near the old quarry.” The article elaborated on his death by saying Nagy, “…died, apparently instantly, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound of the chest and had been dead approximately eight to 10 days, according to a spokesman for the coroner’s office. The .357 Magnum used in the shooting was found underneath the body…”

The body was removed to the Tomon Funeral Home in Ellwood City, but I am unsure of what became of his remains. My best guess would be that he was interred at Locust Grove Cemetery. Just what Nagy’s intentions were with the weapons and whether the fire was intentionally set or not was never fully explained.

Nagy, born near Pittsburgh to Hungarian parents in 1921, grew up in Ellwood City and graduated from Lincoln High School in May 1939. He saw military service in the 1940’s and 1950’s and became somewhat of a mysterious hermit later in life. (1939)

The secluded Nagy resided alone in the Beaver View Trailer Court in Chewton for many years but was rarely seen in public. On the night of Sunday, July 11, 1982, his trailer – once located where the truck is parked – was gutted by a suspicious fire. Apparently Nagy had been keeping a small cache of weapons and explosives inside the trailer. (Aug 2011)

Nagy was not home at the time of the fire and went missing. A manhunt was undertaken until his badly decomposed body was found on July 23 near an old quarry (in the hills pictured above) behind the Ellwood Rod & Gun Club along Rt. 288. Nagy, then aged 61, had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. Just what his intentions were with the weapons – if any – was never fully explained. (Aug 2011)


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