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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  July, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that on one day in June of 1961, it was both a grim and a happy day in Fayette County?

Well, according to two publications (the Bridgeport, Connecticut Post and the Oakland Ca. Tribune) Paul Grimm, Cecil Grimm and Mary Ann Grimm applied for marriage licenses at the Fayette County marriage license bureau.

Ironically, the national wire story did mention that none of the Grimms were related to each other.

We’ve all grown accustomed to mechanical and electronic devices that are activated by remote controls. However, did you know that remote control devices have been in operation for a very long time?

In fact, in the December 10th, 1927 edition of the Uniontown Morning Herald, there was the report of a Uniontown man who’d gotten a patent for his remote control invention.

“A new automatic electric switch which is the invention of Ladora A. Brown of Uniontown, is fully protected by a patent just issued Mr. Brown by the United States Patent Office,” it said.

Brown’s invention was designed to open and close a circuit on a high voltage line by using an electromagnetically actuated remote control.

That certainly wasn’t the first time remotely controlled mechanisms were employed. A large, January, 1927 ad for Keystone Auto Co. of New Salem, Masontown and Pt. Marion mentioned the latest models of Chevrolets with “scores of important mechanical improvements.”

Among those improvements? Remote control door handles.

During that same year (1927), while adults were discovering some newfangled developments for their automobiles – local kids were engaged in a time honored pastime – marbles.

On March 21st, the Morning Herald announced on its sports page that the City Marble Championships would be held the following month.

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth grade boys and girls from all over Uniontown were about to take part in the first citywide marble tournament in history.

It was apparently serious stuff. Nearly an entire page was devoted to the definitions (“Knuckling down, Hunching,” etc.) and specific rules of marbling.

The competition was part of the National Marble Championship Tournament.

Did you know that at one time Fayette County had 20 high schools?

According to the Morning Herald on October 3rd, 1930, there were 20 “rated” high schools in the county.

Among those high schools on the list that are no longer in existence were: Dunbar, All Saints High, German, South Union, North Union and Georges.

Georges High, by the way, was nicknamed The Runners.

Did you know that back in 1938 one Georges High Runner had quite a competition with a future baseball hall of famer?

During the winter of 1938, Donora High School’s high scoring basketball forward named Stan Musial was among the district’s leading scorers.

Musial played in Section 4, which included Uniontown’s basketball team. Yet, he’d actually scored fewer points than Section 14’s Georges High School’s own high scorer – some guy named Fred Lebder.

However, by the end of the season, Musial did manage to eclipse Lebder in section scoring by a mere seven points.

Did you know that, while Uniontown has a history of being one of the “stations” along the Underground Railroad, there was a time when there were slaves and slave-owners living in Fayette County?

The November 14th, 1901 edition of the Uniontown Daily News Standard revealed that during an effort by the county commissioners to archive the county’s property records from the time the time the county was formed until 1883 – there was a startling discovery.

“In going over some of the rolls in 1785 there were a number of townships in which negro slaves were assessed at $20 and upwards, some of them being assessed as high as $40,” it said.

But not only that, “nearly all the original townships of the county had them assessed.”

A similar find seems to have been made recently in Pittsburgh. In November of 2007, the Allegheny County Recorder of Deeds held a news conference to announce that handwritten documents indicating that 56 slaves had existed in and around Pittsburgh.

Those documents, which were turned over to the Senator John Heinz History Center, dated back to 1792.

Those records, and those discovered in Fayette County in 1901, would tend to indicate that not all of Pennsylvania was, for a time, a completely free state.

Did you know that in 1933, Fayette County had a problem with drunken goats?

If I could, I’d make up a story like that. But it’s absolutely well-documented.

I’ll furnish my proof next week.