Did You Know?
Did you know that February of 1931 marked a somewhat notable, but odd milestone
in Fayette County history?
It was considered a “murderless” court term. In other words, for the first time
in 25 years, Fayette County’s criminal courts would not hold a trial for a
murder that had been committed during the previous three months. That got
According to the Connellsville Daily Courier on February 13th of that year, in
“olden days” there had been between four and eight murders committed for each
three month criminal court term.
Fayette County’s District Attorney, J.B. Adams claimed he knew the reason for
the sudden drop in the county murder rate – Prohibition.
“Times are better. I can and so can you remember a Saturday or Sunday did not
pass but there was a shooting or a cutting, usually ending in a murder and there
was not a night when we had nine saloons running on Main Street but that the
town was full of drunks,” Adams told the Daily Courier.
He was obviously pleased with his assessment of the drop in alcohol induced
violence, because it was reported that “his angular features (were) lighting
with the glow of enthusiasm as he portrayed and compared conditions then and
During that same criminal court term, there were, however, a number of rather
strange court cases that made front page news.
On February 17th, 1931 a New Geneva woman had been granted a divorce from her
husband after he’d not taken a bath in seven years.
She had been married to her railroad car repairman husband since November of
1916. He’d refused to take a bath until his wife told him she’d read where a
woman in a similar situation had been granted a divorce when her husband had
refused to take a bath in nine years.
Well, the New Geneva woman’s husband finally took his bath. But the judge still
granted her a divorce – but for additional forms of alleged cruelty.
On March 3rd, 1931 the Uniontown Daily News Standard reported that an Edenborn
man, who’d been on trial for the “felonious cutting” of a man in Oliver, died
while he was waiting for the verdict of the jury.
The article claimed it was “the first time in Fayette County history that a
verdict was returned in favor of a dead man.”
He had been in the courtroom the previous day as the judge had directed the jury
to return with its verdict the following morning.
However, three hours after the proceeding was adjourned for the day, the
defendant “became violently ill of acute indigestion,” and he died before a
doctor could rush to his aid.
The following morning the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The Deputy
Clerk of Courts was said to have been “scratching his head,” because the dead
defendant was ordered to pay half the court costs – and he didn’t know where to
send the bill.
Did you know that while an increasing number of states have curbed the use of
cell phones while driving, there was once a time when Uniontown’s public
officials hailed the initial use of “mobile phones” in cars?
On March 11th, 1952 Uniontown Mayor J. Watson Sembower appeared on the front
page of the Uniontown Morning Herald smiling, while making the very first mobile
telephone call ever made in Fayette County.
At the time there had only been 28 local subscribers who’d signed up for Bell
Telephone Company’s brand new mobile telephone service.
Of course, in those days there were none of those arguably annoying ringtones. A
person receiving a call in their car would be alerted by a flashing light, and
the sound of a bell emanating from their dashboard.
With unemployment still on the rise these days, and unemployment compensation
becoming more and more prevalent, it’s interesting to note that in 1938 – during
the Great Depression – the unemployed received only a fraction of what they
According to the February 8th, 1938 edition of the Uniontown News Standard,
5,000 unemployment checks had arrived at the local post office.
The checks ranged from $7.50 to $15.00, with the average check amounting to $10.
The rush to the post office in 1938 may have been only exceeded by another post
office run nearly 40 years later – but for a completely different reason.
Did you know that there was an extraordinary demand for the newly reissued $2
bill in April of 1976?
According to Uniontown Postmaster, Roy E. Jones, “people swarmed here as soon as
windows opened yesterday morning.”
People, sensing they were about to get collector’s items, had gone to local
banks and gotten the crisp $2 bills and had taken them to the post office to
have a special stamp applied to them.
“Some people didn’t know why they wanted them stamped, only that’s what
everybody else was doing,” Jones said.
He said one woman went to the post office with 200 bills she wanted stamped.
Unfortunately, because so many of the bills were stamped back then, in 2009 they
have very little value as a collectable.
Did you know that a woman from Revere once had an extremely cruel joke played on
her, when somebody called her and said he was her long lost son – but her son
was actually missing-in-action in Korea at the time?
I’ll fill in the details next week.