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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  November, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that a wise person once said, “One of our greatest troubles is the fact that we just can’t get along without a lot of the things that didn’t exist 25 years ago?”

The fact is, I’m not exactly sure who said it, but that statement appeared on the front page of the May 15th, 1937 edition of the Uniontown Daily News Standard.

It was part of the daily sidebar features called “O.K. – Today.” “O.K. – Today” furnished local newspaper readers with a variety of one line puns, quips, local news briefs, and in the case of the quotation above, a wonderful bit of plain old wisdom.

Whoever wrote that statement wouldn’t be at all surprised about the recent technological advances that now seem inextricably bound to our everyday lives.

Computers, the internet, cell phones, and our home DVD players have all come into being during this generation. It seems, to me, the American culture would come to a screeching halt without them.

Another of those “O.K. – Today” tidbits was, “Most distressing sight in the city: North Gallatin Avenue.” That appeared on May 13th, of that year.

However, just four days later, that situation had been corrected. “Congratulations to the long-suffering residents of North Gallatin Avenue. At long last, the powers are kindly consenting to restore the street to a passable condition,” the “O.K. – Today” pundit wrote.

However, there was far more serious news on the front page of the Daily News Standard that day. The County Coroner and the State Police at Uniontown barracks were investigating an unidentified man’s suicide.

According to that article he had blown his head off with dynamite near Connellsville.

About 15 years later, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette carried the report of another dynamite explosion – this time in Uniontown.

In September of 1952, a Uniontown barber had been the intended victim when somebody set off a stick of dynamite at his home. Fortunately, the barber and his family weren’t hurt. However, nine houses in the area were seriously damaged.

According to the article, it was the second bomb attempt at the barber’s house. The first attempt failed when “13 sticks of dynamite, connected to an alarm clock, failed to explode, due to (a) faulty time-bomb mechanism.”

The barber claimed, “I’ve had no problem with anybody. I don’t know why anybody would want to do a thing like this to me.”

Did you know, according to the Fayette County Medical Society, two never-before attempted medical procedures – were performed at Uniontown Hospital in 1948?

The February 14th, edition of the Charleston Gazette announced that a baby girl had been prematurely born in Smithfield - and without a mouth opening.

“Feeling that there was no other hope, the dental surgeon operated two days after the infant’s birth and again three days later,” the report said.

After the surgeries the little girl was said to have developed a normally functioning jaw.

Did you know that the frustrations of lost cargo (or lost luggage) didn’t start with air travel?

The July 1st, 1823 edition of the Hagerstown (Md.) Torch Light and Public Advertiser printed an announcement by a certain William Rhoads of Brownsville.

It seems that he’d somehow come into the possession of a box weighing 126 lbs., that was full of “sundry articles,” but was intended for another man with the last name Rhoads.

He’d placed the notice in the newspaper in the hope that the proper owner of the box would come forward, pay the steam boat fee (from Wheeling to Brownsville), and the cost of the newspaper notice – and free him of the burden of having something that didn’t belong to him.

In those days, by the way, either of those men named Rhoads may have considered an alternative means of shipping their freight – The National Road.

I found this item in the January 18th, 1820 edition of the Gettysburg Republican Compiler, by way of the Uniontown Genius of Liberty. “From the 5th of October to the 30th of November last, there passed between Cumberland and this place 754 wagons, 30 carriages of different kinds, 1480 horsemen, and upwards of 900 drove horses, horned cattle, hogs, etc,” somebody with a lot of time on their hands reported.

“This will give some idea of the immense travelling on the road,” the article said.

Did you know that Uniontown High School has a graduate who played in the first season of the legendary Star Trek series?

William Sargent, who was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930, moved with his family to Israel in 1933 (where he attended a Hebrew elementary school and the French Catholic High School), before he moved to Uniontown.

His education was mentioned in a 1965 edition of the Fresno (Ca.) Bee. At the time he was playing a newspaperman on ABC-TV’s Day in Court.

He would have roles in two movies and over 30 television shows, among them, “The Conscience of the King” episode of Star Trek in 1966.