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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  March, 2010

Did You Know?
Did you know, that while (as I mentioned in April of 2008), President Theodore Roosevelt paid a visit to Fayette County on the occasion of his 56th birthday in 1914, his fifth cousin, Franklin Delano, also got a warm Uniontown birthday wish during his presidency?

The United Press reported in a January 31st, 1935 dispatch that, “More than 4,000,000 Americans in the United States and all its possessions danced and made merry last night in honor of President Roosevelt’s birthday.”

It was reported that balls were held in “7,000 cities, towns and hamlets” around the country in celebration of Roosevelt’s 53rd Birthday.

At the White House, though, according to the Pittsburgh Press, they unveiled a 188 pound birthday cake that was the “prize exhibit” at the president’s birthday dinner.

That cake was the handiwork of the bakers’ and confectioners’ union of Uniontown, Pa.

Did you know that while Uniontown’s two-time All State honoree, Don Yates, was the leader of the Uniontown Red Raider basketball team that won the Pennsylvania State basketball championship in 1962 - he also helped break a color barrier?

The Associated Press reported on November 19th, 1963 that, “The University of Minnesota has never had a ‘Negro’ on its basketball team. But this fall it has three flashy sophomores bidding to make the starting five - Don Yates of Uniontown, Pa., Louis Hudson of Greensboro, N,C, and Archie Clark of Ecorse, Mich.”

Did you know the birth of a baby girl at Uniontown Hospital in 1938 made national news?

The baby’s 42 year-old mother, the wife of a coal miner from Greensboro, died ten minutes before the child was born.

The hospital staff worked furiously to save the baby’s life. She was alternately called “The Mystery Child” and “The Mystery Baby” in news reports.

That’s probably because, according to the Uniontown Daily News Standard, “It was more than 45 minutes before the child breathed normally after respiration was induced by mouth-to-mouth breathing by two doctors.”

Did you know that when famed explorer, Admiral Richard Byrd, went on his expeditions to the Antarctic, there was a Uniontown man alongside him?

While there has been a controversy about Byrd’s claim that he flew over the North Pole in May of 1926, his claims that he actually did explore the South Pole four times have never been disputed.

After his third expedition to the Antarctic (between 1939 and 1940) the Uniontown Evening Standard carried the front page story of the “Fayette County Man (who was) Home After 19-Month Absence; With Byrd.”

Vernon D. Boyd, who was being called “Fayette County’s ambassador to the South Pole,” was returning to Uniontown after joining Byrd on his second expedition.

The story said that Boyd’s family had awaited his return at his father-in-law’s home in Evans Manor.

He had been the man who was the “mechanic in charge of the great 15-ton snowmobile which was used for traveling considerable distance in Little America.”

While Boyd was only given the nickname “ambassador to the South Pole,” did you know that Fayette has actually had two men serve ambassadorships of four countries?

According to the Fresno (Ca.) Bee on September 9th, 1976, Uniontown’s Ronald D. Palmer was named the U.S. Ambassador to Toga.

Palmer would also become the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia and Mauritius.

Between 1965 and 1969 Uniontown’s David Morgan Bane also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Gabon.

Did you know that in 1950 a former Uniontown man had inherited millions of dollars, but there was a search for him in the skid row section of Chicago?

According to the June 9th edition of the Milwaukee Journal, the Chicago police were busily searching the “flophouses and saloons” of Chicago’s skid row, in hopes of finding 50 year-old Stanley William McKenna Walker.

The son of a wealthy English shipbuilder, Walker had moved to the Uniontown from England after he’d served as a British Army officer and a branch manager of Bank of England.

While he was in Uniontown he became a naturalized citizen. His family had died during the German Blitz of Liverpool, and that left him the sole heir of millions of dollars.

However, when the British consul tried to find him in the United States, one of his Uniontown friends replied that Walker had a “fondness for cheap hotels and cheap whiskey,” despite his education and background.

According to the article, (Chicago’s) “skid row fitted the description.”

Did you know that in 1910, there was a Uniontown “mutiny” that received national attention?

I’ll fill in the blanks next week.