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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  February, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens
…A Uniontown man once did what Adolf Hitler’s symbol of Aryan supremacy failed to do? Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but just 80 days after Joe Louis knocked out Germany’s Max Schmeling in the first round – to retain his world heavyweight championship – he got knocked out of a softball game in Uniontown.

Louis’ barnstorming Brown Bombers played at Uniontown High School’s Hustead Field against some local All Stars on September 10th, 1938. While Louis and his team no-hit the Uniontown team, Disey Simon managed to reach first base on a Joe Louis error.

As The Morning Herald reported the account of the event, Louis then left the game after a couple of innings, because he’d twisted his ankle (perhaps on the Simon play). Simon also had singlehandedly put Louis out during his two times at bat.

The final score? The Joe Louis Brown Bombers 8 - the Uniontown All Stars 0, and the local fans - a million fond memories of that day.

Did you know that one of the greatest orators in American history made no less than five visits to Fayette County? William Jennings Bryan, a three time candidate for president visited Connellsville and Uniontown in 1902, 1911, 1912, 1920 and 1923.

During his 1912 visit Bryan came on behalf of his fellow Democrat Woodrow Wilson, and he struck a theme that he could easily strike today. “The old fashioned highwayman was a Christian compared to the highwayman of Wall Street,” he told a “big crowd,” according to The Connellsville Daily Courier.

During his 1923 visit to Uniontown, (after he’d served as the U.S. Secretary of State) much was made about his “perfect health,” in The Uniontown News Standard.
However, just two years later Bryan died, and just five days after he’d won in his famous battle against Clarence Darrow in the Scopes Monkey trial.

Bryan had argued against the teaching of evolution in Tennessee’s schools. His stand against the theory that man had evolved from apes, may have caused a bit of a conflict many years later in Uniontown.
That’s when Roddy McDowell, who’d starred (as a humanoid ape) in four Planet of the Apes movies and 14 episodes of the 1974 Planet of the Apes television series, visited the city as part of something called “Movietime USA.”
In October of 1951, McDowell and several lesser known actors were given a parade and then a dinner at the White Swan Hotel.

Mayor Watson Sembower gave them the key to the city.
One of the notables who accompanied McDowell was the writer William Lively. He was best known for writing the Roy Rogers and Captain Midnight television series.

By the way, Disey Simon may have had better luck with one heavyweight champion of the world, than the one I encountered in Uniontown many years later. I’ll tell you about that next week.