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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  June, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

…that while it’s widely known that a young George Washington fought his very first battle at Ft. Necessity, President George Washington came rather close to fighting another battle in Fayette County?

During the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794, Washington became the first and last sitting U.S. president to lead military troops. He and his troops were heading toward Fayette County, when he stopped in Bedford.

Instead, he turned over his force to Revolutionary War hero Gen. Henry “Light Horse” Lee. The first U.S. Secretary of the Treasurer, Alexander Hamilton, and Lee proceeded to Fayette County.

One of the “rebels” was future Secretary of the Treasurer Albert Gallatin. Gallatin, as you may know, served in that position longer than any Treasury Secretary in history.

Did you know that a well-known student of military history came to Uniontown for an event that had nothing to do with war?
In January of 1958, legendary Ohio State football coach (and World War II historian), Woody Hayes, came to Uniontown to help honor the undefeated 1957 Uniontown Red Raider football team.The event had been rescheduled because Hayes had recently won a national football championship and had been named College Football Coach of the Year.

Uniontown’s All American, and Ohio State alumnus, Francis “Moose” Machinsky, also took part in the event in which 300 people gave Hayes a standing ovation.

Uniontown’s 1957 football team featured future All American Sandy “Mutt” Stephens and his Minnesota Golden Gophers teammate – Bill Munsey.

Did you know that while Henry Beeson is widely known as the founder of Uniontown, he’d left the area not long after he founded the town?
He moved to Ohio in 1804. He died 15 years later in Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, after having only visited the area periodically after he’d moved away.

Did you know that a 1904 explosion at what was the Rand Powder Company in Fairchance caused the death of 18 workers? The Washington Post reported in its November 12th, 1905 edition that a five thousand dollar reward was being offered for the perpetrators, who had apparently set off the blast with “incendiaries.”

Did you know that in February of 1972, one of the highest scoring professional basketball games in history – took place at Uniontown High School’s gymnasium? Two Utah Stars (of the American Basketball Association) – Willie Wise and Zelmo Beaty, scored a combined 70 points to lead the Stars past the Pittsburgh Condors by a score of 154-131.

Did you know that in December of 1939, a Uniontown woman got national attention when she died in church?
The Oakland Tribune reported in its December 11th edition that when Mrs. Charles Davis died of a heart attack during a service at Uniontown’s Third Presbyterian Church, the pastor, Rev. Clarence Kerr, continued on with his sermon.
He did make an adjustment. According to the article, he “laid aside his prepared sermon and spoke extemporaneously on ‘sudden death.’
Of course you already knew that some of the greatest American musicians of all time have brought their enormous talents to Fayette County.

Did you know that the legendary jazz composer, Duke Ellington, brought his orchestra to the Melody Rink on Connellsville Street in Uniontown in September of 1948?

According to the promoter for many, many local shows, Angelo Quarzo of Uniontown, he helped bring Ellington (to the Melody Rink in 1948 and for two shows at the State Theatre in 1942), the swinging swaying Sammy Kaye (for five shows in February of 1941, to the State Theatre) and later in 1941, he secured the services of jazz legends Cab Calloway and Dizzy Gillespie for a show at the State Theatre.

According to the Oxnard, California Daily Courier in August of 1919, a Uniontown doctor – who wished not to have his name published – claimed he had a “cure for the high cost of living.”

The unnamed doctor said that the high cost of living was really an ailment that could be wiped out with a societal remedy.

He proposed that everybody in Uniontown not eat for a week.

That way, he claimed, prices would go down because of the increase in food supply. That way the rest of the country would see how effectual the Uniontown’s fasting “cure” would be - and everybody would follow suit.

There’s no record that the nation, or even the residents of Uniontown took the doctor up on his proposal.

Did you know that Uniontown once had a rather oddly named group known as the Anti-Slandering Society?

According to the May 19th, 1870 edition of the McKean Miner of Smethport, Pennsylvania, a group of Uniontown ladies had formed the organization.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for their husbands) according to the same article it claimed, “It don’t meet very often.”

Did you know that a U.S. president was a spectator at an event featuring a Uniontown baseball team? That’s true and I’ll tell you about that next week.