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
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
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
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.