Uniontown, Pennsylvania! We’re Huge!
By Al Owens
Sometimes GOOGLE can be my best friend! GOOGLE is that internet search device
that helps me travel all over the World Wide Web, simply by typing a word and
clicking ENTER. But ole GOOGLE can fool you from time-to-time.
A few weeks ago, after typing the word Uniontown and clicking ENTER, I was
reading all about the upcoming Footwashing event in Uniontown. According to some
Uniontown guy, “Footwashing is the only recreation in Uniontown. “It’s food,
people selling stuff, people drinking and doing whatever”.
I had to think what is he talking about? I’m a Uniontown native. I’ve never
heard of such a thing. Of course my mistake became apparent when I realized I’d
been reading all about that spectacular annual event that takes place in the
tiny town of Uniontown, Alabama. Phew!
In fact, I continued my internet search of “Uniontowns” and I found seven of
them across the United States. There’re, Uniontowns in; Alabama, Ohio,
Washington, Kentucky, Kansas and Arkansas. But take heart!
Uniontown, Pennsylvania dwarfs the others. We’re more than 12,000 residents
strong. The nearest most populace Uniontown (in Ohio) has only 2,800 residents.
And Uniontown, Kansas barely has enough people to get up a Footwashing - just
My friend GOOGLE tells me there are actually 11 Fayette Counties. There are
Fayette Counties in, Georgia, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee,
Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois. PLEASE NOTE: Uniontown, Alabama isn’t in
Fayette County, Alabama. It’s in Perry County.
Unfortunately, Fayette County, Pennsylvania is only the second largest Fayette
County in the country. According to the US Census Bureau, Fayette County,
Kentucky is the Fayette County Champion!
252, 333 people live there, compared to only about 150,000 living here.
The smallest Fayette County (from a population standpoint) is in Alabama. 18,495
Fayette Countians (or Countyites or something) live in Alabama.
And the wealthiest of all the Fayette Counties has got to be Fayette County
Georgia, which has an average household income of 91,000 dollars.
But we Fayette County residents don’t have anything to be ashamed of in the
famous natives, who’ve become famous public servants category.
GOOGLE tells me that Ronald Palmer of Uniontown was an US Ambassador to 3
countries. (Toga, Malaysia, Mauritius) Ambassador Palmer may have traveled the
world, but I take special pride in knowing his earliest days were spent on the
little street where I grew up - Baker Alley! “I had been told by teachers and my
parents that in America I could be anything I wished to be with hard work”, says
Palmer – whose earliest memories were during the end of the Great Depression.
“America was the land of opportunity. There was discrimination against blacks,
but it could be overcome."
I've also found that David Morgan Bane of Uniontown had been the US Ambassador
to Gabon between 1965 and 1969.
Philander Chase Knox of Brownsville got around a lot too! He was a US Attorney
General, a US Secretary of State, a US Senator and a candidate for President!
I’ve found a surprising number of Fayette County, Pennsylvania natives have gone
off to become Governors in other parts of the country! Six, in seven places!
Thomas Ford of Uniontown became the Governor of Illinois in 1842; Two years
later, Morecai Bartley became the Governor of Ohio; Mt. Pleasant’s own Joshua G.
Newbold left Fayette County and became the Governor of Iowa in 1877; John
Alexander Martin of Brownsville was elected Governor of Kansas in 1885; William
Carr Lane, also from Brownsville, was named Governor of New Mexico Territory in
1852; but the Fayette County, Pennsylvania king of the Governors (I made that
up) has to be John Henry Kinkead! Whenever he left his native Smithfield he
probably had no idea he’d be the head of state of two states. He became the
Governor of Nevada in 1879. Then he headed to Alaska, where he became the
Governor of the Alaska District in 1884!
And that brings us to Fayette County’s most honored public servant and some
stuff you may know and some stuff you may not know. George C. Marshall. Nobel
Peace Prize recipient (1953); Freemason; US Secretary of State; US Secretary of
Defense; Time Magazine’s Man of the Year! (Not once, but twice); Featured on the
cover of Time magazine 4 times; Loved to ride his bicycle from Uniontown to
Brownsville when he was a kid; he used to march his classmates around the
playground making them perform military drills during recess when he was in
grade school down on Church Street. Thanks GOOGLE!