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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  August, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

Did you know that some outdated laws in Uniontown were once the source of front page news in other parts of the country?

On March 17th, 1906, the San Antonio (Texas) Gazette took a close look at Uniontown’s “queer” Blue Laws.

San Antonio’s newspaper readers awoke that Saturday morning to discover a large article (complete with pictures) that detailed how Uniontown “Has some queer old statutes – and they are enforced on Sunday.”

The crimes? People were operating their businesses on Sundays. That didn’t sit well with the “young and ambitious” District Attorney – Thomas H. Hudson. Hudson had decided he’d enforce the ancient laws to their fullest extent.

That meant, according to the article, every Monday morning there would be scores of arrests accompanied by hundreds of dollars worth of fines levied throughout the city.

A “small army” of detectives were dispersed in order to keep track of the violators.
In the meantime, an Italian merchant, George Boulas, resisted the DA’s assault on Sunday business operations. He stayed open. He’d also paid $100 fines for more than a month – for each Sunday he stayed open.

There were a few other storekeepers who found a creative way to retaliate.
It seems Hudson was also the attorney for the B & O Railroad. So, a group of citizens took delight in turning in railroad employees who’d spent Sundays operating trains.

The tattling produced 19 arrests and fines. Hudson paid the fines, but vowed to continue his crusade.
Did you know I’m sincerely heartened when I’m sent an email from a reader who has first hand knowledge of one my “Did You Knows?”
81 year-old Joe Angell of New Salem is one of those readers. He recently sent me an email that corrected a couple of my items.
“Did you know,” Mr. Angell asked, “Congressman Snyder’s first name was (really) Buell?”
NOTE: A few weeks back, I’d written that WMBS Radio was named in honor of Snyder’s wife, Marian, in 1937. That Marian Buehler Snyder’s initials were used to make-up the call letters WMBS. However, I’d written the congressman’s first name was Buehler – which was really his wife’s middle name.
Mr. Angell was also on target when he wrote, “The Franks, mother Irene and daughter Wanda attended Georges Twp. High at York - not German.”
I’d inadvertently said the mother and daughter students and aspiring majorettes had gone to the wrong school. Mr. Angell should know. “I sat beside them for three years,” he wrote.
While on the subject of WMBS Radio, did you know that while our “local station” is still going on those popular remote broadcasts in 2008, the very first remotes they conducted were at a Uniontown store which made very creative use of the station’s new call letters?

On the first day WMBS began broadcasting, Wright-Metzler Company of Uniontown advertised Wright-Metzler Broadcasting Service in Uniontown’s newspapers.

“Tune in to WMBS, 1420 kilocycles, and listen to the first regular broadcast from the Friendly Store,” said the ad placed on July 15th, 1937 in the Uniontown Morning Herald.

Did you know that when Fayette County women take a stand, sometimes they can gain national and even international headlines?
First, the Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald reported on December 16th, 1938 that a Brownsville teacher stood her ground in her fight to keep her job and won.

Mrs. Susan Edwards had gotten married before the 1938 school year began. The Brownsville School Board refused to allow her to teach, because there’d been a rule against married teachers.

Edwards went to work for four months anyway. She’d show up for school, sat in a “tiny” office and read during the school day. Finally, in December the school board relented and announced it was letting Edwards teach again.
11 years later, in June of 1949, a group of a hundred Uniontown women prevailed in a battle against Uniontown’s city fathers.

The women set-up pickets outside of the city’s garbage disposal plant. They were protesting the odors caused by burning trash there.

According to the Oakland (California) Tribune on June 16th, the “irate housewives” forced city fathers to throw up a “white flag,” when they decided they’d level the trash dump and exterminate the nearby invading rats.

Did you know that a statement Andrew Jackson once made in Brownsville caused quite a stir nationwide, because it pointed out a very serious bit of political shenanigans in the election of a president?

It’s true and I’ll elaborate on it next week.