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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  September, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

Did you know that a Fayette County man, John Weltrier, once applied for a patent on a perpetual motion device?
That may not seem unusual until you consider he’d tried to get that patent in 1886.

According to the October 10th, 1886 edition of the Galveston (Texas) Daily News, Weltrier thought he’d solved the age-old scientific mystery of how to set a machine in motion that would “go on forever,” and without any outside help.

That was 1886. In 2008, there is still no such device.

Did you know that in November of 1959, a group of local kids celebrated a national championship?

According to the November 9th, 1959 edition of the Uniontown Evening Standard, the 13 thru 15 year-old members of Uniontown’s state and national Teener League Baseball Championship team (from Uniontown VFW Post 47) were honored for their recent accomplishments.

On hand for the celebration were local dignitaries J.S. (Bus) Albright, Tod Trent (one of my heroes) and Uniontown Mayor Watson Sembower.

Future high school football and basketball star Ron Sepic was on that team. He was joined by Marshall Feldman. Feldman would later play baseball at Duquesne University.

He’s the father of Scott Feldman, who’s currently a Major League pitcher with the Texas Rangers.

Did you know that a state Governor got his first job in the printing office of a Fayette County newspaper?
I found that fact in the Alton, Sioux County (Iowa) Review dated Friday, August 21st, 1885.

The Review was running a series of in depth profiles of Western governors, which included Brownsville native John A. Martin.
Martin, who was born on March 10th, 1839, “was a mere lad” when he learned the printing trade in the office of the Brownsville Clipper.

That was many years before Martin was sworn in as the Governor of Kansas in 1881.

Did you know that a Fayette County man was so wealthy - he actually bought an entire town and then proceeded to kick everybody out of it?

The Hamilton (Ohio) Daily Democrat reported in its March 5th 1889 edition that Fayette County native (no town given) James Davis had arrived in Butler County Ohio in 1814.

Davis was apparently so good at his profession (no profession given) that he “prospered in his worldly possessions and now owns more real estate than any man in the county, 1,780 acres.”

But Davis didn’t stop at that. There was a nearby town – Spring Town – that was full of inhabitants he didn’t particularly like. So, he bought the entire town, and then he “got rid of the tenants.”

Did you know that old news saying that, “if a dog bites a man, that’s not news, but if a man bites a dog – that is news? And did you know that sometimes that saying isn’t always true?

The Thursday, August 29th, 1957 edition of the Huron (South Dakota) Huronite and Daily Plainesman published the story of a Uniontown man who’d been bitten by a dog. But fortunately for Alva Coffman it was the dog that died “shortly thereafter.”

Did you know that a Uniontown father and his son made a bit of history just by voting?
Between them, they’d voted for a presidential candidate in every election since the country was formed – a span of 116 years.

Not only that, it was a feat worth telling people across the country.

The Galveston (Texas) Daily News reported in its Saturday, October 24th, 1904 edition that 92 year-old Joseph Hayden was prepared to cast his vote for Alton B. Parker for president.

That would represent the 18th consecutive presidential vote for Hayden and his Revolutionary War veteran father – John Hayden.

The elder Hayden had actually voted for George Washington.
But his 92 year-old son’s voting resume didn’t always include winners. “I have voted for Polk, Cass, Pierce, Buchanan, Breckinridge, McClellan, Seymour, Greeley, Tilden, Hancock, Cleveland and Bryan,” he boasted to a reporter, despite having voted for far more losing candidates than those who did become president.

“It will be my pride to vote for Judge Parker and to continue to vote the Democratic ticket as long as I live,” Hayden proclaimed just a few days before he cast a vote for the man who lost that election to Theodore Roosevelt.

Did you know that a Uniontown man once stood toe-to-toe with a onetime world champion boxer – and won?
He did, and I’ll tell you who that was, and who he whipped next week.