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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  September, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens

Did you know that a Uniontown jaywalker once made international news? In the February 10th, 1979 edition of the Pacific (Japan) Stars and Stripes, it was reported that a Uniontown man had been hit by a car while crossing the street.

He’d been rushed to the hospital in critical condition. However, his condition improved enough that local police advised him that he was being charged with jaywalking.

Did you know that it also made international news when a local sheriff tried but failed in his normal eviction duties?

This time, the Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada) Daily Free Press reported in its April 18th, 1891 edition that Fayette County Sheriff McCormick had set out to evict seven families a few days earlier, when he’d met with a bit of resistance.

He’d been successful with six of the evictions, but his plans hit a snag on the seventh. When he arrived at the home of a Trotter Works family, he was confronted by a crowd of striking miners and he was hit with hot water and hot coffee.

The head of the family rushed to Connellsville to press charges against the sheriff, but instead he got thrown in jail. Sheriff McCormick vowed the next time he’d attempt an eviction at rowdy home he’d be accompanied by a “large force.”

Did you know that during World War II a Uniontown man once served as the personal pilot for one of England’s top military men?

General Sir Bernard Montgomery (Monty) was the commander of England’s 8th Army when, according to the November 11th, 1943 edition of the Uniontown Morning Herald, Capt. Eustace H. Bane was chosen to pilot Montgomery’s personal aircraft from Italy to Cairo, Egypt.

Did you know that just ten days earlier the state of Pennsylvania was preparing to ration whiskey sales?

The Pennsylvania State Liquor Control Board was instituting the rationing of alcoholic beverages as a curb on limited supplies of them in advance of the holiday season.

The Morning Herald reported that day, that only Pennsylvania residents would be allowed to buy a “fifth and a pint” if they presented something called “Federal Ration Book Three” at state stores.

There were fines of up to $300 that would be imposed on violators of the rationing rules.

Did you know that a blind thief in Uniontown once made international news?

The Winnipeg (Canada) Free Press reported in its January 5th, 1953 that a 26 year-old blind man had hired two young men to assist him in robbing local stores.

Unfortunately for him, during one robbery, his two helpers saw police officers approach and they fled – leaving their “boss” in the lurch. He was arrested and he was sentenced to from three to 23 months in jail.

Did you know that the people of South Africa learned about the legal problems of three Fayette County commissioners and the county controller in 1943?

The June 19th edition of the Stars and Stripes carried the story of the three commissioners and the controller who were convicted of buying gasoline for four years without the benefit of a contract – or even a single bid.

It certainly wasn’t the only legal woes the commissioners had that year.

According to the Uniontown Evening Standard reported in March that a Grand Jury had ordered the commissioners and controller to repay $16,500 in fees as the result of a variety of charges.

Later that year, however, they were acquitted after only four hours of deliberations in a case of alleged conspiracy that had grown out of questionable payments to a local attorney.

Did you know that archeologists found an Indian burial ground near New Salem in 1939?

According to the September 9th edition of the Oakland (California) Tribune, archeologists from a group known as Pennsylvania Indian Research found the remnants of an ancient Indian civilization in burial mounds on Langley Farm.

The find included the remains of two adults, four children and a number of carved rocks with inscriptions on them.

Did you know that Uniontown City Council once called a halt to a stage production at Uniontown High School?

That really happened, and I’ll tell you all about it next week.