Did You Know?
By Al Owens
Did you know that a cowboy legend once chose Uniontown as a place to round up
one of his trusty steeds?
Tom Mix, who’d starred in a reported 336 movies, made a famous stop in Uniontown
The purchase of a horse made national news with the following United Press
International notice: “Tom Mix, cowboy hero of the movies, came to the heart of
the coal industry recently and bought a horse.”
Locally, though, the Uniontown Daily News Standard simply reported on its April
14th front page that, “Tom Mix had to come to Evans Manor to buy a hoss. Tell
that one to Ripley.” (Ripley’s Believe it or Not)
Mix, by the way, was no stranger to these parts. He was raised in Dubois, Pa.
Did you know that a seven year-old Uniontown resident once got his picture on
the front page of a Wisconsin newspaper, after he got “fired” from a job?
The August 13th, 1938 edition of the Stevens Point Daily Journal pictured young
Richard Lee Malone with his shovel and a lunch pail. He had recently joined the
ranks of the unemployed.
As it turns out, he was too young to have been employed in the first place. Yet,
the local office of the WPA (Works Progress – and later Projects -
Administration) had somehow listed him as a worker – and then assigned him to a
When Malone didn’t show up for work, for obvious reasons, he was sent a letter
requesting the reason for his absence. The next letter he got was a letter of
But that didn’t end the WPA’s correspondences. A few days after Malone was
officially fired, he got a check for $6.54 – for 13 hours of work he’d never
Did you know that a former U.S. president once drove through Uniontown on his
way back to Washington?
The Panama City (Florida) News reported on June 22nd, 1953 that former President
Harry Truman and his wife drove through Uniontown on his way over the
Alleghenies to Cumberland, Hagerstown and Frederick, Md. – before reaching
Truman handled the two day drive from Independence, Mo. himself. According to a
reporter, he was dressed in shirt sleeves and said he wasn’t going to do any
work while he was in Washington. He was just going to have a couple of meetings
about the Truman Library.
Did you know that a teacher in the Albert Gallatin school district once got her
picture in newspapers around the country, simply by reading a bible to her first
Mrs. Jessie Clark was pictured in the March 26th, 1969 edition of the Oakland
(California) Tribune, with bible in hand, defying the 1963 Supreme Court ruling
that prohibited the recitation of bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public
Clark was following the wishes of the Albert Gallatin school board, which had
voted unanimously to mandate the reading of the bible and the salute to the
Students who wished not to engage in the bible reading exercise, the article
said, would be excused.
Did you know that a 12 year-old got hauled before a Uniontown justice for
throwing rocks, and the case made nationwide news? Not because of the incident
alone, but because of what happened during the case.
The La Crosse (Wisconsin) Tribune reported in its August, 12th, 1912 edition
that a case had been made against a 12 year-old, because he’d allegedly thrown
rocks that seriously injured a citizen.
However, the case was thrown out, because when the accused appeared in court, it
was revealed he had no hands.
Did you know that the same paper, the La Crosse Tribune, had carried another
rather odd story involving Uniontown just weeks earlier?
In that story, which was published on August 27th, it was reported that a
Uniontown preacher was being “starved out” by his board of trustees, because
he’d done nothing worse get telephone service from the “wrong” telephone
It seems, the Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church had executives of two rival
telephone companies in its congregation.
The preacher, Rev. Stanley V. Bergen, chose one company over the other when he
decided to get a telephone in his house. There were more members of the church
belonging to the company that wasn’t chosen. Suddenly, the preacher found
himself in the middle of a church war.
He later gave a sermon titled, “Daniel in the lion’s den,” that didn’t sit well
with church elders, especially since more than 50 people walked out.
They told the young preacher he wouldn’t get anything from the church, until he
agreed to resign.
Did you know that the once common practice of putting your hard earned cash in a
sock, once backfired, and earned a Uniontown resident national attention?
That once happened, and I’ll fill you in on the details next week.