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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  October, 2008

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 in 1937.

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 road detail.

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 termination.
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 performed.

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 Washington, D.C.

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 grade students?

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 schools.

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 American flag.

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 provider.

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.