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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  October, 2008

Did You Know?
By Al Owens
Did you know that an unwelcome wedding present in Uniontown once caused a bit of international news and sent a few youngsters to the local magistrate?

It seems that in January of 1933, a 65 year-old groom and his young wife had been given a serenade by members of the community. But that gesture of goodwill was punctuated with a live skunk that was thrown into the newlywed’s house.

The Lethridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald reported that the groom wasn’t exactly appreciative of the prank. That’s why seven people founded themselves arrested for disorderly conduct.

Did you know that another youthful prank many years later proved to be far more deadly?
The Nashua (New Hampshire) Telegram carried the May 10th, 1962 story of two youngsters who threw a railroad switch that resulted in the death of a crew member.

That 13 car train had been heading from West Brownsville to Uniontown at the time.

Did you know that decades earlier, in 1936, a Connellsville youngster began building a career that would lead him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame? And did you also know that I’m not talking about Connellsville’s Johnny Lujack?

In January of that year, that young man in question was taking part in Connellsville High School’s “Better English for C.H.S.” program, which was designed to help students learn, of course, better English.

The advanced English obviously paid off. By March, according to the Connellsville Daily Courier, he took first place honors in the county competition of the Pennsylvania Forensics and Arts League. What was his specialty? Extemporaneous speaking.
It was his first of many awards for such endeavors.
By May of that year, his elocution was sufficient enough to deliver Connellsville High School’s student speech as class president.

He’d later take his “extemporaneous speaking” talents to Pittsburgh, and then to CBS – where he’d perform the play-by-play for the first two Super Bowl games.

Ray Scott would spend most of the rest of his life using the same speaking skills he’d first honed in Connellsville.

In 2000, he was posthumously honored with Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

Did you know that a Uniontown paternity suit once made national news?

In June of 1931, the Uniontown Morning Herald reported that a jury had ruled against a man who claimed he hadn’t fathered a child out of wedlock. That came despite the new process of determining fatherhood – blood tests.

But in December of that year, the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Herald reported a Fayette County judge, S. John Morrow, granted the man a new trial – because the jury had disregarded the findings of those blood tests.
As it turned out, the man who’d pioneered the science behind blood typing, Karl Landsteiner, had won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (the official title of that award) the previous year.

The national attention given to the Fayette County case, perhaps, may have been due to just how new that technique was at the time.

Did you know that during the waning months of prohibition, a couple of Uniontown men made international headlines simply by driving through the city in a vehicle “piled high with liquor?”

In December of 1932, the Volstead Act (the law that made it illegal to manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, furnish or possess any intoxicating liquor) was not only becoming more difficult to enforce, but had increasingly grown out of favor with the American public.

The Lethbridge Herald reported in its December 6th edition that two apparent Uniontown bootleggers had been caught red handed.

When questioned about their lawbreaking activity, they told their disbelieving captors they had no idea the 200 gallons of liquor they were carrying really broke any laws. “Why we thought they’d repealed that Volstead business,” one of them announced before they were both hauled off to jail.

As it turns out, they were almost one year early – to the day. The Volstead Act was officially made unconstitutional on December 5th, 1933.

Did you know that a Uniontown man once found himself getting stuck in the mud – and that was worthy of national headlines?

That’s no tall tale. I’ll explain next week.