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|| Did You Know?
|| December, 2008
Did You Know?
Did you know that a Connellsville school student’s gum chewing led to an
incident which eventually led to a suspension of her principal and national news
The Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell (Montana) reported in its January 10th, 1940
edition that the principal at Connellsville Junior High School had been
suspended after he’d tried to discipline a 17 year-old for chewing gum while in
class – and then denying it.
That may have not been newsworthy, but the resulting incident revealed the
principal admitted, “I slapped her lightly.” He added, “I turned to go. She
landed a haymaker on my cheek. I thought the side of the building had caved in.
I slapped her face three or four times – both sides. She tripped over a chair
and sat down with a thump,” he concluded.
The student’s account of the fracas didn’t differ much from the principal’s,
except she volunteered, “I got in one good sock to the jaw and he turned pale.”
The school board, the newspaper reported, was still investigating the incident.
Did you know there may be something to that “history repeats itself” thing?
There were particularly tough economic times in 1820.
In February of that year, the Adams Centinel (Gettysburg, Pa.) provided a nearly
full page report on the state of the Pennsylvania economy after a committee
hearing held in the Pa. House of Representatives the previous month.
Petitions and statements had been entered into the record from around the state.
The inhabitants of Fayette County presented (in part) the following statement:
"The fictitious capital and boundless credit by banking, the almost universal
spirit of speculation, the prostration of manufacturers by the mistaken politic
of the national government, the luxuries and extravagance, and a reduction of
exports, have produced a long trail of calamities.”Later in the same petition it
read, “That many merciless creditors, not content with plunging unfortunate
debtors into the most abject poverty, frequently take from them the whole of
that property to themselves."
You’d have to wonder what the writers of that petition would think if they saw
today’s economic times – that were remarkably similar to those 188 years ago.
Did you know that the congregation of a church in Masontown once staged a
political protest that made headlines around the country? In the early spring of
1855 a Baptist church in Masontown was said to have had a congregation of
between three and four hundred members. However, according to the Republican
Compiler (Gettysburg, Pa.) on May 7th “nearly two hundred of the members left
the congregation because the pastor was found to be a Know Nothing.”
The term “Know-Nothing” was not a description of the pastor’s knowledge (or lack
of it). It meant it was alleged he belonged to the political movement known as
the Know Nothings – which fought against immigration by Irish Catholics.
The Known Nothing movement mostly ended a year later – in 1856.
Did you know that a Fayette County lawman once spent his days in a movie
theatre, and he was really going above and beyond the call of duty? It was
reported in the June 30th, 1946 edition of the Daily Capital News (Jefferson,
Mo.) that Fayette County Detective Lawrence Haggerty had been assigned to serve
a warrant on an “alimony dodger” who vowed to hide in a Uniontown movie theatre
until officers tired of their search.
Detective Haggerty claims he’d never seen so many movies in his life.
Did you know that sometimes we never fully understand the historic significance
of those people and places we’ve known about most of our lives?
That just could be the case with our own Fort Necessity. It’s true that it’s the
place of the very first military battle of this nation’s first president –
George Washington. Yet, there are those people who’ve visited that fort from
faraway places who’ve written about it quite emotionally. That’s how it affected
an unnamed writer for The People’s Press (Gettysburg, Pa.), when they recalled
their visit in April 15th of 1835. “My imagination became excited by the
surrounding objects,” they wrote. “The battle seemed to be fought over again
before me.” The writer then surmises that when the battle had been fought the
fort had been the “Ultima Thule” (beyond the borders of the known world) for
white civilization - just three quarters of a century before he visited it.
He wrote that the western boundary of the country had expanded a thousand miles
“towards (sic) the setting sun.” Then he wrote with great passion about what had
really taken place at Fort Necessity and beyond. “Standing amidst these ruins,
it requires but little exertion of the imagination to follow Washington from
this, his first field, down to the days of the Revolution, and through it until
you see him on the field of York-Town, humbling the pride of Britain, and
tearing the brightest gem from the Crown of her King.”
Personally, whenever I visit Fort Necessity, I just wonder where they’d put the
Did you know that one young Uniontown native had two grandparents serving in the
U.S. Congress – and at the same time? I’ll explain further next week.