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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  December, 2008

Did You Know?

Did you know that a once blind Uniontown woman gained national attention after she’d regained her sight after 14 years?

On May 1tth, 1950 the Sedalia (Mo.) Democrat carried the picture of Uniontown’s Mary Franz, who’d mysteriously lost her sight when she’d given birth to her youngest son many years before.

She was shown smiling while she was looking at a picture of another son, with a caption that indicated doctors thought her restored sight must have been the result of a “dislocated cataract.”

Did you know that Pennsylvania’s schools were in such dire financial straits in 1936, there were fears Uniontown’s public schools might be forced to close their doors?

The Uniontown Morning Herald reported on April 11th that year that the school district only had $2.59 remaining in the school’s accounts, “with nearly $20,000 due for teacher’s salaries.”

Two days later it was report that the state would “donate” $25,000 to the school district with the condition it would float bonds worth $175,000. A few days earlier, though, one of the biggest news stories of the decade had taken place in Fayette County.

Did you know that a TWA passenger plane crashed on the hills over Uniontown (Chestnut Ridge) - killing 12 people on board? The Anniston (Ala.) Star reported on April 8th that the plane’s radio beam hadn’t been working properly before it crashed into the mountainside. The Morning Herald’s front page carried pictures of the crash site and of the stewardess who survived the tragedy, Nellie Granger, who staggered from the wreckage to a nearby farm house, and then returned to pull the other two survivors from twisted metal.

The victims were taken to Uniontown’s undertakers, while Granger – still in shock – related that the plane struck a tree just before crashing.

Did you know that on April 18th of that year, a Uniontown man’s own bit of heroism may have been the cause for his near death experience? The Morning Herald reported that Saturday that a loud argument broke out the previous day in a county court case involving a doctor’s bill.

Shortly after the verdict was issued in the case, the two adversaries approached each other with clinched fists and “loud tones.” They had to be separated with “force and vigor,” the article said, by the court’s crier Ray Wood. Wood’s swift actions that day averted a courtroom emergency.

Yet, on the same page the Morning Herald printed another story involving the same court crier.
“RAY WOOD IS STRICKEN IN COURT,” read the headline of that other story. He’d suffered an apparent heart attack while calling out jurors sometime after the near courtroom brawl. That article ended with the words, “He had apparently been in good health up to the moment of his attack.” A few days later, it was reported Wood was regaining his strength and was expecting a full recovery.

Did you know that violent crimes resulting from cocaine addition aren’t anything new?

From the New Castle (Pa.) News, the day following Christmas in 1922: “PHYSICIANS PREPARE FOR DOPE ROBBERS”

That headline topped a story about Uniontown’s doctors who were forced to take added measures to thwart “dope fiends” who’d been ransacking their offices for “coke” recently.

The doctors had clearly had enough. One, in fact, bragged that he’d sent one particularly aggressive “dope fiend” to the sanitarium – for treatment for a badly burned nose after he’d broken into his office.

The latest tactic employed by the doctors was to mix strychnine with cocaine, and then to invite the “marauders” to steal all they’d like.
There was no later report about how effective that tactic became.

Did you know that one Uniontown native had quite a slate of dedicated public servants she could brag about – if she’d only been old enough to brag at the time? The Marysville (Mo.) Daily Forum published a report on August 2nd, 1951 that three month old Kristie Lynn Cavalcante had already had two grandparents who’d served in the U.S. House of Representatives – and at the same time.
Her two grandfathers, Pennsylvania Representatives Frank Buchanan and Tony Cavalcante had served one term together in Congress.

What’s more, when Rep. Buchanan died, he was about to be replaced by his wife (and the little girl’s grandmother) – Vera Buchanan. That would make it three congressional grandparents for Kristie Lynn Cavalcante.

Did you know that one team from Uniontown High School won a tri-state championship – that may have been long forgotten?
I’ll refresh your memory next week.