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Category:  Did You Know?
Published:  May, 2009

Did You Know? (Monaghan Part 3)

By 1930, long before his famous demise, the name Frank Monaghan had became a household name in Uniontown. Many people thought of him as merely being a shrewd businessman and a property owner.

While others knew him by the frequency in which he found himself in highly publicized troubles with the law.

To re-cap, he’d been forced to get out of the cigar business in 1917, after he’d sold “Monaghan Cigars,” despite the fact that there was a company that had trademarked the name – and Frank Monaghan nothing to do with that company. In 1920 he was arrested for bootlegging and he served only a portion of his one year sentence.

He’d been involved in a series of traffic accidents including two in 1926 and one in 1927. After serving a jail sentence for the 1927 accident – he was arrested for driving his car while his license was revoked in early 1929. He’d also been arrested after a wild shooting spree in 1926.

At the same time, Monaghan’s son, Frank, Jr. had gained a more welcomed form of fame. His fame, of course, could be found on the Society and Locals pages, not on the front page.

He’d simply become one of Uniontown’s favorite sons after graduating from Uniontown High School with high honors; excelling at Cornell University; and becoming a Rhodes Scholar.

It seemed, for awhile, that every time his father would make the headlines for his excesses, he would make headlines for some new honor. In February of 1929, after Frank, Sr. was arrested for driving on a revoked license, two months later, on April 22nd, Frank Monaghan, Jr., got another glowing local mention. He was heading to France with a scholarship to the prestigious Sorbonne University in Paris.

He would be leaving on September 12th. On February 3rd, 1930, the Morning Herald reported that Frank, Jr. would be compiling a record of the “hundreds of Frenchmen who traveled to the United States.” It would be the first of several books written by Frank, Jr.

In February of 1933, Frank, Jr. was busily compiling another book according to the Morning Herald.

At the time he was on the faculty of New York University and as part of his doctoral studies, he was preparing a biography of the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, John Jay.

It would be a book that gained a number of positive notices. So much so, that the Morning Herald reported that, “Eminent book reviewers have recommended this biography worthy of consideration for the Pulitzer Prize award.”

But before that, in August of 1933, “Dr.” Frank Monaghan, would accept a professorship at Yale University and continue his writing. He would later publish a serious history of the life Captain Kidd.

In June of 1934, it was Frank Monaghan, Sr. back in the headlines. He’d been the victim that time. It was reported that Monaghan “may lose sight in his right eye” after he’d been hit with a barrage of bricks in a Peter Street brawl with John Smalley.

On Saturday, September 22nd, 1934, Frank, Sr. was involved in yet another serious traffic accident. He’d rammed his car into one driven by Mrs. Teddy Genovese of Uniontown. It would be nearly two years before he would face the charges of assault and battery in that case.

On July 26th, 1936, it was Frank, Jr.’s turn to gain local headlines. He’d been made director of history and research for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. But even more importantly, he’d been accorded the highest honor given by the government of France – The Legion of Honor. His was the first Legion of Honor given to a Uniontown native. Years later, Gen. George C. Marshall’s would be the second.

On September 11th, less than two months after the announcement of Frank, Jr.’s honor, his father was found guilty in the 1934 traffic accident. After he’d heard the verdict in the case, he was quoted as saying, “I will never serve a day in jail.”

That same night, while Monaghan’s car was viewed swerving along Route 119 near Hogsett’s Cut, he was pulled over by County Detective John Wall and District Attorney James A. Reilly.

Because Monaghan had apparently been drinking heavily, he was ordered into the back seat of the County Detective’s car.
He pulled a knife and then slit Wall’s throat. He was later arrested and taken to the Fayette County Courthouse.

On September 12th, 1936, readers of the Morning Herald opened their newspapers to read the following headline: FRANK MONAGHAN, HELD AS ASSAILANT OF JOHN WALL, DIES IN COUNTY BUILDING.