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|| Did You Know?
|| August, 2008
Did You Know?
By Al Owens
Did you know that some outdated laws in Uniontown were once the source of front
page news in other parts of the country?
On March 17th, 1906, the San Antonio (Texas) Gazette took a close look at
Uniontown’s “queer” Blue Laws.
San Antonio’s newspaper readers awoke that Saturday morning to discover a large
article (complete with pictures) that detailed how Uniontown “Has some queer old
statutes – and they are enforced on Sunday.”
The crimes? People were operating their businesses on Sundays. That didn’t sit
well with the “young and ambitious” District Attorney – Thomas H. Hudson. Hudson
had decided he’d enforce the ancient laws to their fullest extent.
That meant, according to the article, every Monday morning there would be scores
of arrests accompanied by hundreds of dollars worth of fines levied throughout
A “small army” of detectives were dispersed in order to keep track of the
In the meantime, an Italian merchant, George Boulas, resisted the DA’s assault
on Sunday business operations. He stayed open. He’d also paid $100 fines for
more than a month – for each Sunday he stayed open.
There were a few other storekeepers who found a creative way to retaliate.
It seems Hudson was also the attorney for the B & O Railroad. So, a group of
citizens took delight in turning in railroad employees who’d spent Sundays
The tattling produced 19 arrests and fines. Hudson paid the fines, but vowed to
continue his crusade.
Did you know I’m sincerely heartened when I’m sent an email from a reader who
has first hand knowledge of one my “Did You Knows?”
81 year-old Joe Angell of New Salem is one of those readers. He recently sent me
an email that corrected a couple of my items.
“Did you know,” Mr. Angell asked, “Congressman Snyder’s first name was (really)
NOTE: A few weeks back, I’d written that WMBS Radio was named in honor of
Snyder’s wife, Marian, in 1937. That Marian Buehler Snyder’s initials were used
to make-up the call letters WMBS. However, I’d written the congressman’s first
name was Buehler – which was really his wife’s middle name.
Mr. Angell was also on target when he wrote, “The Franks, mother Irene and
daughter Wanda attended Georges Twp. High at York - not German.”
I’d inadvertently said the mother and daughter students and aspiring majorettes
had gone to the wrong school. Mr. Angell should know. “I sat beside them for
three years,” he wrote.
While on the subject of WMBS Radio, did you know that while our “local station”
is still going on those popular remote broadcasts in 2008, the very first
remotes they conducted were at a Uniontown store which made very creative use of
the station’s new call letters?
On the first day WMBS began broadcasting, Wright-Metzler Company of Uniontown
advertised Wright-Metzler Broadcasting Service in Uniontown’s newspapers.
“Tune in to WMBS, 1420 kilocycles, and listen to the first regular broadcast
from the Friendly Store,” said the ad placed on July 15th, 1937 in the Uniontown
Did you know that when Fayette County women take a stand, sometimes they can
gain national and even international headlines?
First, the Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Herald reported on December 16th, 1938
that a Brownsville teacher stood her ground in her fight to keep her job and
Mrs. Susan Edwards had gotten married before the 1938 school year began. The
Brownsville School Board refused to allow her to teach, because there’d been a
rule against married teachers.
Edwards went to work for four months anyway. She’d show up for school, sat in a
“tiny” office and read during the school day. Finally, in December the school
board relented and announced it was letting Edwards teach again.
11 years later, in June of 1949, a group of a hundred Uniontown women prevailed
in a battle against Uniontown’s city fathers.
The women set-up pickets outside of the city’s garbage disposal plant. They were
protesting the odors caused by burning trash there.
According to the Oakland (California) Tribune on June 16th, the “irate
housewives” forced city fathers to throw up a “white flag,” when they decided
they’d level the trash dump and exterminate the nearby invading rats.
Did you know that a statement Andrew Jackson once made in Brownsville caused
quite a stir nationwide, because it pointed out a very serious bit of political
shenanigans in the election of a president?
It’s true and I’ll elaborate on it next week.