Fayette County has always had a rich sports history. If one were to visit the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame located here in the Uniontown Library they would learn about the varied accomplishments by many talented men and women. Basketball, in particular, has been a powerhouse sport in the area.
Being alumni of Uniontown High School, my first thoughts are to the glory years of UHS basketball, teams like the 1962, 1964,and 1981 Uniontown men’s teams. The alumni of Laurel Highlands probably remember the 1968 men’s team, while those from Geibel reminisce about the 1978 men’s team or the 1993-1996 women’s dynasty teams. However, long before all of these great teams there was the one that started it all. The 1925 Uniontown men’s basketball team was the first to inspire and unite the area with its dominance on the court.
There was some discussion last week on the Fayette County Historical Society’s excellent Facebook page about Uniontown’s centennial celebration. I knew we had relevant artifacts here in the PA Room, so I thought I’d look into the history of the event.
First, to clear something up: While lots were drawn for Beeson’s Town in 1776, our borough was not formally established until 1796. Hence, the 1896 Centennial.
We weren’t 20 years late for our own party. Phew.
Map of the original Beeson’s Town lots, printed in the July 4, 1896 edition of the Daily News Standard.
Visitors often ask whether I’ve done my own family history, and it’s always embarrassing to give the answer: “No, actually. Not to any serious extent.” I have a number of excuses lined up if the questions persist.
Well, most of my ancestors didn’t immigrate here until around 1900. I can’t go back too far until I hit records in languages I can’t even understand.
I just haven’t had the time to pursue it yet, but I want to.
I’m more interested in others’ stories than my own.
All of these things are true, but I have another reason for neglecting my genealogy that I have a hard time admitting aloud: “Right now, I don’t have the heart for it.”
In little over five years, I’ve lost all of my grandparents and a number of other close relatives. Their houses — the places I considered second homes — belong to other people now. I feel their absence keenly and whenever I delve into a bit of personal research, I’m reminded that eventually we only exist in memory, paper, and stone.
And so I put the research off, even though I really should know better.
Maybe you’re in a similar spot. But even if you don’t have the time, interest, or heart to dive into a full genealogical quest, there are some easy things you can do over the holidays to preserve your family history.
Halloween has come and gone — my favorite holiday by far! Yesterday I sat at the PA Room’s desk, dressed in full pirate regalia and eager to scare any kids who wandered too far from the confines of the Children’s Library. (Actually, I had candy for them. But they still seemed to be afraid of me.)
It was a quiet day, so I delved into the microfilm to learn about how Halloween was celebrated by locals in the past. The following article appeared in the Daily News Standard on October 31, 1898 and described a particularly disruptive Mischief Night:
Daily News Standard, October 31, 1898.