“Three more bankers were sentenced to the penitentiary Saturday. The gentle practice of appropriating other people’s money is sometimes subject to slight discouragements.”

— The Morning Herald, 18 Jan 1909.

Stories in Stone: John Gallagher, Jr.

For all the inquiries about family history I get from visitors to the PA Room, I also field plenty of unusual questions about local history. One patron wondered where his uncle might have bought a Studebaker in Uniontown in the 1950s. (The Detweiler dealership, perhaps?) Another was trying to track down the name of the last man to be hanged for murder in the county. (Frank Wells, a century ago this year.)

Sometimes a single resource will cough up the answer you need. The Studebaker question, for example, was solved by a quick search through a Uniontown City Directory from 1950. But more often than not, you’ll have to do far more footwork.

“The fellow who wrote that ‘a woman’s only weapon is her tongue’ was evidently a bachelor, with no expert knowledge on the subject of pokers, broomsticks, and hatpins.”

— “A Married Man’s Musings.” Genius of Liberty, 5 Jan 1899: 2.

Judging (Year)Books by Their Covers

Ah, the most mundane of library tasks: “reading the shelves,” or going book by book and putting everything in order. A few weeks ago, after reading the general history and genealogy shelves in the room — yes, all of them — I decided that it was time to sort through our yearbooks.

The collection was reorganized last fall. At the time I was mostly concerned with updating the inventory and moving the more delicate volumes to the safety of the Rare Book Room. Now I could pay more attention to the design of the books, and when I did, I began to notice some patterns.

This Week In History: The McClelland House Fire, 1914

This segment features a news item from Fayette County’s past. This week we examine a story from the March 23, 1914 edition of the Daily News Standard.

This weekend marked one hundred years since the burning of McClelland House, a hotel that once stood on West Main Street in Uniontown. If you’re local, you may have noticed coverage of the anniversary in the Herald-Standard and even on area news stations — particularly with regard to a volunteer firefighter named Voight LaClair.

Book of the Month: Heroes All

This month I’ve chosen to feature Heroes All, a yearbook-style publication that contains photos and profiles of local men and women who served in World War II. While the book only encompasses North Union Township, South Union Township, and Uniontown, it’s still a valuable resource for genealogists and WWII buffs alike. The typical profile in Heroes…