PEEKING INTO THE PAST: Two halves of $5 bill hold sad tale for Dupont soldiers

Peeking into the past - By Judy Minsavage | April 14th, 2017 6:09 am


In 1948, to cover delinquent taxes owed to the city of Pittston, the Champ Brewery was up for sale. Of the many items listed in the company’s assets, what was the one item stored at the brewery that had an uncertain future?

1949 - 68 Years Ago

Pvt. Bernard J. Elko, of Exeter, was one of the high-scoring sharpshooters in his platoon at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot rifle range at Parris Island, SC. With a score of 209 out of 250, Elko won the silver Maltese Cross of the rifle sharpshooter. The Maltese Cross was one of the first designs used for the medal, but was later modified to hold the Marine insignia instead of a target at the center of the cross.

In 1949, two halves of a torn $5 bill were joined together after World War II. In 1943, Infantry Lieutenant Thomas Hoban and Corporal Peter Bish, U.S. Marines, both of Dupont, planned for their reunion after the war. Bish and Hoban, before embarking for overseas, decided to celebrate their last meeting with a bottle of liquor. Hoban insisted on paying his share, and offered a $5 bill. Bish tore the bill in half, keeping one half for himself and giving Hoban the other saying, “Tom, when we get back to the States we’ll meet at Bill Golla’s Café and have a good time with this $5 bill.” Hoban survived and returned in 1946, but Bish was a casualty of war, and his body was not returned until 1949. Hoban, upon hearing about Bish, returned to Golla’s Café to honor their planned reunion and showed Golla the torn bill. Bish’s uncle was a regular customer at the establishment and mentioned to Golla he’d received his nephew’s personal effects. In the soldiers wallet, Bish’s uncle found the other half of the bill. Golla arranged for a reunion between Hoban and Bish’s uncle and the two halves of the $5 bill were reunited.

Ann T. Gallagher, of Pittston Township, was offered the opportunity to try out for the All American Girls Baseball League. A graduate of St. John’s High School, Gallagher was to report to Allentown in hopes of getting a position on a team. Gallagher played second base and served as catcher in high school and college. The All American Girls Baseball League was founded in 1943 by Phillip Wrigley, owner of the Chicago Cubs and a group of businessmen. Major league parks across the country were in danger of closing with the loss of big league players induction into service during World War II. In operation until 1954, the girls league enabled over 600 women the opportunity to play major league ball.

1952 - 65 Years Ago

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked local men, “Do young ladies get all dressed up at Easter for their own pleasure or for the admiration of their friends?” Tom Dougherty, of Avoca, answered, “A certain percentage think strictly of themselves though I believe that a lady dresses to keep up to the minute.” Rudy Forlenza, of Pittston, added, “I think they get dressed up for others; more people go to church on Easter Sunday to let other people see what they’ve got in the line of new clothes.” Francis Mecadon stated, “Women like to dress up for Easter, but I don’t believe it’s necessarily because of either of those two reasons. They dress as well as they can.”

The East Anthracite Baseball League planned its season opener on April 15, 1952, the same date as the major leagues. League secretary Eddie Piorkowski announced opening day contests between Jenkins Township and Hughestown and Pittston Township and Moosic.

Gerald Hodick and George Fedor, of Duryea, reported to Laurinburg, NC as part of the Philadelphia Phillies farm team. Both pitchers, the boys were prepared to work hard. Both lads penned a poem in their spare time and requested it be published in the Sunday Dispatch.

Spring Training

The time is dragging past so slow. We really cannot wait

Until we know the place we’ll go, oh, can’t they set the date?

When we leave this town so fair and miss the robins call

To stop and go we know not where to play a game of ball.

For in this sport of fame and joy, there’s sorrow and there’s glee

And this is said by many boys, Oh Lord please hear our plea.

For in this game our heart and soul is shown with all our love

The only way to reach our goal is with guidance from above

1976 - 41 Years Ago

Some St. John’s High School students were asked by Jackie Berto and Mary Alice Wagner, school news contributors to the Sunday Dispatch, “What is the one thing you want to do before graduation?” Margi Gavigan answered, “Get back at certain underclassmen and get my license.” Mary Catherine Gilmartin stated, “Not to get detention again.” Dorothy Deluca added, “To make up my mind” and Marty Musto answered, “Take a trip to Berlin.”

Top 10 songs for April 1976

1. “Disco Lady” – Johnnie Taylor

2. “Let you Love Flow” – Bellamy Brothers

3. “Right Back Where We Started From” – Maxine Nightingale

4. “Lonely Night” – The Captain and Tennille

5. “Boogie Fever” – Sylvers

6. “Only 16” – Doctor Hook

7. “Sweet Love” – Commodores

8. “Dream Weaver” – Gary Wright

9. “Show Me the Way” – Peter Frampton

10. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen

Members of the Hughestown Bicentennial Commission Joyce Mecadon, Lynn Mustapich, Mary Lou Paglianite, Ronald Czerniakowski, John Costantini, Frank Trojnacki, Billy Kossuth, Richard Kossuth, Leonard Herbst, Joe Legg, along with Frank Walker, park and recreation board member; Tony Rubin, councilman; Sonny Hanczyc, street commissioner; Marie Griglock and Sara Walker, chairmen, planted trees in Robert Yaple Park to mark the nation’s 200th birthday.


What was to happen to 30,000 gallons of beer stored in the Champ Brewery vats was the question in 1948. The Brewery, formerly Glennon’s and later Liberty, was on the auction block for over $14,000 in taxes owed to the city of Pittston. Although city residents hoped the brewery would be sold in bulk to salvage jobs, the reality was that it would most likely be sold piecemeal, virtually ending the brewing company’s operation. The beer, which had been aging for “some time” remained on site. According to, the list of breweries located in Pittston included Peter Daily Brewery 1873 -1875; Armene Burschell Brewery, 1875-1878; H.R. Hughes & Co., 1878-1896; Pennsylvania Central Brewing Co., 1896-1906; Joseph H. Glennon, 1907-1920; Liberty Brewing Corp., 1933-1934; Pittston Brewing Corp., 1842-1946; Yankee Brewing, 1946-1948; Champ Brewing, 1948-1948.

This date in history:

1818 - The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot amendment to form an unarmed U.S.-Canada border.

1862 - Slavery is abolished in the District of Columbia.

1917 - Vladimir Lenin returns to Russia to start the Bolshevik Revolution.

1922 - Annie Oakley shoots 100 clay targets in a row, setting a woman’s record.

1945 - The destroyer USS Laffey survives horrific damage from attacks by 22 Japanese aircraft off Okinawa, earning the nickname “The Ship That Would Not Die.”

1945 - American troops enter Nuremberg, Germany.

1947 - A lens which provides zoom effects is demonstrated in New York City.

1968 - The Pentagon announces the “Vietnamization” of the war.

1972 - Two giants pandas arrive in the U.S. from China.
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Peeking into the past

By Judy Minsavage

Reach Judy Minsavage on Twitter @JudithMinsavage