In 1948, for what did the publisher of the Sunday Dispatch feel the need to apologize to its readers?
1948 – 70 YEARS AGO
It took all of five minutes for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in a landslide vote to choose Bucky Harris to receive the Bill Slocum Memorial award for his long service to baseball. Stanley “Bucky” Harris was raised in Pittston by his brother Merle after their father abandoned the family. Although working as a Breaker Boy, Harris’ love of baseball was obvious. He went on to play in the minor leagues until he was signed to the Washington Senators in 1919. After having a successful career in the majors, he went on to manage the Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. Harris died in Bethesda, Maryland, on his 81st birthday, and is buried at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Hughestown.
The Sunday Dispatch came into temporary possession of a Pittston area directory published in 1890. The information given in the 390-page booklet was too immense to publish, but the Dispatch gave some interesting facts regarding the area. In 1890, the population of the Greater Pittston area was listed as 26,500 divided as follows: Pittston Borough, 12,096; West Pittston, 5,091; Avoca, 2,448; Duryea, 979, Exeter, 801; Hughestown, 1,071; Cork Lane, 659; Browntown, 621; Sebastopol, 423; Inkerman, 549; Port Griffith, 765; and Yatesville, 297. The borough had two daily newspapers in 1890. John F. Collier and T.S. Loftus published the Pittston Daily Times from offices at 112 S. Main St. Michael Battle was listed as circulation collector and “carrier boys” were listed as William Gibbons, Thomas Mitchell, William Kearns, Leo Lavin, Frank Lavin, James Foster, Richard Marin, Frank Conlan, John Davies, Joseph McCawles, Edward O’Boyle, Patrick Delaney, Frank Craig, John Gibbons, Frank Battle, William Collier, William Gordon and Peter McAndrew. The Evening Gazette was the other daily newspaper which also published a weekly. Theodore Hare Jr. was “proprietor” and the office was at 18 N. Main St., The paper was delivered by Thomas Garrity, George Williams, Leo Walsh, John and William McKaig, William Searle, Edgar Probyn, William Evans, Arthur Dietrick, William Morris, Charles Hoyt, Harry Potter, William Thomas, David Daniels, Michael Gannon and Martin Lintern.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch published the following account written by Mrs. John Baloga, of Port Griffith, whose husband was one of the 12 miners entombed as a result of the Knox Mine Disaster on Jan. 22, 1959.
“God has given us a tremendous cross to bear in life. It was good to know that we had courage. God is never lacking in supplying us with the graces we needed. For some important reason, God wished to have him at that time of the Knox Disaster.
I cannot understand these things. Maybe he was more prepared to die at that time than he ever was or ever would have been, and maybe he is in a better position to help me in my life to come. Only God knows these things. His ways are difficult to understand at times, very difficult.
It is hard for the heart to bear about not giving him a decent burial. Yet there is always one consolation, that one day we will all rise, whole and entire, from our graves to meet our Creator. The fact that he lies somewhere beneath the earth will make me think more of his departure than if he were already laid in a regular formal grave, and the only thing that will help him most now is prayer and lots of prayer. The greatest thing we can do for him at this time is to comfort him with our prayer and beg God to bless him in a most special way, and all others who were involved in that terrible Knox Disaster.
We pray every day for all and will continue to have faith and patience. God will see things through for me and my children. We will always miss him. “
A testimonial dinner was held at the Pittston High School for Carnegie Medal winner Amadeo Pancotti. Judge Bernard Brominski spoke to those attending and William Dworske was the toastmaster. Pancotti of Exeter was awarded the Carnegie Foundation medal on Aug. 30, 1959 for the part he played in the rescue of 32 fellow workers after the Knox Mine collapsed on Jan. 22, 1959.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
Captain James F. Watson, U.S. Army of West Pittston, was awarded the air medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters at a ceremony held in the Republic of Vietnam. Watson piloted an army aircraft in at least 75 combat operation missions in hostile territory under enemy fire displaying the “highest order of Air Discipline,” as was stated in an accompanying citation.
1965 – 53 YEARS AGO
The Girl Scout cookie sale was going strong in 1965. More than 800 girls were enrolled in Community Association 14 and selling cookies throughout the area. The cookies sold for 50 cents a box; proceeds would help develop area summer camps to enable area girls to share experiences and ideas. Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America in 1912, after a life-long commitment to scouting; she passed away Jan. 18, 1927. There are many websites that rank favorite to the least favorite cookie, all vary in what is considered the most desired for a tasteful guilty pleasure.
Coast Guard Cadet Stanley Winslow, of Pittston, participated in the Presidential Inauguration Ceremonies for Lyndon B. Johnson, marching in the Inaugural parade on Jan. 20, 1965. Lyndon Johnson assumed the office of President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson took 44 of 50 states in the subsequent election in 1964.
1985 – 33 YEARS AGO
Army Reserve Sergeant and Exeter Council President Joseph Coyne was chosen to march with the Honor Guard in President Ronald Reagan’s inaugural parade. Coyne, who was awarded the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award by the U.S. Army Reserves 402nd Military Police Unit, was one of 89 officers traveling to Washington D.C. Coyne had already met four presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Carter and looked forward to possibly meeting President Reagan. He was proud to represent the people of Exeter.
Charles Atwell, Deno Chiavacci and Joe Byank, all of Pittston, attended the 38th reunion of the 166th Signal Photo Company, U.S. Third Army. The three veterans, along with several other members of the group, shared memories of their time in the Corp serving in the 89th division under General Patton in World War II. The men served bravely on the front lines, taking pictures for military use during the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe Campaigns.
In 1948, the offices and the plant of the Sunday Dispatch moved to the lower floor of the Kehoe Building located at the corner of South Main and Dock Streets. Publisher John Kehoe apologized to Sunday Dispatch readers for the abbreviated form of the paper due to the move and promised the following week’s issue would include all the suburban columns and features the readership had come to expect, claiming, “The Dispatch will not bow to any paper from any city in quantity or quality.”
This day in history
1915 — The U.S. Coast Guard is founded to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.
1915 — The German navy attacks the U.S. freighter William P. Frye, loaded with wheat for Britain.
1921 — Albert Einstein startles Berlin by suggesting the possibility of measuring the universe.
1932 — The Japanese attack Shanghai, China, and declare martial law.
1936 — A fellow prison inmate slashes infamous kidnapper, Richard Loeb, to death.
1941 — French General Charles DeGaulle‘s Free French forces sack south Libya oasis.
1945 — Chiang Kai-shek renames the Ledo-Burma Road the Stilwell Road in honor of General Joseph Stilwell.
1955 — The U.S. Congress passes a bill allowing mobilization of troops if China should attack Taiwan.
1964 — The Soviets down a U.S. jet over East Germany, killing three.
1970 — Israeli fighter jets attack the suburbs of Cairo.
1986 — The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after liftoff.
Born this day
1693 — Anna “Ivanovna,” Tsarina of Russia
1706 — John Baskerville, inventor of the “hot-pressing” method of printing
1912 — Jackson Pollock, influential abstract expressionist painter
Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.