In the Feb. 11 Peeking into the Past, we cited a 1953 Sunday Dispatch article that listed the brave Pittston area men who had been awarded the Carnegie Medal of Honor. We received a call from former Pittston resident Robert (Wilson) Moser of Valencia, FL who told us of the heroism of his grandfather Jesse A. Wilson for which Wilson was awarded the medal. Wilson, 23, a stationary fireman, rescued 2-year-old Joseph A. Duffy from a burning building in Pittston on July 16, 1909. Breaking a window, Wilson got into the home and entered a room which was engulfed in flames; there he encountered Duffy. Wilson picked up the child, whose clothing was ablaze and carried him to the window and dropped him outside. Nearly overcome by the smoke and heat, Wilson staggered backward but somehow recovered and jumped out the window. Wilson’s hands were badly burned. Unfortunately, in spite of Wilson’s valiant effort, the child passed away two hours later. Thank you, Bob, for sharing that information with us so that we may add your grandfather Jesse Wilson to our list of Pittston-area Carnegie Medal of Honor heroes.
1948 – 70 YEARS AGO
Joe Boley, of the Philadelphia Athletics, offered to send Scouts from the Major League team to watch teenagers in Pittston city league play. Teams were fielded from each section of the city, creating inter-community rivalries and generating more interest. The 1947 league operated six clubs with Hughestown Panthers taking top honors. The team was awarded a trip to New York City. The Philadelphia Athletics existed from 1901 until 1954 when the team, after being sold in 1954, moved to Kansas City. With several division pennants and two World Series wins, The Athletics had been named “Philadelphia’s most successful sports franchise.”
1958 – 60 YEARS AGO
Six young women of the Mercy Hospital School of Nursing received their nurse’s caps during a candlelight service at St. Aloysius Auditorium. At the conclusion of the ceremonies, Shelia McTigue and Eileen Hoban, both of West Pittston, Jackie Kearney, of Wyoming, Mary McGuire, of Inkerman, Lorraine Sadonick and Mary Marcavage, both of Exeter, recited the pledge of fidelity. In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale designed the nurse’s uniform which included the cap. In the United States, the use of caps in medical facilities had all but disappeared by the late 1980s and a more unisex uniform was adopted with the increased influx of men entering the field.
1960 – 58 YEARS AGO
Mary Hollaran and Edward Novakowski were chosen as king and queen of the annual Valentine Dance sponsored by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at St. Rocco’s Church in Pittston. They were crowned by the prior year’s recipients of the titles, Carmella Puma and Louis Scarantino.
The Second Presbyterian Church on Parsonage Street initiated a building fund and land purchase drive in order to obtain a location to establish a school. Members of the church committee were Don Ciavarella, Fred Demech, Carmen Uritz, John Anderson, Matthew Martinelli, Fred Galasso, Michael Dabbieri, Daniel Kozlosky, Thomas Devlin, George Mancini, Sam Maira, Frank DeVirgilio, Paul Havrilla, Rinaldo Lucarelli and Frank Ferrara.
1964 – 54 YEARS AGO
The Pittston Hospital Nurses Alumnae Association planned its annual Spring Frolic. Members of the committee were Mary Forlenza, Ursula Burke, Margaret Borzell, Annette Bilbow, Mary Cook, Catherine Naples, Gertrude Shaktus, Joan McFadden, Betty Milazzo, Grace Cosgrove, Theresa Labashousky and Gloria Watson.
The West Pittston High School Key Club celebrated its seventh anniversary at an event held at the high school. The club, sponsored by the Kiwanis International, was formed in 1957. Composed of young men from the sophomore, junior and senior grades, the club’s aim was to improve the community through service. Key Club International was founded in 1925 and Kiwanis International sponsored many of the first associations. The club started admitting female students in 1977.
1972 – 46 YEARS AGO
The Duryea Scuba Search and Rescue Team celebrated one year of service. The team was established in 1971 and consisted of a group of men who, from their personal accounts, spent $2,700 to purchase diving equipment. The organization received its charter of incorporation soon afterward. The team became a member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Volunteer Firemen’s Federation. Today, the Germania team, based in Duryea, is the only scuba and water rescue team operating in Luzerne County.
1976 – 42 YEARS AGO
An article in the Dupont news section of the Sunday Dispatch answered the question, “Who owned the first automobile in Dupont Borough before its 1917 incorporation?” The article quoted a reliable source as providing the following information: John Benedict drove the first car in 1898. Benedict owned a blacksmith shop at the rear of 606 Main St. The Strucke family owned and operated a 1912 Model T and Peter Kulick reported that his family who resided on Quality Row purchased a 1913 Maxwell from Ziegler’s Garage. By 1914, Maxwell Corporation was ranked as the #3 automaker. After World War I, Maxwell wound up in serious financial trouble. Walter Chrysler bought enough shares in Maxwell to take control of the company.
1988 – 30 YEARS AGO
Cindy Czerniakowski made history at Pittston Area by being the first junior basketball player in the school’s history to reach 1,000 career points. Cindy turned in 30 points in a game against Wyoming Area.
Wyoming Area Lady Warriors swim team members Theresa Shimko, Rhea Piccirilli, Laura Dennis and Cindy Butcofski brought home gold medals in two events in the District II swimming championships. The team, coached by Susan Cavanaugh, came in third overall.
1996 – 22 YEARS AGO
Wyoming Area students finished a reading unit on famous disasters. Anthony Shulde, Joseph Maheady, Nathan Williams, Timothy Hoban, Sam Orlando, Derek Thomas, Amanda Locascio, Stephanie Molenda and Matthew Saporito studied the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii in 70 A.D. Deidre Filchak, Kirby Kunkle, Jessica Malone, Marissa Gilligan, Deanna Verdine, Jennifer Naylor, David Seitzinger, Christina Aquilina, Justin Sciandra and Kaitlyn Thomas read about one of the most unusual disasters in history, the Boston Molasses Explosion of 1919. The event occurred on a hot summer day in Boston as a giant tank filled with molasses stored by the United States Industrial Alcohol Company ruptured, emptying its entire contents. The sugary syrup used in the manufacture of rum flooded the streets. Twenty-one people were killed and many more injured as an eight-foot wall of two and a half million gallons of the sticky substance poured into the street, pulling buildings from their foundations and covering unsuspecting victims. City residents say that on particularly hot days, the smell of molasses can still be detected in the air.
This day in history
1791 — President George Washington signs a bill creating the Bank of the United States.
1804 — Thomas Jefferson is nominated for president at the Democratic-Republican caucus.
1815 — Napoleon leaves his exile on the island of Elba, returning to France.
1836 — Samuel Colt patents the first revolving cylinder multi-shot firearm.
1862 — Confederate troops abandon Nashville, Tennessee, in the face of Grant‘s advance. The ironclad Monitor is commissioned at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
1865 — General Joseph E. Johnston replaces John Bell Hood as commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee.
1913 — The 16th Amendment to the constitution is adopted, setting the legal basis for the income tax.
1926 — Poland demands a permanent seat on the League of Nations council.
1928 — Bell Labs introduces a new device to end the fluttering of the television image.
1976 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states may ban the hiring of illegal aliens.
1841 — Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French painter and founder of the French Impressionist movement.
1888 — John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State to President Eisenhower.
1917 — Anthony Burgess, English writer (A Clockwork Orange).
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