Harold Uptegraph was born in Verona, PA in 1913. His father was born in Freeport, PA and his mother, Sarah Wiley, who was born in Scotland died of pneumonia when Harold was 9 months old. Soon afterwards, he went to live with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Uptegraph near Paulton outside Apollo, PA. HIs grandfather was a coal miner He has recollections of walking to Apollo with his grandmother where she did her shopping.
He attended the North Washington school from elementary through high school. Always active in athletics, in high school he earned four letters in both football and basketball before graduating in 1928.
Shortly after graduation he went to Brownsville, PA and stayed with an aunt, Mary Ecker, and got a job with The American Store, a general mechandise business like the old A&P. Several years later he bacame an assistant manager at the American Store branch in the coal mining town of Millsboro.
His aunt, Mary Ecker, who was single, had moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where she bought a gasoline service station and restaurant and she asked Harold if he would come down there and help her with the station. He spent several years working there and enjoyed playing sandlot baseball with a local team.
When his grandmother died, Harold came back to Apollo for the funeral and decided to stay in the area. An aunt and uncle, Edna and Lavard Love took him in while he looked for work. He found a job at an Esso station in North Vandergrift which was operated by Bill Wissinger. At this time Harold married Ada Bash in 1940.
When Mr. Wissinger bought the South Bend store, the old D.B. Townsend house (now OMasta) and adjacent property from Harvey Hanna in 1942, he asked Harold to move there to work for him. An apartment was fixed up over the store and Harold and Ada moved in.
In 1942, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entry into World War II against Japan and Germany, our country went on a war footing until the war ended in 1945. All production of new cars was stopped as the auto manufacturers turned to producing tanks, jeeps and military trucks for the armed forces.
On May 14, 1942, Americans started to line up at schools to receive their Ration Book No. 1, limiting them to one pound of sugar every two weeks. Also the nation's 10 million auto owners started to received gasoline ration books limiting them to 25 gallons of gas per month.
Automobile tires were also rationed and the only new ones available were re-caps. Mr. Uptegraph recalls that they got all their recaps from Cessna Brothers in Indiana. Soon afterwards rationing extended to many items, including soap and coffee and meat and butter.
Throughout the country there were salvage drives to reclaim waste paper, aluminum, iron, tin cans and bones. Rubber drives collected old tires and rubber boots which could be recycled when the Japanese cut off the rubber supply in southeast Asia.
To save rubber, manufacturers were ordered to use less elastic in women's girdles. More women were now in the workplace replacing men in the service and it became common for the first time to see women in slacks.
In 1943 President Roosevelt ordered that all wages and prices be frozen at their present level to head off inflation, and he also mandated a national 48-hour work week to increase the war effort.
In the 1940s the store was heated with a pot-bellied stove set in the middle of the store. In the evenings local men would gather to talk to their friends at the store until it started to get dark.There were benches on both sides of the two counters. Some came by car, some by horse or horse and buggy.
The mill workers from U.S. Steel in Vandergrift would talk about how many tons of steel they produced that day and the farmers would talk about their crops and the weather.
Ken Boyer's mother supplied most of the eggs and butter sold in the store, which still had open cracker and pickle barrels. The South Bend postoffice was in the store and there were individual slots for each family's mail.
Always interested in sports, Harold started an adult baseball team in the South Bend area in the 1950s which competed in the Indiana County League.Some of the outstanding players were Max Smith, Harry Smith, the Shaffer brothers and Jim White. In the 1960s he started the first Little League team in South Bend and managed it for many years.
After his retirement from the store business in 1976, Harold and Ada moved to their trailer home on Orchard Drive where they enjoyed their retirement living. Harold now had more time to pursue his long-time hobby of woking on his coin collections.
Their son Jim had three children, Susan, Carolyn and Michael. Susan and Caroline have two children each, and Michael has three. His son Jim and all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren live in the general area and they enjoy visits together. Ada passed away in 1994 and is buried in the South Bend Cemetery.
Both Harold and Ada were long-time members of St. Jacob's church, starting when they moved to South Bend in 1942. Harold was an elder in the church and an active member of the church consistory.
For over forty years Harold was the volunteer treasurer and caretaker of both the new and old sections of the South Bend Cemetery until 2000 when he had a hip fracture and could no longer get around as well and he retired from the work. Don Altman of St. Jacob's took over the the position.
Since the passing of Ada, Harold has had the company of his dog, who likes to sit on the arm of his favorite chair with him. Still clear of mind and alert at 88, Harold still drives his car to Elderton and sometimes to Indiana for occasional shopping.