Chapter Three Hundred-Twenty-Two


Four Trains Are Added

The production, “The Sign Of The Cross,” a melodramatic play adapted for the stage came to the Opera House and enjoyed a nice business to an audience that filled the lower part of the house with folks that liked this kind of entertainment but had no appeal for the gallery habituates only 128 of these applying to the box office for admission on the night of October 8, 1905.

The Baltimore and Ohio railroad announced four scheduled trains from Grafton to Buckhannon and Weston connecting with the regular trains over the Grafton and Belington divisions connecting with trains 204, 205, 206 and 207 at Tygart Junction. All four trains daily except Sunday, giving Buckhannon and Weston daily connection with through trains both east and west on the Baltimore and Ohio. 

Friends of Mrs. Sophia Doll were shocked at her sudden demise which occurred during s severe coughing spell that resulted in rupturing a blood vessel that brought on a hemorrhage that proved fatal, October 13,1905. Mrs. Doll, a widow for 20 years, came to Grafton in the 60s with the family of Manley Griffith and to support herself and her son Edgar, conducted a small confectionary in the old home of Thomas McGraw on Railroad Street and letter moved to the Swaim building on the same street and was one of the unfortunates whose business was swept away in the big fire of July 5, 1887. Later she took up nursing and for many years was occupied in caring for the sick in Grafton. Her remains were interred in Bluemont Cemetery. 

The famous strip comedy from the brush of R.F. Outcalt, entitled “Buster Brown” came to the Opera House October 24,1905, and as this comic strip then perhaps the most popular running through the newspapers of the nation and with a drawing power as great as many of the best known productions on the stage drew a very large house on the above evening and to one of the best paying houses of the theatrical season. 

Reid, Brown and Company at their place of business No. 1 East Main Street called attention to their time of merchandise in this third oldest store in Grafton. This frame store building was erected by Charles F. W. Kunst in 1859. Mr. Kunst who began his business career in the store of his father, G.H. A. Kunst at Pruntytown, and later established himself at Webster, came to Grafton in the above year and erected this old building still standing. He stocked the building with goods suitable to the needs of the time and for many years enjoyed a most prosperous trade until he was commissioned postmaster of Grafton in 1876. 

It would be interesting to know the many articles of merchandise that occupied the shelves, counters and floor of this 80-year-old storeroom many of which have long since been discarded their usefulness outmoded with the invention of many new articles that came into use with the passing of the years. 

Frantically all of the names of the first settlers were patrons of his store and curiously the names of George Glenn, Daniel Knight and William Reese, who figured in the episode of the Civil War in which Thornsbury Bailey Brown made the supreme sacrifice for the Union on that historic Thursday, May 22, 1861, Colonel George R. Latham, Grafton’s first school teacher and who organized the first company of soldiers for service for the Federal Government when the South threatened the dissolution of the Union, Captain Daniel Wilson, Latham’s second in command of the Grafton Guards who saw Brown slain at Fetterman while returning from Pruntytown on Federal Day; Charles Haffner who piloted the first train to Wheeling at the completion of the road from Grafton to Wheeling on January 1, 1853; Simeon Seigfreid publisher of the Grafton Guardian, the first newspaper established in Grafton; Joshua F/ Herr, first superintendent of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad; Conrad Engleheardt, whose locomotive was confiscated by the Confederates while driving his train over the Alleghenies and the engine dragged down the mountains to Winchester and used by the Confederates to move troops and supplies; Isaac Evans, who established the first tannery at Fetterman; Fredrick Bloom, who laid the old stone cobble surface on Main Street; Major R.C. Bates of the United States War department who superintended the removal of the bodies of the Union soldiers from Maple Avenue to the new National Cemetery, and George Hammond and Joseph N. Shaham members of the little drum corps that let the first march to the National Cemetery to observe the first organized memorial to memory of the Union soldiers interred in the new grounds on June 14,1868.

These all were customers listed on the ledgers of Mr. Kunst who were outstanding in their day. Many other occupied pages on his books all of whom were among the first settlers and had their own part in the history of the town.

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