Lewis Haymond, one of the most colorful figures in the political and mercantile history of Grafton, died in his apartment in the Ward Hotel, February 14,1900, a dependent of one of the oldest families of Taylor County, whose forebears fought in the Revolutionary War in the struggle for liberty.
John Haymond, father Lewis Haymond, born in a fort in West Virginia where the family had sought sanctuary against the Indians raids in the 1770s, after attaining his majority married and settled on the waters of Wickwire and reared a family of six sons and three daughters.
Lewis Haymond, born April 14, 1822, was the youngest member of this prominent family. He began his career as a teamster in the business of transporting goods throughout this territory long before the coming of steam and which was a profitable business prior to the coming of the railroad and he had the distinction of hauling the first load of goods to the store of Thomas McGraw who served his connection with the Baltimore and Ohio establish the first store at Grafton Junction on May 1, 1852.
With the advent of the railroad, the business of teaming became unprofitable and Lewis Haymond sought employment in the transportation department of the Baltimore and Ohio and after serving some years as brakeman was promoted to the position as conductor, a position he held for 11 years. He served his connection with railroad to enter the stock business and was elected magistrate of Taylor County serving 32 years.
At the death of Mayor J.M.R Johnson, who died before the expiration of his term in 1878, the town council unanimously elected Squire Haymond mayor to fill the unexpired term, and when Dr. William L. Grant resigned as mayor he again was chosen to fill the unexpired term.
He first came into political prominence in the town administration as assessor and as mayor in 1877-78 and during the great railroad strike of 1877 with the inadequate police force at his command maintained remarkable order during that troublesome time when the lawless element tried to take matters into their own hands and his stern measures in dealing with that element filled the historic old Pruntytown jail with the offenders. He was again chosen the head of the town administration in 1882-83 and in 1886-87. It wiped out practically the entire business section of Latrobe and Railroad streets and caused Mayor Haymond to appeal to the authorities at Wheeling for help to save Grafton, only to be refused, and then turned to Parkersburg in his desperation to prevent the entire town of Grafton from being consumed in this fearful holocaust and what must have been relief when the mayor of Parkersburg notified him by wire an engine and crew were on the way to aid the town and save it from extinction. He became a partner in the fir, of L.M. Boyles and looked after the provision and meat department go his company until the tragic death of Mr. Boyles in 1895 and then retired from active business and finally, he like so many others who had a large part in the history go the town, was carried to Bluemont and lowered into the ground, his work done.
Arthur Deming, who had many friends among the theatrical going public of Grafton, joined with John W. Vogel in forming the Vogel and Deming minstrels and sent this amusement to the Opera House, February 16,1900. The name of Arthur Deming alone was sufficient advertisement to pack the theatre and to say nothing of such suck blackface stars as John Queen and Tommy Donnelly and a host of other artists who made up the ensemble. With a very beautiful stage setting for the opening and such a galaxy go stars business was in keeping with the merits of this amusements enterprise.
Harmon Keener, one of the lovable and irresponsible characters to be found in all communities, a descendent of one of the oldest families of Taylor County, who married Naomi Goodwin, daughter of Nathan Goodwin who erected the first building on the east side of the Tygart Valley river in 1852 to start the settlement of the town of Grafton, was instantly killed when he was struck by a fast-running freight train in the East Grafton railroad yards, February 25,1900. For many years a resident pf East Grafton and a persistent user of the railroad tracks in his journey to and from his home, and despite the number of deaths from similar accidents of this nature of which he was fully cognizant, doubtless thought he was immune to this kind of fatality, but in a moments of forgetfulness in stepping from the path of an incoming train he stepped directly into the path go one leaving the station and suffered the same fate as many others. He was a veteran of the Civil War having served in Captain Samuel Todd’s Company of the 17th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry organized at Grafton. His remains were carried to Bluemont and this quaint character known to practically the entire population on whom they looked with a degree of humor for his cheerfulness and optimistic outlook on life and who lived his life doubtless by the rule “Today provided for, tomorrow id something to worry about when it arrived.” Characters like him of which there were many in the past who had their part in history have, or seems to have disappeared with the changing years and the quaint actions and saying the amused the people are seen and heard no more