A storm of great violence swept the town Sunday afternoon May 25,1902, that raged with a fury unusual in this section, deafening thunder, terrific flashes of lightning, a flood rain that rushed down the hillside that turned into a hailstorm, probably the greatest ever witnessed by the people of those days and practically whitened the ground with frozen particles. Fruit and shade trees suffered great damage, shrubbery, grapevines and garden crops were riddled and stripped of their foliage.
A dwelling house on Walters Street, owned by Captain John Donohue and occupied by the family of William A. Wilhelm, was struck by lightning and set afire, but fortunately the family were away from the home and escaped injury. A Locust tree near the dwelling occupied by a colored woman, Nan Taylor, on the same street, was struck— to which the woman had fastened a metal clothes line from the tree to her home and the bolt ran the length of the wire and stripped the side of the house holding the line of weatherboarding. The woman at work in a wash house apart from the dwelling was severely shocked, at first thought fatally, but on examination by physicians who advised rest and quiet for a few days, she recovered. The storm was the most damaging to occur within the memory of the older inhabitants and the damage in dollars and cents could not be estimated.
B.F. Sayre, sheriff of Taylor County, warned the property owners if their name appear on the delinquent tax list not to blame the sheriff as the law requires the publication of delinquents in the local paper.
The Mabel Paige Comedy company, in repertoire, came to the Opera House for the week of September 1-6, 1902, and proved a profitable amusement enterprise, both for the company and the theatre.
Barger, who succeeded Henry Colerider in the footwear business, advertised famous makes of both high and low shoes for gentlemen and ladies at prices ranging from $2 to $3.50, made in the best factories of the country and guaranteed solid leather and finely finished inside and out and good for long wear. He solicited repairing as he is prepared to do same at his place of business opposite the First National Bank building on Main Street.
The Merkle-Harder company, starring the Carleton sisters, came to the Opera House for the week on September 15-20, and did capacity business for the week at low prices. Miss Leslie made a most pleasing impression of the local theatre patrons, who invited her to come back for a return engagement.
Davis and Byers announced their firm was the sole agents on Grafton for the famous line of Black Cat stockings for men, women and children and called attention particularly to the triple knee line of “Leather Stockings,” the word leather while applicable to the whole line is especially so for the kinds suited for boys and girls for hard wear. Lace stripes in colors pink, blue, red, cream, white and black for the new low shoes are in stock in all sizes.
John W. Vogel sent his famous minstrel aggregation of black face artists, singers and specialty performers to the Opera House September 24,1902. The opening of this attraction in the first part was a most gorgeous setting, the entire stage hung in crimson silk velvet with a massive electric chandelier lighting the setting producing a very beautiful effect that brought involuntary applause from the audience when the curtain was raised on the darkened stage and house and the chandelier burst forth in a glow of brilliant silk and velvet costumes on the stage.
Rev. Peter Roy, colored minister of considerable local fame, but who never was stationed as a minister in any colored church in Grafton, who in the past often debated various topics with a colored opponent from the stage of the Opera House was given permission by the management to lecture on September 26 on the subject “The Colored Man and His Future.” His talk was timely in advertising his brethren to think of taking advantage of the educational opportunities offered by his people by the whites and prepared for the future and ceased to be considered “the white man’s burden” in the years to come.
The comedy “Whose Baby Are You” came to the Opera House September 3-,1902, and pleased a very good audience with the amusing situations that developed during the action of the comedy.