The History of Taylor County Chapter Chapter Two Hundred-Sixty-Eight


“Prisoner of Zenda”

Sullivan, Harris and Woods, a theatrical firm of New York who controlled many of the popular attractions during the 90s sent the popular “Fatal Wedding” to the Opera House October, 6 1902. The melodrama had gained great popularity in the larger cities for two seasons and the success attained was heralded throughout the nation as the greatest theatrical productions whose appeal was universal and the engagement in Grafton was no exception to this appeal to the local patrons who filled the house to capacity  to witness story of heart interest. The scenery and properties used in the production were all carried by the company and the scene in the corridor of the divorce court, an attic in a New York tenement and the interior of Grace Church, New York City, with its choir loft and choir boys were beautiful examples of the scene painter’s skill. Herbert Prior who later was seen in the old silent pictures was cast for the part of Robert Curtis a man about town.

The play was not without amusing bits which were played by Frank Montgomery as Toto a French butler, Robert Shaw as Schwartz a German janitor, James Grady as O’ Reilly “wan av th’ foinesr” and Eliza Mason as Bridgett, lady cook. An urgent invitation was extended the company by the audience to come back and play a return engagement which the manager, Leon Victor, promised the audience the company would undoubtedly return early in the following season and with as good a cast as the present one which he said seemed to meet the favor of the local audience.

W.S. Jackson and brother acquired the interests of Dr. James A. Grant in the drug business operated under the firm name of Grant and Jackson for a number years. In addition to the drug line, the new firm added a beautiful line of French, German, English and Japanese china, both in dinner ware and open stock from which can be supplied broken pieces to match any article in carried by the new firm, cut glass and plain glassware from the finest Austrian and American manufacturers were added.

A play entitled “At Valley Forge” dealing with incidents during the Colonial times in the American colonies came to the Opera House October 11, 1902, and this play with its romantic interest in which George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and other figures in the early history of the nation was beautifully told on the local stage to an audience made up mostly of students interested in the struggle of independence of the Colonies from intolerable conditions imposed on the Colonists by the English government.

Reld, Brown and company, a new firm, leased the business room at No. 1 East Main Street and opened up a provision store and claimed they were prepared to furnish to all who came to them with the very best necessities and luxuries for the table and invited the public to come in and examine their offerings.

One of those romantic plays written around the royal house of Austria entitled “The Prisoner of Zenda” came to the Opera House October 15,1902. This adaptation from the popular novel that found a ready sale throughout the nation and written for stage production and ran for a long time in the large city theatres met with a fine reception from the local theatre patrons. And proved a most pleasing evening entertainment.

The Republican County committee rented the Opera House for a rally of the party to hear Senator Stephen B. Elkins and Congressman Alston G. Dayton to talk to the voters in the interests of the party in the Congressional campaign, Senator Elkins, whose ability as an orator, was well known throughout the state of West Virginia was given an ovation as Chairman Ira E. Robinson came forward to introduce the distinguished statesman and no less ovation tendered the Honorable Alston G. Dayton who followed Senator Elkins and spoke of the need of a Republican victory at the polls on Tuesday, November 4, 1902.

In the election held November 4, 1902, Ira E. Robinson was elected to the state senate for the short term.

Virgil T. Handley was elected to the house of delegates.

Lewis Kitzmiller was elected to the office of clerk of the county court.

J. Frank Wilson was elected to the office of clerk of the circuit court.

W.E. Tomblyn was elected county superintendent of schools.

John H. Henry was elected to the office of county commissioner.

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