The History of Taylor County Chapter One Hundred-Eighty-Four


Hoskins Organizes Band

  Joseph J. Sullivan, who boasts of being America’s representative Irish comedian came to the Opera House Wednesday, April 8, 1892, and presented a very clever musical comedy entitled, “The Black Thorn,” in three acts of brilliant comedy, beautiful scenery, catchy songs, and clever dancing.  Mr. Sullivan as Denny Dolan and Miss Emma Lascellas enacted the principal comedy roles and pleased the house patrons.  The songs The Emmett Guards, Baby McKee, Beautiful Girl, Kate O’Connor, Sweet Allyne and Ship-Ahoy, Miss Lascelles and little Mabel Bonners dancing, miss Lena DeLaigle song and dance, “Pretty Sue,” John J. Sullivan’s witty saying and songs, J.J. Murry’s comedy sketch, “Maloney’s Hat,” and Sullivan and Murry’s sketch “The Two Enemies,” a droll bit of Irish humor, carried the usual appeal to an audience who came to be amused.

  William H. Hoskins whose musical genius both as a musician and composer ranked him as one of the best, if not the best in his ability as a director of bands among the young musicians of West Grafton.  It was always a mystery to the folks of Grafton why this man whose mind was filled with beautiful harmony never attained a place among the composers of instrumental music and become nationally known.  His ability was fully recognized in what he did compose by some of the most famous bands in the nation, but for some unknown reason he never gave the time to expressing himself in the art of which he was the master.  It is said that on one occasion when his band was engaged to furnish music for a fraternal parade at Kingwood, he forgot to take along his music scores and while enroute to the Preston county town, wrote the score of a march for the entire set of instruments while seated in the train, yet during his lifetime in Grafton this genius was content seemingly to give his time to instructing the local musical organizations and getting an precarious living in this manner when he might have been famous.

  Those who witnessed the beautiful production of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” from the pen of Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett in three acts and the superb acting of the select acts in this drama close to the human heart, that came to the Opera House May 5th, 1892,  Little Mable Walsh as Cedric Errol in line to inherit the title of Earl of Dorincourt, the son of the disowned son of the proud old Earl living in an obscure neighborhood in New York City and proud of his friends, Hobbs the grocer and Dick the bootblack, won the acclaim of the audience from the start of the play.  Carl Haswin as the Earl of Dorincourt and Louise Hofer as Mrs. Erroll “Dearest” and the widowed mother of Cedric who earned a scant pittance to support herself and little son in the great city was perhaps the best work in their respective roles seen on the local stage when the English Barrister Faversham came to New York and offered the Earl of Dorincourt’s acknowledgement of her boy’s heritage to the title of Dorincourt if she would renounce all claim on her son, a bit of stage realism that moistened the eyes of many in the audience. 

  The graduating class of Grafton High School held their annual commencement in Brinkman Opera House May 6, 1892.  The class of this year was composed of ten members who were: Byron Blue, Helen Clayton, John C. Deck, Clay V. Miller, Dove Herr, Marie Rowland, Nettie Preiss, and Clara Turner.

  Byron Blue after graduation was connected with his father, F. Bruce Blue, in the laundry business. 

  Helen Clayton married her classmate, John C. Deck, and took up their residence in Grafton where John Deck was employed to the operating department of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad.

  Clay V. Miller soon after graduation embarked in the footwear business and still pursues the same line.

  Dove Herr is the widow of the late Richard White and lives at Charleston, West Virginia. 

  Marie Mugler prepared for a teacher in the public schools but later married C.K. Devries, proprietor of the Arlington Hotel.  At the death of her husband she remarried a cousin, John Mugler, a business man of Newport News, Virginia.

  Nettie Preiss married Charles A. Pilson, former business man of Grafton and she and her husband reside at Fairmont.

  Cecil Peters is married to a Fairmont man and resides in the Marion county city.

  George Rowland, after graduation, began to prepare for the ministry under the late Reverend Dr. James H. Flanagan pastor of the Grafton Presbyterian church, then entered a Divinity school from which he graduated, and he is now pastor to a congregation of that denomination at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

  Clara Turner married John H. Hughes, civil engineer for the town of Grafton.  This couple after some years located at Erie, Pennsylvania where Mr. Hughes was employed as a civil engineer in that city.  Out for an automobile ride Mrs. Hughes met a shocking fate when the automobile was wrecked near Erie in 1922. 

  Probably the most interesting family reunion ever held in Taylor county was that of the Sinsel family who gathered near Webster July 15, 1892, to honor Harmon Sinsel, the oldest living member then in his 80th year, who related the family history dating from the time John Sinsel, the progenitor of the family, came to the American Colonies as a soldier with the Hessian army in the service of the British to wage a war on the Americans in the struggle for liberty in the Revolutionary war; told of his capture during the battle of Bunker Hill in 1775; his retention by the Colonial army when they discovered he was an expert millwright and put him to work at repainting the grist mills in the colonies damaged by the British soldiers; his setting in Faquier county and taking the oath of allegiance; the removal of the family to the new town of Williamsport in the western wilderness where so many of the family of Sinsel first saw the light of day and his own participation in the stirring days of the 60s and his appointment as a delegate to the constitutional convention at Wheeling to frame a Constitution for the new State of West Virginia and his insistence in naming the new state, West Virginia, instead of Kanawha or Mingo as was proposed in the convention.  It was an illuminating recital and gave the people an insight of the happening of the early days in Taylor County.

  Mrs. Eliza Scott Kinney, wife of Luke Kinney, one of those brave pioneer women who came with her husband to this unsettled region at the time the Baltimore and Ohio railroad was being pushed across Northwestern Virginia and whose love of the soil led them to settle on the land in Knottsville district during the 50s, died at her country home May 29, 1892.

  The Order of Red Men entertained members of the tribe from Keyser, Kingwood, Palatine and Rowlesburg with a banquet in Brinkman hall.  Professor Lewis Kitzmiller, Hon. John H. Holt, Henry L. Grant, Dr. Ernest L. Love, J.G. St. Clair, county superintendent of schools, Charles P. Guard, James W. Holt and Stephen W. Rose entertained the visiting local members at this gathering, May 14, 1892.

  Entire sympathy was felt for the family of Thomas C. Nuzum when it was learned that their son, Harry, met death in the waters of the Tygart Valley river on the evening of June 10, 1892.  With a party of boy friends, he went down the river to a favorite swimming place known as the “flat rock” to lave in the cooling waters on that June day this popular young lad doubtless ventured beyond his depth and drowned before aid could reach him.  It was a dangerous practice of bathing in the darkness of the night, especially among the young lads just learning to swim and at a time when authorities forbid daylight bathing within the corporate limits.


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