The History of Taylor County Chapter One Hundred-Twenty-Two


Hospital Started, Abandoned

Dr. Abel H. Thayer, prominent surgeon of Grafton, leveled the land atop the hill over in South Grafton for a brick plant to provide the materials for a private hospital. With the foundation walls already placed, for reasons known only to himself, he suddenly abandoned the project. It would have been a fine thing for the town had the doctor completed that institution of healing at the time so many of the employees of the railroad suffered grievous injuries-long before the many safety devices that now prevent many accidents came into use.

One of the best entertainments heard by the Grafton folks was given by Dr. J. H. Arnold, world famous traveler, writer and vocalist, who for town and one half hours gave one of the finest entertainments ever heard in Grafton on the evening of Monday April 30, 1883. He was heartily congratulated by his audience who requested him to come for a return engagement in the near future. He won a place in the affections of theatre-going public next to the famous Arthur Love, who numbered his friends by scores in Grafton.

Grafton and Taylor county had 38 veterans and widows of the Civil war who were wounded and were pensioned by the Federal government in amounts from $2.00 to 28.00 per month. The oldest among them were Noah Warder of Pruntytown, a survivor of the War of 1812, and Major John G. Houston a survivor of the Mexican war of 1840 and of the Civil war.

Mary Wilson of Grafton, whose pension was $28 was the highest paid. Ten widows were paid $28 per month and five dependent mothers paid the same amount. Only one minor was listed a child of W. E. Lough, of Flemington, was paid $12 per month. Portor Frum of Tyrconnel, whose leg was amputated at the thigh was paid $24, and M. M. Jefferys, for years the superintendent of the nation cemetery at Grafton, was paid $18 for the loss of his right arm. The first pension was paid to Cyrus Ringler of Fetterman in March, 1866.

Two new passenger cars for the Grafton and Greenbrier were turned out of the Baltimore and Ohio carpenter shops, one was christened Tygart Valley and the other Rich Mountain. These cars were painted in nice coloring and as soon as placed in service with other cars on this newest West Virginia railroad no handsomer or neater trains were seen on any railroad anywhere.

Reverend W. Coleman Wilson native of Taylor County, who occupied the pulpit of Andrews Methodist Episcopal church the past year accepted a call to minister to the Methodist Episcopal church at Grand Island, Illinois. The General conference at the Methodist church that convened at Wheeling appointed Reverend Dr. J. M. Warden to occupy the pulpit church in place of Reverend Wilson.

William Morris, the former jailer in charge of the historic old Pruntytown jail during the Civil war under whose charge the owners of the slaves of Taylor county had all these human chattel placed to prevent their running away and who at first defied the Federal Government’s order to release his charges without a written order from their masters, but was threatened by force of arms, died.

Mr. Morris was a veteran of the Mexican war and often related scenes and incidents vivid and interesting that occurred in the conflict between the forces of the Untied States and the Mexican government. He was a witness to the duel between General Albert Sidney Johnson, commander of the Untied States forces in Texas, and General Sam Houston, which was brought about by the misunderstanding of orders which relieved General Houston of the command of the Texas forces and gave the command of the Texas forces to General Johnson after Houston’s complete overthrown of the Mexicans at San Jacinto. In the duel General Johnson was seriously wounded at the third shot. Mr. Morris and son, Joseph moved from Pruntytown to Fetterman and resumed his occupation of house paintings and paper hanging. His son, Joseph, rented the little frame shop that stood on the lot one door west of the present photograph gallery of W. R. Loar and Son and opened a boot and shoe repair shop.

Friends in Grafton received an invitation to attend the wedding of Miss Sallie Middleton of Charleston to Hon. John S. Burdett formerly of Taylor County on Wednesday October 17, 1883, at the home of the bride. Mr. Burdett, one of most colorful figure in the history of Taylor county, came into prominence as the second representative from the new county of Taylor in the general assembly at he capital at Richmond. At the agitation resulting from the election of President Lincoln and the threatened withdrawal of the Slave holding states from the Union, he cast his lot with the Union and was chosen the delegate from Taylor county to the state convention at Richmond in February, 1861, and instructed by the people to resist all measures looking toward taking Virginia from the Union of States without the consent of the people.

In 1871, Mr. Burdett was the Democratic candidate for the office of treasure of the State of West Virginia and was elected to the office. In January, 1876, he was charged with corruption on eight counts in office and impeachment were sustained by a vote of 20 to 3. The vote on the second article charging conspiracy was sustained by a cote of 17 to 6.

The Senate voted for his removal from office but refused unanimously to disqualify him from holding office thereafter by a vote of 19 to 4. On January 30, 1876, Mr. Burdett was relieved from his duties as state treasurer by Sobeiski Brady, who was chosen as his successor.

Mrs. Rosalie Wilson Weekly, wife of Reverend William Weekly, died at her home at Parkersburg Thursday September 20, 1883, Mrs. Weekly was the daughter of Captain Daniel Wilson of Grafton whose part in that historic episode of the Civil war at Fetterman that resulted in the death of Thornsbury Bailey Brown and as postmaster at Grafton made him a prominent figure in the history of Grafton, Reverend William M. Weekly came to Grafton in 1873 to organize a congregation among the people of the United Brethren faith and while occupying the pulpit in Grafton met and wooed Miss Wilson, the romance culminating in the marriage of the pastor and the charming young lady. 

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