The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Fifty-Eight


The Passing of Honorable William O. Boyd

The town of Grafton mourn the passing of Honorable William O. Boyd who passed away at the home of his son Charles W. Boyd atop Boyd hill within the site of town, November 24, 1908. Mr. Boyd, a veteran of the Civil war in the Federal Army near the close of hostilities, was sent with his regiment to the Dakotas to quell an outbreak of the Sioux Indians and remained in the northwest until 1868. Mustered out of the Army, he returned to Grafton and sought and found employment in the transportation department as a conductor in the freight service when the Grafton-Piedmont division.

He married Harriet Sinclair who was engaged in the millenary and dressmaking business on the Latrobe street since the beginning of the town. He served his connection with the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to manage the established business of his wife and purchased the John Herr property on West Main Street and erected the two-story brick building on the site and moved the stock and work rooms into the new building at its completion and for a quarter of a century the house of Boyd furnished the ladies of Grafton with the needs of apparel. Mrs. Boyd passed away in 1889 and Mr. Boyd closed out the business. He served as mayor of Grafton in 1895, was reelected in 1896 and after a lapse of three years was again called to serve as mayor in 1899 and reelected in 1900 and 1901. His administrations were always for the best interest of the people and community. Much of the street paving and other substantial improvements were the result of his guidance while serving the people of Grafton.

In his passing the town lost one of its most substantial and foremost citizens who held the esteem and friendship of the whole people who trusted him implicitly in his management of the town’s affairs. Where his old friends, who wished to pay their last respects cab service was provided to carry them to the form atop the hill and to Bluemont cemetery to watch the body of this prominent citizen lowered into the earth beside his wife, daughter and first son with the members of Grafton lodge No. 31, I. O. O. F., conducting the obsequies at the graveside.

A very beautiful drama, “The First Violin”, adapted for the stage from the popular novel of that time from the book of Jessie Fothergill came to the Opera House. Mr. Frank Layman as the “First Violin,” whose portrayal of the leading role met the requirements by his personality and clever acting. Miss Ella May Fitch immediately won the appreciation of her audience and her part as may Wedderburn, coupled with a rare acting ability and a voice of remarkable sweetness 1 the plaudits of her hearers and encored her several times which she appeared before the curtain to bow knowledge moments on the evening of November 24, 1908.

The Royal Hungarian orchestra sponsored by the Young Men’s Christian association of Grafton appeared in concert on the stage of the Opera House November 27, 1908. this organization of high class artists opened the concert with that great overture entitled “Orpheus” by Offenbach, this great composition was greeted with tumultuous applause by the audience that completely filled the house. The next number was a gem entitled “Acclamation,” by Weldtuefel, and for an encore the orchestra gave “A Hungarian Fantasy,” by Bishka, that brough a great outburst from the audience. Mr. Burton Thatcher, with a powerful bass voice, rendered a solo that won him the acclaim of the music lovers in the audience, as did the violin section of Mr. Roman Olinski, whose handling of this difficult instrument, and his theme was marvelous. The curtain was lowered for a short intermission and raised for the second part of the programme, which opened with the orchestra giving a grand selection from the opera “Faust” by Gounod, followed by the ever popular “Anvil Chorus and the Miserere,” from the opera “Il Trovatore.” Mr. Thatcher again appeared and he was given an ovation by the audience after rendering a very beautiful solo. Mr. Albert Hamby delighted the audience with “Cymbalon” solo and the concert closed with the orchestra playing a medley American National airs.

A. Belt least the room in the Compton room on West Main Street and opened the Amuse U motion picture house exhibiting the old silent pictures then in vogue. The theater gave the folks of the town in additional place of amusement at very low prices, and Mr. Belt for some time, prospered despite the limited seating capacity of his house, and running continuous shows from early afternoon until late at night to satisfy the demands of his patrons he did a fairly remunerative business.

The Alfred Aarons theatrical producing company of New York arranged with Henry W. Savage to send the authorized version of Franz Mollnar’s great success “The Devil,” which was adapted for the stage on tour. the attraction came to the Opera House November 30, 1908. The title alone was sufficient to stir the interest of the regular and other patrons who only attended some special attraction with the result that the box office was kept busy supplying the demand for seats.

Mrs. Jane Hanway, of 107 grand St, South Grafton, narrowly escaped being burned seriously when she discovered the second floor of her home as she to flames and only her presence of mine and shutting the door to flaming room saved her from a horrible fate. She ran downstairs and called for the fire department who responded promptly. Badly scorched, Mrs. Hanway saved little except a few articles of furniture and kitchen utensils from the burning home, which gutted the two-story frame home to such extent as to render it inhabitable. she was unable to explain the cause of the fire which left her and her family temporarily homeless on the 11th day of December, 1908.

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