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

Taft Speaks in Grafton

Part two was a scene of Oxford university with the minister and students with a dialogue showing the origin of the word “Methody” and the beginning of the itinerancy. The Holdy Club Singing “Come Thou Almighty King and Come Let Us Anew” the students taking up the choruses. Part 3, the informed trial of John and Charles Wesley before the Judges Lane Persehouse and Sir Marmaduke Gwinne, the ministers and high churchmen sitting as the jury with a drum corps and detail of English soldiers in attendance at the trial. At the opening of the trial, Charles Wesley (John C. Tibbetts) sang “Jesus Lover of My Soul” as a solo followed by the Holy Club singing “Since I have Been Redeemed.” The house was again darkened for Miss Brown to continue her talk with further incidents and views relating to the life of John Wesley. Part four was the scene of the First Womans Missionary meeting with the Holy Club singing “When Thou Righteous Judge and I am A Solider of the Cross,” followed by Miss Flora Hamilton’s solo “Go Forth Ye Harolds” with the titled ladies and ministers singing “We Shall Be Like Him” during the discussion in this missionary meeting. The costumes worn throughout the five parts of the entertainment were patterned after the style of those worn in the 16th century and very effective in presenting this spectacle in the early day of Methodism.

Miss Brown continued her talk and views at the close of the missionary meeting. Part five was the spectacle “The Parliament Darwell”l with the class processional of forty-six, the Holy Club, Court Ladies and English soldiers all taking part. The spectacle was perhaps the largest affair of the kind ever produced on the stage of the Opera House by local talent who acquitted themselves credibly and the parts assigned them.

The Republican campaign of 1908 really got under headway with the visit of Vice President William H. Taft who spoke to a very large gathering at the Davis Crossing over in West Grafton October 10, 1908. The distinguished guest asked to be allowed to speak to the people from a place on Beech street. Willing hands speedily procured a platform truck from the Crystal Ice company and wheeled it to the right hand side of the street and assisted the portly gentleman to mount the truck. From its height he smiled benignly on his audience and then began his speech by telling his hearers the election of the republican ticket was assured beyond question. This produced an outburst of cheering that reminded the oldster of the almost forgotten enthusiasm of the campaigns of the past. His broad humor interjected into his talk at times pleased and elated his hearers who repeatedly cheered him at the close of the talk they begged for more but his train waiting to carry him to other towns compelled him to end his talk to the regret of the throng.

The burlesque show entitled the Monte Carlo Girls came to the Opera House October 1, 1908, and played to an overflowing male audience who seemed to get a lot of enjoyment from the witty sayings and clever singings of the members of the company. This kind of entertainment, yet the demand from certain classes of patrons was so strong, one and sometimes two attractions of this nature was booked during the theatrical seasons. And youth was forbidden attendance on these occasions which was resented by many of the lads who felt they were of the age to attend these performances. The church folks and other societies organized for the uplift and better moral conditions rallied against these exhibitions and censored the local theater management at the time, but times have changed with the passing of years and moving pictures far more suggestive than any stage presentation in the past are shown at times on the screen and no complaint is heard these days.

Franklin Ringler, a representative citizen and long resident of South Grafton died at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, October 13, 1908. He began his career as paymaster for the construction forces engaged in building the Baltimore and Ohio railroad between Grafton and Fairmont and 1852. He carried the payroll in a saddle bag ahorse, or rather dangerous undertaking in these days of hold ups and hijacking, but no record exists where he failed to deliver money entrusted to him in his journey through the wilderness. At the completion of the railroad to Wheeling he returned to Grafton and was appointed Superintendent of the Carpenter shops of the maintenance of way department occupying this position until his retirement in 1896. He was very active in the councils of Grafton Lodge No. 31 Independent Order of Odd Fellows and serve the highest offices of that order. He also served as collector of taxes for the town of Grafton in 1896-97-98. After the death of Mrs. Ringler he made his home with his son over in South Grafton and decided to visit relatives in Pennsylvania where he ended his days. His remains were returned to Grafton and buried with rights of the order to which he was affiliated whose members attended the funeral service in Bluemont cemetery.

Stetson’s Double Uncle Tom’s Camin company with its gaudy street parade of mules, pony dogs and bands came to the Opera House October 14, and as usual entertained an overflowing house. Just what fascination this romance of Southern life had for people of all classes is difficult to understand, the acting by the members of the companies seen on the local stage was at times mediocre and unimpressive yet there was a drawing power that brought patrons into the house regardless of its merits as a capably acted dramatic production.


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