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

Smallpox Scare Nipped

That dreaded scourge smallpox was discovered by the health authorities to exist over in West and South Grafton and on Washington street, which the authorities believed was brought into the town by persons coming on the Grafton and Belington division of the Baltimore and Ohio. Strict quarantine of the infected premises was ordered in every precaution taken to prevent the spread of this filthy disease. New methods and the isolation of those affected prevented the disease from becoming a pestilence, such as experienced by the early settlers who were compelled to care for the victims of this malady within their own homes and were subject to it themselves period now science has perfected methods that has practically eliminated the disease by stringent sanitary methods and one seldom ever hears of a case of smallpox in these years.

Word was received and graft and of the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Beverlin, who passed away in the state institution at Weston, January 26th, 1910. Her husband I. A. Beverlin, came to Grafton in the 60s and established himself in the furniture and house furnishing business and for many years was the leader in this line in the small town. Affable and accommodating he enjoyed unusual prosperity and was looked upon as one of the leading citizens. He was the first to establish a hearse service for conveying the dead to the various cemeteries in the town and county and eliminated the old practice of carrying the caskets on a bier by men in the case of an adult or boys in the case of an infant. It would be interesting to know how many bodies he prepared and how many were interred under his direction while he served as the town’s undertaker. Family troubles brought about an unbalanced mind to Mrs. Beverlin and caused her to be confined in the institution at West End. She was one of the kindest hearted women of graft and, a true Christian woman, fine neighbor, and it seemed an unjust fate to happen to her and the declining years of her life. Her remains were returned to Grafton and interred in the family lot in Bluemont cemetery.

Clyde G. Turner, prominence stationer and news dealer, announced he had on display and in stock the very largest and finest line of Valentine’s ever brought to Grafton at prices that range from one penny to $5. And viewing this line of Valentine’s, the oldsters still living, who recalled the first showing that these tributes of love and affection and remembrance of Saint Valentine, and comparing it with the meager little display in the drugstore of Dr. Matthew Campbell, on Latrobe St, at the close of the civil war, realized the great strides the Valentine business of 1910 had taken since the 60s. Now let us plays of these tokens are so great and bewildering one wonders to whom they all go.

While this section of Virginia was still a wilderness the girls of those days fashioned the Valentines to send their boyfriends as in the case of Miss Sarah Jackson, of Claysville (Simpson) Harrison County, Virginia, who with the utmost care and patience fashioned her first Valentine with has center medallion surrounded by 8 paper hearts, the points of the hearts pointed to the medallion. Miss Jackson began work on the gift, October 17, 1817, and did not complete it until after a year later. When each heart miss Jackson, in her own handwriting, wrote two lines of verse which reads:

Sarah Jackson is my name,

America is my nation.

Harrison County is my dwelling,

Place, and Christ is my salvation.

The Rose is red, the grape is green,

The days are past which I have seen.

And when I am dead and in my grave,

My bones are rotten.

In this you see, remember me,

When I am dead and forgotten.

And when the bell for me doth,

Tole, the Lord have mercy on my soul.

Now if you take this in good part,

I’ll join you freely with my whole heart

If you take this with disdain,

Pray, return it back again.

When the medallion in the center of the Valentine she penned her name, Sarah Jackson, and the date, October 17, 1819, then on Saint Valentine day, 1820, she handed the gift to the post writer to be delivered to her sweetheart, Jonathan Whitehair, Sr., and Jonathan, and appreciation of this thoughtful gift, proposed marriage, Sarah being agreeable, the nuptials were consummated and this 120-year-old token was returned to her when Jonathan carried his bride across his threshold. The Valentine descended to her daughter and her daughter’s daughter and at last the count was the property of Mrs. Harvey Davis, of Simpson, who treasures this souvenir a long ago as a priceless heirloom, fashioned by the loving hands of a relative long gone to her reward. If it were permitted for Sarah Jackson white hair to see the endless number of Valentine’s on display in the stores of today, all of them fashioned by machinery and designed by the most skilled printers craft and now delivered by the postman at every door, doubtless she would be amazed at the great business done during Valentine week.

Mrs. Anne Burns, widow of Patrick Burns, was one of the pioneer settlers and for 40 years conducted a House of entertainment for the men employed in the transportation department of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. She was one of those kind hearted, motherly women who cared for those who lodged with her and endeared her to them. They never changed their lodgings as long as she lived and was able to provide for them. Her husband, Patrick burns, was a figure of considerable political importance in Grafton in the early years and served in several town offices and was the first town official to die while a member of the town council, dying, December 22, 1872. Then, 38 years after, on January 28, 1910, sorrowing friends and her lodgers of many years followed all that was mortal of her to the old Catholic cemetery atop the hill.


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