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


The Demise of The Grafton Daily Republican

One by one the familiar faces of those old pioneer men and women passed from the site of their neighbors as time in its ceaseless fight took its toll among those first settlers who came to settle the town when the years were young and on December 6, 1909 Mrs. Henrietta Stein Wehn, one of those grand women who followed her man uncomplainingly into new places and made the best home possible with that she had for family was removed from the scene of action where she had watched the many changes which took place in the town of her adoption for a half century. With her husband the couple and young son, George, came to Grafton in 1859 and occupied the small frame house that occupied the site now covered by the Stand Theater.

Her husband, Henry E. Wehn an expert boot and shoemaker established his shop in the front of the home, the excellence of the product of his shop soon became known and in all the years he worked at his trade, he never lacked for customers, many whom he fitted and took up their residence in four places for many years sent to him for their footwear and his name was known in many of the states in the union from those who boasted of handmade products of the House of Wehn.

His trade so increased he was compelled to seek more and better quarters to accommodate this increased trade and purchase the home of John W. Rohrbaugh which occupied the site now covered by the present Woolworth store. He increased his force of boot makers by giving employment to Peter Birmingham, Michael Dougherty, William Wagner, George Cassell and others all practical workmen who learned the boot making trade under him and his shop and business flourished until the factory made boots and shoes made their appearance among the stocks of the local merchants and forced him out of business and caused him to rent his shop for other purposes.

He continued to fill mail orders from his former customers by fashioning footwear himself at the bench in part of his home. In July 1876 George, the eldest son, died from the effect of concussion of the brain sustained while engaging in play with companions at the old Howard and Thayer Sawmill and West Grafton. His mother had fashioned the uniform for him to take part in the great Contennial celebration of July 4, 1876 and what grief and what tears she let fall at the sight of the uniform that was never worn on that occasion.

In 1905 her husband had the old family home raise to make room for the business and office building now occupied by the McCroy store and at its completion the family took up living quarters in the new structure and in which Mrs. Wehn passed away from the ravages of Bright’s disease on the above date. To add to the family grief at the loss of this grand wife and mother, the family was notified by wire of the death of Miss Ida who succumbed to an operation in a hospital at Tacoma, Washington, where she had been making her home with a sister, Mrs. Mary Shahan.

This family of numerous children all of whom, except one born and graft and now like so many other families of many children, are so reduced in numbers that only four are living, one in far off California, one in the great state of Texas, and two who have never moved from the place of their nativity.

Frank Poling in company with an uncle, George Keener, while hunting on the Michael Hussion farm and the Knottsville district was instantly killed by the accidental discharge of his gun, the first fatal accident in 1910. Edgar rosier, James Hussion, A. D. Poe, and Ison Shroyer hurried to the scene but there was nothing to be done for the unfortunate 22-year-old victim.

The second annual Taylor County poultry show was held during the week of January 9, 1910. Practically every poultry raiser in the county had birds on exhibition. No first prize was awarded to R. E. Blaney of Grafton whose love for the feathered tribe tame and wild, was perhaps far greater than any other citizen of the county and whose thoughtful care for his feathered friends when she knows lay deep upon the land bring to mind the lines of Keith Thomas:

“Boughs laced in sun above his head.

He often came with bits of bread

To feed the birds;

The dove, the wren and sparrow knew,

His kindly form, his cane’s tattoo.

His cheering words.

When winter snows covered the land,

He ventured forth with bag in hand,

To feed the birds.

Unafraid, they fluttered closely near,

His familiar form without harm or fear,

Of this friend of the birds.

Silver cups were awarded to P.F. Bartlett and W. H. Davis of Simpson for their entries. Clyde G. Turner presenting the prizes to stimulate interest in this business of poultry raising in Taylor County.

The plant of the Grafton Daily Republican was ordered closed by the creditors of the newspaper who placed the order for closing and the hands of Constable S. A. Shroyer. Mr. W. C. Byers issued this discontinuance notice saying:

VALE!

“it is with many feelings of regret that we have to announce that the owners of this paper have decided to discontinue its publication indefinitely. Today’s issue of the republican will be the last for the present period the reason for this step is simply that the paper has been financially not sufficiently profitable to justify its continuance. There has not been the support that was expected from the public which was the constant effort of the paper to serve. How long does suspension will last is now impossible to say. There is a great need for a second paper in Grafton. Public opinion is never molded or expressed by a single newspaper, however good the intentions of that paper may be.

To those subscribers who have stood loyally by us and the businessmen who have advertised with us to their advantage, and ours, we take this opportunity of expressing our depreciation. Our efforts in the line of clean journalism have been appreciated by many and in that we feel satisfied.

And saying farewell, we wish to say that we have been without political backing of any kind, we have attempted to serve no interest than that of the public at large. It has been our aim to publish the news fairly and impartially without fear or favor. Our stand has been for the better moral elements of civic and rural life. We have tried to be outspoken without being sensational. If we have lived up to our ideals in this line, we believe we shall have left our mark upon the life of the community. We feel the cessation of this paper will be a distinct loss to the public. Grafton should have two papers. It will have in time.”

And this newspaper that began publication with the high hopes of those who put their good money into costly equipment with the expectation of at least some return, saw their hopes fade. With the Grafton Sentinel advocating the ideals of the republican and the Grafton leaders supporting the issues of the Democratic Party there was no room for a third newspaper among the limited population of Grafton. The instinct for profit has been and always will be a rulings trait in human nature and more often this trait has been frustrated than realized.

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