The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Sixty

League Team Obtained Here

In August, 1908, Colonel John T. McGraw, George H. Hartley and Charles Flanagan learning that the franchise of the Scottdale team of the West Virginia-Pennsylvania baseball team was for sale and to greatly increase traffic on the Tygart Valley traction Charles Flanagan was sent to Scottdale to negotiate for the sale of the franchise to these parties. Mr. Flanagan succeeded in his mission in the franchise and players were transferred to Grafton. The old Fetterman ball park was fenced and a diamond prepared and readiness for the playing of the professional baseball in Grafton. The parties formed a stock company in the amount of $10,000 for the purpose of providing Grafton with its first professional baseball experience.

The men who composed the team, and were transferred to Grafton, were Bailes, Cornelius, Ferguson, Gainer, Jenkins, Jones, McIlvaine, Raley, Winters, Zinn and other players.

At the grounds, having been hastily prepared, but very rough and uneven, were made ready for the opening game on August 14, 1908. Vincent’s band was in attendance and the streetcars leading to Fetterman were packed and jammed with the baseball enthusiasts eager to witness this opening game, some 2,500 swarming about the ticket office clamoring for admission. Umpire Featheringham stroll to the center of the diamond and removing his cap announced the batteries for the game the long lanky McIlvaine took his place in the box and Winters behind the plate and the Grafton followers of the Great American game witnessed its first game of professional baseball, and when the last man of the opposition was retired with the score 6 to 4, the throng demonstrated their approval in a manner that left nothing to be desired and appreciation of the brilliant way in which the players conducted themselves in the field and at the bat. Notwithstanding the rough and hastily prepared grounds on the old site that marked the first terminal with the Baltimore and Ohio railroad in Taylor County, the game was well played and the errors on both sides few and sent us wrong home satisfied that the home club would give a good account of themselves in the race for owners in the Pennsylvania-West Virginia league a professional ball.

The romantic drama “We Are Kings” came to the Opera House, January 21, 1909, and was witnessed by an audience who appreciated this drama full of intrigue and thrilling climaxes.

The Woman’s club engaged professor F. A period McClosky, a theatrical man of long experience, to direct the great play America for this club on the stage of the Opera House, January 26 and 27, 1909. To Mrs. James B. Moran, the directress of the woman’s club, whose invaluable assistance to Professor McCloskey in arranging the details of this production and to Mrs. W. C. Byers, the president of the club, and handling the financial part goes the credit of making the play a financial and artistic success.

The De Rue brothers minstrels, the clever combination of blackface artists, came to the Opera House, January 28, 1909, and with a fine street parade and very good band at a noon day parade and evening concert, drew a nice and paying audience into the theater, who witnessed a very good performance headed by the clever Bobby DeRue.

Word was received in Grafton of the death of Jesse Beverlin, second son of the late I. A period and Mrs. Beverlin of Grafton, who passed away at Pittsburgh, February 3, 1909. He, as a youth, was one of the lads who participated in the great Centennial celebration, on July 4, 1776, as one of the hundred young Americans, who had heart in the line of March on that historical day which marked the 100th year of American independence. A week before his passing he came to his hometown in the interest of a printing establishment, selling calendars, and in his travels contracted pneumonia, which resulted fatally. His remains were interred in one of the cemeteries at Pittsburgh.

John Griffith, a finished actor of the classical roles, presented his version of “Faust” to the patient of the Opera House, February 8, 1909. During the afternoon of his Grafton engagement, he spoke to the students of the Grafton High school on the subject of classical literature and proved himself a most interesting speaker as well as an actor. This action on the part of Mr. Griffith brought many patrons to the evening entertainment who probably never saw the presentation of Goethe’s masterpiece “Faust” to witness, perhaps, the finest presentation of this classic ever given on the local stage.

The J. C. Orric and Son grocery company purchased a plat of land from the Alexander Yates heirs fronting on Beech street at the Davis crossings and had the ground cleared for the erection of a wholesale grocery house in the near future with a fine railroad siding. This was an ideal location for this line of business and a welcome addition to the interests of the retail grocers of Grafton.

At a meeting of the town council, the franchise of the Buckhannon and northern railroad over in West Grafton was declared null and void, no work on this project having been done during the three years within the corporation limits of West Grafton.

The romantic drama “Graustark,” from the pan of George B. McCutcheon, the sale of whose novel perhaps was the greatest seller at the time and which was adapted for the stage, I came to the Opera House, February 13, 1908, and, as was expected, seating room in the theater was at a premium, both up and down stairs. The company carried elaborate sets of scenery for the production in the cast selected for the different roles were adequate and capable. This story of a romantic and daring American and a Princess of the royal House of Europe had a tremendous appeal for the young in this love story of the adventurous American, Grenfell Lordy, closely follows the lines of the block and all the picturesque scenes described by the author.


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