Word was received in Grafton of the death of Mrs. Bridget Malarkey who passed away at the home of her son at Weston March 29, 1909. A history of the settlers of Grafton would be incomplete without mention of this pioneer woman who with her first husband, John Doughtery, Sr., came to this section of Virginia at the time the Baltimore and Ohio railroad were building through the town in 1852. With their small son and a very few belongings they came over land by wagon, the husband seeking employment on the railroad. On their arrival they found no place of sanctuary except a long barn on the land that is now 113 East Long street. Making the structure as livable as possible they moved into it, gathering leaves in the dense woods they filled the mangers to provide a place to sleep.
In a manger of this humble structure a second son they named John T., was born August 19, 1854. Six months after the birth of the second son the father died and the widow married James Malarkey, one of the town’s first settlers. She was again widowed when James Malarkey died June 8, 1870 and left with a family of two daughters and two sons in addition to the two sons by her first husband. A very good manager and with the help of her two eldest sons she managed to provide a good living for her family. She sold the old Malarkey home that stood on the site now occupied by the Grafton Feed and Storage company for a considerable sum of money for those days and was lifted above further providing for her family and the sons and daughters having married and she took up her home with her eldest son at Weston until her passing. Thoughts of her and her struggles when the years were young recalls the lines of some unknown post entitled “My Mother’s Hands:”
“Her hands were rough and marked with lines
Fingers blunt, square, to look at at times,
Reminded one of a gnarled Oak tree lifted
Fingers to the sky, capable, helpful and gifted,
And like the Oak enduring, efficiently helpful,
They were beautiful.
Her hands were not make to rest and fold,
In idleness, but grew strong with tasks untold,
Fashioned as if by the gracious hand of God,
Had touched and made them full of life as in the sod.
They were beautiful.”
The council appointed Edgar Travis, Ela E. Moran and N.C. Musgrove commissioners, Sidney Shirer and A. Hood Phillips challengers and Howard Kinter, clerk in precinct No. 1, Clyde Miller, Minor Perine and George W. Lowther commissioners. Duward O. Swaim and Thomas H. Jackson, challengers, Harry Johnson, Clerk in precinct No. 2, in the first ward. Harry L. Rogers, Joseph J. Remlinger and William H. Bailey commissioners. Samuel H. Gray and William Madden challengers, William H. Rendel clerk in precinct No. 1. David G. Kunst, Ernest F. Clark, and John A. McCabe commissioners. Harry Magill, William G. Lake challengers. Harry Sawyer clerk in precinct No. 1 in the second ward. Phillip C. Priess, Gus H. Kunst and John Pickett commissioners. John McClung and L. K. Soloman challengers, Lloyd E. Warthen clerk in precinct No. 1 in the third ward. John L. Hechmer, George A. Custer and John A. Carroll commissioners.
Otto Balke and J.D. Hoffman challengers, L.J. Warthen clerk in precinct No. 2 in the third ward. Jacob R. Morgan, W.T. Bartlett and John M. Keane commissioners. E.A. Morgan and E.C. Demoss challengers, Samuel B. Ayer clerk in the fourth ward. J. Clark Lewellyn, Samuel A. Shackelford and E. A. Morgan commissioners. Virgil T. Handley and Thomas Moran challengers. Folyd J. Patton clerk in precinct No. 1. Alonzo Bartlett, John W. Gigley and Eugene Sommerville commissioners. Thomas E. Joyce and Sidney H. Sommerville challengers. Addison W. Butt clerk in precinct No. 2 in the fifth ward to conduct the town election on Tuesday, March 15, 1909.
Councilman B.W. Perine arose and made a motion that a “temperance man” be appointed in each ward in this election but his motion was overruled. The commissioners and clerks appointed to conduct the town election reported the following vote cast:
For mayor James W. Love received 694 votes, J. K. Murphy received 594 votes. Charles R. Lilly received 469 votes. For council in the first ward W. P. Withers received 135 votes. Nathan D. Jackson received 132 votes. For council on the second ward A. J. Wilkinson received 174 votes, Camden D. Summers received 167 votes. Spencer K. White received 89 votes. For council in the third ward George W. Luzadder received 158 votes, Edward S. Luzadder received 137 votes, M.A. Beeler received 82 votes. For council in the fourth ward Rufus L. Sapp received 120 votes, M.E. McClain received 85 votes. For council in the fifth ward E.F. Reddinger received 166 votes, William H. Willhide received 104 votes, Charles O. Thayer received 156 votes. For collector of taxes Henry J. Pracht received 1052 votes, William H. Adair received 679 votes.
The vote license for the sale of intoxicants failed of ratification 872 votes were cast against and 790 for license. Camden D. Summers appeared before the council and demanded a recount of the ballot in the second ward. Attorneys B. Frank Bailey and Gene Ford appeared for Mr. Wilkinson and objected to the recount. The objection was overruled and the mayor appointed Councilmen Clark, Jaco and Swaim to recount the ballot I the first precinct of the second ward when the recount was completed and Wilkinson gained six votes, Mr. Summers withdrew his demand and the council declared Mr. Wilkinson elected as the member from the second ward. Mayor Love appointed Thomas W. Joyce town clerk, J.H.S. Barlow town attorney, William J. Mays chief of police, Frank A. Ross superintendent of water, Charles M. Roach sexton of Bluemont cemetery. Mrs. Lydia Hodel town assessor. This is the first record in the history of town where a woman was appointed to hold an office in the municipal government.