The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Thirty

Speaker Cannon in Grafton

The melodrama entitled “The Crown Of Thorns,” came to the Opera House September 21,1906, and drew a very good audience of those interested in this style of play. 

Colonel John T. McGraw engaged a force of workmen laying pipe from his gas wells to Flemington to supply that town with natural gas for heating and lighting. He said he would extend the line to Simpson in a very short time. With the great coal fields about these two oldest settlements in Taylor County, this recalled the old saying “Carrying Coals to New Castle,” and bears out the old adage “Out with the old and in with the new.” 

Harris and Parkinson’s production “Lost in Egypt” came to the Opera House for a return date September 24,1906 and drew a very good house. 

The Hub Tailoring Company announced they have secured the agency for the Footer Dye Works and were prepared to have garments dyed any shade to please the fancy by this prominent firm whose work in this line was unexcelled. The firm also announced thy were prepared to clean, repair and press clothing for men and women at their place 18 West Main Street. 

The drama, “The Triumph Of Betty,” scored a decided hit at the Opera House September 27 and please a very good audience. 

Some idea of the loss to the Grafton and Wheeling division of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad can be realized since the advent of motor vehicle. In 1906, six through and four local trains were operated on that part of the system and carried untold numbers of passengers daily to points east and west. The six through trains have been discontinued and four locals take care of the business on this division and doubtless if it were not for the mail and express carried these trains would fail to meet the charges of operation. This part of the old main line opened for traffic January 1, 1853, over whose length untold numbers of passengers have been carried three quarters of a century, probably sustained the largest loss in passenger revenue of any part of the system and were it not for the great coal tonnage of the Fairmont region the division would hardly meet the charges of operation. People’s hurry of late years, the coming of motor vehicles and hard surfaced roads, have brought about serious conditions to the great carriers, not alone in West Virginia but in the entire nation. 

One of the most amusing comedy dramas shown on the stage of the Opera House was entitled “Deserted At The Alter,” which pleased a fine house who uproariously applauded the song “Waitin’ At The Church,” the lament of the middle-aged spinsters at the desertion of the groom. This play, cleverly acted by clever people came to the Opera House October 9,1906. 

Joseph G. Cannon, congressman from Illinois and speaker of the house came to Grafton and spoke for the re-election of Hon. Stephen B. Elkins to the United States Senate in the Republican state campaign in 1906. Uncle joe Cannon as he was familiarly known throughout the nation was among the greatest speakers on political issues in his time. This was his second appearance on the stage of the Opera House and on this occasion his speech was listened to by an audience that filled the house to capacity and cheered and laughed at telling and witty points in his talk. Prior to his speech, he on seeing the “No smoking signs,” on the walls back stage asked if these rules were rigid, on being told the rule inly applied to the stage hands during the progress of a play, he reached into his pocket and produced the familiar stogie and seating himself on a property table regaled the stage hands with some of the wittiest stories of life among the big men in the Congress that brought broad smiles to his hearers. At the conclusion, he thanked and shook the hands of the house employees for the privilege granted him on the occasion and hoped to return soon and enjoy his stogie. 

The local order of the Modern Woodmen entertained the members and friends of this society with talks on the aims and objects of this order from the stage of the Opera House October 17,1906. 

The pastoral drama, “As Told In The Hills,” a very beautiful and scenic production, depicting the lives of the dwellers of the heights came to the Opera House October 18,1906. 

Joseph D. Clayton, a long resident of Grafton and prominent locomotive driver in the service of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, died at his residence on Wilford Street October 22,1906. He was perhaps the greatest advocate of temperance in his day and served as president of the temperance societies formed among the people in the early days whose object was to spread the story of the  harmful effects of the use of alcoholic drinks among the people. Zealous in the cause of abstinence, he influenced a number of members to enroll in the society in the fight against the “Demon Rum” and won over a number of converts in the cause.  Were he living today, he would be appalled at present day conditions resulting from the state-controlled liquor traffic. In former years, only men of good character were issued permits to sell intoxicants and the courts confined these permits to native or naturalized citizens. Now any man can obtain a beer license that has the price. 

The drama, “The Ninety and Nine,” adapted for the stage from the famous hymn came to the Opera House October 23,1906, and drew a fine house. The spectacular feature of flying locomotive through a burning forest in the endeavor to go to the rescue of a community hemmed in the burning woods was a big moment in the production. 


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