The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Thirty-Four Early Machinists Recalled


Oley C. Spencer, now retired, as a resident of South Grafton and at times in a reminiscent mood loves to sit with his back to the sun and call back the days that were and recount to others of the events and happenings to many of those who worked at his side in the old stone shops or listen to what has befallen those who come back at that time and relate their experience since they graduated from the machinery department at Grafton and went out into the world to win distinction in their particular line of endeavor. George Drainsfield was the first member of the Union to pass away and was interred in Bluemont cemetery. Andrew J. Barbee and William H. Davis located in the state of Texas both are buried in the Lone Star state. 

James G. Burdett died in the State of Colorado where he removed to regain his health but the disease which fastened itself upon his was far advanced the move proved futile and he passed away in that state. Millard Carr, who had the distinction of being one of four drummer boys of the first memorial service held in Grafton on June 14,1868, to commemorate the memory of the living and dead who came forward to defend the nation in the greatest crisis that confronted it during the dark days of the 60s. After the death of his wife in Grafton, with his two daughters and his younger brother, Charles took up their residence at Baltimore, where he passed away some years ago from information gleaned from Farrel Ware, who state he visited with Millard Carr and his daughters in that city. 

President John Caveney was the first officer to pass away, dying in the city of Pittsburgh, September 30,1930. His remains were returned to Grafton and interred in Mount Cavalry cemetery. John Carr, Jr., is reported by Fred Willhide as having died in the state of California in 1931. Platte Cathel died at Newburg some years ago. William Childers died in Grafton and was buried in Bluemont. The death and place of interment of William B. Cooper is undetermined. Harry Jackson died on Addison Street in 1906 and buried in Bluemont. 

Thomas E. Joyce was considerable figure in the fraternal and political history of Grafton. Born in West Grafton he began his education in St. Augustine Catholic school and later enrolled in a commercial course. After leaving classes, he entered the employ of the Baltimore and Ohio in the machinery department and his worth as an accountant was soon recognized and he was promoted to a clerical position. He was a charter member of Grafton Lodge No. 308 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and served as the first Esquire of the order and later as Exalted Ruler. In 1902, he served as clerk of the town of Grafton and his records were beautifully kept. He was a member of the Catholic society, the Knights of Columbus and served as Grand Knight of the body. An enthusiastic Democrat, he was appointed deputy United States marshal under the administration of President Wilson and made a fine record in this office. He was chosen as one of the representatives to the Democratic National convention which met at Houston, Texas, that nominated Hon. John W. Davis for president of the United States, after his term as marshal ended, he was employed as the representative of a packing concern at Cincinnati and was engaged in this line of endeavor until 1934 when he was made manager of the state liquor store in Grafton until he suffered a breakdown in health and resigned. 

He died March 15,1937 and was interred in Mount Cavalry. 

William B. and George Keane died at the family home on Thayer Avenue and are buried in Bluemont. John Keefe died at his home in St. John Street and Frederick A. King died at Bergoo, West Virginia, and both are interred in Bluemont. Horace Mallonee died at Weston and is buried in the Lewis County City. James J. Kernan and James B. Moran both died at their homes on Washington Street and are buried in Mount Cavalry. Benjamin Nuzum died at his home on Beech Street and Charles Tibbets died on Latrobe Street both interred I Bluemont. 

Frank M. Keane, the last so far to pass away at his home on Thayer Avenue, South Grafton May 19, 1937, and who was chosen the first recording secretary of the Union. While not a native of Grafton, he practically grew to manhood in Grafton. He began his education in the schools of East and South Grafton and when still a lad in his teens was proud of the fact of having participated in the great celebration staged in Grafton on Independence Day July 4,1876, as one of the one hundred youths representing Young America in the parade on that momentous occasion commemorating the 100th anniversary of the American Nation. 

When still young he entered the services of the Baltimore and Ohio in the machinery department and soon mastered the trade and promoted to the position of inspector of machinery for the three divisions centering in Grafton.  Later he was appointed inspector for the Interstate Commerce commission which he held at the time of his passing. 

He was affiliated with Grafton Lodge no. 31, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the order’s auxiliary, the Daughters of Rebekah and was quite active in the councils of both orders. He was one of the organizers and charter members of the Baltimore and Ohio Veterans Association and served at the president of the local body and attended many of the conventions of this association at different cities. He was perhaps, the moving spirit in arranging many of the memorials and social functions during his membership in this body. 

Keenly interested in the town affairs, he made an impassioned speech against the Board of Education abandoning the South Grafton elementary school and was chosen president of the Taxpayers league of South Grafton in the fight against the abandonment of this building that was pronounced by authorities as a menace to the lives of the pupils and teachers from faulty construction and its upkeep far greater than any three school buildings in the public school system and whose pupils could easily be divided among Central, East Grafton and the spacious West Grafton schools without crowding and removed a menace that the Board of Education were willing to assume. The plan was adopted, and the public transferred and made happy that they no longer must climb the steep grade to the South Grafton school. Early in life he attended the Presbyterian Sunday School and later became a member of the congregation under the pastorate of the kindly Reverend Doctor James H. Flanagan and all through life attended the service and took an active interest in the church councils.  

Advertisement

More In Community