The History of Taylor County Chapter Three Hundred-Twenty-Five


Street Railway Assured

Miss Rosabel Leslie featured with her own company of platers came to the Opera House for the week of January 15th to the 20th and drew 4,168 patrons into the theatre during the engagement. Miss Leslie having earned the admiration of the local theatre patrons on a previous engagement who extended her a very warm welcome on the opening night and business throughout the week was most flattering to the star and management. 

Lincoln J. Carter’s melodrama “The Eleventh Hour” came to the Opera House January 24,1906, and met with a fine reception from an audience that thrilled at the tense situations. This masterpiece of perhaps the greatest playwriter of his time and who introduced more thrilling effects into his plays had this drama written for the screen for the Fox Moving Picture company who starred Charles Jones and Shirley Mason as the principals in the screen drama. The picture was shown in the Grand Theatre on Main Street, in November 1923. 

A street railway was assured for Grafton when Charles R. Durbin, Harry W. Chadduck, William Morgan, Hon. Ira E. Robinson and W.W. Tapp, the incorporators, came before the town council and accepted the proposition and agreement outlined by the council subject to the ordinances and provisions of the town council which they signed themselves in agreement. 

The pastoral drama “The Hoosier Girl” with Miss Mate Watson in the title role supported by Gus Cohan’s Comedy company came to the Opera House January 31,1906, and found nice business on that evening, Miss Watson on a previous engagement found favor among the local patrons who again showed their appreciation for her clever work by greeting her and her supporting company with a very good house. 

Charges of misconduct against Patrolman M.A. Grow were preferred by Reese Hilky and Thornton Malone, citizens of the first ward. Officer Grow was summoned to appear before the town council to answer to the charges against him. After hearing both sides the council exonerated the officer of all blame and ordered him to resume his post in the first ward. Other members of the force summoned to appear before the council and instructed to spend less time about the Baltimore and Ohio Passenger station and give their attention to the happenings on the streets of the town. 

Council ordered a new street cut through the lands of Mrs. Rebecca Fugitt, Charles L. Kimmel and Dr. A.S. Warder, Jr., to make an approach to the new glass plant under construction in East Grafton. 

The story of “Dora Thorn” from the pen of Charlotte M. Braeme, a prolific writer of stories, dealing with the love of the young folks of the 90s and which found a ready sale in the book shops of those day was adapted for the stage, came to the Opera House February 10, 1906. The play was expected to draw a capacity house among the younger set who had read the novel but in this management was disappointed only some 250 paid admissions to witness a very nice, clean performance cleverly portrayed by a capable cast and worthy of better patronage. 

The assessed value of real and personal property within the corporate limits of town of Grafton in 1906 was fixed at $6,445,894.47, which gives one an insight of the increase in really and personal property with the increase in population and improvements of the lands brought about with the passing of years, An Interesting study of the report Hon. J.M. Bennett Auditor for the State of Virginia in the year of 1858. The report listed 908 people in all Taylor County were landowners whose lands were valued at $117,305.00 on which owners paid taxes in the sum of $4,975.47. He listed personal property valued at $348,000, representing bonds and stocks, which were solvent, and monies at $84,-955,000. He set down 92 slaves over the age of 12 years, 1,825 horses and mules, 15,784 cattle, sheep and swine, 52 carriages, buggies, coaches carryalls, gigs and Jersey wagons, 217 watches, 530 clocks and 5 pianos and harps on which the owners paid a sum of $2,612.34. The two attorneys at law were assessed $5.00 for a license to practice. The 9 physicians were assessed $4.50 each for license to practice. 23 merchants paid a tax of $20.00, 6 a tax of $24.00, 7 paid $32.00, 4 paid $48.00, 1 paid $60.00 and 1 paid $76.00 on their stocks of merchandise, the tax collected on these stocks of merchandise totaled $1,087.88. An extra tax of $3.00 was added on merchants who dispensed spirituous liquors. Ordinaries (saloons) paid a total tax of $703.33. The entire tax bill for the county totaled $9,900.85. He listed the population as 7,218 while, free colored 76, slaves 137. The total cost of conducting the courts amounted to $306.49. Attorney Francis Warder in his talk to the grand jury stated to that body it cost the court the sum of $100.00 a day to conduct the court of 1939 and he urged the jury to act as speedily as possible in their findings. The assessed values of properties on Taylor County given out by Assessor Harry Baston for 1939 totaled $19,067,695.00 a decrease of $413,013.00 from the previous year or approximately an increase of thirteen million dollars in the interim between year 1906 and 1939. 

The residents of South Grafton petitioned the town council to extend Barrett Street in that part of the town to connect with Hight street at the corner of the property of George W. Miller. So many of the property owners living along Front Street when the waters of Three Forks Creek were in flood stage were unable to reach their homes and by extending this street along Thayer Hill it would enable them to reach their homes by the back way. The idea was approved by the council who advertised for bids for cutting this street side the hill for the convivence of the citizens of South Grafton and the bid of John M. Keane for a price of 30 cents per yard for dirt excavation and $1.75 per yard for rock cutting was the lowest bid. Mr. Keane was awarded the contract. Mr. Keane began operations by setting a force of men and teams at work on this new street which was completed in the late summer of 1906. Little did the administration dream of the great use of this street during the three years occupied in the construction of the great Tygart Valley Flood Control Dam when for that 250,000 people traveling in automobiles used this street to visit this great undertaking and of the untold number has traveled iys length since its completion in 1936. 

A patriot writing to the editor of the Grafton Sentinel complains of the lack of proper attention to our National Airs saying: 

“If you will permit me, I would like to communicate a few words in regard to a matter that struck me forcibly at the concert given by the Hungarian Orchestra in the Opera House Wednesday, February 28. Every person who was there undoubtedly a very excellent entertainment. But the thing that I desire to call attention to is the fact that the people of this community seem to be afraid they will “act foolish: by showing proper appreciation of the playing of National Airs. The Hungarian Orchestra on that evening played several different National Airs, even “American and the Star-Spangled Banner” and not a soul offered to rise to his feet when the strains of wither piece broke forth. True enough, there was more of less fitful hand clapping, but would it not be more fitting if the people would rise to their feet when such music is played on any occasion whatever, especially in a public hall.” 

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