The graduating class of 1897 was composed of seven members who were:
Nettie Bender, Anna Kenny, Estelle Stubbins, William Cassel. Mary Leuthke, William Holt, and Ethel Newlon.
Nettie Bender began her career as a teacher in the elementary grade school in South Grafton.
William Cassel is engaged in business in the state of Washington on the Pacific coast.
William Holt is a prominent banker in the state of Kansas.
Anna Kenny is a trained nurse.
Mary Leuthke married George Hechmer, general manager of Holly River railroad and the various interests of Colonel T. McGraw in Webster county and other parts of the state. After Mr. Hechmer’s death, his widow and family took up their residence at Washington D.C,
Ethel Newlon married Frank Cotton, a jeweler. At his death she took up stenography and is now a private secretary at Washington D.C.
Estelle Stubbins, became the second wife of Sheriff Stephen B. Jenkins, of Taylor county. At his death, she entered the service of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and is now the private secretary of one of the heads of the operating department of the road.
Conrad Englehardt who began his career as a waterboy on the Baltimore and Ohio at the time the railroad was being constructed across the Alleghenies and settled at Fetterman, when the terminal was established there in 1852. He married Mary Josephine, daughter of John Snider at Fetterman, July 13, 1854. At the age of 21 years, he was promoted to the position of locomotive driver between Piedmont and Fetterman perhaps the youngest man in the service to hold this responsible position.
During the Civil war, while driving locomotive No.181 across the Glades atop the Alleghanies, he was stopped by the confederate forces who seized the locomotive and dragged it down the mountain side to the Shenandoah valley and placed the engine in service to convey troops and supplies to the battlefields in the valley. He was given charge of locomotive No.243 during the remainder of the war. Later he was transferred to driver in the freight station on the Parkersburg branch. In 1855, Conrad Englehardt, Charles Lawton, Frank Ford, George Cox, William Hardie organized the Order of the Brotherhood of locomotive Engineers in old Gerkin hall at the corner of Main and Bridge streets. Charles Lawton was elected to the office of chief engineer and Conrad Englehardt as secretary to preside over the deliberations of that body.
Mr.Englehardt established his residence in Grafton at what is now 45 Lincoln street, East Grafton, in the home now occupied by Charles Cassel. In 1874, Mr.Englehardt accepted a position as locomotive driver on one of the Ohio railroads and moved with his family to that state. He died June 20, 1897, and his remains were brought to Grafton and interred in Bluemont.
In the election held July1, 1897, for the issuance of bonds in the sum of $10,000 for extending the water lines, sewerage and paving that part of Beech street from the bridge head to Davis crossing, council appointed Alexander Shaw, Joseph J. Remlinger and S.P. Kimmel, commissioners; William H. Willhide and Arthur Cole, clerks in the First ward; Henry E. Wehn, Theodore H. Gerkin and Stephen Vankirk, clerks in the Second ward; Charles F.W. Kunst, George R. Lily and Camden D. Summers, commissioners; Harry Shaffer and Albert Gaskins, clerks, in the Third ward; Addison Walters, David A. Fawcett, and Thomas Howley, commissioners; Charles Lyons and J.F. Overfield, clerks in the Fourth ward; William H. Morgan, William J. Williams and George L. Blaney, commissioners; J.E. Wilson and Clark Demoss, clerks in the Fifth ward; John W.Hamilton, Daniel F. Shumaker and Ezekial Marple, commissioners; Thomas M. Griffith and Alexander Foreman, clerks in the Sixth ward; Harry A.Spies, William Graham and Adolphus Rightmire commissioners; Thomas E.Joyce and Lloyd Shackleford clerks in the Seventh ward, to conduct this special election and they reported the bond issue was ratified by a vote of 307 for and 152 against this improvement.
Bids were asked from the different contractors about the town, but none offered and then council turned to Cornelius Kennedy, who completed most of this kind of improvements in the past year and gave him the contract for the paving and sewage.
James W.Holt, prominent citizen and editor of the Grafton Sentinel was commissioned postmaster at Grafton July 27, 1897. Mr. Holt the antiquated old post office fixtures torn out and replaced with fine new metal front call and lock boxes that added greatly to the appearance of the post office and rejected all offers to place a newsstand in a part of the room giving the entire space for the growing business of the post office and the better handling of the mail. He appointed an assistant David G. Kunst, whose long experience in the post office was invaluable to Mr. Holt, in conducting this local branch business of the post office department.
Few recall the queer sight of what looked like an old-time one horse buggy that rolled over Main street without the familiar horse between its shaft and drawing it along, but with the driver seated high behind the dashboard his hands on a rod whose turn guided the carriage with seeming ease among the carts, drays and wagons, whose animals looked with frightened eyes and pulled at hitch straps at this queer looking machine propelled by an unseen power. People, many of whom had never seen this new carriage that later was to revolutionize local traffic, lined the street for a glimpse of the first automobile seen in Grafton, which was driven by W.L. Nestor, a local printer. Among the spectators was Banjo Jim Lewis, an eccentric colored character familiar to every man, woman and child who watched the machine with wondering eyes and was heard to exclaim, “go it , go it, but whar de hell is de hoss?”
And on that Thursday, July 16, 1897. Grafton folks saw the first machine of the horseless age driven about the streets whose sight they healed in wonder then, and if many of them now long gone were permitted to return and see the almost endless streams of these machines that travel about and through the streets, some performing the work done by cart, dray and wagon of days of yore, others driven by the medical profession hurrying to the call of distress, those that bear the dead to the cemeteries followed by others carrying relatives and friends, those driven by the travelling salesman and his samples of endless lines of merchandise stowed compactly in his car and the almost endless flow of those travelers from hither to yon over smooth highways of today, most of which was done by the horse drawn vehicles in their day and age, would doubtless gaze with wonder at the almost lack of the familiar horse.
The familiar Fitz and Webster’s “Breezy Time” but without the familiar faces of E.B. Fitz and Katherine Webster, playing the title roles came to the Opera House, September 21, 1897, and this popular laughing comedy vehicle drew an audience that proved its long hold on the theatre going folks in the town. New songs and specialties were introduced by the members of the company that was received and acclaimed by the audience that just as entertaining as in the past. Miss Ina Webster’s song “I Love” the amusing transformation dance by Miss Luella Morley, the itchy tramp song “Weary Walker” by Jack Dauber, and the marvellous feats of contortion by Ephraim and Moore and the medley “Nit Nit Nit,” by by the company certainly pleased as did the finale “The Cake Walk of the Swell 400.”