The almost unbelievable changes that come about a community with the passing of the years is brought home to those who will scan this list of commissioners and clerks who conducted that momentous election that consolidated the two municipalities 42 years ago.
John Hardie, a resident of the first ward is the sole surviving commissioner who served on the east side of the river and R.E. Blaney the only survivor who served over n South Grafton. The other 19 who served have from time to time gone to join their fathers in the silent halls of death. Of the election clerks only Harry Shaffer, Lloyd A. Shackelford and William H. Willhide are now living in Grafton.
The commissioners and clerks in this election announced the following vote cast:
For mayor, Charles V. Gough received 481 votes; George W. White received 438 votes.
For council in the first ward, M.L. Abbott received 82 votes, James F. Hickman received 82, George F. Green received 94 votes and James J. Kernan received 81 votes.
For council in the second ward, William F. Clark received 91 votes, John A. McCabe received 86 votes, Henry E. Wehn received 76 votes, and Thomas C. Long received 73 votes.
For council in the third ward, S.W. Wilson received 61 votes, Joseph C. Spencer received 60 votes, John B. Kimmel received 54 votes, and George R. Riley received 52 votes. This new ward embraced all the territory east of St.John to Haslup Street East Grafton.
For council in the new fourth ward, William Henry Fawcett received 71 votes, and Charles R. Lilly received 51 votes. This new ward embraced all the territory east of Haslup and extended to the corporate limits in East Grafton.
For council in the fifth ward Dr. A.R. Warden received 86 votes and John M. Keane received 45 votes. This was the original third ward of the town since its beginning and just why the council advanced all of the territory of South Grafton as the fifth ward is not quite clear.
The addition of two wards over in West Grafton after annexation must have representatives in the town council of greater Grafton and fill this need . Robert W. Kennedy and Edward DeHart, Frank A. Rauscher received 66 votes and Frank A Moran’s names were placed on the ticket for councilman in the sixth ward. Frank A. Rauscher received 66 votes, Frank A. Moran received 62 votes. R.W. Kennedy received 30 votes and Edward DeHart received 30 votes.
In the new seventh ward, Jacob B. Jeffereys received 81 votes, Alonzo Bartlett received 79 votes, and E.Price received 42 votes.
The vote for the new municipal electric street lighting system was ratified for a vote of 561 for, and 143 votes against the system.
The vote for saloon license was ratified by 511 votes cast in favor and 238 cast against the saloons .
For collector of taxes, Charles M. Roach received 559 votes and Captain Harry A Spies received 364 votes.
For the Board of Education Clark Madera received 484 votes for president of the Board, and Dr. Dorsey Mackin received 436 votes. The number of school commissioners was increased by two members from West Grafton to serve in the management of the town public school system when the school over in that part of the town became part of the Grafton independent school district after the consolidation of the two municipalities. For school commissioners William E. Pifer received 462 votes, John W. Hamilton received 473 votes, John N. Tregellas received 463 votes, and John Michaels 417 votes.
The tie vote between Abbott and Hickman for council in the first ward was decided in favor of Hickman, Dr. A.J. Baker of West Grafton was appointed health officer by the council. When the elected officers of greater Grafton assembled in the Odd Fellows Temple to prescribe to the oath and inducted into the various officers, it must have seemed to an onlooker like a political convention and Charles V. Gough had the distinction of serving as the first mayor of the united municipalities.
The changes that have been brought about among the 33 men whose names appeared on the ballot in the above election 42 years ago is even more striking than those of the commissioners and clerks before mentioned. Only John B. Kimmel of East Washington street survives.
The Fort Wayne Electric Light company, awarded the contract for the town municipal light plant for street lighting began installing the dynamos and generators for current in part of the old pump station on upper Grand street. Other men were set at work erecting poles and stringing wire along the streets in readiness for the lights when all was complete and the light machinery tested and proved satisfactory to the town council, the old iron lampposts that for four decades gave way to the new illumination.
To the oldsters there was something pathetic in the doing away with the old gas lights under whose rays countless numbers of boys and girls gathered in the gloaming to play their childhood games in the spring, summer and fall, whose cheerful glow lighted the footsteps of the more serious minded to the evening services at the various houses of worship and saw them safety back to their homes at the conclusion of the hour of their devotions. Under the old gas lights of the Punch and Judy shows, the frequent band concerts given by the old home brass band, the three card monte man, the pea and shell manipulator, the man with the lung testing machine, the patent medicine man, the soap self writing pen, the man who invented the marvelous glass cutter, the lightning calculator whose dexterity with displayed his skill in finding a short way to the answers to puzzling examples, Edison’s new marvellous machines that recorded the human voice and music with amazing exactness one listened to through a pair of rubber tubes fitted into the ears and the box like apparatus into which we gazed to watch the first moving pictures which were the forerunners of the screen and radio that provide the people of today with entertainment on a much better scale than those afforded them in the past. Yet some few of the oldsters wish and sigh for the return of the once was and in pensive and retrospective dream of the romantic happenings that took place under the old gas lights when they and the years were young and time ran sweet and slow, and this brings remembrance of those descriptive lines:
I loved to stand at my casement glass,
At evening when the dusk
Came softly down
And watch the light in the long dim past,
That glowed in old Grafton town.
One by one as they flared up and shone.
Each lamppost a cheerful glow,
And the lighted windows of each home
Harbors of safety only real homes know.
Many was the time in spring and fall
I watched an old man plodding by,
Touching a match to a lamppost tall,
To lighten the darkening sky
Gone are the old gas lights, of a bygone day,
The plodding old man sleeps many’s a year,
No need of his ladder, or match to turn on the ray,
Of this marvellous light brilliantly clear..
Now old as I am still old memories come,
Of the lights of a long past time,
And sigh for youthful pleasures past and done,
As boys and girls, now in our decline.