Hon. John H. Holt, prominent local attorney acceded to the wishes of Reno Post No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic, to give the Memorial address in the Nation Cemetery on May 30, 1901. A brilliant and gifted orator, he was the third man to have this honor conferred upon him by veterans of the Civil War. The other two were Captain Jacob B. Bristor and James J. Warren.
Attorney Holt was the 33rd speaker at the exercises, commemorating the men living and dead who served the nation in its greatest crisis and his review of the incident that led up to the bloody Civil War revealed an intimacy of those stirring times that occurred within his own recollection.
Born in Gilmer County, then in Virginia and steeped in the customs and traditions of the South, his recital of the happenings and incidents during the four years of struggle between the two sections of the nation was most instructive at the time. A considerable number of veterans of the Civil War, the children of public and St. Augustine schools, in charge of Mrs. Maria Leeds and Mrs. James B. Moran, the veterans of the Spanish-American War, Vincent’s Imperial band, the Reform School band cadets, the Ladies’ band from Hendricks and the Keyser band were in the line of march on the occasion.
A baseball nine, composed of women with considerable reputation throughout the country known as the Bloomer Girls, played an exhibition game of the old Fair grounds with the Tailors of the town, and the girls won the contest by the score of 14-4.
The people of Grafton were horrified when they learned of the tragedy that happened to Dr. A. J. Baker and his 10-year-old son, Lou Henry, on Monday , June 24, 1901. During the intense heat on that June day Dr. Baker accompanied by the lad sought relief in the cooling waters of the Tygart Valley River at a point near the residence of Dr. Thomas Kennedy on upper Maple Avenue. Using a log as a float both resting on the rounded surface, the log turned over, with the lad beneath it. It was the old story of n either being able to swim and at the frantic cried of the lad, Dr. Baker plunged to the rescue of the drowning lad who in his terror threw his arms around the father’s neck with the exult that the waters closed over the heads of father and son. The bodies were brought to the surface by kindly hands and removed to the undertaking parlors and prepared for burial.
Dr. Baker, a relative of Mrs. Kennedy came to Grafton from Barbour County and soon established himself as a physician of more than ordinary ability and acquired a fine practice which ended all too soon with this double tragedy. He was a member of Lotus lodge no. 10, Ancient Order of United Workmen, who took charge and conducted the burial with the rites of the order at the double interment in Bluemont Cemetery.
Some intensely religious citizens objected to the closings of the church services among the heated session and added “It is never too hot for Satan to do business at the old stand, he is so accustomed to heat he never closes his doors.”
Mary, only daughter of Mayor William O. Boyd, died at the family home on West Main Street, June 28,1901. An invalid for some years, her death was not unexpected and people generally expressed deep sympathy for Mr. Boyd and son in taking from the household the only daughter.
The Knottsville friends of J. Clark Lewellyn tendered him a fine birthday party July 1, 1901, in honor of his 57th natal day. Mr. Lewellyn was the recipient of many useful presents and were treated to a most sumptuous and delightful banquet to those present, all of whom wished him long life to enjoy many more birthdays as merry and happy as his 57th.
The Famous Welch Brothers Great rail shows pitched their tents on the show grounds in West Grafton, July 9,1901, for two exhibitions. This circus, while not the largest that ever visited the town was perhaps one of the cleanest yet seen. The troop Rayal Japanese artists, the equestrian acts, and trained animals were all clever and the museums of wild animals was perhaps as good if not better than those with most circuses. The Roman Hippodrome races were truly exciting and the daring 100-foot high-dive of Professor Charles Lewis was a thrilling featuring act.
The Fetterman Independent District Board of Education composed of Charles E. Leonard, Isaac Thomas and U.G. Yates engaged N.F. Kendell, principal; Caroline Brown, O.E. Wyckoff, Ethel Yates and Agnes Finch assistants to conduct the Fetterman public school for the ensuing year.