Miss Alice Archer was the star of Fred E. Wright’s beautiful western drama, “Jess of the Bar Z,” which came to the Opera House February 12,1901. This drama of the west was so far above the average western production it was a pleasure to watch this dainty star in action as the plot of the play unfolded and the audience showed their appreciation by repeated curtain calls.
Armour and company, the great Chicago meat packers purchased the plot of ground on east side of Beech Street, West Grafton, facing the Baltimore and Ohio right-of-way over in West Grafton to erect a storage house for their products for distribution in this territory. This location gave the storage house convenient railroad siding over which car lots of meats could be shunted directly into the building without exposure to outside weather.
E.M. Wilkins informed the town council the permit granted him for a street railway was transferred to Attorney Fredrick T. Martin of Fairmont with the same provisions that the erection of the railway not to begin earlier than May 1, 1901. Just why Mr. Wilkins transferred the franchise is not clear and the franchise was forfeited when no effort was made by Mr. Martin to begin operations within the time limit.
Harry W. Chadduck was the purchaser of the first lot on the new Yates addition of the town of Grafton that was placed on the market for building sites by J.W. and Dr. T.B. Yates in 1901. This choice site formed a part of the old Stewart farm on which the historic old cabin erected by Stewart in 1811 and in which the first child of record, John M. Yates, was born in 1850. This lad made this advent into the world some two years previous to the settlement of Grafton and is credited with having been the first to made his advent onto the world in what it is now Grafton before the annexation of Fetterman which was settled in 1835 and first known as Valley Bridge. The records of Fetterman disclose that Andrew Jason son of Mr. and Mrs. James Nuzum, was born in the little toll bridge settlement April 12, 1848, and the annexation of the town of Fetterman to Grafton in 1908 gives Andrew J. Nuzum the distinction of having been among the first born with the present limits within the area that now comprise the town of Grafton.
The Wilson Theatre Company came to the Opera House the week of February 14,1901. Miss Gertrude Hillaker, leading the woman of the company, was one of the most beautiful women to appear before the local public and her ability as a delineator in the roles met the approval of her audiences. Manager Wilson , a clever showman with knowledge of what appealed to the theatrical public never failed to include in his repertoire plays that met with the approval of his patrons and brought him and the theatre profitable business in the many engagements in towns where his company appeared. Perhaps the outstanding play produced during the week of this engagement that attracted the largest lady audience was the society drama entitled “Young Mrs. Winthrop” which gave Miss Hillaker an opportunity to display some of the most elaborate gowns ever seen on the local stage and together with her charming personality made this night’s bill particularly attractive to the large number of ladies on the audience.
The Exchange Mill established in a part of the old John Carr foundry on lower Latrobe Street for processing grains into foodstuffs was destroyed by fire. F. Bruce Blue, the original proprietor, sold the mill to Ona C. Jefferys, Charles O. Thayer and Walter Wiley on 1901 and while under the management of the latter gentleman the fire consumed the building. The immediately began the erection pf the present brick structure that still houses this industry.
The Great Barlow Minstrels under the management of Donnelly Coburn and Baldwin came to the Opera House March 1, 1901, and presented one of the best minstrel shows seen during the season. The usual street parade and band concert at night was listened to by practically the entire population and this splendid musical aggregation under the leadership of J. A. Coburn was the means of attraction a large business at the box office and they were not disappointed in the offerings of the members of the company in providing an evening’s entertainment.
The impregnability of the vaults of the First National Bank was demonstrated when Gus Kunst, assistant cashier, closed the doors of the vaults and in a moment of forgetfulness failed to remove the lever that controlled the time lock, and on opening the bank in the morning the vault doors refused to open. Every means was tried to induce the doors to open without avail. Patrick Moran the blacksmith was sent for and asked to drill through the doors and after two days labor with a diamond point drill that scarcely made an impression on the hardened steel door, experts from Cincinnati were brought to Grafton and after great trouble opened the vaults.
In the town election of March 19,1901 William O. Boyd for mayor received 520 votes and Charles H. Straub received 490 votes.
For council first ward George F. Green received 252 votes and S.P. Kimmel received 89 votes.
For council second ward Charles Stolzenfels received 165 votes and Hiram Gaines received 112 votes.
For council third ward A.E. Dawson received 104 votes, and John M. Keane Jr., received 51 votes.
For council in the fourth ward, Dr. R.D. Mackin received 140 votes and W.D. Pratt received 108 votes.
For collector of taxes A.E.N. Means received 615 votes and Robert J. Maloney received 408 votes.
For president of the Board of Education, James W. Holt received 577 votes and Lafayette E. Ward received 452 votes.
For School Commissioner, Samuel H. Gramm received 587 votes, William E. Pifer received 576 votes, John W. Hamilton received 446 votes, and T.W. Heironimus received 441 votes.
Lydia Limbers, the first woman in Grafton to have her name submitted as a candidate for assessor was elected to the position but the town council declared her ineligible on account of her sex and appointed William J. Williams, her father to the position.
The question of saloon license was ratified by 352 votes cast in favor of the sale of intoxicants and 393 votes cast against license.