The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred-Forty-Nine


Big Estate Settled

A.Q. Scammon, a theatrical producer and owner of several productions of the type that appealed to the theatre patrons sent the first of his attractions, “The American Girl” to the Opera House March 21,1901. This comedy drama featuring George F. Hall one of those impulsive comedians that aroused the highest pitch of enthusiasm among his audience, won his place in the first appearance on the local stage by his clever work and he was given an ovation in all subsequent appearances with attractions in which he was featured.
The town council passed an ordinance in 1901 changing the name of Newlon alley, above Washington street, to Long street, and the name of Tibbett’s alley in West Grafton to Dorsey street.
The estate of the late Reverend John T. Reynolds, an extensive farmer in the western portion of the county, was sold by Commissioner J. Frank Wilson to settle the estate. The aggregate of the parcels of land sold comprising some 600 acres brought at the sale $23,- 775.00. He was a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent families in the county who traced their ancestry back to Robert Reynolds who came from England to settle in the American colonies before the revolution. His grandfather, Cornelius Reynolds, came to western Virginia from Fauquier county in 1790 and was probably the largest landlord in this section of Virginia. Evincing to labor in the ministry, John T. Reynolds began the study of theology and in 1867 was licensed to preach by the Baptist church and during his lifetime was one of the best known ministers of that faith in Taylor County.
Mayor Boys appointed a committee composed of Attorney B. Frank Bailey, Councilman A.E. Dawson, Dr. A.H. Thayer, John A. McCabe, Patrick Moran and William Jennings to confer with the officials of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad in regard to extending the pedestrian bridge from the south side of the Grafton hotel over the tracks to connect with the bridge of the Grafton and Belington railroad affording the people a safe passage to reach South Grafton. This, however, was not put into effect until some ten years later when the railroad began extensive improvements at the terminal.
Ira E. Robinson was appointed town attorney and Harry A. Spies appointed town clerk.
The Van Dyke and Eaton Repertoire company came to the Opera House for the week of March 25,1901, to make their initial appearance before the local theatre patrons and made a favorable impression. Miss Ollie Eaton won a warm place in the affections of the local theatre patrons that ensured her a warm reception in future stage appearances in Grafton.
Sanford M. White, prominent businessman, who stood high in estimation of his fellow citizens. Who served many years as a member of the Grafton Independent Board of Education and who was one of the organizers and charter members of Mystic Lodge No. 75, A.F. and A.M. established on 1878 and served as worshipful master of the society in 1891, died at his home on Knotts avenue, March 21, 1901.
Irl R. Hicks, a nationwide weather forecaster, whose predictions were followed by the people throughout the country and during counsels then during periods of reactionary weather to maintain “quietness and peace of mind,” his predictions in regard to conditions in this section were accurately forecast and he was looked upon by many folks as the greatest weather prophet of his time. Then, for some reason he dropped from sight and was lost sight of a year or so later.
Fredrick J. Berger, theatrical manager of Sol Smith Russell, sent this star and production “A Poor Relation,” to the Opera House April 19,1901. This pathetic story of a poor inventor and the two orphans he tried to keep whose poverty was so great and whose love for the children so strong he denied himself to the point of starvation to provide for them. His portrayal of Noah Vale, an unfortunate inventor, who really has genius and produced something worthwhile but cannot interest well-to-do people in financing his invention was perhaps one of the greatest touching pieces of acting seen on the local stage.
Council passed an ordinance changing the name of Pleasant alley to Boyd street in honor of Mayor William O. Boyd, who served so many terms as the head of the town administration and whose every effort was for the better improvement of the municipality and under whose administration many of the real worthwhile improvements occurred. Plain and outspoken, easy of approach , uncorruptible he had the welfare of the community at heart and to him people of Grafton owe much for giving them many administrations honestly and truly served.

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