The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred Ninety Two

Nimrod Lake Dies

The passing of the familiar Nimrod A. Lake, a well-known farmer of the Wickwire section of the county, who for many years marketed the products of his farm in Grafton at his home near the Brown Church occurred January 30, 1904. Born July 10, 1829, of that pioneer family of Lake that settled in Western Virginia in the early 1800s, he married Sarah, daughter of Gibson and Tabitha Linn in 1850 when 21 years of age and moved to the land on the waters of Wickwire to begin life in a little humble home. Two children were born to this Taylor County home and at the age of maturity they like their parents married the sons and daughters of that once famous Glady Creek section of Marion and Taylor County that once was populated with the sturdy families Lake’s, Linn’s, Henderson’s, Ruby’s, Miller’s, Neel’s, Reese’s, Vincent’s, Brown’s all grand people of that class of husbandry that broke the wilderness and added so much prosperity to the American nation.

On Washington’s birthday, February 22,1904, the Opera House had an attraction a melodrama entitled “Human Hearts,” a story of the misfortunes of one Jim Mason who was buffeted about by fate until this once popular citizen of his community was reduced to abject poverty and became a wandering tramp until an act of heroism ended his wanderings and restored him to his place in society at the end of the play. 

The Grafton Banking and Trust company which began to function as a financial institution in the Parsons building on West Main to such extent the directors to attain more adequate quarters for the growing financial institution purchased the old John Devine property at the corner of Main and Ethel streets and had plans prepared for a fine banking and office building on site. William Jennings who occupied the Devine home reserved the western part of the lot on which to erect a business and apartment building adjoining the bank.

The rural play “Young Tobe Hoxie” featuring Ernest Lamson, who was a pronounced  success as Lem Dunbar in the play York State Folks came to the Opera House March 29, 1904, and repeated the success that he won in his former appearance on the local stage. This drama of rural life in a small village gave the star ample scope to display the same versatile role that made his part in York State folks such as a success and won the plaudits of his audience on this new drama by his clever impersonation on Young Tobe Hoxie.

The street committee was ordered to surface Lincoln street from the junction of Main to the corporate limits with a brick paving in East Grafton to give a hard surfaced street to the citizens who began erecting homes in the new Loveland addition in that part of the town which Arch C. Love had laid off in town lots and offered home sites in this desirable location close to the town of Grafton.

The Vandyke-Eaton company from the many visits this theatrical organization appeared on the local stage which almost seemed like a home institution came for the week of March 15-20. Like the famous Kittle Rhoades of bygone years Miss Ollie Eaton leading lady of the company always found a warm welcome among the local theatre patrons and this welcome included Della Mae Wilson character woman of the company and George Botsford musical director who seemed to be at home among the citizens who frequented the theatre.

Council ordered the chief of police to make a census of all slot machines operated in the town and the council passed an ordinance levying a tax of $10 on each machine and tax $5 on each additional machine found in each place of business in the town. These gambling devices, in numbers, added considerable to the revenue of the town in the days before they were outlawed by the laws of the state and paid handsome dividends to their owners and operators. Gambling in all forms was an attraction that few could resist and all kinds of devices to take money from those addicted to the habit were placed enticingly in places to lure the victims.


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