Cyrus E. Ringler, a native of Pennsylvania, formerly held a military commission under Governor Henry A. Wise of Virginia. He was an anti-slavery Democrat who was not in accord with this traffic in human souls and when the agitation began over the question of secession he bitterly opposed this question in the columns of his newspaper he printed at Fetterman in 1861. In May 1861, he enrolled for service in the Federal cause under Captain George R. Latham who organized the first company in this section of Western Virginia for military duty for the Union and at first known as the Grafton Guards and after being mustered into the regular army was designated Company B, Second West Virginia Infantry.
He was detached for scout duty and had many narrow escapes from death. A shot cut the cord around his hat escaping after a brisk skirmish at McDowell that stunned and he was thought dead by the enemy. At Cross Keys, one bullet ranked a furrow across his face and another across the back if his neck. At Bull Run he was shot in the stomach and received a bullet wound in the right hand, but this doughty solider survived his wounds and was mustered out of service at the close of war and cited for his patriotism and devotion to the cause of the Union. Returning to his home at Fetterman he resumed the publication of his newspaper and latter with his son’s established a stogie factory at Fetterman.
He passed away March 1,1903. His comrades of Reno Post No.7, Grand Army of the Republic, burying him in the National Cemetery with full military honors.
Clarence Bennett, one of the most versatile actors on the stage and a frequent visitor at the head of his own attractions sent his dramatization of “Faust” to the Opera House March 4, 1903. He was the first scene painter to apply Diamond Dyes for scenery and the drops and set pieces were so light and easy to handle, the scene shifting force on the local stage had a warm place in their affections for his productions. Those patrons sitting out from little realized the enormous amount of hard labor required to change a set of scenery for a large production that must be done with the least delay to retard the action of the play and try the patience of the audience. Some of the drop scenery with a height of 22 feet and a width of 36 feet painted with water colors on brown linen required the service of four flymen to raise these drops to the gridiron they were so weighty.
Hiawatha Tribe No. 7, Independent Order of Red Men, asked permission of the town council to erect a speaker’s stand near the entrance gate in Bluemont cemetery do that all members attending memorial services to their departed brothers interred in the grounds might see and hear the speakers on these occasions commemorating the dead. Council approved the movement granted permission for this worthy project.
A rollicking Irish comedy “Finnegan’s 400” a gathering of the smart set of Hibernian aristocracy starring Joe McAvoy and Harry Mack came to the Opera House March 19, 1903. The action during the four acts was full of the most amusing situations with McAvoy as Finnegan, Harry Mack as Herman Schultz Finnegan’s lawyer, who was screaming funny in hid interpretation of the law. Miss Fannie Edwards as Maggie Connors, whose mother keeps a boarding house which Maggie tried to conceal from the 400, had the principal parts in the comedy. The singing numbers “Daisy, There Is Music In The Air” and the specialty “Two Old Chromo’s In A Hardwood Frame”, Miss Edwards clog dance the popular ballads given by Miss Luella Miller and Joe McAvoy provided the patrons with an enjoyable evening entertainment.
The contention of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that the proposed crossing of their tracks at the west end of the railroad bridge over in West Grafton would prove dangerous and greatly interfere with their traffic if the Buckhannon and Northern were permitted the privilege of crossing at that point brought a protest from Chief Engineer Lemley of the Buckhannon and Northern who claimed the route sought by his railroad thru West Grafton would not interfere with the traffic operations of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The mayor and council suggested to Mr. Lemley which in the opinion of the officials of the Baltimore and Ohio would not interfere with their operations, one of the routes suggested was cutting under that hill at a point west of the old route, and emerging at a point near the residence of William T. Lilly on upper Maple Avenue. The proposition did not appeal to Engineer Lemley and the matter was dropped and the Buckhannon and Northern Railroad never built further east than Fairmont.