The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred-Sixty


Elks Lodge Organized

The Hon. George W. Atkinson, prominent political leader and high in the councils of the Republican party was the Memorial speaker in the 27th annual exercises held in the National cemetery on May 30, 1895.  A brillant orator, his address was listened to by a greatly reduced number of the veterans of the Civil war, whose members one by one, fought their last battle of life and were laid among so many of their comrades in the hallowed city of the dead.  The speaker paid a beautiful tribute to the memory of those who slept beneath the sod on which he and those who came to do them honor stood.

  Morland, of the law firm of Morland and Reno, started a movement to construct a street railway in Grafton in 1895.  His failure to float a bond issue after several attempts both at home and in the money centers made him abandon the project.  Later Mr. Morland and his family took up their residence at Pittsburgh to enter the law business in that busy center.

  The Grafton Board of Education contracted for a brick school on Grand street, South Grafton, to replace the the outmoded old frame building that stood on the lot was erected in the 60’s for the education of the youth in that part of town and the classes taught by Miss Anne and Kate Barbee, Hugh Douglass, Stephen Stiles, Lewis Dinkle, Amanda Abbott, Mary Flanagan, Gertrude Steele, Nettie Bender and others.

  Mayor William O. Boyd appointed John McCabe, Alexander Shaw and S.J. Willhide, commissioners.  Edward J. O’Shaughnessy and William H. Willhide, clerks in the Second ward; Charles W. Burke, Patrick Moran and William H. Morgan, commissioners, Ruth E. Blaney and R.E. Hanway clerks in the Third ward, to conduct the special election June 10, 1894, for the citizens to vote on the question of annexing the town of West Grafton to the town of Grafton.  The commissioners and clerks reported the following votes cast : For ratification, , 328, for rejection, 110.  The council received the certificates of election from the commissioners of West Grafton showing the question of the annexation on that side of the river had failed of ratification by the necessary tow-thirds majority.

  Hiawatha Tribe, Improved Order of Red Men, held their fifth annual memorial service to their brethren in Bluemont cemetery, June 14, 1895.  The members gathered at the lodge room in the afternoon and led by the band marched to the cemetery and after the ritualistic ceremonies by the members, were addressed by Reverend H.C. Showalter, of Pennsboro, who delivered one of the most impressive memorial addresses ever heard in the town.   

  A slump in the price of wool that sent prices down to the lowest point ever known in Taylor county caused Jeddeiah Yates to offer his entire clip to anyone who would come to his farm on the upper reaches of the Tygart Valley river and sheer his flock.

  Fritz and Webster presented their musical and humorous play, “A Breezy Time”, for their second showing on the local stage September 10, 1895, to an audience that filled the Opera House and who got the same enjoyment from this pleasing entertainment was marred to some extent at an accident to happen Miss Katherine Webster who sustained a sprained ankle when she slipped on the dressing room steps but she limped on the stage to carry out her part in the play. 

  On June 29, 1895, John Beabout, Andres A Carney, Harry Hanshaw, Thomas E. Joyce, Stephen W. Joyce, Bruce F. Kinney, Charles L. Kimmel, Thomas M. Hussion, Thomas J. McAvay, Edward J. O’Shaughnessy and Frank M. Thomas met to organize a subordinate lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Grafton.  The officers of Wheeling Lodge No. 28 were sent here by the state district deputy to form the organization and induct the officers of the lodge into their stations.  Edward J. O’Shaughnessy was elected by exalted ruler; Thomas E. Joyce, esquire; Bruce F. Kinney, secretary; Frank M. Thomas, chaplain, and Thomas H. Hussion, tiler.  The officers of Wheeling lodge No.28 occupied the stations during the initiation ceremonies of the newly elected officers and conducted a business session in order to instruct the members in the duties of the lodge procedure.

  Dr. N.W. Tracy, a noted lecturer, delivered a most interesting talk on the subject,”Ben Hur,” with numerous slide illustrations of the Biblical story from the pen of General Lew Wallace in the Opera House, September 11, 1895.

  Reno and Ford company came to the Opera House and presented a pastoral drama entitled “Uncle Joshua Simpkins.”  The plays of rural life which seemed many in the 90’s and which carried an appeal to many theatre patrons all found a very good business in Grafton and this company was no exception which appeared on the night of September 22, 1895.

  Isabel, wife of Alpheus D. Casteel, died at her home on Lafayette street in 1895.  Mrs.Casteel born Isabel, daughter of Reverend and Mrs. John Clark, came with her parents to Grafton when Reverend Clear was appointed pastor of the Methodist Episcopal congregation on May 28, 1869.  Alpheus Casteel was probably the most prominent citizen of the 60’s and 70’s interested in the general merchandise business and industrial activities of the town of Grafton.  A son, Dana, was born to the couple who is now a professor of entomology in the University of Texas.

  The first of the Lincoln J. Carter’s productions, “The Fast Mail,” came to the Opera House, October 2, 1895.  Grafton being a railroad town, this attraction drew a capacity house on that night.  Lincoln J. Carter, probably the most ingenious master of stage realism of his days, and who produced more spectacular effects in his plays that never failed to thrill an audience and when the audience witnessed a rumbling freight train cross the stage drawing a string of Baltimore and Ohio freight cars the gods vociferously shouted their approval and a movement later again voiced their acclaim when a lighter passenger train whizzed past the freight.  He did not depend altogether on effect, but carried a most competent cast of actors that made his productions both thrilling and entertaining.

  The people of Grafton were sorry to hear of the death of Mrs.Lena, wife of Hamilton Gray, former resident of Grafton, at her home in Fort Worth, Texas, October 3, 1895.  Born Lena, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Cline, of Grafton, Mrs.Gray was one of the most popular girls in Grafton society in her younger days. 

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