The History of Taylor County Chapter Two Hundred-Sixty-A


Civil War Veteran Dies

Miss Laura Ms. Smith, proprietress of the West Grafton Millenary and Ladies furnishing establishment warmly expressed her sincere appreciation of the hearty good will and splendid patronage of her widening circle of customers who entrusted her with their millinery business during the year 1917 and wished one and all a pleasant and prosperous New Year and all the good fortune possible.

The venerable Shingleton J. Willhide, one of the most notable and prominent citizens of Grafton died at his home on West Washington Street Monday, December 31,1917. A veteran of the Civil War and one of the most active members of Reno Post No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in Company B, Second West Virginia Volunteer Infantry (Grafton’s own company) as a musician. Later the company was mounted and he was assigned as a scout and in this service saw much hard and dangerous service and received a severe hip wound while scouting in the regions around Cheat Mountain. At the close of the war, he located for a short time at Parkersburg and worked at his trade of marble cutter. In 1866 he moved to Webster and opened his own shop continuing the business at Webster until 1874 and in that year located at Grafton and established his shop on St. Johns street after the small frame building was vacated as a post office. He married Miss Prudence daughter of John and Mary Mason Curry, and a descendant of two of the oldest pioneer families of Taylor County. Mr. Willhide was perhaps one of the most active veterans in arranging the annual Memorial exercises at the National Cemetery and was a member of the drum corps for years which lead the post in the many parades in the march to the city the dead over in West Grafton to pay tribute their fallen comrades. And then when the early morning hours of the last day of the year 1917 broke over Grafton his tired eyes closed on all earthly scenes and his remains carried by his ages comrades before the earth his kindly face from their sight forever.

The county court met in session for the last time on December 31, 1917 in a special meeting to consider the purchase of considerable number of road machines for use of the county roads before the advent of the new year. The agitation for good roads in Taylor County that had its beginning of the splendid highway system that crosses Taylor County and the other counties of northern West Virginia today, and the historic old Northwestern Turnpike between Grafton and Pruntytown which was surfaced with brick and opened to traffic on Thanksgiving day, 1918. Was the first permanent brick highway between two towns laid in the United States and the money for this improvement was raised by a county levy and was paid for in three years after its completion.

Dr. Thomas F. Lanham in a letter to the Grafton Sentinel said: “ I would like to see in Taylor County a monument erected in front of the court house or some other suitable place which would commemorate those who lost their lives in battle or stricken down by disease in the service (each sacrifice being equal to the other) and to every other boy who donned the colors in defense of his country who belongs to Taylor County, I would like to see a monument, not a Y.M.C.A building, not a hospital, not a swimming pool, nor any other building  just because the town needs it. If any of these buildings are necessary in Grafton let us go to work and build them ourselves. To ask a man to contribute to a building of a structure of the kind I have named or any building to be used by the people of Grafton by telling him it was to commemorate the death of his son who had died and was buried on the other side of the ocean would in my opinion by resented, at least, with strong words. I believe the character of the memorial should be dropped until the boys get home and let them determine whether they would prefer a suitable monument commemorating their services to the country, or a building for the town of Grafton. If an effort was made now to raise the money for some kind of a memorial, the character of it could be determined by the amount of money raised. The money should by first raised and the monument or building to come within the amount subscribed and we must get the money before we can proceed in a sensible manner.”

A well-known resident of East Grafton was tried in the Taylor County court charged with stealing a railroad velocipede the property of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. In the past men were tried for stealing a horse, and a horse and buggy for a ride but a railroad velocipede which could only be operated on the iron rails of the company was something unusual in the courts of the county. The case was so out of the ordinary Judge Fortney held the case over until a later term of court.

The Grand theatre presented a  thrilling war picture the first of its kind shown on the screen of a local theatre and entitled “Crashing Through to Berlin,”  with General John J. Pershing commander of the American Expeditionary force and the Army of the United States in action on the field of France and Belgium.

Rev. E.M. Rhoades, pastor of the First Baptist Church announced he would deliver a sermon entitled “Red Hot,”  at the evening service in his church Wednesday January 22,1918 saying:

“He would handle the truth without gloves and advised those afraid of the truth not to come to hear him, A sermon for the conscientious objector entitled “Our Missouri Friends,” he asked all those who objected to our nation entering in the war to wear their asbestos suits as he would make his talk ‘Red Hot.’”

Dr. Lenore C. Wright, a lady chiropractor, a graduate of the Palmer school of the line of therapeutic treatment established an office in the Central Hotel building and offered her services to those needing adjustments of the spinal cord and suffering with the nervous troubles. Examinations given free.

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