The passing of Dr. Thornsbury Bailey Yates at his home in West Grafton on August 7,1902, removed one of the earliest native born citizens of Grafton. A son of Alexander and Emily Bailey Yates, he opened his infant eyes on the world in the humble log dwelling which stood on the site of the present Standard Filling Station on Beech Street Thursday, January 20, 1853. He began his education in the subscription school taught by John M. Sargent in West Grafton and later entered West Virginia University, graduating in medicine in one of the earliest classes of the institution. Later he enrolled in the medica school of the university of Maryland graduating with high honors in the Class of 1878, and returned to Grafton to engage in the practice of his profession taking up the work on ministering to the patients of the late Dr. Thomas Kennedy. A handsome man, of magnificent physique, warm hearted and generous, he was the ideal family physician. He married Georgella, the daughter of Rinaldo Mackin, one of the first settlers of Grafton, now a resident of California, For a number of years she conducted a drug and fancy goods store on Pearl Street until his failing health forced him to retire from active professional duties and business, his condition grew gradually worse despite all the efforts of his physicians to alleviate hid ailment and death ended his career on the above date.
His remains were interred in Bluemont Cemetery with Masonic rites by his brother Masons on the family lot attended by a great throng of friends who had received many favors from this kindly healer.
William R. Loar, prominent photographer, purchased the old Henry O’ Leary property one of the oldest in Grafton and used the building for his photographic studio for some six years and gained a reputation for artistic work that placed him in the front ranks of this business throughout the state of West Virginia. In 1902 his business had grown to such extent the old building was no longer suitable to his needs for the handling of supplies he furnished to photographers in northern West Virginia.
To care for this increasing business he had the old frame house razed and the present four story brick business and office building erected on the site. For many years he was engages as topography photographer for the United States Government in mapping government lands in the far west and leaving the government service he located at Grafton in 1891 to engage in the photographic business, in which he became eminently successful. It would be most interesting if the pictured faces of each individual his camera caught, the family groups, historic events , important happenings and events what a picture gallery it would be to an onlooker to view these untold thousands of reproductions of people and scenes that went to make up the history of Grafton and those concerned in its educational religious and political affairs. The lack of a museum is felt in which to exhibit historical objects relating to the beginning of the town of Grafton which from a Civil war viewpoint is the most important town in all Western Virginia during the beginning pf the bloody carnage in the 60s.
The passing of that grand Christian woman, May Latham Love at the home of a sister in Parkersburg Wednesday, August 11,1902, was a shock to her many friends in Grafton. A daughter of the most distinguished of Grafton born to John and Juliet Latham, August 23,1834, with her parents and family came to this section of Virginia in 1850. She married Thomas B. Love at Pruntytown on 1852 and when the stone shops were completed the couple came to Grafton when the husband secured employment as a machinist with the railroad. A brother, James I. Love, came to Grafton in 1860 and persuaded John Barton to form a partnership with him in the general merchandise business under the firm name of J.I. Love and Company and gave over the management of the business to the junior partner. He died in 1873, leaving the widow with one small sone, the late Dr. Earnest L. love, prominent later in the political and business history of the town.
Highly educated, the widowed Mary Love was for some years an instructor in Old Central School on Wilford Street, her understanding and sympathy with the children minds of those about to begin their education fitted her admirably for this training of the young beginners. A firm believer in the uplift and the betterment of the people when the railroad evangelist, Miss Jennie Smith came to Grafton in 1882 and began the movement for the organization of a Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Mrs. Love eagerly joined the movement and at its organization became its first president and carried on this great work until 1887. In that year she was called on to carry the Woman’s Christian Temperance work to Australia where she labored give years earnestly and successfully in establishing branches of the society in Sidney, New South Wales and other places in the Colony. The fulfillment of her mission completed she returned to her native United States for the convention of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union at Boston. At this convention her fame in this noble work was so fully recognized she was delegated to labor in the interests of the society in the state of Virginia and was most successful.
In 1893, she was called to serve as pastor to the congregation of the Baptist church at Parkersburg which she accepted, continuing her work meanwhile for the Woman’s Temperance Union. The congregation offered her the same position, but believing her work lay in the field of uplift and the betterment of the unfortunate she declined to take up her work with the society and for twenty years this grand woman unselfishly went about her work in the interests of humanity. In July, 1902, Mrs. Love for a short recreation went to visit a sister Mrs. Thompson at Parkersburg, and while standing at a table drying the dishes used at the morning meal joining her sister in the hymn :Shall We Meet Beyond The River”, and she became suddenly ill and said “Let me sit down.”