The History of Taylor County:Chapter Two Hundred-Ninety-One

Ex-Policeman Ends Life

The screams of the wife of ex-policeman Emery Lake, a resident of St. Charles Street, brought the neighborhood hurrying to the lake home to ascertain the cause to find the body of the former officer lying dead on the floor from a pistol shot self-inflicted without any apparent cause. The 35-year-old man, a former employee of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, resigned his position to accept a position on the town police force under Mayor George Green in 1902 and served efficiently in that position under Chief Oscar Riley. He was regarded as an upright, sober and his domestic life seemed above reproach and just what temporary madness caused his self-destruction after partaking of the evening meal was a mystery.

Corner Fawcett summoned a jury to view the body and hold an inquest. The jury composed of Franck Bennett, O.S. Cole, Thomas B. Henderson, Robert T. Knotts, Oscar F. Riley and C.D. Summers found “the deceased came to his death from a pistol shot fired by his own hand on the 28th day of January, 1904.”

The Grafton Independent Board of Education purchased the lot on Lincoln street extending back to Mulligan avenue in East Grafton and asked for bids from local contractors for the erection of a one story basement brick school house with an entrance on Lincoln street.  The new building when completed and furnished would accommodate all the children of East Grafton and do away with the flimsy and unsafe buildings used as school rooms in that part of town.

The dramatization of Augusta Evans Wilson’s famous novel “St. Elmo” for the stage by Neil Twomey for the Alfred E. Aarons Associated Theatre producers sent this stage success to the Opera House January 26,1904. The drama had a most successful season in the cities the two previous seasons and its fame had reached the theatre patrons of Grafton many of whom were familiar with the famous authorless’ books, and a full house greeted the cast at the rise of the curtain on the above date. The entire scenic production was carried by the company and the cast was most capable in portraying the characters in the play.

The town council ordered the street committee to extend the paving with a brick surface on lower Latrobe street for the accommodation of the new wholesome grocery house of the Joseph Speidel Company, the Exchange Mill Machine company for an access to their plants.

Local citizens bought a piece of land with a railroad siding fronting on Mulligan avenue, East Grafton, and begin the erection of the Grafton Foundry and Machine company buildings on the land and placed the business in the hands of Henry M. Leps as manager of this new industry. A part of the plant was leased to H.A. Almus for the production of saw mill machinery and parts who found a ready sale for his products among the rural sawmill operators in this territory.

A tense and thrilling melodrama, entitled “The Burglar,” came to the Opera House January 31, 1904, depicting the dangerous 31,1904, depicting the dangerous life of those who follow this profession outside the law and often times pay in blood when caught in the act of looting or sent away for long terms in prison to reflect that crime does not pay, and when released find it difficult to live honestly because of his former record. The moral of this drama was a lesson to those who witnessed the play given by a most competent cast.

A company of local man in hopes of finding oil in this territory sank a well on the Hugh Evans farm in the western part of the county and drilled into a gas pool that was of sufficient flow to ask for a franchise to lay pipe under the streets and alleys of Grafton.

The Idyllic Pastoral melodrama entitled “An Orphans Prayer”, under the management of Edwin Decoursey came to the Opera House February 4,1904, featuring the versatile Miss Nettie DeCoursey as Calamity, a foster child, and Arthur Pickens as Clinton Crosby, a gentleman. The entire scenes used in this rural play, the farm of Seth Owens in New Hampshire and the cow and calf, sheep and chickens seemingly contented browsing and picking about  the farm yard were docile and did their parts in the play. The sitting room in a New England home in which the family and neighbors gathered for discussions concerning affairs was typical of rural life and beautifully acted. Comedy was injected into the play by Miss Josie Haines as Angeline Davis, a spinster, Nellie Foster as Bridget Fogarty a scrub woman, John Niemeyer as Murphy, a barkeeper, William Bruning as Johnny Dopey a drunk and Frank Caldwell as Finnegan, a policeman. The play was one that carried appeal to the patrons who showed their appreciation with frequent applause at the clever portrayal of the various character parts in the cast. The company management invited the children of the town to see the animals and chickens back on the stage after the matinee performance and make the acquaintance of Mike, the calf, and Aggie the lamb, and feed them from their hands.


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