The History of Taylor County Chapter Three-Hundred-Forty-One

Memorial Day of 1907

A group of Grafton men organized the Grafton daily republican and released the building at 223 W Main St for the publishing rooms of this new journal. Gus A.Bolden was made editor and D. Grant Smith was engaged to superintend the publication. The new daily republican came from the press in its first issue Thursday May 30th, 1907. R. M. Parrish, prominent real estate and insurance operator had the distinction of being the first subscriber. Editor Bolden in his salutatory the issue of the journal said:

 “We are today presenting the people of Grafton and Taylor County and we hope a great many West Virginians who reside outside the town and county with the Grafton daily republican period the daily will be published every day except Sunday. It shall be our aim first last and all the time to give our readers and up-to-date local paper. Should the enterprise prosper as we have every reason to believe it will prosper, we expect soon to secure the best telegraphic news service accorded afternoon papers. In giving to the people of the city and county and this new enterprise we feel that we are filling a long felt want in a newspaper way, and more especially a republican newspaper way. There cannot be too many organs through which to set forth the principles of the grand old party the party of Lincoln, grant, McKinley and Roosevelt. A good thing needs to be pushed along in the Grafton daily republican will endeavor to disseminate always the unswerving principles of the party, hoping thereby to materially aid and further increasing the pleasing majority throughout the state and add to the party's prestige and build up republican institutions. It will not, however, aim to take undo unfair or dishonest advantage of any opposing party, but by pursuing a policy of right to all will hope to endear itself to all people independent of political belief or creed. This paper has not been organized for the purpose of pleasing, representing or catering to any faction or wing of the Republican Party, nor will it enter into a factual fight at any time which might in any manner prove detrimental to the party at large but it reserves the right to criticize the members of the parties who have been elected to office and who have not been true to the trust imposed in them by their constituency or who display inability in office that would reflect upon the that constituency. We firmly believe the Republican Party of Grafton the county of Taylor and the state of West Virginia to be broad enough and broad minded enough to receive and accept all efforts no matter how humbly put forth for the good of the party, but we do not believe that the party at large will countenance at any time opposition to the candidates for office who do not possess the necessary ability to discharge the duties that would devolve upon them in office; Candidates who are not on the side of right morality; Candidates who are not true blue members of the party rank and file, or candidates who are seeking office for selfish ends only, and, when successful forget the obligation to the party that elected them and their duty to the fellow men whose votes placed them in high places. There are no strings political or otherwise tide to this newspaper and it will enjoy the prerogative of doing what is right in all matters pertaining to the public welfare.”

 With 1907, dawned bright and beautiful. On this Memorial Day flags and buntings draped from homes and business houses swayed in the gentle breezes of a perfect mayday and the people busy in preparation to celebrate this greatest holiday in Grafton. Governor William hello. Dawson of West Virginia was selected by Reno post No. Seven of Grafton as the orator At the 39th Memorial Day exercises in the National Cemetery whose speech on this occasion was appreciated by the members of the grand army and the vast throng who listened to the governor who said:

 “Monuments and memorial days marked the progress of man. They take us back to the past to teach us useful lessons for the future period from the earliest ages men and nation have set up memorial stones, built monuments and set apart days to mark great events in their history. Such a day we call a holiday, which a contracted form of the more significant name holy day; That is, a sacred day a day set apart dedicated. Such holidays are Christmas, Easter, Independence Day and the like; and though we may not always think of it as we ought, we all know the significance of these days. It is most fitting that we should once each year, turn aside from business and pleasure and set apart one day to bring back the memory of the men who from 1861 to 1865 on land and sea who died that this nation might live. It was a happy thought that occurred to general John a period Logan, more than a quarter of a century ago to appoint an annual Memorial Day. Not only the taking of the annual day but selection of the season of the year was also a happy one period it seems especially appropriate that we should meet when the season is young, in the early days of spring when all nature is green and the signs of resurrection from in the death of winter and pluck the first tender and precious flowers of the season and lay them reverently on graves of our fallen heroes, then ask”

 “How sleep the brave that sank to rest,

But to hear their country wishes blessed?”

And to hear from the spirit of liberty the answer—

“When spring with Dewey fingers cold,

Returns to deck their hollow mould,

she then shall deck a sweeter sod,

Than fancy feet had ever trod.

“But the brave men to whose daring and valor we owe this great and united country have not all departed from us. A remnant constantly diminishing still remains. And whenever I speak of the deeds of the dead heroes there comes to me thought of the living. In bestowing the meat of praise, we cannot make distinction between those who fell and those who survived. The soldiers living and the soldiers dead are the ones in this respect. They enlisted in the same cause marched shoulder to shoulder, they fought side by side, together they charged into the jaws of death; To the gates of hell; each offering to his country all he had, his life and none could do more. Those who fell were no braver than those who survived. Then his comrade fell into battle the living stepped into his place and filled the gap in the column and marched on to victory or death. The dead were taken, the living was left, and chance of battle. Equal honor equal praise to each. For the veterans living, for the dead we have the same sentiment cheers for the living, tears for the dead." From every patriot’s grave to every veterans heart there stretches that Mystic chords of memory, the sweet mystery of which none but comrades know. Many many thousands of men have fought and died in war since the world began, but all were not heroes.

 “The newspapers were wrong which said I would make a partisan speech, and the newspapers may have been mistaken which said I would not make a political speech here. I know of no more appropriate day and place for a political speech, none more inappropriate for a partisan speech. If we did not take away from here from such a day and such a place political lessons clear views of the duties and responsibilities which rest upon the citizens of this state and nation, we have spent a day in vain, and have done dishonored to the sacred day and a sacred place or rather, we have done dishonored to ourselves, for the men who sleep in the cemetery are beyond the poor power to honor or dishonor. Their fame is fixed, and we can either add to it or distract from it. They met the duties of their day nobly. They regarded their responsibilities of American citizenship and fulfilled them to the last measure. And so, we come here on this May Day, to this city of the heroic dead, who died that government of the people by the people and for the people should not perish from this earth,” as men came to an altar or a shrine, they might receive help and strength and inspiration. We come to renew our covenants of citizenship and pledge to those who died for our common country that they exalted sacrifice shall not been in vain.”


More In Community