On Sunday, July 7, 2019, Friends of Blackwater was excited to present a “world premiere” performance of a dramatic trial re-enactment, at Cottrill’s Opera House on Front Street in Thomas, West Virginia.
The new play, by FOB Board member Tom Rodd and Priscilla Rodd, tells the story of a famous 1897 murder trial in the Tucker County seat of Parsons, that was the subject of national publicity. In the case, the wealthy timber operator Frank Thompson was killed by a disgruntled logger, in a shootout in a train car waiting to climb the Blackwater Canyon from Parsons to Thomas.
The cast included Justice Larry Starcher, Hugh Rogers, Cheri Platt, Kate Leary, Emily Cornell, Tom Rodd, and Judy Rodd. The hour-long show was an abridged version of the original trial transcript — where there were dozens of witnesses, and some of the lawyers’ speeches lasted two hours. A packed house enjoyed the show, which included railroad songs and a question-and-answer period where relatives of the historical charcaters told stories. It is hoped the show will repeat later this year. Thanks to everyone for coming out!