February 22 / 27 [DRAFT]


Image caption:

This picture is entitled “First Presbyterian, Boone, N.C.,” and shows the former sanctuary of Boone’s Presbyterian congregation, located adjacent to the Appalachian State University campus. Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and digitalnc.org, the NC Digital heritage center.

Proposed heading:

1896: Confederate veteran prospering in Johnson County, despite lack of pension

Editor’s note: The following is a retrospective look at the local area through past issues of the Watauga Democrat.

February 20, 1896

“War in Cuba,” a headline on this week’s front page of the Watauga Democrat, headed an article on news the island of Cuba’s war for independence from Spain. “The Cubans are holding their own with great spirit, activity, dash and courage in the teeth of the ‘Butcher’ and his plans of murder and oppression,” began the news article. “Late reports are favorale (sic) to the patriots. Campos stretched a line of troops across the island, but the Cubans broke through at will. General Marin copied his tactics, and boasted that he had the ‘rebels’ cooped in at last. But in vain the brag and preparation. The military line is not regarded, and Generals Gomez and Maceo repeat their old way of dashing and slashing. Reports tells (sic) how in spite of Spanish reports of victory, always exaggerated if not made completely to order, the insurgents avoid them and are busy in cutting off supplies and distressing the enemy by forays and other interesting ‘diviltry’.”

“Our old war chum, Mat Morrison, a prosperous farmer now living on the Laurel in Johnson county, Tennessee, gave us a pleasant call a few days ago,” opened an item on page three of this week’s newspaper, apparently written by the editor at the time, D.B. “Squire” Dougherty. “We are always glad to meet our old Confederate friends,” wrote the editor, “as we have brotherly kindness for them, and are glad that the majority of them are independent and none are begging bread, though they draw no pensions.”

February 24, 1921

“Training School and Boone Items” was a column which this week told of news at the Appalachian Training School for Teachers (Later Appalachian State Normal School, then Appalachian State Teachers College, now Appalachian State University). “A number of the students have been sick with mumps,” opened the feature, “and also quite a number have been suffering with their vaccinated arms.” In other news, “the Methodist and Baptist Missionary Societies held a union prayer meeting on the past Friday afternoon in a special prayer for missionary work.” “This is as it should be,” continued the article, with an addition of editorial opinion. “Why not unite our prayers and efforts to the one great cause.”

“Boone and surrounding country has been in the grip of winter for some days,” according to the column. “At this writing the white pines on the campus and all the surrounding forests have been drooping gracefully beneath a burden of ice that has been on them for more than two days, all presenting a scene so beautiful that the most imaginative artist could scarcely conceive, and when seen the most skilled hand could not portray.”

This week’s paper contained public notices of businesses changing hands. One notable example concerned an early automobile dealership: “NOTICE – To whom it may concern: This is to notify all creditors of the Watauga Motor Company that I have sold my entire interest in the Watauga Motor company to W.E Shipley, who assumes all liabilities of my pro rata part of the indebtedness of the firm. All book accounts, or other evidences of indebtedness due the Watauga Motor Company are payable to W.E. Shipley. This Feb 10, 1921.” The notice was signed, “J.B. Taylor.”

Read more at alookbackatwatauga.wordpress.com.



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February 15th / 20th


This picture is titled, “Students Visiting the Watauga Democrat”. Boys and girls are shown outside the Watauga Democrat newspaper office. This was when newspaper was located on King Street. Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and digitalnc.org, The North Carolina Digital Heritage center.

1946: Decorated Navy Veteran to Serve as Recruiter at Boone Post Office

February 15, 1917

“William Jennings Bryan on Crisis,” a front-page story this week, conveyed the take of a noted populist politician during these days just prior to the entrance of the United Stated into World War I on the side of the Allies. Under a dateline of “Asheville, Feb. 7,” the story told that, “[j]ust before leaving here for his winter home in Miami, William J. Bryan, who came to Asheville yesterday to consult an architect about building his summer home here, gave the following statement to local newspaper men regarding the present crisis in the relation with Germany. ‘The president, in his noble appeal to the belligerents has asked that they forget the bitterness engendered by the killing of more than 6,000,000 of human beings and the expenditure of more than $50,000,000,000 in money, and come together in an honorable peace. If we can expect such an exhibition of virtue by them, are we not in duty bound to measure up to the standard which we have set for them?” The former Democratic Party and Populist Party Presidential candidate was referencing remarks by then-President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, on increasing tensions between the United States and Germany. “There are several alternatives from which to choose,” continued Bryan. “First, we can postpone until the war is over the settlement of any dispute which cannot now be settled by peaceful means; second, we can keep American citizens off belligerent ships; third, we can refuse clearance to ships of the United States and other neutral countries carrying contraband and passengers of the same ship; fourth, we can withdraw protection from American citizens who are willing to jeopardize the nation’s peace by traveling as seamen with contraband on American or neutral vessels; fifth, we can, if necessary, keep all American vessels out of the danger zone for the present, just as the mayor of a city keeps citizens in their homes when a mob is in possession of the streets; sixth, Congress[,] which has exclusive power to declare war, can submit the declaration to a referendum vote, making exception in case of actual invasion.” Despite Bryan’s plans for avoiding War, the U.S. declared war on Germany two months later, after many American ships were sunk by the Germans. Bryan was a noted speaker and a populist leader who had unsuccessfully run for U.S. President in 1896, 1900, and 1908, championing rural farm interests against large east coast bankers and supporting the right of women to vote.

February 14, 1946

“Local Navy Man Is Now Doing Recruiting Duty at Post Office,” reported a news feature on this week’s front page. “G.R. Carroll, chief boatswain’s mate, recently returned to the States from duty with the occupational forces of Japan, is now with the naval recruiting service at Winston-Salem and will be working in this county a portion of the time.” The story told that “Chief Carroll, a veteran of many years’ naval service… served in all theatres of the war, and wears the American defense ribbon with bronze star.” Carroll planned to settle permanently in Boone with his wife, then residing in New York, and would be offering information about careers in the U.S. Navy “every Monday, beginning at 11 o’clock”.

“KNITTERS ARE WANTED,” a short front-page item this week, relayed that, “Volunteer knitters are urgently needed by Watauga chapter American Red Cross, for the production of 40 sweaters, says Mrs. W.M. Burwell, knitting chairman. Mrs. Burwell would like for all those willing to help to get the material at once, so that the current production quota can be readily reached.”

Published in: on February 20, 2017 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

February 13


This picture from the first half of the twentieth century is captioned on the back, “The ‘Ole swimming hole” and “Evelyn Bingham at Winklers Creek.” Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and digitalnc.org, NC Digital heritage center.

February 9, 1905
In this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, the front-page news report “Washington Letter,” attributed to “our Regular Correspondent,” opened: “An unusual and dramatic scene was presented in the House of Representatives this week, when railroad rate legislation being under discussion, the Democratic leader, John Sharp Williams, appealed to his efforts to curb the power of the railways. ‘We are committed to this proposition because it is Democratic in principle,’ declared Mr. Williams, ‘and I do not hesitate to say that we are glad to find the President of the United States on the question is more of an American citizen, more interested in the welfare of all people, than any particular Democrat or Republican.'” The sitting President at that time was Republican Theodore Roosevelt, then serving his second term, known for “trust-busting” and limiting monopolies by big businesses. Continued the article, “… turning to the Republicans, Mr. Williams said: We will toe mark the President’s tracks on this subject, and we call on you as American citizens to help us to toe-mark them.’ Mr. Williams remarks were greeted by a burst of applause from both sides of the chamber, although it was noteworthy that many of the Republican leaders, among them, Cannon was not in the chair, Alzell, Grosvenor, Payne and others, failed to applaud and even looked disgusted.” The analysis by the Correspondent relayed to readers, “[t]hat there is no possibility of railway legislation at this session is conceded by those intimate with the legislative situation.” Countering the desire in some quarters to limit the power and monopoly status of some railroads, “[t]he Senate leaders have craftily brought about a situation which precludes the possibility of any important legislative enactment before March 4.” The article claimed that senior Senators had “once more made a tool of the ever ready junior Senator from Indiana, Mr. Beveridge,” to distract the Senate from railroad regulation by focusing on “the Statehood bill,” a reference to measures for bringing the territories of New Mexico and Arizona into full membership in the Union as states. “Our Correspondent” claimed that, “Senator Beveridge was told to bring in the Statehood bill and that the leaders would help him pass it, altho’ they never intended so doing.” New Mexico and Arizona were finally admitted as states in 1912. In the year following the appearance of this article, 1906, the Hepburn act was passed, which allowed the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate railroads by setting maximum limits on the rates which they could charge.

February 9, 1933

The “Weather Report” on the front page of this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat reported, “… for month of January, 1933, as compiled by Co-operative Station at the State Teachers College, J.T.C. Wright, observer: Average maximum temperature, 51 degrees. Average minimum temperature 30 degrees. Average temperature, 41 degrees. Average daily range in temperature 21 degrees. Greatest daily range in temperature 41 degrees on the 2nd … Highest temperature reached, 61 degrees on 19th and 22nd. Lowest temperature reached, 14 degrees on the 1st. Total snowfall in inches, 4.00.” The report recorded “killing frosts” on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 14th, 15th, and 16th of the month of January, despite the apparently mild weather, overall, for the start of a New Year in the High Country.

Read more at alookbackatwatauga.wordpress.com.



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February 6

This picture is captioned “Corner of North Water and King Streets showing bank building and Miss Jennie Coffey’s store.” A photograph of downtown Boone taken sometime between 1900 and 1929. The old Watauga County Courthouse is visible in the background. Courtesy of the Historic Boone society collection; courtesy NC Digital Heritage, library.digitalnc.org.


1948: Worst Winter in Years Affects Watauga and the Whole State

February 1, 1894

“It takes a man with a considerable amount of gall,” began an item listed in this week’s “Local News” items of the Watauga Democrat, “to ask that a paper be sent to him on time, and then, after he has had the paper for nearly two years, and never paid a cent for it, notifies the publisher that he is tired of it and to please stop it.” “Surprises,” conclude the news item, “still exist.”
“The special Income tax has been made a part of the Revenue bill,” reported an article on national news, “and has been reported to the house and we may look out for a bitter fight in the near future on this bill.” Reported the local paper’s editorship, “[w]e are in favor of this income tax and hope it will pass, but we have serious doubts about it.”

An advertisement for “Holly Spring College” of “Butler, Johnson. Co., Tenn.” this week offered potential students the promise of being “Beautifully and accessibly located. Ample boarding accommodations. Faculty of six teacher (sic) Two hundred and eighty five students last year. Both sexes admitted. Thorough work in all branches. Next session begins Aug. 7[,] 1893.” Presumably the date was a misprint, or the text of an old ad had been re-submitted for publication. Concluded the notice, “Write for catalogue. JAS. H. SMITH, PRES’T.”

“Pulling up and Going West,” a news item, reported that,the “exodus of farmers from Cabarrus and Stanly counties has assumed such proportions as to attract attention, and some means should be provided to put a stop to it.”  Noted the writer, “some of the best homesteads in Stanly county have been deserted,” with “[d]ozens of some of the most thrifty families” from that County having “gone to Texas, Arkansas, and other Western states in the past six weeks.”

February 5, 1948

“OLD SOL BRINGS RELIEF FROM FRIGID BLASTS,” a bold headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, introduced a front-page report of the region’s recent winter weather news. “Watauga county, besieged by rain, ice, sleet, snow, and target of about every trick in the weatherman’s kit the end of the week, is having at least a brief respite from the rigors of one of the worst winters in years, as this week brought clearing skies and sub-freezing temperatures, to melt some of the snow piled in abundance about the countryside,” opened the story. “Freezing rains last Friday covered the ground with a thick coating of ice, followed Saturday by six inches of snow, which fell before the previous week’s deposit had vanished, [and] brought a cessation of highway travel for a time, except where travel was prompted by necessity.” The impact of the wintry storms was felt beyond the Blue Ridge: “[t]he ‘down the country’ section is trying to recover from broken telephone and telephone (sic – perhaps electric was meant?) lines, fallen roofs, big snowdrifts and streets littered with broken limbs… there was 10 1/2 inches of snow at Goldsboro and 18 inches at Henderson.”


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February 1


This is an image of a large group of men, women, and children on a fishing trip, including Poly Moretz, holding the fishing seine on the left, Sally Coffey, and Reverend Luther Carpenter, located on the back row with the white beard. From the H.L. & Gladys Coffey Collection. “Group Fishing Trip,” Digital Watauga, accessed January 19, 2017, http://digitalwatauga.org/items/show/3189.

January 26, 1922

“It will prove inspiring information to the people of the State that the long[-]contemplated establishment of a mountain highway circuit through the taking over by the State Highway Commission of the Yonahlossee turnpike, from Blowing Rock to Linville, is consummated,” began an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, under the heading “The Yonahlossee.” The piece, which was credited as having been reprinted from the Charlotte Observer, continued: “Mr. Hugh McRay (sic, seemingly a misspelling of MacRae), owner of the turnpike, has made proposition for turning over that highway to the State for a term of ninety-nine years, the State taking it for one dollar in hand. The immediate proposal is to spend $8,000 a year, the first four years, in improvement on the turnpike, and it will shortly be converted into a standard highway. The improvement on the road will establish a route by which one may leave the Central Highway in Hickory and traverse the mountain sections at and around Blowing Rock and return by way of Little Switzerland, coming back into the Central Highway at Marion.” Before the changeover, motorists traveling from Blowing Rock to Linville would have had to pay a toll to the turnpike’s owner. Concluded the story, “it was an important link in the system of mountain highways and its inclusion by the Commission into this mountain network adds to the completeness of the highway equipment of all the western part of the State.” No mention was made of what plans the former owner’s family had made for the proposed end of the State of North Carolina’s lease on the road in 2021.

January 25, 1945

“Yank Troops Now in Four Miles of Reich,” a headline this week with a dateline of “Paris, Jan. 23,”  introduced a news item from the World War II European front, which included the notice that, “the American First and Third armies and the Ninth air force delivered a knock-out blow to the last defenders of the Ardennes today when the doughboys closed to within four miles of the Reich frontier with gains up to five miles on a 30-mile front and the airmen destroyed or damaged nearly 2,000 fleeing enemy vehicles.” Half-a-year after the massive Allied forces invasion of the beaches of Normandy in France, the “doughboys” – a nickname for United States G.I.s which was popularized during the time of the American Expeditionary Forces in the previous World War – had fought through France and come within a short distance of the border of the German homeland.

In related news, a posting from “Allied Headquarters, Luzon, Jan. 24” reported that “United States 14th corps troops pushed to within 52 miles of Manila yesterday by capturing the town of Concepcion and struck nine miles westward to seize Camp O’Donnell, where the Japanese confined many of the Americans who survived the ‘Bataan death march.'” The Empire of Japan had conquered the Philippine islands in 1942, and occupied the nation ever since.


Published in: on February 1, 2017 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  


“Snow on King Street,” a view of Downtown Boone in the winter likely during the 1930s. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and NC Digital Heritage, library.digitalnc.org.

January 12, 1933

“COOLIDGE AT REST IN VERMONT HILLS; DIED ON THURSDAY’ was a prominent headline on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, introducing a news article which gave details about the passing of the United States’ thirtieth President, who served from 1923 to 1929. Began the report, after a dateline of “Plymouth, Vt.,” “Calvin Coolidge said recently he hoped to spend more and more of his time in this obscure mountain village from which he had sprung to fame. Saturday that wish was consummated. He was laid to rest in the hillside cemetery beside six generations of his forebears.” The article noted that, “death occurred suddenly Thursday afternoon at Northampton, Mass., where he had resided since leaving the presidency four years ago.” Information about the presidential funeral told the newspaper’s readers that,”[i]n the Edwards Church where he had worshiped for many years, a funeral service of impressive simplicity was held Saturday… Although the nation’s great were present, the ceremony was marked by the same homely dignity that had characterized the famous New Englander’s political career.” Wrote the unnamed reporter, “President and Mrs Hoover, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt and her son James were among those who paid him silent tribute. But there was no pomp, no display. The very atmosphere of the church was severe. In a pew close to the front of the church sat Michael Fitzgerald, former mayor, who was the city’s chief executive when Mr. Coolidge was formerly notified he had been elected vice-president. Fitzgerald, now a barber, made an address of welcome on that occasion.”

January 19, 1950
‘GUNMAN IS TAKEN AS CHASE ENDS,” a banner headline this week, was followed by a story relating that, “Carl Robert Ricker, one  of the gunmen sought for 30 hours in a Watauga manhunt conducted by the State highway patrol, federal and local officers, was captured last Wednesday afternoon near Rominger, and the following day the hunt for his companion ended, when it became apparent he had made his escape into Tennessee.” According to the report, “Ricker, of Midway, Tenn., with one or more companions had been the object of a (sic) intense search since the car which they were driving crashed into a ditch near Vilas Tuesday morning.” Allegedly, “[t]he automobile the gunman occupied had been stolen in Alabama and the Georgia license plates taken near Atlanta. They are believed to have robbed a Ford place at Thomasville, Ga., and Ricker is reported to have served time for a number of auto theft violations.” Interestingly, the story noted that the “wrecked automobile contained a sawed off shotgun, outboard motor, movie projectors, auto tires, car batteries, a variety of Notary seals, electric drill, typewriter and other items.”

“Burley Market To Close Today” was a brief notice of the seasonal end to business for the local exchange for tobacco growers and buyers. “The Boone burley tobacco market closes Thursday for the season, it is announced by Roscoe Coleman, warehouseman, who reports a splendid season, although the weight of the tobacco offered has been rather less than usual.” Concluded the short item, “Mr. Coleman states that through Monday night the market has sold 3, 750,000 pounds at an average of approximately $44.00 per hundred.”


From the Watauga Democrat, Boone, North Carolina, USA; page one; Thursday, January 12, 1933.

Published in: on January 23, 2017 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

January 16, 2017


“Belle Winkler House,” image of a two-story frame house in Boone (date unknown). First floor porch runs the front of the house. Gable roof with dormer windows. Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and the NC Digital Heritage Center, library.digitalnc.org.

1933: Town of Sparta Gutted by Fire

January 6, 1921

“Mr. Brown Explains,” a heading to an open letter to the Editor printed in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, began, “Mr. Editor: In reply to the report in the last issue of your paper our kind hearted nurse who has made a recent inspection of the county last August, and the writer who has demanded my expense bill for the month of December, I ask you to go to the merchant I have bought my supplies of, Mr. Mack Hopper [? – the name is unclear in print], and others, and find out my expenses for the past twelve months and if you think I am getting so much money be there when I demand my December check and I will give you a part of it, and besides this there is a grand jury that makes an inspection of this miss-named (sic) place twice a year and don’t find the inmates in such a suffering condition as the report is.” The “county home” was an institution for caring for orphans and other indigent persons, located near the current intersection of Highway 421 and the 105 Highway Bypass west of the Town of Boone. After this lengthy, indignant opening sentence, the correspondent, who signed his name “S.R. Brown, Keeper of County Home,” closed with a much more terse sentence: “So if you want my job[,] fill your bond[,] come over and get it on short notice.” The last printed issue of the paper, from December 23, 1920, had printed a report of county expenditures for the year first published in April of that year which included the budget line, “S R Brown keeping county home [$]108[.]00”. Upkeep of the county jail was, in that same notice, allotted eight dollars and five cents.

January 12, 1933

“TOWN OF SPARTA IS GUTTED BY FIRE,” a banner headline on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, related to area citizens this week that, “[a] fire that began when an oil stove exploded in a lunch room Saturday afternoon destroyed the Alleghany (sic) County courthouse and practically the entire business district of this little mountain town before it was brought under control early in the evening.” According to the article, “County officials informally estimated the damage would approximate $200,000.” Details of how the tragedy unfolded told that, “originating in Ray’s cafe about 1:30 o’clock, the flames, fanned by a fierce wind, spread to Joines’ garage, then to Hardin’s general store, and to the office of the Alleghany Times. Volunteer firemen, with no water supply to aid them, fought frantically but were powerless to check to conflagration, which ate its way from one business to another until practically every building on the main street was in ruins.” The reported noted that, “Sparta has no waterworks system and firemen fought the flames under a big handicap. The little river water they scooped up in buckets and this was of little help and, desperate, they seized upon other methods to check the conflagration.” Among these desperate attempts, “[a] quantity of dynamite was ignited, but it only succeeded in blowing two or three small buildings to bits.” “Persons in Ray’s cafe when the oil stove exploded said the flame flared up when a match was applied to the burner. Water was thrown on the fire and this caused the stove to explode, igniting inflammable material in the lunch room.” No mention was made of any casualties resulting from the large blaze, and, said the newspaper, “[t]he loss is said to be covered by a comparatively small amount of insurance.”

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January 9


Sepia image of students of Riverview School posing for the camera in 1914. Courtesy of the H.L. & Gladys Coffey Collection and the Digital Watauga Project / DigitalWatauga.org

1939: Local Resident Has Been Subscribing to The Local Paper Since Its Beginning

January 1, 1914

A feature on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, under the simple heading “OBITUARY,” began, “Enoch Fletcher was born February 19, 1845, and died December 11, 1913, aged 68 years, 10 months and 8 days.” Continued the notice, “He was married in the year 1872, to Miss Mary McGuire, to whom were born three children, all living. Some time after the war between the States, Brother Enoch Fletcher professed religion and united with the Methodist church at Henson’s chapel, which faith he prized very highly. He was a model of piety mild and kind, and his religion was exemplified by his everyday life. His theme was to live entirely agreeably with all men, ever believing that we ought to do good to others. He always took delight in the Sunday School work, believing that the Sabbath ought to be spent in religious training.” After further praise of the deceased, the obituary concluded, “[t]he funeral services were conducted by the writer, assisted by Revs. Hickman and N.C. Combs, after which, by kind friends, the body was laid in the grave to await the coming of the Lord Jesus.” The submission was signed, “JACOB YOUNCE, Watauga News [sic] please copy.”

January 5, 1939

“Enters His 51st Renewal To Paper,” a headline this week, introduced a front-page feature announcing that, “Mr. J.M. Shull, 80 years old, dropped in last Saturday to renew his subscription to the Watauga Democrat. Nothing strange about that — but the circumstance edges on ‘spot news’ when it develops that this is the fifty-first time Mr. Shull has made his way to the office of the county newspaper to keep his subscription in current condition.” Continued the story, “Mr. Shull was married and started housekeeping in August, 1888, one month after the establishment of the Watauga Democrat, and on his first visit to Boone after his marriage ceremony, dropped by and became a subscriber to the paper, and for more than half a century the journal has been a welcome visitor to the Shull fireside. For forty-four years Mr. Shull gave his subscription to the late Robert C. Rivers, but since his death in 1933, the present publisher has looked forward to the regular visits of this good citizen and close friend of the newspaper family.” Concluded the article, “[t]here are others who have read The Democrat for fifty years, but in the absence of complete early-day records, the publisher would like to hear from all those whose names have never been striken from the subscription records of the newspaper. There are quite a few of these old stand-bys, which the publisher holds in mighty regard, and he wants a list of their names. Thank you.”

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December 28 / January 2




A photograph of an unidentified child sitting on a wall next to flowers. Date and exact location unknown. Courtesy of the Harrison-Boone-Grimes Family Home Collection / Junaluska Heritage Association and the Digital Watauga Project / DigitalWatauga.org.

December 28, 1922

A front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat bore the headline, “JUDGE OPPOSES DEATH PENALTY – Sentenced First Man To Die In North Carolina’s Electric Chair – Retiring After 16 Years Service.” The first-person account began with the perhaps surprising quotation, “‘After 16 years on the bench, during which time I sentenced the first man to die in North Carolina’s Electric Chair and have sentenced five others who were executed, I am more than ever opposed to capital punishment.'” The quote was from Judge C.C. Lyon, who was described as “now in Raleigh, presiding over his last term of superior court.” Although stating that he believed that some convicted criminal offenders who were “carrying long terms of imprisonment either escape or are [given] clemency within a few years,” the Judge stated, “still, I believe capital punishment has failed its purpose and is not humane.”

An article entitled “The Fox Farm,” attributed as having been taken from The Philadelphia Record, told local readers in Watauga County that, “[w]ithout personal knowledge it is difficult to realize how the industry of fox farming has grown in Canada. An exhibition was recently held in Toronto where 300 silver black fox were shown of an estimated value of perhaps half a million dollars.” The article stated that, “[t]here are about 800 fox farms in the Dominion [of Canada][,] all of them having their beginning in the act of a farmer’s boy at Georgetown, Ont. 15 years ago, who caught a pair of foxes and began to breed them. Some of the present fox farms represent large investments from which substantial profits have been made in supplying furs to the American market.”

December 27, 1945

A large banner wishing readers “Merry Christmas,” accompanied by an illustration depicting Santa Claus, adorned the top of this issue of the Watauga Democrat, the first post-Christmas edition since the end of World War II. “Tire Rationing Will End On January 1,” a headline announced elsewhere on the front page. “Tire rationing will end at 12:01 a.m. January 1, the Office of Price Administration announced in Washington Thursday night,” the news item related. “This will leave only sugar on the rationing list. Tire stocks were frozen on Dec. 8, 1941, and rationing began Jan. 5., 1942.” According to the story, “under the program 57,000,000 new passenger car tires – normally a 20-month replacement supply – kept almost 24,000,000 passenger cars rolling for four war years.”

“Mercury Rises to Give Slight Relief to Area,” another headline, introduced an article detailing that, “Watauga county residents got a slight respite from the frigid wave which has persisted here for the past two weeks here Friday, as clearing skies and higher temperatures permitted some thawing where the sun shone, but the weather man gives little promise of any appreciable relief from the cold wave.” According to the article, reporting on recent wintry weather, “[t]he storm of Wednesday night whipped the snow into drifts, which impeded traffic, particularly on some of the country roads, and temperatures hit the zero mark in different sections of the county.”


A 1922 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina


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December 26


Four men in military uniforms and a canine companion, possibly taken during the American forces occupation of Germany after World War II. Courtesy of the Harrison-Boone-Grimes Family Home Collection / Junaluska Heritage Association and the Digital Watauga Project / DigitalWatauga.org.

December 20, 1900

“Friend George A. Bryan,” began a local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, “who has been at the State Hospital in Morganton for some months, undergoing a course of treatment, returned home Sunday, and it gives us much pleasure to state that he is almost his old self again, his physical strength, though, has not yet returned in full. George has many friends here who are glad to see his smiling face again.”

“Vases, toys, a variety of dolls, fruits, candies, and a full line of other Christmas goods just in at Holsclaw’s,” announced another notice.

 “THE BEST PLASTER,” the heading to an advertisement this week, was followed by details which promised, “[a] piece of flannel dampened with Chamberlain’s Pain Balm and bound to the effected (sic) parts is superior to any plaster. When troubled with lame back or pains in the side or chest, give it a trial and you are certain to be more than pleased with the prompt relief which it affords. Pain Balm also cures rheumatism. One application will give relief.” Concluded the ad, “for sale by Blackburn.”

“The American soldiers in China cannot be too careful of their actions,” warned a world news item, reproduced from the Concord Tribune. “The world’s eye is on China and the behavior of some of the allied forces is a disgrace to civilization,” opined the Concord paper’s writer. “They have outdone the Boxers in committing deeds of violence and murder. We have long since learned that their ways are not ours. We have a different mission in China, different views and ideas. Above all let’s keep our hands clean regardless of what the European powers do. Let murder and outrages be at other doors.”

December 28, 1933

“BETTER BUSINESS THIS CHRISTMAS THAN LAST YEAR,” proclaimed a bold headline in this edition of the newspaper. Under the byline “New York,” the accompanying article related that, “it’s a merrier Christmas in the business world this year. Holiday festivities find leading industrial indices not only well above their 1933 lows but also above 1932 minimums, most of which were recorded late last December as the country began to sink into the troublesome situation that lead to the banking holiday.”

Local reporting of the upturn in holiday spending was found under the heading, “HOLIDAY TRADE BEST IN YEARS, SAY RETAILERS.” According to the story, “[t]he last days of the week comprised the busiest period for Boone merchants since the panic got going, according to general belief among the shopkeepers, and sales forces were glad when late Saturday night they could retire from the milling throngs and began to make delayed preparations for their individual Christmas festivities.” The article reported that, “many merchants report a one hundred per cent increase in holiday trade over the same period a year ago.”

“CHRISTMAS TREE EVENT,” a short local news item, told that a “neighborhood Christmas tree and appropriate program combined to make a pleasant affair for the people of the Cool Springs school district last Saturday evening. Under the leadership of Mr. Dewey Mitchell, the teacher, local talent was used in presenting ‘The Prodigal Son,’ and the audience was large.”




Published in: on December 26, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment