The Week of February 10


A small sepia-tone photograph of two young women. A note on the back reads, “Lin Sanders” and “Neva Brinson.” Clothing and a reference in the “Rhododendron,” the student annual of Appalachian State Teacher’s College, suggest that the portrait was taken on the college’s campus around 1930. Courtesy the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and

February 13, 1889

“F.J. McMILLAN & SON of Mouth of Wilson, Va., Manufactures all kinds of woolen goods, which they will send to your door in exchange for wool,” announced an advertisement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “They also keep a full line of goods on hand at SUTHERLANDS, ASHE Co., N.C.,” continued the notice. “They pay highest CASH prices for wool.”
A column entitled “Town and Country” included this reflection: “We are sorry to hear of so many of our good citizens leaving for the west, but we hope they may better themselves by the move.” At this period in Watauga County’s history, raising sheep was a staple of farm life, although many local inhabitants were moving to areas such as the Pacific Northwest states in search of grazing land.

“Gaston Barnes was tried in Taylorsville, at the recent term of court there, for his life, for the killing of Wheeler Robinet, and found guilty of man-slaughter and sentenced to the penitentiary for four years,” according to another article. “Messrs. Robbins, Linney and Burke appeared for the defense.”

Reported another short item, “[w]e have had a hard, cold and very uncomfortable week here in the printing office. The room has been too cold to set type and the ink too thick to spread readily.”

February 8, 1906

“Lot W. Greene,” read a front-page heading to an obituary on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “The subject of this tribute was born July 6, 1833, and died Sept. 22, 1905, aged 72 years, 2 months and 16 days,” began the notice. “He served in the war between the states in the 1st Reg. N.C. Cavalry in Co. D, under Capt Folk and J. C. Blair, and was seriously wounded in the left shoulder on the 9th day of June, 1863, on the Rappahannock river near Brandy Station, Va.”
“We now come to lay an offering of affectionate sorrow upon his grave, with a sadness such as falls upon the heart when a life-long friend whispers that last earthly farewell as the Spirit’s frail bark puts off into the dark; but with an abiding consciousness and unwavering faith that we shall meet again. For the Redeemer in His teachings on the sea shore and along the hillsides of Judea bade the desponding of earth’s pilgrims to take courage, for the grave is not the end of man.
He told his wife that he was prepared to go: that he had been praying all summer and everything was bright before him. He often said, while suffering intensely that he had rather die than suffer thus. And now, we bid our kind, benevolent, loving friend a tender farewell, until we meet again.”
The tribute was signed by “Z. T. Watson.”

Published in: on February 12, 2016 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of February 3rd, 2015


“Cloudburst, 1880s;” a sparsely-captioned early photograph of Downtown Boone after, apparently, a great storm. Research by Gary R. Boye suggests that the building in the background may be the second Courthouse built in Watauga County (see to learn more). Courtesy the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and

February 6, 1896

This week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat included a news item noting that it had been “a few days since the little son of John T. Winkler accidentally inflicted a painful wound on the hand of his little brother with an axe.” Fortunately, continued the report, “the little fellow is getting on nicely, and bids fair to be rid of his wound in a few days.”

In other news, “Dr. Parlier informs us that the measles is abating, that there are no new cases on New River or surrounding sections.”

A Letter to the Editor published under the heading “A Correction,” signed by H.A. Davis, stated, “In your last issue where you state that McGuire and Phillips were turkey hunting when McGuire shot Phillips, is an error. Young McGuire claims to have been so engaged, but the Phillips boy was merely strolling around the plantation, a few hundred yards from his father’s house and had sat down upon a small log eating an apple, apparently, when shot, as claimed by mistake. These are facts taken from a statement by one of the jury of inquest.” Continued the writer, “[i]t is certainly heart-rending enough to parents to have their child thus shot down, without it being falsely announced to the world that he was desecrating the Sabbath at the time of his death.” The newspaper followed this open letter with a response: “[t]he facts were published as we received them and there was no intention on the part of the informant or the DEMOCRAT to do the unfortunate boy an injustice.”

February 4, 1943
“Minimum of 53 Men from Watauga in Feb. Draft Quota” was a banner headline on the front page of this week’s newspaper. The headline bore a sub-heading, “Numbers May Be Increased Later, Pending Further Volunteering of Registrants; The List of Those Who Will Definitely Go to Induction Center.” The news item detailed that “at least 53 men, whose names are given below, will be sent to an army induction center in the month of February, according to advices from the local selective services board.” The final total of Watauga County men was “rather indefinite,” the article told, “since men volunteering in the last few days will be added to the list later.” Among the lengthy list of draftees were Coy Hartley, Kenneth Clyde Watson, Wilmer David Moretz, Eddie Don Wellborn, Stewart Henry Simmons, Joseph Delbert Triplett, Don Clay Cook, and Paul Dixon Hagaman.

In other news of the week, “Rationing dates for Canned Goods Are Set by O.P.A. In Order of Tuesday.” The story, with a dateline of  “Washington, Feb. 2” told citizens that, “[p]ublic sale of canned fruits and vegetables will stop throughout the nation at midnight February 10th, and will resume n a tightly-rationed basis on March 1.” According to the newspaper’s report, “these official dates for starting the dramatic innovation in grocery shopping were announced tonight by the office of price administration [“O.P.A.”]. The order also applies to all frozen fruits and vegetables, dried fruits (but not dried vegetables), canned soups and canned baby foods.”

Published in: on February 5, 2016 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of January 27, 2015


“Romulus Zachariah Linney,” a portrait of the prominent patriarch of the Linney family of Boone. Romulus Linney was a Civil War veteran, attorney, and a Republican United States Congressman representing North Carolina from 1895 to 1901. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library and

January 27, 1898

“Depression of Spirits,” read an advertisement this week, “so common in summer-time, accompanied by loss of energy, lack of thought-power, means a deficient supply of nourishment. The vital source is lost. ” Continued the ad’s perhaps unexpected analysis of warm-weather blues, “[i]t isn’t a question of muscle and sinew, but of resistance and endurance. At any age, but especially in youth, it involves the risk of lung disease. Loss of flesh and a cough are threatening signs.” The ad recommended “Scott’s Emulsion” for this condition. Claimed the advertisement, “Scott’s Emulsion of Cod-liver Oil, with the hypo-phosphites, meets these cases perfectly. It tones up, fattens and strengthens.  In Scott’s Emulsion the taste of the oil is fully disguised, making it almost as palatable as milk.” Those seeking the product were directed that the concoction was “for sale at 50c and $1.00 by all druggists,” and was produced by “SCOTT & BROWN, Mfg. Chemists, New York.”

January 26, 1899

“A Call for Mass Meeting” was the heading to an open letter to the Watauga Democrat on the front page of this week edition of the newspaper. “To the Voters of Watauga County,” began the notice, “the undersigned earnestly desiring to reflect the will of the majority of the people of the county in the enactment of a road law, does hereby respectfully ask that a mass-meeting of the representative men of each township in the county, without regard to party or political affiliations[,] assemble at the court house in Boone on the first Monday of February next, to consult together and agree, if possible, upon the legislation desired in that behalf, and by petition, resolution or otherwise instruct me, as your representative as to the kind of road law most desired by the people: and I do hereby earnestly invite correspondence from the citizens of the county, upon the subject.” The letter was signed, “Respectfully, W.B. Councill, Jr.” Councill was Watauga County’s representative in the North Carolina State Legislature.

January 28, 1943

“Reds Continue Liquidation of German Troops,” a front-page headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, introduced a graphic news item which detailed that, “the Red Army has killed or captured all but 12,000 of the 100,000 German troops trapped before Stalingrad, and their liquidation in the last face of the annihilation is a matter of two or three days, a communique from Moscow said on Wednesday.” According to sources reported to the newspaper, “the history of war knows no such example of the encirclement and annihilation of such large numbers of regular troops, saturated to the limit with modern war equipment.” The Battle of Stalingrad, which saw previously-victorious Nazi forces trapped deep within the Soviet Union during a brutal Russian winter, is sometimes pointed to as a turning point of World War II.


Published in: on January 29, 2016 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of January 20, 2016


“Camp Yonahlossee Wagon:” People in frontier clothing riding in a horse-drawn Conestoga wagon, 1950s. Probably an entry by the Yonahlossee area into the historical re-creation “Wagon Train,” which was held from the 1950s through the 1970s (?), following a route from Wilkes County into Downtown Boone. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society and Watauga County Public Library.

January 24, 1895

The front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat included a feature report from “Our Washington Correspondent” which began, “the rainbow which your correspondent thought he saw through the clouds in the democratic sky last week was a mirage.” Writing from the nation’s capital for what was, at the time, a proudly politically-oriented and party-affiliated publication, the “Correspondent” reported, using vibrant metaphorical language based on imagery of the tempestuous workings of a “storm demon” that the hopes for a united front of Democratic Party representatives in Congress was shattered and, “Secretary Carlise was naturally disappointed that forty-odd democrats should have joined with the Republicans and Populists to prevent his currency reform bill from reaching a direct vote in the House after it had been approved by a democratic caucus, but he spent no time in ‘crying over spilt milk.'” The newspaper reported that then-Secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle, a Democrat who had been pushing for ending silver coinage after an economic panic in 1893 had caused a run on gold supplies, “went right to work to ascertain the reason” for opposition to his measure within his own party.

January 21, 1943

“Dry Forces Meet; Says Crime Rises During Wet Era,” an article on the front page of this week’s newspaper, was not a weather-related item, but related efforts to abolish alcohol use in the area. Attributed to “J.C. Canipe, County Dry Forces Reporter,” the story told that, “the Dry Forces of Watauga county met at the First Baptist church on Monday January 18, and resolutions were presented to back up the county and town officers of the law in their work, and at the same time to put on a campaign of education in the churches on the evils of drink.” Written nearly a decade after the United States’ near fourteen-year experiment in the national prohibition of alcohol sales by decree of a Constitutional Amendment, the local organizers reported that “drunken driving cases were eleven times more [in years when alcoholic beverages were legal]than in dry years,” and, overall, “in three dry years 40 per cent of the court cases involved liquor, with all other criminal cases amounting to 60 per cent,” while “in three wet years 63 per cent of all court cases involves the liquor traffic, with all other cases amounting to 37 per cent.” Exactly which three years were referenced – and if they were the same years – was not mentioned. The article concluded by urging that, “the good citizens of Watauga rise up now, and smite the liquor business, hip and thigh, as God’s people of old smote the Philistines.” The first step in this action was for “petitions … being put out over the county by the preachers and the churches and other workers for the citizens to sign, to put wine and beer out of the county.”

Published in: on January 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm  Comments (2)  

The Week of October 5th


“Boone Junior Women’s Club, 1957.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

October 3, 1907

“Monday afternoon on his way to Lenoir with a load of cabbage from Watauga county, Mr. C.C. Waters had a very unpleasant experience getting across Blair’s Creek at a half a mile north of town,” reported a front-page item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which was cited as having originally appeared in the Lenoir Topic newspaper. “When he reached the creek it was getting dark and when he drove in (he) misjudged his distance and got below the usual fording place. His wagon mired up to the hubs in the mud and sand. He was compelled to unhitch his mules and with great difficulty succeeded in getting them ashored, leaving the wagon over night in the bed of the creek.” “Tuesday morning,” continued the report, “a man by the name of Church, also from Watauga, took his team and helped Mr. Watson’s (sic – the subject of the article’s name seems to have been misprinted at least once in this article) wagon on after a hard tussle with the quicksand and stiff sand.”

October 5, 1939

“Governor Speaks at Cove Creek School,” a headline this week, introduced an article relating that, “some two thousand Wataugans gathered at the Cove Creek high school Friday for an address by Governor Clyde R. Hoey in connection with the ninth annual Watauga county agricultural fair, and heard the executive declare himself as opposed to the present neutrality law, and advocate its appeal.” As the shadow of war was expanding over Europe and Asia, North Carolina’s Governor declared at Cove Creek, “I would rather sell England and France arms which they now need badly rather than to send our youth over there to fight.”

October 3, 1963

“Citizens Will Be Asked To Invest In $650,000 Plant,” a headline in this week’s edition, reported that, “over 50 citizens of Boone and Watauga County attended a dinner meeting of the Watauga Industries Committee at the Daniel Boone Inn Friday.” According to the news item, “Clyde Greene presided over the business section of the meeting and asked guests to introduce themselves. He said that the Watauga Citizens, Inc, is sponsoring the construction of the new Blue Ridge Shoe Company building in Boone and that the new facilities will be ready for use about the middle of October.” Another local leader, Stanley Harris, was quoted as having reported that, “in the next several months a letter will be mailed to over 1,000 people in the county inviting them to invest in the new building which was constructed at the cost of $650,000.” $400,000 of the total cost was provided by bonds financed or bought from the Northwestern Bank of Boone, with the remaining quarter-of-a-million dollars coming directly from “bonds sold to local citizens.” Melville Shoe Company, the parent company of the new Blue Ridge Shoe Company, was reported to have held over 49 million dollars in assets, and was said to be guaranteeing the bonds. “Approximately 40 dozen pairs of shoes” were already being manufactured in temporary quarters at the time of this article. Watauga Savings and Loan representative James Marsh was cited as saying that, “the new industry will do much for the county, and is a step forward,” which would “open a door for other new industry to come into the county.”

Published in: on October 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

October 12, 2014


“Farmers Hardware,” a scene from downtown Boone in the 1960s (?). Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

October 12, 1899

“The idea of establishing a national park in western North Carolina is now attracting much attention throughout the country,” reported a local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “It is proposed to reserve some of these beautiful heights and valleys and dedicate them to this and coming generations for a pleasure ground forever. This would be nice for the government to buy and protect some of the beautiful spots, and keep them as nature has made them,” continued the story. “We think a park could be made in the Carolina hills more beautiful than the famous Yellow Stone and far more healthful.”

“It is predicted by amateur prophets that this is to be a mild winter,” announced another short article. “They say that the winters run in periods of ten years, and that the winter of 1889 was unusually mild, and last winter was very severe, therefore we may expect the coming one to be mild.”

Among the local community news entitled “Rutherwood Rustlings,” submitted by “A Subscriber,” was the notice that, “the good people of this community are using every effort possible to erect a new school house for the accommodation and advancement of education, notwithstanding the opposition is very great.” Another Rutherwood report relayed that, “accommodations are being made to enlarge Brown’s Chapel. The addition will surely meet the approbation of the people, as the house is entirely too small to accommodate the congregations that attend church there.”

October 9, 1919

The “Local Affairs” column in this week’s newspaper announced, “Alfred Adams is moving from the Gross farm west of the village to Meat Camp,” as well as, “chestnuts are dropping and bringing 8 cents per pound on the local market. Good price, but the crop is light.” A blight of American chestnut trees caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica would destroy this source of food, hog feed, and income in the region by 1940. Up to this time, as many as one-fourth of hardwood trees in the Appalachian mountain range had been American chestnuts.

In other news, “the Blair hotel property in Boone changed hands last week, Messrs. Chas. Lewis and Arthur Johnson, both of Cove Creek, being the purchasers. Mr. Johnson and family have moved in, and Mr. Lewis will be here in the near future. They are among the best citizens of our county, and are gladly received as residents of our town.”

October 6, 1938

“HOMECOMING DAY WAS A BIG SUCCESS AT APPALACHIAN,” a banner headline on this edition’s front page, announced that, “Appalachian College’s best homecoming day in history came to a close Sunday afternoon when the college auditorium was filled with an appreciative audience to hear George E. Shapiro’s Little Philharmonic Orchestra concert, said by many to have been the peak of the institution’s series of entertainment features during the past year.” Other homecoming events included an alumni banquet, which at the time of this 35th homecoming had become an annual tradition; “a flag pole dedication ceremony;” and “the Appalachian-Newberry football game Saturday afternoon.”


The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library, Boone, North Carolina, USA.


Published in: on October 11, 2014 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

September 28, 2014


“Everyone is Headed for Boone,” according to the poster displayed in a hardware store window in this photograph, for the “Echoes of the Blue Ridge” celebration, honoring Watauga County’s 100th anniversary. The historical re-creation in 1949 gave rise to the annual historical outdoor drama “Horn in the West.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 28, 1899

“Bishop Fitzgerald, of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church, South, recently said: ‘That all ministers accused of using tobacco, must leave the church,’” reported an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Truly if this were carried into effect,” continued the report, “many good and indefatigable laborers would fall from the walls of Zion, for many of them would have to plead guilty if the test were applied.”

Referring to the disease of yellow fever under a nickname, another news article relayed that, “Yellow Jack has Key West Florida in his unwelcome embrace, and it will continue to hold fast until white frost comes. How they would prize the heavy frosts of which we mountain people are complaining,” opined the notice. “It will be some weeks yet before frost is seen there.” A particularly virulent epidemic of yellow fever struck Miami and other locations in south Florida during the year 1899, on top of outbreaks of the disease every couple of years in the Sunshine State throughout the 1800s.

September 22, 1920

“Mr. Editor:” began a letter to the newspaper, which addressed the perennially important matter of the condition of roads, during the earliest days of automobile travel in the county. “On Saturday evening, Sept. 11,” began the letter, “a traveling salesman, Mr. N. C. Parsons, passed through Boone en route to his home at Brownwood, N. C. He stopped at the girls’ dormitory to get his sister-in-law, Miss Pearl Brown, who lives at Brownwood, to take her home for a visit. Mr. Parsons tells me that in trying to get his machine up over a big rock near Rutherwood that was left in the road for convenience (?), tore his car almost to pieces. He, with Mr. W. M. Day to help him, worked all night on his car. Sunday morning Mr. Parsons borrowed a horse and buggy and went back to Boone for repairs for his car, and we learn that he actually paid out $123 before he again got his car in running condition, aside from losing three days time.” Asked the writer, rhetorically, “would it not be better to spend this time and money for road improvement and not let an Ashe county man have this to say about Watauga?” “I think so,” responded the author of the editorial letter, whose identity was semi-anonymously signed simply as, “A.W.”

September 29, 1938

“Local Boy Does Duty in Devastated Area,” a front-page news report of this day, related that, “John Farthing, son of Mr. and Mrs. Zeb V. Farthing, who is a member of the United States marine corps and whose company has been doing emergency flood duty in the region of New London, Conn., has written Mrs. Farthing something of his harrowing experiences,” began the short article. The young Farthing’s letter was quoted in excerpts, which included: “The town of New London is under martial law after the hurricane … we were on rescue parties all day yesterday and fought fire all night. I worked all night. Every building around us was damaged and some blown away. Our barracks were full of women and children. They slept in our bunks and set up others, for we didn’t need ours.

“They had a four million dollar fire in New London, (it) was something to put out. The crowds were crazy. We had to beat them in the faces with clubs to keep them out of danger. They wouldn’t listen to reason.”

Published in: on October 5, 2014 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  

September 21, 2014

Amos_Tester_and_Wife“Amos Tester and Wife.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 19, 1888

An article under the heading of “The Teacher’s Institute” in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat began, “(t)his body was not as largely attended as I hoped it would be, but the weather was extremely wet, and some of the teachers were sick, while some were teaching, and some did not care to come.” The report, signed by “I.W. Thomas,” continued, “(e)verything considered, the institute was a fair success. Of actual teachers and those preparing to teach twenty were enrolled. So far as I have heard expressions(,) those present were benefited.” Of the participating teachers, “(t)hirteen stood a written examination, having only one hour or less, in which to answer the questions on any one branch. Out of this number only two failed to obtain certificates.” The author continued, “I wish to call the attention of those teachers who are doubting the power of the Board of Education to regulate teachers’ salaries”, alleging that, in North Carolina, “(t)he law makes it the duty of the board to accept the construction placed upon placed upon the law by (the) state Sup(erintenden)t.” “Now,” Mr. Thomas concluded, “if anyone wishes to quarrel, he may please pitch into (sic) the state Supt.” This article was written approximately a decade before brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty founded a school for higher education of teachers in Boone.

September 22, 1920

“Talking of Bad Roads,” a short feature this week, began “(a)n article appeared in a local paper this week to the effect that a certain party in the Sadieville neighborhood started to town with some cream, but on his arrival he had butter instead of cream, and he attributed the transformation to the bad condition of the roads.” The item, reproduced from the “Georgetown (Ky.) News),” continued, “(t)his is nothing to a tale brought to this office by a prominent and reputable citizen. He said a man left Corinth in a car with three silver dollars in his pocket and when he arrived at a local garage the dollars had worn down to dimes.” The locations mentioned in the article are approximately 300 miles from Boone, in north central Kentucky; borrowing from other newspapers was a common staple of the local paper in its early years.

September 21, 1939

“European War Briefs,” a feature this week under the dateline “Danzig, Sept. 19,” introduced an article which relayed that, “Adolf Hitler served notice on Britain and France today he was prepared to wage a seven-year war if necessary and asserted that Germany and Soviet Russia, Europe’s ‘two greatest nations,’ would re-establish ‘law and order’ in Eastern Europe.” According to details, “the fuehrer in an hour and 14-minute speech told the Western allies – Britain and France – he had ‘no war aims’ against them, but declared that Poland, as created by the Versailles treaty ‘never again will rise.’” “In one of his best oratorical efforts,” according the writer of this report, “Hitler spoke in the medieval Artushof as the crowning event of his first visit to Danzig since he brought the former free city of the Baltic ‘back home into the Reich.’”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.

Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

September 8, 2014



“W.R. Winkler Garage:” a photograph, probably dating from the 1920s, of an early automotive business in Watauga County. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 5, 1888

“The Three Forks Association will convene in the Baptist Church in Boone, Tuesday, 11 a.m. Sept. 11,” began a notice in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, published during the newspaper’s first year. “The annual sermon will be preached by the Rev. E.F. Jones,” continued the item. “If it becomes necessary to have preaching during the sitting of the Association, our Methodist friends have kindly tendered the use of their church for that purpose. The delegates will be assigned to homes for the session to prevent confusion, and that no one may be unduly burdened. All the families in Boone and vicinity, regardless of denomination, will be kindly asked to keep the delegates of at least one church, and we will ever hold ourselves in readiness to reciprocate the kindness, whenever occasion requires. Each church is entitled to three delegates.” The notice was signed, “I.W. Thomas.” No indication was given as to what conditions might have necessitated additional preaching (apart from the initial yearly sermon) during the meetings.

September 5, 1918

A letter published in this week’s newspaper under the heading “Letter from France,” credited as being from “Corporal Lloyd S. Isaacs, who is with the American Expeditionary Force in France” to “his mother, Mrs. Chaney Isaacs, of Mabel,” began, “Dear Mama: It always gives me a great pleasure to express to you my feelings to you even [if] they are on paper. I trust you are well and enjoying the pleasures of life as they present themselves.” Among the news from the Western European front of World War I, Corporal Isaacs related, “I am getting along nicely. I haven’t been sick a moment since I have been over here.” He related that, however, on his first birthday away from home, “I spent my birthday in the trenches. It shall never be forgotten. Everything was quiet on the line. I did not see any Germans, and if they saw me they sure had a good eye.” Reflecting on duty in active military service, Isaacs wrote, “We know not when we will go to the front for service, but when we do I shall draw my sword in honor of America, and my motto is: Give the Germans trouble and remember my mother. The world needs peace and we must do our bit to bring it about.”

September 2, 1943

“Eight [sic] Airforce Deals Mighty Blow to Nazis,” a front-page headline this week, introduced an article which detailed that, “[t]he U.S. eighth airforce dealt an unprecedented blow to German air strength in the month ended tonight[,] bombing airfields, plane factories and probably topping the July record of 506 planes destroyed in the air.” This series of raids was described as, “show[ing] that the British-based campaign has progressed from individual stabs at enemy war facilities to a farflung smash against German air defenses, paving the way for a possible knockout blow.”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.


Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

August 24, 2014


Old Lenoir Home on Watauga River. Used as a boarding school in the early 1900s, later a part of the campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

August 22, 1907

“The preacher who says that kissing is worse than whisky [sic] must have found something pretty exhilarating and intoxicating,” began a short notice in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, bearing the editor’s abbreviation, “Ex.,” at its end. “But he had no business saying so,” continued the opinion notice, “for the Anti-Saloon Leaguers will be trying to regulate that by law next.” Interestingly, during this period of history, the local party-affiliated newspaper was largely a platform for the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“New Jewelers’ Shop,” a front-page advertisement, announced that, “I will be located in Boone by June the first, 1907, prepared to do all kinds of watch and clock repairing on short notice.  My work is all guaranteed and no work is charged for unless satisfactory to the owner. Bring me your work and I will give you a first class job. Office upstairs in Critcher brick row. Silas M. Greene, Jeweler.” As the announced date was already passes, Mr. Greene apparently took out a recurring advertisement in the local newspaper to help launch his business. “Critcher brick row” would seem to refer to the block of Downtown Boone in which the Critcher Hotel once stood – opposite the spot where the Jones House Community Center stands today.

August 21, 1919

“In these days of inflated prices the problem of the high cost of living is a matter of concern to every household,” opened an article on the second page of this week’s newspaper. “Consequently any remedy that promises even temporary relief is eagerly accepted,” continued the item, while cautiously asking: “…. (b)ut is there promise of any real solution of the problem in any of the various proposals of the various departments of the government?” The article reported on several government programs of the time, including “the selling of stores of army food,” which the author of the article claimed “can bring at best but temporary relief,” and which would, allegedly, not have any impact “at all [on] the cost of food in any except the few immediate communities in which the food is sold.” The article was also skeptical of efforts to prosecute business owners for violating laws against “profiteering,” arguing that “some of our most respectable jobbers and retailers may wake up in jail some morning,” asking, “where does legitimate profit cease and profiteering begin”? The author instead urged that “we turn our chief attention to the system rather than the individual,” asking “for example[,] why should a steer be shipped from Texas to Chicago to be butchered and shipped back as beef to Texas, incidentally passing through the hands of half a dozen ‘profiteers’? Or why should Watauga cheese be sold to a Chicago packing house when every ounce of it is needed in the towns of North Carolina?” This anonymous early advocate of localized food production and distribution as an antidote to inflation and price-gouging wrote that, “[w]hen the producer and the consumer become alive to their common interests there will be no occasion for the prosecution of profiteers, or a hunt for hoarders.”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.


Published in: on September 7, 2014 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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