The Week of July 10th, 2009

Prominent Watauga citizen E.S. Coffey as a young man.

Prominent Watauga citizen E.S. Coffey as a young man.

E.S. Coffey, Esq., is noted as having been “a prominent member of the Boone bar,” as well as serving as a North Carolina State Senator, according to John Preston Arthur’s 1915 volume A History of Watauga County, North Carolina: With Sketches of Prominent Families. Picture courtesy of the Historic Boone society’s archives.

Visit the Watauga Democrat newspaper online at – Serving Watauga County since 1888 [or, arguably, in its (Republican) predecessors, since 1887]!

July 11, 1907

An advertisement entitled “Destroys Hair Germs” claims that “recent discoveries have shown that falling hair is caused by germs at the root of the hair. Therefore, to stop falling hair, you must first completely destroy these germs. Ayer’s Hair Vigor, new Improved formula, will certainly do this. Then leave the rest to nature. Does not change the color of the hair.”

A continuation of the advertising mentioned above continues, “[r]ecent discoveries have also proved that dandruff is caused by germs on the scalp. Therefore, to cure dandruff, the best thing to do is to completely destroy these dandruff germs. Here, the same Ayer’s Hair Vigor will give the same splendid results. Made by the J.C. Ayer Company, Lowell, Massachusetts.”

Advertising of more local origin included the notice, “R. Ross Donnelly – Undertaker and Embalmer, Shouns, Tennessee, has varnished and glass white coffins, black broad cloth and white plush caskets, black and white metal caskets, robes, shoes, and finishings. Extra large coffins and caskets always on hand. Phone orders given special attention.”

The “Valle Crucis Notes” local news section includes the items, “Mrs. Finley Mast is rapidly recovering from a severe bout of typhoid fever,” and “a number of our people spent a very pleasant day at Walnut Grove, celebrating the 4th.” In “Blowing Rock Notes,” it was reported that, “Bishop Cheshire is the guest of Col. Edwards at “La Rada” [?], but leaves this week for his home in Raleigh.” According to the Southern Historical Collection of the Library of the University of North Carolina, Joseph Blount Cheshire (1850-1932) was Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina, from 1893 until 1932.

Also, “the work on the Presbyterian church has been resumed and will probably be completed this summer.”

July 14, 1932

“Printer on Watauga’s First Paper a Visitor” reported that “Mr. Charlie Logan of Welch, W. Va., called on the Democrat today, and he and R.C. Rivers met for the first time in 44 years, at which time they were employed in the publication of the Enterprise, Boone’s first newspaper, and the official organ of the Republican party.” Published during the 1888 election campaigns, the Enterprise “was published in the Blackburn store building,” being edited first by Thomas Bingham and then by, successively, John S. Williams and R.C. Rivers, the head of the “Watauga Democrat” in 1922 and a onetime co-worker of Mr. Rivers. A Jefferson native, Mr. Logan is remarked to “have visited Ashe County infrequently since his career as a Boone newspaperman was completed, [and] he had never since until last week set foot again on Boone soil.” The article concludes. “Mr. Logan is a traveling man of many years standing and has succeeded.”

In an item with a dateline of Lake Junaluska, it was reported that “[Methodist Episcopal Church, South] Bishop James Cannon, Jr., who called the dry conference which led to the organized anti-Smith movement of 1928, indicated here Sunday that he would oppose the election of Franklin Roosevelt, the Democratic presidential nominee.” The Bishop quoted a statement from “the board of temperance and social service of the Methodist Episcopal Church” (later stated in the article to have been “written by him as its president”) which concluded that, “our people should vote for men and women who believe prohibition should be the law.” Calling Roosevelt an “outspoken opponent of the Eighteenth Amendment,” Bishop Cannon is characterized by the subtitle of the report with the somewhat enigmatic statement “Democracy Scored by Politically-Minded Bishop.”

An ad for Farmers’ Hardware and Supply Company announces “Hot Weather Items: G.E refrigerators (keep things cool), vacuum cleaners (keep things clean), iced tea sets (drink it cold), ice cream freezers (make your own cream), thermos jugs (every home needs one), minnow buckets (fisherman’s pride), trout baskets (will hold the limit), flashlights (save the shine), scout axes (for the camp), reels (finish quality), electric hot plate (early breakfast),” and “dishes (latest design).”

July 2, 1970

“Horn Receipts are ‘Disappointing’” related news of the “Horn in the West” outdoor drama. The production director of the “Horn” listed “chilly weather, the Wagon Train and the Singing on the Mountain as possible reasons for low attendance.” After the first nine performances of the drama in the 1970 season, attendance was down by over 1,200 viewers from the same period in the prior year.

“Big Rattler Auto Victim” was another front-page headline. “A 37-inch timber rattlesnake ‘bit the dust’ Sunday when it was run over by a car on US Highway 421 in eastern Watauga County.” A Wildlife Protection officer was quoted as stating that “rattlesnakes sometimes move into the mountains when the lowlands become intolerably hot.” The snake was seen emerging from a barn before moving into the road and being struck, with some 50 to 75 motorists reported by one eyewitness as stopping to view the stricken reptile. The appearance of such a sizable reptile in Watauga County was apparently a matter of some interest and concern; the Wildlife protection officer was contacted after the animal was accidentally struck on the road, and offered some insight on the movement of rattlers, including a warning that “snakes often travel in pairs,” so the slain snake might have had a mate. The story also mentioned that, “it was in late April and mid-May of 1966 that a couple of large snakes were killed on the old railroad grade road above NC 105 above Foscoe. The first of the rattlers was four feet long, the second measuring three feet 10 inches… the snakes might have been hauled from the lowlands in truckloads of dirt. Excavation and filling was going on at Seven Devils resort high above Foscoe.”

Visit the Watauga Democrat newspaper online at – Serving Watauga County since 1888!

Ross Cooper is a member of the Reference Staff at the Watauga County Public Library in Downtown Boone. The microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from its beginnings in 1888 up to the current year, are available to the public at the Watauga County Library. The photographic archives of the Historic Boone society are also housed at the Library, and are available to the public during hours of operation.

Published in: on July 10, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you once again for a great look back in history. The story of the large rattlesnakes was interesting, didn’t know that Watauga had such large rattlers! Hope I never come upon one in my wanderings! Especially in Deep Gap!

    • Thanks again for your loyal reading and positive feedback!

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