The Week of September 24th, 2009

"Class of 1913" reads the brief caption affixed to this photograph. School and location unknown. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

"Class of 1913" reads the brief caption affixed to this photograph. School name and location unknown. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

September 22, 1932

“Whiskey Still Seized in Boone’s Fork Section” was among front-page news items for this week. “A thirty-gallon copper still, with all the equipment necessary for making whiskey was seized Monday in the Boone’s Fork section by deputies Harrison Byrd, Fred Hatley, and Tom Shook. A shed covered with rubber roofing housed the illicit outfit, and appearances indicated that it had been in operation for about five years. The operator was absent when the raid was made, and an attempt had been made to hide the equipment, but all parts were discovered by the officers and the shed was burned. A large quantity of ‘backings’ was poured out.”

“Relics of Ancient Man Found in Pennsylvania,” an article with a dateline of “Elrama, Penn.,” relayed that “[e]vidence of a people who inhabited the hills and valleys of what is now Pennsylvania 10,000 years ago, has just been discovered near here. Mr. G.S. Fisher, state archaeologist, completed the task of exhuming the bones of 45 mound builders yesterday and will assemble them and place them with their flint knives, stone tomahawks and boar tusk drills, discovered with the bones, in the Pennsylvania State Museum in Harrisbury [sic].”

“Nine-Year-Old Boy is Arrested for Murder” reported from Danbury, N.C., that “a nine-year-old boy Friday was arrested near hear [sic] and charged with the slaying of a playmate.” According to the story, “Agnew Bogles,” the boy in question, “who resides near Carthage” was arrested for “the slaying [which] is alleged to have happened last March.” The report states that “[t]he boy was reported to have been playing with a gun and the girl, whose name could not be learned, was shot to death at the hands of the boy.” The article states that, ” [i]t is said that the boy left home after the shooting and could not be located, but after a long investigation it was learned that he was visiting his grandfather, J. Mart Culler, in Stokes County.”

September 23, 1954

The reflective feature “King Street” by then-editor Bob Rivers observes of “Blue Monday”: “Ever notice, in traveling about, how the clothes lines fill with freshly-laundered garments every Monday morning… It seems from time immemorial Monday has been wash day… Used to be there would be a big ring of fire placed around the big iron pot in the back yard every Monday morning, and the flames would be fed with wood chips and kindling wood until the water boiled… And there were the washing tubs and the washboards upon which the garments were scrubbed by hand until snowy white, and the long clothes line where the clothes hung in the sun… Nowadays the wash is crammed into an automatic machine and the housewife does her other household work while the clothes are coming white… But it’s Monday just the same, and we wonder if the old kettle, and the washboards, and the hard labor about the washplace had anything to do with Monday’s being known as ‘blue’ Monday.”

“Elections Board Open Office” announced on this day, “[t]he Watauga County Board of Elections has opened its office in the building next door to the Boone Flower Shop on East King Street. Applications are now being received for absentee ballots for soldiers, says Chairman R.T. Greer. Civilian absentees will be available the first of October.”

September 24, 1979

“4.16 Inches of Rain Fall on Watauga” captured front-page attention and much of the news coverage for this week’s installment of the Watauga Democrat. According to the story, “[n]inety-seven patients of the Watauga Nursing Care Center in Boone had to be evacuated Friday evening as a nearby rain-swollen river threatened to flood the facility.” Residents were temporarily sheltered at Hardin Park Elementary School and Blowing Rock Hospital, after having been transported in “buses furnished by Appalachian State University.” A front-page photograph entitled “Deluged Datsun” showed a “Datsun sports car [which] was caught in a flooded area at Watauga Village Shopping Center during the rain Friday night.” The news story also reported “[t]he Boone Police Department was also advising limited travel on flooded roads and in the vicinity of the Town House Restaurant off Blowing Rock Road.”

The archives of the Historic Boone society, as well as the complete microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, are available to the public at the Watauga County Public Library in Downtown Boone, North Carolina. Call the Library at (828) 264-8784 for further information.

Guns Guns Guns ad

Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of September 17th, 2009

Rev Rhonda Horton

Photo Caption: Reverend Rhonda Horton, Boone Mennonite Brethren Church. “The much beloved and greatly missed REV. RONDA [sic] HORTON, a long-time community spokesman and leader in the Junaluska neighborhood,” reads the typed caption on the reverse of this photograph. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society. Along with the Reverend Rockford Hatton, Rev. Horton was a prominent leader in the Boone community and in the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church in the Twentieth Century. The Mennonite Brethren Church has a short biographical tribute to Rev. Horton, entitled “Moses on This Mountain,” on its  historical website, at

September 20, 1900

“On the same day that the so called Populists in Raleigh were approving everything Republican from the gold standard to imperialism,” reports the then-politically-affiliated Watauga Democrat on this day, relaying an item from the Raleigh News and Observer, “the vice-chairman of the Populist National committee was rejoicing in the fact that the republicans have sustained heavy losses in Maine and Vermont, and rejoicing that this indicates [William Jennings] Bryan’s election. The Nebraskan isn’t in the pay of the republicans.”

An advertisement entitled “A Word to Mothers” suggests that “[m]others of children affected with croup or severe cold need not hesitate to administer Chamberlain’s Cough Remedy. It contains no opiate nor narcotic in any form and may be given as confidently to the babe as to an adult. The great success that has attended its use in the treatment of colds and croup has won for it the approval and praise it has received throughout the United States and many foreign lands. For sale by dealers.”

A lengthy letter to the editor in this issue read, “Mr. R.C. Rivers, Boone, N.C., Sir: – I saw a piece in your latest issue of the Democrat, stating that one G.W. Trivett, a minister, was badly treated at the Association at Watauga, etc., on account of him voting the democratic ticket, and I must say to you that I do not know how he voted, nor do I care. But you say further that you want to impress it upon the minds of the people, that a man who was elected to a high position at the last election, was one of those who slighted this servant of the Master because he voted the democratic ticket. Now, Mr. Rivers, I do not know whether or not you had any reference to me, but I wish to say if you did, that I gave it the lie without the fear of successful contradiction. If I slighted Mr. Trivett I slighted everybody else. It is well known that I am not housekeeping and could not entertain any one, which I was very sorry of. I think the people of my county are acquainted with me. Now Mr. Rivers I am satisfied you have had a reporter, and I think you ought to give the name, and I ask you to do so in the next paper. I think you are doing me an injustice without cause, if you had reference to me, and if you did not you will kindly correct. I write this to you to let you know where I stand in this matter, and as to what others have said I am not responsible in the least. Yours respt., W.H. Calaway, Foscoe, N.C., Sept. 14, 1900.” Apart from printing this submission in full, no editorial response appears to have been included in this issue.

September 17, 1931

“Work Progresses Fast on Watauga Hospital Building” reported on this day that “[t]he brick work on Watauga Hospital has been completed to the second story, and a large force of men is now engaged in pouring the reinforced concrete floor. The brick work is of mingled design, the window sills are of Indiana limestone, and the building, when completed, is expected to be one of the most imposing structures in the city.” This building is currently known as Founders Hall at Appalachian State University, and houses the Office of Public Affairs for the University.

“Wharf Rats Becoming Numerous in County” was another featured news item this week. “Reports coming in from various sections of the county indicate that wharf rats are appearing in ever increasing numbers and have in some instances played havoc with the flocks of baby chicks. The first of the rodents are supposed to have come to Boone by rail from other points and to have distributed themselves throughout the city, multiplied, and many of them moved to the country. At any rate, they are here, and Roy McBrayer exhibited a specimen the other day which he shot with a rifle near the Jones building, and which weighed three pounds. No organized effort to exterminate the pests has yet been started.”

September 17, 1959

“Coot Haigler Funeral Held” was an obituary announcement which was featured on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “’Coot’ Haigler, 78, well-known resident of the town, died at the home of a son, Rev. Rosalee Hagler in North Wilkesboro, last Thursday, from a short illness. Funeral services were held Sunday at 2 o’clock at the Mennonite Baptist [sic] Church in Boone, and burial was in the Clarissa Hill cemetery. Rev. Rockford Hatton took part in the rites.” The Mennonite Brethren Church of Boone (occasionally listed in newspaper reports as the “Mennonite Baptist Church”) is located in the historic Junaluska section of downtown Boone, and is part of the North Carolina Mennonite Brethren Conference, a predominantly African-American part of the Mennonite – Amish family of faith communities. Reverend Rockford “Rock” Hatton was a pastor of the Boone church and a local leader in the Boone community and in the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1960s.

“Mrs. Harold Rice visited her daughter, Barbara Anne, in Cary, N.C., last week, and visited friends in Rocky Mount,” according to another local item.

Published in: on September 17, 2009 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)  

September 10th, 2009

“A Look Back at Watauga” is on a post- Labor Day vacation this week.

Please check back again next week for a new installment!

"Calamity Howlers" editorial advertisement from 1933

"Calamity Howlers" editorial advertisement from 1933

(From the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, Boone, N.C.)

Published in: on September 11, 2009 at 8:21 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of September 3rd, 2009

Coe Gragg Brown 1949 Centennial

This photograph depicts a scene from the 1949 celebration of Watauga County’s Centennial. Earl “Jerry” Coe, Mayor Watt Gragg, and Wade Brown (in cap and beard) are gathered in front of the Boone Post Office, Downtown Station. Photo Courtesy of Historic Boone.

September 5, 1912

Modern allergy sufferers may feel a kinship with an announcement / advertisement from this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat: “Hay fever and asthma make August a month of intense suffering to many people. Foley’s Honey and Tar Compound gives prompt ease and relief, and is soothing and healing to the inflamed membranes. Wm. M. Merethew, N. Searsport, Me., says: ‘A few doses of Foley’s Honey and Tar Compound relieved me of a severe attack of asthma and less than a bottle caused a complete cure.’ Refuse substitutes. For sale by all dealers.”

“From the melon wagons to be seen on our street during this and last week,” reads a notice reprinted from the Lenoir Topic newspaper, “it seems that Caldwell farmers are all successful melon growers. We do not remember a time within years when large melons were so plentiful. One remarkable feature about them is most of them all have excellent flavor and are very sweet. The prices are not prohibitory and the citizens of the town do not seem to want to wait until the tariff is revised downward before making investments in this luscious fruit.”

A short witticism asks, “[d]id you ever notice that some people when the collection basket is being passed begin to admire the stained glass windows or look to see if there is a crack in the ceiling of the church?”

September 6, 1934

“Parkway Route Hearing on 18th” continues ongoing reporting in the Watauga Democrat about the origins of the Blue Ridge Parkway, seventy-five years ago this week. “Postponement Announced from Capital. Ickes Will Not Hear Cases in Asheville, as First Given Out. Many Will Attend,” proclaims a bold-faced sub caption. “Secretary Ickes of the Department of the Interior will preside at the meeting to be held in Washington on September 17th [sic – apparently at odds with the date in the heading just quoted], when the location of the Parkway boulevard will definitely be determined from Blowing Rock to the Smokies. The meeting had formerly been scheduled for Asheville on the 10th.” Two possible routes were under consideration, one through western North Carolina and another routed through eastern Tennessee. According to this report, “[i]nformation is that the North Carolina delegation is very hopeful that it will be possible to convince Secretary Ickes of the wisdom of adopting the Carolina routing.”

“Rev. A.H. Askew is Freed Under Bond of $5,000.00,” with a dateline of “Goldsboro, N.C.,” reports that “Rev. R.H. [another headline discrepancy] Askew, 28-year-old four-square evangelist charged with attempted extortion for the kidnapping hoax he perpetrated last month, is free under $5,000 bond.” The story relates that “Askew was jailed August 20th after confessing he left Goldsboro voluntarily and himself wrote notes to his wife and Aimee Semple McPherson, head of the four-square gospel movement, demanding $25,000 ransom for his return.” The note also allegedly “contained a threat to blow up Angelus Temple.” Bond was reportedly “signed Saturday night by his wife, the former Miss Hattie Greer of Blowing Rock, M.L. Jones, J.Z. Hinson, Jesse James, and Mrs. W.L. Pierce.” The minister’s trial date was set for the seventh of September.

“County Schools Open Next Week” reported a relatively late start to the school year, by today’s standards, and also noted that “Cove Creek and Valle Crucis are the only two schools in the County which will fail to open their doors next week.” The article explains that “these two institutions are not expected to open until the 17th, due to the fact that the buses to serve them have not arrived,” according to Superintendent Howard Walker. The combination of the Boone and Poplar Grove schools into one was also noted as a major change for Watauga County schools this year.

September 3, 1953

“’Horn’ Attendance Record Given” notes that “[t]otal attendance at ‘Horn in the West’ for the 1953 season climbed to 39,832 this week,” and stated that “Saturday night again set a record, with 2,086 in the audience.” The outdoor drama’s scheduled run extended into September in this year; the article announced that “’Horn in the West’ will be presented nightly at 8:15 through September 7. The performance on September 7, Labor Day, will be the only Monday night performance of the entire season.”

Items in the classified advertising section of the Watauga Democrat on this date included:

“WANT – We still buy Green Catnip Herb at 4 cents per lb., Galax at 70 cents per thousand, Wild Cherries, ripe, not dry, at 7 cents per lb., Life Root Plant at 9 cents per lb., Blue Cohosh Root at 13 cents per lb., Spearmint Leaves at 35 cents per lb., Log Moss at 8 cents per lb. Jerusalem Oak Herb is being purchased by us by contract. WILCOX DRUG COMPANY.”

“Good 6-Room House, bath, full basement, 2 acres land. Located Junaluska Road, Boone, N.C. Price $5500.”

Holiday Bound

1930s-era Labor day cartoon, from the Watauga Democrat

1950s ads

Ads from the 1950s (Watauga Democrat)

Real Estate 2

More 1950s Real Estate ads, from the Watauga Democrat

Published in: on September 3, 2009 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment