The Week of December 26th, 2010

This image shows Appalachian Teaches College (now Appalachian State University) co-founder B.B. Dougherty with Boone Mayor (and sometime U.S. Marshall) Watt Gragg. Dougherty, who founded the Teachers School with his brother, D.D. Dougherty, is being given a plaque which is inscribed, “presented to Dr. B.B Dougherty in recognition of distinguished service to his fellowmen – May 1950.”

(Courtesy of Historic Boone archives, housed at Watauga County Public Library).

December 19, 1918

The newspaper itself was facing difficulties in this week. “Owing to the delay of blank paper,” records a second-page item, “- a good supply in the depot in Lenoir, which we have been unable to get across the mountain; and nearly enugh (sic) for an issue post-paid in the post-office at that town, since last Friday; it rained, you know – this paper comes out late. The mail service between here at Lenoir is something abominable, the contractor, as we understand it, being allowed to say what he will or will not bring. He is bonded to the government to transfer the mails from Lenoir to Boone, and the post master there should see to it that he does it as it accumulates. If one machine or team can not bring it, put it on two; that’s the idea.” The story continues that the load of paper for publication of the Democrat was, eventually, dropped off (or, “dumped”) in Blowing Rock, an unsatisfactory state of affairs. “The sooner the government looks into matters of this kind, the better it will please The Democrat,” continues the author (presumably the editor), continuing that, “it seems that mail, on which full postage has been paid, should have right-of-way over the traveling public.”

This week’s issue also included a brief report entitled “Financial Report of the Three Forks Co-Operative Cheese Company,” which reported the “(c)ost of building, painting and equipping, incorporating and insuring, $1800.00,” and an operating season which ran from May 27 until October 31. The factory produced 13,002 pounds of cheese, which was sold at an average price of 28 and a half cents per pound.

December 21, 1939

“Burley House to be Built for Season of 1940” was a front-page item in this week’s newspaper. “Stockholders in the Mountain Burley Warehouse and other interested persons met Monday evening and laid concrete plans for the building of a second burley warehouse in Boone,” it was reported, “and definite assurance is given that the new floor will be ready for the opening of the burley season in December, 1940.” The feature noted that, “(t)he new warehouse will be a distinctly separate concession from the Mountain Burley,” but would be located next to the already existing structure. Legal papers were already under preparation at the time, with sale of stock certificates to be forthcoming within a short period of time. The growth of burley tobacco as a cash crop in the Watauga County area saw the rise of sale locations on western King Street and on Queen Street, at the current location of the Watauga County Public Library building.

In related news, “State College Offers Free Tobacco School” related that “Dan M. Paul, director of the short courses at the college (now N.C. State University)” had announced “the fourth annual tobacco short course for adult farm men and women of the state,” which was to be held from January 16 through 19. Some 600 persons had attended previous courses. Accommodations were to be available, stated the article, with “(a) limited number of beds… available in the athletic room of the college Y.M.C.A. at 50 cents per night.” Subjects to be covered included “tobacco seed, fertilizers, insect and disease control, soil fertility, and the value of forest thinning to obtain tobacco wood.”

“Local Burley Warehouse Has Sold Million Pounds” was the bold headline of yet another related story, which told that “(t)rucks are arriving daily from eastern Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and the tobacco-growing counties of western Carolina, bringing huge loads of burley to the new market,” noting that this new market “continues to lead (the) burley belt with prices averaging around $18 mark (per hundred pound); total sales to reach two million pounds by Saturday.”

“Phone Book Indicates Community Growth” was an item on the front page of this edition, which proclaimed that a “measure of growth of Watauga County is the increase in the number of Telephone Directories being distributed this week to local subscribers.” The article notes that “approximately 3,700 of the December 1960 issue will be delivered to homes and businesses according to H.M. Inabinet, manager of the Southern Bell Telephone Company, compared with 3,300 when the directory was delivered in December, 1960 (an apparent error for 1959, the prior year).” The new directory was described as “easily distinguishable from the old green to a glossy grey cover,” and was to feature a “Classified Section – Yellow Pages – contain(ing) listings for business telephone subscribers under headings alphabetized according to their business or profession.” This new section “provides a convenient ready reference guide when you want to locate a firm or individual, the manager points out.”

Continuing burley tobacco news in a more recent decade was the headline “Weed Sales Closed for Christmas,” which announced closing of the burley markets for the holiday, reporting that “poundage through December totaled 3,104,234 for an average price of $66.60 and a gross sale of $2,067,654.44.” It was relayed that “tobacco continued to arrive at the warehouse, although there was a noticeable slack in activity as selling operations came to a holiday halt.” Interesting, the article states that “Boone and Watauga County’s chief source of income during the winter months is from the tobacco market.”

This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.


Because, “Christmas is not only getting too commercial… it’s getting too dangerous (Linus van Pelt).

Published in: on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 13th, 2010

No accompanying information with the original image.

House, unidentified.

(Courtesy of Historic Boone archives, housed at Watauga County Public Library).

December 10, 1908

An interesting pattern may be seen on the front page of this edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, which seems common for this period of the paper’s history: a number of advertisements were for the services of attorneys-at-law. “W.R. Lovill, attorney at law,” announces one advertisement, “Boone, N.C. – Special attention given to all business entrusted to his care.”  Another prominent local citizen’s ad proclaimed, “E.S. Coffey, attorney at law, Boone, N.C. – Prompt attention given to matters of a legal nature. Abstracting titles and collection of claims a specialty.” Other specialized notices were for lawyers from beyond Watauga County, such as this one: “A.A. Holsclaw, attorney at law, Mountain City, Tennessee, will practice in all the courts of Tennessee, State and Federal. Special attention given to collections and all other matters of a legal nature. Office north east of court house.” Another ad announces “Edmund Jones, Lawyer, Lenoir, N.C., Will Practice Regularly in the Courts of Watauga.”

Another advertisement in this week’s edition in another arena was for “The Lenoir Book Store (near the court house) – Be Sure To Visit It When In Lenoir – Holiday Presents in Great Varieties. Books, Stationary, China, Pictures, Dolls, Toys, Novelties.”

A grim item of statistical news reported that, “[i]t is stated that 3,764 persons were killed by the railroad during the year ending June 30th and for the same year 6,998 were injured.” The number of automobile fatalities some one hundred years later was listed in one source as 37,261 – one might see a tenfold jump in transportation fatalities in a time in which the population of the United States increased just over threefold, from some 90 million to about 300 million, albeit the modes of travel had changed significantly.

Among the local news items, it was reported that, “[a]t the Annual Meeting of the directors of the Watauga county bank held last Tuesday, George Hagaman was re-elected Cashier for the next 12 months without opposition; a dividend of 18 per cent was declared, and $1,00 was set aside to strengthen the bank. The institution, as you see, is doing well.”

December 10, 1953

“Homer Brown is Library Director in Wilkes-Watauga” was a headline on the front page of this week’s paper. “Homer Brown of Boone has been appointed district library director for the Watauga-Wilkes area,” reports the item. “He will begin his new duties immediately.” The story relates that, “Mr. Brown retired from the Navy in 1944 as a chief petty officer after 20 years of service. He then entered Appalachian State Teachers College and was graduated in 1951 with a B.S. degree in Library Science.” The appointee was noted to have served the past year already as Watauga County Librarian, and was the holder of a Master’s Degree earned in 1952. In addition, “Mr. Brown and Clyde Eggers of Boone were recently named co-chairmen of a committee appointed by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association to write a history of Watauga County,” according to the article.

Other front-page news related, “Glen Reese Third in Sheep Shearing Contest in Chicago,” with details reporting that Reese, “son of Mr. and Mrs. Asa A. Reese, placed third in the National 4-H Sheep Shearing Contest held in Chicago Friday, December 4.” The story stated that Reese had “scored 92.1,” while the winner, “Hal Brown from Indiana scored 92.43.” However, it was noted that “[d]uring the preliminaries which were held earlier in the week Glenn was high scorer with a score of 93.65.” Another Wataugan, Bobby Gene Norris, participated in the contest, but, scoring 88.35 in preliminary rounds, did not make it into the finals. “The boys were accompanied to Chicago by W.C. Richardson,” according to the Democrat article, “assistant county agent who is their coach.”

December 11, 1969

A sampling of headlines from this week’s paper offers a snapshot of life in a Watauga County December: “Santa Claus to Feature Bright Christmas Parade,” with the subheading “Miss Watauga, Snow Queen to Add to Event”; “Violent Wind Overturns Trailers”; and “Week End [sic] Ice Storm Shuts Off Power, Closes Schools”. The parade account records that “more than 50 units, including beauty queens, marching bands, and Santa Claus, will participate In Boone’s Christmas parade,” with a note that “Jimmy Kilgo of WSOC-TV in Charlotte will be honorary parade marshal… accompanied by his five Kilgo Girls of Kilgo’s Canteen.” The parade was also to include “Santa’s colorful North Pole float” and “the float of Miss Watauga County adorned with Ollie Jackson, Miss Watauga of 1970.” The wind storm report stated that “[s]trong winds whipping eastward along US [highway] 421 at Parkway School last Wednesday overturned three trailers being towed to a Winston-Salem hospital.” The ice storm item noted that “[u]p to an estimated 800 families were affected at one time or another by power lines that snapped under the weight of ice,” and that the results of the storm “gave children a school holiday Monday.”

This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.

Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of December 6th, 2010

“A Look Back… at Watauga County (North Carolina)” is back from a lengthy sabbatical!

A Look Back… at Watauga

By Ross Cooper

December 4, 1889

“Alas! Poor Harrison” was a political news item headline on the front page of this issue from one of the first years of existence of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “President Harrison was publicly burned in effigy last week at Jeffersonville, Indiana,” reports the story, which originally ran in the Chatham Record, according to a byline at the conclusion of the column. “Of course it might be supposed that this was done by some ‘Bourbon’ Democrats, but no, strange to say, it was done by some of the truly loyal Republicans! There has been much dissatisfaction among the Republicans of that town at several of the President’s recent appointments, but the immediate cause of their violent outburst of indignation was his appointment of the postmaster, who obtained his appointment solely because he was a personal friend of the President.’” The article continues, “[t]he burning in effigy of the President of the United States of America is disgraceful to all concerned, and if it had been done by any Southern Democrats they would be bitterly denounced by every Republican politician and paper as being disloyal to the national government.” The President, “poor Harrison,” according to this item, “seems to have the peculiarly winning way of making enemies among the men who elected him, and when his term expires he will be respected even less than was the pitiable Hayes.”

In other news, the Democrat relayed from the Arizona Kicker newspaper that “[t]he suit of the Widow Gibbs brought against us [presumably the editor of the newspaper named] for breach of promise, damage $15,000, came up in court last Friday.” The story relates that, “this suit was instituted six months ago by the courthouse ring, which has sought our downfall ever since the first issue of this paper,” and continues with an assertion that, “they put up the widow to sue us, and have advanced the money as needed.” The item concludes, “[a]s for the widow, she was only a cat’s paw, and we have sent to her house a bag of groceries, a clothes line, and a sack of flour, to prove that we have no malice.”

Early editions of the Watauga Democrat often ran features from other newspapers, containing both news of the day and other matters of interest. As was the case with the Harrison article, these other papers may have been similarly aligned as political party outlets (though sometimes less explicitly so in their name than the Watauga Democrat), the Watauga paper maintaining its political affiliation and stance well into the twentieth century.

December 3, 1925

“News from the Cove Creek High” was front-page news in this week’s edition, bearing the subtitle “Outstanding Happenings of the Past Week at the High School and in the Community.” Among the notable happenings, “[o]n November the nineteenth the second year class in home economics served a luncheon to the County Superintendent, Board of education, local committeemen and teachers,” at which event “[t]he guests on entering the dining room found their places on place cards on which the Thanksgiving turkey was sketched.” The meal consisted of “baked chicken, stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, celery, beet pickles, hot rolls, butter, coffee, fruit salad, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.”  In sports news, “Cove Creek defeated the Sutherland High School in two very interesting basketball games,” one home game concluding with “a 25-22 victory for Cove Creek;” the other being an away game at Sutherland, at which “the final count was 38-37 in favor of the Cove Creek boys.”

December 4, 1941

Just days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, news on the local front filled much of the front page of the Watauga Democrat. “Seal Sales Reach Total of $167.71” reported that “[t]he Christmas Seal sales reached the total of $167.71 this first week of the campaign and officials are highly pleased with the initial effort.” A fund-raising effort to support the eradication of tuberculosis, the local amount raised at this date was “in excess of the amount collected during the entire campaigns of previous years.”

“Commerce Body Meets Tuesday” was the headline of a report on an upcoming Chamber of Commerce meeting, which was scheduled to meet at the Gateway Cafe under the presidency of H.W. Wilcox. The meeting was to feature a “new motion picture made in kodachrome,” entitled “North Carolina, Variety Vacationland,” which was to be “presented through the courtesy of the state department of conservation and development.” In other anticipated business, “[a] number of the tobacco men, who are now operating the Mountain Burley warehouses will be present, says Mr. Wilcox, and will give out information concerning this and other markets in the burley belt.” The last item on the agenda for this meeting, as reported in the newspaper, was that “Mr. Harry Hamilton and Mr. Bernard Dougherty will be present and will tell of the progress made by Watauga county this year in breeding superior livestock.”

A notice of more scurrilous news reported that “A. Loven, representative of the Metro Publicity Service, who is said to have swindled a number of local merchants recently on a give-away advertising plan, has been apprehended, and is now being held in Roxboro for trial there on similar charges. It is expected that Loven will be returned to Boone for trial in the near future.”

This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.

c. 1949 Christmas parade

The reverse of this photograph, which shows a dense crowd (probably in Downtown Boone) with a facing-away-Santa on a fire truck in the top-left corner, is inscribed “[t]his must have been [19-]’49 Christmas Parade – Betty Ruth Winkler & Betty Ellis near Santa,” and bears two stamps: “Photo by Palmer Blair,” and “Palmer’s Photo Service, Boone, N.C.”. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library.

Published in: on December 12, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment