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.