E.S. Coffey, noted Watauga County attorney and North Carolina State Senator, as a young man.
(Courtesy of Historic Boone archives, housed at Watauga County Public Library).
January 6, 1921
The front page of this edition of the Democrat featured an article reprinted from the Winston Salem journal, written by Appalachian State Teachers College co-founder B.B. Dougherty. Entitled “Counties High in Resources Lost by Lack of Good Roads,” the feature explores the potential of the region now known as North Carolina’s High Country. “Ashe, Alleghany, and Watauga – these three; formerly they were one – Ashe,” opens the article, tracing the creation of the new counties, which “caused no friction in the mother country as is often the case.” Dr. Dougherty emphasized that “(t)he people of Watauga have high regard and great appreciation for the people of Ashe and Alleghany, and they have every reason to believe that their high regard and great appreciation are fully reciprocated.” Much of the text enumerates the natural resources in the three-county area, as they had been tabulated at that point, nearly ninety years ago: “six hundred and forty-five thousand acres of fine mountain land, forty thousand three hundred and sixty-four cattle, thirteen thousand eight hundred and thirty-four hogs, twenty six thousand six hundred and forty sheep, eight thousand one hundred and seventy-five horses, a tax book value at $35,000,000 and 41,881 courageous souls” enriched the area, which the author declares insures these counties that they “should be a great asset to the Old North State,” and he asserts that “they desire to be helped by the state” in sharing their bountiful natural blessings. “The great trouble, the tragedy of the whole matter,” Dougherty continues, “is that our transportation facilities connecting us with the rest of the state are about as they were when Zeb Vance canvassed the country for governor,” likely referring to a electoral event in 1872 (Vance had been elected Confederate governor in 1862 and 1864, but was absent for a time from public office until his successful campaign for North Carolina governor in 1872). “A railroad, or a hard surface road, or both, will solve the question,” writes Dr. Dougherty. Noting manufacturing advantages in the area (“here are the biggest cheese factories, with the biggest output south of Pennsylvania”), as well as orchards, other produce farms, and the aforementioned livestock, with current distribution of the products thereof via Johnson City, Tennessee, the article calls for transport which would allow distribution “to Winston and Greensboro, Charlotte, Gastonia, Salisbury, and other North Carolina towns” through the improvement of infrastructure connecting Watauga and its neighboring counties to the rest of the state. “Moses H. Cone, beloved and deceased, said he travelled through Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland, but had never seen a more beautiful picture than the one he saw while standing upon the Blowing Rock, looking over the bosom of the great state… (t)here is nothing in all the South country to compare to it,” continues Dougherty. Therefore, he says, “(w)e would develop this country for the people of North Carolina,” although this “must be a state project.” He urges, “give the legislators the information; they will do the work. It is not a local proposition; the whole State is interested.”
“Teague & Colvard Livery,” a bold, block-print advertisement in this week’s paper, offered “day and night serice (sic). Stable back of Watauga Motor Co’s Garage Bldg.”
December 31, 1942
“1943 to Bring Various Changes in Civilian Life, Says Babson’s Forecast,” reported that, approximately one year after the entry of the United States into World War II, changes in life on the home front were expected, but the wise business investor was advised to be stalwart. According to the report, authored by Roger W. Babson (founder of Babson College, business theorist, and 1940 Senatorial candidate), with a byline of “Babson Park, Mass.,” “(e)vents are moving at a breath-taking speed. Never before has the world been in the midst of such far-reaching turmoil. Within the next hour news might break that will change the whole course of history.” The writer submits that, “(n)evertheless, it is vitally important to keep your perspective. To change your business or investment program with every piece of war news is utmost folly.” The article mentions the opening of a second front in Africa against the Axis powers, with the result that “that morning many thousands of self-appointed commentators were convinced that the war was going to last five years,” although “by midnight of the same day these same commentators could see nothing but a short war and a quick victory. So let us be cautious.” Babson also notes that sources in Washington predicted “300,000 retailers being put out of business,” but the author believed that “this is entirely unnecessary,” observing that, “(i)f the landlords will be easy on rents, as sensible ones should be, practically all retailers can run on a skeleton force, and keep alive until this war is over, when business again should be good.”
“Quiet Celebration of Yuletide is Reported in this Community” stated that “Christmas passed off quietly in Boone, most residents staying by their own firesides for the celebration of the festive period. Because of gasoline and tire restrictions local people, on the whole, desisted from holiday trips. A large number of soldiers visited with homefolks, adding materially to the happiness of the Yuletide.” In holiday law enforcement news, “(o)nly eleven were placed in the county jail during the week, Deputy Sheriff Wiley Day reports, all of them for charges of inebriety. Seven had breakfast Christmas morning in the bastile and four had supper with Jailer Day. No disturbances marked the holidays, however.”