The Week of March 27th, 2011

A caption on this old photograph reads, “The Dougherty House, former home of ASU’s founder B.B. Dougherty, which until recent years was located on Rivers Street in Boone. It is now preserved as a museum at Mystery Hill between Boone and Blowing Rock.”

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

March 28, 1901

“Secretary Hay was given an impossible task,” reports the “Washington Letter – From Our Regular Correspondent” in this week’s Watauga Democrat, “when he was told by Mr. McKinley to negotiate a new treaty with England to take the place of the rejected treaty that will represent the views of two thirds of the Senate.” According to the article, “Senators who ought to know have declared that if the treaty just rejected by England were to be accepted just as it was… it would fail of ratification until it had been amended.” Apparently, a number of Senators felt that “England  ha(d) been tricky in attempts to head off the construction of the Nicaragua canal by this government… and some of them do not hesitate to express the belief that the administration has been a party to some of the trickery.” Secretary of State John Hay was attempting to negotiate an Atlantic-to-Pacific shipping route with British cooperation through Nicaragua prior to the decisions leading to the building of the Panama Canal.

March 28, 1929

“Normal is Made 4-Year College” was an article subtitled “Bill Passed by Recent Assembly Changes Name of Local Institution and empowers it to Confer Degrees,” recording a milestone in the history of Appalachian State University. The newly-enacted law was reproduced in the front page article, which reported that the bill “Changes the name of the Appalachian State Normal School to ‘Appalachian State Teachers’ College,’ and empowers the faculty to “‘confer such degrees as are usually conferred by similar institutions in America,’ which in effect makes it a four-year college.”

“Democrats are in favor of Economy” was a front-page headline just below the newspaper’s relatively new banner reading “A Non-Partisan Newspaper, Dedicated to the Best Interests of Northwest North Carolina.” As it turns out, the “economy” referred to was “a platform declaring for the strict and impartial enforcement of the prohibition and all other laws and for economy in government,” which was adopted by “a unanimous vote” when “Democrats of the city met in convention at the courthouse Tuesday evening.” At the meeting, “(a) few remarks were made by different ones of the gathering, stressing the importance of tax reduction when possible and rigid economy in the administration of the city government.”

“Blowing Rock Fire Dept. Entertained at Dinner” reported that “(i)n recognition of the excellent work during the fire which destroyed the home of Mrs. Mattie Story [sic], the citizens of Blowing Rock last Friday night entertained the Blowing Rock Fire Department at a dance and dinner at the Central hotel.” Records the article, “C.S. Prevette, president of the fire department, expressed the thanks of the department to the citizens for the entertainment, and then the tables were moved and the dancing began to music furnished by J.M. Foster and Randall Foster.”

“New Political Party is Need of Country Now,” according to a headline which reported from “Winter Park, Fla.,” a talk by “Oswald J. Villard, editor of The Nation,” in a speech given “at the first annual institute of statesmanship at Rollins college.” Villard was quoted as saying that “(i)t is an undeniable truth that the Democratic party is no longer separated from the Republican party by sharp political differences, and clearly defined party principles.” The speaker alleged that “(t)he need of a new political alignment into a conservative and radical camp is equally desirable” to new economic and foreign policy definitions by distinctive and well-defined political organizations.

March 27, 1969

“City Council Hears Complaints: Industry Leaders Have Problem on Icy Streets” was a banner headline of an article which began with the statement that “City Council last week got a chilly review of what happens at a local industry when roads are ice-packed before daylight, was asked to reduce charges for big users of city water and added a couple of roads to the town system.” The main item reported, relating to wintry weather, involved the difficulties of the Shadowline manufacturing plant, located between Blowing Rock Road and State Farm Road, when employees attempted to get to work during winter storms. Plant manager Hal Johnson reported to the Boone Town Council that he had “continuously called (City Manager) Blair and the Police Department, but it has gotten to the point that I feel ignored… one wheelbarrow full of sand is all we need: A truck to break drifts open up the snow; and put down one wheelbarrow full of sand.” One may well wonder whether this stated level of treatment would have made a tremendous amount of difference for those Shadowline employees who “have fought up to 30 miles of snowy highways to get to work.” Council members were reportedly, however, “sympathetic to Johnson’s plea.” Alderman Dr. Hadley Wilson reportedly said that “if he had known about the situation” on one particular morning mentioned, in which snow drifts around the factory could not be cleared, “he personally would have taken his snow blade over and cleared the street.”

A 1931 advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes touts the benefits of toasted tobacco, ultraviolet rays, and the goodness of the product for the Adam’s Apple. Later research would indicate some fundamental flaws in the logic herein advanced.

Published in: on March 27, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 20th, 2011


“Logging Camp” is the brief caption on the reverse of this photograph. Date and location unknown.

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

March 19, 1914

An advertisement * on the front page of this week’s Watauga Democrat boldly urges, “come up into the Northern Pacific Country – This northern tier of states offers a healthful and invigorating climate; the best crop records in all respects, the best opportunities in the west. Another season of low fares is in hand. Low One Way Colonial Tickets on sale, daily, March 15 to April 15 to many points in Western Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. If you are interested in this Land of Fortune address any Northern Pacific representative – state what locality you are Interested in – and literature will be promptly sent.” The contact person listed in the advertisement was “S.M. McEwan T.L.A., St. Lawrence Motel, Bristol, Tenn.”

A section in the news briefs in this edition read, “(o)n the 11th Chinese Brigands ransacked and burned the city of Los Ho-Kow, killed a Norwegian minister, Dr. T. Froyland, and wounded several other foreigners,” and continued, “Las [sic] Ho-Kow a river port is an important mission station in the province of Hu-Pep.”

The “Town and Country” column of local news included this report: “(a) crew of hands are busy preparing wood with which to burn the brick for the new Baptist church in Boone.”

In other local news, “Mr. David Wooten and children, of Balm, passed through town in route to Stony Fork, where they will make their future home.”

March 26, 1936

“Record Snow Fall of Last Week Stopped Schools and Marooned Motorists” was the sub-heading to the headline “Schools Open as Weather Relents,” the leading lines to an article which reported in this week’s edition that, “(a)ll of the schools of the county were able to open their doors the first of the week, according to Superintendent Howard Walker, after having an enforced vacation during last week on account of the snowfall which for the time had even the main highways blocked, and precluded the operation of buses.” A broader description of the late March winter event said that, “Wednesday morning of last week found hundreds of cars buried in the snow over the county, their passengers taking refuge in the nearest domiciles, and for the first time perhaps in a great many years traffic of all kinds was at a complete stand-still for a short time.” The efforts of WPA workers in clearing side streets in the town of Boone, along with a “hard rain Tuesday,” were credited with making travel again possible after the snow.

In another weather-related item, “Wind Carries Away Public School House,” it was told that, “(d)uring the recent storm the Bailey Camp school house near Blowing Rock in the edge of Caldwell county, is reported to have been lifted from its foundation and carried by the heavy gusts of wind several feet. The school, it is understood, will be closed for a week while carpenters place the structure back on its foundation.” According to the article, “(t)his work, at best, could scarcely be completed in less than three or four days, it is said.”

March 24, 1960

In an issue of the Watauga Democrat prepared in the wake of the blizzard of 1960, which saw over 70 inches of snowfall on the High Country, headlines included such descriptions as, “Highway Forces Mass Equipment to Open Storm-Choked Highways,” “Red Cross Roundup Given: Many Enlisted in Emergency Distribution of Food and Fuel,” and “Schools Open 2 Days Only to Close Again.”

In the article on the mass equipment usage, authored by Sam Beard, a story was related in which, “(a) lady walked into the Boone Highway District Office recently to remark, ‘this is the prettiest snowfall in years.’ Her remark brought a stare from highway employees that was just as icy as the pavement outside. District Engineer Tom Winkler and his assistants could find little pretty about a record-breaking spell of bad weather which had dumped up to 72 inches of snow on Ashe, Alleghany, Avery and Watauga and kept forces working round the clock in an effort to keep roads open.”

In the article on the “Red Cross Roundup,” it was printed that, among disaster relief efforts, “Fifty-six service home service calls were made during the eight days the Red Cross operated, to determine for relatives if families were all right. Twelve emergency calls were made. Eight medical cases, requiring doctor’s or nurse’s care were attended. Ten families were supplied with clothing. Five emergency rescues were made.” In addition, helicopters from Fort Bragg were employed to drop food packages, coal,  hay for farm animals, and “to determine if help was needed in isolated areas.”


Published in: on March 20, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 13th, 2011

The reverse of this photograph bears this caption: “Working on the road in front on the J.D. ‘Crack’ Councill home, where downtown USPS [Post Office building] is now. From left: Willard Watson, Clyde Triplett, Ernest Hicks, Jess Laws, and Rob Boone.”

(Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society)

By Ross Cooper

March 14, 1912

“To the Citizens of Boone,” reads the heading on a posting in this edition of the Watauga Democrat. “We take this means of expressing to the people of the town our appreciation and gratitude for the manner in which they have stood by the present town administration and also to ask for a closer organization in the future.” Continues the open letter, “[i]t is our intention to enforce the laws more strictly; look after the sanitary condition of the town more closely; work up all the back time of the street hands, use every dollar of the taxes in the improvement of the streets and sidewalks and the necessary expenditures of the town. We earnestly ask that every citizen comes with his part of the burden, and that we stand loyally by each other in all matters, and by so doing we will soon have a town that all will be proud of and that will be an honor to its inhabitants. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ W.R. GRAGG, Mayor.”

March 17, 1932

“Doughton Will Introduce Bill for ‘Half-Cent’” was a headline followed by the sub-heading “Measure Calling for Minting of Half-Pennies Will be Introduced by Veteran Legislator Within a Few Days. Would Save Consumers Many Thousands of Dollars Each Year.” The article, by J.W. Van Hoy (reporting from Washington, D.C.) related that “[n]ot only is the lowly ‘brownie’ coming into his own again during these times of financial stringency, but he is to have an ally and strong companion in a brand-new creature of the mint, the half-cent piece, if a bill now being prepared under the direction of Representative R.L. Doughton becomes a law.”  According to the report, “it has occurred to this veteran legislator, who is also a practical banker and a student of finance and taxation, that a great saving can be made possible to the buying public by providing a medium for making ‘correct change’ instead of allowing the difference of a half-cent to go to the seller as is universally done in this country.” The author alleges that “it is estimated that millions of dollars are lost to the retail buyer annually on account of this purely American custom of the teller taking the half-cent in addition to his legitimate charge,” as well as when a buyer buys but a single one of items priced “two-for”. Prior U.S. half-cent pieces had been mostly special or commemorative, and no such denomination coin had been issued since 1857. The Washington correspondent reports that “[b]illions of dollars are being diverted from the Federal Treasury into the sagging arteries of trade and commerce as a stimulant but with faint hope of permanent relief,” and with the half-penny idea it was hoped that “when our people begin to count their pennies and save their half-pennies we will be getting near bed rock in our efforts to remove the cause of our financial ailments.” Congressman Doughton was a native of Alleghany County in northwestern North Carolina. His idea to revive the U.S. half cent piece was not adopted.

March 14, 1963

“Rain Deluge Raises Waters Mon., Tues.” reported in this issue that “[h]eavy rains fell on the county on Monday and Tuesday, and streams in the county were rising as the rain continued to fall. Some of the creeks appeared to be bank-full, and in some cases were out of their banks.” It was relayed that “Watauga County schools were dismissed at 1:30 Tuesday because of high waters in the county,” and also that “Appalachian High School’s attendance was off ‘somewhat’ Tuesday morning ‘because some of the parents feared that their children would not be able to get back home by the time of regular dismissal,’ a high school secretary said.” More than two inches of standing water on some rural area bridges was recorded. However, “temperatures remained relatively mild for March,” with a low of 27 degrees and a high of 60 recorded in the portion of the month which had passed.

“Celebration Group has Business Meet” told that “[a] meeting of the committee of the Carolina Tercentenary Celebration of “Daniel Boone Crosses the Blue Ridge” was held last week, with prominent committee members in attendance including “Dr. I.G. Greer of Chapel Hill [formerly of Boone], President, Southern Appalachian Historical Association,” as well as “Dr. D.J. Whitener, Chairman, Southern Appalachian Historical Association; Clyde Greene, Wagon Train Chairman; Wade E. Brown, Mayor of Boone, and Herman W. Wilcox,” the last-named being an officer of both the State’s Tercentenary committee and the Southern Appalachian Historical Association. A late June event was being planned, with “[a]pproximately fifteen to thirty thousand people… expected to attend the big celebration in Boone and relive with the pioneers the history-making events of Daniel Boone’s crossing of the Blue Ridge.”

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 March 13, 2011 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of March 6th, 2011

A clipping attached to the reverse of this photograph reads, “[g]rowing a beard during the [1949] centennial celebration of this historic county seat was a really good idea. Otherwise, you stood to be locked up in a stockade across from the Old Northwestern Bank [now annexed to Farmers Hardware] on the site of Joe Todd’s Esso filling station. You had to stay there until you were pretty thoroughly vexed, too, although the clean-shaven didn’t seem to mind it too much. The two bearded gentlemen, front and center are former Boone Mayor Wade E. Brown, a prominent attorney (now retired and a prominent golfer) and Stanley Harris Sr. at right. Behind Brown at left is the distinguished scholar and campus leader, Dr. D.J. Whitener.”

March 5, 1903

“Robt. Jackson son of the late Jessie Jackson, of Moretz happened to a serious and quite mysterious accident on last Monday evening,” reported the Watauga Democrat newspaper in the issue of this week. “He got on his horse and went to Soda Hill, to get some supplies, which he got and returned.  He was in a demented condition, and upon examination it was noted that he had received a heavy blow on the side of his head which broke the skin for some distance and fractured the bones in the region of the ear. A physician was summoned, the wound dressed, and at last account the patient was resting easy, but the cause of his hurt remains shrouded in mystery.”

“School vouchers are being offered for sale by many of our teachers at a discount of from 5 to 10 per cent,” announces another item. “In our opinion this is a most deplorable condition, and evidently there is a cause for it somewhere that should be righted.” Referring to taxation as a source of teachers’ salaries, the article continues, “[t]he Treasurer says that he has no money to pay these claims, and the Sheriff’s collection of taxes is quite slow. The law strictly specifies that all school monies shall be collected by the Sheriff and turned over to the Treasurer on or before the first day of January of each year,” with those in arrears subject to a $200 fine. Continues the editorial opinion, while granting that “the fact of collecting taxes in this county is quite a laborious task,” the newspaper writer comments that “it occurs to us that if the Sheriff would make the people understand that their taxes had to be paid by a stated time this trouble could be averted in the future,” for “[v]erily, the Sheriff who collects the taxes promptly is the true friend of the people.” It would seem that a default in public support through taxation had caused some individual teachers to turn to the recourse of selling discounted private vouchers in the private sector during the time of the tax shortfall.

March 4, 1920

“A wedding characterized by beauty and simplicity was solemnized at the home of Mr. Elbert Farthing on Sunday, February 22, at 1 o’clock, p.m., when his daughter, Miss Mattie Mae, became the bride of Mr. George D. Eller,” reported a front-page item in this issue, “Rev. J.H. Farthing being the officiating clergyman; only a few relatives and intimate friends witnessing the ceremony.” The couple “took their position beneath the bridal arch, which had been tastefully decorated with ferns,” after the “the tones of the wedding march, played by Messrs. Carter and Fred Farthing, were heard.” At a reception feast after the ceremony, “[t]he table almost groaned under its load, and every one present enjoyed the dinner immensely.”

“Good Stock for Sale” was an advertisement offering a “heavy pair horses, 8 years old; One good three year old yoke of steers, and one good 8 year old bay horse; gray mare, 5 years old, weighs 950 pounds; good saddle horse, 8 years old, weighs 1060 pounds; One bay mare, 10 years old, weighs 1100. Will sell on time or swap for anything you have that doesn’t suit you. Come and look my stuff over and if I haven’t got what you want, I’ll get it for you. R.L. Honeycut.”

March 4, 1943

“Heroine of Bataan” was a headline accompanying a photograph and a short item reading, “Lieut. Beth Veley, veteran of the heroic resistance on Bataan and Corrigidor [sic], is shown shortly after she arrived in Seattle to recruit nurses for the army. She wears the ribbon of the Legion of Merit, three campaign stars and battle stars for Bataan and Corrigedor [sic].”

“Rat Campaign Now In Progress” reported that a “campaign to control the rat plague in this city was commenced Monday by the city government, the actual work of distributing the poison being in charge of Harry S. Webster, of the health department, who volunteered his services to the town for the week in this connection.” According to the report, “[a]lthough the work was not being carried out due to the bad weather on Monday and Tuesday practically all of the business section had been baited, including nearby creek banks, and just as soon as the weather is again favorable, the poison campaign will be pushed ahead to completion.” The health official was reportedly “highly gratified at the large number of dead rats which have been found, and says residents of the city are already reporting great relief from the rodents.”

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

1943 advertisement for a showing of Gone with the Wind at Boone’s Appalachian Theatre

Published in: on March 7, 2011 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment