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.