“Miss Jennie Coffey’s Store,” reads the caption to this old postcard, depicting a center of life in Downtown Boone in a bygone era. Date of the photograph is unknown. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
May 13, 1909
“Watch Repairing” proclaims the bold heading to a prominent advertisement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which continues, “(m)ore good watches are ruined in the hands of inexperienced workmen than in any other way. A watch is too costly an article to entrust to the hands of any one who may claim to be a watchmaker.” The advertiser continues, “(d)uring my many years of business I have always given the closest attention to the careful repairing and adjusting of watches brought to me and have bought none other than the best materials. My charges are never excessive; only enough to cover the cost of the work; neither do unnecessary work nor charge for work I do not execute. Don’t wait until your watch refuses to run before having it cleaned, adjusted, and freshly oiled.” The item is signed “J.W. Bryan, Graduate Watch-maker and Jeweler.”
Items in the “Local News” column included the notice “Mumps are still prevalent in and around Boone,” as well as “(t)he corn crop in the county is nearly all planted,” “(a) piano was installed in the Blair Hotel last week,” and “Mrs. Rivers has been confined to her home for several days suffering with a severe case of facial neuralgia.”
A brief notice opined, “Strange how joyfully a man will pay a lawyer $500 for untying the knot that he begrudged a clergyman $5 for tying.”
“Watauga was visited with a most severe thunder storm on Sunday night. There was a considerable drop in temperature on Monday, which continued until its culmination into a heavy frost on Wednesday morning,” reported a description of perhaps not atypical area weather in the month of May.
May 16, 1935
“City Council in First Meeting” reported in this week’s newspaper that “Mayor W.H. Gragg and the newly-elected Board of Aldermen took over the affairs of the town last Wednesday evening and held their first business meeting Friday night, at which little other than routine matters were discussed.” A news-making development which did, however transpire was the fact that “A.L. Gross tendered his resignation as police chief, under the assumption that to the victor belong the spoils, and A.C. Shoemaker who has been water commissioner for the past seven years likewise withdrew.” Perhaps this enigmatic attribution of motive is a recognition of well-earned retirements after successful careers. It was also noted that, “(o)ne of the first acts of the new administration is to repair the sidewalks of the town, and the broken concrete is being dug out through main street and the paving will be patched in a substantial manner.”
“Picnic at Fitch Hatchery” related that, “(t)he employees of the Belk-White Company gave a picnic at the Fish Hatchery Friday night, honoring Mr. and Mrs. John Conway and son, John Spencer.” A list of attendees at the event was included, seventeen in number.
“Chain Letters Held Violation – Postoffice (sic) Department Sends Out Warning Through Local Office. Mail Increases Here” was the heading to a news story telling, “(t)hat so-called ‘chain-letters’ are being sent through the mails in violation of the postal laws, is revealed by a bulletin recently received by the local office from the Postoffice Department.” A significant increase in mail had been noted in conjunction with, as described in the official notice, “the so-called ‘send a dime’ chain letter scheme and similar enterprises,” and notice was given that such use of the mail was “in violation of the postal lottery and fraud statutes.”
May 19, 1955
“Dougherty to Quit as College President” was the banner front-page headline in this week’s edition. Noting that, “Dr. B.B. Dougherty, 83, co-founder and President of Appalachian State Teachers College, will retire July 1, after 56 years as aCarolinaeducator,” the accompanying story reports that, “Dean J.D. Rankin will assume the acting President’s position.” The article further relays that, “Dr. Dougherty doesn’t venture any suggestion as to whom will be elected permanent president of the College, neither does he talk of entirely quitting.” The octogenarian college pioneer was said to have been “in his usual good condition,’ after recuperating from an operation, following which “his physicians (had) advised him to take it easy.”
“156 Gallons of Moonshine Liquor Seized” told that, “Sheriff’s officers destroyed a cache of 156 gallons of ‘sugar head’ whiskey on a mountainside on the farm of Royce Perry onNew RiverSaturday night.” The contraband was “in half-gallon fruit jars in the original cases” which were “packed up and covered with a tarpaulin.” No still was found at the scene, and “(d)ue to the fact that the stored whiskey was in a rather inaccessible place, Sheriff Hodges says it was destroyed on the spot.” According to the Sheriff, “there (was) no information as to when or why the liquor was stored in this manner.” Additionally, “(r)ecent rains had washed away any tracks which might have been made in the locality,” and “no arrests were made.”
This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which
are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.
Representative advertising of the year 1935. From the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat.