“Grandfather Mountain,” a view of the landmark peak from an antique postcard. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
May 28, 1918
A column entitled “Pointless Paragraphs” on the front page of the Watauga Democrat this week included such interesting observations as, “(t)here are no fogs in Boone;” “(e)ven a blind man can see Boone grow;” “Louise Critcher, the prettiest girl in Boone;” “Teddy (Roosevelt, presumably) find a stream called the River of Doubt? Preposterous;” and “(a) modern kind of bunkum: the Edward Buncombe Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, with not a word for Buncombe, and keeping mighty dark about that Daniel Boone cabin!” The last item would seem to reflect a rivalry over claim to historical figures of note between two areas ofWestern North Carolina.
In other news items, it was reported that, “Charles S. Mellen, former president of the wrecked New Haven R.R. (railroad), lays most of the blame for the losses incurred therein on the late J.P. Morgan.” The train wreck was financial rather that literal, and the item is apparently referring to the fact that the rail line, under Mellen, a President of the railroad who was appointed by financier J.P. Morgan, attempted to gain a transportation monopoly in the line’s area, eventually overextending itself and coming to the brink of ruin. The New Haven Railroad continued in existence, however, despite repeated financial crises, until 1968.
An item on the U.S. intervention in Mexico during the upheavals of the Mexican Revolution at this time notes that, “(a)mong the first three to fall at Vera Cruz among our sailors were two Jews, Esau H. Frohlichstein, of Mobile, and Samuel Meisenburg, of Chicago, the latter of whom enlisted under an assumed name because of the prejudice against his race.” According to other accounts, the fallen sailor’s funeral in Mobile, Alabama, was attended by thousands, and a letter from the slain soldier written to his parents the night before the fateful assault was said to read, “Don’t be afraid if I get killed. For the old saying ‘Rather die a hero than live a coward’ will land at Vera Cruz in about four hours.” *
May 31, 1934
“Forest Reserve is Sought for Mountain Area” reported this week that, “(a) national forest reserve for Watauga, Wilkes, and Caldwell counties, built around the vast holdings of the Elk Creek Lumber Company on the south side of the mountains, is being sponsored by citizens of North Wilkesboro, it has been learned here.” Continues the article, “Attorney W.H. McElwee and Mr. Floyd C. Forester of that city have just returned from Washington where their proposal was laid before the proper Federal officials, and information is that Congressman Robert L. Doughton is interested in and supporting the proposal.” Of the property proposed for acquisition from the Elk Creek Company, the newspaper reported, “(t)his area comprises the largest boundary of virgin timberland perhaps in the South.”
“Auto Bandit Waives Preliminary Hearing” reported to Watauga citizens that, “Will King, an escaped convict, one of two who abducted Cecil Critcher, Blowing Rock taxi driver, stole his car, and later wounded two Newton policemen, waived preliminary hearing in Newton Recorder’s Court on Monday.” Tells the story, “King was given a long sentence in Montgomery county two years ago for robbery, and made his escape from a tuberculosis camp a few weeks ago.”
“County Singing to Be Held Next Sunday” announced that, “(t)he annual county singing will be held at the courthouse next Sunday, according to an announcement by the chairman, Mr. N.L. Harrison, who believes the event will be the most thoroughly entertaining of any thus far attempted.” The singing event was scheduled to include singing classes, and was heralded as “an outing day for the whole county, and the attendance this year is expected to be large.”
May 30, 1963
“Editor Says Horn Makes Northwest Focal Point – Lauds People of Area for Civic Unity” reported that “Robert Campbell, editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, spoke to members of the Appalachian Historical Association and their guests at the annual dinner meeting at Daniel Boone Hotel,” before a crowd of eighty-six gathered attendees. “Campbell said the (Horn in the West) drama, since its inception in the early 1950s, had caused Boone to be a focal point of Northwest North Carolina. He praised the people of the community for their unity of effort in producing ‘Horn’.” The editor from the Piedmont’s “Twin Cities” was also cited as proclaiming that the outdoor drama “has much historical value, and has contributed greatly to the economic status of Northwest North Carolina.” The article also reported on business of the drama’s overseeing Historical Association, presented by local community leaders of the time including Mayor Wade Brown, academic I.G. Greer, and Dr. D.J. Whitener of the Appalachian Teachers College.
* (Sledge, John Sturdivant. Cities of Silence: A Guide toMobile’s Historic Cemeteries, pages 80-89.Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2002.)
This column is prepared from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat, which are available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.
1914 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper