The Week of June 5th, 2011


“Birdseye View, Boone, N.C.” is the caption on this antique postcard, which bears a hand-written date of 1928. Image courtesy of the Historic Boone society.

June 6, 1907

“A well-to-do Pennsylvania farmer,” tells an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, “who had sent his son to Philadelphia to begin life as a clerk, wrote to the merchant in whose employ he was, asking how the boy was getting along, and where he slept at night. The merchant replied: ‘He sleeps in the store in the day time. I don’t know where he sleeps at night.’”

“The latest Republican plan to get rid of the surplus is to pension the government clerks that have become too old for active work,” claims a report in the then-partisan paper. “If that is done all employees of the government, whether clerks, artisans, or laborers, must in all fairness receive the same treatment. With a civil pension list added to the military pensions the increased government expenditures would be a good excuse for further postponement of tariff reform.”

“An old citizen of Wilkes tells the Chronicle that on May 24th 1879 there was a frost that killed beans and corn, which goes to prove that this is not the worst spring we ever had,” relays a note of weather-related news.

“The next reunion of Confederate Veterans will be held in Birmingham, Ala. San Antonio and Nashville competed for it but the Alabama town was ahead on the start and came out victor,” told a short news item.

In trade news, it was printed that, “(t)hose who like ‘schnaps’ (sic) or good old Holland gin will be glad to know that the Administration has agreed to reduce the duty 25 per cent and in return our products are to be admitted to Holland as from a ‘most favored nation.’”

June 3, 1937

“Many Students are Expected” told in this week’s edition that, “(l)ikely no less than one thousand teachers will converge upon the campus at Appalachian College next Tuesday at the opening of the first summer term, and it is freely predicted that the term will be one of the most successful in the history of the institution.” Says the report, “(l)arge crews of workmen have been busy about the campus for the past several days, completing the new power plant, making alterations and repairs on other buildings and getting everything in ship-shape for the summer opening. Dormitories have been filled, it is stated, and a list of private homes in town compiled, from which summer school students may obtain suitable accommodations.”

“Recalls Purchase of First Printing Press” reported that, “Mr. Noah Winebarger, who called on The Democrat the last of the week, viewed the Washington hand press, which was used for twenty-five years in the publication of the newspaper, and recalled the day back in 1888 when the cumbersome machine was purchased in Hickory.” According to this item of newspaper history, “Mr. Winebarger states that Leander Hartley and Adam Hodges hauled the press to Boone in wagons, and since there were no improved roads at that time, delivery required several days. The machine, which is one of the valued relics at The Democrat office, weighs about eighteen hundred pounds, and the problem of moving it by wagon, through axle-deep mud, was a grave one. The old press was supplanted by a small power press in 1913.”

June 5, 1969

“Area Living Standards Are Rising,” proclaimed the headline of a front-page feature of this week’s newspaper. “Although the cost of living has zoomed in Watauga County in recent years, as it has everywhere else, inflation has not been the culprit,” according to the story, which cites Bureau of Labor statistics on family budgets. Increased standards of living were reported to have outstripped inflation over a fifteen-year period. “Gradually, year by year, local families have been improving their way of life, eating more expensive foods, wearing finer clothes, buying better homes and spending more on leisure pursuits,” reported the item. “The change is quite evident in Watauga County. It shows up, for example, in the array of household appliances and equipment in their homes and in their outlays for goods and services generally,” stated the Democrat article, also noting that the Bureau of Labor report “also points to marked increases in air conditioners, dishwashers and radio and phonographic equipment” as indicators of improved quality of life locally.

“Watauga County Native Finds Busy Life Happy One; Works Daily at 97” was a human-interest story this week, which told that “Julius Walker retired thirty-one years ago at age 65, but he works daily and is practically self-supporting at age 97.” Accompanied by a photograph captioned “Walker Takes One of His Brief Rests from His Hobby,” the feature tells that Mr. Walker, “a former carpenter and cabinet maker, now occupies himself with making chests, gun racks, and whatever he takes a notion to make in his small basement shop at his daughter-in-law’s home in Wilkesboro.” The Watauga-born native was said to have lived many years in Tennessee, “where he built dozens of houses,” in an era when “wood was the only material houses were made of.” Walker was described as an adaptable person throughout his long life, who “learned to change and accept the new,” and “learned to drive when cars first came out, though he was nearing middle age.” The article closes by opining that, “after listening to (Julius Walker), anyone could have second thoughts about plans for a life of leisure past 65.”

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Published in: on June 6, 2011 at 12:09 am  Leave a Comment  

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