The Week of August 28th

Photo Caption:            


A daguerreotype picture of a house, outbuildings, and stream or creek. No identifying information accompanies this image. Close-up viewing reveals the figures of people posing by the house entrances and water’s edge. Courtesy of Historic Boone.


By Ross Cooper


August 27, 1903


An item credited as having originally appeared in the Winston Sentinel reported that, “(t)he State capital at Raleigh no doubt needs enlargement and improvement,” but this brief notice concluded, practically if enigmatically, “and the work should be done when it can be afforded.”

“Macedon[i]a spells murder nowadays,” opined an item of international news, “and many kinds of it, as in Alexander’s day it spelled domination and in Paul’s helplessness.” Unrest in that year saw an uprising by Bulgarians living in the Balkan region then under the rule of the Ottoman Turks.

“The crowd of summer tourists at Blowing Rock still remains though we are told the number is slightly decreasing,” read a note of local news.

“The schools of the county are pretty nearly all in session, and a good attendance is reported from nearly every section,” stated another.

“From the Lenoir Topic we learn that the Solicitor sent Messrs. Squires and Harshaw to Sheridan, Wyoming, after Boone Potter,” according to an editorial note relating to the notorious North Fork criminal character D. Boone “Boonie” Potter, “and we suppose that ere this they have returned.” The item continued “Say, Mose [perhaps the “Solicitor” named?], we had some mighty good men of your political faith in this county who would have liked that trip and they are at a loss to know why they were not given the refusal of it.” The story seems to suggest some political ramifications to the case of Mr. Potter, for whom a request for rendition from Wyoming had been issued by North Carolina Governor Charles B. Aycock, after Potter removed himself from Watauga to the Western state following a violent assault on a Sherriff’s Deputy sent with a posse to serve him a warrant for an earlier attack.


August 25, 1938


“Porto [sic] Ricans Visit with Local Minister” told on this day that, “Senor [sic] Don Jose Diaz and son, Rodolfo Diaz, of San Juan, Porto Rico, passed through Boone and were overnight guests of Rev. and Mrs. J.C. Canipe Friday.” The elder Mr. Diaz was described as “manager of the Merchants Exchange of San Juan,” and the father and son were “touring the United States in the interest of creating better trade relations between the United States and Puerto Rico.” Notes the article, “the son acted as interpreter between the Senor and Mr. Canipe.”

“Army Conducts War Games on the Gulf” was a short front-page feature accompanied by a photograph of the scene described. “More than 25,000 officers and men of the regular army, national guard, and officers’ reserve corps participated in war games on the Mississippi Gulf coast, which ended last Sunday,” read the photo caption. “Soldiers were concentrated at Biloxi, Miss., to defend the river area against an imaginary enemy attacking the Gulf Coast. Maj. General Van Horn Moseley was In command.”

“Dealers in Beer and Wine Asked to Quit Business” reported that, “[r]esolutions against the sale of alcoholic drinks, were unanimously passed at Rev. [Dan] Graham’s meeting Sunday evening, when more than three thousand people indicated their desire to have the intoxicants banned.” A resolution had been drawn up at the popular evangelist’s revival gathering in Boone, which included the statement “that we respectfully request any and all dealers in beer, wine, or other forms of strong drink in Watauga county to stop selling same by September 1, 1938.”


August 30, 1971


“Why Isn’t It Scenic” was a photo caption in this week’s newspaper, elaborated by the expanded footer, “[a] question the Watauga County Planning Board is attempting to get answered is: Why did they drop the South Fork, New River from the directory of rivers to be developed as attractions by state funds under direction of a governor-appointed committee to develop the N.C. Natural and Scenic River System.” The photograph description identifies the area pictured as “a section of the South Fork, New River just east of Todd.”

$25,000 Cannon Gift Puts University Center Nearer” reported that “Appalachian State University is $25,000 closer to having the money it needs to build a mountain-top Center for Continuing Education, thanks to a gift in that amount from the Cannon Mills Foundation.” In describing the planned Center, the article details that it “will be a two-story structure of native stone, designed so that it adapts to the terrain of its mountain-top site. It will feature 15 conference rooms, a library, restaurants, and 100 guest rooms with color television, carpeting, and private baths.” Today, the Center operates as the Broyhill Inn and Appalachian Conference Center.


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 August 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 21st, 2011

Examples of early daguerreotype portraits of children. Daguerreotypes use a coating of silver on a copper backing to hold the image. No identification accompanies these images, but they may date from the late 1800s. Courtesy of Historic Boone.

August 29, 1901

“Mrs. Rebecca Horton, of New River, has been right sick for several days,” reported an item in the “Local News” section of this edition of the Watauga Democrat.

“Attorney Frank Linney is preparing to erect a nice residence on his farm just east of town,” according to another brief notice. Today, the historic Linney home stands in the heart of Downtown Boone, aside the Downtown Station Post Office building.

“Dr. Vance, of Newark, New Jersey, will preach at the Methodist Church on next Sunday at 11 a.m.” was a notice of religious interest.

An “Announcement” or advertisement of this week told, “I am now located at Mabel with a new stock of goods and take this method of letting you know that I am prepared to save you money on every purchase as it is a fact that I am selling goods more closely than any merchant in this part of the county. TO CONVINCE YOU I will quote you a few prices. 9 lbs. good coffee for $1.00. Best prints, 5 ½ to 6 c. Good domestic 6 ½ c. per yard. Best sugar 16 lbs. for $1.00. And all other goods are going at correspondingly low figures. Come and see me. COUNTRY PRODUCE. Bring it along. I want it, and will pay you the highest market price for it. I can and will save you money if you give me your trade. I am occupying the building of G.W. Lowrance. A call from you will be appreciated. Yours Respectfully, A.E. Moretz, Mabel.”

August 19, 1937

“Scenic Circle Motorcade to Visit City Tomorrow” reported this week that, “(a) motorcade, composed of a long procession of vehicles originating at Johnson City, Tenn., and carrying personages of importance from that town as well as intermediate points, will arrive in Boone Friday morning at about 10:45 on a tour of the newly established “Scenic Circle” route through the Carolina mountains.” The motorcade included a 56-piece band and well as the mayor of Johnson City. Scheduled stops included Banner Elk, Boone, Blowing Rock, and Linville, with the Linville Horse Show to be the main event at the tour’s concluding point.

“Claude Grogan Hurt When Struck by Rock” told that North Fork resident Claude Grogan “is a patient in Bristol hospital, being treated for a fractured skull, suffered when he was struck on the side of the head by a rock allegedly thrown by Glenn South. There is no information how serious his condition is.” According to the story, “Grogan (was) working in the meadow, it is said, when South came along the road, and an argument ensued, which is said to have been the cause of the affray.”

“Boone Hi Plant to be Finished” was an article of this edition, with the sub-heading “$26,000 Made Available by WPA for Construction of Auditorium and Gymnasium.” The two structures mentioned were to be built of stone and were to be “an integral part of the massive stone structure which is now nearing completion and which contains the class rooms.” Total value of the entire high school was estimated at “something like $130,000,” and it was “the largest single structure built through the co-operation of the WPA in this state.”

August 23, 1962

“Five Year Attendance Record Broken at Horn,” heralded a banner headline which was accompanied by the headings, “1,300 See Lulu Belle, Scotty” and “Drama Will End Season September 1.” Comments made by Southern Appalachian Historical Association executive president Herman Wilcox when the crowd of “thirteen hundred and five person were in attendance Saturday” included the observation that the drama “seemed to be getting its second wind.” Wilcox “predicted a successful future for the historical play.” Mr. Wilcox, in his address, also quoted visitors to the outdoor drama, with observations such as, “(e)very citizen of our country should see it,” and, “(e)very school child should be required to see it.”

“Veteran Announcer Grady Cole Aided Local Cabbage Growers” was a front-page feature, which began, “Grady Cole, Sr., accredited with having pulled Watauga County’s cabbage market ‘out of the rough’ several years ago, visited with friends in the vicinity of Boone last week.” Mr. Cole, who was “associated with WBT radio station in Charlotte for more than 32 years,” had “received word from a Watauga citizen ‘during the late 1930’s’ that the cabbage crop in the mountain top county was ‘standing still’.” This citizen, “who wished to remain anonymous, stated this week that cabbage in Watauga County at that time was not selling. ‘It was rotting on the ground,’ the person said.” Grady Cole was credited in this article with boosting the cabbage market by broadcasting appeals on the Charlotte radio station, following the commencement of which, “(w)ithin two days, ‘people from the flat lands began (to) buy our mountain cabbage.’” As a result, “before long, almost all of the cabbage in the county had been sold, and the Watauga cabbage market had become established. Today it is one on the county’s leading crops.”

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 August 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 14th, 2011

This early image of a couple appears to be of the daguerreotype form, one of the earliest types of photographic reproduction inexpensive enough to be popularly available. Daguerreotypes use a coating of silver on a copper backing to hold the image. Perhaps in part because of the lack of a surface which can easily be written upon, this and several similar pictures in the collection of the Historic Boone archives are without any accompanying identification of the persons or places depicted. Courtesy of Historic Boone.

August 12, 1913

“The True Teacher: An Address Delivered by Iredell Woody, a Member of the Graduating Class, of the A.T.S. (Appalachian Training School), at the Commencement Exercises, July 11, 1913” was the heading of an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. The article began with the statement, “(w)e hear it stated that to be a teacher is the greatest mission one can have. As to the truth of this, there is no doubt; but the statement is often questioned by teachers who have not understood what it means.” In his address, Mr. Woody enumerated a number of virtues which a good teacher should possess, and exhorted new teachers, “consult the inner oracle of your very soul; commune with your inner being until there comes to you a response from the great throbbing heart of Nature that overwhelms you with the feeling that you are in harmony with this great work.”

In the “State and General News” column of this week, it was relayed that, “John E. Terbiville, of Wilmington, was drowned while fishing, 35 miles below that city.” Another brief note told that, “Dr. W.J. Clontz, of Alexander, Buncombe County, was recently shot and killed, by O.M. West, a rural mail carrier, who said he had heard that the doctor was going to kill him.”

In financial news, the “Yadkin Valley Bank of East Bend has gone under, and Cashier Norman has been arrested and being sick he is under guard at his home. The shortage is reported to be $21,014.”

August 17, 1939

“Soap Box Derby to Draw Crowds” was a front-page news item this week. “The annual soap box derby, which is being sponsored by Scoutmaster W.B. Stallings, is this year creating unusual interest in the community,” according to the story. “About fifteen lads of the community have already registered for the event, which is to take place on North Water street Thursday evening, August 24th, at 6 o’clock,” tells the article, noting that, “it is expected that this year’s event will draw an unusually large crowd and the competition for the grand prize of $5 and other prizes donated by the business men of the town will be keen.”

“Hagaman Tells of Medical School Plan” reported that, “Mr. Smith Hagaman, superintendent of the Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, on a hurried visit to Boone last week, spoke enthusiastically of a plan to provide Wake Forest College with a standard four-year medical school, and to locate the new branch of the college on Baptist Hospital grounds.”

“County Tax Rate is Placed at $1.25 – Raise of 5 Cents Attributed to Growing Needs of Old Age Assistance Fund” related that the rate (which was not given a corresponding dollar amount that the $1.25 amount was to be levied upon anywhere in the article, although per thousand dollars may be surmised) had be increased as, with regards to the Old Age Assistance Fund, “(l)ast year a surplus existed in this fund, which was used as the needs of that department grew greater.” The new rate was expected to generate $110,460.20 for Watauga County. The $1.25 amount would be “allocated to the different departments and agencies of the county government as follows: general county fund, 15 cents; public health, 5 cents; repairs, 5 cents; jail and court house costs, 8 cents; debt service, 55 cents; school fund, 26 cents; public assistance, 11 cents.”

August 6, 1970

“Lulu Belle and Scotty, Famed Radio Stars, To Appear Here” announced that the “famous country music stars of stage, screen, radio, and television, will give a special performance at Horn in the West Saturday, August 18th at 8 p.m.” The item notes that the couple had been performing together since meeting at Chicago’s Eighth Street Theatre in 1933.

“Trucking Official Points to Our Dependence on Roads” headed an article about a speech sponsored by the Boone Chamber of Commerce by “Jeff B. Wilson, Raleigh, director of information and safety of the North Carolina Motor Carriers Association.” Wilson noted that improved roads and the trucking made possible by them had “help banish the ‘economic isolation’ of many smaller places, as today’s new industrial development reaches every ‘nook and cranny’ of our great state.” The speaker said trucking’s necessity was “especially true here in Watauga county where you must depend on truck transportation for everything you eat, wear, use, and sell.”

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

Thanks to T. Rokoske for pointing out an error I made in the print edition of this column- in 1913 the institution which would become Appalachian State University was known as the Appalachian Training School [for Teachers], by a decree of 1903 (not “Appalachian Teachers’ School”, as I had previously submitted). The school’s name was changed to “Appalachian State Normal School” in 1925, then “Appalachian State Teachers College” in 1929. Many thanks!

Published in: on August 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 7th, 2011

“Kent Brown as Daniel Boone WPA” reads the brief caption of this photo. The picture seems to date from the “Echoes of the Blue Ridge” recreation drama held during the 1949 celebration of Watauga County’s 100th Birthday. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 8, 1918

“Battle Front Etiquette” was a feature column on the front page of this edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, printed near the end of  World War I. “Steel trench hats should not be raised upon the arrival of a big Bertha,” was the first piece of advice. “Arriving German shells always have the right of way,” continued the rules. “Always stand aside for them.” Fashion notes included the observation, “(s)pats are no longer de rigueur in trench service, and may be done away with altogether.” The etiquette lesson concluded with, “(w)eek-end parties are practically abolished at the front. When the enemy accosts you with the cheerful greeting ‘kamerad’ make it plain to him that he must remain your guest for the duration of the war.”

“The modesty of a generation ago is fading away,” began another article, under the heading “The Glory of Womanhood. (Charity and Children).” The text continues, “(t)he bare mention of this fact will provoke a smile and stamp the one that gives it expression an old fogy (sic), but this very fact proves the assertion to be true.” Of concern to the writer, “Wrightsville Beach is a close rival of Coney Island. Not all the young women who visit the popular resort have forgotten their modesty, to be sure, but some have.” Changing standards in dress had apparently caused the “authorities of the village” to have “made it unlawful for a woman to appear in the garb that, for a certain set, had become popular.” The article also cites the case of “a charming woman who has only one child, a little boy of ten.” This woman was said to have “made the significant remark that she trembled for her child on account of the immodesty of the girls with whom he will come in contact.” The anonymous author of the piece, perhaps the editor of the Watauga Democrat, suggested that, “(i)t is better to be a wall flower with the fragrance of modesty, than a weed in the midst of the garden without it.”

August 5, 1948

The “King Street” column by editor Rob Rivers reported on this date that, “(the) polio epidemic continues without abatement, and fear continues to grip the parents of little children, particularly… who envision straight little nimble legs and feet immobilized and destroyed by the crippler, who often leaves even worse than death in his saddening trail … Second case of disease reported in county, but there is no general alarm … Both cases are in extreme west portion of the county, and therefore should have no effect on the tourist business at Blowing Rock… Flies appear to be the most suspicious character in the spread of the paralysis, and war is being made on the pestiferous insects.”

“House Destroyed In Motor Crash” reported that, “(a) transport van the property of the Harris Express Company of Charlotte careened from state Highway 421 early Tuesday morning at a point just west of the county home farm, inflicted total loss on the residence of Paul H. Davis, destroyed a truck parked in the yard, without critical injuries to occupants of the trailer, and leaving the members of the Davis family, who were occupying the house, without bodily injury.” According to the investigating state highway patrol officer, the “freak accident” occurred “at 6 o’clock a.m., as the tractor, drawing the large unloaded van, had just crossed the Rich Mountain Gap.”

August 6, 1970

“Plans For New Boone School Approved by Education Body” was the headline to a front-page news feature, which was accompanied by a photograph showing an “artist’s view of the new elementary school for Boone.” The report details that the “Watauga County Board of Education approved the final plans for an elementary school to serve the Boone attendance area.” The new school building was “to be located off US Highway 421 where NC 194 intersects east of Boone.” The planned facility, which would become Hardin Park Elementary School, was described as designed for kindergarten through eighth grade, and, “in the area of occupational education, a space is provided for unified arts. The area will serve introductory activities in cooking, sewing, electricity, electronics, carpentry, hand tools, crafts, typing, health occupations, and service occupations.”

“Burley Tour Is To Cover Area” announced that, “(a) three-day tour of burley tobacco research and demonstration plots will be held Monday through Wednesday, Aug. 10-12.” According to the article, the tour, beginning at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC, would visit burley tobacco farms in Watauga, Ashe, and other area counties. “Among the subjects that will be viewed and discussed during the burley tour,” says the story, “are diseases, insects, fertilization, varieties, sucker control, topping, harvesting, and curing.”

1949 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper.

Published in: on August 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment