September 18th, 2011

This black-and-white image shows the house of the Henry Blair farm, originally built in 1844. The home, which now sits across from the Boone Golf Course, was once the center of an expansive farm, consisting of over 200 acres, in Watauga County’s early days. Courtesy of Historic Boone.

September 22, 1920

A front-page article in this week’s Watauga Democrat, entitled simply “Announcement,” began: “To the Men and Women of Watauga County. As you are all aware, the women of these United States will cast their votes this year for all Officers, National, State, and Country. The undersigned (Mrs. Edna Hodges) has been named for the responsible office of Register of Deeds of Watauga County. No woman has ever held office in this county. This is the first opportunity any woman has had to prove her ability to perform such Public Service in North Carolina. The majority of the voters of  the U.S. are women. Are they entitled to hold office when competent?” The writer, Mrs. Hodges, next listed her qualifications, “I have taught schools in this State for about twenty years and am still following that honourable vocation. So far in my life I have done my best for myself and child and for those children whose education and character training have been entrusted to me, near a thousand all told.” The announcement concluded with the appeal, “I will promise that if elected you shall have no cause to be ashamed of having put a woman in office.”

An item (“Talking of Bad Roads”) reproduced from a Kentucky newspaper was apparently included due to its relevance for the Watauga area: “(a)n article appeared in a local paper this week to the effect that a certain party in the Sadieville neighborhood started to town this week with some cream, but on his arrival he had butter instead of cream, and he attributed the transformation to the bad condition of the roads.” Another apocryphal tale was cited in which “a man left Corinth in a car with three silver dollars in his pocket and when he arrived at a local garage the dollars had worn down to dimes.”

September 21, 1944

“Big Paper Drive Reaches Climax Here on Sunday; Lion’s Club, American Legion and Boy Scouts Unite in Effort to Secure Maximum Collection of Waste Paper; Collectors to Tour City Sunday,” read a headline in this week’s installment. The paper drive was described as a “mammoth paper drive for Boone and Watauga County.” In the prior week, the Boy Scouts of Blowing Rock had “collected and sold approximately two tons of paper, magazines and cardboard as their contribution.” The collection slated for Boone would raise funds for the Boone Boy Scouts, and funds raised from the wider county would be “turned back to the schools as a lunch room fund.”

“A Correction” noted on this date that, “(i)n the story last week regarding the sale of lambs in the third lamb pool, it was stated that farmers received $15.75 for blue circle lambs. It is explained that the price paid was $15.25. The error is regretted.”

In other livestock news, “Watauga Calf Sold for $950” reported that, “William M. Winkler, purebred Guernsey breeder of Boone, sold a ten-months-old registered Guernsey heifer in George Salley’s Southern sale at Columbia, S.C., on Monday, Sept. 11, for $950. Mr. Winkler bred the calf and it is believed to be the highest price that any Watauga bred animal ever sold for in a pure bred sale.” The article reports that the highest price paid at this auction (“for a cow”) was $1,775, and that “Mr. Winkler’s calf was the fifth highest selling animal in the sale.”

September 23, 1965

“Bids for Daily Mail to West Jefferson Received” relayed in this week’s newspaper that, “(b)ids for a daily mail star route from West Jefferson to Boone, and return via Todd, were received Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Atlanta office of the United States Post Office Department. Boone Postmaster Ralph Besheers said he felt most of the bidders would be fromWest Jefferson, since the star route would begin there each day.” This route was to be “a line service, speeding delivery between the two county seats.” Rather than going through a central post office “off the mountain,” a local delivery person would be responsible for making a daily circuit to delivery mail between Boone and West Jefferson, Sundays and holidays being excepted.

“Mr. and Mrs. McGuire Win Puerto Rico Trip” told on this day that “Mr. and Mrs. Julian McGuire left Wednesday on jet airline to vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas,Virgin Islands, expenses paid by Gibson Sales Corporation for outstanding service in Gibson Sales. Mr. McGuire is co-owner of Modern Appliance Company.”

Published in: on September 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of September 11th, 2011

“The Gragg House, 818 Gragg St., Boone, N.C.,” reads the typewritten caption to this photograph of an historic Watauga County home. The home, constructed in 1929 in a modified Craftsman cottage style, was once home to Boone Mayor and sometime U.S. Marshall Watt Gragg. Image courtesy of Historic Boone.

September 12, 1918

“Democracy is but a side issue,” according to a front page article of this week’s Watauga Democrat entitled “The Bedrock of Civilization.” Continues the editorial, “(t)he paramount issue, underlying the issue of democracy, is the religion of Christ, and Him crucified,” which, says the author, is, as the heading emphasizes, “the bedrock of civilization.” The then-ongoing conflict of World War I is cast as a struggle between good and evil: “The Kaiser boldly threw down the gauge of battle – infidel Germany against the believing world – ‘kultur’ against Christianity – the gospel of hate against the gospel of love.” Says the article, which is attributed as having originally appeared in the Louisville Courier-Tribune, the nation of Germany has sought to replace the Christian religion with the concept of “kultur,” which inevitably “leaves the world to eternal war.”  The Kaiser of Germany is identified as “Satan personified –  ‘Myself and God’ merely his way of proclaiming it – for his ‘God’ is Beelzebub the angel of destruction, his creed the devil’s own, his aim and end a hell on earth.” The author alleges that “never did crusader raise battle axe in holier war against the Saracen than is waged by our soldiers of the cross against the German.” The conclusion of this struggle, it is hoped by the writer, is that “the misled masses of Germany are bade to gather about it (the cross) and beneath it as sadly as they collect the debris of their ruin for the reconstruction of the fatherland.”

September 14, 1944

“No Slot Machines Here, Says Mayor” reported in this week’s newspaper that, “Mayor Gordon H. Winkler has informed the ministers of the Three Forks Baptist Association that there are no slot machines in operation in the city, and haven’t been during the present administration. A group of Baptist ministers last week had published reports that these devices are operating here.” Upon the Mayor’s assurance that no gambling machines were operating within the town limits, a representative of the Three Fork Association was quoted as saying that, “it is up to the county officers to get busy and clean up this stench from our county.”

“Yanks At Cathedral of Notre Dame,” read the caption to a photograph on the front page this week. “American truck and GIs in front of the cathedral at Notre Dame as they are welcomed by Frenchmen upon the liberation of Paris. It was not long ago that Hitler stood upon this spot to address the French people and Nazi troops,” continued the photo description.

“Many Buyers Bid on Herefords at Annual Auction” reported that, “(t)wenty-eight buyers from three states paid an average of $212.00 per head for the 57 lots sold in the second annual Watauga Hereford Breeders sale and show at Boone on Sept. 8th.” According to the article,”the grand champion female” at the cattle auction “sold for the top price of the sale when the auctioneer announced her sold at $500.” This auction marked a landmark for the featured cattle breed in Watauga County, as the story noted: “(b)y virtue of purchasing registered (Hereford) females four farmers became purebred Hereford breeders as a result of the sale.”

September 16, 1965

“413 To Face Trial When Court Convenes Sept. 27” was a banner headline, with a sub-caption stating “308 Traffic Violations on Docket.” The article describes the “fall term of Watauga Superior Court which convenes Sept. 27, with Hon. P.C. Froneberger of Gastonia, the presiding Judge.” In addition to the traffic cases, “(f)or manslaughter, two are indicted, forgery 2, breaking, entering and larceny 7, larceny 9, breaking and entering 9, receiving stolen property 2, unlawful possession and sale of drugs 1, unlawful burning of a dwelling 2, escaping prison 4, rioting in S(t)ate prison 15, destroying State property 15, assault 4, driving drunk 33.” A list of those selected for jury duty followed.

“Shulls Mills to Get Bridge” was the heading of a news article which reported that, “(a)mong the projects on which the State Highway Commission is asking for bids for the September 28th letting is one calling for the construction of 0.206 miles of bridge and approaches on Watauga River and approaches on SR 1557 at Shulls Mills.”

“Blowing Rock Restaurant Is Being Converted to ABC Store” reported that “Blowing Rock’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Store will be located in the former Alpine Restaurant on the 321 By-Pass.” An August 3 vote had approved sale of alcoholic beverages in the town, and “a beer and wine referendum was also approved by the voters, making the sale legal in the town of Blowing Rock.” The former restaurant would be renovated, with “an exterior of Swiss Chalet type with antique brick,” to house the ABC store.



Published in: on September 11, 2011 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of September 4th, 2011

“Norris Reunion” reads the brief caption on this photograph of a family gathering, otherwise not identified. Clothing suggests the decade of the 1920s as an approximate date of origin of this picture. Image courtesy of Historic Boone.

September 4, 1919

“American troops have been withdrawn from Mexico,” began the column “This Week” on the front page of the Watauga Democrat of this date. “The withdrawal is purely military it is said: Four bandits are reported to have been killed by the Americans, and nine others captured by Mexican troops. Jesus Rentina, the bandit leader, is said to have been shot and killed by Lieutenant Cooper, one of the aviators captured by the bandits.”

Closer to the home front, news of North Carolina in the same column relayed, “(t)he labor troubles in this state have grown worse. In Charlotte where the street cars had been tied up for two weeks, the recommendation of the mayor and committee of local business organizations for settlement of the trouble by recognition of the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employs (sic), the practice of the ‘open shop principle(’), the submission of the wage question to arbitration, and immediate resumption of service, was accepted by the workers but declined by the Southern Public Utilities Company, which owns the street car lines.”

An advertisement stated directly, “You can do some things next week, but some you cannot. So don’t wait, act now! Insure your house before it burns. Insure your health before you get sick. Insure your life before you die for then it is everlastingly too late. I sell the best policies at universal rates. GEO. F. BLAIR, Blowing Rock, N.C.”

September 2, 1943

“Christmas Gifts for Soldiers to be Sought Soon” was a headline on this date, bearing a smaller caption reading, “Local Postmaster Gives Out Information Regarding Sending of Gifts to Men in the Armed Forces; Must Begin Shipping for These Men by 15th.” Details in the article reveal that, “Christmas Gifts, (Boone Postmaster) Mr. Brown explains, may be mailed by parcel post to Army men and women oversees only between September 15th and October 15th.” A list of reasons were cited for the need of an early mailing date, including “(t)he vast distances that the parcels must travel to reach our men at war fronts and stations the world over; frequent transfers of thousands of men from one location to another, which means forwarding of the mail and consumes additional time; (and) the necessity of giving preference to reinforcements, arms, munitions, medicine and food in allotment of shipping space, which often means that the shipment of gifts must wait.”

“Opening of Lunch Room at Boone Schools to Be Decided at Early Date” reported that, “(t)he question of whether or not the lunchrooms at the Boone Demonstration School and the Boone High School will be open this year is to be decided by the patrons of the two schools within the next two weeks.” The news item noted that lunchroom employees had been paid in prior years by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), and, “(s)ince that organization has been discontinued the lunchrooms must be operated so that there will be enough income to pay the help.” To assist in covering the costs, the local PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) announced that “(t)hose in the country are asked to donate whatever vegetables or fruit of which they have a surplus, and the mothers in town are asked to come to the cannery on Wednesdays of each week and help can the donated fruits and vegetables.” Concludes the article,  a “nourishing hot noonday meal means much to a school child, and we who have it within our power to supply warm lunches to the hundreds of school children in the Boone schools should not fail them. How much are you willing to help?”

September 2, 1965

“Folk Festival Will Be Week-End Feature” announced an item in this week’s newspaper. “For Labor Day weekend, the Appalachian Folk Festival, sponsored by the ‘Horn in the West,’ will be presented in the Daniel Boone Theater at 8:15 p.m., Friday and Saturday.” The special event was slated to feature “outstanding popular music and songs and tales native to the region.” According to the story, “a host of folk specialists will perform under the supervision of Jack Guy and Elaine McNeill.” In addition, a “’Fiddle Specialist,’ Ora Payne, will appear on each of the programs, taking her audience hundreds of years back into early folk music days.”

The local A & P grocery store was featured in a front-page photograph and accompanying story, announcing that “an enlarged floor area of 10,824 feet and newly arranged equipment highlighted the official opening of A & P’s remodeled food store on Monday.  Manager R.R. West said the renovation allows increased freezer space and areas for refrigerated cabinets.” The expanded and improved facility for the West King Street store was described by the manager as “a sort of ‘relief’ for store personnel and shoppers as well.”

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 September 4, 2011 at 5:30 pm  Comments (1)