This photograph from the 1949 Centennial of Watauga County’s foundation shows four costumed citizens, identified as “Ann Carroll Blackburn, Dr. J.T.C. Wright, Barbara Jones, and Cecil Miller.”
January 25, 1940
“Officer Seizes Whiskey Cargo” announced a bold headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Police Chief Edward Mast seized fourteen cases of tax-paid liquor Monday afternoon, and George Horn of Gastonia, one of the occupants of the Ford coupe, which was carrying the illicit liquid, was placed in jail,” the item related. “Officer Mast noted the car passing through the business section of the town, and his suspicions were aroused. He succeeded in stopping the machine near the Baptist church where one of the occupants of the vehicle made his escape, and Horne taken into custody. He was carrying a revolver at the time and the weapon together with the nearly new automobile are being held,” according to further details in the story.
“Tour of Mayors To Florida Arranged” recorded that “Mayor Grover C. Robbins of Blowing Rock, was a visitor to Asheville Friday, where he attended a meeting of mayors and other officials from Piedmont and Western North Carolina, who are laying plans for a tour of Florida, along about the 12th of February, the purpose being to interest tourists in that state in stopping in this area on their return north at the end of the southern resort season.”
“Ancient Letter Recalls Freeing of Slaves Prior to Emancipation” read the headline to a special feature, which began “(a) yellowed scrap of note paper indented with a few well-penned lines was brought to the Democrat office yesterday by Joseph S. Winkler, local business man, and its message again reminds students of history that human slavery was taboo in Northwest Carolina long before President Abe Lincoln’s proclamation of emancipation.” The article reproduces in full the contents of a letter “(a)ddressed to ‘Col. E.C. McCarty,’ doubtless attached to some frontier military post, and signed by A.W. Finley prominent Wilkes (County) plantation owner.” The letter was said to have been “placed in the hands of the late Joshua Winkler, founder of one of Watauga’s leading families, back in the spring of 1859, for the purposes outlined in its text.” The letter tells that the original bearer of the letter, Joshua Winkler, was accompanying “a dozen slaves in a covered wagon to Kansas and freedom” – the twelve African Americans having been “freed by his uncle, Joshua Pennel, with the request that the bearer would take them to some free state and purchase land for them.” The trip to Kansas “consumed eight months,” according to “(s)tories, now vague, (which) were passed on to Joshua’s sons and daughters,” including to the pioneer’s son Joseph, who presented the letter at the offices of the Watauga newspaper some eighty later.
January 23, 1958
“Twenty-Seven Schools To Attend Band Clinic: College, Town Again To Host Music Event” was front-page news in this week’s paper. “Appalachian State Teachers College and the Town of Boone will be hosts again to the annual Band Clinic which is being held on the campus Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1.” The item mentions that, “Mr. Herbert Fred, who will direct the band (clinic), is director of bands at the University of North Carolina, and is widely recognized in the field of instrumental music as an educator, conductor, and composer of many compositions for band.” One hundred band students from the region were expected to participate in the event.
“Court Apt To Finish Today” reported that “Watauga Superior Court convened here Monday with about 100 cases scheduled to be heard,” most of which “involved speeding, traffic violations, liquor law violations, driving drunk, larceny, and other misdemeanors, with no cases of major interest on tap for the term.”