The Week of August 25th, 2012.

This postcard, with a postal cancellation stamp from the post office of “Reece, N.C.” dated May 10, 1909, a one-cent stamp, and addressed to “Mr. G.P. Hagaman, Boone, N. Car.,” is inscribed, “Hope it didn’t rain on you. –M.”

Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 23, 1906

“Cure of Drunkards,” a front-page headline in this week’s issue of the “Watauga Democrat” newspaper, opened with this statement: “For several years Judge Pollard of St. Louis has been suspending sentence on men brought before him for drunkenness and the men at liberty upon their pledge to drink no more. Judge Pollard’s theory is that ‘virtually the man is enjoined from getting drunk.” Reporting skepticism at the judge’s leniency, the newspaper related that, “(o)f course, many a man will sign a pledge in order to go free and have no thought of keeping it. A court can hardly be expected to give a man both sobriety and honesty.” However, it was reported that “the records do show that a very large proportion of men do keep the pledge made in court – a far larger proportion than are benefited by being sent to the workhouse.” The further details of this report tell that “Director of Charities Cooley Cleveland proposes to go further and compel drunkards to take a drink cure,” Mr. Cleveland viewing “the confirmed drink habit as a disease, and most physicians agree with him.” Details of what sort of cure could be used, if enforced, were not given in the story, which admitted that “(p)erhaps no influence on earth can compel confirmed drunkards to keep their pledge to (leave?) drink alone.” However, concluded the piece, “if either the pledge or the enforced treatment operate favorably in a large proportion of case(s), that is more than can be said to have ever resulted from any system of punishment.”

August 16, 1934

“Hundreds of Teachers To Secure Relief Jobs” was a heading on this Great Depression-era edition’s front page. “It is the purpose of the State Department of Education to employ some 1,300 teachers this year under the emergency relief program of the Federal government, it was learned from Professor Chappell Wilson the first of the week, and an Institute for the training of these tutors is to begin at the (Appalachian Teachers College) Demonstration School in Boone on August 27th.” Said the article, “(i)t is suggested that all teachers who would like to secure these positions should get in touch with their county superintendent of schools at with the relief administrators at once,” with expectation being that “perhaps more than one hundred will take the special training being offered in this connection.”

The exploits of the local Sheriff against moonshiners were extolled in another headline this week, “Howell Captures Fortieth Still.” Retold the article, “Sheriff Howell and his deputies took in their fortieth blockade still last Wednesday, in a raid made on Clear Branch in the Stony Fork Township. A fair-size plant of the gasoline-barrel type was running full blast when the officers arrived and there were 300 gallons of beer and eleven gallons of what was described as good corn liquor.” Concluded the story, “Noah Ledford, resident of Texas, was arrested near the still and lodged in the county jail, he being the twentieth man Sheriff Howell has taken who was charged with manufacturing whiskey.”

Advertisement from a July 1955 edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper

of Boone, North Carolina

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 19th, 2012.

 A view of the Appalachian State Teachers College, probably from the early 1940s, from a color postcard of the period.

Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society

August 16, 1934

“New Hardware Store Will Open on Saturday,” a headline in this week’s newspaper, introduced a story on the front page of this week’s paper.  “The Watauga Hardware Store will open its doors for business Saturday morning, according to an announcement made in The Democrat today.  The building, formerly occupied by the Boone Clothing Store, has been thoroughly remodeled with especial consideration of the peculiar needs of the hardware business and goods are arriving daily. Messrs. George Greene and Brantley Duncan will be in charge of the establishment, which will specialize particularly in shelf hardware. Mr. Greene has for a number of years been employed as salesman for the Reynolds Tobacco Company, while Mr. Duncan  resigned his position as assistant cashier of the Bank of Blowing Rock to go into the new enterprise.  Both are known as fine business men and their past experience qualifies them for success in the retail business.”

“Wilkes Murder is Still a Mystery – Five Members of Tilley Family are Freed in Death of Foster Relative. Sensational Trial Ends with Murder Unsolved,” reported the “Watauga Democrat” in this week’s edition. Continuing coverage of the murder trial from previous issues, the “Watauga Democrat” reported on this day that, “(t)he murder of Leoda Childress in Wilkes County remained as much of a mystery Saturday afternoon after a Superior Court hearing as it did when the young woman was found dead by neighbors at her country home last December.” Although the foster family of the victim had been suspected, “J. Hayden Burke of defense counsel began argument on a motion for non-suit, first on the count of conspiracy and then on the charge of murder. Before he had finished Judge Ogelsby interrupted to allow both motions.” The State’s prosecutor, “whose zealous investigation of circumstances surrounding the mysterious death lead to the indictment of the Tilleys,” had “made a brief oral argument citing major points in the State’s evidence before the charges were dismissed.”  According to the article, “(t)hus came to an end the trial of the most sensational murder case in northwestern North Carolina’s history.”

August 18, 1955

“Boone Guard Unit Undergoes Training at Fort Bragg,” read the headline to a story in this week’s newspaper. “Service Battery, 112th PA Bn arrived here from Boone Sunday, joining nearly 7,000 other National Guardsmen of North Carolina’s famous 30th Infantry Division for 15 days of active duty training. This is the first encampment for the men of the Old Hickory division since the division became an all-Tar Heel group in October of 1954.”

“Farm Tour Is Set For Friday,” announced the heading to another feature on this week’s front page. “The 1955 Unit Test Demonstration farm tour and picnic will be held on Friday, August 19,” relayed the article. “All farm and business people are invited to attend. Watauga UTD farm families will be host to the Avery UTD farm families on this tour. Miss Mary Harris, District Home Agent, W.B. Collings, District Farm Agent, and some farm agents from State College have been invited to attend. This is a big day for farmers of Watauga County,” according to details from the farm tour announcement.

This article is compiled from the microfilm archives of the “Watauga Democrat” newspaper, available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.

A 1901 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper for the institution which would become Appalachian State University.

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 12th, 2012.

“Laurel Elk Lumber Yard – Poplar and White Pine,” is the caption inscribed on this yesteryear scene from Watauga County. Date unknown. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 9, 1906

“Galveston’s Sea Wall,” was the heading to an “article” on the front page of this week’s edition of the “Watauga Democrat,” which continued, “makes life now as safe in that city as on the higher uplands.” According to the story, “E.W. Goodole (?), who resides on Dutton St. in Waco, Tex., needs no sea wall for safety. He writes, ‘I have used Dr. King’s New Discovery for Consumption for the past five years and it keeps me well and safe. Before that time I had a cough which for years had been growing worse. Now it’s gone.’ Cures chronic cough, La Gripe (sic), Croup, Whooping Cough and prevents pneumonia. Pleasant to take. Every bottle guaranteed by druggists. Price 50 c. and $1.00. Trial bottle free.” Many advertisements such as this were included in the “Watauga Democrat” newspapers of this period under the guise of news items, occasionally making reference to current stories of interest. The Galveston Sea Wall was constructed following the disastrous tidal surge of 1900, which killed thousands in the coastal Texas city, with the first portion of the protective barrier being completed in 1904. Hurricanes in 1909 and 1915 proved the value of the sea wall in protecting the population and buildings of Galveston.

August 9, 1934

“Carolina Hills Drama is Seen in Murder Trial,” announced a bold headline on this week’s front page, with the lengthy subtitle, “Five Members of Tilley Family Go on Trial in Wilkes County for Slaying of Foster Relative. Jury Being Selected from Yadkin County Venue. Defendants Maintain Stolid Countenance as Legal Machinery Moves.” Details of the news story related that, “with Deputies forcing a path thru a crowd of neighbors and the curious who packed the little Wilkes County courtroom and surged outside its doors, Warwick W. Tilley, 60-year-old farmer; his wife, 58; his son, Luther, 32; and Claude, 18, and Luther’s wife, Minerva, 30, were brought into court for trial on a charge of slaying Leoda Childress, 20-year-old foster daughter of the elder Tilleys.” The article reported that, “the defendants, with the traditional stolidity of the mountain people, sat unmoved as the State’s attorney and their counsel battled over the selection of the jury to try them for their lives.” Solicitor John L. Jones of the prosecution reportedly believed that the murder was motivated by desire to cover up a prior crime, dating back “seven years to the day when the body of Andrew Elledge was found in a pond near the Tilley’s farm home.” The prosecutor for the State reportedly believed that the foster daughter of the family was “slain because [seven years later] she became angry at Luther and threatened to reveal her knowledge” of the earlier purported murder, allegedly also perpetrated by the Tilley family. Reported the article, “(t)he girl was found shot to death  in the Tilley home by a neighbor who  heard her scream for help over a party telephone line.” Jurors were hard to come by, having been “excused time after time because they said they had previously formed an opinion that ‘the defendants are guilty.’”

Published in: on August 12, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of August 5th, 2012.

“Appalachian music professor VIRGINIA WARY LINNEY, astride her favorite ‘horse,’” reads the caption to this photograph. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

August 2, 1906

A news item entitled “Cigarette Smoking” in this week’s edition of the “Watauga Democrat,” which bore a byline attributing the original story to the “Lumberton Robinsonian,” related that, “(t)he Norfolk and Western railroad has issued orders prohibiting its employees from smoking cigarettes, and they will have to cut out cigarettes or hunt them another job. The Brotherhood of Engineers and Firemen, it is reported, look upon the order as an infringement of personal liberty and will oppose it for that reason.” Continued the article in an editorial reflection, “(l)et it be interference with personal liberty, if the railroad believes it is to the best interest of its business to employ teetotalers in every respect they should do so. If an employee does not cut ‘em out he is at liberty to get another job. It is our opinion that he had better be glad that someone is trying to break him of a habit he could not quit himself.” The article continued with a rumination on the debate over “whether the use of cigarettes hurts one’s health or not,” alleging that “(w)e often hear a fellow say he has smoked for years and years and don’t believe cigarettes hurts (sic) him. Perhaps before he gets finished telling you he will cough a ‘cigarette cough.’ We believe that a man can smoke cigarettes and live a long time but under as favorable circumstances he would live longer without them.” The article conclude with a lamentation that anti-alcohol Temperance forces of the day had not also targeted cigarettes, saying that “(w)e have never been able to understand the inconsistency of the temperance forces in their attacts (sic). We never hear any of our temperance societies speak out against the use of cigarettes. It is (only) the evil of whisky.”

August 2, 1934

“Held On Charge Highway Robbery,” with a subheading “Adam Hodges Jailed Last Week on Charges of Lenoir Men. Were Forced to Take Defendant for Ride. Two Others Arrested by Federal Men,” related in this weeks newspaper that, “Adam Hodges was lodged in the county jail last Wednesday on a charge of highway robbery and assault, brought by two Lenoir citizens… (a)ccording to the Sheriff’s office, the plaintiffs had driven their car into ‘Death Valley,’ a local name given to a section between the Blowing Rock road and Aho. They were accosted, it seems, by Adam Hodges and a companion, assaulted, and forced at pistol points to drive their assailants back to the highway.” According to the item, “(o)ne of the Lenoir men’s clothes were reported as torn off, and they alleged that they were told if they reported the affair they would be killed.” The victims, however, “…. henceforth proceeded upon release to Sheriff Howell, secured a warrant, and the arrest of Hodges followed.”

In the other news referred to in the headline, the same Sheriff Howell and a WilkesCountyMarshall “arrested Ralph and Hal Teague on a charge of complicity in the near-fatal scalding of a Wilkes citizen last winter when he was thrown into a vat of boiling mash at a blockade still.” One of the accused in that case “filed bond for $500,” and the other “was held for the Federal court in default of a five thousand dollar bond.”


Published in: on August 5, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment