Former U.S. Marshall and then-Boone Mayor Watt Gragg (center), speaking in 1949 during the 100th anniversary of Watauga County’s founding, is shown in this photograph with Jerry Coe and a young Wade Brown in front of the Boone Downtown Station Post Office, which had been constructed just a decade earlier.
Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.
September 24, 1903
A letter to the editorship of the Watauga Democrat newspaper in this week’s edition began, “Mr. Editor: District No. 2 of the public schools of Beaver Dam Township, has just finished a public school building, and have opened their school with Smith Hagaman as teacher. And the prospects are favorable for a good school.” Continues the writer, identified at the end of the lengthy missive as “L.C. Wilson,” “(a)fter thinking over the situation, I feel like submitting a proposition to the other schools of Beaver Dam to unite with us in an educational mass meeting at some convenient time, say about the last of Oct. or some time in Nov., and invite County Superintenden(t) B.B. Dougherty to make a speech, and others who may say something to awaken a united interest among our people.” Among the purposes for such a meeting, according to the letter-writer, would be to provide “a stimulant to the cause of education… to get (people of the community) nearer together… (and) to have a common interest in things of such vital importance as that of better schools.”
September 24, 1931
“Watt Gragg Out Front in Race Say His Backers,” proclaimed a headline in this week’s newspaper. “Watt H. Gragg, local business man and for many years a leading figure in the Republican organization in the Northwest as well as in the State at large, is making notable headway in his race for the appointment as U.S. Marshal (sic), according to those most actively engaged in his behalf, and his friends are now frankly admitting that his chances for his pulling the political plum are at the present time excellent.” The article reported that Gragg “is making his campaign solely on the basis of past performances in the G.O.P. ranks, coupled with his ability to serve as a Federal official, and it is pointed out by his backers that he has always been a strictly organizational man, appeals to no particular faction, and that the edicts of the committee are law and gospel with him.” Watt Gragg served as a U.S. Marshall beginning in May of 1932 until his resignation in March of 1934.
“Some Onions!,” an emphatic headline of this date, related that, “Mr. O.L. Smith, of Zionville, visited The Democrat office Monday and brought the editor a display of vegetables which flatter the grower’s ability as a gardener, and will eventually, of course, add strength to the scribe’s menu. One onion, of the Great Wonder variety, weighs over two pounds, and four others in the basket tip the scales at around a pound and a half each. Two carrots, which would make an ample meal for a small family, and a beet weighing near ten pounds, were also included in the nice assortment. Thanks.”
September 20, 1945
“MacArthur Happy Over Receiving Local Pipes,” announced a headline in this week’s newspaper. “Mr. David P. Lavietes, of the D. & P. Pipe Works, who recently sent General Douglas MacArthur some of his Trapwell pipes, has received the following acknowledgement from Brigadier-General Bonner F. Fellers, military secretary to General MacArthur: ‘General MacArthur is delighted with the prospect of receiving three corn-cob style Trapwell pipes which you are sending him. As you probably know the corn cob is his favorite pipe. He is glad your son is returning to you – it was pretty hot at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.’” Concluded the secretary’s missive, “(t)he General appreciates the sentiment contained in your good letter and sends you his kindest regards.” The D & P Pipe Works located itself in Boone in 1943 to be close to mountain laurel as a source for smoking pipe materials, and later became part of the Dr. Grabow company of Sparta, North Carolina.