“Knock ‘Er Down, Boys,” begins the caption to this photograph, attributed to the archives of the Watauga Democrat. “The old Lovill law office was a handful when it came to tearing it from its site just north, on Water Street, of the old jail – which now, interestingly enough, is a fraternity house. The frame building had most recently been used as a sales outlet for old clothes and shoes. It was directly behind Heilig-Myers.” Since this description was written, the Heilig-Myers building has become home to the Mellow Mushroom pizza eatery and the jail / fraternity house now another dining venue, Proper.
Courtesy Historic Boone
December 10, 1903
“The Clarence Potter case will come up again before the (North Carolina State) Supreme Court this month,” according to an article of local news in this week’s Watauga Democrat. “The hearing was postponed on account of an error in the brief, we are told.” Clarence Potter and his brother, Daniel Boone “Boonie” Potter, Jr., were wanted in connection with an incident in which a hastily-deputized Watauga citizen, Amos Wellington “Wellie” Howell, died several days after having been shot by Boonie Potter and struck with a rock by Clarence Potter while attempting to serve a warrant on the brothers. Clarence was originally sentenced to be hanged, the only person in WataugaCounty ever so sentenced, but the death penalty ruling was overturned in his second trial. His brother fled, for a time, to Wyoming. The local law practice of Will and E.F. Lovill (of the photograph accompanying this week’s column) was among the legal counsel involved in the Clarence Potter trials, serving for the defense of the accused.
December 8, 1921
“Notwithstanding the many cares and duties confronting him every day, Senator Simmons find time to send a message pledging his support to the North Carolina Tuberculosis Association, and wishing great success for the seal sale” according to a front-page news item in this week’s newspaper . The story reproduced a telegram from the Senator, which relayed in staccato telegraph style, “I am pleased to note significant decline in tuberculosis death rate in North Carolina from 154 in 1915 to 115 in 1920 and congratulate North Carolina Tuberculosis Association on its share in this result. Strongly commend your work and sincerely hope that the 14th Annual Christmas Seal Sale will greatly increased (sic) revenue for the Association. You may count on my support.” Furnifold McLendel Simmons served in the U.S. Senate for thirty years, from 1901 to 1931, and in 1920 unsuccessfully sought to become the nominee of the Democratic Party for President.
December 10, 1959
“Many Haven’t Sent In Money for TB Stickers,” a headline echoing the 1920s story above, reported on this date that, “(t)he TB (tuberculosis) Seal Sale is in it’s (sic) fourth week of progress and the response has been wonderful, however, there remains a large number of people who have forgotten to send money for their Seals.” Lamented the article, “(i)t is easy to overlook or ‘just put off until tomorrow,’ with the result that it is again forgotten, which means less money available to fight this terrible disease.” TB Seals later became known as “Christmas Seals”; the stamps were first introduced in Denmark in 1903 by postman Einar Holbøll who, upon seeing children disabled by tuberculosis, originated the idea of selling “extra” stamps to raise charitable money and awareness during the busy holiday postal season.