The Week of Sunday, March 31st, 2013.

Historic Boone1.8.1 Hodgeses 1949 Centennial

“1949 Echoes of the Blue Ridge: Russel D. Hodges, Fay G. Hodges,” says the caption inscribed on the back of this photograph. The Watauga County Centennial included a dramatic recreation of vignettes from throughout the area’s history, featuring local performers. The scheduled performances in the Centennial year were, for the most part, rained out, but the endeavor gave birth to the High Country’s outdoor drama Horn in the West, running consecutively from 1952 up to the present.

Courtesy Historic Boone

March 28, 1901

This week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat included a short notice credited to the Richmond Dispatch: “The answer, ’Because I am a christian (sic),’ given by Charles Morall, of Chicago, when asked why he paid the funeral expenses of a man who tried to assassinate him and then killed himself would not be a bad approach for the powers to adopt in China.” The “powers” referred to included Britain, the United States, and other Western nations whose “spheres of influence” in China were, at the time, being resisted by the anti-foreign uprising commonly known as the Boxer Rebellion.

Cough remedies were leading advertisers in this season, with one sponsor announcing that, “(r)eports show a greatly increased death rate from throat and lung troubles, due to the prevalence of croup, pneumonia, and grippe. We advise the use of One Minute Cough Cure in all of these difficulties. It is the only harmless remedy that gives immediate results. Children like it. Moretz and Farthing. Johnson and Buchanan.”

March 28, 1929

A report bearing the somewhat scrambled dateline “Bahia, Brailz (sic), March 26” related in this issue that, “(v)irtually unreported since leaving the cast of Africa, the Spanish airplane ‘Jesus Del Gran Poder’ unexpectedly ended a brilliant flight from Seville at 10 o’clock today. Only once since leaving the African coast were they reported. The flight covered a distance of 4,100 miles.”

In more tragic news closer to home, the headline “School Teacher Gives Up Self After Murder” reported from “Brevard, N.C.” on the 25th of March  that, “Richard Harrison, a school teacher at Namur, N.C., surrendered today to local officers for the slaying late yesterday of John Hinkle, prominent citizen of Transylvania county.” According to the article in the Democrat, “(t)he shooting occurred in a remote section near the South Carolina line and was unknown to officers until Harrison gave himself up.” The item noted that “(t)he slayer is the son of a former lieutenant governor of Mississippi and came from state a year ago.” Concluded the story, “(h)e claims self defense.”

March 27, 1969

“Southern Bell Sets Up System For Information”, a headline in this week’s newspaper, reported that, “(a)n increasing number of Bell System customers are getting a new response when they dial for information. The response ‘Directory Assistance’ is now being used in the major areas of Charlotte, Gastonia, Burlington, and Shelby.” Continued the report, “Boone will receive this service May 4.” The article quoted “”B.B. Leazor, Boone Manger for Southern Bell,” who explained that, “the new service will offering will provide what its name implies, ‘directory assistance.’” Apparently, the former designation of the service as simply “information” had become problematic: “the title, information, misleads many to make calls for general information rather than telephone numbers.” The purpose of the service was to have special “directory assistance operators” to “primarily seek to provide numbers which are not listed in the current telephone directory.” In order to expedite access to phone numbers in the future, the operators would “explain hard-to-locate listings and… encourage customers to copy numbers on their own personal directories for future reference.”

Historic ads_1944 Red Cross

1944 Red Cross advertisement from The Watauga Democrat newspaper,

Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Published in: on March 31, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, March 24th, 2013.

Historic Boone 1.6.2 Watauga Centennial Ladies of Boone

“Watauga Centennial: Ladies of Boone; (unknown), Margaret Councill, Margaret L. Coffey, Mrs. Ben Councill,” reads the handwritten caption on the back of this photograph, taken during the 100th anniversary of the founding of Watauga County, in 1949.

Courtesy Historic Boone

March 21, 1907

“’If my heart be narrow, what avail to me that the world is large,’” read a brief quote in this edition of the Watauga Democrat, cited simply as, “- Armenian Proverb.”

“At a recent election, Knoxville, Tenn., voted for Prohibition by a majority of 1,921 and the saloons will have to go in six months,” reported a news article of the week. “The fact that Knoxville and Bristol both are to go dry, means much for this part of North Carolina,” according to the editorial voice of the paper.

“Col. V.E. McBee, who resides on Buck Shoals, on the French Broad River near Asheville, the former house of Edgar W. Nye, has had a gassoline (sic) launch built to ply on that river,” according to another brief notice. “Brevard is the point to which it will go and it is designed to carry both passengers and freight.”

A “NOTICE” included in the newspaper this week stated, “(a)ll persons wanting good and up to date Photographic Work done at starvation prices, call at my new studio at Mabel, N.C. If interested in good work, the trip to my place of business will more than pay you, if my studio is nearer to you than some city gallery, as I can’t possibly do you as good work out doors as I can in my studio… Call, see my samples and get prices, and I am sure you will give me a trial order. Satisfaction guaranteed. A.J. CAMPBELL, Artist.”

March 21, 1920

“Legislature Ends On Its 70th Day” reported in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat that, “(a)ttended by only a handful of its members, the 1929 general assembly – longest on record – was terminated at eight o’clock Tuesday night.” According to the report, the “70-day session ended after a tedious day of waiting and uncertainty as to when struggling enrolling clerks could finish the flood of last-minute bills dumped on them.” Apparently, according to this report, a “majority of the members were headed homeward before the end. The last of important business had been disposed of Monday, and Tuesday was devoted to clearing odds and ends and the horseplay that every assembly amuses itself with in its dying hours.” This gathering of the North Carolina state legislative body had “added 1,080 new laws to the statute books,” while the previous year’s session, “its 64-day predecessor,” had “passed 1,205.”

Another news story in this edition gave some details as to the contents of a selection of the over-one thousand laws enacted by the 1929 General Assembly. The “County highway aid law” was among the legislation passed by the session, which “increases the gasoline tax from four cents a gallon to five,” according to the report, “and creates a county aid fund of approximately $3,000,000 a year to be allotted to the 100 counties of the state on a population area basis, on condition that the counties reduce their ad valorem taxes for roads by an amount equal to their quota; (it) also establishes a $500,000 equalizing fund to be disbursed by the state highway commission without regard to county or district lines.”

In “Cove Creek News Items” this week, the newspaper reported that, “(t)he play ‘All on Account of Polly,’  presented on Saturday night by the junior class was a decided success. The characters were especially well chosen and each did his or her part well. More than $60 was realized from the sale of tickets. Attention called to the notice elsewhere in this issue of the play to be given by the Mountain City high school on Friday night, March 22.”

Elegant Foot-wear ad

Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 9:17 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, March 17th, 2013.

Historic Boone 1.1.2a_Baird House Valle Crucis JPEG compressed

“Baird House, Valle Crucis”. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

March 14, 1912

“Mr. Roger Hall, says the Lenoir News, arrived home this week,” according to an article in this week’s Watauga Democrat, “and his many friends will be glad to learn he is rapidly recovering from the injuries he received recently in an explosion in the DuPont Powder works where he has been employed.”

March 18, 1926

The “Local Happenings” section in this week’s newspaper included a notice that, “Mr. Joe Winkler of Blowing Rock who with his wife, spent the most of the winter in Florida, returned the first of the week. He was in town Tuesday and predicted an overflow of Florida visitors in Blowing Rock and Boone this summer.”

In other local news, “(t)he new Episcopal church at Valle Crucis, built of stone, is nearing completion. The Preas Company of Johnson City, has put in the plumbing and heating, and the Ayers Bros. of Boone have been awarded the contract for the electrical work. This house of worship will be one of the most beautiful in this section.”

“Wesley Reynolds Again In The Toils” was the headline to a news item which told that, “Sheriff Farthing returned from High Grove, West Virginia last Tuesday, bringing with him one Wesley Randall (Reynolds) of Elk township, this county, who is wanted here under a number of indictments. Coy Triplett of Elk, who had signed Reynolds’ bonds to the amount of $700, accompanied the Sheriff and the arrest was made without any trouble.” Reynolds, who was “residing at the Boone jail,” was, said the article, “an old offender, and his name has been on the dockets of the Watauga courts for a number of years.”

March 15, 1945

News of the war front in Western Europe dominated much of the news in the issue, with many members of the military forces from Watauga County who were then serving in the conflict featuring prominently in the coverage. “Soldier Is Killed, Brother In France,” a headline with two photographs, reported that, “James Ralph Moody… son of Mr. and Mrs. Stacy Moody, of Reese, who was killed in action on November 23 in France, and in whose honor a memorial service will be held at the Beaver Dam Baptist church on Sunday, March 18, at 2:30 o’clock by Rev. W.D. Ashley. The American Legion will participate in the service for the deceased man, who was a model citizen of his community, and the general public is invited.” The second photograph depicted “Pvt. Ralph Moody, a brother of the slain man,” who “entered the service Jan. 14, 1944 and was trained at Camp Blanding, Fla. He has been in France since November.”

In other military-related news, the paper related that, “(t)wo Watauga county women, Miss Doris Walker, of Boone, and Miss Mary Joe Bledsoe, of Todd, leave Thursday for Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., where they will enter upon their training in the Women’s Army Corps. They will be members of the Governor Vance platoon, composed of 15 girls from Western Carolina, and will remain together until assigned as medical technicians in the WAC.”

Materials for this column are drawn from the microfilm archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, available at the Watauga County Public Library in Boone.

Published in: on March 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, March 10th, 2013.

Jesse E Day Cochran Gunlock COMPRESSED JPEG

“Jesse E. Day Cochran Gunlock, 1857-1930” reads the caption to this photograph, including a period automobile. The lady portrayed was the great-grandmother of local genealogist and author Elizabeth South Storie.

Courtesy Historic Boone

March 7, 1912

An article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat (attributed in the byline as having been reprinted from the Charlotte Observer) under the headline “Home and School” began, “Brother Edward Bok has struck a responsive chord in the heart of many a loud parent in these parts by the protest he has made in the Ladies Home Journal against the present practice of sending the school children home to study their lessons.” Apparently, the practice of after-school-hours homework had roused opposition, locally and nationally, and the feature continued, “(l)ast night two devoted fathers called on the Observer with a request to print what Brother Bok essays on the subject for the consideration of parents and the admonition of teachers.” The lengthy discourse which followed asserted that, “(i)f every parent of a school child who brings lessons home would put his or her foot down upon the practice and  send the child back to school the next day with the lessons undone, and a polite but firm explanation to the teacher, one of the most salutary impressions would be made upon our modern school system. That the whole system of home study is wrong admits of no question. The teachers who insist upon it know it, but they are powerless to act… No practice ever instituted leads so surely to deception.” Citing the inability of school students to properly work out problems with their siblings at home, as well as the possibility of parents not being capable of providing proper help, the author asserted that, “(h)ome study under any conditions defeats the very end it is designed to bring out and it should be absolutely forbidden by the parents.” Focusing on the parental dilemma, “Brother Bok” stated his unswerving opinion that, “(i)t is awfully hard on parents to require them to help their children with their lessons, and particularly since things have changed so much since they went to school themselves,” adding, also, that “parents have practical problems to work out every day or they would not send their children to school at all.”

February 29, 1940

A rare leap-day edition of the Watauga Democrat featured on the front page a bold notice entitled, “Please Stop Ad!” According to the text of the notice, “Mrs. L.R.  Hommell of Wilmington, N.C., recently inserted an ad in the Watauga Democrat seeking domestic help, and now she is deluged with applicants and wants relief. Mrs. Hommell says, ‘Please do not run the ad brought in there by Mrs. Sherrill for me any further. I am swamped with applicants… I have never seen such response from an ad in my life.’” In addition to thus passing notice for the relief of the advertiser, the brief article concluded with a plug for local newspaper advertising: “Whether you want household help, or desire to dispose of any type of merchandise, Democrat advertising brings the buyer and seller together quickly and economically.”

An even briefer announcement, “Pie Supper,” told that, “(t)here will be a pie supper at the Valle Crucis public school Saturday evening, March 2, at 7 o’clock. The public is cordially invited to attend.”

ads 1906 shoes

1906 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper, Boone, North Carolina

Published in: on March 10, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment