The Week of Sunday, May 26th, 2013.

H W Horton 1949 Centennial

Winkler’s Creek resident H.W. Horton is shown in this photograph costumed and mounted to participate in the “Echoes of the Blue Ridge” dramatic commemoration during the 1949 Centennial of the founding of Watauga County. Horton was described in the caption originally accompanying this photograph as having encouraged tourism in the area for years by developing his land on Winkler’s Creek with the addition of small cabins for summer rental to visitors to the area.

Courtesy the archives of the Historic Boone society

May 28, 1913

“Moonshine Still Captured By Girls” was a front-page headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. According to the story, reproduced from the Jackson County Journal, “Dorothy Moore and Janie Conard, two little girls, discovered a distillery within half mile of their homes at Webster, May 4. They were out walking in the woods near Webster when a dog fell in an old mining shaft. The girls went in to search of (sic) their dog and found a complete distillery, covered with leaves and brush. They flushed it out and carried it to Webster, where they turned it over to authorities.” Concluded the news article, “(e)ach of the little girls received a reward of $10 for their discovery.”  The award amount would equal over $230 in 2013 dollars, adjusted for inflation.  Jackson County and the town of Webster are located in Western North Carolina, approximately 125 miles from Watauga County.

May 30, 1929

“Mr. Hagaman Thinks County Farm Agent Would Be Asset To Watauga,” a headline in this week’s edition, introduced a submission attributed to “SMITH HAGAMAN (County Superintendent of Schools).” Hagaman’s missive began, “I do not think a farm demonstration agent would cure all the farmers’ troubles; but I do believe a good man associated with, say three, five, or a dozen good farmers of our county, as an advisory board would in a few years wonderfully improve farming, trucking and livestock conditions in the county.” Superintendent Hagaman suggested that, “every business, every profession that is worth a continental must necessarily have some overhead expense,” and he asserted that the cost of hiring a professional farm agent would cost less than the expense of Boone’s segregated minority school house, and that the proposed agent’s yearly salary would amount to less than the price of “(o)ne dozen eggs, at a low price, per taxpayer.”

In related news, an article entitled “Most Mountain Counties Employ Farm Agents” cited “John W. Goodman, district agent, state agricultural co-operative extension work,” who noted that, “Haywood county made the appropriation for an agent last Monday,” and noted that, if Watauga proceeded to make arrangements to hire a farm agent, “(t)his would leave in the mountain counties only Mitchell and Transylvania counties without an agent.”

May 25, 1950

A bold banner headline this week announced, “Population Boone 2,964; Watauga Total is 18,296.” The news item beneath this heading noted that the figure reflects “a phenomenal growth since 1940, when the enumerators could muster only 1,754 in the decennial count of the noses” in the Town of Boone.  Further details in this article told that, “(w)hile Boone continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the population of the county remains almost static, which would indicate that the migration of Watauga countians to the industrial centers and to the western farming regions continues unabated, due largely to the lack of employment in this predominantly rural county.” In a closing note, the feature speculated that, “the growth of Boone is in large measure attributed to the expansion at Appalachian State Teachers College, the movement of numbers of rural residents to the county seat, and an expanding business establishment which has attracted many from other communities.”

Published in: on May 26, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, May 19th, 2013.

Ward Home Place

Photo of a home in Watauga County, with family members gathered around for a portrait. Note the stone chimney, wood siding, fence, and shingles, and the extra lumber at the side of the home. A reader submits, “this is the Ward home-place that was located on Phillips Branch Road, Sugar Grove, NC. This house was torn down and one was built across the road in the same style as this house. Formerly Leonard Ward lived at the second house. He is deceased now.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

May 17, 1923

“Standard Oil of N.Y. Earns 19 Millions,” the headline of an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, introduced a news item which told that, ”The Standard Oil Company, of New York, earned net profits in 1922 of $19,434,734 as compared with $9,698,972 in 1921 and $39,406,631 in 1920, it was announced tonight.”  The company was reported to have “paid cash dividends of $12,000,000” to its stockholding investors in the prior year.

A brief notice entitled “Town Sanitation” asserted that, “(t)he general sanitary conditions of the town seem to be good, but there are exceptions. Some things still exist that should not be tolerated, and those responsible should look after existing conditions before the arrival of the State Health officer, which will be in the near future.” Further details were not provided in this article.

May 22, 1941

“Bookmobile Tour Dates Are Given,” announced a feature news item in this week’s newspaper. “The people of Watauga county had made available to them yesterday a library of 2,500 books, when the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Bookmobile began its rounds, with Nancy Miller as librarian, and George Norris, driver.” Reported the Watauga Democrat, “(t)his collection of books contains the new titles in both fiction and non-fiction, as well as the old favorites. It is hoped that the people will take advantage of this unusual opportunity.” A two-week revolving route of scheduled stops had been drawn up. Designated stops on the Bookmobile’s route included “Don Hagaman’s store,” Bethel school, Peoria, Reece, Forest Grove, Amantha, Mast, Zionville, Tamarack, Chestnut Grove, Grandfather, Foscoe, Poplar Grove, and Hodges Gap, among others. The article urged, “(i)f any section of the county is not being served by the ‘traveling library,’ please contact Mrs. A.R. Smith, chairman of the Watauga county library board.”

May 18, 1961

“Annual Meeting Sees Good Season For ‘Horn,’” the top front-page item in this newspaper from 52 years ago, began by reporting that, “Horn in the West was given credit Monday night for attracting a large number of visitors to the area, and helping travel and tourist business maintain its place as the third largest industry in North Carolina.” The article, authored by “Joe C. Minor (Staff Writer),” related that, “Robert T. Ellett, chairman of the Travel and Recreation Committee of the Northwest North Carolina Development Association, was speaking to the Southern Appalachian Historical Association during their annual spring meeting and banquet at the Daniel Boone Inn when he praised the Horn and its sponsors.” Mr. Ellett “gave some figures to show what the travel and tourist business means to North Carolina,” including “(s)eventy-two thousand persons… employed in North Carolina in various capacities to serve the traveling public, with a payroll of $118,000,000.” Ellet “encouraged his listeners to improve and increase the traveling facilities so that more people will want to come here and may be better served.” The news item also cited “Dr. I.G. Greer, Chapel Hill, president of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association,” who “presided over the meeting, which was attended by 105 members and guests.” Dr. Greer  “said the large number attending indicated growing loyalty to the association,” the organization responsible for putting on the “Horn in the West” outdoor drama.

Published in: on May 19, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Week of Sunday, May 12th, 2013.

Newland Hall ASTC postcard

“Newland Hall, Appalachian Training School, Boone, N.C.”, shows the beginnings of the institution which would become Appalachian State University. Postcard of unknown date, building from the first decade of the 1900s. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society.

May 10, 1906

“A feature of our iron and steel trade during recent weeks has been the reappearance of the United States as a buyer, on a scale sufficiently large to be noticeable,” according to an article appearing on the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. According to the article, “(t)hese orders are the outcome of the extraordinary activity of the American trade, says Engineering, the demand being so great that the country’s own mills are unequal to it.”

In local news, “(t)he summer term of the Training School will begin in June, but the exact date has not been fixed,” according to reports from the institution which would become Appalachian State University.

“The Lees-McRae institute at Banner Elk had a most auspicious opening on the first – in fact, the best in the history of the school,” according to another item of higher education reporting. “The music class alone is composed of more than 30 pupils.”

“On last Saturday a son of friend George Greene, of Stony Fork, had the misfortune to get one of his hands caught in the machinery of a pin factory and literally torn to pieces,” according to a less cheerful report this week. “Dr. Blackburn was called at once, who amputated the hand near the wrist joint,” according to this graphic story.

May 10, 1928

“Land owners of Happy Valley, Caldwell county are working together to incorporate the Happy Valley district, beginning about the highway and extending to Beach Ford, into a protective game preserve. Last week 59 pairs of Mexican quail, costing $250, were turned loose,” according to a front-page article in this week’s newspaper. “Orders for more of these quail have been placed,” continued the news item, which also included notice that, “(a)pplication for fish for stocking both the river and Buffalo creek have been filed with the bureau of inland fisheries of the North Carolina department of conservation and development.”

“Jailed on Forgery County,” announced a headline in the same issue. “Clarence Cannon of the Beach Creek section of the county is in the Watauga jail in default of $2,000 bond, the arrest having been made at the home of the defendant yesterday morning by Deputy Sheriff H.A. Hagaman,” according to the report. Told the Watauga Democrat on this day, “Cannon was to have appeared at the last term of superior court, in answer (of) a charge of check raising (?), being an accomplice in the crime of Dewey Harmon, now serving a term in the state prison for the robbery of the Valle Crucis bank. He ‘skipped’ the bond of $1,000 and officials had heretofore failed in their efforts to catch him.”

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

The Week of Sunday, May 5th, 2013.

daguerreotypes child 2

This photograph of a child, posed on a stool and in a formal dress, seems to be of the Daguerreotype or of a similar early photographic form. No information accompanies the image to indicate the date or the identity of the young subject.

Courtesy Historic Boone

May 2, 1912

News items relating to the sinking of the Titanic sea liner were prominently featured in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Senator Simmons has been appointed a member of the Senate committee which is investigating the greatest marine tragedy in the world’s history, the sinking of the Titanic,” according to one brief notice. Reported another item, “(h)oping that Maj. Archibald Butt’s body would be among those recovered and brought to Halifax from the scene of the Titanic disaster, President Taft has sent an officer to Halifax to watch the bodies brought.” Major Archibald Willingham Butt was a native of Augusta, Georgia, and served as personal aid to two Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft), and his funeral was attended by some 1500 mourners. His body was not recovered, however.

In other international news, “(t)he missionaries of the associate Reformed Presbyterian church South, laboring in Mexico have been wired to return at once to the United States. There are twelve missionaries of this denomination there and some of them have been working in that field for twenty five years. Their lives are now in danger due to the Mexican trouble.” The “Mexican trouble” referred to was the upheavals of the Mexican Revolution, then in its second year.

May 5, 1938

“New Bus Service to Wilmingt’n (sic) to Start Saturday,” a bold front-page headline this week, bore a subheading which read, “Big Celebration Will Feature Linking of Mountains and Sea by Direct Bus Service; Many Visitors Expected from Eastern Carolina.” The body of the article elaborated that, “Hon. Stanley Winborne, state utilities commissioner, will be the principal speaker at the college auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday when the people from Watauga and adjoining counties will meet with a large delegation from Piedmont and Eastern Carolina in celebration of the opening of through bus service from Boone to Wilmington, which starts Saturday.”

“All-Day Parking Now Prohibited: Mayor Asks Business Men to Aid in Providing Space for Cars of Shoppers, Tourists” reported in this edition of 75 years ago that, “(t)here is to be no more all-day parking of autos on the streets of Boone, according to an announcement made by Mayor W.H. Gragg the first of the week, who points out that business men and their employees are using such a great amount of space in the congested area that it is well nigh impossible for people from the country to find room for their cars while they attend to their shopping.” The town’s solution to the pressures of limited parking in Downtown Boone was for Mayor Gragg to “insist that the business people co-operate in providing space for their customers’ cars by parking their autos in the back lots and on side streets. This, he believes, would greatly relieve the crowded condition that now prevails.”

“Book By Local Man To Be Out By June” reported that, “’Testing Time,’ a stirring romance of the Civil War, written by David P. Allison of Boone, has been accepted for publication by Eerdman & Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., and will be on sale by the first of June.” According to the newspaper report, “(t)his is the second volume by Mr. Allison to be accepted by the publishers in the last six months. ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’ came out in December and has enjoyed a splendid sale, it is said.”

Valle Crucis Wagon Shop 1912 ad

An advertisement from a May 1912 edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina.

Published in: on May 5, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment