September 21, 2014

Amos_Tester_and_Wife“Amos Tester and Wife.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 19, 1888

An article under the heading of “The Teacher’s Institute” in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat began, “(t)his body was not as largely attended as I hoped it would be, but the weather was extremely wet, and some of the teachers were sick, while some were teaching, and some did not care to come.” The report, signed by “I.W. Thomas,” continued, “(e)verything considered, the institute was a fair success. Of actual teachers and those preparing to teach twenty were enrolled. So far as I have heard expressions(,) those present were benefited.” Of the participating teachers, “(t)hirteen stood a written examination, having only one hour or less, in which to answer the questions on any one branch. Out of this number only two failed to obtain certificates.” The author continued, “I wish to call the attention of those teachers who are doubting the power of the Board of Education to regulate teachers’ salaries”, alleging that, in North Carolina, “(t)he law makes it the duty of the board to accept the construction placed upon placed upon the law by (the) state Sup(erintenden)t.” “Now,” Mr. Thomas concluded, “if anyone wishes to quarrel, he may please pitch into (sic) the state Supt.” This article was written approximately a decade before brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty founded a school for higher education of teachers in Boone.

September 22, 1920

“Talking of Bad Roads,” a short feature this week, began “(a)n article appeared in a local paper this week to the effect that a certain party in the Sadieville neighborhood started to town with some cream, but on his arrival he had butter instead of cream, and he attributed the transformation to the bad condition of the roads.” The item, reproduced from the “Georgetown (Ky.) News),” continued, “(t)his is nothing to a tale brought to this office by a prominent and reputable citizen. He said a man left Corinth in a car with three silver dollars in his pocket and when he arrived at a local garage the dollars had worn down to dimes.” The locations mentioned in the article are approximately 300 miles from Boone, in north central Kentucky; borrowing from other newspapers was a common staple of the local paper in its early years.

September 21, 1939

“European War Briefs,” a feature this week under the dateline “Danzig, Sept. 19,” introduced an article which relayed that, “Adolf Hitler served notice on Britain and France today he was prepared to wage a seven-year war if necessary and asserted that Germany and Soviet Russia, Europe’s ‘two greatest nations,’ would re-establish ‘law and order’ in Eastern Europe.” According to details, “the fuehrer in an hour and 14-minute speech told the Western allies – Britain and France – he had ‘no war aims’ against them, but declared that Poland, as created by the Versailles treaty ‘never again will rise.’” “In one of his best oratorical efforts,” according the writer of this report, “Hitler spoke in the medieval Artushof as the crowning event of his first visit to Danzig since he brought the former free city of the Baltic ‘back home into the Reich.’”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.

Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

September 8, 2014



“W.R. Winkler Garage:” a photograph, probably dating from the 1920s, of an early automotive business in Watauga County. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 5, 1888

“The Three Forks Association will convene in the Baptist Church in Boone, Tuesday, 11 a.m. Sept. 11,” began a notice in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, published during the newspaper’s first year. “The annual sermon will be preached by the Rev. E.F. Jones,” continued the item. “If it becomes necessary to have preaching during the sitting of the Association, our Methodist friends have kindly tendered the use of their church for that purpose. The delegates will be assigned to homes for the session to prevent confusion, and that no one may be unduly burdened. All the families in Boone and vicinity, regardless of denomination, will be kindly asked to keep the delegates of at least one church, and we will ever hold ourselves in readiness to reciprocate the kindness, whenever occasion requires. Each church is entitled to three delegates.” The notice was signed, “I.W. Thomas.” No indication was given as to what conditions might have necessitated additional preaching (apart from the initial yearly sermon) during the meetings.

September 5, 1918

A letter published in this week’s newspaper under the heading “Letter from France,” credited as being from “Corporal Lloyd S. Isaacs, who is with the American Expeditionary Force in France” to “his mother, Mrs. Chaney Isaacs, of Mabel,” began, “Dear Mama: It always gives me a great pleasure to express to you my feelings to you even [if] they are on paper. I trust you are well and enjoying the pleasures of life as they present themselves.” Among the news from the Western European front of World War I, Corporal Isaacs related, “I am getting along nicely. I haven’t been sick a moment since I have been over here.” He related that, however, on his first birthday away from home, “I spent my birthday in the trenches. It shall never be forgotten. Everything was quiet on the line. I did not see any Germans, and if they saw me they sure had a good eye.” Reflecting on duty in active military service, Isaacs wrote, “We know not when we will go to the front for service, but when we do I shall draw my sword in honor of America, and my motto is: Give the Germans trouble and remember my mother. The world needs peace and we must do our bit to bring it about.”

September 2, 1943

“Eight [sic] Airforce Deals Mighty Blow to Nazis,” a front-page headline this week, introduced an article which detailed that, “[t]he U.S. eighth airforce dealt an unprecedented blow to German air strength in the month ended tonight[,] bombing airfields, plane factories and probably topping the July record of 506 planes destroyed in the air.” This series of raids was described as, “show[ing] that the British-based campaign has progressed from individual stabs at enemy war facilities to a farflung smash against German air defenses, paving the way for a possible knockout blow.”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.


Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

August 24, 2014


Old Lenoir Home on Watauga River. Used as a boarding school in the early 1900s, later a part of the campus of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

August 22, 1907

“The preacher who says that kissing is worse than whisky [sic] must have found something pretty exhilarating and intoxicating,” began a short notice in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, bearing the editor’s abbreviation, “Ex.,” at its end. “But he had no business saying so,” continued the opinion notice, “for the Anti-Saloon Leaguers will be trying to regulate that by law next.” Interestingly, during this period of history, the local party-affiliated newspaper was largely a platform for the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages.

“New Jewelers’ Shop,” a front-page advertisement, announced that, “I will be located in Boone by June the first, 1907, prepared to do all kinds of watch and clock repairing on short notice.  My work is all guaranteed and no work is charged for unless satisfactory to the owner. Bring me your work and I will give you a first class job. Office upstairs in Critcher brick row. Silas M. Greene, Jeweler.” As the announced date was already passes, Mr. Greene apparently took out a recurring advertisement in the local newspaper to help launch his business. “Critcher brick row” would seem to refer to the block of Downtown Boone in which the Critcher Hotel once stood – opposite the spot where the Jones House Community Center stands today.

August 21, 1919

“In these days of inflated prices the problem of the high cost of living is a matter of concern to every household,” opened an article on the second page of this week’s newspaper. “Consequently any remedy that promises even temporary relief is eagerly accepted,” continued the item, while cautiously asking: “…. (b)ut is there promise of any real solution of the problem in any of the various proposals of the various departments of the government?” The article reported on several government programs of the time, including “the selling of stores of army food,” which the author of the article claimed “can bring at best but temporary relief,” and which would, allegedly, not have any impact “at all [on] the cost of food in any except the few immediate communities in which the food is sold.” The article was also skeptical of efforts to prosecute business owners for violating laws against “profiteering,” arguing that “some of our most respectable jobbers and retailers may wake up in jail some morning,” asking, “where does legitimate profit cease and profiteering begin”? The author instead urged that “we turn our chief attention to the system rather than the individual,” asking “for example[,] why should a steer be shipped from Texas to Chicago to be butchered and shipped back as beef to Texas, incidentally passing through the hands of half a dozen ‘profiteers’? Or why should Watauga cheese be sold to a Chicago packing house when every ounce of it is needed in the towns of North Carolina?” This anonymous early advocate of localized food production and distribution as an antidote to inflation and price-gouging wrote that, “[w]hen the producer and the consumer become alive to their common interests there will be no occasion for the prosecution of profiteers, or a hunt for hoarders.”

The archives of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, from which this feature is compiled, as well as the photographic archives of the Historic Boone society, are housed in the Watauga County Public Library.


Published in: on September 7, 2014 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment