The Week of October 5th


“Boone Junior Women’s Club, 1957.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

October 3, 1907

“Monday afternoon on his way to Lenoir with a load of cabbage from Watauga county, Mr. C.C. Waters had a very unpleasant experience getting across Blair’s Creek at a half a mile north of town,” reported a front-page item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, which was cited as having originally appeared in the Lenoir Topic newspaper. “When he reached the creek it was getting dark and when he drove in (he) misjudged his distance and got below the usual fording place. His wagon mired up to the hubs in the mud and sand. He was compelled to unhitch his mules and with great difficulty succeeded in getting them ashored, leaving the wagon over night in the bed of the creek.” “Tuesday morning,” continued the report, “a man by the name of Church, also from Watauga, took his team and helped Mr. Watson’s (sic – the subject of the article’s name seems to have been misprinted at least once in this article) wagon on after a hard tussle with the quicksand and stiff sand.”

October 5, 1939

“Governor Speaks at Cove Creek School,” a headline this week, introduced an article relating that, “some two thousand Wataugans gathered at the Cove Creek high school Friday for an address by Governor Clyde R. Hoey in connection with the ninth annual Watauga county agricultural fair, and heard the executive declare himself as opposed to the present neutrality law, and advocate its appeal.” As the shadow of war was expanding over Europe and Asia, North Carolina’s Governor declared at Cove Creek, “I would rather sell England and France arms which they now need badly rather than to send our youth over there to fight.”

October 3, 1963

“Citizens Will Be Asked To Invest In $650,000 Plant,” a headline in this week’s edition, reported that, “over 50 citizens of Boone and Watauga County attended a dinner meeting of the Watauga Industries Committee at the Daniel Boone Inn Friday.” According to the news item, “Clyde Greene presided over the business section of the meeting and asked guests to introduce themselves. He said that the Watauga Citizens, Inc, is sponsoring the construction of the new Blue Ridge Shoe Company building in Boone and that the new facilities will be ready for use about the middle of October.” Another local leader, Stanley Harris, was quoted as having reported that, “in the next several months a letter will be mailed to over 1,000 people in the county inviting them to invest in the new building which was constructed at the cost of $650,000.” $400,000 of the total cost was provided by bonds financed or bought from the Northwestern Bank of Boone, with the remaining quarter-of-a-million dollars coming directly from “bonds sold to local citizens.” Melville Shoe Company, the parent company of the new Blue Ridge Shoe Company, was reported to have held over 49 million dollars in assets, and was said to be guaranteeing the bonds. “Approximately 40 dozen pairs of shoes” were already being manufactured in temporary quarters at the time of this article. Watauga Savings and Loan representative James Marsh was cited as saying that, “the new industry will do much for the county, and is a step forward,” which would “open a door for other new industry to come into the county.”

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October 12, 2014


“Farmers Hardware,” a scene from downtown Boone in the 1960s (?). Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

October 12, 1899

“The idea of establishing a national park in western North Carolina is now attracting much attention throughout the country,” reported a local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “It is proposed to reserve some of these beautiful heights and valleys and dedicate them to this and coming generations for a pleasure ground forever. This would be nice for the government to buy and protect some of the beautiful spots, and keep them as nature has made them,” continued the story. “We think a park could be made in the Carolina hills more beautiful than the famous Yellow Stone and far more healthful.”

“It is predicted by amateur prophets that this is to be a mild winter,” announced another short article. “They say that the winters run in periods of ten years, and that the winter of 1889 was unusually mild, and last winter was very severe, therefore we may expect the coming one to be mild.”

Among the local community news entitled “Rutherwood Rustlings,” submitted by “A Subscriber,” was the notice that, “the good people of this community are using every effort possible to erect a new school house for the accommodation and advancement of education, notwithstanding the opposition is very great.” Another Rutherwood report relayed that, “accommodations are being made to enlarge Brown’s Chapel. The addition will surely meet the approbation of the people, as the house is entirely too small to accommodate the congregations that attend church there.”

October 9, 1919

The “Local Affairs” column in this week’s newspaper announced, “Alfred Adams is moving from the Gross farm west of the village to Meat Camp,” as well as, “chestnuts are dropping and bringing 8 cents per pound on the local market. Good price, but the crop is light.” A blight of American chestnut trees caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica would destroy this source of food, hog feed, and income in the region by 1940. Up to this time, as many as one-fourth of hardwood trees in the Appalachian mountain range had been American chestnuts.

In other news, “the Blair hotel property in Boone changed hands last week, Messrs. Chas. Lewis and Arthur Johnson, both of Cove Creek, being the purchasers. Mr. Johnson and family have moved in, and Mr. Lewis will be here in the near future. They are among the best citizens of our county, and are gladly received as residents of our town.”

October 6, 1938

“HOMECOMING DAY WAS A BIG SUCCESS AT APPALACHIAN,” a banner headline on this edition’s front page, announced that, “Appalachian College’s best homecoming day in history came to a close Sunday afternoon when the college auditorium was filled with an appreciative audience to hear George E. Shapiro’s Little Philharmonic Orchestra concert, said by many to have been the peak of the institution’s series of entertainment features during the past year.” Other homecoming events included an alumni banquet, which at the time of this 35th homecoming had become an annual tradition; “a flag pole dedication ceremony;” and “the Appalachian-Newberry football game Saturday afternoon.”


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, Boone, North Carolina, USA.


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September 28, 2014


“Everyone is Headed for Boone,” according to the poster displayed in a hardware store window in this photograph, for the “Echoes of the Blue Ridge” celebration, honoring Watauga County’s 100th anniversary. The historical re-creation in 1949 gave rise to the annual historical outdoor drama “Horn in the West.” Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society / Watauga County Public Library.

September 28, 1899

“Bishop Fitzgerald, of the M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church, South, recently said: ‘That all ministers accused of using tobacco, must leave the church,’” reported an item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “Truly if this were carried into effect,” continued the report, “many good and indefatigable laborers would fall from the walls of Zion, for many of them would have to plead guilty if the test were applied.”

Referring to the disease of yellow fever under a nickname, another news article relayed that, “Yellow Jack has Key West Florida in his unwelcome embrace, and it will continue to hold fast until white frost comes. How they would prize the heavy frosts of which we mountain people are complaining,” opined the notice. “It will be some weeks yet before frost is seen there.” A particularly virulent epidemic of yellow fever struck Miami and other locations in south Florida during the year 1899, on top of outbreaks of the disease every couple of years in the Sunshine State throughout the 1800s.

September 22, 1920

“Mr. Editor:” began a letter to the newspaper, which addressed the perennially important matter of the condition of roads, during the earliest days of automobile travel in the county. “On Saturday evening, Sept. 11,” began the letter, “a traveling salesman, Mr. N. C. Parsons, passed through Boone en route to his home at Brownwood, N. C. He stopped at the girls’ dormitory to get his sister-in-law, Miss Pearl Brown, who lives at Brownwood, to take her home for a visit. Mr. Parsons tells me that in trying to get his machine up over a big rock near Rutherwood that was left in the road for convenience (?), tore his car almost to pieces. He, with Mr. W. M. Day to help him, worked all night on his car. Sunday morning Mr. Parsons borrowed a horse and buggy and went back to Boone for repairs for his car, and we learn that he actually paid out $123 before he again got his car in running condition, aside from losing three days time.” Asked the writer, rhetorically, “would it not be better to spend this time and money for road improvement and not let an Ashe county man have this to say about Watauga?” “I think so,” responded the author of the editorial letter, whose identity was semi-anonymously signed simply as, “A.W.”

September 29, 1938

“Local Boy Does Duty in Devastated Area,” a front-page news report of this day, related that, “John Farthing, son of Mr. and Mrs. Zeb V. Farthing, who is a member of the United States marine corps and whose company has been doing emergency flood duty in the region of New London, Conn., has written Mrs. Farthing something of his harrowing experiences,” began the short article. The young Farthing’s letter was quoted in excerpts, which included: “The town of New London is under martial law after the hurricane … we were on rescue parties all day yesterday and fought fire all night. I worked all night. Every building around us was damaged and some blown away. Our barracks were full of women and children. They slept in our bunks and set up others, for we didn’t need ours.

“They had a four million dollar fire in New London, (it) was something to put out. The crowds were crazy. We had to beat them in the faces with clubs to keep them out of danger. They wouldn’t listen to reason.”

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