“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.”