“Victorian Campers.” A scene of a gentile outing in Watauga County, circa 1900-1915. Courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
March 9, 1899
“The President’s Peculiarities”, a headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, introduced a letter to the publication which opened, “Editor Democrat. –Have you ever remarked upon the peculiarities of President McKinley? Especially would I refer now to his peculiar way of punishing crime, or rewarding a service. Some time since he imposed a penalty upon Brigadier General Charles Eagan, who had been court martialed and found guilty of a serious crime. The President says, ‘a crime prejudicial to the good discipline of the army,’ and he, the President, imposes upon the said Eagan the unheard of penalty of a furlough for six years with full pay, which is $5,500 per annum. That seems rather harsh, but when we further take into consideration the fact that at the end of the six years the said Gen. Eagun will be retired for the rest of his life with three-fourths full pay, or $4,125 per year, the severity of the sentence will appear appalling and is a striking illustration of ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’”
Continued the author of the missive, “But in McKinley’s severe punishment of Gen. Eagun he must not be judged too harshly. His reward to the Filipinos for good and valiant services will somewhat mitigate his seeming heartlessness in the Eagan case. The Filipinos took upon themselves the task of doing all the hard fighting in the Philippine Islands against the Spaniards until the surrender of Manilla. They drove the Spaniards out of the Province of Cavite and cooped them up in Manilla where it was only necessary for our warships to demand a surrender, and our victory was complete. For this gallant service our kind and tender hearted Pres. ordered that these same warships be turned against the Filipinos, and boasts are now made that in doing so there were thousands slain in one day. And these thousand were not all soldiers, but, according to Gen. Aguinaldo’s dispatch, consisted mainly of unarmed men, women and children, and our own dispatches virtually confess the truth of his statements.”
“The above is by no means all of President McKinley’s peculiarities, but enough for the present.” Thus concluded, the open letter was signed, “A. Davis.”
March 14, 1940
“Autoists Asked To Dim Their Lights,” a headline on this week’s front page, introduced a short notice which reported, “C.M Jones of the state highway patrol, requests motorists of this vicinity to dim their lights when driving at night and meeting other vehicles.” According to the report, “Mr. Jones states that the state legislature passed laws requiring dimming of headlights, and that he is anxious for the people to comply in order that accidents from this source may be minimized.” Concluded the article, “Mr. Jones further calls attention to the fact that every person actually operating an automobile must have a driver’s permit or a learner’s permit. The latter may be procured free of charge pending the issuance of a regular driver’s license.”