“Greer and Councill Families,” a family portrait from the Boone area in the early 1900s. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
March 22, 1894
“NEW GOODS CHEAP!” was the heading on a large advertisement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “I HAVE JUST RECEIVED MY SPRING AND SUMMER GOODS,” continued the advertiser, “and have a beautiful line of calicoes at 7 and 7 1/2 cents per yard; beautiful line of drapery at 9 cts. [cents], worth 12 cts.; black nainsook at 10 cts., worth 15 cts; one[-]piece silk plaids 12½ cents. Bed ticking, good, at 15 to 20 cents; bleeching 8 to 12; fancy lawn 5 cts.; challis, fine, 6 to 7 cents; Bedford cord dress goods, 12 cts., worth 15; nice crape [sic] 10 cts. Peracles 12½ cents, worth 18 cts.; black satine at 11 cts. And up; domestic 7½ cts. A large lot of cotton jeans from 16 cts up, and everything else at BED ROCK PRICES.”
Many of the terms used in this announcement are technical terms relating to fabrics and clothing.”Challis,” for example, is lightweight woven fabric, originally a blend of silk and wool developed in England in the 1830s. “Nainsook” is a specific kind of muslin, soft and light – muslin referring to a cotton fabric, particularly one which is printed or embroidered. The Boone merchant seems to have been promoting lighter-weight fabrics in preparation for the end of winter and the coming of warmer weather.
This merchant was also a buyer of locally-produced or gathered items. The advertisement declared, “WANTED! 500 pound of balm of Gilead buds, 5,000 dozen eggs, 500 pounds nice yellow butter, 200 pounds bees-wax, 200 pounds new feathers, and all other kinds of good country produce at highest market prices. I will want All the roots, barks, and herbs in the mountains this summer.” Concluded the notice, “[s]o when in need of anything in the goods line call and see me and I will do you right every time.”
The ad bore the signature, “Yours Anxious to please, WILL W. HOLSCLAW.”
No address or store name was given; local citizens of Boone at this time would presumably have known where Mr. Holsclaw’s shop was to be found.
March 23, 1922
“MARKETING WITH THE MOUNTAINS,” proclaimed a headline this week, which reproduced news from the Charlotte Observer. “A ‘staff correspondent’ of the Winston Salem Journal, who is up in the mountain section, sends that paper a quotation from the Watauga Democrat which uncovers a commercial project between the people of Watauga and Charlotte,” reported the front-page item. “The Watauga County paper is quoted as having learned that there is “a company being organized in Charlotte to operate produce houses in Boone, Blowing Rock, Hickory, Gastonia and Charlotte. This company will operate a fleet of trucks from Boone to Charlotte and will market Watauga county products direct to the textile country.” It is explained that, “the primary purpose of the company will be to buy and sell farm products, but a reasonable freight rate will be made on the return trip, which will enable the merchants to do what they have long wanted to do, that is to buy in their own State. They expect to start operations this Spring and will be prepared to handle the entire farm products of the county.”