“Reverend Eber S. Gragg,” photo from perhaps the 1940s of a venerable Watauga preacher. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
April 16, 1891
“The South ought to feel and no doubt does feel a great satisfaction in the prospects of the great West coming to her political relief,” opened a political opinion piece in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “ The West has lately signified in her municiple [sic] elections that she is tired and disgusted with Radicalism and will in the future be allied with the South in deposing the party that has well-nigh, mined this glorious ‘land of the free and home of the brave.’” The Democratic-party affiliated Watauga County newspaper apparently associated the Republican Party with “radicalism,” and saw the leaning of local political contests in western states towards the Democrats as evidence of a shift from this radicalism to an outlook in line with that of the local newspaper’s editorship. “The organs and politicians of the West have heretofore slandered and abused the South with all the bitterness that their extreme Radicalism could suggest,” continued the piece. “These radical men and organs are being regulated to the rear and sober men with better thoughts and policies have taken charge and genuine reform is now the watch-word. Such men as Benny Harrison, Blaine, Hoar, Lodge, and others will soon be retired to private life. A revolution has set in and the great West is moving and will join hands with the South to save our common country.” “Let as take heart and be lifted up for our deliverance will surely come[,]” continued the Watauga Democrat, “for radical men and measures are fast passing away, and a united country and prosperity will take their places. Radicalism is already dead in the South – and is now fast dying in the West. Little Ben Harrison will be the last President of the Radicals.” “Little Ben (or, Benny) Harrison” was a somewhat demeaning nickname for then-President Benjamin Harrison, who had been affiliated with the “Radical Republicans” favoring the Reconstruction policies for former Confederate states in the years immediately following the Civil War.
April 17, 1958
“Clean-up Campaign Will Start April 28th,” read a headline on the front page of this week’s paper. “Mayor Gordon H. Winkler has announced tentative dates for the annual clean-up, paint-up, fix-up campaign in Boone as Monday, April 28 through Saturday, May 10.” Details contained in the article announced, “[t]he intensified two-week drive for city cleanliness will be sponsored this year by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, said President James Winkler , Jr., who has appointed W.R. Winkler, Jr., to spearhead the campaign.” Additionally, on the local government side, “Mayor Winkler has announced that town trucks will be available at all times to pick up trash and debris and assist the clean-up in any way possible.” Another participating organization, the local Jaycees, it was announced, “will conduct a city-wide survey of homes, places of business, vacant lots, alleyways, and back lots, and make suggestions to owners or residents for painting or sprucing up their premises wherever the need is indicated.”