“Cool Springs School,” a photograph of the class of a small Watauga County school in, perhaps, the 1940s. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
May 4, 1893
“The McMillan musee [museum] of Omaha owns the largest specimen of the bovine race in existence,” reported a front-page article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “This gigantic ox was bred by C.W. Curtis, of Cass county, Indiana. at last accounts he weighed 3,740 pounds, stood six fet and four inches in height, and measured ten feet and eleven inches in girt[h].”
In other features, “[a]n alluminum [sic] violin has been constructed by a musician of Cincinnati and has been tried in concert as well as in private,” reported the Democrat. It cannot be distinguished by its tone from the wooden instrument,” alleged the story. “It is claimed that it is superior to wood in durability, freedom from accident and susceptibility to moisture.”
In political news, “President Cleveland is attending the opening of the World’s Fair and everything is at a standstill at Washington,” read one short item. Observed the publisher of the paper, “[t[he office-seekers are having a rest.”
“We have cause to complain of a few postmasters in Watauga; we know who they are,” began a much lengthier diatribe from the newspaper’s management. “Our subscribers have told us how they have been treated. A postmaster failing to discharge his duties to the people ought to be dismissed from office, and if they have com plaints filed against them they should not be surprised. We hate to say this for we have no malice toward anyone, but the carelessness and unexcusuble [sic] neglect of postmasters are injuring us and we don’t propose to submit longer. It is to be hoped no one will take offence [sic] at this. It is only intended for those who are guilty of this neglect. They can do better and must do better in the future. There are some good postmasters in this county who do their duty, of this class we have no censure but what ought we to say to those who refused and fail to hand out papers to our subscribers, and thereby cause them to be mad at us? It is impossible for us to stand any more of this treatment as we have our remedy. Now recollect that we are not going to make this a political affair we have better stuff in us; we don’t care about a postmaster’s politics in our little county offices, but we simply want to be treated fairly.” “Sorry indeed, are we,” concluded the piece, “to say this much about any of our county postmasters.”
In other news, “[t]he caterpillar plague is again on us in parts of eastern North Carolina.” Reported the Democrat, “[m]illions of them are near Hillsboro spreading over the forest and stripping the leaves from the trees. The territory now occupied by the worms is about ten miles long and several miles width, so says the Wilmington Messenger.”