“Laurel Elk Lumber Yard: Poplar and White Pine,” reads the inscription on the front of this photograph showing the logging industry in the Watauga County area during the early part of the 1900s. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.
May 15, 1915
“Wants To Provoke Us,” a headline on this issue of the Watauga Democrat‘s front page, alleged that, “When Germany proclaimed a war zone around the British isles
and told the balance of the world to look out, our government warned the Teutons that they would be held responsible for the loss of American lives. Some weeks ago an American, Leon C. Thresher, was drowned by the sinking of the British ship Falaba.
An investigation of this incident has been completed but a report has not been made and it is not known what the government’s course will be. In the meantime German aircraft dropped bombs on the American steamer Cushing, in the North sea. No lives were lost but Germany will probably be asked to explain about that. Now comes the report of the sinking of the American steamer Gulflight by German submarines. The captain of the Gulflight died of the shock and two members of the crew jumped overboard and were drowned,” related the news item. “The multiplication of these incidents would indicate that Germany wants to provoke us,” ended the article.
In local news of the week, “Attorney F. A. Linney, Ex-Sheriff John W. Hodges and Register of Deeds W. R. Gragg, all of Boone, have possessed themselves of automobiles of the Ford variety within the past few days, and joy-riding with them is an everyday occurrence now.”
Construction projects in town were underway with the progression of springtime, this year. “The brick machinery has been moved from the school property and is being put in place on the farm of Mr. J. S. Winkler,” according to the newspaper. “Mr. Alfred Miller, of Lenoir, one of the owners, will be in charge, and as soon as the weather will admit brick making will begin for the new Baptist church.”
May 18, 1933
“Bank Directors Hold Meeting On Tuesd’y; Hopeful,” was a headline on the front page of this week’s paper. “The directors of the Watauga County Bank, in session last Tuesday, reported that the signing of depositors to the reorganization agreement has been going on in a very satisfactory manner, and it was urged that borrowers keep their notes renewed and that payments be made as regularly as possible.” In the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash and the economic collapse which became the Great Depression, local banks often faced challenges to stay open; many closed, either temporarily or for good. Banks such as Boone’s Watauga County Bank often had to reorganize or start anew in order to survive. “It was moved that President B.B. Dougherty, Cashier G.P. Hagaman and Baxter M. Linney go to Raleigh immediately to confer with the banking Commissioner as to an early opening of the institution,” reported the Watauga Democrat. “The officials left Tuesday for the capital city and belief is that permission may be granted to open the bank soon, as it appears that the requirements have been pretty thoroughly complied with.” Concluded the article, “Mr. Hood’s requirements, state bank officials, are extremely exacting. He is inclined to look at the situation from the viewpoint of a depositor, they say, and wants no questions about the safety of any bank when permission to open is granted.”