September 26


“Tourist Home– Mrs. A.C. Mast’s Tourist Home, Sugar Grove, N.C.” Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and

1943: Churchill Predicts ‘Big Three’ Summit, Invasion of Nazi-Held Europe

September 20, 1900

“Perhaps the greatest destruction to life and property that ever occurred at one time in the history of the United States (the John’s town (sic) [Pennsylvania] flood not accepted,” began an article in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, “was the inundation by water of the city of Galveston, Texas, on the 9th. The wind traveled at the rate of 100 miles per hour sweeping everything in its path, and the tides ran so high that a large part of the city was entirely submerged, the combined elements entailing a loss of property that is estimated at $25,000,000 and the loss of at least 5,000 human lives.” Continued the Watauga Democrat’s report, “[t]o read of the horrors, the devastation, the loss of life and property in that once prosperous city, is enough to make the blood run cold in one[‘]s veins. The rich, the poor, the high, the low, of all classes and conditions have been sunk by hundreds into watery graves in the gulf, the rescuing parties not being able to bury them as fast as they were taken from under the piles of debris, into which the proud city was converted, by the merciless elements of wind and water.”
A related item in this same issue opened, “[a]s the people all over the United States are cheerfully responding to the cry of distress that is going up from the ill fated city of Galveston, Texas, is it not the duty of our people to respond to this cry, make up a purse for those poor unfortunate people, and help them provide food and shelter for themselves and families?” The writer urged Wataugans, “[l]et some active man take this matter in hand, call on all our people, get up a collection and forward at once by telegraph to those suffering people.” The appeal concluded, “[l]et us not be last in this duty.”

September 23, 1943

“CHURCHILL SEES MASS INVASION OF EUROPE,” a banner headline in this week’s newspaper which bore a dateline of “London, Sep. 21,” reported that, “Prime Minister Churchill declared today that the second front will be thrown open at ‘the right time’ and a mass invasion of the continent from the west will begin.” According to the report, Winston Churchill, leader of Great Britain, had told “the [British Parliament’s House of] Commons that the second front ‘already exists potentially’ and ‘already is rapidly gaining weight’.” Said Churchill, at a time when a front had already been opened against Nazi-held “Fortress Europe” by invasions of Italy from the south by Allied troops, another front had “not yet been thrown into play,” but, “[t]hat time is coming.” Churchill also revealed that he foresaw a “tripartite conference of representatives of the United States, Britain and Russia” which would “take place ‘at an early date’ and no question will be barred from discussion. Any differences will be set aside for a conference of President Roosevelt, Premier Stalin and the prime minister himself.” These three major leaders of the Allied forces did meet in Tehran late in 1943, then again in Yalta in the Crimea in February of 1945, and the promised invasion began on the beaches of Normandy in German-occupied France in June of that latter year.




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September 19


“The Watauga River on the Road to Valle Crucis in the Unrivaled Blowing Rock Country Blowing Rock, N.C.,” reads the inscription on this antique post card, circa 1920 (?). Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and

1888: Presidential Election Vote Threatened to Be Split by Prohibitionist Third Party

September 19, 1888

A news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat carried the discussions of this election season, with particular focus on the possibility of a third party, running primarily on a platform of prohibition of alcohol, competing with the two major parties, Democrat and Republican. The article, reproduced and with a byline from the State Chronicle, reported that, “[s]ome days ago Rev. Dr. Robey, a prominent and able Methodist preacher in Goldsboro, spoke in favor of prohibition.” According to the newspaper, this anti-liquor speech was “incorrectly reported” and was “published without his [Dr. Robey’s] consent.” The resulting misunderstanding, “as published… made him take ground that the Methodist Church in N.C. was committed to the Third Party.”  According to the source cited, “such a position did so great violence to the position of the Church upon this question that Methodists all over the State hastened to take the issue with Dr. Robey.” Wrote the article’s anonymous author, “[t]he Spirit of the Age, clearly and strongly answered Dr. Robey’s SUPPOSED position” – seemingly a reference to a general opposition to the vote being split and votes diverted away from the major parties, in an attempt to eliminate legal alcohol from public life. Continued the article, “the Chronicle is glad to know Dr. Robey was misrepresented and that he is really AGAINST the third party although strongly in favor of a prohibition party if the conditions were favorable. The reasons why he cannot vote for Walker and the other Third party men he gives are [those which] every honest Prohibitionist in the South ought  to [hold and be] be influenced by the same reasons. Dr. Robey says, “The condition of our State and, indeed, of the entire South, is such, politically, that I cannot vote the Third Party ticket. Nor have I ever advised any one else to do so. I sympathize profoundly with the object which the Third Party people have in view, and I wish that I could help them, but I cannot without POSSIBLY HELPING ANOTHER RESULT WHICH WOULD BE A GREATER CALAMITY THAN THE BAR-ROOM.’” (“[This means Radical success. – Editor],” read a helpful insertion by the State Chronicle editor). The 1888 U.S. Presidential election was nearly evenly split in the popular vote, with the winner, Republican Benjamin Harrison, actually gaining fewer popular votes than the losing opponent, Democrat Grover Cleveland. The two candidates were within 1% of one another in the total of votes. It was the third of four U.S. presidential elections in which the winner did not win the popular vote – the fourth occurring 112 years later, in the year 2000.
September 14, 1944

Amidst news of military action towards the close of World War II, a local news item reported, “[t]he open season for hunting squirrels in Watauga county begins on Sept. 15th, and County Game Warden Walter Edmisten states that there appears to be an abundance of squirrels this season. Hunting licenses are on sale at the usual places throughout the county. With an improved situation regarding ammunition, it is believed that more hunters will take to the fields and forest this fall than for the past two seasons.”


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September 12


The caption at the top of this image is, “America’s Switzerland. The unrivaled Blowing Rock Country. Lake on Cone Estate. Near Blowing Rock, N.C.” A copyright mark on the back of this postcard dates the image to 1909. The card was printed in Germany. Image courtesy of the archives of the Bobby Brendell Postcard Collection, Watauga County Historical Society, and

1933 – Only One Day for Voters to Register for Vote to Repeal Prohibition

 September 12, 1888
“Ed[itor] Democrat,” began a front-page item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, “[h]aving read your much esteemed paper for some time and seeing nothing from Elk Township, I desire to ask for a few spare lines.” Continued the paper’s correspondent, “politics is on a boom every where, Elk [K]nob an exception. The Democratic party seems to be gaining ground every where… I am unable to see how all who love prosperity more than party can keep from turning. Cleveland and Fowle and liberty and low taxes, is our motto on Elk.” The motto referred to the ticket of incumbent President Grover Cleveland, whose running mate was Allen G. Thurman. Fowle was, apparently, a figure in Democratic politics more locally. The writer continued, after warning young men in particular against voting the Republican ticket, “to beware of the Prohibition party,” also, “which is only a trap to catch Democrats for the aid of the republicans.” Asserted the correspondent, “[o]ur interests will be best served and protected by re-electing Grover Cleveland, so let nothing drive us from this.” “Let every one do his part,” proclaimed the author, “and victory is ours.” The letter was signed, anonymously, by “Good Democrat.” This submission was, seemingly from a local subscriber; the Watauga Democrat newspaper at this time was, like many small-town papers, established and published to support a particular party, as the name suggests.
September 14, 1933
“JUDGES NAMED TO HOLD PROHIBITION ELECTION LOCALLY,’ a banner headline this week, reported that, “R.S. Swift, chairman of the Watauga County Board of Elections, has released a list of the judges which have been elected to serve in the election of November 7th, when voters of North Carolina will vote on the 21st amendment to the Constitution, repealing the Eighteenth, commonly known as the prohibition act. In accordance with the statute, one person generally known to be opposed to repeal and one generally known to favor it, together with the registrars who served in the last general election, will constitute the boards in the various precincts.” The article named the selected judges, one for and one against ending prohibition, from local townships in Watauga County. The article also covered the matter of registration for participation by the public in the upcoming general referendum on the matter. “Mr. Swift particularly calls attention to the provisions of the statute as to registration. The books will be open only one day, on the second Saturday before the election, October 28. The registrars will keep the books open that day for the purpose of registering electors not already registered. The Saturday preceding the election on Tuesday is challenge day, the same being Saturday, November 4th, and the registrars will attend the polling places with their books for the purpose of challenging the voters on that day.” Continued the notice, “[a]bsentee voting is prohibited in the prohibition election.”




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September 7


“Scene from the Head Spring of the Yadkin River Looking Toward the Green Park Hotel, Green Park, N.C.,” reads the inscription on this antique post card. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and

September 6, 1917

“Watauga County Patriotic Rally, Wednesday September 12, 1917,” a heading on page two of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, introduced a column beginning, briefly, “[t]o be held at Boone.” “Everybody cordially invited,” continued the announcement. “There will be speeches by Hon. W.C. Newland of Lenoir; Hon. Frank A. Linney of Boone; Hon. S.J. Erwin of Morganton and others. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a march of those who are to go to the camp for training, led by the fife and drum corps of the Confederate army. The speaking will be at the court house. Everybody is asked to bring dinner and spread it on the court house lawn at the noon hour.” The “Confederate army” referred to was apparently an early form of tribute band honoring war veterans, and which, in this case, was called to salute those called to serve at the front in the First World War, which the United States had recently entered, in April of that year. The announcement continued, “Want every man who is to go to the front to be present, and if he has a family to bring his family. The drafted men are to be the guests on this occasion and are requested not to bring dinner. A testament [portable New Testament of the Bible] will be presented to those who are to go in the next draft. About 60 testaments have been ordered. We need about $13.00 for this fund yet. Leave it with the Watauga County Bank.” This feature ended, “”[l]et every body come next Wednesday the 12th and have a good day together with our boys before they leave for the front.”

September 3, 1936

“LOCAL PEOPLE TO HEAR PRESIDENT,” a headline this week, introduced a news article relaying that, “Cleve Gross, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee for Watauga County, states that he expects no less than fifty local Democrats to journey to Charlotte on the tenth, when President Roosevelt will address the Green Pastures Rally, and when governors and leading figures in five southern states will take part in the huge political gathering.” The item reported, “Mr. Gross says that inquiries are coming to him daily from those who have been appointed as marshals from the county, and to others desiring to attend.” Those invited and designated as marshals were advised that they would “receive instructions after their arrival in Charlotte at Green Pastures headquarters in the Hotel Charlotte,” and that the local party head emphasized “the desirability of local people being on hand early.” “The rally is to be held at the American Legion stadium,” according to the Watauga Democrat, “where arrangements have been made for seating more than 75,000 people. President Roosevelt will speak at 4:30 and the governors, senators from the five states will take part in the program.” This “Green Pastures Rally” was organized to call attention to the beginnings of economic recovery, in the nation and in the Charlotte area, since the passing of the worst depths of the Great Depression.



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