October 26/31


Leaning Rock on Yonahlossee Road”. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and digitalwatauga.org / the Digital Watauga Project.

1930:  Making Wine Not Illegal, but Selling It Is

October 25, 1900
A short notice, apparently from the editor of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, appeared in this week’s issue: “The greatest epithets yet applied to that pure, upright christian (sic) gentleman, Hon. J.C. Buxton, by his political opponent, are such as these: ‘The big man,’ ‘the big candidate,’ ‘the elephant’, etc. Now, Spence,” wrote the author, naming the opposition candidate, “if you have any thing damaging against that man, great of heart, mind and body, bring it out, for we do not want an unclean man in Congress, but if you have nothing, quit throwing mud, which seems to be one of your greatest accomplishments.” “He is a clean man,” concluded the editorial, “and you can’t disprove it.”
In local weather news, “[o]n last Monday and Monday night Watauga was visited by the most severe rain storm that it has ever had for many years. In twenty four hours the down-pour of rain was so great that the mountain streams were converted into roaring cataracts that swept fences, bridges, etc. before them. Two of the bridges on the Boone and Blowing Rock Turnpike were wrecked; the new bridge just being completed across Cove Creek, near Dr. Bingham’s, was swept away… The old mill house owned by the Winkler Bros. was converted into a wreck, and we are told that the old Lutheran church on Watauga river met with the same fate.”

October 30, 1930

A brief news note under the simple heading, “Wine,” relayed that, “[i]t is not illegal, the Director of Prohibition declares, to make wine or beer in one’s own home for one’s own use. The law does not prohibit the making of beverages which are not ‘intoxicating in fact,’ but prohibits their sale.” Continued the notice, “[i]t does not take a very long memory to recall the time when the domestic manufacture of wine for home use was a part of the year’s regular routine in a large proportion of farm and village homes. Elderberry wine, dandelion wine and wine from other fruits and ingredients shared honors with the grape. And our grandmothers always took pains to see that there was a supply on hand of ‘blackberry cordial’ which was supposed to have sovereign value in digestive disturbances. Probably blackberry cordial would come under the prohibition ban today, for it certainly was ‘intoxicating in fact.’ But one needed a capacity far beyond the ordinary to consume enough of the old-fashioned home made wines to become intoxicated by them.”

 A short feature article entitled simply “Eskimos” reported on this same day that, “[t]raders returning from the Hudson’s Bay country tell of Eskimo families whose incomes in actual money run up to $40,000 a year, which they earn by trapping the rare white fox for its fur.” The peoples referred to, allegedly, according to the report, “have no idea of the value of money,” having their essential needs already met, and “spend their incomes on airplane joyrides, commercial aviators having discovered that there is easy money to be made in flying up to Herschel Island, where these Eskimos live, and charging them $375 for a flight to Edmonton.”



Published in: on October 31, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

October 24, 2016

drives_about_blowing_rock“Drives About Blowing Rock,” an early postcard depicting a scenic byway in the High Country. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and digitalwatauga.org / the Digital Watauga project.

1896: Local Politics Tense: P.R. Profitt Denies that Candidate Killed His Cow

October 22, 1896

“Let us urge upon all friends of silver to go to work now with the determination to carry this county and elect Tom Sutherland to the senate, H.A. Davis to the legislature, and the whole free silver ticket,” urged an article in this week’s edition of the Democratic party-affiliated Watauga Democrat newspaper. The “free silver party” referred to those Democrats for whom a major issue at this time was promoting the “free coinage of silver,” in addition to gold coins, as the basis of government economic policy. This potentially inflationary policy was opposed by advocates of a more conservative gold-only currency system. “See to it,” continued the article, “that Bryan, Cy Watson, and the whole State ticket is voted for. Then be sure and vote for Doughton, that pure, clean and upright gentleman for Congress instead of R.Z. Linney, who has rendered himself odious all over the district by his vulgarity, to say nothing of his abominable record that he is trying so hard to defend.”

Another short item this week bore the heading, “A Card.” This open letter to the editor began, “I am informed that E.B. Miller and others are telling that H.A. Davis killed my cow. Now, I hereby say this is not true, for I am fully convinced that he did not, and I intend to vote for him.” The statement closed, “I make this statement willingly and of my own accord, (signed), P.R. Profitt.”

A local community news column entitled “Dots from Valle Crucis” reported, “politics not very high, but every man will be there with his vote for democracy” as the lead item to this feature. “People are busy with their farm work,” stated another “dot.” “Our new Methodist church is receiving a nice coat of paint,” according to another, “and it will be an ornament to our community when completed.” In other Valle Crucis church news, “work is progressing nicely on the buildings for the minister, Mr. Jones, who has charge of the missionary work for the Episcopal church at this place. The lumber is being delivered on the yard, and Mr. Woodring, the carpenter, has a new plainer (sic) and will be ready to push the work at once.” The Valle Crucis column was signed, simply, “AMICUS,” the Latin word for “friend.”

October 24, 1940

“Mill Doing Good Business,” a headline this week, introduced a short news item which conveyed that, “Mr. G.E. Anderson(,) owner of the Boone Milling Company plant which recently began operation here, states that business is good and that the demand for the corn meal and food being manufactured is so great that of late it has been necessary to operate a night shift. Attention is directed to an advertisement for the milling company appearing in The Democrat today.”



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October 17


“Observation Point, Grandfather Mountain. Linville, N.C.,” a photograph of unknown date. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and digitalwatauga.omeka.net / the Digital Watauga project.

 1944: Pig Feed Evaluated in Contest at Farmer’s Co-Op

October 11, 1900

An advertisement in this week’s issue of the Watauga Democrat newspaper bore the bold heading, “Rail-Road Coming, with a Car-Load of Goods for the People of Watauga Co.” The body of the ad advised readers that, “[t]hey are going at very low prices. Call and see them for yourselves. The stock consists of Dry Goods, Notions, Groceries, Carpets, Mattings, Ladies’ capes, Faccinator, etc. You will find a complete line of all kinds of Patent Medicines usually sold in this section. I also carry a full line of men’s[,] women[‘s] and children’s fine and coarse shoes that are going at cost.” “COTTON JEANS AT COST,” the advertisement continued on, “Large stock of Plaids, Domestics, Outings, Flannels, Crock-ware, Fruit Jars[,] men’s Hats, 60 cents and up to $2.75. Coffee, sugar, spice, etc., always on hand. You will find a complete line of coffin goods, shelf hardware, farmer[‘]s friend[,] plow repairs always on hand. I will sell all cheap.” The business of this diversified General Store also involved buying local farm products. “WANTED: Butter, Eggs, Chickens, Feathers, Wheat Rye, and 300 bushels of dry peach seeds, for all of which I will pay the highest market prices.” The notice closed, “YOURS ANXIOUS TO PLEASE, WILL W. HOLSCLAW, Vilas, N.C., Sept. 6.” A “Faccinator” seems to have been a “fascinator”, a decorative headpiece with a clip or comb worn by women.

This week’s paper also included advertising for several colleges and universities in the state. “University of North Carolina. The Head of the State’s Educational System,” began one. “Three academic courses leading to Degrees. Professional course in Law, Medicine and Pharmacy. Summer School for Teachers. Tuition $60. Scholarships and Loans to Needy. Free Tuition to Candidates for Ministry, Minister’s Sons and Teachers. 512 students besides 61 in Summer School. 38 teachers in the faculty. For catalogues and information address F.P. VENABLE, President, Chapel Hill, N.C.”

October 12, 1944

“Pig Feeding Test is Being Made at Local Farm Co-op Store,” a headline at the bottom of this week’s front page amidst news article about World War II and treatment for polio patients, began, “[t]he Watauga Farm Co-operative store on Monday instituted a pig feeding contest, which is the source of much interest among the many farmers who visit the establishment.” Continued the item, “[t]wo Berkshire pigs, named Lum and Abner, weight 62 and 53 pounds, respectively, are in separate pens, side by side. The lighter of the two pigs is being fed Purina Hog Ration, while the other is getting a ration of a good grade of bran and wheat shorts, such as is the ration of the average hog. To demonstrate the value of the Purina feed an accurate record will be kept of the growth of the two pigs. They will be weighted weekly, the gains in poundage and the cost per pound gain figured for each. The demonstration will continue for 90 days, after which a complete record will be released, and the hogs will be slaughtered and displayed.” Concluded the story, “[t]he novel demonstration is attracting many to the popular farmers’ store.”

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October 10

This postcard, which was postmarked on the reverse side in 1907, shows “[The] Blowing Rock, The Village, and Grandfather Mountain.” A handwritten note below the photograph reads, “Back in the land of the sky. Are starting for home from here from Ashe Co. Best wishes for you all, J.W. Atkins.” A caution on the opposite side of the back of this early postcard sternly warned users, “THIS SIDE IS EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE ADDRESS.” Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and digitalwatauga.omeka.net / the Digital Watauga Project.

1936: Project to Extend Electricity to 2,400 Local Homes Planned

October 10, 1888

This year was the first full year of publication of the Watauga Democrat, which was originally launched as a politically-based paper with clear affiliation with the Democratic party. In this presidential election year, political news was a particular emphasis of the journal. The emergence of a third party based on the cause of prohibition of alcoholic beverages was a matter of concern and frequent commentary to the Democratic paper. “There is a man in this county by the name of Jenkins who comes, he says, from Statesville,” began one article. “He claims to be employed by Mr. Leonard to sell organs. We have not heard of his selling any organs, but we have heard of his making several appointments to lecture on temperance and when the crowd assembled, to their surprise, they were to hear, not a temperance lecture but a very abusive third rate Third Party speech. If Jenkins is to be taken as a sample of a Third Party speaker it is not surprising that their following is small.”

October 8, 1936

“BOONE CHILDREN ENTER CONTEST,” a bold headline on the front page of this week’s edition of the newspaper, carried a subheading which read, “Scooter Race is Next Event On New Recreational Program for Local Kiddies.” The details of the story related that, “Coach Watkins, head of the recreational program for the Demonstration School children of Boone, reports that steady progress is being made in this field of work. Daily a more extensive program of athletics for this group is being added to the curriculum and much enthusiasm is being shown by the participants.” Continued the article. “[t]he latest plans include a scooter race which will be an event from twelve thirty to one-thirty Thursday of this week and a bicycle race which will take place next week at the same period. Just as the contests held heretofore, all under fourteen years of age will be allowed to take part.” In addition to these contests, the Democrat article reported that, “[d]aily lectures are being given to the students on highway conduct. By means of these talks the children of Boone are being taught how, when and where to cross the road and the correct place for pedestrians to walk on the highway.”

In other news this week, “[t]hree hundred miles of electric transmission lines are being asked for in the completed REA project which is to be presented to the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington Monday, and twenty-four hundred homes are to receive the benefit of electricity for lighting and for household appliances.” According to this article, “Mr. Richard Olsen, civil engineer of Valle Crucis, who had been named chairman of the temporary local organization, will take the project to Washington Monday, where he and Congressman Robert L. Doughton will present the request of Watauga County to the REA authorities, and it is predicted by the local organization that the project will find a ready approval.”


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October 2


“Snow on Howard Street,” a 1956 photograph showing automobiles in Downtown Boone after a winter storm. Image courtesy of the archives of the Historic Boone Society, Watauga County Public Library, and DigitalNC.org.

1904: Local Politicians Reminded that Straight Argument, Not Personal Abuse, Gains Votes

September 29, 1904

“The appointments for Mr. W.C. Newland in Watauga have been changed and the Republican and Democratic Committees have arranged another list that may be found in this paper,” began an announcement about election and political matters in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. “The issues will be jointly discussed by Messers. [Misters] Newland and Blackburn which is it should be,” continued the article, “for our people are anxious to hear the speeches thus made, provided they are made on a high plain.” Advised the writer, “[t]he time for indulging in ‘dragging’ and personal abuse has long since passed, but the people are always ready to hear a nice clean presumption [sic] of the campaign issues, let it be Democrat or Republican who presents them. There was never a vote gained by abuse and we hope our candidates, all of them, will refrain from such in this campaign. Straight argument is what convinces.” 1904 was a presidential election year, and the Mr. Newland and Mr. Blackburn named were leaders in the Democratic and Republican parties locally. William C. Newland served as Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina from 1909 to 1913 as a Democrat. The town of Newland, the county seat of North Carolina’s last-formed county, was named for him as part of the political deal which created Avery as a separate county. Edmond Spencer Blackburn was a Boone native and a Republican who was elected to his second (non-consecutive) term in the North Carolina House of Representatives during the election of this year.

September 28, 1933

“Goes Democratic,” a heading over a photographic portrait of a noted author on the front page this week, was followed by the caption, “Upton Sinclair, famous author and socialist, announces he will change his California registration to that of Democrat so that he may run for governor on an ‘epic plan’ platform.” The reform-minded writer, who penned the 1906 exposé novel The Jungle about the American meat packing industry, was not successful in his election bid.

“863 Enrolled At Teachers College” was the headline to an article which reported, “[e]leven states are represented in the record enrollment of 863 students who have entered Appalachian State Teachers College for the fall term, according to an announcement made by Registrar J.M. Downum Monday. They are North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.” Continuing the detailing of the wide range of origins of the student body of the institution which would later become Appalachian State University, the article detailed that, “[s]ixty-four of the one hundred North Carolina are represented by 813 students, Watauga leading with 141, and Forsyth coming second with 40. Lincoln has 38 students, Iredell 37, Wilkes 28, Cleveland 28, Ashe 39, Catawba 24, Rowan 22, Gaston 23, Mecklenburg 15, and Yadkin 22.” The college was on a quarter rather than a semester system; the notice concluded, “[t]he winter quarter will open November 20th, and Registrar Downum asks that those who contemplate entering at that time register promptly.”


Published in: on October 3, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment