November 28


Image of the Inside of the Kelly and Green photo shop. Courtesy of the Harrison-Boone-Grimes Family Home Collection / Junaluska Heritage Association and the Digital Watauga Project /

1893: Local Newsman Laid Low by The Gripp

November 23, 1893

Items in this week’s “Local News” section of the Watauga Democrat included the brief notice, “Fine weather,” as well as a more detailed statement relaying that “[t]he weather is now favorable for November, and we look for a mild winter, and hope we will not be disappointed.”

In other local news, “[t]he editor of the DEMOCRAT has had a severe attack of gripp which has kept him confined to his room and bed for over two weeks. He has reduced in flesh about 40 pounds, and is still close to the fire and does not venture out. The gripp is a mean thing to have on hand and very hard to get rid of.” Concluded this report, “[w]e can’t see any need of it ‘no how.’ Hope we will get better soon.” “The gripp” or “le grippe” was a general term used for types of influenza at this period.

An item of editorial reflection noted, “[w]e have very little respect for a man who will abuse his wife and tyrannize over her and make her his slave.”

“We have great contempt,” according to another short editorial notice, “for a young fellow who goes about from place to place with a pistol buckled about him.”

November 23, 1939

“BOONE’S NEW BURLEY MARKET READY,” proclaimed a banner headline along the top of the front page of this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat. “World’s Leading Consumers of Tobacco Send Buyers,” announced a smaller subheading. According to the accompanying article, “[w]hen the chant of the tobacco auctioneer officially opens Boone’s new Mountain Burley Warehouse on December 6th, visiting growers from the dark leaf belt will be given opportunity to inspect a building the modern convenience of which is said to be second to none in this or surrounding states. Constructed by Ervin and West, Statesville contractors, at a total cost of more than $25,000, the Mountain warehouse is of frame and sheet metal design, is well-lighted by 2,736 square feet of roof glass, and the basement of the building[,] with dimensions of more than 9,000 square feet, has been divided into two immense prize rooms. These rooms are equipped with modern scales, presses and pumps, and will greatly facilitate the clearance of tobacco from the main warehouse floors.” Further details indicated that, “Clyde R. Greene, chairman of the building committee which is composed of himself, William R. Lovill, H. Grady Farthing and W.H. Gragg, states that more than fifty carpenters and helpers worked thirty days on the warehouse.” The facility was said to be “equipped with running water, toilets, bunks and stoves.” Tobacco buyers were said to have been impressed by the facility, and hoped for construction of other warehouses in the area. Predictions in a related story noted that “the sale of three to five million pounds of tobacco at the opening season in Boone” was predicted by local promoters of the burley market. Concluded the story, these “[l]ocal promoters are of the belief that at least one more [warehouse] will be built between now and the opening of the 1940 season.”


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November 21st


This is a photograph which shows a portion of downtown Boone. The image is from a postcard which carries a postmark from the year 1938. This is a photograph which shows a portion of downtown Boone. The image is from a postcard which carries a postmark from the year 1938. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and / the Digital Watauga Project.

1946: Election Results Indicate Wataugans Narrowly Uphold Ban on Jury Duty for Women

November 19, 1914

An item of announcement in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, under the heading “Personal Property Sale” announced:  “On the 5th day of Dec. 1914, I will offer for sale at public auction at my residence near Oak Grove school house all my household and kitchen furniture. Also one yoke of red oxen four years old; two two-year-old steers; two milk cows; one yearling heifer; one wagon, and other things too tedious to mention. Terms of sale: All amounts under $5 cash in hand, over said amount on 4 and 6 months time with note and approved security. Sale will begin promptly at 11 a.m.” The announcement was signed, “Ed. G Hodges.”

In local news items this week, a short article reported, “[s]ome weeks since Mr. H. Turner Hendrix, of Stony Fork, purchased the Mrs. J.G. Horton property in East Boone, and we are told that he will remodel the building in many ways and make it a well appointed and convenient residence. in every respect. Just what he intends to do with the property we do not know, but here’s hoping that the hustling young business man and his amiable wife may occupy it themselves.”
Another article told, “[a]n unoccupied building, but a good one, owned by Mr. J.J.T. Reese, and standing right near his residence on Beaver Dam was destroyed by fire a few nights ago, but fortunately the pretty home escaped the ravages of the flames. The building was used in the main as a store house for grains, provision, etc., and we are told that not less than 300 bushels of wheat and rye were consumed, and the loss is estimated at $1,000, at least.”

November 14, 1946

“WATAUGA TURNS THUMBS DOWN ON 2 AMENDMENTS,” a banner headline on this week’s front page, introduced a story which informed readers that, “Watauga county voted substantially against the amendment which would alter the constitution so as to permit women to do jury duty in the courts of the state, when the issue was presented to the voters in the general election, exactly 2,000 voters favoring the proposal, and 2,148 against for a negative majority of 148.” The other item, reported the newspaper, concerned the “amendment which would raise the pay of members of the [North Carolina General] assembly from ten to twenty dollars a day.” This measure, it was reported, “received more hostile treatment at the hands of the local voters, who evidently figured that their representatives were receiving enough, for this proposal was rejected by a majority of 578, which is likely enough to seal the doom of the amendment[,] which is having a nip and tuck fight as the late returns trickle in to Raleigh.” The story concluded, in contrast ,”[i]t is recalled that in 1928 when the amendment was adopted raising the pay of members of the assembly from $4.00 to $10.00 per day for 60 days, the late returns from Watauga saved the day for the measure.”


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November 14


A tintype image of an unknown man, found in the wall of a home in Boone’s historic Carolina Avenue. Courtesy of Adrian Tait / the Carolina Avenue collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and / the Digital Watauga project.

1908 – Editor of Local Party-Based Newspaper Question Whether Victorious Rival Party’s Promises Will be Kept

November 7, 1888

“Harrison is elected,” began a short piece of editorial opinion in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper. (The newspaper bore a heading during this period proclaiming itself  “A DEMOCRATIC, family newspaper devoted to the interests of its County, State and Nation.”) “Both houses of Congress are probably republican,” continued the editorial. “The republicans will be left without an excuse. if their orators in the recent campaign are to be believed, we are to have glorious times – the Blair education bill is to be passed bringing $33,000 into Watauga county for school purposes — the Revenue laws are to be repealed, so that whiskey, brandy and tobacco can be made by any one without tax or license — wages, for the working man, is (sic) to be higher and the necessaries of life cheaper. All this and more we have promised by the republicans.” Concluded the newspaperman’s tirade, “[w]e will see how well these promises are kept.”

“Cleveland and How He Takes His Defeat” was the headline of a news item dealing with related post-election matters of the day. In relaying the reaction of the defeated incumbent Presidential candidate, the newspaper wrote that Cleveland “expressed not the slightest regret in the world at any action he had taken during his administration.” However, according to the Democrat’s report, “[t]he bitterest pill the President has to swallow is the partisan action of a number of Republicans whom he kept in office, and who voted and worked against him with all their power.” According to the author, “[t]heir deportment towards the administration is a source of great disappointment to him.” President Grover Cleveland would return to the White House in 1893, after the end of Benjamin Harrison’s one-term service as U.S. President. Cleveland was the only President to leave the office, then return for a second term four years later.

November 4, 1936

“ROOSEVELT WINS IN LANDSLIDE,” was a banner headline across the front page of this week. “A landslide of ballots, of proportions hitherto unknown in the political history of the country, Tuesday swept Franklin D. Roosevelt into the presidency for the second term,” reported the Watauga Democrat, “leaving Governor Landon,” his Republican opponent, with only two states to his credit, with a total of only eight electoral votes.” President Roosevelt had taken “an early lead as initial returns indicated his victory in the far west, in the farming regions, and even in his opponent’s state of Kansas.” Reported the story, “[f]or the first time since the Civil war Pennsylvania came through with a substantial majority for the Democrats, and only the states of Maine and Vermont remained loyal to the Republican candidate.”

In other news, “Mr. Guy Stout received wounds about the neck from a pocket knife said to have been wielded by Howard Dula, of Lenoir, as the two engaged in a affray on the streets of Boone last week.” The results of the affray were not tragic; the paper related that, “[t]he wounds, fortunately, were not serious. His [Stouts’] assailant has not been apprehended.”

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November 7


This is a postcard showing “Moonlight Scene, Tater Hill” an early postcard showing a night view of a mountainside west of Boone. Courtesy of the Bobby Brendell collection, the Watauga County Historical Society, and / the Digital Watauga project.

1908: School Halloween Celebration Provides “Refreshing Absence of Everything Akin to Formality”

November 5, 1908
“A Pleasant Occasion,” a report on local news in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper, opened, “[t]he students and teachers of the A.T.S. [Appalachian Teachers School] and the public school[,] with the people of the town and community, enjoyed a very unique and entertaining Hallowe’en party in the auditorium of the main building on Saturday night. The stage had been transformed into a mystic land where no one could be surprised at the presence of ghosts and witches. Across the entire stage was a row of pumpkin heads from which lighted candles gleamed. Suspended by strings just over them was a row of apples which the children[,] with hands locked behind them[,] tried to bite, the successful ones being allowed to draw for a prize. Then[,] ducking for apples in a tub of water was enjoyed by the larger boys and girls of the public school, while the little ones seated on jugs which stood on their necks, had a needle threading contest[,] those being fortunate enough to thread them getting the chance of a prize.” Other entertainments named included, the story noted, a game in which “chestnuts were scattered among leaves and they [the children] were allowed to hunt them.” “The evening’s entertainment was opened by a march of ghosts,” continued the report, “who carried lighted candles and as the ones who attended the party ascended the stairs to the hall[,] they were apt to find themselves ushered by a white[-]robed ghost who would speak never a word.” Other features of the evening included “a short but interesting paper by Prof. Roy M. Brown on ‘Hallowe’en, what it is.'” Further, “[a]mong the undergrowth and bushes, laden with autumn leaves, hung the ‘Witche’s [sic] cauldron, and besides this other modes of fortune telling were in evidence.”  The account of this Halloween celebration concluded, “[i]n short, the best of cheer prevailed, and the absence of everything akin to formality was refreshing.”

November 3, 1938

“Actual construction of the rural electric lines starts in Watauga county this (Wednesday) afternoon,” reported an article under the headline, “WORK ON RURAL ELECTRIC LINES HAS COMMENCED: Ceremonies Mark Setting of the First Pole; Congressman R.L. Doughton Invited to Attend; County Officials and Others Asked to Be Present.” The body of the story included portions of a letter from a Mr. G.F. Messick to “patrons of the REA [Rural Electrification Administration] project,” which related that, “[c]onstruction of our new rural electric lines began this morning when Melvin F. Burgess, Inc., moved its crews and machines to this part of the county and began work. Much of the material has already arrived and poles, wire, transformers and other equipment are on the way from many parts of the country.” It was announced that “the REA plan for financing wiring and plumbing will be thoroughly discussed. If you wish to wire your home completely in the beginning and do not have the ready cash on hand at the moment, you will be interested in this plan.”



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