December 28 / January 2




A photograph of an unidentified child sitting on a wall next to flowers. Date and exact location unknown. Courtesy of the Harrison-Boone-Grimes Family Home Collection / Junaluska Heritage Association and the Digital Watauga Project /

December 28, 1922

A front-page feature in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat bore the headline, “JUDGE OPPOSES DEATH PENALTY – Sentenced First Man To Die In North Carolina’s Electric Chair – Retiring After 16 Years Service.” The first-person account began with the perhaps surprising quotation, “‘After 16 years on the bench, during which time I sentenced the first man to die in North Carolina’s Electric Chair and have sentenced five others who were executed, I am more than ever opposed to capital punishment.'” The quote was from Judge C.C. Lyon, who was described as “now in Raleigh, presiding over his last term of superior court.” Although stating that he believed that some convicted criminal offenders who were “carrying long terms of imprisonment either escape or are [given] clemency within a few years,” the Judge stated, “still, I believe capital punishment has failed its purpose and is not humane.”

An article entitled “The Fox Farm,” attributed as having been taken from The Philadelphia Record, told local readers in Watauga County that, “[w]ithout personal knowledge it is difficult to realize how the industry of fox farming has grown in Canada. An exhibition was recently held in Toronto where 300 silver black fox were shown of an estimated value of perhaps half a million dollars.” The article stated that, “[t]here are about 800 fox farms in the Dominion [of Canada][,] all of them having their beginning in the act of a farmer’s boy at Georgetown, Ont. 15 years ago, who caught a pair of foxes and began to breed them. Some of the present fox farms represent large investments from which substantial profits have been made in supplying furs to the American market.”

December 27, 1945

A large banner wishing readers “Merry Christmas,” accompanied by an illustration depicting Santa Claus, adorned the top of this issue of the Watauga Democrat, the first post-Christmas edition since the end of World War II. “Tire Rationing Will End On January 1,” a headline announced elsewhere on the front page. “Tire rationing will end at 12:01 a.m. January 1, the Office of Price Administration announced in Washington Thursday night,” the news item related. “This will leave only sugar on the rationing list. Tire stocks were frozen on Dec. 8, 1941, and rationing began Jan. 5., 1942.” According to the story, “under the program 57,000,000 new passenger car tires – normally a 20-month replacement supply – kept almost 24,000,000 passenger cars rolling for four war years.”

“Mercury Rises to Give Slight Relief to Area,” another headline, introduced an article detailing that, “Watauga county residents got a slight respite from the frigid wave which has persisted here for the past two weeks here Friday, as clearing skies and higher temperatures permitted some thawing where the sun shone, but the weather man gives little promise of any appreciable relief from the cold wave.” According to the article, reporting on recent wintry weather, “[t]he storm of Wednesday night whipped the snow into drifts, which impeded traffic, particularly on some of the country roads, and temperatures hit the zero mark in different sections of the county.”


A 1922 advertisement from the Watauga Democrat newspaper of Boone, North Carolina


Published in: on January 2, 2017 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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