December 14 / 19

December 19, 1889

The front page of this last issue of the Watauga Democrat in the year 1889 included a lengthy letter to the newspaper which began, “Editor DEMOCRAT: I find Watauga county in a prosperous and thriving condition, notwithstanding hard times, but the mail facilities are in a worse condition than any place I have ever been. Since I have been here I have not been able to get mail through from Bakersville, a distance of 50 miles, in under 10 days.” Continued the complainant, “there is a through mail from Boone to Plum Tree 3 times a week, I have received my mail from there in 6 days; I have been here 3 weeks on business connected with my office and have not yet been able to get mail through to Greensboro, N.C. and return. There is neglect and violation of the Postal service somewhere among P.M.’s (postmasters). I think it would be well for a U.S.P.O (United States Post Office) Detective to look up matters in general as the public cannot endure such treatment any longer.” The open letter was signed, “W.H. Greer, U.S. Deputy Marshall.”

“We have a private letter,” began a short local news item in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat, “from Bristol, Tenn., stating that the Atlantic & Ohio R.R. (Railroad) Co., will soon survey a line for R.R., from Bristol up the Watauga River through Ashe, or Wataug[a] county, to Wilkesboro. Both lines will be surveyed and the most practicab[l]e one will be adopted.”

“A few days since,” began another notice, “Boone was visited by quite a number of young people on horseback, and [they] repaired to the residence of Rev. I.W. Thomas where Mr. Stephen Holsclaw and Miss Maggie Bryan were united in marriage,.” Immediately after the ceremony was ended,” concluded the article, “they mounted their horses and went on their way rejoicing.”

December 28, 1944

“TIGHTER REIGN ON RATIONING DRAWN BY OPA” was a prominent headline in this final newspaper edition for 1944. “A tightening of belts for millions of Americans was decreed Monday by OPA (Office of Price Administration) officials when instructions were received here invalidating five sugar stamps, returning point values to a number of canned vegetables, cancellation of a number of red and blue stamps and the boosting of point values on butter to 24 points.”

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December 7th/12th

December 4, 1941

Just days before the Japanese attack on the United States Naval Installation at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 4th, 1941, the regular Thursday edition of the weekly Watauga Democrat newspaper was published in Boone. Front-page news items that day ran the usual gamut of small-town local notes of interest. One headline told the events at a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce; another announced that “Miss Margaret Moore, registered nurse of Asheville” had just “taken over the superintendency of the Watauga Hospital, succeeding Miss Anna Hayes, who recently resigned.” An article told of the organization of a Farm Bureau for Watauga County, and news from the local high school announced, “Ten Youths Complete Defense Training Course.” (Interestingly, a follow-up to this course, open to “[a]ny young man between the ages of 17 and 25,” was scheduled to begin “Monday night, December 8”). “The class,” it was reported, “which meets at night[,] has had instruction in arc welding, sheet metal work, pipe fitting, forging and machinery repair.” Those who had completed the course were “awarded certificates for completion of an eight-week defense training course in metal work.”

December 11, 1941

In the next edition of the Watauga Democrat, the world had dramatically changed, following the surprise attack by the Empire of Japan against the United States. The pages of Boone’s newspaper both covered the shocking news of the event, and of the nation’s subsequent entry into World War II, while also continuing to focus on other items close to the hearts, minds, and livelihoods of the people of Watauga County. In a time when radio was the swiftest mass means of news coverage, and with the time difference between the Hawaiian Islands and the East Coast of the Continental United States, many citizens of Watauga County, and throughout the nation, heard news of the Pearl Harbor attack as an interruption to their usual Sunday afternoon family radio-listening time. By the time the Watauga Democrat next edition went to press, four days had passed since the event. The Democrat‘s pages from that issue offer a curious mix of announcements of the attack and its aftermath, including a prominent but not oversized headline reading “U.S. at War with Japan,” and assorted local town news, Appalachian State Teachers College items, Christmas shopping advertising, and an enthusiastic front-page story about the booming success of the local burley tobacco market.

In the fever pitch of national zeal after the sneak Japanese attack, the shorthand epithet “Jap” found its place in numerous headlines. “COMMERCE BODY CONDEMNS JAPS FOR OUTLAWRY” was a headline containing one example, introducing a story detailing how the local merchant’s group whose routine business meeting had been featured the prior week had made a special and explicit denunciation of the mass murder by means of a special resolution. Another, “May Burn Jap Toys,” told that, “[t]he bitter resentment felt in this locality over the assault by Japan on United States territory, is strikingly reflected by a conversation between some merchants on the street Tuesday. They agreed to sort out all toys and trinkets from their stocks, labeled ‘made in Japan’ and burn them in a demonstration on the town square. Other merchants will likely be approached on the bonfire proposition before the date and hour is definitively set. One large retailer stated that his firm had quit buying Nipponese [Japanese] goods many months ago, regardless of price consideration, not waiting for a major demonstration of Japanese infamy.”

The assault had, indeed, hit powerfully and tragically close to home, with one area serviceman already reported lost: “Ashe Man Learns of Death of Son in Hawaii” introduced a news item relaying that, “Winifred Hart of Lansing, Ashe county, member of the United States coast guard was reported to have been killed in action during the Japanese raids on Pearl Harbor.” In addition, Hart’s “life-long friend, Scott Gamble, also of Lansing, had been killed at the same time.” Hart’s father, “Mr. Ira T. Hart, well known Ashe county farmer” was “in the Mountain Burley warehouses here [in Boone] selling his tobacco, when the word of his son’s death reached him.”

The specter of war had already reached into the Northwestern North Carolina mountains, and would drastically affect its people and their way of life profoundly in the coming years.

reverand_eber_s_gragg_holding_his_birthday_cake

Watauga resident and minister Rev. Eber S. Gragg, born about the time of the beginning of the Civil War, celebrated his 80th birthday around the time that the United States entered World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This image and caption was among the leading news featured on the front page of the Watauga Democrat’s December 11, 1941 issue.

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This advertisement for Christmas gifts from the local Farmer’s Hardware merchant was featured in the issue of the newspaper the week after the Pearl Harbor attack.

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A movie ticket, issued for Downtown Boone’s Appalachian Theatre about a month before the entry of the United States into World War II. The film showing was a benefit for the local high school.

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December 12

parkway_bridge

This is a picture of a bridge on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a small group of unidentified men. The date of the photograph and the exact location of the bridge are unknown. Courtesy of the Historic Boone society and the NC Digital Heritage Center, library.digitalnc.org.

December 19, 1888

The “Town and County” section of local news items in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat newspaper included a notice entitled “A Narrow Escape,” which told that, “Mrs. W.C. Coffey came near being drowned in Yadkin River on her way home from a visit to her parents.” The article related that, “Her father, Mr. Curtis[,] concluded that the river was too deep for her team and buggy and so sent a boy with a tall buggy and a very large horse of his to take her across. This horse on striking the current choked and fell and broke the shafts of the buggy. The horse recovered and turned back for the bank from whence he came[,] leaving Mrs. Coffey in the buggy in the deepest part of a very swift and dangerous ford. Fortunately Fin was on hand with his buggy and drove in and took his Mother out[,] not hurt but badly scared.”

December 18, 1941

“DUTIES OF CIVIL DEFENSE GROUP GIVEN BY BROWN,” a headline this week, introduced a story which began, “Wade E. Brown, chairman of the Watauga county committee on civilian defense, has issued the following statement relative to the duties and activities of the organization: 1. Aircraft warning service. Seven air raid stations organized in sections designated by army throughout the county, and which are now contacting army headquarters each day. Additional volunteers in this service will be needed to assist in the lookout for enemy aircraft, and for other warning and service activities along this line.” Other items in the statement included registration of volunteers “willing to give assistance when the need arises;” the appointment of “V Men,” who “are appointed to study local needs and conditions pertaining to civil defense and be available for public meetings and give instructions as the need arises;” the formation of a “Civil protection committee,” to be headed by the mayors of Boone and Blowing Rock; and a “Civil defense council, previously appointed.” Coming shortly after the entry of the United States into World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Brown’s pronouncement emphasized that, “[a]fter all, we are in war through no choice of our own or of our country. We are confident of ultimate victory, and the people of Watauga county will not be content to do less than their full share.”

In happier news, “KIDDIES XMAS PARTY SATURDAY” was an article which told that, “[n]ext Sunday afternoon at 2:00 o’clock, a Christmas program will be given at Appalachian Theatre for the benefit of the underprivileged children of this community. The program is sponsored by the Woman’s Club and the Lions Club of Boone.” As part of the charitable festivity, “[t]oys and confections will be given the children who attend,” reported the newspaper. “The toys were taken in at a special toy matinee sometime [sic] ago and have been repaired by the firemen and the staff of workers at the local NYA center.” The “NYA” was the National Youth Administration, a part of the New Deal programs of the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration which sought to give work to young people between the ages of 16 and 25, during the time of the Great Depression.

 

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December 5

log_skidder_and_crew_shulls_mill
This picture shows a logging operation in about the year 1916, at the Whiting Lumber Mill in Watauga County. The logging crew are shown standing by a skidder, which is a machine used to pull felled trees from the site at which they were cut down to the mill where they are processed. Courtesy of Michael Lowery / the Lowery-Whiting Collection and the Digital Watauga Project, DigitalWatauga.org.

November 29, 1923

A prominent headline in this week’s edition of the Watauga Democrat announced, “COOLIDGE ASKS NATION TO OBSERVE ‘GOLDEN RULE SUNDAY’ ON DEC. 2.” The headline was followed by a reproduction of the official letter bearing the Presidential decree and a small portrait of the Chief Executive. The President wrote, “It is with a great deal of satisfaction that I commend your proposal to observe an International Golden Rule Dinner Sunday, on the second of December, 1923. I feel sure that this suggestion will meet with very widespread approval and will bring more closely to mind the charitable requirements of those who are prosperous to those who are in adversity. It suggests not only a practical method for help, but the highest appreciation of sympathy, by sharing for a time the privation of others. Cordially yours, [signed] Calvin Coolidge.” A caption beneath the letter explained, “[t]he plans for the observance of Golden Rule Sunday call upon the people of America to serve a menu in their homes similar to that served in the orphanages in the near east, the difference in the cost of the orphanage menu and the ordinary meal to be contributed to orphanage work overseas. The observance is very appropriately fixed for the Sunday following Thanksgiving. Having on Thursday partaken from well-laden tables as a token of rejoicing in the prosperity of America, it is fitting that on the following Sunday people give special consideration to the needs and distress of those who are less highly favored.”
In local events, the “Stony Fork News” column reported, “Saturday afternoon Dec. 1 has been appointed by the men of the church to meet and haul wood for the church. Everyone who can is invited to bring a team and tools to help in this very necessary work. In a very few hours wood enough to last the church all winter can be cut and hauled.”

November 27, 1941
“WAR ON RODENTS NOW IN PROGRESS,” a banner headline this week, carried the sub-heading “Mayor Says That If People Continue Unresponsive Eradication Campaign to End.” In the details of the story, the public was informed that, “Messrs. Killough, Braswell and Helms of the Orkin Exterminating Company, Charlotte, are now in the city waging war on wharf rats about the city dump, creek banks and other public spots, and treating homes and business houses in cases where the people are willing to co-operate by paying the small fee of $1.50.  Mayor Gragg states, however, that since the announcement was made of the rat campaign, only about a dozen people have signified their willingness to co-operate by having their homes and other buildings treated for the rodents, and long experience of the exterminating company has shown that no campaign came be thoroughly successful without the full co-operation of the people.” Due to the tepid response, it was reported, “Mr. Gragg further says that the city is doing its full share toward alleviating the wharf rat menace, and that if the people are not interested, the campaign will close when the contract made with the company is fulfilled.”

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November 28

kelly_and_greene_photo_shop_junaluska_collection

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 / DigitalWatauga.org

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

main_street_boone_circa_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. 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 digitalwatauga.org / 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

carolina_ave_1

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 digitalwatauga.org / 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

moonlight_scene_tater_hill

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 digitalwatauga.org / 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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October 26/31

rock

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.”

 

 

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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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