Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Dec. 6, 1945
The first week of Dec., 1945 ushered piles of snow into the High Country. According to the Dec. 6, 1945 edition of the Watauga Democrat, “eight inches of snow blanketed the city.” Per the news paper, the heaps of snow covering town made it difficult for Boone residents to move about and many citizens found themselves “virtually shut-ins.” Labeled as the “biggest snow of the season,” the winter weather event shut down traffic until mid-morning, through “state highway machines had sufficiently cleared the roadways, so that the most necessary traffic could move.”
Though progress was made clearing the streets early in the day, the snow did cause several delays, particularly to both bus and mail traffic. According to the article, “Bus schedules to Johnson City were canceled Tuesday night,” and though one bus had arrived from Winston-Salem there were “prospects for delayed service throughout the day.” Meanwhile, the town’s postal service “expected some of the incoming mail schedules to arrive, but perhaps late.” The town’s postmaster also stated that there would be “only one delivery of mail in the city.”
Dec. 2, 1965
The Dec. 2, 1965, edition of the Watauga Democrat carried with it news about the death of local folk singer, Frank Noah Proffitt. A Vilas local, Proffitt had been recorded by Folk Legacy in Huntington, Vt., and by Folkways records in New York. According to the Watauga Democrat, Proffitt was “perhaps best known for his version of ‘Tom Dooley’ which he recorded for folk performer and collector Frank Warner, of Long Island, N.Y., in 1938.” As reported by the article, Proffitt’s family had personal a connection to the song “Tom Dooley,” stating that “Frank Proffitt’s grandmother, Adeline Pardue of Wilkes County, knew Tom Dula and Lauri Foster and sang the song.” Furthermore, the article notes that when Proffitt heard his father, uncle and aunt singing the ballad “it was not some story of a far-away happening. It was a personal possession, a family keep.” The article states that Warner had “recorded the song from Proffitt in 1938, and it became nationally known in 1959, when the Kingston Trio presented the murder story as ‘Tom Dooley.’”
Dec. 1, 1975
On Dec. 1, 1975, the Watauga Democrat noted that the local tobacco market was doing well. According to the paper, Joe Coleman, operator of the Boone’s two tobacco markets, stated that it “had been an excellent curing season and an excellent marketing season so far.” Per the article, 1975 was “very important” for preparing tobacco due to the “big price spread between wet and dry tobacco.” According to the Coleman interview featured in the article, area farmers were “pretty well satisfied about the prices” they received for their product “except for common tobacco.” Top prices for that year were “$115 per hundred pounds” on opening day, which was held at Farmers Burley Warehouse. The paper reported that “317,384 pounds of tobacco on the floor sold for $335,456.30.” The average price was $105.73 per hundred pounds.