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A look back at Mooresville in 1921
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A look back at Mooresville in 1921

A look back at Mooresville in 1921

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The Tribune continues its 17th annual series of articles looking back at the news and newspaper advertisements of the day in Mooresville and South Iredell a century ago.

These news items, with original headlines, are from The Mooresville Enterprise, predecessor to The Tribune. They are transcribed, edited and introduced by local historian and columnist O. C. Stonestreet.

May 5

“Local Briefs”

Thomas F. McMahon, of New York, vice president of the United Textile Workers of America, will be in Mooresville Saturday and will deliver an address at the graded school auditorium at 4:30 o’clock. All union and non-union textile workers and the public generally are invited to be present. Mr. McMahon has been in North Carolina for the past week, talking to the textile workers in various towns and cities.

During the heavy rains Monday night and Tuesday morning traffic was somewhat impeded along Main street in front of [Mr. F. D.] Stonestreet’s store, where the drainage is insufficient to carry off the surplus waterfall. The street slopes from both the grade beyond the Mooresville Cotton Mills office and also from Wilson avenue, and during a heavy rainfall, the water swirls about the street in its hurrying efforts to escape. Water Tuesday morning was over the curbing at the point above mentioned.

“J.W. Butler Sells Out”

James W. Butler, for more than thirty years a merchant of Mooresville, has sold his grocery and confectionary business and will retire to private life. This particular gentleman has been a great factor in the business annals of this city. For all these years, “Butler’s” was the rendezvous for the young people of the town and community. Before the drug stores began handling ice cream, Butler served this whole section and during the winter season his “oyster stews and fries” were sought at all times, day and night. And then the little folks, boys and girls—were always found at Butler’s store, and Butler was always fond of the little folks. He is a friend to everybody, and although he is retiring from business on account of ill health, he has not laid up a competence to justify the retirement. However, he has his friends, staunch and true. He is one of the best types of Christian manhood known to the community and he has always been the sacrificing friend of the worthy in need. “Jim” Butler will be missed from the circle of business associates in the community. It is to be regretted that so fair and straight a man is forced to relinquish his trade. He has sold his business, good will and stock to Messrs. Harry A. and Roddie M. Alexander, of Mount Mourne. These young gentlemen have taken over the business and will conduct a cash grocery store. Mr. Butler has arranged to spend a good portion of his time in the city looking after back accounts and getting a much-needed outing and rest.

“Captured a Big Can with Little Booze”

Acting Chief of Police Wagstaff and Special Policeman Bob McLaughlin hauled in the wet goods Sunday night about 10:30 o’clock, having spotted a can Sunday afternoon, located in the honeysuckle vines about 100 yards east of the east end of Center avenue beyond Eastern Heights. The container is a linseed oil can about five gallons capacity. It was snugly placed inside of a tow sack and carefully concealed from view by artful hands who had placed it there for safe keeping. The officers “scented” the stuff Sunday afternoon and while “strolling” they ran upon it. They kept watch until about 11 o’clock and brought the stuff to port. It is now at police headquarters in the municipal building. No one has called to claim it. There is about two gallons of the firewater in the can.

“Commencement Over”

The Mooresville Graded Schools have had quite a successful year and the largest class graduated that has ever been turned out in one year from the high school. There were twenty-eight members of the class, twenty-six of whom were given diplomas for having finished all the requirements, while two were awarded certificates, signifying that they had taken the four-year high school course….

Following are members of the Class: Ora Beatrice Brantley, Sarah Elizabeth Brawley, Lorena Brown, Pauline Chester, Alma Gray Culp, Pauline Belle Edmiston, Cora Levinia Freeze, Linnie Nevada Freeze, Hazel Houston, Nancy Eugenia Lowe, Lucy Beatrice McNeely, Catherine Louise Rogers, Aya Mae Stafford, Margaret Alice White, Cleo Bernice Williford, Elbert Carroll Beatty, Robert Thomas Brantley, Everette Cloaninger, Doyt Steele Cornelius, William Burton Harris, Jr., William Henry Hudson, Harrison Nathaniel Johnston, Jr., John Patterson Johnston, Arthur Moore Kelly, LeRoy Kennette, Thomas Frank Moore, Wade Reece Todd.

[Note: Miss Cora Freeze, who was a local teacher for 40 years, was Valedictorian of the MHS Class of 1921.]

May 12

“Textile Workers Hold Big Meeting”

Textile workers of the Mooresville cotton mills turned out in large numbers here on last Saturday afternoon to hear Thomas F. McMahon, of New York, vice-president of the United Textile Workers of America, who spoke to over a thousand union and non-union workers at the auditorium of the Central School. McMahon reviewed the local factory conditions and touched upon living conditions of the factory workers in Mooresville. Preceding the address by McMahon, National Organizer Dean, who is now working with the local unions in the Carolinas, made an appeal to the members of the union to strengthen their organization by keeping in good standing in their union. The local band was on hand at the meeting and played a number of stirring selections before and after the meeting.

“Local Briefs”

Richard Torrence, a well-known and respected Negro, died suddenly while in the field planting cotton last Monday afternoon. It will be recalled that he was working with Mr. O. M. Craven in the wheat field two years ago when Mr. Craven was killed by lightning. Torrence had not been well since that time. He lived on Mr. D. P. Craven’s land.

The protracted meeting held in a tent at the Jones Memorial church at the Dixie Mill closed Monday night. Rev. J. H. Capps, the pastor, was assisted during the first week of meeting by Rev. D. P. Waters. Twenty-two new members were added to the church roll. It is hoped to have then new church completed and ready for service not later than the first of June, at a cost of approximately $5,000.

[Note: A “protracted meeting” was a religious revival over several days.]

The lumber house of Mr. W. M. Long, on Route 2, three miles west of town, was struck by lightning last night and was totally destroyed, together with a new Ford car, wheat drill, three bales of cotton, 100 bushels of corn, 25 bushels of peas, some wheat, all farming tools and one cow. Neighbors and friends in town have contributed to his relief and he hereby returns to all his sincere thanks.

The Mooresville Band will give a concert at the graded school auditorium tonight. The public is invited to be there. No admission.

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Mr. John Franklin Ludwig is carrying his arm in a sling from the effects of Forditis, the arm being broken above the wrist. Mr. Roddie Alexander is also afflicted with a bad arm from a Ford kick.

May 19

“Local Briefs”

Beginning Monday morning, the Acme Motor Company of this city put on a special jitney service, operating between Mooresville and Statesville and Mooresville and Charlotte.

The fraternal order of Moose has closed a deal with the owners of the building for the up-stairs over the post office where the order will have its headquarters. The rooms will be equipped with shower-baths and made an up-to-date club room.

Mr. A. B. Sandidge arrived from Winston-Salem last week and entered upon his work as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce Monday morning. His office is in the municipal building, and he will be glad to meet and talk with the citizens in general on the various matters that may come up for consideration by the chamber.

[Note: Mr. Sandidge proved to be a real spark plug for the local chamber of commerce.]

“Found Unknown Wealth on Place”

Mr. G. H. Smithdeal, who bought and lives on the old John Steele place near Prospect church, was in town Monday morning exhibiting coins found at his place at the corner of a porch near the well. Several days ago, Mr. Smithdeal was opening a little ditch for the water to drain away from the house and shoveled a small quantity of dirt away from near the rock pillar to the corner of the porch. After a severe rain he was going through the yard and found two [unreadable] cemented together by [unreadable] dirt. When he had rubbed them apart the inscriptions were dulled to such an extent that the only thing that could be deciphered was they are known to be Algerian coins bearing the date of 17 6. Mr. Smithdeal’s wealth is unknown and if digging further would bring him a fortune, it would be no great surprise to the people of that community or to him. However, the coins he has are made of very light metal, neither silver nor gold.

“Shepherds Items”

The baseball game played between Shepherds and Troutmans was largely attended at Troutmans last Saturday evening, the score being 3 to 5 in favor of Shepherds.

May 26

“Local Briefs”

Out at Stewart Park two tennis courts are under construction. When complete, which will be in a few days, there will be numbers of young people to take advantage of this rare and excellent, although strenuous sport.

The Mooresville Band will go to Charlotte tomorrow night, where it will be the guest of the Boy Scouts and will furnish music for the Boy Scout demonstration in the city at the auditorium. The Mooresville Band stands in high favor with our Charlotte neighbors, and has repeatedly been called upon to join the festivities down there. Quite a number of persons will go down for the event other than the band boys to see the demonstration of the numberless Scouts and also to hear and enjoy the music by our excellent musicians. The Davidson and Scout bands will also have parts on the program.

June 2

“Local Briefs”

There will be a baseball game between the Tigers and China Grove on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock, at the South Main Street baseball park.

June 9

“Our Mooresville Band”

The people of Mooresville and vicinity cannot do too much for the young men who comprise the personnel of the Mooresville Band. Every Friday night this aggregation of musicians gathers on the bandstand in the center of town and dispense unlavishly good band music. Of course, they are practicing, but the public appreciates the excellence of the music rendered. Last Friday night the boys wore their white duck uniforms and made a handsome appearance. Prof. Bartlett, who has them in charge, is proud of the progress made, and will be here again tomorrow night, when the band will play for the meeting of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Local Briefs”

The Girl Scouts will give an ice cream supper tonight at 7:00 o’clock on the vacant lot beside the band stand. Music will be furnished by the Mooresville Band. Everybody is invited.

At a meeting of the town board of commissioners Monday night, J. A. Wagstaff was elected chief of police to succeed himself, having been appointed temporarily several months ago. Patrolman Ferguson was re-elected night policeman.

Frank Smith, charged with stealing sweet potato slips from the hotbed of John Wiggins, was given a hearing before Esquire Voils and was adjudged guilty. He was fined $25 and the costs. He paid the costs and was given the alternative of paying the $25 or leaving this section of the county—getting beyond the boundaries of this and adjacent counties. He’s moving out. Sam Griffin, a young white boy, was also charged with the same offence, having been induced to steal plants from the same bed by Smith on the promise of giving him all the potatoes he wanted when they grew and matured. In Griffin’s case judgement was suspended on payment of the costs.

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