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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Aug 25, 2017.

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Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
Sue Diehl shared their event on Facebook
Feb 8
Sue Diehl posted an event
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis.  The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Reader: Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a flower,A disaster streaming off extremes it breedsEverywhere and in our minds,…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood.    Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood.   In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview.  But....was this really…See More
Jan 23
Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Jan 16
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Intermission

IntermissionHear audio by clicking mp3 attachment!(Part of poem, "Coalescence") I thought I might take a break at this point to look around,Now that I’m in the business of making things resound.It’s so nice to have the luxury of being carefree. If you stop and sit back and try to take in everything,It stuns you and you can’t focus on anythingUntil something crops up, and what…See More
Jan 16
Joan Henehan replied to Rob Neufeld's discussion Coalescence
"It's an odyssey..."
Jan 8
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Coalescence

The Main Show: A Story Poem Cycle(formerly, Coalescence) (part of  Living Poem)The Main Show  Program Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a flower,A disaster streaming off extremes it breedsEverywhere and…See More
Dec 11, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Sultan's Dream

The Sultan’s Dream (Part of Living Poem) When it comes to walking, the jig’s up.No more fit lad sitting at the pub.No more flim-flam smiling with a limp. See how the legs totter and the torso leans.Do you know what a lame sultan dreams?Of reclining on a divan wearing pantaloons, Comparing his plight to a mountaineer’sNegotiating an icy bluff in a fierce wind,And then lounging in a tent to unwind. Which…See More
Nov 15, 2018
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Tale of Ononis

The Tale of Ononis by Rob Neufeld Part 1: The Making of a Celebrity ❧  Hare Begins His Tale  Ononis was my region’s name.People now call it Never-the-same.I’ll start with the day a delivery came. The package I got was a devil’s dare,Swaddled and knotted in Swamp Bloat hairAnd bearing, in red, one word: “Beware!” Bloats are creatures from the Land of Mud Pies,Wallowing in waste with tightly closed eyesUntil fears bring tears and the bleary bloats rise.   ❧  Hare’s Colleagues  I asked my boss,…See More
Nov 9, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Drop Your Troubles: A Solo Storytelling Performance with Connie Regan-Blake at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

December 1, 2018 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join this internationally renowned storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she transforms a packed theater into an intimate circle of friends with old-timey charm, wisdom, and humor. We’ll also welcome the Singer of  Stories, Donna Marie Todd, who will perform her original story, “The Amazing Zicafoose Sisters.” Connie’s last two shows at BMCA have sold…See More
Nov 6, 2018
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” The event will be hosted by the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, just a short drive from Asheville nestled in the picturesque mountains surrounding the area. Call the Center for advance tickets (828) 669-0930 or order…See More
Oct 28, 2018

The Highland Messenger, Asheville's first newspaper, sought to improve the masses

Asheville first newspaper: a fascinating example of bad journalism

by Rob Neufeld

 

            “Our section of the country has been visited with an unusual flood of rain during the past week,” reported the Highland Messenger, Asheville’s first newspaper, as it launched its first issue, June 5, 1840.    It was the biggest downpour in 40 years.  Consequently, the editors noted, “We have had no mail from the east.”

            Editors Rev. David R. McAnaly, a Presbyterian minister, and Joshua Roberts depended on news from outside to edify their readership.

            We “shall do all in our power to benefit our readers,” they avowed, “to improve the mind and morals—to enable the ignorant to learn and the wise to improve their recollections.”

            Ministers held big sway over communities.  Women turned to them to temper drunkenness.  Upwardly mobile families turned to them for their children’s education.  Communities turned to them for social order.

            On June 16, the Highland Messenger noted ten days later, McAnaly presided over the equivalent of a royal marriage in these parts, that of Nicholas Woodfin to Eliza McDowell, daughter of Col. Charles McDowell.

 

Sentiment and bias

 

            In a literary style brimming with sanctimony, the Highland Messenger reiterated the sentiments of the Raleigh Register regarding their vision of family values.

“A Mother’s influence!  Alas!  I fear my feeble pen can but ill acquit itself of the task of portraying one of the most powerful, holiest, of all earthly influences.”

            In the political arena, the editors professed objectivity, but clearly supported Gen. William Henry Harrison, the Whig candidate for president, against Martin Van Buren, the Democratic incumbent.

            Presidential politics had only recently become two-party; and 1840 marked the first modern-style campaign.  The Highland Messenger helped defend Harrison against charges that he’d sold “poor white men for debt.”  It raised alarms about Van Buren wanting to support a standing, peacetime army.

 

News in the ads

 

            Locally, the editors promoted Asheville with the kind of hype generally associated with the post-railroad era forty years later. 

            “The road (the Buncombe Turnpike) is good—very good,” the newspaper stated.  It’s the best passage within a 100-mile radius.  The region “is the most healthy, romantic, and in many respects desirable to be found in the United States.”  Asheville has got six dry goods stores, two groceries, two hotels, and two academies.

            Only “criminal apathy” will prevent Asheville from growing rapidly and becoming wealthy.  Occasionally, hard news crept in, sometimes through ads, to confirm this opinion.

            That summer, R. Deaver let people know that his hotel, Sulphur Springs, was “in excellent repair, and open to accommodate from one hundred and fifty, to two hundred persons.”  Bath houses, stables, and enlarged rooms were available.

            And there were discomforting notices.

            The estate of William T. Coleman was selling off all of his possessions, including his store goods, and horses and carriages.

            The town had jailed “a Negro man, about 35 years old…who says his name is Henry.”  He’d left home in Chatham County with “a mulatto boy named Toney.”  The owner is requested to come forward and pay the retrieval fee.

            That item appeared every week for a few weeks; as did one in which Daniel Payne plaintively noted that his yellow sorrel horse had been stolen from John Love’s stable in Haywood County.

            It has got “a pretty large blaze in his face, extending to his mouth,” Payne said.  “His hind legs (are) both white, with wind-galls on the ancles; he is about fifteen hands and a half high—very heavy bodied, with a beautiful ear, head and neck…one of his hips is a little lower than the other…I swapped for him four years ago…I have since rode him on the Blairsville, Lafayette, and Spring Place Circuits.”

 

Curdled words

 

            Only a couple of years after the Trail of Tears, the Highland Messenger took a moral stand against broken treaties,

            “We are informed on good authority,” the editors reported on July 24, 1840, “that between nine hundred and a thousand of these deluded beings (Cherokees), are still hovering about the homes of their fathers, in the counties of Macon and Cherokee.  It is also stated, that they are a great annoyance to the citizens of those counties, who have been induced to purchase the lands at a high price under the firm belief that the Treaty would be strictly complied with, in the removal of all the Indians. 

            “The citizens,” the writers continued righteously, “have petitioned the President of the United States to have them removed…(but) he has returned them the following answer: that ‘they (the Indians) are, in his opinion, free to go or stay.’  Thus saying…what he has…said to the citizens of the whole United States, ‘you are in the habit of looking for too much from the General Government.’”

            So there were the old contradictions: federal peacetime army, bad; federal interference with Cherokees, good

            The Whig candidate, Harrison, was famous for falsely promoting his log cabin origins.  Parties clamored for a populist image, and the Highland Messenger reflected this in their humorous anecdotes.

            A miller asks a fool what he knows and doesn’t, one joke goes.  “I know that millers have fat hogs,” he says.  “I don’t know whose corn they eat.”

            Finally, there’s the issue of grabbing sensational stories and not doing enough fact-checking.

            The newspaper passed on the news sent by the Sydney (Australia) Herald that Capt. Charles Wilkes on the U.S. ship Vincennes had discovered the continent of Antarctica.

            As has been revisited by Nathaniel Philbrick in his compelling 2003 book of history, “Sea of Glory,” Wilkes had been a brutal tyrant who’d promoted himself to captain, faced a mutiny and a court-martial, and falsified the date of his landing to discredit British explorer James Ross.  His greater achievements as a nautical surveyor comprise another story, and one with a less flashy headline.

MORE INFO

Early issues of the Highland Messenger, the first newspaper to be published in Asheville, are now available in the North Carolina Newspapers project at digitalnc.org. The Highland Messenger was nominated for digitization by Buncombe County Public Libraries.

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