Saturday, August 16, 2014

At the Watauga County Home, 1921

“The New County Home,” from the Watauga Democrat, Thursday, Aug. 25, 1921

The walls of the new county home are almost complete, and it is the purpose of the contractors and the Board of county commissioners to have it ready to be occupied by winter, the lower story at least. The building will be a commodious affair, and is beautifully located on a gently rolling plot of ground on the poor house farm right near the Boone Trail Highway. The rooms are amply large and will be heated by a furnace. A splendid flow of pure water will furnish the baths, kitchen, etc., of the institution, and when completed the building will present a very pleasing appearance.

It was our pleasure last Sunday afternoon, in company with Rev. Edgar Tufts, Mr. J.D. Councill and Mrs. Mary Jurney to visit the inmates of the home. All of them who have reasoning powers seem to be happy over the prospects of soon moving into their new quarters. They say they are furnished with plenty of good food, that Mr. and Mrs. Brown, the keeper and his wife, show them every kindness. The rooms are dark and forbidding, but everything looks reasonably clean and comfortable. 

In the home are two rather striking personages, Mr. James Andrews, who has been there for a quarter of a century, and the little blind woman, Miss Mary Hartley, who has spent the past 15 years there and at the State institution for the blind at Raleigh. 

Mr. Andrews is a man of intelligence and has been a great reader, but recently his eyes have failed to such an extent that he confines his reading almost entirely to the Bible. He has been prone upon his back for many years, but he bears it uncomplainingly.

Miss Hartley, the blind woman, entertained us with Bible readings which were well rendered, the perforated characters being traced by the fore finger on her right hand. A wonderful procedure.

Mr. Tufts preached a short but very timely sermon to the unfortunates, which was much enjoyed by all of them, they being very solicitous that he come again, which he promised to do on the third afternoon next month.

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