More issues of Asheboro’s The Courier are now available on our site thanks to our partner, the Randolph County Public Library. The new issues, digitized from microfilm, range from 1925-1937. One of the ways that these issues give us a slice of life from Asheboro in the early 20th century is through their classified ad sections.
The classified ads in the February 28, 1929 issue of The Courier have an interesting overlap with the ones we might see in newspapers or online today. Some still seem relevant, like the one selling a hot water tank, the one advertising an auction of personal property (“Household and kitchen furniture, organ, bedsteads, mattresses, quilts, sewing machine, blankets, cooking utensils, and other things too tedious to mention”), or the one searching for a lost gold watch. Others seem like they have been mostly displaced by contemporary markets, like the one selling “Good old homemade Alabama can sugar syrup,” or the one advertising a stay at a private home for “Transient visitors to Washington, D.C.” And, like any good classified ad sections, there are the unexpected; one reads: “Will pay the highest cash prices for opossum, muskrat, mink and raccoon hides.” The intended use of the hides is unspecified.
Marshall Hedrick holding a cabbage plant with 52 small heads that he found in his garden. He purchased Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage seeds, but the outcome led him to believe they were not that variety. (Catawba County, 1941)
The real star of this classified ad section, though, is cabbage. Five of the ads are for cabbage plants, including the two longest. This may be partly due to the time of year and the fact that these cabbage plants are apparently frost-proof; one reads, “Frost Proof Cabbage Plants, Early Jersey and Charleston, the kind you need to head early.” Another sounds similar: “FOR SALE—Front Proof Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage plants.” A more detailed one advertises, “Over 30 Acres Frostproof Cabbage Plants not pulled over yet to select from that has not been stunted much by cold and guaranteed to reach you alive and stand the cold in Randolph county.”
But the best ad by far takes a more narrative approach. R.O. Parks’ ad begins: “In 1910 I sowed half pound cabbage seed. People laughed at me. They said cabbage plants can’t be grown in Randolph county. They grew nicely and I have some fine plants.” He goes on, sticking it to his doubters, “Since them [sic] I have been growing plants with unusual success. I sow thousand pounds of seed each year. I grow sweet potato plants and tomato plants. I will have genuine purple top Porto Rico potato plants, the first ever offered in Randolph county, ready May 1st.”
R.O. Parks, despite the hate he got for his ambitious cabbage planting, does not hold a grudge against his potential buyers; he notes that his early tomato plants are “guaranteed to please” and that “If your plants get killed by cold I will replace free.”
You can read even more classified ads, as well as the rest of the news, in the full batch of issues of The Courier here. You can also explore our full collection of digital newspapers by location, type, and date in our North Carolina Newspapers collection. To see more materials from the Randolph County Public Library, you can visit their partner page and their website.