Workers took advantage of a warm week of afternoons with little rain, for our hometown, to complete the shingled roof for the Kickliter building under construction across from the Plain Talk.

It’s the Thanksgiving weekend with rather mild weather so what was in the Newport Plain Talk news the same week of 1974? One thing missing entirely today is the opening sales month of the Newport tobacco market.

The front-page photo from Monday, November 1974, featured the first crop of burley leaves sold in Newport. I recall that those mornings chilled to the bone that kept the chanting auctioneer moving briskly followed by the tobacco company buyers.

Burley prices hit a record of $1.10 per pound and the first burley basket sold brought smiles to grower Troy Allen, who lived in Chestnut Hill. He sold the first 318-pound basket at $1.01 per pound. Hartford couple Mr. and Mrs. Frank McGaha sold the second basket to kick off sales.

Besides tobacco aroma in the cold air so were political ambitions during the City of Newport election of aldermen and mayor that would take place in early December. I am struck by how few of less than two-dozen candidates are alive. And, naturally folks were thinking about church and community gatherings for Thanksgiving meals.

Tobacco sales brought in the cash for local farmers to pay their annual debts and have money for Christmas shopping. Norman Swain led the sales as president of the Newport Tobacco Board of Trade. Other names you might recall would be vice-president Bill Mullins, and John C. Holder, board secretary-treasurer.

Grocery shopping now and then occupied the week yet none of the larger grocers then exist here today. Saveway Market featured Elm Hill smoke cured ham for 65 cents per pound. Turkey went out the door for 59 cents/lb., and 10 pounds of spuds cost 99 cents.

One name then and now for shoppers was Newport Dry Goods, a long-time Plain Talk advertiser. Their Thanksgiving week ad featured polyester suits for $39.88. Load up on men’s Orlon sox just 44 cents/pr. Imagine Quaker Oil motor oil just 49 cents/qt.

The election loomed only days away on Dec. 3. Dr. Fred Valentine Jr. would hold on to the mayor’s seat with only one challenger, Jimmy Hillard. Earl Rhodes challenged City Recorder Gene Layman, who earned reelection.

Among the 15 aldermen candidates I saw ads for Danny Wester, Danny Sluder, Reece Balch, Joe Bacon, Neil Rader and Bill Cogdill.

A couple of news bits that caught my eye concerned W. D. Hogan and Iliff McMahan, senior. Harold Cates announced the appointment of Hogan to the chair of the Citizens Advisory committee for public welfare.

McMahan, who served the National Labor Relations Board as an information officer became detailed to the White House under President Gerald Ford.

The holidays also cap the end of the work year and happened to be a time of retirement and recognition. The featured man of the week in 1974 was Oakley Cureton, honored for his 50 years with Stokely Van Camp. That meant he started in 1924 about the time Tom Sutton was born. In 1974, his son, Herbert Cureton led the plant as district manager. Herbert is now recovering well from open heart surgery.

The other important component of the season then and now is basketball. For the Plain Talk, Nickey Maxey and I made many photos of school and league games. The photo you see here came from the Newport versus Maury girls game.

At the heart of community happenings, the Newport Kiwanis Club hosted Farm City Week at the Holiday Inn. Club President Bob Davis introduced Dr. W. W. Armistead of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine.

The Nov. 27, 1974 photo of the Kiwanis event showed a large group of farmers and others: Dr. Mike Rucker, Leonard Huber, Jim Graham, Claude Lovin, Tom Stokely, Charles Cobble, Ray Stockdale, McDonald Olden, Scott Vick, Eddie Carpenter, D. S. Miller, Jr., Virgil Snow, Allen Thomas, H. C. Blazer, Fred Sweeten, Creed Clark, Lester Wilds and William Huff.

Monday Nov. 29 ended the Plan Talk news week. The pages reported three-day tobacco sales of 1,002,687 pounds sold for $1,112,045. The front-page photo featured Newport credit Bureau managed by Eva Nease and employees Lois Sprouse, Loretta Gregg, and Mable Trantham. And we give thanks for 2019.

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