A little History - Two Ashe Brothers Revolutionized Area's Education

A little History - Two Ashe Brothers Revolutionized Area's Education

"If you seek their monument, look around you." The High Country as we know it today exists because of the selfless dedication and incredible hard work of two native sons of Ashe County, Blanford Barnard and Dauphin Disco Dougherty. It is thanks to them that Appalachian State University exists and that it was built in Boone.

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The brothers were a study in contrasts. B.B. was a lifelong bachelor; D.D. had a happy family life. B.B. was a brilliant educator; D.D. had the business sense in the family.

B.B. was a quiet, severe-looking man with a passion for education. When the school superintendent of Ashe County was away from home one day, young B.B. galloped after him on horseback to get his teaching certificate. That was all it took in those days: pass an oral exam from the local superintendent, and you could teach. B.B. did it, but he knew it wasn't what the mountains needed.

He dreamed of a college where young men and women from the mountains would become real teachers, teachers as learned and trained as any in the country. Then, his dream continued, they would return to their farms and towns and inspire the next generation.

In 1899, his dream began to come true when the two brothers opened Watauga Academy in Boone. Four years later, B.B. mounted his horse and rode off to Raleigh to seek state funds for a teaching college. After some local debate and consideration, the state funds went to turn Watauga Academy into Appalachian State Teachers' College. The High Country, and the lives of thousands of young people, would be changed forever.

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