2016-02-03 / Columns

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, February 4, 1926 Officials, business leaders and citizens in Letcher and Perry counties are angered by the news that that the L&N Railroad has decided to connect with the C.C.&O. Railroad via a tunnel linking Harlan County with Virginia rather than tunneling through the mountain between McRoberts and Jenkins. “If this be true,” the Hazard Herald says in an editorial, “Harlan County coal will have an outlet to the sea, to foreign countries, and to all the South and Southeast, thus cutting the Hazard field out of that market.”

. Mountain Eagle editor N.M. Webb has a suggestion for what to do with the large number of inmates now being held in the Letcher County Jail. According to Webb, the 71 inmates, which represent the largest number in the jail’s history, “could build a lot of good road or do a lot of other public improvements. Most of them would rather be doing something beneficial than confined like bees in a gum.”

. Colonel U.S. Morris, head of the Imperial Elkhorn Coal Company at Sergent, has been in from Detroit over the last several days looking over his plant and operations. Mr. Morris has earned the praise of many for the “high-toned condition” of the Sergent camp.

. Bills making their way through the Kentucky General Assembly would raise juror’s pay from $2 to $3 per day and raise pay for Confederate pensioners to $20 per month from the current $12.

. Professor Nat Hale has closed his school at Oscaloosa and is moving to Whitesburg.

. “Enforcement Officer Clark Day, ably assisted by Letcher County Sheriff Morgan Reynolds and his deputies, have almost chilled the life out of the moonshine and bootleg business in our county,” The Eagle reports.

. The L&N Railroad is moving its offices from Middlesboro to Corbin.

. After struggling for more than an hour to start his coupe, Glasgow, Kentucky resident Leslie Plunkett lifted the hood and found that someone had stolen the motor.

Thursday, February 7, 1946 Beginning February 10, Letcher County will no longer be on Central War Time. Under an ordinance approved by the Letcher Fiscal Court, the county will once again observe Eastern Standard Time.

. More than 1.5 million American workers remained off their jobs this week as large-scale strikes continued. International Harvester, J.I. Case, and General Motors are among the companies shut down by pickets.

. The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office is reporting a large number alcohol-related raids and arrests. At one place, three quarts of Schenley [a former brand of cheap bourbon] were confiscated after being found in a coal pile. Eleven pints of whiskey were seized on Craft’s Colly, and a cache of 25 half-pints and 11 full pints were taken from a Neon home. Five pints of liquor were also taken from a Mayking home. The sheriff ’s department did not release the names of those charged.

. A 10-year-old Eolia boy accidentally shot and killed himself while hunting in the woods with his brother near their home. Dewey Dingus was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph N. Dingus, and is survived by nine brothers and sisters.

. Dr. B.F. Wright of Seco and R.H. Hollan of Whitesburg purchased the lots located between the Bank of Whitesburg and the U.S. Post Office on Main Street. The purchase price was said to be around $7,000. The new owners plan to build a new building on the lots, which were owned by L.W. Fields and French Hawk.

. Future Letcher County resident Barbara Moncrief, an infant from Bishops Storsford, Hertfordshire, England who is now en route to Whitesburg, was awarded first prize in the under-one-year class in a baby contest held aboard the S.S. Argentina on January 30 while transporting 626 brides and children of American servicemen to the United States.

. May Stone, one of the founders of the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County died after a short illness Tuesday at her home in the Puritan apartments in Louisville. Miss Stone was a daughter of the late Henry L. Stone, general counsel for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad for many years. Under terms of her will, Miss Stone is leaving $10,000 to the Hindman school. Half of her $75,000 estate will go to Wellesley College in Massachusetts, her alma mater, for a scholarship fund for Kentucky girls.

Thursday, February 2, 1956 A group of some of Letcher County’s leading businessmen met recently at Kincer’s Hardware Store in Neon for the purpose of organizing a new radio station for Letcher County. Application papers have since been filed wit the Federal Communications Commission for permission to organize a new station. Hence Eversole, acting president of the new Letcher County Broadcasting Corporation, is leading the drive for the new station, to be located at 1450 on the dial. Eversole said the station will not solicit advertising from businesses located outside of Letcher County.

. The Letcher County Courthouse is in disrepair and needs immediate attention,” the Letcher County Grand Jury says in a report to Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells. Both the men’s and women’s restrooms are “badly” in need of new commodes and new wash basins, the report says, adding that plaster is falling in several areas. The grand jury also recommends that “sandboxes be placed along the sides of the floors to take the place of spittoons.”

. Elmer Collins has purchased the American Dry Cleaners plant at Neon and will reopen the business on February 6. Collins also owns Elmer and Ray’s Market on Main Street in Whitesburg.

. The Tampa Daily Times reports that three Whitesburg men landed large tarpons during a recent outing on King’s Bay at the head of Crystal River. Dr. Lee Moore brought in a 140-1/2 pound Silver King in one boat while Bill Conley landed a 109-1/2 pounder in another boat and David Fields caught a 120-pounder in yet another boat. Dr. Moore’s tarpon, which measured six feet, two inches, is one of the largest tarpons caught in Florida in the new year. The three men caught their fish using 50-pound test line with skipjacks as bait. A fish were caught just off the dock in full view of the guests at Port Paradise Hotel and Villas. Onlookers enjoyed watching as Dr. Moore fought for nearly three hours to land

his fighting tarpon.

. Good housing is needed for professional and technical personnel who will be working at the Whitesburg Memorial Hospital when it opens soon. Persons who are offering clean and attractive one- and two-bedroom furnished apartments and three- and four-bedroom unfurnished houses are being asked to call the hospital for further information.

Thursday, February 3, 1966 Kentucky Commissioner of Public Safety Glenn Lovern has directed Whitesburg Fire Chief Remious Day and State Fire Marshal H. J. Foster to draw up a new set of minimum fire safety regulations for Whitesburg school buildings and to make local and state regulations conform. Lovern said the county board of education will have “reasonable” time to comply with the safety standards.

. John Parnell Johnson, 65, a member of a pioneer Letcher County family, died Jan. 30. He worked most of his life as a printer for The Mountain Eagle, and since his retirement had operated a small job printing business.

. The State Department of Education announced it has adopted new safety regulations for all Kentucky school buses. The new rules require seat belts for drivers, safety cross mirrors on all buses, front and rear heaters, and changes in the size of axles for varying bus sizes.

. Whitesburg has gone back to its city wells for the town water supply. Mayor Ferdinand Moore said the switch from the Kentucky River to the wells was necessary because a sewage pumping system in the river was overflowing, pumping raw sewage into the river.

Thursday, February 12, 1976 Twenty anonymous phone calls have been made to Letcher County schools saying that a bomb was planted and would go off somewhere on school premises. Each time a threat has been called in, school officials have evacuated the school and sent students home for the day while the premises were searched. The first threat was made to Jenkins school in December. Since then more threats have been received at Jenkins at Whitesburg High and Middle schools, Burdine Elementary, McRoberts Elementary, Martha Jane Potter Elementary, Letcher Consolidated, Colson Elementary and the Mayking Kindergarten and Head State Program. Nine of the increasingly frequent threats occurred this week.

Wednesday, February 12, 1986 The Letcher County Board of Education is expected to consider at a meeting later this month whether to rehire Superintendent Jack M. Burkich, whose four-year contract expires in June.

. Townspeople in Neon have been without running water off and on for the past two years, but this week the city council voted to file suit against Highlands Water Co., the firm under contract to supply the town with water.

. There was but a slight decline in Letcher County’s unemployment rate in December, 19.6 percent, down from

November’s 20.2 percent. There were 5,476 persons and 1,332 persons unemployed in the county in December, according to the state Cabinet for Human Resources.

. Telephone lines into The Mountain Eagle may remain out of order for the next few days as a result of an incident at the paper’s office over the weekend. A nozzle which was part of the building’s fire sprinkler system for some unknown reason sprayed water for several hours early Sunday morning. The control box on The Eagle’s phone system was just under the spray nozzle, and was destroyed by the heavy flow of water.

. Property in Letcher County was assessed at 80.2 percent of its fair market value in 1985, the state Revenue Cabinet says. Letcher County’s assessment was on par with Harlan County (80.4 percent), but slightly ahead of the assessment in Knott County (79.8 percent) and Perry County (76.9 percent).

Wednesday, February 14, 1996 Kentucky Education Commissioner Wilmer S. Cody has accused the head of the Kentucky School Boards Association of encouraging “adversarial relationships” and “turf battles” between the Letcher County Board of Education and Cody and his staff, and of “spreading rhetorical and incorrect information” about the school situation in Letcher County.

. The Letcher County school system’s certified employees’ average salaries are above the average for all Kentucky school districts, according to a report released by the Kentucky Department of Education. Certified employees in the Jenkins school system receive slightly below the state average. Certified employees include teachers and administrators. The average for certified salaries in Kentucky is $34,192. Letcher County certified employees get average salaries of $34,756 or 1.6 percent above the state average. Jenkins certified employees get average salaries of $34,079, or 0.3 percent below the state average.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006 The number of Letcher County residents with jobs fell from 8,322 in November to 8,311 by the end of 2005, according to the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training in the Education Cabinet. It remained uncertain this week if the bump in Letcher’s unemployment rate was caused by the sudden closing of Image Entry Inc.’s document scanning operation at Gateway Industrial Park in Jenkins.

. Letcher County Coroner John Cornett believes a law requiring all-terrain vehicle riders under 16 to wear helmets would save lives. “I’ve never seen anyone killed who was wearing a helmet,” said Cornett. “They’re killed mainly because they’re not wearing a helmet.”

. The Letcher County Cougars defeated the Jenkins Cavaliers 74-62 in a rematch. The Cavs had won over the Cougars Jan. 12 behind Chris Puckett’s 31 points.

. A Valentine’s Day party and dance will be held Feb. 11 at American Legion Post 152. Music will be by White Thunder, featuring Tony Shortt, Steve Holbrook and Gary Slone.

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