2017-06-07 / Columns

The Way We Were


49 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK, U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was photographed on the morning of Saturday, June 5 holding two fingers up in a victory sign as he talked to campaign workers at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as his wife Ethel, left, and California speaker of the California Assembly, Jesse Unruh, looked on. Kennedy was addressing the crowd after winning the California primary election. Only a few minutes later, he was shot and killed by 22-year-old Palestinian native Sirhan Sirhan. RFK died on June 6. Hubert Humphrey went on to win the Democrat Pary nomination, but lost to Richard M. Nixon in the fall. (AP Photo) 49 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK, U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was photographed on the morning of Saturday, June 5 holding two fingers up in a victory sign as he talked to campaign workers at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles as his wife Ethel, left, and California speaker of the California Assembly, Jesse Unruh, looked on. Kennedy was addressing the crowd after winning the California primary election. Only a few minutes later, he was shot and killed by 22-year-old Palestinian native Sirhan Sirhan. RFK died on June 6. Hubert Humphrey went on to win the Democrat Pary nomination, but lost to Richard M. Nixon in the fall. (AP Photo) Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, June 9, 1927 Letcher County Sheriff Morgan Reynolds is warning county residents this week of “the dangers and snares that are being set for the young and inexperienced youth of our land, as well as the old and reckless citizens in general.” At issue, says Reynolds, are “extracts” being used as substitutes for alcoholic beverages during this period of Prohibition. The sheriff writes: “If find that his county is being flooded with various kinds of extracts — allspice, lemon, etc. — that contain as much as 90 percent alcohol. Also, ‘home brew beer It is estimated that $250,000 will be needed for flood relief in eastern Kentucky. Many thousands of dollars have already been donated by companies and individuals. The Red Cross and the L&N Railroad have given $10,000 each. The immediate need in Letcher County and elsewhere is food, clothing and shelter.

. Arnold Adkinson, who lives at the mouth of Mill Branch near Roxana, tells the sad story of last Saturday night’s raging floodwaters snatching his wife from his arms and carrying her away into the pitch-black darkness. “We were in the water almost to our shoulders,” he says. “I was leading Mrs. Adkinson toward the bank when a raft log swept down upon us, tearing her from my grip. That was the last I saw of my wife. The water carried me into a drift pile, where I lay until daylight, sometimes conscious but much of the time not knowing what was happening around me. I had no idea where I was. At daylight I began to look about, and almost the first sight to meet my eyes was the body of my mother-in-law, Mrs. T.O. Royse, which lay a few feet from me on the drift.” The body of Mrs. Adkinson has been recovered.

. While the home of Mrs. Rich Whitaker on Rockhouse escaped the floodwaters last week, Mrs. Robinson was swept to her death after she and the home’s other occupants decided to leave the home after it was surrounded by water. Mrs. Whitaker was caught by a heavy log as she was crossing the water, and was drowned before she could be rescued. The water never reached her house.

. R.M. Brohard, store manager for the Imperial Elkhorn Coal Company at Sergent, was killed in a car wreck in Coeburn, Virginia on Sunday while on his way back to Letcher County from a meeting in Lexington, Kentucky. Brohard, a successful businessman who moved here from Ohio seven years ago, was considered the leader of the community of Sergent, where he taught Sunday school. He also had part interest in the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Whitesburg. The accident occurred at about 8:15 a.m. Sunday when the automobile being driven by Brohard — a Buick Roadster he had borrowed from Roy Crawford of Whitesburg — plunged over a steep embankment and ejected Brohard as it flipped several times. Word of Mr. Brohard’s death was received in Letcher County by way of several other county residents, including Dr. and Mrs. Owen Pigman, who happened to be in the Norton-Coeburn area at the time of the accident while on their way back to Letcher County via Middlesboro, Kentucky.

. Blair Branch resident Sampson Stallard is being held in the Letcher County Jail in connection with the shooting of Bill Blair, Stallard’s brother-in-law. The two had been arguing over a fence line at the time of the shooting. Blair was shot twice — in the side and in the back — but is expected to live.

. Despite last week’s flood, Millstone in on the map and all of its mines are operating on a full-time basis. “The health of the community is fair, all things considered,” the community’s correspondent writes anonymously. “S.T. Wright, the road contractor and hustling businessman, has been out on his job,” the correspondent adds. “His latest contract is between Neon and Pottersfork — building that section of road.”

Thursday, June 10, 1937 Whitesburg Mayor H.H. Harris is asking the town’s residents to subscribe to fire protection in order to raise $1,000 needed to cover the first payment of a fire truck and other equipment needed to operate the city’s first fire department. The Whitesburg City Council was compelled to establish the fire department and purchase a truck a recent fire damaged the city greatly, but would have been much worse if not for volunteer firefighters from Cumberland and Jenkins. “The people have responded liberally, but not yet enough,” Harris said.

. “Nathaniel Collins, the first county judge of Letcher County, lived in four different counties during his lifetime and never moved but once — and then did not move out of the county in which he then lived,” The Mountain Eagle reports in its weekly “It Is So” column. “He first lived near the mouth of Camp Branch, which was then in Floyd County. Later, this was cut off into the new county of Perry, (and was) then put into Letcher County when it was formed. Collins then moved over on Carr Creek, which was still in Letcher County. Later, part of Letcher County was put into the new county of Knott when that county was formed.”

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Whitesburg Furniture and Hardware is going out of business, and will hold a one-day sale of all stock and fixtures on Tuesday, June 15. The store is located on Railroad Street, across from Home Lumber Company.

Thursday, June 12, 1947 Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon ordered Luther Holcomb, 30, held without bond in connection with the murder of 66-year-old Clinton Cornett, who was fatally beaten earlier this month. Roscoe Holcomb, younger brother of Luther, is also being detained under $10,000 bond pending action by the Letcher County Grand Jury. Cornett died last Thursday, three days after he was beaten and left for dead on Pine Mountain in the Gordon- Linefork area. Police say that before Cornett died he identified the Holcomb brothers as his attackers.

. All rural schools in Letcher County will open July 21 for a nine-month term. All other schools will open September 1, says Superintendent Martha Jane Potter.

. A group of 125 manufacturers, wholesalers, bankers and other businessmen from Louisville will visit Whitesburg on June 18. The group will arrive here at 4 p.m. on a special Pullman train.

. The McRoberts Recreation Building will be sold at auction Saturday morning. Located next door to the big Champion Store, the building has three stores. The first floor houses a five-table pool hall, a large storage room and apartments. The second floor contains a modern drug store, ice cream parlor and barbershop. A 283-seat modern theatre on the third floor includes new seats and an RCA projection and sound system. “There will never be another business lot with the fine possibilities as this one in McRoberts,” says Sam Collins of Whitesburg, whose land auction company is handling the sale. “It is the last one.” Collins said the building’s current owner, Roy Fleming, is moving to Arizona for health reasons. “Never before have we had the opportunity to offer such a fine number of businesses all under one roof,” said Collins.

. A criminal court jury in Louisville last night sentenced 21-year-old soldier Daniel T. McPeak to death after convicting him on a charge of armed robbery in connection with the robbery and slaying in March of Louisville war veteran Vernon Hodge. The jury deliberated only 25 minutes before reaching its verdict. McPeak had tried to shift all the blame for the robbery and murder upon co-defendant Jasper Nease of McRoberts. Nease was also sentenced to death in connection with the case.

. An 8-year-old Letcher County drowned Sunday afternoon while playing with other children in a deep pool of water where Caudill Branch empties into Rockhouse Creek. Nannie Mae Bailey, who could not swim, was playing with her brother and other young children when she stepped into deep water, became extremely excited, and swallowed too much water before she could be rescued by adults. She was a daughter of Ollie Bailey and Ida Mae Murray of Carbon Glow. Surviving in addition to her parents are two brothers, three sisters and her grandparents.

. Johnny Belcher has opened a shoe shop in downtown Neon, in the old Bentley Building located on Main Street next to Kincer’s Hardware.

Thursday, June 13, 1957 The University of Kentucky announced this week that it will locate its proposed eastern Kentucky extension center in Cumberland in Harlan County. Cumberland citizens celebrated joyfully upon hearing the news. The city’s swimming pool was open to all free of charge, and the Novo Theater was also opened without cost.

. First Lt. David W. Polly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lindsay Polly of Whitesburg, has been honored for his work with Operation Gyroscope, a project started by the U.S. military after World War II to facilitate the international movement of soldiers out of California instead of New York. Lt. Polly organized and supervised the successful turnover of equipment pursuant to Operation Gyroscope.

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The Whitesburg Youth Council Association has set as its chief goal the installation of a recreational center in the basement of Whitesburg City Hall.

. The Mountain Eagle has accepted delivery of a new job printing press that can print envelopes at the rate of 10,000 per hour or letterheads at the rate of 5,000 per hour. The Heidelberg 10 by 15 Automatic Platen Press is now up and running, and can print up to four colors.

. A group of experts wants the state to set up an agency to promote tourist trade in eastern Kentucky. The experts also recommended to Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler that the agency be made a part of a “Division of Tourism” with one of its goals being the establishment of an outdoor drama picturing mountain life and history.

. The Whitesburg Jaycees have scheduled four additional dog vaccination clinics over the next two weeks — at Neon, Kingdom Come, Blackey and Whitesburg.

. The Mountain Eagle has put its editorial stamp of approval on a plan to raise funds to continue to operate the Stuart Robinson School near Blackey as independent, church-related institution with boarding facilities. “Few schools have been of greater service to their community, (but) now a dark cloud hangs over the school,” the editorial written by Tom Gish says. “The school in past years has been operated largely through funds coming into the county from the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church. The church has decided that it is not operating private schools elsewhere in the country, and should not do so in Letcher County. … It is our belief that regardless of the level of public schools in the county, there still is a need for a good independent school … guided by firm Christian beliefs. Stuart Robinson would be needed even in Letcher County had the best public schools in the state.”

Thursday, June 1, 1967 Letcher County’s oldest resident, Mrs. Minnie Rogers of Jenkins, died at the Jenkins Clinic recently after a short illness. She was 107 years old. Mrs. Rogers was a familiar figure of the streets of Jenkins and rocked the cradle for many Jenkins children over the years. Her husband worked for Consolidation Coal Company for many years before his death.

. Construction will begin next week on second eastern Kentucky toll road, linking Hazard to London. Plans for the new road were announced by Gov. Edward T. Breathitt and the Kentucky Turn-Pike Authority, which approved the sale of $79.1 million in revenue bonds to finance the highway.

. Rodney Ruth, 17, of Jenkins has been awarded an engineering scholarship at the University of Kentucky by the Kentucky Department of Highways. Ruth, the son of Gobel Ruth of Wright’s Hollow, Jenkins, has just graduated from Jenkins High School.

. Miss Nancy Elam, a 1966 graduate of Letcher High School, completed her freshman year at Lees Junior College in Jackson with a perfect 4.0 scholastic standing.

. A five-pound bag of flour is on sale at the Whitesburg A&P for 59 cents.

Thursday, June 2, 1977 A United Mine Workers district election commissioner has upheld the victory of Robert Carter of Jenkins over incumbent Squire Feltner for the District 30 presidency. Feltner had appealed the race, in which Carter defeated him by a 2,459- 2,368 vote May 10.

. The unemployment rate has dropped in Letcher County to 7.0 percent. The rate in eastern Kentucky was 5.4 percent in April, down from 7.1 percent in March.

. Teddy Potter of Haymond and David Bartley of McRoberts were arrested this week in connection with a firebombing which destroyed a police cruiser used by Fleming Police Chief Robert L. Collins on Sunday. Witnesses reported seeing them throw a bottle full of gasoline and lighted matches into the car, parked in front of Long’s 5&10 store in Neon.

. Valedictorian of Whitesburg High School is Tena Adams, daughter of Bill

M. Adams of Butlerville, Ohio and Emma Thomas of Whitesburg. Hilda Ann Craft, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Craft of Whitesburg, is Salutatorian.

Wednesday, May 27, 1987 About 100 Whitesburg Little-Leaguers and their parents gathered outside the Letcher County Courthouse Monday afternoon in hopes of persuading Danny Webb, a Kentucky State Police lieutenant, not to resign as president of the league. Some parents said Webb had been unfairly criticized and planned to leave the position.

. BethEnergy Inc. has announced it leaving the Bituminous Coal Operators Association and will try to negotiate its own contract with the United Mine Workers Union. Bethlehem Steel spokesman Art Roth said BethEnergy, which is headquartered in Jenkins, withdrew from the industry bargaining group because “we feel it’s in the company’s best interest to do so.”

. Wallace G Wilkinson, who upset former governor John Y. Brown Jr. for the Democratic nomination for the state’s top office Tuesday, ran second in Letcher County, trailing Greg Stumbo 3,864 votes to 626. However, the Lexington businessman received nearly three times as many votes in Letcher County as third-place finisher Steven L. Beshear (252 votes), Brown (241 votes) and former governor Julian M. Carroll (135 votes). Brereton C. Jones, a Woodford County horseman who narrowly defeated Attorney General Dave Armstrong to capture the nomination for lieutenant governor, finished in third place in the county behind Paul Patton and Armstrong. Patton garnered 2,232 votes compared to 883 for Armstrong and 280 for Jones.

Wednesday, June 4, 1997 Pike Letcher Land Company has filed a legal notice saying it will petition the fiscal court for permission to move an unnamed cemetery from the headwaters of Andy Wright Fork of Beefhide Creek.

. Fleming-Neon Police Chief Jolynda Bailey is believed to be the first female police chief in eastern Kentucky.

. Satellites have picked up a shift in the trade winds and detected humps of warm weather moving across the Pacific Ocean at the equator — signs that another weather-disrupting El Nino may be brewing. If so, heavy rains and drought could be in store around the world come winter. An El Nino occurs when westward-blowing trade winds weaken, allowing a mass of warm water normally situated off Australia to drive eastward to western South America. The phenomenon got its name from baby Jesus because the huge, warm pool usually arrives around Christmas.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007 The City of Jenkins may be hosting two city festivals within a one-month period if the Jenkins City Council is able to come to an agreement with the Jenkins Festival Committee Inc. At its June meeting, the council heard the Jenkins Festival Committee’s request that it be allowed to rent “the mini-park” in Jenkins for a second festival in September. The first-ever Jenkins Heritage Days Festival is already scheduled to take place during the last weekend of August.

. Thornton Gap homeowner Darrell Lucas was exercising his right to self-protection when he shot and wounded two men he believed were burglarizing his home in March, a Letcher County grand jury has determined. The grand jury said Lucas “was justified to engage in self-protection upon commission of first-degree burglary” by the men he wounded, Johnny W. Honeycutt, 51, of Hallie, and Randall Sturgill, 42, of Whitesburg.

. Sherd Martin celebrated his 100th birthday on June 2. Happy birthday wishes were given to him by friends at the Ermine Senior Citizens Center.

. Local racer Jim Caudill Jr. captured his rst Legend car feature win at Lonesome Pine International Raceway Saturday. A former kart racer at Mountaineer Kartway in Isom, he moved to asphalt car racing last season.

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