2017-06-21 / Columns

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, June 23, 1927 The devastating flood that hit Letcher County earlier this month has left 2,588 county residents in need, according to a home-to-home survey conducted by the Red Cross. A total of 449 families are listed in the report. “The men who made the survey are reliable and well known in the sections they visited, and each vouched for the truthfulness of his figures,” The Mountain Eagle reports. A special Red Cross train arrived in Letcher County early Sunday morning.

. Floyd Cook’s shoulder was dislocated and he received several painful cuts and bruises when a team of horses he was driving to Whitesburg ran away Monday morning. The team started in front of Amburgey’s store and ran into town, passing down the alley behind the county jail and running up the river several hundred yards before they stopped. Mr. Cook was injured when he was thrown from the wagon and the wheels passed over his body.

. The Russell Plant Company of Bowling Green is offering 500 free sweet potato plants to each family whose property was damaged by the flood. The company says the plants will make “a fairly good yield” if planted as late as July 10.

. Cut off from communication and food supplies because of the recent flood, Cowan residents armed with hoes, mattocks, sledge hammers, axes, old shoes and ragged breeches fought rocks, chug-holes, drifts and slides that blocked the road from Big Cowan toward Whitesburg. The group of citizens, ages 12 to 60 years, included Silas Fields, Grand Fields, Leonard Sturgill, Oby Elkins, Jess Sturgill, Forester Fields, and John, Russell, Ralph and J.R. Fields. After much work the highway was made passable.

. At least 4,000 Letcher County citizens have been inoculated from typhoid at new clinics established all across the county to fight the disease.

Thursday, June 24, 1937 In its weekly feature “It Is So,” The Mountain Eagle reports that Letcher County’s first high school originated in 1910 with Miss Eunice Baker of Hazard hired as principal. Only one teacher was hired at the high school during its first year.

. Actor Tyrone Power and Loretta Young star in “Café Metropole,” showing Sunday and Monday, June 27 and 28, at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Robert Taylor and Jean Harlow star in the motion picture drama “Personal Property,” showing Tuesday, June 29, at the “comfortably cool” Bentley Theatre in Neon.

Thursday, June 26, 1947 One of Whitesburg’s most celebrated weddings took place Tuesday when Whitesburg High School Band Director Hugh Adams married Suzanne Chacon of Chacon, Algeria. “Very few marriages in Whitesburg have created so much interest as this one,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Mr. Adams is one of Whitesburg’s most prized young men. After graduating from Whitesburg High School and Georgetown College’s School of Music, he returned to his hometown to give of his talent. … While serving overseas the ‘rumors were flying’ back home that Mr. Adams had fallen in love with a young lady over there. She is a lovely French girl, speaks several languages and is highly educated.” The couple will live in a home on Sandlick Road.

. Miss Kentucky 1946 Madonna Smith of Jenkins is now “Mrs. Kentucky” after her marriage on May 17 to W.G. Echols of Chilhowie, Virginia. After the wedding, held in the chapel of the Jenkins Methodist Church, the couple left for a brief honeymoon to the Great Smoky Mountains. They now live in Chilhowie.

. An old-fashioned “house raising” took place near the Big Cowan Baptist Church on Saturday when a group of citizens from and near Big Cowan gathered to build a house for the church’s aged and beloved pastor, Elder Felix G. Fields. Work began before the sun rose over Pine Mountain and the house was almost completed by the end of the day.

. Roy McClure is the new commander of the Whitesburg American Legion. He replaces Lewis Ammerman, whose term has expired.

Thursday, June 27, 1957 Motorists driving to Jenkins are being cautioned about a confusing new red light that has been installed at the junction of Main Street and new U.S. 23. “Of course there has been the expected number of people to run the light, but the policemen are turning their heads the way — for a while,” The Mountain Eagle reports. The red light is confusing to drivers because it is not located in the center of the street, but is over to the side near the Jenkins Post Office. Police Chief Toby Hall said he feels the light is “no good where it is.”

. Jenkins dentist Dr. T.D. Vaughn is the subject of a front-page feature in this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle. Written by Barbara Stambaugh, the feature points out that Dr. Vaughn will have finished 50 years of dentistry by the time of his planned retirement in 1959. The

Paintsville native came to Jenkins from Hellier in Pike County in 1911 to become Jenkins’s first dentist. At the time, Jenkins had none of the paved roads or any of the business buildings that exist there now. The only businesses were coal mines and four sawmills. In 1916, Dr. Vaughn married Mary Elizabeth Hager of Lexington, who would become the Jenkins postmaster in 1934.

. The Baptist Bobcats beat the Methodist Leaguers Monday, 6 to 3, in the opening game of the Whitesburg Little League.

. Funeral services were held today for Cro C. Caudill, 65, Democratic political leader, former County Court Clerk, and member of a pioneer Letcher County family. Mr. Caudill died of a heart attack at 4 a.m. Tuesday while a patient in the Harlan Memorial Hospital, where he’d had an operation to remove a kidney last Friday. Mr. Caudill was born in Middlesboro in 1891 to Letcher County natives Henry R.S. and Mary Branson Caudill, who returned to Letcher County in 1903. Mr. Caudill was the father of two sons, Whitesburg attorney Harry M. Caudill and Truman Caudill.

. With sales of the electric skillet really seeming to have taken off during the time since Sunbeam released them to the public in 1953, a number of recipes are being developed and released with the appliance in mind. Among them is a recipe for a “peach upside down cake” released this week by Kentucky Power Company economist Pat Farmer.

. Mrs. Edris Carter has been hired as the new town clerk for the City of Jenkins.

. Nineteen new patients joined 37 existing patients who received examinations this week at the annual Crippled Children’s Clinic held here. Two visiting physicians from Lexington saw the patients. The Kentucky Crippled Children’s Commission and the Letcher County Health Department sponsored the clinic.

Thursday, June 15, 1967 Letcher County Fiscal Court voted this week to impose a special tax to ensure continued operation of the Letcher County Public Library. The levy will be 5 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation of property. County Judge James M. Caudill made the motion to create the library district and levy the tax, and Commissioner I.D. Back seconded it.

. By fall the A&P Food Store is expected to move into its new building now being constructed on the site of the old Elinda Ann drive-in theater in Whitesburg. It will have 10,800 square feet of space and will be nearly twice as large as the present A&P Store on Main Street.

. Jobs are available for 25 young men and women who have dropped out of school in the Neighborhood Youth Corps out-of-school program in Letcher County. The program provides training and temporary employment for young men and women 16 to 21 who have not completed high school and have been out of school

for six months or more.

. The geography represented by the counties in the Upper Kentucky River Area Development Council is the official geography all federal and state agencies will be using in setting up programs involving more than one county, according Robert Cornett of the Kentucky Area Development office. The counties are Letcher, Knott, Leslie and Perry.

. Little League baseball reporter Jerald Combs writes that Tommy Pace leads all Whitesburg Little League hitters with a .786 average. Pace plays for the VFW team. Teammate Wade Kirkland has a batting average of .566, followed by the Coke’s Rod Fields and (.500), RC’s Johnny Honeycutt (.461), and the VFW’s Chuck Conatser (.444).

. The Rev. Walter Applegate has been assigned to the Jenkins Methodist Church for another year.

. The Jenkins Swimming Pool is open for summer. Hours are 1 until 5 daily.

Thursday, June 16, 1977 The City of Whitesburg may sue Reedy Wholesale Inc. for failure to comply with state and municipal fire hazard regulations at its downtown Whitesburg building. Whitesburg Fire Chief Philmore Bowen condemned the building February 3. People live in apartments on the second floor.

. Incumbent Arnold Miller has been re-elected president of the United Mine Workers according to unofficial tallies of the vote. Early returns gave Miller 43 percent, or 25,575, while 17,649 voted for Lee Roy Patterson and 16,563 miners voted for Harry Patrick.

. A federal investigation into the causes of the Scotia disaster last year will confirm initial theories that electrical sparks caused both explosions, a Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration official said. However, early speculation that an automatic compressor on a locomotive triggered both explosions has been discounted by investigators.

. Helen Winternitz, a former reporter and photographer for The Mountain Eagle, has been named a recipient of the 1977 Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship given annually to the top three graduates of the Columbia School of Journalism in New York.

Wednesday, June 17, 1987 Westmoreland Coal Co. of Philadelphia has apparently reached an agreement to purchase Bethlehem Steel Corp.’s coal holdings in Letcher and Knott counties. Industry sources say Westmoreland will acquire BethEngergy’s 80-million ton Hendrix reserves — which lie mostly in Letcher County — and rights to mine 30,000 acres.

. County Judge/Executive Ruben Watts says he will ask the Letcher Fiscal Court to pass a resolution opposing the idea of

bringing garbage from major East Coast cities to eastern Kentucky landfills. “I think it’s a bunch of hogwash,” Watts said. At issue is a southern Indiana company’s proposal to turn strip-mining sites into large garbage dumps. TenEch Engineering of Clarksville, Ind., has already contracted with the Louisville office of ERA Associates, a consulting company, to find and review potential landfill sites.

. From the gridiron at Whitesburg High School to Jayne Stadium at Morehead State University and now on to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Randy Frazier is on the verge of realizing a dream come true. Frazier, a 6’5” and 235-pound linebacker for the MSU Eagles, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs last month as a free agent and will join the National Football League team on July 6 for the start of summer camp.

Wednesday, June 18, 1997 Letcher County workers are nearing the end of the first phase of setting up a 911 emergency phone system and hope to have it in use by the beginning of 1998. That service will mean residents of Letcher County with fire, ambulance, or police emergencies will be able to dial 911 on their telephone and reach a dispatcher at the Kentucky State Police Post in Hazard. The dispatcher will receive the call on an “Enhanced 911” system which tells the dispatcher the name, address and emergency service number of the person who owns the phone from which the call was made, as well as whether it is a business, residence or pay phone.

. The U.S. Forest Service has suspended all logging in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the wake of a court ruling that said forest officials were putting the interests of loggers above those of endangered species.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 Customers at Whitesburg’s first Mexican restaurant can now enjoy a margarita with their meal. Las Peñas Mexican Restaurant this week became the first restaurant in 60 years to serve alcohol legally in the City of Whitesburg.

. The Letcher Fiscal Court voted 4-2 this week to examine the possibility of turning over the county’s garbage collection to a private company. The issue wasn’t on the agenda for the June meeting of the fiscal court, but came up in a discussion about whether the county government should continue attaching overdue garbage fees to property tax bills.

. Larry Whitaker, owner of the Whitesburg and Neon Food World grocery stores, was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship June 12 for his willingness to host five foreign exchange students in the last ten years. The award is the most prestigious one given by the Whitesburg Rotary Club.

. The Letcher County E-911 office and the sheriff ’s department are asking for information concerning the recent theft of 911 road signs. Thirty-one signs have been stolen or damaged in the past week.

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