2017-10-04 / Columns

The Way We Were


WORK BEGINS ON MOUNT RUSHMORE — On October 4, 1927 — 90 years ago this week — work began on sculpting the face of the first former U.S. president to appear on Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. When this photo was taken in 1933, work had been completed on the 60-foot sculpture of George Washington’s head and started on the likeness of Thomas Jefferson to the right of Washington. However, the granite rock where Jefferson’s face was to appear was found to be unsuitable and was erased with dynamite before being moved to Washington’s left. The sculptures of Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were completed in 1947, 14 years after the project began. Amazingly, there were no fatalaties among the estimated 400 workmen who took part in the project. Mount Rushmore wasn’t officially dedicated as a national memorial until July 3, 1991. (AP Photo) WORK BEGINS ON MOUNT RUSHMORE — On October 4, 1927 — 90 years ago this week — work began on sculpting the face of the first former U.S. president to appear on Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota. When this photo was taken in 1933, work had been completed on the 60-foot sculpture of George Washington’s head and started on the likeness of Thomas Jefferson to the right of Washington. However, the granite rock where Jefferson’s face was to appear was found to be unsuitable and was erased with dynamite before being moved to Washington’s left. The sculptures of Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were completed in 1947, 14 years after the project began. Amazingly, there were no fatalaties among the estimated 400 workmen who took part in the project. Mount Rushmore wasn’t officially dedicated as a national memorial until July 3, 1991. (AP Photo) Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, October 6, 1927 A Tennessee man arrived in Whitesburg this morning to claim the body of his 17-year-old son who had disappeared from their home in Elizabethton recently. The badly decomposed body of Taft Haden was found Monday afternoon by two Whitesburg men — Lewis Ammerman and Kelly Ewen — who were out training their young bird dogs. After a Letcher County coroner’s jury ruled the boy had shot himself to death, his body was claimed by the father, Don Harden. The only identification on the body was a note containing the following message: “Send this to Mary Williams, Elizabethton, Tennessee. I love you. The boy you told to go to hell.” After an attempt by Letcher County officials to reach Miss Williams failed, the body was buried at Whitco before Don Harden learned of his son’s whereabouts and came to Whitesburg.

. The body of a 17-year-old Little Cowan boy who was murdered in Paintsville is being returned to Letcher County for burial. Milford Fouts, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Fouts of Little Cowan, was robbed and beaten to death while on his way back home to Letcher County. His body was found Monday tied up in a sheet in the back of an old automobile left on the side of the road near Paintsville. He had been working near Paintsville for the last six weeks, but had written his mother to tell her he was coming home.

. The Black Kat, the high school paper published by students at Whitesburg High School, is being enlarged from three columns to four.

. The Quaker Maid [A&P] food store officials who were in town last week have rented the brick building on Main Street in Whitesburg on the corner next to the Daniel Boone Hotel and will take possession of it November 1. The company also plans to locate stores in Neon and Blackey.

. Tennessee Governor Austin Peay died Monday. A native of Christian County in far western Kentucky, he made his home in Clarksville, Tennessee since he was a young man.

. Clark Day, federal prohibition agent, and Letcher County Sheriff Morgan T. Blair raided the Eolia community, seizing a large copper still and 90 gallons of liquor. Three men were charged in connection with the bootlegging operation. They are Robert Bowman, Delbert Bowman and Riley Coots.

. In order to accommodate the addition of Pullman cars for passengers going to Cincinnati, several changes have been made in the L&N Railroad’s train schedule here, on both the southbound and northbound trains. As of October 2, southbound trains No. Three, No. One, and No. 15 arrive at 9:09 p.m., 9:35 a.m., and 4:55 p.m. Northbound trains No. Four, No. 16 and No. Two now arrive in Whitesburg at 4:11 a.m., 5:40 a.m., and 3:15 p.m.

Thursday, October 7, 1937 A Letcher County man has been found guilty of murdering his wife and was sentenced to a term of 10 years and one day in the state penitentiary at Frankfort. In finding Odus Brown guilty, a Letcher Circuit Court jury did not believe Brown’s claim that his wife, who died in the Lynch hospital, injured herself after jumping from his car while he took her for a ride with him.

. Two Dry Fork babies, six-month-old Callie Brown and 19-month-old George Franklin Brown, were killed in the wreck of a pickup truck near Whitco on Monday. The two were riding with their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Brown, when Mr. Brown failed to make a sharp turn and the truck rolled over an embankment. Also injured was Mrs. Brown’s mother, who was admitted to the Seco hospital for treatment.

. Five Letcher County men have been indicted for willful murder by the Letcher County Grand Jury. They are Everett Gibson, Sam Hensley, Bony Banks, Luther Holcomb, and Walter Bradford.

. Pointing out that 10 million Americans suffer from syphilis and 20 million carry gonorrhea, the Letcher County Health Department is urging local residents to take the diseases seriously.

. Clark Gable stars in “Saratoga,” showing Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, October 9, 1947 The town of Neon this week installed parking meters on both sides of Main Street. Many think the addition of the meters will ease the congestion and provide ample parking space for out-of-town shoppers. Others disapprove.

. The Bank of Whitesburg is becoming more modern and efficient all the time, as this week a new machine was installed to make “photo-stat” copies of checks that go through the bank.

. Citizens in the upper end of the county are jubilant over the fact that the road from Neon Junction to McRoberts and Hemphill has received a good coat of resurfacing material, which makes for much better driving in those communities. Even the streets of Neon received new pavement.

Population in the United States increased by 2.279 million last year to 142,673,000. It marked the biggest population jump of any year in the nation’s history.

. Kentucky’s new auto license plates go on sale December 15. They are aluminum with orange numerals and were manufactured by prisoners at the Kentucky State Reformatory at LaGrange.

. The Mountain Eagle reports average newspaper sales of 2,560 per week in a sworn statement required by the U.S. Post Office. The paper’s editor is W.P. Nolan of Mayking.

. The L&N Railroad is storing 25,000 tons of coal a week on its property at Ermine in anticipation of a coal shortage this winter. The coal is being purchased through Sandlick Coal Company, which is operated by Leonard Lewis.

. Several students from the Jenkins vicinity are attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington. They are Hershel Cox, Joe Davis, Dickey Varson, Mickey Mullins, John Ed Smith, Dickey Howard, Jack Chewning, Bobby Thassum, George Fugate Jr., Jean Craft, Mary Lou Bartley, Betty Lee Smedley, Betty Jane Fugate, and Tommy Stone.

. Bill Monroe and Blue Grass Boys featuring Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs will appear on stage Thursday, October 16 at King Coal Theatre in Jenkins.

. Quarterback John Ed Sergent connected on touchdown passes with Billie Anderson and Carlis Williams as the Jenkins Cavaliers defeated their greatest rival, the Fleming Pirates, at Fleming last Saturday night.

Thursday, October 10, 1957 Two young men were injured seriously Sunday when blasting caps exploded in their faces. Charles Hall, 16, and Dennis Adams, 18, both of Ermine, were admitted to Harlan Memorial Hospital after undergoing emergency treatment at Whitesburg Memorial Hospital. Both received serious injuries to their eyes. Adams also shattered a hand. Hall is a football player at Whitesburg High School. The injuries occurred while Hall and Adams were shooting off blasting caps they had found and some of the caps exploded unexpectedly.

. Letcher County’s first polio victim of 1957 was reported this week. He’d had two of three polio vaccine shots at the time he was stricken.

. A school bus that transported the Fleming-Neon High School football team to Hazard last week drove off and left 18 players for the Pirates stranded. The grandfather of one of the boys lives at Isom and said eight of the players showed up at his home at 2 a.m. on Sunday after walking most of the way from Hazard. The grandfather said the boys told him the bus took off and left them after a series of incidents involving Hazard “thugs,” the Fleming-Neon players, and the bus driver. According to the grandfather, the 18 players who were left behind had gotten off the bus to protest the ejection of another Pirates player.

. The Letcher County Board of Education has adopted an operating budget of $1,067,110 for the 1957-58 school year.

. The Bank of Whitesburg and the Bank of Neon will be closed Saturday in honor of Columbus Day, a legal holiday.

Thursday, October 5, 1967 Hobart Ison, accused of the murder of Hugh O’Connor, a Canadian film producer, at Jeremiah is free on a $10,000 bond. O’Connor was killed as he and a film crew photographed some slum houses owned

by Ison at Jeremiah.

. A full-page advertisement asking for votes for gubernatorial candidate Louie Nunn says, “Tired of high taxes? Tired of this war? Stop waste of money and lives. The lives of our young men are too precious to waste in the swamps of Vietnam.”

. Citizens at the lower end of Letcher County have organized to protest construction of the proposed Kingdom Come Dam at Ulvah. The group was formed after the Army Corps of Engineers let it be known it plans to propose to Congress the construction of a dam which would impound water in the Kentucky River all the way from Ulvah to near Whitesburg and in Rockhouse Creek to Isom. The dam is designed to provide flood protection for Hazard.

. John Jacob Niles, Kentucky’s dean of American folk music, and ballad singer Jean Ritchie will perform at the Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’, an annual folk-art festival sponsored by Southeast Community College in Cumberland.

. The Jenkins Cavaliers surprised the Whitesburg Yellowjackets but fell short, losing 20 to 18 on a last-minute touchdown pass from WHS quarterback Chealis Hammonds to senior end Mike Burkich.

Thursday, September 29, 1977 Whitesburg High School sophomore Robert Blair “Bobby” Collins, 16, captain of the WHS “B” football team, died Thursday after collapsing on the Whitesburg practice football field the day before. His death came a week after he had been admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital for observation. He told his mother then that his head had ached for a week, every since his helmet had been cracked during a game. He was the son of Ella Melton Collins of Van, and Odell Collins of Detroit, Mich.

. The wood-floored bridge linking Whitesburg with the Upper Bottom has been condemned for truck and auto traffic following reports by state highway officials that rotten underpinnings have made it unsafe. The Whitesburg City Council voted Monday to place a sign at each entrance warning motorists away, although it has no immediate plans to replace the 53-year-old bridge.

. Blue Diamond Coal Co. has paid the largest civil penalty ever imposed on a single company — $25,000 — for water pollution violations at its Leatherwood preparation plant in Perry County, state environmental officials said this week. In addition to the fine, the company agreed to put in $2.4 million worth of water pollution controls in the plant.

. Pearl and Cora Fields Dixon celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on September 8. Family and friends gathered at their home on September 10 to honor them.

Wednesday, September 30, 1987 Westmoreland Coal Co. apparently plans to try to mine its new Kentucky coal reserves “union free”. Westmoreland recently bought about $20 million worth of coal reserves in Letcher and Pike counties from BethEnergy Corp, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel. The properties were purchased by a Westmoreland subsidiary, Criterion Coal Co. Bill Connor, president of Criterion, told the Coalfield Progress of Norton, Va., that he would definitely like to operate non-union.

. The state has approved the license for 94-bed nursing home in Whitesburg. The Commission for Health Economics Control of Kentucky voted unanimously Sept. 16 to approve the license for the new facility. There is a moratorium on new long-term healthcare centers in Kentucky, but the ban was lifted because of the need

in Letcher County.

. A Letcher County grand jury has returned indictments against Anthony Smith, 21, his wife Carolyn Shepherd Smith, 22, Steve Adams, 20 and his 17-year-old wife Rebecca Pennington Adams, charging the two couples with capital murder, kidnapping, arson and robbery. The four are accused of murdering Carolyn Smith’s parents, Sie and Judy Shepherd, and their son, Buster Shepherd, all of Leatherwood. They are also charged with abducting the Smiths’ two-year-old daughter, Pamela, who had been legally adopted by the Shepherds. Police still have not arrested the four and say they are no closer to finding the suspects now than they were on the day the murders occurred.

Wednesday, October 1, 1997 The U.S. Department of Commerce has approved a grant of $300,000 for a comprehensive inventory of “straight pipes” and failing septic systems in the Fifth Congressional District of Kentucky. The study will provide the 40-county PRIDE area with an extensive database about the specific wastewater problems which must be addressed.

. The annual report cards for the two public school systems in Letcher County show the both the Letcher County School District and the Jenkins Independent School District still have problems with low attendance and growing dropout rates, with below-average scores on national achievement tests, and with higher percentages of poor children than districts in other parts of Kentucky. At the same time, revenues per pupil in the Letcher County school system were 20 percent higher than those in the average Kentucky school district and revenues per pupil in the Jenkins school district were just $200 short of the state average. Achievement test scores at both secondary and college levels were improved, even though they still were below the state average.

. Bessie Beatrice Narramore died September 27. She was 100 years old. Mrs. Narramore, the widow of Robert Paul Narramore, was the oldest member of the McRoberts Missionary Baptist Church.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 Registered nurses belonging to the Kentucky Nurses Association are on strike against Appalachian Regional Healthcare, and District Five Magistrate Wayne Fleming said he would be surprised if the Letcher County fiscal court doesn’t meet soon to pass a resolution supporting the members of the nurses association who walked off their jobs early Monday at the Whitesburg ARH. At least 600 registered nurses began picketing Oct. 1 in shifts outside ARH hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia. The action began after weeks of contract negotiations with the health system failed.

. With Jenkins Lake already down 23 inches from normal and dropping two more inches per week, residents in the City of Jenkins can expect to be placed under mandatory water restrictions if drought conditions don’t start to improve soon.

. Newlyweds Jordan H. Tackett, 19, and Misty D. Tackett, 26, were charged with robbery this week after they allegedly invaded the home of the husband’s grandfather, former Jenkins mayor James “Chum” Tackett, and stole $900 after holding a knife to his throat.

. SPC Kelly Sexton and his half-brother SPC Mike Combs, both of Little Dry Fork, and Cpl. Josh Webb of Payne Gap were among a group of nearly 600 soldiers who were welcomed home from duty in Iraq at a ceremony in Lexington.

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