2017-11-15 / Columns

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, November 17, 1927 A motorcade including Kentucky Governor William J. Fields, Governor-elect Flem Sampson, current Virginia Governor Harry F. Byrd, and former Governor Elbert Lee Trinkle is scheduled to leave Norton, Virginia for Jenkins at 11 a.m. Saturday to kick off a celebration marking the opening of the Kentucky-Virginia Highway at Pound Gap. At 1 p.m., Jenkins and Norton high schools will play a football game in Jenkins, followed by the road dedication ceremonies at Pound Gap at 3 p.m. The motorcade will then return to Norton at 4:30 p.m., in time for a big dance there.

. Former Whitesburg grocery man I.B. Ritchie has bought the G.M. Ridenour Grocery in Neon and reports he is doing a good business there.

. Construction continues on a gymnasium for Whitesburg High School. Both Whitesburg Board of Education and the Letcher County Board of Education are financing the project. In addition, private donors are paying for a walkway being constructed from the First Baptist Church, located at the bottom of College Hill, to the gymnasium and to the Whitesburg Graded and High School buildings. The gym is set for completion by December 1.


Pike’s Peak is spotted for first time On November 15, 1806 — 211 years ago this week in what is now Colorado — Lieutenant Zebulon saw the mountain now known as Pike’s Peak (above) for the first time. History.com says Pike was so far away from the mountain that he told his men they should be able to walk to the peak, climb it, and return to camp before dinner. After he and his men struggled through snow and subzero temperatures, Pike declared the mountain impossible to climb. Pike’s Peak was later determined to be 14,115 feet tall. Pike (left) later died while fighting in the War of 1812. Neighboring Pike County, Ky., was named in his honor when it was founded in 1821. Pike’s Peak is spotted for first time On November 15, 1806 — 211 years ago this week in what is now Colorado — Lieutenant Zebulon saw the mountain now known as Pike’s Peak (above) for the first time. History.com says Pike was so far away from the mountain that he told his men they should be able to walk to the peak, climb it, and return to camp before dinner. After he and his men struggled through snow and subzero temperatures, Pike declared the mountain impossible to climb. Pike’s Peak was later determined to be 14,115 feet tall. Pike (left) later died while fighting in the War of 1812. Neighboring Pike County, Ky., was named in his honor when it was founded in 1821. Thursday, November 13, 1937 The Douglas Day Post of the American Legion held an Armistice Day luncheon in the dining room of the Daniel Boone Hotel at noon on Thursday, November 11, to commemorate the signing of the Armistice, which ended the World War 19 years ago. Members of the Jenkins American Legion Post were also present.

. Work on the auditorium of the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg is progressing very rapidly and will be completed soon.

. Dr. B.F. Wright, the Democrat Party nominee for Letcher County Judge in the recent election, has filed a petition in Letcher Circuit Court asking for a recount of all the county’s 53 voting precincts. Wright’s suit charges that many of the ballots for the apparent winner, Republican James M. Crase, were not officially signed by the judge or clerk of the election. Crase currently holds a 141-vote lead over Wright.

. Druggist Doc Passmore is adding a six-foot section to its present 16-foot soda fountain at Passmore’s Pharmacy in Whitesburg. The addition will provide storage space for 80 gallons of ice cream.

Thursday, November 20, 1947 Whitco Graded School Principal Earl Ison was accidentally shot to death Sunday while hunting with friends on the Cumberland River. Ison and four friends were out hunting on White Muscles Branch when one of the friends hit his gun against an overhanging limb, resulting in the gun firing into Ison’s face. Ison was 31 years old at the time of his death. His wife, Daisy Frazier Ison, and his parents, Grant and Mary Stallard Ison, survive him. Funeral services were held Wednesday at his parents’ home at Oscaloosa. He was buried in the family cemetery there.

. United Mine Workers members now hold all five seats on the Jenkins City Council.

. Drivers and other employees for the Hazard-Jenkins Bus Line returned to work this morning after a 14-day walkout after the company agreed to pay its 15 drivers an extra 50 cents per day and its five mechanics an extra six cents per hour on the day. The drivers had demanded an extra one-dollar per day, and both drivers and mechanics had demanded paid vacations. The CIO-United Construction Workers union represents the employees.

. A Pikeville cab driver told the Kentucky State Highway Patrol that two men assaulted him between Allen and Martin on KY Highway 3 and robbed him of $70 before setting fire to his cab. Driver Joe B. King said the two men stopped him in the early morning hours and asked him to give their car a push. He said he told the men his cab was in bad shape and he was afraid of ruining the motor, after which he was hit on the head with the butt of a pistol and robbed. He said the men then fired four gunshots into his cab before setting it afire.

. A train wrecked at Thornton on Wednesday, derailing several carloads of coal and causing considerable damage to the track. No one was injured during the mishap, the second derailment of an L&N Railroad train in Letcher County in two weeks. Previously, three cars were derailed just below the Whitesburg Depot, it too causing considerable damage.

. George Hay Cline of the Jenkins High School Cavaliers was selected as firstteam starting guard on the All-Big Sandy Conference Football Team.

Thursday, November 21, 1957 Two Letcher County men shot and killed each other in Perry County in an argument over the wife of one of the men. Bradford Sexton, 26, of Isom, and Millard Collins, 52, of Whitesburg shot each other to death Sunday on KY Highway 28 at Grapevine, about 15 miles from Hazard. Kentucky State Police Trooper Ronnie Leach said Collins was accompanying Sexton’s wife, Beulah, as she went to visit her children at a Buckhorn orphanage.

Sexton was also on his way to the orphanage when the two cars met and the men began arguing. According to Trooper Leach, Mrs. Sexton told him that her husband had a shotgun lying in the back seat of his car while Collins was armed with a .32 caliber pistol. She told Leach that after the two men argued for about two minutes, Sexton reached for the shotgun and fired at Collins while Collins fired four bullets into Sexton, killing him instantly. Collins died later at the Hazard hospital.

. Letcher County’s high school basketball season opens next week with Whitesburg hosting Kingdom Come on Tuesday and Jenkins hosting Hellier High on Friday.

. The Dunham High School Blue Devils basketball team has joined the 53rd District this season, bringing the number of teams in the district to six. The district’s other teams are Fleming-Neon, Letcher, Jenkins, Kingdom Come, and Whitesburg.

. Letcher County schools served 57,765 hot lunches during October.

. Dawahare’s Department Stores have announced the grand opening of their “Tots Thru Teens Shop.” The department specializes in brands such as Buster Brown, Tom Sawyer, Starlight, Boy Scout Shoes, Acme Boots, Ideal Baby Shoes, Wonderalls, Miss Elaine, Nitey Nite, Joanie Subteen, Debbie Dare, and many others.

. Mrs. Lester Hammock has replaced Lula Robinson at the Thornton School. Mrs. Robinson resigned her position at the school to accept the postmaster’s job at the Thornton Post Office, which was left vacant by the resignation of Mrs. Archie Craft Jr., who is in poor health and needs rest.

. The Whitesburg Bargain Store is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a sale.

. “The Lone Ranger,” starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, is showing November 21-23 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

. “Oven-ready” turkeys are on sale for 33 cents per pound at A&P Food Stores in Neon and Whitesburg. Two 16-ounce cans of Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce are on sale for 39 cents. Dean’s Milk is on sale for 43 cents per half-gallon.

. The McRoberts School PTA has purchased $920 worth of rhythm band instruments for three classrooms.

Thursday, November 16, 1967 The number of patients treated at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital increased 10 percent during the past year, the hospital said. The hospital this year admitted 3,780 patients as opposed to 3,370 last year.

. Members of the Whitesburg Junior Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously this week to oppose the proposed Kingdom Come Dam at Ulvah. The Jaycees offered their “wholehearted support” to a group of citizens from the area that has formed a committee to oppose the proposed dam.

. Dr. J.B. Tolliver, who serves as team doctor for the Whitesburg High School Yellowjackets, received a football autographed

by all the team members at ceremonies at Whitesburg High School. Tolliver was an All-State basketball player during his high school days at Whitesburg.

. The grand opening of the new Ashland Oil service station at the west city limits of Whitesburg will be held Friday and Saturday. Elmer Fields is the operator of the new station. [NOTE: The business closed permanently last month after several ownership changes.]

Thursday, November 10, 1977 Former County Judge and Sheriff Robert B. Collins won an easy victory this week in his bid to return to office. Collins, a Democrat, beat Republican Pete Ingram 4,955 to 1,775 in the race for county judge/ executive. Republican Estill Blair did not seek re-election.

. Portions of Harlan County were badly damaged Sunday when heavy flooding hit for the third time this year. An estimated three inches of rainfall over a three-day period pushed creeks in the Evarts area over their banks and the Cumberland River crested at more than four feet above flood stage, damaging more than 30 homes and blocking or washing out rural roads and bridges.

. The federal Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration says at least a dozen violations of federal mine safety regulations by Scotia Coal Co. contributed to the March 1976 explosions that killed 26 men. MESA said that the first methane explosion, which killed 15 men, was caused by inadequate ventilation, and was probable ignited by a battery-run locomotive. The MESA report says the second explosion, which killed eight company employees and three federal inspectors investigating the first explosion, was also caused by poor ventilation.

. Letcher County residents are being asked to take part in the national “Smokeless Thursday” program Nov. 17. Concerned because cancer continues to take so many lives in Letcher County and eastern Kentucky, Whitesburg physician Dr. John Wheeler is making an effort to reach as many residents as possible to urge them to try not smoking at least for one day.

Wednesday, November 11, 1987 Wallace Wilkinson has won the race for governor of Kentucky, receiving a record 65 percent of the vote. In Jenkins, Pat Flora, who now lives in North Carolina and had resigned from the Jenkins City Council, was reelected — leading his nearest challenger by more than 30 votes.

. A Laurel Circuit Court jury has recommended the death penalty for Roger Dale Epperson and Benny Lee Hodge after convicting them of robbing and murdering Edwin and Bessie Marie Morris of Jackson County. Donald Terry Bartley pleaded guilty to the crime earlier. Epperson and Hodge were convicted in Letcher County in 1986 of stabbing Tammy Acker to death and robbing her father, Dr. Roscoe Acker of Fleming-Neon, of $1.9 million. Bartley also pleaded guilty to the murder of Miss Acker and to the robbery and attempted robbery of Dr. Acker, whom they left for dead after choking him. Epperson and Hodge were also sentenced to death in the Acker case. [NOTE: Epperson and Hodge are two of

33 inmates being housed on Death Row at the Kentucky State Penitentiary at Eddyville in Lyon County in far western Kentucky.]

. Appalshop Inc. has received a $400,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Whitesburg-based arts organization must match the grant with $400,000 each year for three years.

Wednesday, November 12, 1997 Jenkins city officials want to annex the new U.S. 23 bypass into the city limits, but have agreed to approach the situation with caution. In addition to the bypass itself, the Jenkins City Council is considering whether to try to annex areas such as Dairy Hollow, Can Hollow, Joe’s Branch and the Elkhorn Creek watershed all the way from Burdine to the Pike County line, including Marshall’s Branch.

. With the filing deadline for the May primary election more than two months away, eight potential candidates for county offices have already visited Letcher County Clerk Charlie Wright’s office to pick up their candidacy papers.

. Eastern Kentucky counties are still suffering from high unemployment, but the nation’s jobless rate has dropped to 4.7 percent — the lowest level in nearly 25 years. The national unemployment rate is less than half of the 10.3 percent reported last month in Letcher County.

. In the finals of the Letcher County Elementary Athletic Association football tournament, Martha Jane Potter, trailing Jenkins Middle School 8-6 in the final minutes of the consolation game, marched 75 yards for the winning touchdown in its 12-8 win. Whitesburg Middle School and Fleming-Neon Elementary met in the championship game. Whitesburg won the game 30-20 over Fleming- Neon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 A new report by the Kentucky KIDS COUNT Data Book says that Letcher County had one of the lowest rates of early prenatal care in Kentucky in 2005. Only one in four (26 percent) pregnant women in the county received early prenatal care in 2005 — a dramatic decline from 51 percent in 2004 and in stark contrast to the statewide rate of 77 percent.

. Police officers, including agents with the U.S. Secret Service, have arrested a Colson man and charged him with passing off counterfeit $5 bills. Randy D. Cook, 20, allegedly used a counterfeit $5 bill at Collins Grocery in Colson, and the next day went to a home and received change for another fake $5 bill.

. November 10 was declared “Ben B. Taylor Day” in honor of Millstone resident Ben Buster Taylor, a retired sergeant with the U.S. Army Special Forces, known also at the Green Berets. Taylor, who is also a former Letcher County sheriff, has spent countless hours gathering military-related memorabilia for the Letcher County Veterans Museum.

. The Letcher County Central High School Cougars won their first-ever postseason game and now will advance to the second round of the KHSAA’s Class 5A playoffs. The Cougars will host Clay County in this week’s second-round game.

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