2018-01-17 / Columns

The Way We Were


Pictured above is a portion of the front page of The Mountain Eagle from January 23, 1958. The paper was in its 51st year then. Pictured above is a portion of the front page of The Mountain Eagle from January 23, 1958. The paper was in its 51st year then. Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, January 19, 1928 Letcher Circuit Judge R. Monroe Fields told the Letcher County Grand Jury on Monday that “one of the most important instances of law violation” he knows of occurred here recently when a mob removed Leonard Wood, a black man, from the county jail and lynched him in southwest Virginia. Judge Fields made the remarks while instructing the grand jury about its duty to investigate and return indictments.

. Now 101 years old, The Courier-Journal Louisville’s only morning newspaper and is the largest circulating of all daily newspapers in Kentucky. Mountain Eagle subscribers may also receive The Courier- Journal for the price of $3.50 a year.

. An angry Harlan County woman whose husband was shot and killed during a drunken brawl led Harlan County Sheriff Floyd Ball and his posse to a moonshine still on Martin’s Fork on January 15. Mrs. Adaline Middleton, 40, directed the offi cers to the still, which contained 800 gallons of mash and a grist mill used to grind the grain. No one was present at the still when officers arrived, but the equipment was still hot.

. White Star Transportation says it will cut its bus fares by 50 percent. The company plans to cover the territory from Blackey to Norton, Virginia, when spring arrives.

. The First National Bank of Whitesburg reports assets of $911,725.11, making it the largest of the five banks now doing business in Letcher County. First National Bank of Jenkins reports assets of $811,861.39, while First National Bank of Fleming reports assets of $490,700.59. Letcher State Bank of Whitesburg has assets of $396,725.25, and Blackey State Bank ended 1927 with assets of $155,900.52.

Thursday, January 20, 1938 An execution date will be set soon for Troy Triplett, the Letcher County man convicted last year murdering Dolphe Hall on Kentucky River. Triplett had appealed his conviction to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, but that court ruled against him on Monday. The governor will now set Triplett’s execution date.

. The Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Whitesburg has installed a complete line of new equipment that not only doubles the plant’s production but also bottles drinks without a human hand touching the bottle from the time the bottle enters the washer until it comes out capped and ready to be put into cases.

. Former Breathitt Circuit Judge Chester A. Bach of Jackson has been appointed to hear the election contest suit filed by Dr. B.F. Wright against James M. Crase, the apparent winner of the election to the offi ce of Letcher County Judge.

. Cecil Sexton, 23, son of the late Floyd Sexton of Farraday, died Monday in a coal mine roof fall. He will be buried in the Thornton Cemetery.

. The new Johnson Funeral Home is expected to be open for business in Whitesburg within the next two weeks.

. The new Whitesburg Post Office will be open and operating by March 1.

. Letcher County Sheriff Doyle Hogg has released a public statement in which he promises to crack down on the operation of illegal slot machines in the county.

. Letcher County Sheriff Doyle Hogg and his deputies left Thursday morning for the Kentucky State Reformatory at LaGrange, where they will deliver 11 prisoners convicted of crimes here recently.

. Coal mines in Sergent are working only half the time right now.

. Actor John Wayne stars in Zane Grey’s Born to the West,” showing Friday and Saturday, January 28-29, at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, January 22, 1948 Harve Davis was convicted in Letcher Circuit Court Wednesday for the pre- Christmas slaying of former Neon Police Officer Shelley Lequire. Davis, who had been left crippled after being wounded in the back by Lequire four years ago, shot and killed Lequire, who had been working in the McRoberts mine since leaving police work, inside a Neon barber shop owned and operated by James Kimbrell. Prosecutor J.A. Runyon sought the death penalty for Davis, but the Letcher Circuit Court jury sentenced him to life in prison.

. The remains of Dishman Banks, who was killed in France in World War II, will be returned to Letcher County for burial on Cowan later this month. Mrs. Dennis Tolliver received word that will that the body of Banks, her late husband, will arrive in New York on January 22. She will go to New York and accompany the body home.

. Development of a new coal mine at Lynch in Harlan County, designed for daily production of 5,000 tons, was announced January 14 by Harry M. Moses, president of the U.S. Coal and Coke Company, a U.S. Steel subsidiary. Metallurgical coal from the new mine, which will be fully mechanized, will supply U.S. Steel’s

Chicago district. The new mine is expected to begin production early in 1949.

. Consolidation Coal Company Mines 206 and 207 near Jenkins produce 2,650 tons of coal a day and employ 445 men, the federal Bureau of Mines reports after a recently inspection. Of the 445 miners, 45 are employed as “shot firers.”

. An argument that broke out between three men waiting for their food in a Hazard restaurant ended with one of the men being shot in the abdomen and the other two men being lodged in the Perry County Jail. The wounded man, 23-year-old Bill Arnold of Hazard, is in critical condition at Mount Mary Hospital. Arnold was shot by Steve White and Fitch Pollard, both of First Creek in Perry County, after they began arguing at J.D. Davis’s restaurant on Combs Road. The shooting occurred after a waitress delivered hamburgers to White and Pollard and returned to the kitchen to tell Davis that “trouble is brewing out there.” According to Perry County Deputy Sheriff Bill Turner, White and Pollard shot out all the lights in the restaurant while firing “wildly” at “everyone in sight.”

. Funeral services were held at the Fish Pond School near Kona on January 20 for Sam Craft, 20, who was electrocuted outside a Kona mine in which he worked. Authorities say Craft, a World War II veteran, was working with his mine pony when it ran away. As Craft went into the woods looking for the pony he came into contact with a live wire, killing him instantly.

. A Bristol, Tennessee man died in Dunham January 16 while working on a storage tank at the No. 7 Tipple. June G. McDuitt, 28, was an employee of Bristol Iron and Steel Company, a company hired to build a storage until for house coal at the Dunham site.

. Miss Patricia Ann Burnett’s engagement to Thomas Edward Gish, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Franklin Gish of Seco, is announced by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Alvis Burnett of Lexington. The couple, now living in Frankfort, will be married in the spring.

. Mrs. Emery Lewis was the honoree at a bridal shower at the Baptist Church in Whitesburg last Thursday night.

. Actors John Wayne (“Riders of Destiny”), Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis (“Marked Woman”), Errol Flynn and Barbara Stanwyck (“Cry Wolf”), and Joan Crawford (“Possessed”) will star in films scheduled for showings between now and February 11 at the Haymond Theatre in Haymond. Art V. Phillips manages the theatre.

. Railroad track will be laid next month in the new C&O Railroad Tunnel connecting Jenkins with southwest Virginia.

Thursday, January 23, 1958 The City of Whitesburg has taken a first step toward extending its city boundaries from the mouth of Sandlick to Pine Mountain Junction. The proposed annexation would be expected to more or less double the area and population of Whitesburg.

. The Whitesburg City Council has voted to raise the monthly salary of Fire Chief Remious Day from $250 to $300. Police Chief Burl Combs will see his salary increase from $275 a month to $300, while city patrolmen Eddie Howard and Joe Pack will get $25-a-month raises to $275 and $250, respectively.

. The Bank of Whitesburg has announced new operating hours. Beginning Monday, January 27, the bank will open at 8:30 a.m. and close at 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday hours will be 8:30 a.m. until noon.

. Station manager Dee Dawahare announced today (Thursday) that WNKY of Neon has received a boost in power to 1,000 watts. The station operates on the AM dial from 6 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

. Home Lumber Company of Whitesburg has announced that it will install a “ready mix” concrete plant on Railroad Street in Whitesburg, at the rear of the old Whitesburg Wholesale building.

. Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon says he hopes to find $550 in county funds

to keep the county library and bookmobile program in operation. The county has contributed $900 annually to the library in recent years.

. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets, led by newly-eligible center Stanley Branson’s 18 points, handed the Fleming-Neon Pirates their first defeat of the current basketball season on Tuesday night, 60 to 57. The loss was the first for the Pirates after 16 wins.

Thursday, January 18, 1968 The Army Corps of Engineers, which is proposing to build a dam to control flooding by the Kentucky River at Hazard, will conduct a hearing on the proposal. The dam would be built at Ulvah and would back the waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River and Rockhouse Creek all the way past Isom and to the Whitesburg city limits. D.B. Barker, chairman of the group opposing construction of the dam, urged all interested persons to attend a meeting of dam opponents set for Sunday.

. Staff Sgt. Elmer Brashear recently received the combat infantryman badge in Vietnam. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edley J. Brashear of McRoberts. He entered the Army in 1958 and was stationed at Fort Knox before going to Vietnam.

. Letcher County ranked 149th among Kentucky’s 200 school districts in the amount of money it spent for instruction of its children last year. The county spent $242.82 per pupil for instruction. This was 39.2 percent of the total $1,397,614.90 school budget. Jenkins Independent system ranked 179th among the 200. Jenkins spent $228.39 per pupil for instruction. The highest-ranking system in the state was Anchorage, with $627.20 per pupil.

. Jenkins defeated Leslie County, 75-66, but fell to Grant County, 80-63. The game slated for January 6 with Maytown was postponed because of bad weather and a fire in the Maytown gym.

Thursday, January 12, 1978 The new Letcher County Fiscal Court, acting on the advice of County Attorney Forrest Cook, met behind closed doors Wednesday with former county officials to discuss missing records and possible county bankruptcy. Cook suggested that the court arrange a closed meeting with former officials “to explain the apparent absence of records.” He told the court there was no need to “air dirty linen in public” and said a closed meeting would be exempt from Kentucky open meetings laws because “it concerns possible legal action against former officials.”

. New officials in Neon are questioning the use of $55,500 in federal money to purchase 1.72 acres of unimproved hillside land for a public housing project. The land was sold to the county by the late Jesse Meade, father-in-law of then-Mayor Terry Sturgill. No deed for the purchase has ever been recorded in the county court clerk’s office, but new Fleming- Neon Mayor James Seals found a copy in former county judge Estill Blair’s files. Meade paid L&N Railroad $5,000 for the land in June 1976.

. Everything in sight was coated in white this week as a winter storm brought six inches of snow to Letcher County and sent temperatures dipping to as low as eight below zero. Schools were closed most of the week and Kentucky Power had to appeal for lowered electricity use because the unusual demand brought on by the cold spell taxed its power supply. More snow, along with sleet and freezing rain, is expected Thursday.

. The Fleming-Neon City Council began sorting out records and combining two cities into one this week. Council members for the newly-merged cities met to request records from former officials and received a briefing from outgoing Neon Mayor Terry Sturgill on several projects undertaken by the city.

Wednesday, January 20, 1988 The Whitesburg City Council has declined to fully approve Letcher County’s Solid Waste Disposal Plan, citing trouble with county franchised garbage haulers as the reason. A Solid Waste Disposal Plan is required by the state for all 120 counties and cities must approve their counties’ plans. Letcher County is the only county that does not have such a plan.

. The Letcher County Board of Education has voted to automatically expel for the remainder of the school year any student who brings a deadly weapon to school. Board member Bill Lewis said four students have brought guns to school in recent years and the “tap on the wrist” those students have received won’t deter others from doing the same thing.

. The City of Whitesburg has awarded distinguished service plaques to Shade Frazier and Morris Mullins. Both men have been volunteer firemen for more than 30 years.

. The Whitesburg Lady Jackets overcame host Harlan, 52-29, and are now 8-3. Two days earlier, the Lady Jackets fell to the Fleming-Neon Lady Pirates, 54-35, who extended their winning streak to 12-0.

Wednesday, January 14, 1998 Nearly 50 residents of the Camp Branch area of Letcher County gathered in Whitesburg Monday to tell of their frustration and anger over damage to their property caused by recent underground coal mining. Their complaints involved mining under their homes and wells by Golden Oak Mining Company and the refusal or insufficient efforts of state and federal officials to help them get the damage corrected.

. Two current Letcher County magistrates, Randy Blair of Mayking and Delbert Anderson of McRoberts, have picked up candidate papers indicating they are considering making a run for the office of coroner. No candidate has officially filed to run for the office of county/judge executive, but incumbent Judge Carroll Smith is expected to submit his candidacy papers any day.

. Last year (1997) was the warmest on record for planet Earth, and the first time federal climate researchers are willing to say that people are at least partly to blame. “Indeed 1997 was the warmest year on record,” said Tom Karl, a senior National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher. “The increasing trend of temperatures that we see, we believe, is at least partially attributed to human activities, such as pollution from cars and factories.”

. The 14th Region boys’ All A Classic Tournament begins January 19. Letcher, in the upper bracket, will play at Wolfe County, while Jenkins plays at Riverside Christian and Owsley County plays at Fleming-Neon in the lower bracket.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 At its January meeting, the Whitesburg City Council approved the hiring of Letcher County Surveyor Richard Hall to survey an area between Pine Mountain Junction and Ermine in preparation for it being annexed into the city. The area includes Pine Mountain Grill and an area beyond the restaurant that will include Letcher County Central High School and a home and business located at the mouth of Craft’s Colly Road’s junction with Old U.S. 119.

. Two apartments located above Collier’s Mini Mart at Jeremiah were destroyed by a fire Sunday morning. A wall heater caused the fire, said Hayston Roark, chief of the Letcher Volunteer Fire Department.

. Beginning in February, all five Jenkins police officers will be trained to carry and operate Tasers. Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens is hoping the electroshock weapons will help deter people from acts of violence. “The goal is to not have a fight with anyone,” said Stephens. “The presence of the Taser on the officer will make people think, ‘hey, I don’t want to get zapped.’”

. Two Fleming-Neon High School graduates, Falon Louise King and Joshua Smallwood, first-year students at the University of Appalachia College of Pharmacy, recently participated in the annual white coat ceremony. In the ceremony, each new pharmacy student accepted into the professional program is presented with a white lab coat and recites the “Oath of a Pharmacist.” King is the daughter of Thomas King of Dunham, and Mike and Shane Dingus of Jenkins. Smallwood is the son of Billy and Sharon Smallwood.

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