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Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908

The Way We Were


 

 

Thursday, January 11, 1934

Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb wants Letcher County’s World War monument built on the public square in Whitesburg instead of its planned location on top of Pine Mountain. “Instead of erecting to their honor and glory on top of Pine Mountain where few if any of them ever stood, make it in Whitesburg on the old Main Street and on the public square where so many of their infant feet have trod,” Webb wrote.

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More than $45,000 has been paid to Letcher County men working with the Civil Works Administration, a job creation program established in November by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. “The spending of such a vast sum of money in every county and state in the Union may put the nation heavily in the red, but it is saving life not only of people but the very life of the republic. Notwithstanding the cost the people of the land are worth saving,” a front-page story says.

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Among the tasks facing the Kentucky General Assembly this session is fixing the state’s liquor laws to comply with the recent repeal of the 18th Amendment.

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“Well, again the people of Kentucky must worry with another session of the state legislature, which is now in session,” Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb writes. “Every year when the legislature meets there seems to be a demand for an awful lot to be done, but somehow when the session ends practically nothing has been accomplished.”

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Almost immediately after Letcher County refused to hire a county farm agent for 1934 because of lack of finances, former agent Gray Williams was hired for the same job by neighboring Harlan County.

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The U.S. Congress passed its first new law of 1934, placing a $2 seal on whiskey tax. “Somebody said you can buy it cheaper than that at the bootlegger, and he meant it,” writes Eagle editor Webb.

Thursday, January 6, 1944

Railroad engineer Morgan T. Collier was killed January 3 when an L&N freight engine exploded while taking on water at the L&N Railroad depot in Letohatchie, Alabama. Collier, formerly of Letcher County, is a son of Uncle Wibb Collier of Neon. He had been in Letcher County in December to attend the funeral of his mother. Mr. Collier was a veteran who served in France during World War I. His body is being returned to Letcher County for burial.

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Mrs. Lona Brown of Jenkins was indicted by the Letcher County Grand Jury this week on a charge of willful murder in connection with the death of Nohle Smith, also of Jenkins.

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Mrs. Kate Nelson, who has been held in the Letcher County Jail since the murder of Freelin Estepp several months ago near Millstone, has been exonerated of any of the crimes committed by her husband, Tommy Nelson of West Virginia. Mr. Nelson was convicted of killing Estepp and is awaiting a sentence of death by the electric chair at the Kentucky State Penitentiary at Eddyville. Authorities say Mrs. Nelson was kidnapped by her husband and forced to travel with him during a crime spree in Ohio and Kentucky.

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Mrs. Maggie Holbrook of Seco has received official word from the Army that her son, Pvt. Dolphia Holbrook, died almost instantly while on duty status on the morning of July 18, 1943 from injuries he received when the vehicle in which he was riding collided with an Army truck near LaGoulette, Tunisia. His remains were temporarily buried in a cemetery in the North African area and will be returned to the U.S. after the war.

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Mose Adams, 61, of Premium, was killed December 31 when struck by a freight train near the railroad crossing in Premium.

Thursday, January 7, 1954

Trial is scheduled to begin in Letcher Circuit Court today for Etta Bentley, Noah Bentley, and Bonnie Sizemore, all three of whom are charged with murder in the death of Chad Sizemore, husband of Bonnie.

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Several new county officials were sworn into office Monday morning by Letcher Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells. Those taking the oath of office were County Judge James M. Caudill, Sheriff Robert B. Collins, County Attorney Gordon R. Lewis, Coroner Virginia Craft, Tax Commissioner Otis Amburgey, County Clerk Charlie Wright, and Jailer Johnny Fulton. Harry M. Caudill has been sworn into office as state representative.

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Letcher County Clerk Charlie Wright reports the discovery of approximately 10,000 old deeds and mortgages during the remodeling of the clerk’s office. Wright urges that anyone who believes the deeds might belong to them to come to the clerk’s office and claim them. He said some of the deeds are more than 100 years old and might prove valuable to owners.

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Robert “Bob” Fike, who has served as Letcher County Farm Agent the past seven years, left Wednesday for Pulaski County, where he has accepted a position with the Cumberland Valley Strawberry Association.

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Brown’s Service Station at Pine Mountain Junction was burglarized Monday night. Thieves looted the station of practically all the tires, tubes and other goods.

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Ford Motor Company says its new 130-h.p. Y-block V-8 and 115-h.p. I-block Six engines for 1954 models are its greatest engine advances since the original Ford V-8.

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Buick has announced a new line of automobiles for 1954 in showrooms January 8, including the debut of its Century series.

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In a letter to the editor, young Roy Cook of Whitaker gives thanks to the Neon Lions Club for providing him with eyeglasses. “My eyes don’t bother me since you all had my glasses made,” he writes. “My mother said she thanked you, too, and if my daddy was living he would say thank you too. Mother says that God was proud of people like the Lions Club.”

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David W. Keesee has resigned the seat on the Neon City Council to which he was elected in November. Keesee says he is unable to serve because he has been appointed temporary postmaster of the Neon Post Office.

Thursday, January 9, 1964

In an address to the nation, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared that his administration would wage a total war on poverty in America and singled out the Appalachian area as the target of a special effort in the war. Kentucky Gov. Edward Breathitt pledged state support of the federal program.

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Grants of up to $1,000 from the federal government are available to low-income Letcher County residents whose homes are in need of repair. Loans are also available to those who can repay them.

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The Rev. Charles Q. Carter, pastor of the Whitesburg Baptist Church, was honored as Whitesburg’s Man of the Year for 1963.

Thursday, January 10, 1974

Letcher County Judge Estill Blair assumed office, stating that the problem he plans to deal with is the garbage pileup around the county. Blair said he plans to institute rules governing the use of the garbage pickup containers along country roads. Private garbage collectors will be licensed, he said, and will be required to haul their loads to the Millstone landfill and pay the appropriate usage fees.

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The City of Jenkins is $45,000 in debt, according to Mayor Jesse Bates. He suggested that eight of the city’s 20 employees might have to be cut from the payroll.

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A proposal to allow oil and gas exploration on about 850 acres of the Jefferson National Forest in Letcher County is expected to be approved. This would be the first oil and gas lease granted in Letcher County national forest land. Three leases covering almost 6,000 acres have been approved on the Virginia side of Pine Mountain, adjacent to the proposed Kentucky lease area.

Wednesday, January 11, 1984

Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. has closed the company’s Jenkins Preparation Plant at Dunham because it is no longer economically efficient to operate, company officials said. Thirty employees are affected by the closing of the 42-year-old tipple and processing plant. The prep plant at the company’s Mine 29 in Pike County will clean coal mined at various Beth-Elkhorn properties, a company spokesman said.

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For the first time in more than a year, the Letcher County jobless rate was not the highest in the state. The county unemployment rate fell from 27.5 percent in October 1983 to 24 percent in November 1983. Russell County had the state’s highest unemployment rate of 34 percent.

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Yarlette Swisher checked out her last customer and ended 33 years employment at the Whitesburg A&P Store. She was the local A&P’s longest term employee.

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The number-two ranked Whitesburg High School Lady ’Jackets ran their record to 12-1 with a 57-45 victory over 11th ranked Betsy Lane. Junior Bridgette Combs led the Lady ‘Jackets with 11 rebounds and 16 points. The Jenkins High School Cavaliers raised their record to 8-3 with a win over Dilce Combs. Senior guard Rod Bowling was the high scorer for the Cavs with 26 points.

Wednesday, January 12, 1994

The Letcher County Board of Education is planning major expansions and renovations at Cowan Elementary and Martha Jane Potter Elementary schools. The board’s first priority is building permanent classrooms to replace six portable ones in use at Cowan and four in use at Martha Jane Potter.

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At its first meeting, Letcher County’s new fiscal court voted to borrow more money to keep the county going. Judge/Executive Carroll Smith and the five magistrates decided to seek a line of credit of up to $100,000 from the two local banks so the county could have money for payroll and other expenses.

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The Fleming-Neon City Council took action to ban tobacco use in the city’s municipal building. The council voted to authorize City Attorney Rick King to draft an ordinance that would ban smoking or chewing tobacco in the building.

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Children were off from school three weeks for the holidays instead of two weeks, says Kingscreek correspondent Margie Ison. “The snow put a freeze on everything,” she says. “Then it melted and flooded. That wasn’t enough — we went back into a deep freeze with temperatures in the teens . . . I don’t know what everyone thinks, but I’ll be glad to see pea planting weather.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The Jenkins City Council has voted to proceed with the annexation of the proposed Welcome Center property on Pound Mountain along US 23.

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Letcher County Attorney Harold Bolling is seeking permission to sell real estate owned by at least 25 citizens who are seriously delinquent in paying their state and county property taxes.

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Rising coal prices have some industry leaders predicting job increases this year, but other analysts remain skeptical of the long-term impact.


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