Whitesburg KY

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



April 30, 1959

Two thousand members of the Kentucky National Guard remained on duty in Letcher and Perry counties today, as violence continued to mark the six-week-old coal strike. The latest reported incident was a dynamite explosion at a tipple at Ulvah owned by Paul Tayloe of Perry County. The explosion occurred about midnight Wednesday. Wednesday morning, shots were fired near Jack Blair’s mine at Mayking. Guards at the mine were unable to spot their assailants and fired at rifle flashes 300 yards away.

Miss Ann Dugan, home economics teacher at Whitesburg High School, is the “Woman of the Year”, chosen by the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

The Whitesburg High School Band was the winner in marching competition at the recent Veterans of Foreign Wars regional meeting in Hazard.

“Mardi Gras” starring Pat Boone is playing at the Alene Theater in Whitesburg. “Escape from San Quentin” and “Adventures of Sadie” can be seen at the Elinda Ann Drive- In.

May 1, 1969

The Commonwealth of Kentucky this week obtained an option to purchase Lilley’s Woods. The Wood generally is regarded as the last remaining stand of virgin woodland in eastern Kentucky, about the only place where you can still see Kentucky as Daniel Boone saw it.

The ballpark at Jenkins will be the scene Saturday for a fish fry sponsored by the United Mine Workers of America locals and featuring speeches and entertainment. According to handbills distributed throughout the county by Local Unions 1468, 5741 and 9639, the fish fry is being held “to rebuild the enthusiasm and spirit the UMWA had when we first organized.”

“If you all have a black cat around, you are lucky because they are better snake catchers than the dogs are,” writes Ice correspondent Siller Brown. “I know this to be a fact. I have seen them do this. They get directly in front of the snake and begin to motion to it with their paws several times, at its head. Then, when it gets the snake’s attention, in a second it hits the snake in the center of its head and the snake rolls over, dead, pierced in the head with a claw.”

May 3, 1979

Testimony in the assault trial of Letcher County Sheriff Vernon Hall, Deputy Bill Jones, former state trooper B.J. Stevens, former deputy Oscar Hamms and Ron Short began Tuesday morning in Pike Circuit Court. The case was transferred to Pikeville at the request of Assistant Attorney General Barbara Edelman, who is co-prosecuting the case with Assistant Attorney General Sam Isaacs. The five defendants were indicted in March in the alleged beating of James R. Keel, a brother of Letcher County Magistrate Billy Keel.

The widows of 15 Scotia miners killed in a explosion three years ago have filed a motion the U.S. District Court in Pikeville to have their civil suit against Blue Diamond Coal Company transferred back to the Eastern District of Tennessee, Northern Division district court.

Striking miners at Stearns are preparing to enter a bullet riddled mine equipment building today to vote of the future of the UMW at the Justus Mine. As a result of UMW disclosures late last week on who would be allowed to vote, the miners are more convinced than ever they have no chance of winning the election. The miners say they now understand that the union agreed with Blue Diamond to allow 110 miners who are across the picketline to vote.

May 3, 1989

Production will begin in Letcher County this month on a short film starring Ned Beatty. A native of St. Matthews, Ky., Beatty has become a highly respected character actor for his roles in motion pictures such as “Deliverance” and “The Big Easy”. Some people expect that Beatty’s title role in “Fat Monroe”, a 17-minute “short” to be shot here, will garner national attention for Appalshop, which is producing the film.

Victims of last week flashing-flooding here apparently will receive little or no assistance from the state and federal governments. At least six homes — most of them in the Mayking area — were badly damaged or destroyed by unexpected flooding last Wednesday evening.

The 1989 spring turkey hunting season opened on April 19 here in Letcher and surrounding counties and closed yesterday (Tuesday). As of Monday, 63 birds had been reported at the four check-stations in Letcher County.

May 5, 1999

The Letcher County Fiscal Court has received one of the checks officials expected for the county road department, but it’s not enough to call back the 24 workers idled in mid-April.

Jenkins officials will have to negotiate for a lower price before they can build a water line to the city’s proposed new industrial site. The lowest bid for the project came in $107,000 more than budgeted for the lines and for relocation of water tank.

The latest effort to remove junk appliances from the countryside by buying them back netted the county 2,550 old appliances. A recycling firm was at the Letcher County Recycling Center last week, removing freon from the appliances and crushing them into bales. Workers estimated the scrap metal would weigh around 200 tons.

Unemployment rose a tenth of a percent in Letcher County during March, according to state figures released this week. The official unemployment report showed that 514 persons, or 6.9 percent of those in the labor force, were without jobs at the end of March.

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