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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, March 22, 1934

Authorities are searching for two men who commandeered two engines and a train a few evenings ago at Martin in Floyd County. While the engines sat empty while building up steam, the two men entered the engineer’s cabin and started moving the train down the track toward Allen at a high rate of speed. “There was no whistle or ringing the bell, but onward the wheels rolled, splitting switches and derails and in every way disregarding danger of meeting other trains,” a front-page story in The Mountain Eagle says. “When near Allen, the ‘engineers’ seemed to have deserted the train and permitted it to stop on its own volition. No one was hurt.”

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Dr. B. C. Bach of Whitesburg is busy treating a 20-yearold man who was shot and wounded during a shooting match at the head of Kingdom Come. Elbert Jones, son of Con Jones, was wounded accidentally when a cocked .22-caliber rifle discharged as it was being picked up by a friend to use in the shooting match. Dr. Bach said the ball entered the young man’s side and ranged to the opposite hip, where it lodged. Dr. Back does not believe the ball punctured the Jones’s lower bowels. He said the young man should survive the ordeal.

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J. Q. Bentley of Potters Fork, father of physicians Daniel V. and C.M Bentley, has died of burns he received in a fire. Bentley, 74, was a successful farmer for nearly all of his life. A son of Benjamin Bentley, he born and reared on the old Bentley Farm just above Seco, one of the oldest settled places on Boone Fork.

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Former Letcher County resident K. K. Polly, who now lives in Lexington, won the $50 first prize offered by Field & Stream magazine for the best fish of its type hooked in the U.S. last year. Polly entry was an eight-pound sevenounce smallmouth bass caught at Lake Herrington near Lexington.

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New Mountain Eagle advertisers from the old town of Whitesburg include Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Whitesburg Wholesale and Al Major’s Department Store.

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Hundreds of Whitesburg residents traveled by train over the weekend to do their shopping in the revitalized town of Neon, which after two years of struggles has regained its position as the leading independent business center of the coalfields. “For some months, a bright sun has been slowly but surely rising, and a ray of hope again grows larger in the breasts of its fine citizenship and in the minds and actions of its business managers,” says a front-page story in The Mountain Eagle. “The old stores that gasped for life and struggled on and managed to subsist through the heart-sickening Depression are now full of goods and stocking up. … Nearly every one of Neon’s leading merchants has returned from the big markets in the cities where they bought large stocks of Easter and other spring goods.”

“There’s the New York Bargain Store, Thomas B. Cury manager,” the Eagle’s story continues. “[Also in Neon is] Sam Hush, who was among the first to start a modern store in town. Down the street is Nat Craft and his and his ever-smiling and genteel little helpmate in Craft’s CafĂ©. To our readers we say: Go to these stores or places of business and exchange your dollars for your wants. Let’s pat each other on the back. It’s the only way to conquer the lull in business and inspire confidence.”

Thursday, March 30, 1944

The United Mine Workers’ claim to pay for underground travel time for half a million soft coal miners today appeared to be bolstered, but by no means clinched, by a U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding such portal-to-portal pay for Alabama iron ore miners. It was the travel time issue on which UMW Chief John L. Lewis pegged his case for a wage increase and battled the War Labor Board through four strikes last year after it became clear that a straight increase in base pay was impossible under wage stabilization.

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Troy Damron of Jenkins; Benton Gibson of McRoberts; G. T. Matthews of Jenkins; Shelby G. Sturgill of Whitesburg, and Eurix Vanover of Jackhorn have been sent from Ft. Thomas to 115th Cavalry, Sq. LaMesa, Calif.

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A free-for-all fight took place in Neon Monday night, involving a number of citizens [many of them drunk] and police officers. In the fracas, there was some shooting that resulted in the serious wounding of Harvey Davis, 29, who at the present time is being treated in the Jenkins hospital. Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Shelly Lequire was charged with shooting Davis and was ordered held under $1,500 bond after an arraignment before County Judge B. F. Wright. According to a report reaching The Eagle, Deputy Lequire shot Davis when Davis resisted arrest. Too much “moonshine” is said to have been the direct cause of all the trouble.

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A 10-day furlough for S/Sgt. Burnis Banks of Letcher County ended on a sour note when Banks was involved in a traffic accident on KY 15, south of Hazard. The accident occurred when Banks lost control of the vehicle in which he was returning to Letcher County from Berea College, where he had been to return Miss Eileen Bentley of Whitesburg to campus after her short stay here. Damage to the Banks vehicle is considerable, but the cost won’t be known until Boone Motor Company of Whitesburg completes its estimate.

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The Letcher County Kiwanis Club celebrated its fifth anniversary March 23 in Jenkins. “The membership under direction of Professor C. V. Snapp lustily sang” to help celebrate the occasion, reports Jenkins correspondent Elsie Johnson. “Mr. Jesse Thomas, representing our colored folks, entertained with a violin solo, ‘Bird Song at Evening Tide,’ and then a vocal solo, ‘Beautiful Dreamer,’ accompanied by Mrs. Marion Tribble Nelson at the piano.”

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On March 19, Consolidation Coal Company’s supervisory personnel for its Kentucky Division gave a farewell luncheon in Jenkins in honor of Division Safety Inspector F. M. Correll, who has worked in this field for the past 12 years and worked 17 years for Consolidation Coal. Mr. Correll is expected to leave the state after his voluntary retirement.

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Women’s Army Corps Pfc. Elsie Banks is now stationed in Bainbridge, Georgia after leaving Nashville, where she was general clerk in Cadet Processing and was presented with the WAC Service and Good Conduct ribbons. At Bainbridge, she is with Flight A as a confidential file clerk and will assume the duties as a dispatcher soon.

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Bob Roark of Linefork and James H. Darnley of Jenkins are now fighter pilots after graduating March 13 from the Army Air Forces Training Command at Randolph Field, Texas.

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Marine Corps Private Fult Combs remains quite ill at the Fleming hospital, where he was taken for treatment after being furloughed for a period of recovery after graduating boot camp.

Thursday, March 25, 1954

A house at Potters Fork caught fire earlier this week after the home’s occupants poured moonshine onto a fire in an effort to avoid arrest on charges of selling moonshine. Letcher County Sheriff ’s deputies Jim Short and Boyd Caudill, who had been at the house to raid it, helped to put the fire out and save the home. No arrests were made because all of the evidence was successfully burned.

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A three-alarm fire last Thursday gutted the old Combs Motor Company building on Railroad Street in Whitesburg. The fire of unknown origin started in the body shop of the building. Four families who lived in upstairs apartments lost all their personal possessions. None of them had insurance. Rogers Dairy Bar, located on the ground floor, was also damaged badly and will be temporarily out of business. Combs Motor President H. C. Combs Jr. believes the fire started while a worker was welding. Firefighters from Neon and Jenkins helped the Whitesburg Fire Dept. extinguish the flames. Combs said he has mailed checks for $25 each to the Jenkins and Neon departments in appreciation of the good work by their volunteers.

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Cavalier Drug of Jenkins has undergone complete remodeling with new and updated equipment including new booths, painting, building repairs and a complete line of drug supplies. Manager Joe Eversole said he now has the most complete and modern drug store in eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia. Eversole also announced the addition of pharmacist Don B. Hill, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lymon Hill of Jenkins.

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The 1954 Kentucky General Assembly ended on a tragic note last week when Jefferson County Judge George Wetherby, 48-year-old brother of Governor Lawrence Wetherby, was killed in a car-truck collision near Louisville while enroute to Frankfort to attend the final session.

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Local and federal officers Monday destroyed a large moonshine still on Craft’s Colly. The still, located behind an unoccupied home on property belonging Harmon Slone, had a capacity of nearly 200 gallons a day, said Letcher County Sheriff Robert B. Collins. Collins said Harmon Slone confessed ownership of the still, telling authorities it had been in operation for five years. Charges against Slone will be considered by a federal grand jury in Pikeville in April. Sheriff Collins also reports that two other stills were found on Craft’s Colly, including a 50-gallon still belonging to Walter Holland and Holland’s son-in-law, Troy Collins. Holland and Collins will also appear before the federal grand jury. The third still found on Craft’s Colly was just being set up for operation, Collins said. A fourth still was found above the Dunham coal camp near Jenkins, but all the mash had been poured out before officers arrived.

Thursday, March 26, 1964

Elkhorn-Jellico Coal Co., Marlowe, notified the United Mine Workers that it is cancelling its labor contract with the union. A spokesman said the coal company plans to continue operations in Letcher County and to offer a new contract to its employees. The company employs about 100 men, and 41 have recently been laid off. Elkhorn- Jellico was the last remaining union mine in the Hazard coalfield.

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Thirty Letcher County fathers of dependent children are at work planting trees on land which was abandoned by strip-mining operators after it was worked out. The men are being paid $1 an hour from federal funds.

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Dr. Robert S. Bain, who had been the full-time obstetrician at Whitesburg Hospital, resigned from the hospital staff. Whitesburg Hospital announced it can not care for an expectant mother who came to the hospital to have her baby unless she has made prior arrangements for a physician to perform the delivery.

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Letcher County raised $773.77 in the 1964 Easter Seals Campaign. The amount includes $139.08 from the Jenkins Independent School System, and $403.69 from Letcher County Schools.

Thursday, March 28, 1974

The Letcher County Fiscal Court has voted to end the county’s garbage collection system. The fiscal court plans to substitute a local privately operated garbage collection system for the one operated by the Kentucky River Garbage and Refuse Disposal District. It is not clear how the system will work or if Letcher County residents, who have been getting free garbage pick-up service, will have to start paying a monthly fee.

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”I can remember in the days before we had any type of heating system except the open fireplace,” writes Linefork correspondent Thelma Cornett, “that March, with its high winds, always caused more people to have their homes burned than any other month in the year.”

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Notice of an ordinance published by the City of Whitesburg establishing a curfew for the city is being published in The Mountain Eagle. The ordinance requires all children under the age of 18 to be off the streets of the city before night unless accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Parents of children found out after curfew are subject to fines of $5 to $25 for the first offense, and fines of $10 to $30 for subsequent offenses.

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Shirley McCleese, an eighth-grade student at Colson School, is the winner of the Letcher County spelling bee. She will represent Letcher County in the annual Southern Appalachian Spelling Bee in Knoxville, Tenn.

Wednesday, March 28, 1984

The fate of the new Whitesburg High School remains in doubt as the Kentucky legislature has not determined whether there is enough state money to assure financing for the school.

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An undetermined number of Letcher County laid-off coal miners are expected to be called back to work in the wake of a $38 million contract signed by Lake Coal Company of Roxana.

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The First Baptist Church of Whitesburg is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary on April 1, 1984.

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Virginia Harris Combs writes of playing basketball at Kentucky Wesleyan College in the 1920s. In 1920, her team won the state championship. She says she was known as “Shorty” Harris, and the fans would yell, “Throw it to Shorty.” While teaching at Whitesburg High School, Mrs. Combs coached the girls’ basketball team.

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The Whitesburg Lady ‘Jackets were eliminated in the opening round of the state basketball tournament. WHS lost 65-61 to Marshall County, the state’s top-ranked team and eventual tournament champion.

Wednesday, March 30, 1994

Illegal dispensing and use of prescription drugs has created “a critical situation” in Letcher County, said a Letcher County Grand Jury report. Abuse of prescription dugs is “rampant” in the county, according to the report.

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The Kentucky Department of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is taking over 18 emergency reclamation projects in nine eastern Kentucky counties, including three in Letcher County. The U.S. Office of Surface Mining has run out of money to fix such emergency situations. The homes in danger from mudslides in Letcher County are that of Doyle Day at Roxana, Preston Halcomb at Letcher, and Genita Calihan, also at Roxana.

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Letcher County School Superintendent Jack Burkich has announced he will retire when his contract ends June 30, 1994.

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Mr. and Mrs. Albert Rose of Mayking, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Thursday, March 31, 2004

The Jenkins Volunteer Fire Department responded to three separate alarms March 24, making for one of the busiest days in recent memory for the department.

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Officials with Operation UNITE are expected to return to Letcher County this week to try to slow the controversy that has been enveloping the new anti-drug coalition’s local chapter on the election of officials for the organization.

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Coreen and Don Pridemore celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a picnic at Natural Bridge State Park, says their daughter, Delana Banks, the Jeremiah correspondent.


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