Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


U.S. Army paratroopers of the 187th Regimental Combat Team jumped out of U.S. Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcars of the 403rd Troop Carrier Wing during a maneuver near Taegu, Korea. A Letcher County soldier, Luther Potter Jr. of Neon, participated in the first mass air drop in the Far East using the Army’s new T-10 parachute. See related item in The Way We Were for May 13, 1954. (U.S. Defense Department photo)

U.S. Army paratroopers of the 187th Regimental Combat Team jumped out of U.S. Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcars of the 403rd Troop Carrier Wing during a maneuver near Taegu, Korea. A Letcher County soldier, Luther Potter Jr. of Neon, participated in the first mass air drop in the Far East using the Army’s new T-10 parachute. See related item in The Way We Were for May 13, 1954. (U.S. Defense Department photo)

Thursday, May 10, 1934

A correction appearing on the front page of The Mountain Eagle says: “In a hurriedly written and published statement in last week’s Eagle it was said that Newt Church, one of two of the men who were shot down when two others — Joe Ingle and Winston Fields were killed on Doty Creek — died. This was a false rumor. Church was badly shot in the battle, but managed to crawl though the woods that night, a distance of three or four miles, to a man’s house. Next morning, his death was momentarily expected, but friends took him to Hazard where physicians said he might recover. The two men who did the killing, Pat and Leander Cupps, are said to be gone from the county, and no word of them has been heard since the night of the shooting.”

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Coal company houses and lots near the community of Thornton will be sold at auction next Saturday by Norman Realty Auction Company. Apex Coal Company owns the houses. Recently, the miners living in the community of Sergent were given a similar opportunity to purchase coal company-owned homes there.

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Frazier and Brown is the name of the new whiskey dispensary on Main Street in Whitesburg.

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Denver Tolliver has been sentenced to a life term in the state penitentiary after being convicted by a special Pike Circuit Court jury of shooting and killing Clyde Quillen and seriously wounding Cossie Quillen, who lost his eyesight. (Related story appears elsewhere this page.)

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Five Letcher County businesses or their owners have been granted licenses by the state to sell whiskey and other beverages containing alcohol. The licenses were issued to V.B. Frazier of Hot Spot, John E. Roscoe of Neon, Nat Craft of Neon, Passmore Pharmacy of Whitesburg, and Ritchie Grocery of Neon.

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“No businessman in Whitesburg has had more ups and downs than M. H. Boone, manager of the Whitesburg Sheet Metal Works,” a front-page story in The Mountain Eagle says. “Sticking like a leech through the Depression when everything else was crumbling and falling and then up and going again, Mr. Boone at the end of the siege is still going. Recently, he moved his stock of hardware, including everything needed by the family, to the Hawk Building on Main Street.” The story concludes: “See his ad in The Eagle.”

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A liberal Republican senator from New Mexico known for his support of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt died early Monday morning when the plane in which he was a passenger crashed in Missouri. U.S. Senator Bronson M. Cutting was one of four killed in the crash, which occurred while Cutting was en route to Washington to urge his fellow senators to support a World War I soldiers’ bonus bill that was being considered.

Thursday, May 11, 1944

In what is being called a “surprise attack,” Letcher County police officers on Saturday night arrested 20 people after raids on illegal roadhouses operating in the county. Sheriff Gilbert Polly and County Judge B. F. Wright said the raids on the illegal businesses where gambling is allowed and alcoholic beverages are sold without a license would continue until all such businesses are driven out of the county. “I will close my doors, for I can’t run this place legal and make a living,” said one business owner.

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Two more Kentucky counties have voted to outlaw the sale of beer, whiskey, wine and other alcoholic beverages. They are Martin County, where the wets lost 607 to 870, and Johnson County, where wet forces lost 1,401 to 2,714.

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A 35-year-old man was killed and four of his friends were injured in an automobile accident near Neon. Fatally injured was Cornice Burke of Potter’s Fork. Two others, one identified as Connard Fulton’s son and the other as Caney Tolliver’s son, were seriously injured. According to information received by The Mountain Eagle, a taxi cab driver found all five of the young male victims lying in the road. They had been thrown from the car, an open-top model that was found over the hill. Burke, who is survived by 12 brothers and sisters and his mother, had been staying for the past 14 years with Mr. and Mrs. Broas Wright at Potter’s Fork. He was buried in the Broas Wright Family Cemetery.

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Funeral services were held Tuesday for Elder Aaron Pack, who died Sunday while working in a coalmine near his home at Drift in Floyd County. Elder Pack, about 40, was a frequent visitor to Letcher County, where his speaking ability attracted large crowds. He died instantly after coming into contact with a trolley wire. He is survived by his wife and nine children.

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Adoption of the white dogwood as America’s national flower and to honor men killed in the present war was urged by U.S. Rep. Robertson of Virginia. The dogwood is already Virginia’s state flower.

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Pvt. Theodore Sexton, Pvt. Floren Duncil and Pvt. Cleve Collins have arrived safely in Europe, reports Colson correspondent Mrs. Eva Lee Slone.

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Bill Duncan, young son of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Duncan, arrived home in Hemphill Sunday morning on his first furlough since joining the armed forces.

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Pvt. Travel Logan of Marlowe recently enjoyed a 22- day furlough visiting his aunt, Miss Jane L. Campbell of Marlowe Camp. It was Pvt. Logan’s first furlough since joining the Army nearly five years ago. He is now reported to Camp White, Oregon, after spending 32 months in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

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Cpl. Charlie Collier, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willard Collier of Eolia, has been promoted to the rank of staff sergeant in the Army.

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Construction on the new Dry Fork Road is expected to be completed soon, writes Dry Fork correspondent Alex R. Tyree.

Thursday, May 13, 1954

Whitesburg businessman A. B. Frances was sentenced to one year in a federal penitentiary last week after being convicted on a charge of concealing and transferring property of a corporation in bankruptcy. Frances formerly owned and operated a building and appliance business on Tunnel Hill before filing for bankruptcy protection.

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Cpl. Luther Potter Jr. of Neon recently participated in the first mass air drop in the Far East using the Army’s new T-10 parachute. Potter was one of the 1,000 “Rakkasans” in the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team’s 2nd Battlion who bailed out near Oita, Japan, during the mass training exercise. Cpl. Potter entered the Army in 1948.

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Clyde Walker, a linotypist for The Mountain Eagle the past seven years, is leaving Letcher County after accepting a similar position with one of the daily newspapers in Cincinnati.

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Two Blackey women have been transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington for treatment of injuries they suffered in a car wreck near Ulvah last Friday. Mrs. Boney Caudill, 45, and her daughter, Mrs. Addie Mae Moody, 25, were both injured critically after the car which Mrs. Moody was driving left the wet highway and struck a tree, apparently at a high rate of speed. Authorities say Mrs. Moody is married to a U.S. soldier serving in Germany and was in Letcher County visiting her mother.

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John Hall, a guard from Whitesburg High School, is being counted on heavily by Coach Frank Moseley to bolster the middle of the line for the Virginia Tech football team. Hall stands 5’11” and weighs 210. He was one of the top linemen for the Tech freshman team last season.

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Bill Wright was fatally injured in a truck-train accident at Ermine on May 4.

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Cecil Hall has been elected commander of VFW Post 5704 at Cromona. Charles G. Hawley is senior vice-commander and Willis S. Hawley is junior vice-commander.

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A thief or thieves crawled through a window into the Jeremiah grocery store owned by Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Back over the weekend and stole money, candy and other items. The theft occurred while the Backs were attending church on Sunday.

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New residents of Whitesburg are Mr. and Mrs. Troy Stallard, formerly of Clintwood, Va. The Stallards are connected with the new coal analyzing laboratory located near the former Hudson Motor Company building.

Thursday, May 14, 1964

Twenty-three U.S. Department of the Interior officials came to Letcher County to see what conditions existed here. The officials visited Pert Creek School, the Greer- Ellison strip mining operations above Neon, the Cumberland River section, Pine Mountain, Neon, Jackhorn and Whitesburg.

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U.S. Sen. John Sherman Cooper will speak at the Whitesburg High School commencement exercises. Graduating seniors at Letcher High School will hear Dr. B.H. Jarman, president of Pikeville College.

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”Gypsy,” starring Rosalind Russell and Natalie Wood, is playing at the Alene Theater along with “Dr. No”, the first James Bond film, starring Sean Connery.

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Members of the Hound Dog Hookers at Blackey have made a hooked rug with an American eagle design for Lady Bird Johnson, who will visit eastern Kentucky.

Thursday, May 16, 1974

A Letcher County coal operator and his wife were kidnapped as they left the VFW Club, but escaped a few hours later. Mr. and Mrs. Wilford Niece were forced into the trunk of a car that was driven to the head of Thornton Creek and parked. Niece succeeded after some hours in clawing his way out of the trunk. The kidnappers stole payroll checks totaling $4,501 and $200 in cash from Niece, but the checks and money were recovered.

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Frank Majority and Woodrow Cornett caught a 20½-pound turtle at Fishpond Lake.

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The United Mine Workers of America is charging Duke Power Co. and the Southern Labor Union with conspiring to break the UMWA’s 10-month strike at Duke’s Brookside mine in Harlan County. The charges were filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

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The Whitesburg Little League is opening its 1974 season with a series of games for both boys and girls. This is the first year girls have been admitted to Little League membership, and Whitesburg reportedly is the only organization in southeastern Kentucky to include a girls’ schedule.

Wednesday, May 16, 1984

Damage caused by floodwaters in Letcher County is estimated to be $2.5 million, and the county is awaiting word on whether it will be declared a disaster area by the federal government. Meanwhile, teachers, pupils and parents are working to clean silt and trash out of Beckham Bates Elementary School and the Red Cross has opened a disaster service center in Fleming-Neon to assist families affected by the flood.

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”In Ya Blood,” a play performed by the Whitesburg High School Drama Club, looks at the thoughts, decisions and fears that students in the mountains of eastern Kentucky face when high school graduation approaches. The play is based on a short film of the same name made at Appalshop in 1969 by Herb E. Smith, then a student at WHS. The drama class wrote the adaptation.

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Several Letcher County baseball players have been named to the All-District team including Keith Collins, Letcher; Mike Bates, Fleming-Neon; Kirby White, David Toth and Charles Wallace, all of Jenkins; and Danny Bensen and Tim Smith, both of Whitesburg.

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Curt Adams and Willie Eldridge are farming the oldfashioned way at Stamper’s Branch near Isom — turning and disking fields with horses and planting corn by hand. The men, both near 70, say it is the only way they have ever farmed.

Wednesday, May 18, 1994

The Letcher Fiscal Court has voted to pay a sanitation company $24.90 a ton to haul the county’s garbage to Laurel County and dispose of it there. The move is expected to save thousands of dollars.

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Dedication ceremonies are scheduled at the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library in Whitesburg. The library is named in honor of Caudill, a Letcher County native who was an attorney and the author of Night Comes to the Cumberlands, a book credited with inspiring the War on Poverty.

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Linefork correspondent Bonnie M. Ingram writes of her uncle and aunt, Henry and Mealie Jones, who were the first people living close to her family who had a radio. “All us cousins would get together and go up there on Saturday nights to listen to the Grand Ole Opry.”

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The Letcher County Board of Education and the superintendent screening committee have interviewed eight candidates for the job of superintendent. School board chairman Tommy Vanover said he did not expect to do a second round of interviews before the board made a decision on the hiring.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The county government is in the process of filing lawsuits against more than 20 individuals and businesses who owe seriously past due garbage bills. Meanwhile, the Fleming-Neon City Council voted to step up efforts to collect delinquent taxes, overdue garbage bills, past due water bills and any other fee citizens have owed for a year or longer.

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The name of Booker V. Wright, a Fleming-Neon Police Department officer, who was killed on duty nearly 72 years ago, has been added to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial.

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Submissions are being accepted for the 2004 Harry Caudill Award. The award, which recognizes outstanding investigation writing in Appalachia, is named in honor of the late Whitesburg attorney and author Harry M. Caudill. It is sponsored by the Bookworm and Silverfish, a bookstore in Wytheville, Va.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court is looking for volunteers to take part in the 2004 Kentucky River Sweep. The volunteers will clean up a stretch of river or creek that is upstream of Whitesburg’s, Fleming-Neon’s or Blackey’s water intake points.


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