Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, May 31, 1934

A Letcher Circuit Court jury deliberated evidence for about 10 minutes Saturday evening before finding a young West Virginia man innocent of murdering another young man at Linefork who had “imbibed too freely of whiskey.” The case of Bonnell White, accused of murdering Rymer Flesher, began Friday evening. The two men were in Letcher County employed as truck drivers for a “timber concern” in the lower Linefork section of the county when the incident occurred in late March. “The evidence showed that for many months the two young men had been close friends and never had the least trouble up to the day the killing took place,” a front-page story in The Mountain Eagle says. “On that evening, however, it developed that Flesher had imbibed too freely of whiskey, and in driving a truck loaded with stave timber had jammed into another truck driven by young White. The Flesher truck was wrecked so badly it could not be run. This caused Flesher to become angry at White. In the final outcome, White was abused and threatened and finally drew a knife and cut his former friend, resulting in his death soon afterward.” The jury found that White was acting in self-defense. A number of West Virginia residents, including the parents of Flesher, were in Whitesburg for the trial.

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A Perry County man alleged to have been one of six men who lynched a young Negro last January has been found not guilty by a jury from Owsley County that was summoned to Perry County to hear the case. Lee Gibson was accused of helping the five others take Rex Scott from the Hazard jail and lynch him at Sassafras in Knott County. Before he was lynched, Scott had been arrested and put in the Hazard jail on a charge of slugging Alex Johnson, a white man employed as a miner at Defiance. Scott died as a result of injuries he suffered during the lynching. Gibson was the first of the six accused to stand trial. The trials of the other five have been delayed until the next term of court.

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After deliberating evidence for three or four hours, a Letcher Circuit Court jury failed to agree on a verdict in the murder case of Joe Creech, charged with the murder of Ira Eldridge. The jury reportedly could not agree on the proper punishment for Creech; some jurors asking for five years and others holding out for a two-year sentence. The case will be set for retrial.

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Thornton resident Leon P. Webb has announced his candidacy for U.S. Representative in Kentucky’s 7th Congressional District. A descendant of the original settlers of Letcher County — the Webb, Adams, Craft, Jenkins and Cornett families — Webb says he “believes in a square deal in all things” and is “an ardent supporter of the New Deal.” He adds, “I believe Franklin Roosevelt is the outstanding apostle of hope — divinely sent to lead our people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.”

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Pastor I. E. Enlow of the First Baptist Church in Whitesburg is conducting a revival in Carbon, Texas. “Pastor Enlow’s messages are deeply spiritual, soul-stirring and soul-winning in their nature,” writes A. A. Davis, pastor of the Carbon First Baptist Church. The town is located 120 miles west of Ft. Worth.

Thursday, May 25, 1944

Citing a mistake in the Rocky Branch voting precinct in Jenkins that cost “wet” forces enough votes to have actually won the election, the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled Letcher County’s “Prohibition Election” of May 1943 “null and void.” With many of Letcher County’s young men overseas fighting the war, the “dry” forces allegedly won the election by 32 votes, 2,923 votes to 2,891. The Court of Appeals ruled that in the Rocky Branch precinct alone, a mistake in handling the paper ballots by an election officer cost the “wet” forces 29 votes that would have kept the county wet. The voters caught the mistake as they were casting their ballots but were assured their votes would still be counted. Instead, the county’s Board of Elections threw out the votes later that night. It is not known when a new election will be held.

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Cpl. Comey Wright, the 28-year-old son of Rev. and Mrs. Tilden Wright of Millstone, was killed in action in Italy on May 2. He had been in the Army for two years, fighting overseas that last 10 months.

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Brothers Cpl. Durard Banks and Pvt. Duane Banks are fighting in the war overseas. Durard is serving on the Anzio Beachhead in Italy while Duane is believed to be in the South Pacific. The sons of Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Banks, they are graduates of Whitesburg High School.

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S. Sgt. Nick Jurich of Jenkins is a member of an antiaircraft unit guarding a vital North African port against Nazi “hit and run” raiders. The unit is on 24-hour alert every day.

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Pvt. Victor Potter of Jackhorn is attending cooking school at a U.S. Army station in England to learn how to “dress up” meals he will be preparing for soldiers in the field.

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Army Pvt. Harry M. Caudill has been wounded on the Anzio Beachhead in Italy. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cro Caudill, learned of their son’s condition via a telegram received this week.

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William Jesse Collier, the 20-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Collier of Goose Creek, was burned to death when the coal truck he was driving hit a cliff and overturned on the highway near the mouth of Goose Creek, between Neon and Hemphill. Young Collier was “a fine, clean, hard-working young man,” says a front-page story in The Mountain Eagle. “His death was a terrible shock to family and friends.”

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Friends in Letcher County were grieving after learning of the tragic death of A. V. “Dave” Walters, who was crushed by a power shovel after slipping and falling at Butterfly in Perry County. Walters had been living in Lothair in Perry County, but lived in Letcher County for 16 years, having come here in 1915. He was known for having helped build nearly every mine tipple in Letcher County.

Thursday, May 27, 1954

A lawsuit has been filed in Letcher Circuit Court charging the Letcher County School Board with using “unorthodox methods” in a recent deal involving the purchase of two school buses. Plaintiffs are Russell Price, doing business as Kyva Motor Co. of Whitesburg, and Harrison Fields, a Whitesburg truck dealer. Price said the board wrongfully awarded the bid for the buses to Boone Motor Co. of Whitesburg, even though Boone’s bid was $50 higher than Kyva’s for a bus that was not near the quality of the ones Kyva could supply. “The buses I bid on were much heavier and would last twice as long as the ones ordered,” said Price. Letcher Schools Supt. Dave L. Craft said one board member said the new buses had to be “Chevrolet or nothing.” Craft added that the lowest bid received was from and out-of-county dealership.

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Jenkins Schools Superintendent C. V. Snapp has been honored with a lifetime membership in the National Education Association. Members of the Jenkins Schools staff also gave him $150 cash and Samsonite luggage.

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Letcher County Magistrate Gardner Bates has sentenced Arnold Slone and Jordon Niece to 30 days in jail and fined them $50 each after they were found with 15 gallons of homebrew and a large quantity of moonshine.

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The Whitesburg PTA will meet May 27 to allow members of the public to voice their concerns about the poor and crowded conditions at Whitesburg High School and Whitesburg Grade School. Calling the schools “a fire trap,” a PTA press release says local parents “have decided that the whole setup is hopelessly inadequate.” The PTA says it will push for a new consolidated school.

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Dedication services for the new Fleming-Neon Grade School were held Sunday at the Fleming Ball Park, with Dr. Sam W. Quillen the master of ceremonies. Among the speakers was Wendell P. Butler, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Butler told the audience “we either pay for education or we pay for ignorance.” He also touted the state’s new “Minimum Foundation Program” and the repeal of Section 186 of the Kentucky Constitution, without either of which he said there would be no new school.

Thursday, May 28, 1964

The Johnson administration’s Appalachian Recovery Bill hit its first major opposition in House of Representative hearings as Virginia representatives voiced strong objections to many portions of the proposal. The Virginia delegation wants the states to run the program from start to finish and says rich Appalachian counties should be eliminated from the new program.

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A proposal for channel clearing of the Kentucky River at Whitesburg has been returned for further study by the Army Corps of Engineers. U.S. Sen. John Sherman Cooper was in Whitesburg to address the graduating class of Whitesburg High School. He said because of the terrain and because of the construction right on the banks of the river and its tributaries, the project might have to be limited to a general clearing and cleaning, “but a large and cleaner channel would be helpful.”

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Law enforcement officials destroyed two 50-gallon stills and 200 gallons of mash in a raid on head of Linefork at Gilley. No arrests were made.

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In Letcher County, U.S. Rep. Carl D. Perkins easily won the Democrat nomination for representative in Congress from the Seventh District. Perkins tallied 1,182 votes to 179 votes for his opponent.

Thursday, May 30, 1974

Negotiations are underway between the United Steelworkers and the Appalachian Regional Hospitals, but indications are the union will reject at least some clauses in what the ARH terms its “final offer” to the striking nonprofessional workers.

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Only 729 persons voted in Letcher County in the primary election to pick candidates for the U.S. Senate. Veteran county officials said it was the lightest vote in a national race within their memory. Two precincts — Kingscreek and Colson — were never opened for voting because no election officials could be found.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court appointed a county Parks and Recreation Board and gave it a $5,000 appropriation. As a first task, the Parks Board will decide whether county funds should be used for continued support of the Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come outdoor drama.

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An editorial in The Mountain Eagle details incidents involving law enforcement officials and local teenagers. “It is not safe to permit your child to be in downtown Whitesburg after dark,” says the editorial. “If he is under 21, he is quite likely to be picked up by city police on God knows what kind of charge, then be hauled off to jail.”

Wednesday, May 30, 1984

A Mountain Eagle editorial urges the United States to stay out of a war between Iran and Iraq. Former CIA Director Admiral Stanfield Turner is urging the U.S. to enter the war — on the side of Iraq. The editorial says, “It has been Iraq, with French weapons, who has been the aggressor and Iran the defender. So what are we doing threatening to go to war against Iran?”

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Heavy rainstorms left the corner of Main Street and College Drive in Whitesburg covered with several inches of mud and several offices along Main Street with flooded floors.

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Sergent correspondent Vendetta Fields recommends several old mountain cures including: vanilla extract for diarrhea; crushed cucumber peelings and crushed bay leaves for insect repellent; table mustard for bee and wasp stings; and raspberry root tea for regulation of labor pains.

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Whitesburg High School senior Monick Wampler won the state championship in the 300-meter hurdles. She finished second in the 100-meter hurdles. WHS sophomore Deana Boggs finished first in the state in the 800-meter race. She was second in the 1600 meters.

Wednesday, June 1, 1994

Larry C. Ison has been named to replace Jack M. Burkich as superintendent of the Letcher County Schools. A motion to rescind an agreement between the county school board and the state Department of Education to allow the state to operate the county school system for at least one year was defeated by a 3-2 vote.

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Letcher County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith spent two hours convincing a large group of upset taxpayers that the county’s tax rate was lower but that revenues would be higher because of the recent state revenue department reassessments. The next day Smith learned that the state revenue department had made a $25 million error in tangible property calculations for the county, and that tax rates and tax bills would have to be refigured.

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Franklin Circuit Judge William T. Graham dismissed indictments against former Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney James Wiley Craft and his secretary, Patsy Stallard. The two indictments, one against each person, contained 103 counts relating to allegations that Stallard collected state funds for work done in Craft’s private law practice.

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”The Cowboy Way” and “The Flintstones” are playing at the Whitesburg 1 & 2 movie theater. “Monkey Trouble” and “Jurassic Park” can be seen at Cinema 7 Drive-In Theatre.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Former Fleming-Neon Mayor Harlan “Tootie” Seals has filed a motion in Letcher Circuit Court challenging the “existence and functions” of the Fleming-Neon Water Utilities Commission. The motion claims the water commission was “created in violation of law and without statutory authority.”

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The 18th annual Seedtime on the Cumberland festival will be held at Appalshop June 3-5 and will include music, food and craft booths, film screenings and a square dance.

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Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5829 fired their guns in a salute to veterans on Memorial Day in front of the Letcher County Courthouse. Despite thunderstorms and tornado watches, members of the VFW and the American Legion made their annual visit to the graves of veterans throughout Letcher County.

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Cecil Roberts will seek another term as president of the United Mine Workers of America. The election will be Nov. 9 for a five-year term.


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