Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, July 19, 1934

“In the early morning hours of last Friday morning, the main business section of the thriving little town of Pound, Va., was wiped out by fire,” reports The Mountain Eagle in a front-page story. “The fire was discovered at about the hour of 4 o’clock Friday morning and had such a headway that nothing could be done to save the buildings. The section on fire contained the Piggly Wiggly store, a restaurant, a drug store and one dwelling house. Further spread of the flames was prevented by dynamiting a small building in the middle of the block, which saved the post office, barber shop, a rooming house and several dwellings.” There were no fatalities during the fire, but two woman women were trapped in a building and had to jump 30 feet into the Pound River below. One of the women suffered only minor injuries, but the other broke her back and is being treated at the hospital in Clintwood, Va. She is given little chance to survive.”

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News has been slow in the summer of 1934, prompting Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb to observe: “Last week we had a difficult time in squeezing out enough news to fill The Eagle’s columns, and at this time it looks like we are in the same fix. Circuit Court is moving right along, trying every case it can reach. Farmers instead of coming to town are pulling weeds between rains. Coal miners, grim and tired, come in from their day’s labor, wash their faces, eat their well-earned meals and retire to their evening’s repose. Nobody has tarried too long at the mine, got in his car and hurried out to break his neck. Everybody is too lazy or too proud to fight. … You see, it often happens that no news is good news.”

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Authorities are not sure whether a shooting at Blair Branch of Rockhouse is tied to a disagreement over county school politics or not. On Friday, the night before Saturday’s county school elections, members of the Blair and Adams families were assembled when a “general row” resulted in “one man, his wife and their son being splattered with shots from a shotgun and another man battered with sticks and stones.” Billy Blair, the man shot, was not hurt seriously.

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John London, a colored man from Hotspot, was sentenced to life in prison at the conclusion of his trial in Letcher Circuit Court this week on charges of murdering Tom Harding, who is also colored, after a disagreement over a dime while the two were engaged in a gambling game at Hotspot. “There was a dispute over the amount of one dime,” The Eagle reports. “The controversy was smoothed out somewhat by dividing the dime equally between the two men, but London was not satisfied with the division and, after a quarrel, shot and killed Harding.

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In keeping with a new state law, the state Inspector and Examiner’s Department will begin auditing the finances of all county government offices.

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One young man was tried in Letcher Circuit Court on Tuesday and sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary after being convicted of stealing a radio from a McRoberts father and son, J. D. Pendleton and John M. Pendleton. The jury found Milton Smith, originally from Lee or Estill counties, guilty but acquitted two alleged accomplices.

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Dr. Crawford of Whitesburg is being credited with saving the life of Leon P. Webb, who ate canned tomatoes that were poisonous.

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Astor Hogg of Mayking is being credited with handling “a mean brick” after knocking one of three “bandit thugs” on the head during a robbery attempt at the train depot in Winchester. Young Mr. Hogg was on his way back home to Letcher County from school when the thugs took his suitcase. The three would-be robbers left the scene after Mr. Hogg took aim with a brick and hit one of them in the head. The wounded thug had to be carried away by his two buddies.

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A large rattlesnake with six buttons and a rattle was on exhibit on the streets of Whitesburg this week after being captured on Pine Mountain.

Thursday, July 20, 1944

Mr. and Mrs. Amos Sanders of McRoberts have lost their second son to the war. Pvt. Ruben Sanders, a former employee at Consolidation Coal Company in McRoberts, was killed in action in May.

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Woodrow W. Dawahare of Whitesburg is one of nine Army officers from Kentucky to be promoted in rank, the War Department announced this week. Dawahare is now a 1st Lieutenant.

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One of the largest business transactions in the history of Letcher County took place this week when Sandy Valley Grocery Company of Ashland bought Whitesburg Wholesale Company. The firm is now operating under the name Letcher Grocery Company.

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S. J. Bates, well-known local businessman, has purchased the Hollan share of the Wright-Hollan Coal Company, which was owned by County Judge B. F. Wright and Redwine Hollan. The purchase price is said to be more than $10,000.

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Zenith Bentley is the new owner of Ritchie Grocery Store in Whitesburg.

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Young Harry M. Caudill is now resting at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Cro Caudill of Long Branch in Whitesburg, after being wounded May 18 during the Allied Forces’ attack on Rome. Harry Caudill was fighting with the Fifth Army, 85th Division when shrapnel wounded his left leg, resulting in a long hospital stay. He was being treated in the Army hospital in South Carolina before being transferred to Nashville, from where he was given permission to visit home. Harry is a graduate of Whitesburg High School.

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Mrs. Lettie Leach of Whitesburg received a wire from the War Department informing her that her son, T/Sgt. Astor Collins has been wounded somewhere in France.

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Sgt. Willis Kiser and Sgt. Bradley Kiser, brothers serving overseas, recently met in England for the first time in two years. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Goff Kiser of Millstone.

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The Democratic National Convention is underway in Chicago this week. The big question at present is who will serve as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s running mate.

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Pfc. Buford Elam, a former employee of the Carbon Glow Coal Company, is now on duty in the South Pacific with a port company of the Army’s Service of Supply forces. His organization has been trained as a stevedoring unit to load and unload ships. Elam is working as a longshoreman with his unit. He is a son of Mrs. Mollie Back of Whitesburg.

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A Gordon couple, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Helton, now have three sons serving our country during war. Sgt. Curtis Helton is fighting for the Army in Italy; David C. Helton is now with the R.O.T.C. at the University of Louisville after serving 14 months with the Navy in New Caledonia, and Pvt. Bert S. Helton is now in camp at Newport News, Virginia.

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Women who wish to have their pressure cooker gauges checked may bring the gauge and the lid to their pressure cooker to the Letcher County Extension Service office on July 25. The test takes about five minutes, says Mary Belle Rogers, home demonstration agent.

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Sgt. Kennon B. Breeding, a graduate of Whitesburg High School, is a winner of the coveted Expert Infantryman Badge.

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Sgt. Ralph Perry, 20, of East Jenkins, a tail gunner on an Army Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress, is credited with the destruction of an enemy fighter plane over Bucharest, Rumania on May 7. Sgt. Perry has completed 27 combat missions and has been awarded the Air Medal.

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Sgt. Russell F. Johnson, 27, of Jenkins, a tail gunner on an Army Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress, has flown 32 bombing missions over enemy-held territory.

Thursday, July 15, 1954

The City of Whitesburg has approved an ordinance authorizing the position of “Public Officer,” whose job it will be to “investigate the dwelling conditions in the city in order to determine which dwellings are unfit for human habitation or inimical to the public welfare.” The Public Officer may act on his own or whenever a petition is filed by at least five residents of the City.

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Colonel Thomas S. Haymond, former head of Elk Horn Coal Corporation, has died at a retirement home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi at age 85. Haymond, who lived in Fleming for many years, was manager of Elk Horn Coal from its development until his retirement a few years ago. He was a native of Fairmont, W.Va.

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R. H. Hobbs Company of Pikeville has donated $500 to help pay for the newly constructed Whitesburg Municipal Swimming Pool. “I only wish our town could get things done as well,” writes the company’s founder, R. H. Hobbs.

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A 26-year-old Letcher County man has died in a drowning accident while swimming in the Emory River in Harriman, Tenn. Police say Watson Foust of Skyline drowned about 40 feet from the bank while attempting to swim across the river on July 12. His body was recovered about one hour later.

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The City of Jenkins has total assets of $22,167 and total liabilities of $22,167, according to the financial statement it legally required to advertise to the public.

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According to its “Report of Condition,” the Bank of Whitesburg had total assets of $5,150,504.83 and liabilities of $4,741,764.63 at the close of business on June 30, 1954. The document is signed by Herman Hale, executive vice president, and attested by bank directors B. C. Bach, R. D. Collins, and Stephen Combs Jr.

Thursday, July 16, 1964

Dr. B.F. Wright has replaced Kerney Day as the chairman of the Letcher County Board of Education. Follace Fields was installed as a board member, replacing Ray Collins, who was removed from the board through court action on charges of selling soft drinks to the school system.

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Members of the Whitesburg Airport Board are working to obtain $10,000 needed to pave the new Whitesburg Municipal Airport near Colson. The lowest bid on the paving work is $10,000 higher than preliminary estimates by engineers.

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Fifty-one Letcher County 18-year-olds have been sent for pre-induction physical examinations for the Selective Service.

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First Security Bank reports $2,875,515.67 in assets.

Thursday, July 18, 1974

Appalachian Regional Hospitals President David K. Heydinger is proposing binding arbitration as a means to settling a lengthy employees’ strike. Heydinger says ARH would accept a 10 percent wage increase approved by employees. The wage increase would be in two stages, 22.3 cents an hour in September 1974 and 9.5 cents in January 1975.

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Curtis Adam of Stamper’s Branch plowed under his tobacco crop at the request of the University of Kentucky tobacco experts. The tobacco plants were mysteriously wilting and dying and agricultural experts had no explanation.

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The Bank of Whitesburg reports $40,678,553.89 in assets.

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Two thirds of the voters of the McRoberts area are petitioning the Letcher Circuit Court to incorporate the City of McRoberts. The new town would take in the territory from the Jenkins city boundary to the Fleming city boundary, across the hill from Jenkins. McRoberts was once a part of Jenkins. There are 561 registered voters in McRoberts.

Wednesday, July 18, 1984

Nearly a fifth of all workers living in Letcher County travel outside the county to work, and almost that many workers are coming into the county to work. Harlan, Knott, Perry and Pike counties draw the most Letcher County workers, and those same counties, along with Wise County, Virginia, have the most residents commuting to Letcher County.

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Achievement test scores in Letcher County schools are up 18 to 20 percent over 1983, said Superintendent Jack M. Burkich. The Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills is given to students in grades 3, 5, 7 and 10.

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Legislation designed to curb the abuses of the broad form deed took effect July 13, 1984, but questions still exist as to the extent that the new law will protect surface owners. Also in question is the effect the legislation will have on royalties paid owners of surface land who also own the minerals beneath the surface.

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”You seldom see anyone sitting on the porch anymore,” write Sergent correspondent Vendetta Fields. “The old porch swing has almost become extinct.”

Wednesday, July 20, 1994

Fifteen new committees have been formed by Superintendent of Schools Larry G. Ison and Dr. Vickie Basham, head of the state Department of Education management team for Letcher County, to work on the District Improvement Plan for county schools. These committees join at least 15 other committees and subcommittees impaneled by local school officials to find answers to problems ranging from improving strained relations with the community to devising the best plan for future construction of new schools and renovations of old ones.

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Carcassonne residents are threatening to keep their children from riding a school bus unless repairs are made to the Elk Creek-Bull Creek Road.

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Mountain Eagle columnist Ike Adams proposes a new weight loss plan — go to Florida and sweat off the pounds. He claims to have weighed 203 pounds when he left Kentucky, but says he was down to 196 pounds after visiting Florida.

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Kentucky led the nation with six mine fatalities in the first six months of 1994. In 1993 Kentucky had 19 mining deaths.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Whitesburg City Council continues to hear complaints from citizens of Solomon Road and Tunnel Hill concerning gas-drilling operations in the area.

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A windstorm blew down a big tree and some corn in the garden, reports Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “I guess we slept through it,” she says. “We never knew the damage until the next morning


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