Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, October 25, 1934

One man was killed and another critically wounded in what is being called a “disastrous shooting” at Big Branch on the head of Rockhouse. Henry Bentley, about 40, died instantly in the shooting that left Sam Bates on the verge of death. According to Sheriff W.H. Caudill, the shooting occurred at the Tolliver home on Big Branch after brothers John M. Tolliver and Carl Tolliver, Willie Martin and his son, and one of Floyd Cook’s sons were inside the Tolliver home while Sam Bates was outside standing on the end of the porch that fronts the road. About the same time, said Sheriff Caudill, three other men — Henry Bentley, Can Bates and R.C. Cook — came walking along the road near the home. Deputy Sheriff John B. Caudill was in the neighborhood on business and was also near the home. Sheriff Caudill said witnesses told him the shooting occurred after Bentley walked up to Bates and the two began exchanging words before each drew his pistol and began firing at the other. Caudill said that when the pistols were empty of bullets, Bentley ran toward a tree for cover but was hit in the back with a ball from what is believed to be a .22 gun. Bentley had also been shot in the chest with a ball from the same type of gun. Bates was shot in the side and taken to the Seco hospital for treatment. Sheriff Caudill said the men had been drinking before the incident. Trouble had been brewing some time between several of the men involved in the incident, Sheriff Hall said. Bates is a son of the late Captain Robert Bates and was reared a short distance from where the shooting took place. Bentley is survived by his wife and seven children.

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Officials have determined that a human head found on the railroad track below Neon is that of Jim Flinchum, whose badly mangled and headless body was found on the railroad track at Mayking around the end of September. It is believed Flinchum was hit by a train.

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Funds continue to be donated by Whitesburg businesses and citizens who hope to pay for three pieces of property needed before the state highway department can tunnel through the hill at the west end of Main Street.

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Arthur A. Johnson of Lynch, one of the owners of the Johnson Funeral Home here, has purchased a beautiful corner lot on Main Street in Whitesburg and will erect a new funeral home there.

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Vernon Taylor, a young colored man from McRoberts, was sentenced to life in the state penitentiary after pleading guilty to murdering his sweetheart, Margaret Bryson. The sentence was handed down Monday in Letcher Circuit Court. Witnesses say Taylor stabbed Miss Bryson 18 times after he found her writing a love letter to another man.

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A 19-year-old Kingscreek man shot and killed himself. Witnesses say he became upset after discovering his sweetheart had bobbed her hair.

Thursday, October 26, 1944

The Army has notified Mrs. Stella Salyers of Neon that her son, Staff Sergeant James H. Green, was killed in action in France on July 11. Sgt. Green was a graduate of Fleming school. He went overseas in 1942, serving in the North Africa, Sicily and France war theatres.

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Corporal Mitchell F. Tamer, brother of Mrs. Sam Hush and Mrs. Abraham Hazen of Neon, was killed in action in France on August 30.

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United Mine Workers President John L. Lewis and Big Sandy Elkhorn Coal Operators Association President Tom W. English are among those mourning after the tragic death William Milton Hall of Ermine. Hall, a union official who was also responsible for the success of local war fund drives, was killed last Friday morning when his car was hit by a coal truck on Sandlick. He was on his way to Hazard to attend a work-related matter. Lews said the union and its membership “have suffered a profound loss.” English said Hall was “an honest square shooter” whom he admired “as if he had been my own son.” Hall’s wife and four daughters survive.

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Private Paney W. Bates has been seriously wounded in action in Germany and is now being treated in a hospital in England. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ireland Bates of Rockhouse.

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First Lieutenant Custer D. Williams of Jenkins has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action while serving with the 1st Armored Division on the Fifth Army front in Italy. When the armored column for which Lt. Williams was acting as a forward observer was held up by machine gun and direct tank fire, Lt. Williams dismounted from his tank and with complete disregard for his own personal safety made his way on foot 300 yards beyond the foremost element to secure observation upon enemy tanks. Lt. Williams established radio communication and directed prompt and effective fire upon the enemy tanks, forcing them to withdraw and enabling his own force to move forward with a minimum of delay. Only when his mission was successfully completed did Lt. Williams leave his exposed position and return to his tank.

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Lee Adams of Whitesburg has purchased the property at Mayking known as the White Oaks. Adams said he would repair and paint the house before offering it for sale or for rent. The property is considered to be among the most valuable in the county.

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The Air Medal and Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal have been awarded to Technical Sergeant Wayne Hoff- man, a member of Colonel Philip Cochran’s Air Command Group, for “meritorious achievement in aerial flight during which exposure to enemy fire was probable and expected.” The award was announced by Major General George E. Stratemeyer, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces in India and Burma. Hoffman is a son of Mrs. Sallie Hoffman of Whitesburg.

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Miss Mable Jo Collins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Letcher Collins of Little Colley, has married Mr. James Buttrey of Nashville, Tennessee. The wedding took place October 6 at the Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After a short honeymoon, the couple will return to their defense work at the Ford Willow Run Bomber Plant near Ypsilanti, Michigan.

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A full-page advertisement by the Republican Party of Letcher County encourages voters to support New York Governor Thomas Dewey instead of helping President Franklin D. Roosevelt get elected to a fourth term in the White House. The advertisement includes a copy of a New York Sun commentary in which columnist Phelps Adams says Roosevelt is “history’s most lavish spender” whose three terms in office has cost the U.S. “one-third of a trillion dollars.”

Thursday, October 28, 1954

It looks as if Letcher County will start off 1955 with 100 acres of strawberries set out, says Letcher County Agent Robert H. Fike, who is urging persons interested in growing strawberries as a cash crop to attend a meeting on the subject in Whitesburg on November 6. Fike says Letcher County has the ideal soil and climate conditions for raising strawberries. “Do you need a payday in May?” he asks.

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A Jenkins man died last Thursday shortly after learning of the death of his father. Noah Mullins, an employee at Consolidation Coal Company, died of a heart attack while en route to the home of his father, William Mullins of Dunham, whose passing the son had just learned about. A double funeral service for Noah Mullins and William Mullins was held at Beefhide.

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Residents of the town of Prestonsburg were stunned Tuesday after learning of the deaths of two high school football players who were overcome by gas fumes in the Prestonsburg High School bathhouse. The victims, 17-year-old Donald Gene Reatherford and 16-year-old Woodrow Salyers Jr., were overcome by fumes when they remained to take showers after other members of the squad had showered and left. The two boys had turned up the gas water heater to get hot water after the supply had been exhausted by other players. The team’s scheduled game against Whitesburg Friday has been postponed.

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Coal operators in the Big Sandy-Elkhorn field have been receiving telegrams from the Foreign Operations Administration requesting information about the price of furnishing 1,000 tons of a certain size and quality of coal for immediate shipment to Korea. Assurance has been given that all coal producers will be given fair opportunity to participate in the government’s program to export 2,000,000 tons of coal to markets abroad. Producers in the Big Sandy-Elkhorn field are expected to get about 30 percent of the total orders.

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The Reverend and Mrs. Campbell Davis Wallace of Blackey have been appointed missionaries to the Belgian Congo for the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Wallace is pastor of the Doermann Memorial Presbyterian Church at Blackey.

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U.S. Senator John Sherman Cooper spoke before a large crowd at the Letcher County Courthouse on Tuesday and promised to do all he can to help the sick coal industry. After his 30-minute talk in Whitesburg, Cooper visited Neon, Hemphill and Jenkins.

Thursday, October 22, 1964

Congressman Carl D. Perkins told The Mountain Eagle in a telegram today that federal food stamps have been approved for Letcher County by the Department of Agriculture, which supervises the national program. Letcher was one of 17 Kentucky counties which asked to be included in the food stamp program as soon as Congress authorized an extension of the program in September.

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B.F. Greer, operator of strip and auger mines throughout Letcher County, has been named winner of a Conservation Award of Merit at the annual Conservation Congress in Louisville. Greer was honored for his “initiative and imagination in reclamation and restoration projects on this property.”

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A Mountain Eagle editorial says, “President Johnson’s ‘unconditional war on poverty’ is a small beginning toward what could become the most ambitious social venture undertaken in the United States since World War II. . . . The President has shown an awareness that the on surge of new technology will in coming years make it realistic, for the first time, to envision the elimination of basic economic distress in the United States.”

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Coal production in the Hazard Field amounted to 183,560 tons during the week ended August 22, 1964, bringing the total for the year to date to 5,468,710. The week’s production was 19.05 percent below the 226,770 tons mined during the corresponding week last year.

Thursday, October 24, 1974

Representatives of both the Letcher County Teachers Organization and the county board of education asked the Letcher Fiscal Court for a special tax on coal which would include funds for local schools, but the court postponed any action until it could get legal counsel. Pike and several other mountain counties have enacted special 10-cents-a-ton severance taxes on coal, with proceeds to be used to repair road damage done by coal trucks.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial on the proposed coal severance tax says, “ . . . 10 cents (severance tax ) a ton (on coal) would produce something like $600,000 a year in revenue for the county and earmarking half of that $600,000 could result in a $1,000 a year pay raise for the county’s 273 teachers and leave a bit to help meet generally high costs of operating schools. And there would still be $300,000 for roads . . . The coal industry should ask itself if it really wants to stand by and let the public school system fail at a time when the industry itself is raking in undreamed of millions and millions of dollars in profits.”

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Three persons were arrested as a result of a fire which destroyed the offices of The Mountain Eagle on August 1, 1974. Kentucky State Police arson investigators obtained warrants against Johnny Caudill, a former Whitesburg policeman and Letcher County deputy sheriff, and against Bradley Jones and Roger Stewart.

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Scottie’s Restaurant in Whitesburg is asking Letcher Circuit Court to declare Whitesburg’s midnight closing law unconstitutional. The law was passed in 1966 and provides that it is unlawful for all restaurants, snack bars, food establishments, and places of entertainment in Whitesburg to remain open after midnight. The restaurant owners say they have been operating their restaurant 24 hours a day, but say they received a citation for remaining open and are unable to be open around the clock.

Thursday, October 31, 1984

Eighty hourly employees of Beth-Elkhorn Corporation have been laid off because of “general economic conditions.” The 80 were employed at Mine 21 in Letcher County and Mine 25 in Pike County. The layoffs cut Beth- Elkhorn’s employment to 413 workers. In October 1983, the company was employing about 750 people.

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The Region 6 champion Whitesburg girls’ cross country team advanced to the state tournament, placing its top five runners among the first 10 finishers. The team was led by All-Staters Deana Boggs and Kim Fields.

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Lonnie Hogg Breeding, a former Letcher County teacher, is trying to compile a list of past Letcher County public officials. The past county judges whose names she has found are Nathaniel Collins, Joseph Cornett, J.D. Fitchpatrick, J.P. Lewis, H.T. Day, Sam Collins, Billy Blair, Steve Hogg, Steve Combs, Fess Whitaker, James Crase, G. Bennett Adams, John Sergent, Sandy Adams, James Caudill, Robert Collins, Estill Blair, Ruben Watts, S.E. Baker, Arthur Dixon, and Dr. B.F. Wright.

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”Where do crickets and grasshoppers go during the long winter months?” asks correspondent Mabel Kiser. “Do they just fade away, or do they crawl into some crevice and live out the winter?”

Wednesday, October 26, 1994

“We’re two mountains and 20 miles to anywhere,” said Linefork resident Stanley Morgan. Morgan organized a meeting of public officials and Linefork residents to discuss the community’s problems including the lack of fire and police protection. Also discussed was a renovation and possible uses of the old Kingdom Come School.

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Teachers at Fleming-Neon Elementary School have voted to establish a school based decision-making council by a vote of 17-6. Fleming-Neon is the 10th school in Letcher County to vote to have a school council.

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Jeremiah correspondent Hassie Breeding Helton writes about fall: “Leaves are falling fast, the beautiful colors gone. The birds, what few we have, don’t seem happy. Maybe they miss the hummingbirds and the cooing doves. The only woolly worm I saw this year was on TV.”

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Wes Craven’s “New Nightmare” and “The Shawshank Redemption” are playing at Whitesburg 1 & 2.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Dr. Daniel Mongiardo, a 44-year-old physician and state senator with strong ties to Letcher County, has surprised political observers all over Kentucky — and the nation — by pulling into a statistical dead-heat with Republic incumbent Jim Bunning in the race for U.S. Senate.

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Edward Morton of Thornton, has been charged with murdering his infant daughter and assaulting his infant son. The three-month-olds are two of three triplets born at Whitesburg Hospital.

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A Knox County man charged with the June 17 killing of a black bear in his garden agreed to pay $1,126.50 in restitution and court costs. Arvil Messer originally claimed he shot the bear because it was threatening him. But Conservation Officer Bill Hamilton said his investigation and the autopsy revealed that the bear was shot twice, first on the right side far back in the rib cage with the bullet moving forward and lodging between the front legs, indicating that the bear was moving away from Messer. It was shot again in the head at close range.


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