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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908


 

 

Thursday, November 30, 1944

Bronston Burke, brother of Mrs. Emmett G. Fields of Whitesburg, was killed in a car wreck in Lexington last Saturday night. Burke, a well known Letcher County resident, had just recently been discharged from the Army after being wounded on the battlefront.

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The Ermine School will open Monday, December 4, in its beautiful new building. Mrs. Fonda Polly will be the school’s principal, with Mrs. Audrey Bates Combs serving as assistant principal. The new school is one of several planned to replace old buildings that have become too dangerous to occupy.

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Private James C. Adams of Whitesburg has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action in the Battle of Guadalcanal. Besides this medal, Private Adams, son of Mrs. Clara Adams of Whitesburg, has been awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. He has two brothers also in the service. Private Shade Adams is expected home soon from Ft. Lewis, Washington, and Seaman First Class Corbett Adams is stationed in New London, Connecticut. A third brother, Aaron Adams, has been discharged after serving 22 months overseas.

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Private First Class Lewis M. Rutledge, son of Mrs. Bessie M Orender of Burdine, was recently awarded the Silver Star for “extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy. In the early morning darkness, an enemy reconnaissance unity of about 20 vehicles penetrated the position of the battalion. The column halted directly between Headquarters and ‘B’ companies, about five yards from Private Rutledge, who was manning a .50 caliber machine gun. At this extremely close range he opened fire, killing all the enemy personnel in the personnel carrier and a self-propelled machine gun, setting fire to the vehicles. Then Private Rutledge turned his gun down the column and did much in aiding the destruction of the rest of the enemy column in the face of heavy enemy fire. He stayed with his gun until forced to withdraw because of the intense flames and exploding ammunition all around him. Private Rutledge showed the highest courage and devotion to duty without regard to his own safety.”

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Mr. and Mrs. Henry Back Jr., Jeremiah, received a telegram from the War Department informing them their son, Private Carson Back, has been wounded seriously in action somewhere in France.

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Private First Class John E. Franklin is somewhere in France recovering from a second wounding while in battle. On August 30, 1944, Franklin lost two fingers after being wounded in France. This time he suffered a wound to his foot, also in France. He has received a Purple Heart to go with several medals for bravery he has received since going overseas four years ago.

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Private Eugene Polly of Gordon has been awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded September 13 during operations against the enemy. Polly sent the Purple Heart to his grandmother, Mrs. Letha A. Halcomb. He is expected to be released from an Army hospital soon.

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Mr. and Mrs. Jim “Tinker” Fields received word from the War Department this week that both their twin sons, Private Raymond Fields and Private Ralph Fields, have been wounded in battle in France. Raymond Fields was wounded November 8. Ralph Fields was wounded November 14.

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Staff Sergeant William R. Blair, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Blair, has been awarded the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. The citation accompanying the award says Sergeant Blair, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Blair, was given the honor “for meritorious achievement (in) several aerial operational missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe. The courage, coolness and skill displayed in the face of determined opposition materially aided in the successful completion of these missions. His actions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces.” He is a member of the 389th Bombardment Group (H) and the youngest of three brothers in the service.

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Death today claimed 78-year-old Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s “indispensable man” for nearly a quarter of a century. Unwavering, fearless, and always the champion of the “little guy,” the Commissioner and former federal judge died of heart disease in a Chicago hospital at 5:35 a.m.

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Sergeant John C. Cornett, 24, of McRoberts, has arrived at Army Air Force’s Redistribution Station No. 2 in Miami Beach for reassignment processing after completing a tour of duty outside the continental U.S. Cornett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Granville Cornett, was an operations clerk in the European theater. He will remain in Miami Beach for about two weeks, much of which will be devoted to rest and relaxation.

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Master Sergeant Charles Hagan, 27, of Whitesburg, is a chief operations clerk with the Italian-based 454th Bombardment Group, which has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation “for outstanding performance of duty in armed conflict with the enemy.” The group received the nation’s highest organization award for an attack on the Hermann Georing Steel Works at Linz, Austria on July 25.

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Staff Sergeant Baxter D. Caudill, son of Mrs. Margaret Caudill of Jeremiah, has been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge for actual participation in combat against the enemy with Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark’s Fifth Army in Italy. Standards for the badge are high. The decoration is awarded to the infantry soldier who has proven his fighting ability in combat. The handsome badge consists of a silver rifle set against a background of infantry blue, enclosed in a silver wreath.

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Corporal Clyde W. Daniels, 22, of Millstone, was recently awarded the Air Medal for “meritorious achievement in aerial flight while participating in sustained operational activities against the enemy.” An assistant radio operator and aerial gunner on a B-24 bomber, Corporal Daniels is stationed in Italy with a veteran 15th AAR heavy bomber squadron. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Daniels, and was employed by South East Company before joining the Army Air Corps in January 1943.

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Carl Eugene Adams has reenlisted for a third tour with the U.S. Navy, where he in an aviation ordnance man. Stationed in California at present, Adams was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his “heroism and devotion of duty” while fighting in North Africa on July 12, 1943.

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Sergeant Alex Hall has received a promotion from technician fifth grade to technician fourth grade while serving as first cook at an Army base in the South Pacific. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thurman Hall of Mayking. Before induction in May 1942, Hall was a Civilian Conservation Corps cook for two years before being employed at Consolidation Coal Company in McRoberts. Sergeant Hall was awarded the Good Conduct Medal in March 1943. He has one brother, Private Richard Hall, who is a veteran of two campaigns with the Marines.

Thursday, December 2, 1954

Funeral services were held this morning (Thursday) for former Letcher County resident Ray Frazier, who died of injuries he received in a work-related accident in Detroit. A son of the late Lee Frazier and Cuba Winston Frazier of Premium, he was injured after falling from a scaffold while painting. He lived only a short time in the hospital after the accident.

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An accident that occurred near Whitesburg on September 5 is being blamed for the death of a Detroit woman yesterday. Doctors at Detroit Receiving Hospital say Mrs. Patti Bates Frazier, 32, formerly of Whitesburg, died of a concussion that resulted from an injury she sustained in the car crash here. The doctors said she was dead on arrival at the hospital, where she had been brought from her home. Family members said she had been complaining of headaches since the mishap. She was a daughter of Buck and Martha Bates of Colly, formerly of Kona, and attended Fleming High School.

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“Cannon arrives in Korea for duty” is the headline announcing Sergeant First Class Roy B. Cannon’s arrival with the 453rd Engineer Construction Battalion. Cannon, from Blackey, entered the Army in 1953.

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Private First Class Paul C. Stallard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Stallard of Whitesburg, was graduated with honors recently from the Army’s Demolition School in Germany.

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Mayor Arthur T. Banks has proclaimed December 15 as “S-D Day” (safe driving day) in Kentucky. In making the proclamation, Banks urged all citizens to keep Whitesburg entirely free of accidents on December 15.

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The Whitesburg Lions Club presents its minstrel “Ballin’ the Jack” tonight at 7 in the Whitesburg Grade School Auditorium. An added feature will be the Lions Clubsponsored kindergarten class of Mrs. Kermit Boatright performing the Tom Thumb Minstrel.

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The following people have left Letcher County for service in the Air Force: James Charles Logan, Colson; Bobby Eugene Bates, Marvin David Cornett, William Julius Burchwell Jr., Kyle Norman Reach, and Dan Maryland Isaacs, all of Whitaker; and John Jack England and Rupert Vanover, both of Burdine.

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Miss Anna Sue Reed, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Reed of Crown, and Miss Pansy Lee Day, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bee Day of Whitesburg, have enlisted in the Women’s Air Force and are undergoing basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Both are 1953 graduates of Whitesburg High School.

Thursday, November 26, 1964

Blacktopping has been completed on a 2,600-foot land strip at the Whitesburg Airport. Airport Board Chairman Sam Collins Jr. and members of the board are working to raise money to build a hanger to complete the five-year community effort.

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The Kentucky Department of Transportation is getting ready to receive bids for a start on the Whitesburg end of the freeway expansion of the Mountain Parkway. The 2.297-mile section extends from Whitesburg to the Dry Fork road.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial about the lack of funding for Office of Economic Opportunity (anti-poverty program) projects in eastern Kentucky says, “The area has been forced to face the fact that President Johnson’s poverty program is not for us — that the distance between the Kentucky mountaineer and the White House still is greater and more difficult to negotiate than a space flight to the moon. . . . The emphasis the poverty program seems to be placing on youth perhaps is justifiable; but an equal emphasis must be placed upon helping the countless thousands of older people.”

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”Hard Day’s Night” starring The Beatles is playing at the Elinda Ann Drive-In along with a James Bond movie, “Dr. No”.

Thursday, November 28, 1974

Knott County Sheriff Hilton Chaffins found three men walking on KY 15. The men reported they had lost $30,000 to $35,000 in a robbery by four armed men which had taken place at Big Ed Combs’s place where they were playing poker. When Chaffins, Letcher County Sheriff Ruben Watts and Kentucky State Police arrived at Combs’s place, all parties involved said they had no information as to anything that might have happened, that they knew nothing about any robberies.

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A Thanksgiving editorial in The Mountain Eagle expresses gratitude for the support of friends, subscribers, and former staff members, and the donations of equipment and money given after a fire destroyed the newspaper’s office. The editorial says, “Accepting the gifts has been somewhat hard for us — pride gets in the way at times. But we have come to realize that many people who don’t know us personally, many of whom have never seen the Eagle, really have been donating to keep alive an idea — the idea of a free press, and the letters and the donations have been a way of saying that arson won’t be tolerated and can’t be tolerated in a democracy.”

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Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser writes, “Now that winter is here it isn’t so bad, now is it? After the hurry of autumn and the enjoying of the beauty of it, it is good to rest.”

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Melvin Adams is offering a $100 reward to anyone reporting the identity of persons dumping garbage in the creek or on the road leading to Snake Valley Lake.

Wednesday, December 5, 1984

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) has ordered the Whitesburg High School girls’ basketball team not to participate in the Leslie County Invitational Basketball Tournament. The order came just three days after Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg issued a court order barring WHS Principal Ransom Holbrook from enforcing a KHSAA ruling that a transfer student from Bowling Green was ineligible to play at Whitesburg.

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James Butler Day, formerly of Kingscreek, received the Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Award, the highest award according a civilian by the Secretary of the Air Force. The award was presented for Day’s “superior leadership and technical contributions in solving complex engineering problems with the F-15, F-16, B-1 and A-10 aircraft.”

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”I imagine many turkeys gobbled their last gobble this Thanksgiving,” writes Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “It is a far cry today than in the old days when they raised their own and fattened them up for Thanksgiving.”

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In a come-from-behind victory, the Letcher Eagles defeated Wolfe County 66-64. The Eagles’ defense forced 11 second-half turnovers by Wolfe County.

Wednesday, November 30, 1994

Letcher County School Superintendent Larry Ison is retiring from his position. The Board of Education is expected to name Dr. Vickie Basham of Hawesville, who is heading a team of state management consultants working in Letcher County, to serve as interim superintendent.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) says, “Letcher County has a scant 1,200 miners these days, down from 6,000 only a decade ago. . . . The trade agreement dynamites any prospect for factories. Instead of coming into this area where they could hire unlimited numbers of workers at $5 per hour, manufacturers will put their investment capital and their plants in India where child labor works for seven cents a day, or in China where a dollar a day hires skilled workers, or in Mexico, which already is producing Fords and other vehicles at wage levels of something like $1 an hour.”

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The unbeaten Danville Admirals defeated the Whitesburg Yellowjackets 48-16 in a semi-final game for the Class AA state championship. The crowd at that game is estimated at 5,000, possibly the largest to ever watch a high school football game in Whitesburg.

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Dale Earnhardt was named NASCAR’s 1994 Driver of the Year. He is also the 1994 Winston Cup champion.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Because construction of the Letcher County Central High School isn’t expected to be completed until November 1, 2005, school officials are now trying to decide where class can be held next fall until the new school can open.

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The log cabin for which Log Cabin Drive on Bottom Fork was named burned Monday. Owners Mike and Karen Wilcox lost everything except the clothes on their backs. Mike Wilcox and his father, Dean Wilcox, built most of the four-year-old cabin themselves.

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As part of Operation Christmas, the Whitesburg First Baptist Church collected 2,381 gift-filled shoeboxes that will be given to needy children overseas.

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The only known 100 percent American chestnut tree in Letcher County was pollinated in June to try to produce viable chestnuts. Researchers found 10 viable nuts that have been taken back to the University of Kentucky for research purposes.


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