Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1908

Thursday, April 2, 1925

Between Saturday night and Monday morning, Whitesburg policeman Paul Collier arrested 13 men and boys for various offenses, mostly liquor.

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The Star Transportation Company’s prices are: Whitesburg to Jenkins (or the reverse), $1.50; Fleming to Whitesburg, $1.00; Jenkins to Fleming; 50 cents.

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Colonel Jon A. Webb, Attorneys D.I. Day and Emery L. Frazier, representing the Whitesburg Businessmen’s Club, rode by horseback to Poor Fork [now Cumberland] last week to confer with the Poor Fork Chamber of Commerce. All in that section are highly elated over the prospects of getting the highway completed from Eolia to Poor Fork and on via Lynch to connection with the Virginia roads rapidly approaching completion. The boys say the road from Eolia to the Harlan County line, while narrow, is in good travelable shape.

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Robinett Gibson is manager of the new business known as Millstone Motor Company.

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Letcher County Tax Commissioner John M. Adams is the only one of six persons who took the examination for eligibility to hold the office and passed.

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“Really, now, the country is at rest,” writes Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb. “There is no Congress in session. Since the beginning of the World War there has scarcely been a time when the lawmaking bodies of the United States have not been in session. Unless the President Coolidge should care to do so, which is not probable, there will be no Congress until the new one next December.”

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The last mile of the highway from Rockhouse Coal Company toward Blackey, a distance of one mile, has been let to contract.

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The total cost of the Mayking to Haymond highway, a section of the Mayo Trail, is $157,301. The U.S. government puts up half this sum and Letcher County the other half. Our county’s part has already been deposited in the banks of this county to be paid out on the contract.

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Dr. R.B. Baker has located in Whitesburg for the practice of medicine. His office is in the Holbrook building.

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Escaped convict Henry McCall has been arrested and returned to the Virginia penitentiary by Sheriff Combs. McFall grew up on the head of Millstone and has a number of relatives who are good people.

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The Letcher Insurance Agency, with offices in the Letcher State Bank building in Whitesburg, has been organized by Herman Hale and James F. Frazier.

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The Broadway play “Happiness” will be presented Friday night, April 3, at the School Auditorium by the Whitesburg High School Dramatic Club, which has been rehearsing for many weeks. Admission is 50 cents. The club had to pay $15 for the royalty rights to the play.

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“The poor little pears, peaches, and plums that listened to the sunshine, warm winds and tempting breezes and ventured out are now groaning and struggling and crying for dear life,” writes Eagle editor and publisher Webb. “The cold winds and freezes will probably get their goats. Apples and a few other fruits are not so easily tempted to step out of their winter retreats and may not suffer so disastrously.”

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The young man killed by a Stamper man in Lewis County last week was a son-in-law of Mack Yonts, formerly of Whitesburg. Stamper is from Breathitt County. The Dow Bentley mentioned in the killing was partly reared here and is a nephew of Mrs. Sara Bentley of our city.

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“Try pouring a little poison moonshine on a piece of fresh beefsteak and see how it cooks it,” Eagle editor and publisher Webb writes. “Then think of a stomach much more tender than your eye or that piece of beefsteak.”

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The first 1925 session of the Letcher Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet next week.

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Vincent Sergent and Rankin Cornett made a quick trip to Appalachia, Virginia and back on Tuesday. They left at 2 p.m. and got back at 10 p.m.

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The First National Bank of Jenkins is the oldest bank in Letcher County.

Thursday, April 5, 1945

The April term of Letcher Circuit Court opened this week with Judge R. Monroe Fields presiding. Floyd Holbrook is on trial today for the alleged slaying of Urias Polly near Mayking a few months ago. This is the only murder trial scheduled to come before the court this term.

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Lawton Watts, son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie Watts of Ulvah, has been killed in action while serving in the Army’s 231st Port Company. “I could always rely on him to carry out my orders quickly and efficiently,” Captain Erwin J. Rybarczyk wrote to Mrs. Annie Watts. “Lawton’s personal effects have been packed and will reach you in due course of time.”

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Private First Class Roy E. Sturgill has been slightly wounded on Luzon, the Secretary of War has reported to his father, Caleb Sturgill of Whitesburg. Private Sturgill has served for six years and was awarded the Purple Heart.

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Corporal Robert Bates, son of Mrs. Maggie Bates of Farraday, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal. During an attack on a German town, Corporal Bates led his squad into the most forward positions under constant enemy fire, clearing all roads and obstacles and enabling tank units to move up and give support to attacking infantrymen. Because of Corporal Bates’s courage and leadership, the tanks were able to work in close coordination with the infantry.

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Corporal Eugene N. Polly, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Polly of Isom, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the Army for meritorious service in France and Italy. The award was based on Corporal Polly’s work with an infantry regiment’s medical detachment. “He frequently braved heavy enemy fire to treat the casualties, readily risking his own life to save the lives of his companions,” the citation accompanying the award says. Corporal Polly entered the Army on April 6, 1943 and was shipped to Oran, North Africa from Ft. Knox the following November. Stars on his European Theater of Operations ribbon denote participation in three major campaigns. He landed in France on D-Day. Before entering service, Corporal Polly was a trucker for his father who runs a lumber business at Isom.

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Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Dixon have received the Silver Star Medal awarded to their son, First Lieutenant Mansfield Dixon, for gallantry in action in France on November 20, 1944. Dixon was wounded on that day but has since returned to his company. He has also been awarded the Purple Heart.

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Seaman Chester Brown has been in the Pacific since March 1944. He was in the invasion of Saipan and Tinian and back down to the Marshalls. He also took part in the second battle of Philippines. Chester is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Larkin Brown of Whitesburg and attended high school here.

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Mrs. Dicey Day of Cowan has 10 grandsons in service. Grandson Ellis Day Bartley is the youngest sailor serving in Fleet 14 in Hawaii. He volunteered just after his 17th birthday.

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Mr. and Mrs. B. Harrison Profitt of Camp Branch received a letter on Saturday from their son, Sergeant Donald Profitt, who had been listed as missing in action for more than three months after being taken prisoner by the Germans in Luxembourg.

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“Taxi Bill” Sexton of Whitesburg has bought the Star Mail Route from John B. Caudill and now carrying the mail on Camp Branch.

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Sergeant Elmer Sparks is home for a 60-day furlough after being wounded in the European Theatre of War.

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A Lions Club chapter has been organized in Whitesburg under the assistance of a representative of Lions International of Chicago, who was here the latter part of last week. A meeting was held Thursday evening at the Evans Funeral Home, with 21 members enrolled to start the new club. The first president is Dick Evans. E.C. Potter is first vice president; L.B. Goodwin is secretary-treasurer, and Howard Combs is tail twister. The Whitesburg club is sponsored by the Neon-Fleming Lions Club.

Thursday, April 7, 1955

Workers for Southern Bell Telephone Company and the L&N Railroad continued strikes this week, both of which are affecting daily life in Letcher County.

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Four Letcher County businessmen purchased the houses of the South East Coal Company at Millstone and Seco this week at an undisclosed price. The purchasers are Herman Hale, Melvin Adams, D.W. Little and Bill Conley. Some 190 units were said to be included in the transaction. The property was purchased after the owners of South East decided to quit the real estate business and give their entire time to coal production. The houses will be sold to individuals, giving preference to the people now living in the homes.

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Martin Ratliff, 49, was killed in a mine accident at the Marshall’s Branch mine on March 31. A resident of Burdine, he is survived by his wife, Learly Smallwood Ratliff, a son, Troy, of Ohio, and a daughter, Learlene, who is living at home.

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Doctors Midkiff and Walden have announced the opening of their office for the practice of optometry in the Caudill building in Neon. The office will be open on Thursdays only. Practice is limited to examination of the eyes and the fitting of glasses.

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Former Kentucky Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler spoke to a large crowd in the Letcher Circuit Courtroom last Friday on behalf of his candidacy for governor. He was introduced to the crowd by Whitesburg attorney French Hawk.

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The only woman in Kentucky who holds both a certified public accountant’s degree and a law degree has filed to run for the office of state auditor. She is Mary Louise Foust of Shelbyville.

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Fleming-Neon High School graduate Joyce Kuhl was voted the “Most Friendly Girl on Campus” at Cumberland College in Williamsburg. A freshman majoring in elementary education, she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bud Kuhl of Fleming.

. The house and furnishing at the Mill Dam in Whites- burg were destroyed by fire Monday morning. The property belonged to Herbert Cook. The fire apparently started when a stovepipe collapsed.

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Pinto beans, hominy, coleslaw and cornbread are on the menu for the Whitesburg schools next Monday.

Thursday, April 1, 1965

Law officers recovered $12,000 worth of stolen mining equipment from the home of a McRoberts man. The man had been arrested earlier in Pike County after he and three companions were caught in an attempted robbery of a Pike County mine.

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The new Letcher County Courthouse scheduled to be dedicated. The fiscal court passed a strong regulation against placing political signs on the new building, as had been commonplace on the old courthouse. The new building was financed by a federal grant and loan.

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Glenn Ihrig, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ihrig of Whitesburg, is in Rhodesia for a two-year term as head of the business department of Nyatsime College. Ihrig, a graduate of Berea College, is working in the East African country under a program of the federal Agency for International Development.

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”Under the Yum Yum Tree” and “Racing Fever” are being shown at the Alene Theater in Whitesburg.

Thursday, April 3, 1975

Simeon Hale, 91. a retired Letcher County schoolteacher who is living in Waynesburg, notified The Mountain Eagle that he thought his lifetime subscription has lasted long enough; therefore he purchased a renewal. He said he was the second person to purchase an Eagle subscription when the paper was first published in 1907 by Nehemiah Webb.

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Some 175 people gathered at the old Fleming-Neon High School gymnasium to denounce the federal strip-mine control bill and to drum up support for a coal truck and bus caravan to the nation’s capital. The meeting was sponsored by Citizens for the Coal Industry.

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”We enjoyed the girls’ basketball games very much; we think they should have played through the years,” writes Jeremiah correspondent Hassie Breeding. “I believe we would, as the saying goes, ‘lose a crop’ to watch basketball.”

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Pork loin is 88 cents a pound at the A&P Food Store. Three pounds of Eight O’Clock Coffee cost $2.59.

Wednesday, April 10, 1985

A coal truck and a Seaboard Railroad engine collided at a railroad crossing at new KY 15’s junction with KY 7 at Isom. The engine pushed the truck more than 100 yards before it came to a rest on an overpass on the old road leading through Isom. The driver of the truck, Donnie Hall, escaped injury.

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Bridgette Combs, a basketball player for Whitesburg High School, has been named Kentucky’s Miss Basketball. Combs helped lead the Lady ‘Jackets to a 99-8 record during her three years at the school.

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Seventy-five people, including a number of state and county officials, gathered at Arlie Boggs Elementary School to continue efforts to persuade state and federal officials to repair and rebuild US 119 between Whitesburg and Cumberland. The group viewed a videotape — described by one mother as a horror movie — of a school bus traveling across Pine Mountain on the road.

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Disabled Americans Veterans Chapter 157 of Whitesburg, Chapter 64 of Hazard, and Chapter 128 of Garrett, held a special ceremony in front of the Letcher County Courthouse honoring “those of all wars who died to preserve the peace.”

Wednesday, April 5, 1995

The Letcher County Board of Education voted three to two to approve a fourmonth extension of its agreement with the Kentucky Department of Education accepting state management of the school district.

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Letcher County had Kentucky’s seventh highest unemployment rate in 1994, a state report says. The county’s jobless rate was 10.6 percent.

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Jenkins native Carlton W. Hughes, an instructor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, has received one of the University of Kentucky’s most prestigious awards for faculty members. Hughes, an associate professor of communications, was selected as one of six Great Teachers for 1995 as chosen by the UK National Alumni Association.

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”The men at Black Diamond Coal Company are happy to be back at work,” reports Linefork correspondent Chester Chaffin. “James Polly reopened his mine last month after being out of work since late last year. Anytime that men are out of work, it creates hardship for the entire family.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

On April 22, the people of Letcher and Harlan counties will join state and federal officials to “Celebrate Pine Mountain” to mark the completion of a two-year project of spot improvements to the 7.7-mile stretch of US 119.

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Forty-nine employees of the Letcher County Public School System have been transferred to Letcher County Central High School.

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Rosemary Fields McClain, 32, of Ovenfork, has been charged with conspiring to help her boyfriend, Shannon Dewayne Garland, murder a Partridge woman whose body was found last week on Little Shepherd Trail.

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The trial of Jeffrey and Eugenia Allen of Sandlick has been declared a mistrial and reset for trial beginning August 1. The couple are charged in the murder of their foster child. The mistrial came after potential jurors were approached by at least one witness subpoenaed to testify.

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Anthony Trotter, 21, won his professional boxing debut March 12 in Huntington, W.Va. Trotter has been boxing since the age of 15.



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