Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were




The end came rapidly. On April 30, 1945, with Russian troops on his doorstep, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin. On May 4, German forces in Holland, Denmark, and northwest Germany surrendered to British Field Marshal Montgomery. On May 7, Germany signed an unconditional surrender. Here, looking north from 44th Street, New York’s Times Square is packed with crowds celebrating the news. (AP Archives)

The end came rapidly. On April 30, 1945, with Russian troops on his doorstep, Nazi leader Adolf Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin. On May 4, German forces in Holland, Denmark, and northwest Germany surrendered to British Field Marshal Montgomery. On May 7, Germany signed an unconditional surrender. Here, looking north from 44th Street, New York’s Times Square is packed with crowds celebrating the news. (AP Archives)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, May 7, 1925 Ira Ison, charged with the recent killing of 25-year-old Frank Cornett of Linefork has waived his right to appear at an “examination hearing.” The case now moves to the Letcher County Grand Jury. Mullins, about 45 and paralyzed on one side, is charged with shooting Cornett to death at Big Creek over what is being termed “a very trivial affair.”

. Boaz Adkins, J.D.W. Collins and Paul Collier are among police officers in Letcher County who have pledged publicly to adhere to their oath of office and enforce the law against bootleg whiskey. “Better just steer clear and sleep good at night,” The Mountain Eagle warns on its front page.

. “If it beats me, then let it beat me,” candidate J.D. Blair says of his decision to come out against illegal whiskey in his race for the office of Sheriff of Letcher County. “I will not have to be hauled or carried to the ‘Bull Hole,’ but will walk to it with firm step, head high and clear conscience, jump into the depths of oblivion and say I was defeated by the most damnable, home-wrecking, love-extinguishing thing in the world today.” Blair says that if he is elected, “I promise you the Sheriff will not drink a drop of alcohol or allow a deputy to drink.”

. Twenty-eight (28) candidates have filed to run for the office of jailer in McCreary County.

. Work on the new concrete bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Whitesburg is moving along slowly but surely.

. Construction of a new power plant to serve Elkhorn Collieries at Bastin is complete, and work the new tipple is expected to be finished soon. While mining in that section of Letcher County remains slow, hopes are held for better conditions soon.

. Five students will graduate Whitesburg High School. They are: Mrs. Beulah Sigrist, Miss Ruth Collins, Watson G. Caudill, Willie Fields, and Glen F. Fields.

. Mrs. Cornelia Frazier, one Whitesburg’s oldest and most respected citizens, died early Monday morning. A native of Virginia, “Aunt Cornelia” was at least 85 years old. Her father settled into what is now Letcher County “in a very early day,” The Eagle adding that Mrs. Frazier was well to do and well-liked with “a noble disposition and desire to help the poor and needy.” She was married four times, but had no children.

. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 12 reels long and the biggest picture ever made, will show at the theater here next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12 and 13. Filmed in 1923, it stars actor Lon Chaney. [In its original 12-reel form, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” a silent movie, ran 133 minutes and cost $1.25 million to make, or about $17 million today. The film, available today on Blu-ray, was later edited to 10 reels and now lasts 109 minutes.]

Thursday, May 10, 1945 President Harry Truman declared Tuesday, May 8, “Victory in Europe Day” after Allied Forces won the final and unconditional surrender of Germany. The surrender comes after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30. “The Western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions of freeborn men,” said Truman. “The West is free, but the East is still in bondage to the treacherous tyranny of the Japanese. When the last Japanese division has surrendered unconditionally, then only will our fighting job be done.”

. Large crowds took to the streets of America’s largest cities Tuesday to celebrate Victory in Europe Day, but all was quiet in Letcher County except for small crowds gathering here and there and unusually high number of flags being displayed. The day was one of the most beautiful of the year, and from all indications there was a note of cheerfulness everywhere.

. The War Production Board has announced that its order restricting the use of electricity for advertising, promotional, decorative, ornamental lighting, and window and sign lighting has been eliminated effective upon the President’s proclamation of victory in Europe.

. News comes this week that Charles Ogden Blair had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant before he was killed in action on Luzon Island, Philippines, on February 15. In letters to Blair’s wife, Myrtle Evelyn Blair, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Blair of Whitesburg, Blair’s commanding officers said he was killed while in advance of his platoon with a scout attempting to determine enemy emplacements along the battalion’s route when they were fired upon by enemy machine guns. After ordering his men to take cover, Blair and the scout located the enemy guns “made a heroic endeavor to knock out the emplacement.” Captain Ralph B. Powell said, “Ogden died a hero. I know that is not much consolation, but what better thing could a man die for than a cause that he believed in? You might say that it was to insure that little Ogden (Blair’s small son) could grow up in a free country and take advantage of the things a nation like ours stands for.”

. Private First Class Bill Combs has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor shown while fighting against the enemy. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. John Combs.

. Private First Class Lawrence Nease is spending furlough with his parents at Camp Branch after being wounded at Iwo Jima.

. Mr. and Mrs. D.F. Baker of Jenkins received a message this week informing them that their son, Corporal Ewing Baker, has been missing in the Philippines since April 15.

. A new laundry is now open in Neon. It is owned by M. Sims and Dr. E.G. Skaggs.

. Staff Sergeant George P. Adams, son of W.H. Adams of Whitesburg, was awarded the Purple Heart medal for wounds he received in action during the liberation of Manila.

. Jenkins Schools Superintendent C.V. Snapp will address the graduating class at Wheelwright Consolidated School on May 16. Twenty seniors and more than 50 eighth-graders will receive diplomas.

Thursday, May 5, 1955 A parolee from federal prison was shot to death after exchanging gunfire with police on Stevens Fork of Rockhouse Creek in Letcher County Tuesday night. Dead is

Little Lance Hall, also known as Walter Hampton. A Kentucky State Patrolman was critically wounded during the exchange. The injured officer, Ottis Anderson, was called to investigate a wreck on Rockhouse about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Upon arriving at the scene, Anderson found Jenkins City Police Officer “Doc” Blevins and other officers already there. Upon investigating the wreck, Anderson and Blevins determined that Little Lance Hall caused the wreck in a truck he was driving, but the officers did not see Hall. After shots rang out, the officers then saw a man, later identified as Hall, crouched in a ditch and armed with a shotgun. After being unable to coax Hall out of the ditch, Anderson approached him on foot but Hall opened fire and hit Anderson in the chest and shoulder, knocking him to the ground. Anderson was still able to get back up and scuffle with Hall. After Anderson disarmed Hall, Hall was able to disarm Anderson. Anderson recovered his gun and began firing at Hall, as did Officer Blevins. It was not known which officer fired the fatal shot. The incident occurred after Hall had been in at least two wrecks with Consolidation Coal Company employees. Witnesses said Hall obtained the shotgun after breaking in the door of the home of Mrs. Worley Hall, where he had been staying, and hitting Mrs. Hall in the head. Little Lance Hall was quoted as saying, “I am not going back to the penitentiary, but I am going to die and I am going to take somebody with me.” Patrolman Anderson was wounded with 132 shotgun pellets in his chest. He also has a badly mangled shoulder.

. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a driver who hit a young girl in Neon and then fled the scene. Neon Police Officer Sam Franklin said the little girl was seriously injured when she was hit while walking on the road below the Kinco gas station. Neon Police have set the reward at $25.

. Letcher County’s polio vaccine program, sponsored by the Whitesburg Woman’s Club, is going well, with 1,689 children receiving their first shots of the Salk Polio vaccine. The second shots in the present series of two must still be given.

. Dock Mitchell, home in Blackey for a few days from Indianapolis, caught a 28-inch blue catfish at Red Star on a rod and reel using crawfish bait.

. Russell Johnson Jr., a recent graduate of the University of Louisville School of Pharmacy, is the new pharmacist at Neon Drug Company in Neon. He is also a graduate of Jenkins High School.

. Whitesburg High School’s annual athletic banquet will be held May 9. Guest speaker will be Virginia Tech football coach Frank Mosley, a former football great at the University of Alabama.

. Smoot Creek School’s eighth-grade class has returned from spending a week in Washington, D.C. Kona School’s eighth-grade class has returned from a three-day trip to Frankfort, My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, and Mammoth Cave.

Thursday, May 6, 1965 Two hundred ten Letcher County high school students are at work in the county school system as a result of a $71,490 grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity. The Neighborhood Youth Corps is paying each student $1.25 an hour for work such as library aide, teaching aide, central office aid and principal’s aide.

. Letcher Fiscal Court is preparing to take bids for the demolition of the old Letcher County jail and construction of a new county health center on the site. Bids are also being taken by the federal General Services Administration for improving the post office in Whitesburg.

. Jessie Mays of Letcher, a student at East Kentucky State College, has won a scholarship for graduate work in the area of aeronautics and space administration. Mayes plans to attend graduate school at the University of Kentucky.

. Dr. Randall Dow Collins is retiring after 35 years as the county health officer.

Thursday, May 8, 1975 The Neon City Council voted to apply for participation in the federal flood insurance program. The insurance program was authorized by the National Disaster Protection

Act of 1973 and provides federally subsidized flood insurance for homeowners and businesses.

. County Judge Estill Blair’s office has begun procedures for collecting the 10-cents-a-ton franchise tax on coal imposed by the Letcher Fiscal Court, but coal operators also received a previously unannounced form which, if signed by the operator, will allow the county to spend the tax revenues on road improvements without having it placed in an escrow account.

. A Mountain Eagle editorial questions the waivers coal operators are being asked to sign, saying, “Under the waiver, coal operators could not get back their tax money even if the tax is declared illegal by the courts. When did the fiscal court decide not to put the tax money in escrow until the Court of Appeals rules? We have sat through every session of fiscal court for many months, and at no time have we heard any discussion of such a proposed ‘waiver’ or seen any vote authorizing such a provision.”

. ”There is a bond between man and the good earth, the skies, and the mighty ocean,” writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser, “— if not for love, beauty and the majesty of it all, then just for plain life’s sustenance.”

Wednesday, May 15, 1985 Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Floyd G. Poore resigned from his post just one day after he told a citizens’ group from Cumberland River that between $2 million and $3 million would be set aside to repair U.S. 119.

. Darrell Bell is expected to be named head basketball coach at Whitesburg High School by the Letcher County Board of Education. The school board is also expected to name Randall Bentley, a former star quarterback at Fleming-Neon High School, as the Pirates’ head football coach.

. The Jenny Lea Academy of Cosmetology of Harlan announced it will open a cosmetology school in Whitesburg.

. ”The Care Bear Movie” and “The Company of Wolves” are playing at Whitesburg I and II.

Wednesday, May 10, 1995 The Neon City Council is considering creating an auxiliary police force consisting of volunteers. The request for the auxiliary came from members of the Neon police force, who claim the auxiliary is necessary in order to have two officers in the car while on patrol.

. Ten women and 36 men have applied for the post of school superintendent in Letcher County. A screening committee is working to narrow down the list of applicants.

. A new bridge is under construction at Millstone, but residents are unhappy that the bridge is only one lane wide.

. More than 92 tons of garbage were dumped free of charge at the Millstone transfer station in the first two weeks of the Letcher County Cleanup.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 Kathy Walters-Williams was sentenced to life in prison for murdering 18-year-old Forrester Caudill at Jeremiah. Caudill was unarmed when Walters-Williams shot him in the chest in November 2003.

. An elderly Neon couple died in a fire that destroyed their home. Estill Bentley, 86, and Lola Bentley, 83, were found sitting in their chairs in the living room where authorities believe the fire started. Estill Bentley was bedridden and Lola Bentley relied on a walker but needed assistance getting up from her chair.

. Deborah Brown of Jenkins, and Tim Lewis of Harlan County, students at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, were honored a members of the statewide All-Academic Team.

. Jenkins Lady Cavalier basketball standout Kayla Bentley has signed to play with Alice Lloyd College. She is the daughter of Jenkins Lady Cavs basketball coach Jerry Bentley and former Lady Cavs coach Teresa Bentley.


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