Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, May 28, 1925 The Letcher County Grand Jury says the county’s jailer should stop keeping hogs in a lot adjoining the jail in downtown Whitesburg, calling the practice unsanitary. “We recommend the removal of these hogs to the back end of the lot next to the river,” the jury says in its final report for the May term. Elsewhere in its report, the grand jury criticizes police officers and the court system for failing to regulate criminal activities ranging from dog law violations to murder. “We find that murder has been committed within five miles of the Courthouse and that apparently no efforts have been made to bring the criminals to justice,” the report says.

. Consolidation Coal Company has lost its fight to have its tax assessment lowered by the state. The company listed the value of its property at $3,095,238, an amount that was raised to $4,456,712 by the county tax commission and to $5,035,867 by the state, an increase of $1,940,629 above the county assessment.

. A Letcher Circuit Court jury has found Robert Conrad, Negro from Jenkins, guilty of murdering Dixie Hill, also a Negro. The jury also sentenced Conrad to death by the electric chair. The execution will take place at Eddyville.

. Henry Pennington of Ice has landed one of the biggest sh caught in our area in many years. Pennington was fishing in the Eddie Brown Mill Pond when he hooked a 20-pound Buffalo sucker. Several witnesses saw the fish and saw it weighed.

. The Dan Richmond fields atop Black Mountain in Letcher County are being touted by some as the location of a beautiful new airfield. “Hundreds of acres of rolling lands are located there,” writes Mountain Eagle editor and publisher N.M. Webb. “The land lies on the great divide between two of the most progressive states in the South, Kentucky and Virginia, and is right up against the sky. [Author] John Fox always told this writer that in one of the fields stood the original Lonesome Pine.”

. August Codispoti of Whitesburg has been awarded the contract to do the excavating and foundation work on the new John A. Webb business block on Main Street. Work is to be completed on or before July 15.

. Three national banks and two state banks are now located in Letcher County.

. The City of Whitesburg has adopted an ordinance approving the plans for and construction of the town’s sanitary sewer system. The ordinance also sets the amount of money businesses and citizens will be assessed to pay for the project.

Thursday, May 31, 1945 News of the death of Warrant Officer Claude Edward Looney of Jenkins, killed in action with the Fifth Marines on Iwo Jima on March 4, was just received by his mother, Evelyn Looney, who now lives in Cincinnati. Claude graduated from Jenkins High School in 1932, after which he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps before landing a job with Consolidation Coal Company. He enlisted in the Marines in September 1935.

. Two young Negro boys employed by the carnival now set up in Fleming were killed Sunday night during a fracas with three white boys. The white boys, whose names were not known at Mountain Eagle press time, were charged and arrested but then released on $10,0000 bond. The charges are said to be of “a most serious nature,” but no other details were released. The body of one of the Negro youths has been returned to his home in Tampa, Florida. The body of the other youth remains at Craft Funeral Home in Whitesburg.

. Private First Class Venters Holcomb, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Holbrook of Whitesburg, has been decorated with the Purple Heart Medal for wounds he suffered during combat at El Guettar, Tunisia. He was also decorated with the Combat Infantryman Badge, having served as a rifleman in four engagements in the African campaign.

. Soldier Bruce Hampton of Jenkins was promoted to the rank of technical sergeant after receiving the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.

. Technical Sergeant Fred C. Gardner of McRoberts has been decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross “for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. The engineer/gunner of a 15th Air Force B-24 Liberator, Gardner participated on bombing missions in 11 European countries since he arrived in the Mediterranean theater last July.

. Soldier Vernon Boggs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jonah Boggs of Roxana, has been liberated from a German prison camp and is now in France.

. Soldier Harry M. Caudill of Whitesburg is urging Letcher County citizens, officials and civic organizations to work together to “build a beautiful monument of bronze and stone and dedicate it” to the memory of the young American service members who are buried overseas. Pointing out that dead soldiers who “once lived at Whitesburg or Jenkins, or Linefork or Colly, or Kingscreek or Cowan” are being left behind in “a strange and unloved land” in graves marked only by a white wooden cross, Caudill said Letcher County people “will be ingrates if we fail” to build a monument and place it in the public square. Caudill is a patient at the U.S. Veterans Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he is recovering from war wounds.

. Dunham High School held its graduation ceremonies May 23 in the Jenkins High School Auditorium.

. Mrs. Windus Williams of Whitesburg is the new owner and operator of The Sweet Shoppe. She has already beautifi ed the premises.

. John Wayne stars in “Tall In The Saddle” showing next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, May 26, 1955 Letcher Circuit Court Master Commissioner J.L. Hays is selling a coal camp house and 0.40-acre lot in the Tom Biggs section of Jenkins [now McRoberts] to settle a $2,006 debt the occupant owes Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company.

. Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “Buddy Poppies” will be on sale in Whitesburg and Neon on Saturday, May 28. Sales of the poppies, proceeds of which benefit the Michigan-based VFW National Home for Orphans and Widows of dead or totally disabled veterans, began in 1922.

. The Miss Whitesburg 1955 beauty pageant will be held June 9 on the stage of the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. The

event is sponsored by the Whitesburg Jaycees.

. Nannie Collins of Mayking took top honors in the annual Letcher County Strawberry Show, including a cash prize of $5.

. Duward Banks Sr. has been elected commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5829 in Whitesburg. Elected vice commanders were Leonard Nease Jr. and Nolan Adams. Ulis Hunsucker is the quartermaster, and F. Byrd Hogg now holds the position of post advocate.

. McRoberts residents have been working to improve the Sheas Fork Cemetery, but much effort is still needed.

. Kentucky Power Company is saluting the 2,000 residents of the City of Whitesburg who raised $40,000 for a municipal swimming pool. “So what’s the difference if the kids swim in a pool now instead of the river,” Kentucky Power asks in an advertisement. “The big difference is that folks in Whitesburg proved to themselves they could get together and do something worthwhile — something to benefit the town and, in time, to benefit themselves.” Concludes the ad: “Eastern Kentucky will improve only as its people improve it. And people can do anything!”

Thursday, May 27, 1965 Winners in the primary election for county judge are current County Judge James M. Caudill, a Democrat, and Republican Lexie Potter. Letcher County Court Clerk Charlie Wright led the entire Democratic ticket in the number of votes polled.

. Letcher County will receive the first highway work done in Kentucky under the Appalachian Development Act. The state highway department is preparing to accept bids for grade and drain work on a 4.9-mile stretch of Kentucky 15 from Isom to Dry Fork.

. Members of the Blackey Hound Dog Hookers showed their hooked rugs in a craft show in Louisville.

Thursday, May 29, 1975 The North Fork of the Kentucky River flooded downtown Neon, just when businesses were drying out from an earlier flood.

. Letcher County voted heavily in favor of Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll in his bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in the primary election. Elmer Begley Jr. won the most votes in Letcher County for the Republican nomination for governor.

. Letcher County’s two newspapers, The Mountain Eagle and the Community Press, submitted to the Letcher Fiscal Court subscription lists and circulation figures in a dispute over which newspaper has the largest circulation in the county. Under state law, the fiscal court must place the county’s legal advertising in the newspaper with the largest circulation in the county.

Wednesday, June 5, 1985 An elderly Colson couple were found murdered inside their home at Buck Creek. Police say robbery was the apparent motive behind the murders of Casper Collins and

his wife, Marie Noble Collins.

. The Beckham Bates Elementary School boys’ slow-pitch softball team topped an undefeated season by winning the county softball tournament.

. Della Maggard of Cowan, caught a 51-pound catfish at Norris Lake in Tennessee. The yellow catfish was 45-1/2 inches long. Two years ago, her husband, Morris, caught a 57-1/2 pound channel catfish.

Wednesday, May 31, 1995 James Sargent, a resident of Burdine and member of the Shelby Valley Rescue Squad, received the Kentucky State Police Certificate for Meritorious Achievement and the title of Colonel, Aide de Camp to the Commissioner. Sargent was honored for his March 26, 1994 rescue of two hunters who were trapped in a cave near Ashcamp. The hunters had entered the cave to protect themselves against a storm and became trapped inside. Sargent and three other men climbed one mile up a steep mountain in the rain. Once inside the cave, they had to crawl on their stomachs and push themselves on their backs to inch their way through 300 feet of narrow openings and treacherous passages to reach the hunters.

. Two Whitesburg lifeguards, Israel Howard and Misty Benge, are also heroes. The two saved the life of a 10-yearold swimmer at the Whitesburg Municipal Pool who had jumped in the 10-foot-deep section and started to panic. Howard dived into the pool and rescued him. The child had not been under the water too long and was still conscious when Benge and Howard pulled him out of the water.

. ”The wild roses are beautiful this year,” writes Sergent correspondent Vendetta Fields, “cascading long streamers of blossoms over the stark, naked rocks along the highway like a delicate bridal veil. Each tiny breeze that floats our way brings the soft, sweet aroma of the blossoms.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2005 Tony Oppegard of Lexington, the state attorney responsible for prosecuting coal operators and miners who violate safety laws, was fired as prosecutor for the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing by the Fletcher administration. Oppegard said he was given no reason for the action.

. Teachers and staff in the Jenkins Independent School System will receive a three-percent raise for the 2005-2006 school year.

. Forty-four former students of Dunham Colored High School traveled from as far away as Long Beach, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., to spend time with old classmates and tour parts of Letcher County. The only all-black high school in Letcher County closed in 1965 and students were sent to Jenkins High School.

. Photojournalist Nema Brewer-Candy, a Letcher County native, has been nominated for a Midwestern Regional Emmy Award from the Ohio Valley chapter of the National Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences. The piece for which Brewer-Candy is nominated is “Kevin’s Gift”, about a family from Pulaski County whose son had massive heart failure and died on his school’s playground.



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