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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, November 12, 1925 A slate fall in an underground coal mine at Kona has taken the life of Sam Newsom, 23. Newsom was married and had several children.

. Many Letcher County residents are praying for the speedy recovery of Whitesburg undertaker Remus N. Swisher, who fell ill with pneumonia after exposing himself to the illness while trying to help others. The Mountain Eagle says Swisher, who also a furniture and hardware dealer, “is the most useful man of Whitesburg, a valuable adjunct of Letcher County.”

. In a basketball game played in the Letcher County Armory building last week, the Whitesburg Bulldogs were leading Mayking 8-4 when someone pulled the switch to the electric lights at the end of the third quarter.

. Investigators say a mixture of moonshine and water was the cause of the breakdown of two Chicago police cruisers during a bandit chase last week. Police say the practice of using the moonshine and water in lieu of alcohol as a protection against freezing will end immediately, noting that the moonshine had corroded the radiators and rubber gaskets in just a few days.

. Prohibition officials are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass a one-cent tax on “near beer” to help in checking “the tremendous flood of high-powered beer sweeping the country.” The Treasury Department says the tax would give the government the power to inspect breweries to make sure they are manufacturing a dealcoholized near beer instead of “high-powered” three- to five-percent alcohol.

. The retirement of Sam Collins from his job as prohibition enforcement director for Kentucky and Tennessee is being greeted with sadness by many, including the editorial board at the Lexington Herald newspaper, which has these words for one of Letcher County’s best known citizens: “Judged by observation of his conduct in office the conclusion seems inevitable that if all public officials were like him there would be far greater regard for the law.” Collins is known for his role in the arrest and conviction of “Bootleg King” George Remus, the multimillionaire attorney considered the Al Capone of Cincinnati. After Remus was convicted, he said Collins was one of two federal agents he couldn’t buy off, noting that he offered Collins $100,000 to resign. “I thought certainly the young man wouldn’t object to resigning his job for a flattering sum of money if he didn’t have to do anything wrong, so we planned to offer him a flat sum of $100,000 for his resignation,” Remus said. “(Collins) turned us down. ‘No sir,’ he replied, ‘I am not for sale.’”

. Whitesburg’s Daniel Boone Hotel was host to Kentucky Governor W.J. Fields and his troupe of “good roads enthusiasts” Tuesday night. The party left Whitesburg on the early morning train Wednesday for Hazard and from there to Hyden.

Thursday, November 15, 1945 Army Private Care Sergent has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service “of great praise” in military operations against an armed enemy near Vierville-sur-Mer in northwestern France on June 6, 1944. Private Sergent, as assistant tank driver, landed on the invasion coast of Normandy during the morning of the first day of the Allied assault. The beach was under heavy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire. After knocking out an enemy pillbox, Sergent, of Democrat, dismounted from his tank, without regard for his personal safety, and worked for about an hour under constant enemy fire as he directed the hooking of towing cables to beach obstacles in order that the area could be cleared.

. Two locations in Letcher County are among 14 “quail refuges” that would be developed in southeastern Kentucky by the state Division of Game and Fish. The proposed sites in Letcher County are a 500-acre tract south of Pine Mountain on the Upper Cumberland River and a 450-acre site at the mouth of Daniel’s Branch of Rockhouse Creek. Each site would be stocked with native Bob White Quail in the spring of each year.

. Members of the First Baptist Church of Whitesburg have voted to change the time of Sunday School from 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., and to change the time for Sunday morning worship hour from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is cautioning against the too rapid return of American soldiers from Europe. The General believes all American soldiers who fought in World War II “should be returned to their homes,” but added, “If disintegration of our forces goes too far, it will provide evidence to the German people that we are not equal to our task, and an enduring peace may disappear and the war may have been fought in vain. The day of critical decision is rushed upon us.”

. University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp back in Kentucky after being commissioned an Army colonel over the summer for the purpose of establishing an athletic program for the Army of Occupation. Known as the “man in the brown suit,” Rupp has coached UK teams to numerous conference championships.

. Thor brand washing machines are being manufactured again for civilian use — the first time since 1942. Persons interested in buying one must first sign a “priority register,” available in Letcher County at Home Grocery & Furniture Company in Haymond.

. Two Letcher County soldiers, both staff sergeants, have been separated from the Army Air Force. Staff Sgt. Eugene Vermillion, 20, son of W.I. Vermillion of Whitesburg, served nine months as armorer gunner on a B-17 plane in the European Theater of Operations. He flew 26 combat missions and wears the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. Staff Sgt. Emil Cornett, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arch Cornett of Blackey, served 23 months overseas as photographer on a B-24 in the European Theater. He participated in 30 combat missions and wears the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.

. Lieutenant Troy W. Hubbard of Jenkins has been awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for his part in the evacuation of American wounded from Okinawa during that bitter campaign. Lt. Hubbard’s air evacuation squadron of the Naval Air Transport Service won recognition from the Navy department for evacuating more than 9,000 wounded soldiers. He flew Skymaster planes to remove the wounded. Often the planes were loaded

and flown out of the danger area while under enemy fire. Hubbard is a 1940 graduate of Jenkins High School.

Thursday, November 10, 1955 Kentucky voters have sent Albert Benjamin Chandler back to Frankfort to serve as governor. In Letcher County, Democrat Chandler defeated Republican Edwin Denney, 4,127 votes to 2,824 votes. Letcher County voters also elected Harry M. Caudill as state representative.

. Bradshaw Jewelers is now located in the Willie Lucas Building in Whitesburg, across Main Street from the Methodist Church. Bradshaw is an L&N watch inspector.

. Blaine Polly has purchased the Adams Hardware and Furniture Store on Main Street in Whitesburg. Former owner Lee Adams said he will devote his full time to his coal mining business.

. Jeretta Sue Grubbs, nine-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Grubbs of Leatherwood, died at the Sharon Heights Hospital in Jenkins Saturday, about an hour after she was hit by an automobile while crossing the street at Burdine, where she and her parents were visiting. A 23-year-old Haymond man was being held on $2,000 bond in connection with the death.

. Two separate fires over the weekend destroyed the top two floors of the three-story Recreation Hotel in Jenkins. Estimates of damage range from $40,000 to $55,000. The fires were apparently caused by faulty electrical wiring. C.E. Holtzclaw of the Jenkins Police Department said that six or eight permanent guests were in the 30-room brick hotel when the first fire started Saturday night on the upper floor. The second fire started Wednesday on the second floor. The restaurant and lobby on the first floor suffered only water damage.

. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in Alfred Hitchcock’s romantic thriller “To Catch a Thief” showing next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, November 11, 1965 The lower end of Letcher County has within the past two weeks sustained the worst scourge of forest fires in the last decade.

. The State Department of Education has approved a ve-acre tract of land at the old Pine Mountain Junction as a site for the new vocational high school to be built in Letcher County.

. Mountain Eagle writer Larry Caudill was recently contacted by Naomi O’Brien, director of the Test Bureau of the University of Louisville, about a story in The Mountain Eagle which mentioned an incident in which two men were making home brew. Mrs. O’Brien asked for all the data Caudill can provide on the ingredients, recipe

and procedure on making the brew.

. The Letcher County Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers will appear before the board of education Saturday afternoon to protest what it calls unfair treatment of a teacher and to protest construction of a new school at Roxana, which would be flooded if a proposed dam in built at Ulvah.

. ”Your Cheating Heart” starring George Hamilton and Susan Oliver is playing at the Alene Theatre.

Thursday, November 13, 1975 The City of Whitesburg will most likely be able to use federal funds already guaranteed to the city to help finance a new and enlarged water tank, local community development planner Ralph Coldiron said this week.

. Mountain Eagle Editor Tom Gish is the recipient of the Elijah P. Lovejoy Journalism Award. The award is named for a newspaperman who was killed in an anti-abolition of slavery riot in Alton, Ill., in 1837. It is presented annually at Southern Illinois University.

. A three-person commission of United Mine Worker UMW) officials heard testimony from District 17 miners on some of the unpublicized causes of wildcat strikes, which have repeatedly scrambled labor relations in the Appalachian coalfields. On the first day of the two-day session, UMW witnesses focused on coal companies provoking strikes and harassing mine workers. Testimony on job postings, bosses working, the removal and discharge of mine committeemen, chronic safety violations and the frequent use of court injunctions was scheduled for the second day of the hearing.

. Only the concrete shell remains of the Little Colly Old Regular Baptist Church, which was destroyed by fire about 3 a.m. Monday. The blaze destroyed at least $10,000 worth of pews.

Thursday, November 20, 1985 The Letcher County School Board says the proposed new Whitesburg High School will be located at its present site or there will be no new school site at all.

. Burdine and Campbell’s Branch elementary schools have been honored in Louisville. The two Letcher County schools were among 146 schools from 78 counties awarded “Flags of Progress” by the Kentucky Education Foundation at a ceremony last week at the Kentucky Center for the Arts.

. The Letcher County Fiscal Court, at a special meeting, voted to accept $352,427 “unanticipated revenue”. Just as quickly the court voted to pay out $318,000 of the money on old debts.

. ”All too soon comes winter, but oh how I love these balmy Indian Summer days,” writes Mountain Eagle correspondent Vendetta Fields.

Wednesday, November 15, 1995 Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Will Collins says he plans to ask Kentucky Power Company officials to testify before the Letcher County Grand Jury about the power outage which forced the relocation of several voting machines on Election Day, November 7.

. The Neon Utilities Commission is still without a budget for the 1995-1996 fiscal year, and may take the Neon City Council to court if no compromise is reached.

. The Mountain Eagle has changed its television listings to better serve the Letcher County viewing audience. The listings have changed from a “rolling log” style to a “grid” style.

. Brian Baker, son of Brice and Joanne Baker, wants to play basketball at Letcher High School. Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KSHAA) Commissioner Louis Stout ruled that Baker was ineligible to play basketball this season because he was not enrolled at Letcher last semester and because he is not in his proper grade level. Just 10 months after undergoing a bone marrow transplant, the 17-year-old Baker hopes to be in uniform later this week when Letcher plays its first game of the season. Brian’s battle to get back on the basketball team began on September 27, 1994 when he was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He is appealing the KHSAA’s decision.

. Turkish television crews have been visiting families in the mountains along the Kentucky-Virginia border in search of Melungeons, a nearly forgotten people who gradually blended into the general population. The Melungeons are a mysterious culture whose members inhabited a few remote settlements in Appalachia. In addition to the television crews, two of Turkey’s most prestigious universities are studying the Melungeons, who have been reported to be of Turkish, Portuguese, Spanish, Moorish, or Native American descent.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 An ordinance to ban smoking in public places in Letcher County was defeated at the November meeting of the Letcher Fiscal Court.

. Every law enforcement agency in Letcher County — and the Kentucky State Police — joined together with Operation UNITE to round up 14 suspected drug dealers scattered across the county.

. The Letcher County Central High School academic team compiled a perfect 14-0 record in local league competition, and then traveled to Nashville to take part in an academic tournament at Vanderbilt University. The team made an impressive showing at the Vanderbilt tournament, compiling well over a thousand points which qualifi ed it as one of the “elite” schools in the competition.

. The Letcher Fiscal Court has voted to take steps necessary for the county government to take over operations of the Blackey Water Plant.

. The Martha Jane Potter Elementary School Cardinals were the winners of the county girls’ basketball tournament. They defeated Jenkins 53-30 for the win.



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