Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, April 29, 1926 Boy Scouts from Whitesburg report a successful camping trip to High Rock on Pine Mountain, a journey they described as “roughing it in these magnificent temples not built with hands.” The group, whose members include Paul Vermillion, Kermit Boatright, Follace Fields, William Vermillion, Woodford Webb and Clyde Collins, said that after arriving at High Rock they “took a long-winded peep over the landscapes far in the distance. We could see naked knobs, cleared fields, burning brush, and long winding highways and autos gliding along like big black ants.” Of their visit to Bad Branch Falls, the Boy Scouts wrote: “Niagara, our masters told us, might be larger than these falls, but it almost lifted our caps off our heads.” The boys also visited Ned’s Rockhouse cave, which they termed “indescribable.” “In this cave far back in the century, Ned Polly, a soldier of the Revolutionary War, made this his home,” the Scouts wrote. “In it there still remain the fragments of his primitive home.”

. “Cars are getting thick again on our roads, though the roads are still full of mud,” a correspondent from Jeremiah writes to The Mountain Eagle.

. Jim Kimbrell, proprietor of the American Hotel in Neon, is recovering from a bad bout with the flu.

. Curry & Hush merchants are now in their new building in Neon, and it’s a dandy place, The Eagle reports.

. “Many of the good business people in the Fleming- McRoberts-Elkhorn sections of the county are sore because the Appalachian Way was not routed by Jenkins and Pound Gap,” a correspondent from Neon and Fleming writes. “The Eagle says that Whitesburg had nothing to do with the routing, except to be sure that it came up the valley of the North Fork.”

. Three houses belonging to South-East Coal Company in Seco were destroyed by accidental fire.

. David Evans, a Fleming man said to be about 50, has not been heard from since boarding the early train to Whitco on Monday morning. Evans came to this area from Pennsylvania several years ago.

. The Eden Coal Company at Carbon Glow has been leased to the Flat Top Coal Company for a period of several years. This is one of the choicest small operations in the county.

Thursday, May 2, 1946 The body of a Kingscreek man was exhumed this week so an autopsy can be performed. The body was recovered by Letcher County Coroner Archie Craft, officers with the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department, and Letcher County Health Doctor Dow Collins. The man supposedly committed suicide last week, but officials now have questions about the finding after questions arose about whether he could have actually shot himself given the direction of the blast from the shotgun that was used.

. A 22-year-old Thornton man is charged with raping a 19-year-old girl while the two and another couple were having a party on Pine Mountain. Authorities say the girl left the party after the assault and walked six miles to Whitesburg in her bare feet. She was also badly bruised and scratched.

. UMW President John L. Lewis has served notice that 75,000 anthracite coal miners may join the nationwide soft-coal strike.

. Some 1,500 of the nation’s top coal producers have been told at Cincinnati that production of coal tar synthetics will become increasingly important to the coal industry as the plastics industry develops. Experts told the producers that coal tar resins are to become a major production feature of the coal industry.

. Letcher County Sheriff Herman C. Combs says convicted murderer Homer Easterling asked him to deliver the following message just after Combs delivered Easterling and two other convicts to the Kentucky State Penitentiary at LaGrange. Easterling, who ran over Howard Johnson in Dunham a few weeks ago after the two had been drinking with others in Pound, Virginia, told Combs: “I want you to tell the Johnson family that I had never known Howard before that night and had no occasion to have anything against him. I wish I could change places with him today. Nothing but whiskey brought me here and caused him to be in his grave. I have nothing

against them and hope they will forgive me for what I did. I was in such a daze I do not remember what happened.” Easterling was sentenced to serve a life sentence in the pen, as were two others Combs transported to LaGrange with Easterling — habitual criminal Eugene Phillips and Oscar Isaacs, who murdered Wade Hall.

. Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis has checked into New York to begin training for his June 19 title bout. Louis is confident that he’s too tough for challenger Billy Conn.

. A 50-year-old Jenkins miner shot and killed his 48-year-old wife before using a .38-caliber German pistol to shoot himself in the couple’s home early Sunday morning. The couple’s five children were in the house at the time of the shootings and notified police. The couple had lost one son in World War II.

. A manslaughter warrant charging carelessness was issued April 26 against the engineer of a Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Exposition Flyer passenger train which the day before streaked through warning signals and crashed into the rear of another passenger train, killing at least 45 persons and injuring 125 others. The wreck, which occurred in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois, was the worst in the 90-year history of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy.

Thursday, April 26, 1956 More than 1,000 miners in Letcher County, including employees of Consolidation Coal Company and independent truck mines, are idle after a labor dispute. Union miners say the dispute arose “over conditions making it impracticable to mine” in Hendrix Mine 204.

. The Letcher County Grand Jury recommends “a good lock with a knob to facilitate opening the front door of the courthouse be installed.” The recommendation is included in the April jury’s final report, released after it had been in session for nine days. The jury also finds that, “The condition of crime in the county does not look too bad at this time.”

. Mr. and Mrs. Shelby Sturgill are now affiliated with Collins Electric Company, having recently become partners with Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Sturgill. Collins Electric is now the only authorized Hotpoint dealer in Whitesburg.

. The Letcher County Public Library in Whitesburg has some much-needed new shelving thanks to the generosity of Home Lumber Company, Caudill Lumber Company, Stumbo Supply Company, and the Western Auto Store of Whitesburg, all of which donated building materials. The shelving was built by Johnny Preston and students in his industrial arts classes at Whitesburg High School.

. Miss Shirley Trent, a sophomore from Whitesburg, has been chosen by students at Lee’s College as their candidate for queen in the 1956 Mountain Laurel Festival at Pineville. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Trent.

. H.B. Reedy has announces that he has sold all of his stock in Reedy’s Plumbing and Furniture Company in Whitesburg to George K. Reedy of Eustis, Florida and Paul Kirkland of Whitesburg. H.B. Reedy says he will still operate a business in Whitesburg, where he will sell Pittsburgh Paint, Harmony Wallpaper, electrical appliances, plumbing and heating supplies, and Fairbanks Morse well pumps.

. Fleming-Neon boys who lettered in basketball were Charles Creech, Acie Hall, Ray Whitaker, J.W. Vanover, and Melvin Pottter, manager. Lettering in football were Jesse Carter, Leonard Hampton, Donald Meade, Charles Isaacs, Can Bentley, Donnie Browning, Gary Bentley, James Hill, Tommy Pass, manager, Walter Thomas Jr., Roger Dishman, Carl Swanager, Don Skaggs, and Tommy Shehee, manager.

Thursday, April 28, 1966 American Electric Power Company announced it would spend $200 million on new power lines to gather and market electricity to be produced in the Appalachian coalfields, including eastern Kentucky.

. The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees will meet in Lexington Tuesday and is scheduled to make a formal decision and announcement as to the location of the community college in the Letcher and Perry County area authorized by the Kentucky Legislature four years ago.

. Sunday afternoon 150 Whitesburg High School seniors assembled for their annual class trip to Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Bingo fever has been sweeping Letcher County the past few weeks as numerous households have joined the game and have sought to win prizes from $1 to $1,000 to be given away at the Whitesburg and Neon A&P Stores.

Thursday, May 6, 1976 Kentucky Power Company, the utilities company that serves Letcher County and a large part of eastern Kentucky, has filed with the Public Service Commission in Frankfort a request for a 29.4 percent increase in all retail sales.

. The City of Whitesburg has received approval of its second-year application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for $78,000 in Community Development funds.

. Widows of some men killed in the March explosions at the Scotia Mine have issued a formal statement about their husbands’ fellow miners who “have not come forward with information they have” about safety conditions at the mine. Mrs. Geraldine McKnight, the widow of miner Roy McKnight, read the statement on the last day of a two-week long hearing at the Letcher County Courthouse into the causes of the explosions at the Scotia mine that killed 26 men. Part of the statement included the following: “We cannot understand why this disaster happened at Scotia. We cannot see why Scotia management allowed it to happen. We believe there has been no management at Scotia.”

. “Our job is to inspect, not fight,” Herman Lucas, a Whitesburg supervisor of federal coal mine inspections, said in an interview this week concerning the refusal of at least five Letcher County coal operators to let inspectors into their mines. Lucas said that since September, when he came to the Whitesburg Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration (MESA) office, he could recall inspections being refused at five mines. When this happens, inspectors can do little except have MESA begin legal action, he said.

Wednesday, May 7, 1986 Stiffer laws have reduced the number of drunken driving arrests in Letcher County, says District Judge Larry Collins. Under the newest Kentucky laws, which took effect in January 1985, first-time drunken driving offenders must pay a $200-$300 fine, an alcoholic service fee of $150, and $47.50-$57.50 in court costs. In addition, the offender’s driver’s license is suspended for 30 days.

. Commonwealth’s Attorney James Wiley Craft says he doesn’t expect a current investigation of attorney Lester Burns to delay the trial here of three men accused of murdering Tammy Dee Acker of Fleming-Neon. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported Sunday that state and federal investigators have been looking into allegations that Burns and others are involved in the interstate transportation and laundering of up to $400,000 in cash believed stolen from a safe in the home of Miss Acker’s father, Dr. R.J. Acker.

Wednesday, May 8, 1996 Jenkins City officials say they could close city streets to coal truck traffic if Premier Elkhorn Coal Company doesn’t agree to accept more responsibility for controlling mud and dust inside city limits.

. Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell nearly two points from February to March, the Kentucky Workforce Development Cabinet said this week. The March rate was 9.5 percent, down from 11.1 percent in February, the highest in the Kentucky River Area Development District.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006 Forty-two coal severance tax projects for Letcher County passed by the Kentucky General Assembly three weeks ago were vetoed last week by Gov. Ernie Fletcher. It is now up to Judge/Executive Carroll Smith and the fiscal court to recommend to Fletcher how to spend the $5.94 million in coal severance funding due Letcher County.

. Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has completed the acquisition of coal mining operations in eastern Kentucky from Progress Fuels Corp., a subsidiary of Raleigh, N.C.- based Progress Energy.

. The Jenkins Independent school system will continue with a four-day school week if the state approves it. The Jenkins Board of Education adopted the four-day schedule last fall, and says the move has saved money.

. The Jenkins Lady Cavs softball team has won four of its last five games. The Lady Cavs defeated Phelps, Pike County Central, and Cordia in a doubleheader, and fell to Knott County Central.



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