Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
Thursday, May 20, 1926 A mistrial has been declared in the “possessing whiskey” case against Letcher County Jailer Fess Whitaker. “Mr. Whitaker made the fight of his life to beat the case,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “He did not deny possessing the whiskey, but pled that at the time he was in such a condition of mind from the use of a certain drug that he was not accountable for his acts. He had already been tried for being drunk on the occasion and found not guilty. After an hour or two the jury in the last case failed to agree and was discharged. The case will likely not be retried at this term.”
. “You ought to see Fess Whitaker’s cabbage patch — 2,000 plants almost ready to head,” Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb writes. “At least the prisoners will have plenty of cabbage.”
. Former New York Giants and Chicago Cubs pitcher Shufflin’ Phil” Douglas was “all that could be wished for, all that dared be hoped for” as he struck out 10 batters to lead the Seco baseball team to a 9-1 win over Midland before an opening day crowd of about 1,000.
. Heavy rains Saturday and Saturday night flooded the North Fork of the Kentucky River and its tributaries in Letcher County.
. The Blackey Ice Company is now sending its delivery wagon to Whitesburg on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
. The Letcher County Grand Jury returned 210 indictments this week, 110 of them for liquor law violations. The county has become “a haven of peace,” writes Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb.
. The Kentucky State Highway Commission this week promised to widen the highway from Sandlick/Marlowe to Ermine, adding that a construction contract for the project will be let soon.
. The Letcher County Board of Education is accepting sealed bids for the erection of schoolhouses at Beefhide, Little Colley, and Mill Branch.
. B.C. Williams, (African American), was given a life sentence for killing another (African American) at Jenkins.
Thursday, May 23. 1946 Nearly three years after an election in which Letcher County voters narrowly outlawed the sale of beer and whiskey, the wet-dry question is on the ballot again for a special election to be held June 15: “I am praying with all my heart that God will stop every vote that is intended to bring whiskey back to our county,” Mrs. Rebecca Jones of Fleming writes in a “letters to the editor” campaign organized by the “dry” forces.
. In an advertisement urging Letcher County residents to vote against legalizing alcohol sales for the first time in three years, the Rev. J.S. Robinson of the “Committee for Local Option” says those behind the wet-dry petition are the “distillers and brewers of Louisville, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Chicago.” Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon set the June 15 special election after citizen Ed Maggard and 3,300 other county voters signed a petition asking for the vote. According to Dixon, the ballot question will read this way: Are you in favor of continuing Prohibition in effect in Letcher County, Kentucky, and each precinct thereof.”
. Fearing that a move is underway to put a local option election on the ballot in November, An estimated crowd of 7,000 coal miners, including a large number from Letcher County, attended a miners’ rally held in Wayland in Floyd County on May 12. UMW Local 5775 of Kona was represented by 49 miners.
. The City of Whitesburg’s new softball team split its season-opening doubleheader at Cumberland on Friday night, losing the first game, 10-9, and winning the nightcap, 10-7. Catcher Charlie Ihrig hit a long homerun for Whitesburg in the win. Pitching for Whitesburg were Paul Pigman and Ralph Day. Other team members are pitcher Walker Pigman, right fielder John D. Sergent, left fielder Audra Pigman, second baseman Ed Moore, shortstop Ray Pigman, third baseman John Brown, and first baseman Ralph “Snake” Frazier.
. June 4 is the last day for registration to vote in the August 3 primary election.
. Eleven eighth graders were presented with diplomas during Whitco Grade School’s graduation Tuesday night.
Thursday, May 17, 1956 The average Letcher County resident earns $805 a year, a new study on personal income in Kentucky shows. The study by University of Kentucky economists shows that Jefferson County (Louisville) has the highest per capita income at $2,039. The yearly income for residents in 22 Kentucky counties average less than $600, including Breathitt ($592), Knott ($364), and Martin ($330).
. A capacity crowd gathered at Whitesburg’s Elinda Ann Drive-In for a rally held in honor of U.S. Senator Earle C. Clements, a Democrat who is seeking re-election. The large crowd saw Clements but didn’t hear him speak, as he had to leave early for Washington to attend to urgent business. The crowd seemed just as pleased to hear from the Honorable Bert T. Combs of Prestonsburg, former Court of Appeals judge whom Clements is supporting in his bid to become governor of Kentucky. Dr. B.F. Wright of Seco, hosted the event and warned the crowd to beware of “the gold mine in the sky crowd” of current Democrat Governor A.B. “Happy” Chander.
. A crowd of 200 athletes and guests heard University of Kentucky Head Football Coach Blanton Collier deliver the keynote address at the 1956 Fleming-Neon Athletic Banquet. Attendees were treated to a roast beef and gravy dinner at the annual event, held in the Fleming- Neon Grade School Gym. The school’s Home Economics Department helped prepare the meal, which also included creamed potatoes, succotash, lettuce wedges with French dressing, hot rolls, and ice cream.
. The Letcher County Board of Education will take over the operation of the Stuart Robinson School at Letcher effective July 1. The Presbyterian Church’s decision to relinquish control of Stuart Robinson to the local school board was announced at the school board’s May meeting.
Whitesburg and Neon no longer feel far apart after the end of charges on telephone calls between the two towns. In order to reach Neon from Whitesburg, telephone users must dial 5 and the desired number. If you’re in Neon and you want to reach Whitesburg, dial
6 and the desired number. “This is indeed another milestone accomplished for Letcher County,” The Mountain Eagle says of Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company’s decision to remove the tolls.
. Mrs. Forrester Roark had a quilting Friday on Mill Branch. Those enjoying the quilting and the good dinner were Mr. and Mrs. George Whitaker, Mr. and Mrs. Esquire Whitaker, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Caudill, Mrs. Silas Caudill, Mrs. Earlus Cornett, Mrs. Charles Nichols, and Mrs. Neldon Whitaker.
. Now in Kyva Motor Company’s showroom in Whitesburg is the Pontiac Catalina, which features the “Strato- Streak V-8” engine and the “Strato-Flight HydraMatic” transmission.
Thursday, May 19, 1966 Tuesday is Election Day in Letcher County, but very few people are excited about it. There will be Democratic primaries for both United States Senator and United States Representatives, and a Republican primary for United States Senator. A light vote is expected as incumbents Democratic Rep. Carl D. Perkins and Republican Sen. John Sherman Cooper are expected to win nomination without trouble.
. The Letcher County Board of Education has dismissed charges against a Fleming-Neon Elementary School employee who had been accused of possessing and consuming alcoholic beverages on school premises. Board Chairman, Dr. B.F. Wright, a physician, said the whiskey in question had been used for medicinal reasons, in very small quantities, and that the employee was innocent of any deliberate wrongdoing. After a heated discussion between Wright and Board Member Arnold Hall, who wanted the employee reprimanded, the majority of the board supported Dr. Wright’s position.
. Whitesburg will be the headquarters for a fourcounty community action agency to design and operate programs in the War against Poverty. Representatives of county community action agencies from Leslie, Knott and Letcher County voted in favor of Whitesburg as the headquarters. Representatives of the Perry County community action agency voted for Hazard as the location of the central office of the new agency, which will be known as the Leslie-Knott-Perry-Letcher Community Action Council (LKLP).
. Visitors to Whitesburg last Saturday were treated to sidewalk exhibit of artwork sponsored by the Whitesburg Art League. Many of the paintings were the work of pupils of William Yarnell, who comes to Whitesburg every week from Middlesboro to conduct classes for both children and adults. Others were the work of freelance artists in the Letcher County area.
. The May 10-11 frosts got most of the garden produce in the Blackey area. Potato plants were as droopy as a plant can get — and so are the gardeners, who now face the prospect of a lot of replanting, writes columnist Larry Caudill. But the old folks put up an argument, Caudill says. They insist these cool May nights will bring hot times in July.
. Cramer Mullis is now operating the C.B. Caudill service station at Blackey.
. Patricia Ann Wolfe of Jenkins is leaving for Ecuador soon as a member of the Peace Corps. A Jenkins High School graduate and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C.B. Wolfe, she spent most of her college career preparing for her two-year service for the Peace Corps. Miss Wolfe graduated from the University of Kentucky on May 9.
. Craig Scott of Cumberland has replaced Nolan Webb as announcer at WTCW-AM at Mayking.
. Miss Anna Laura Caudill, daughter of Judge and Mrs. James M. Caudill of Neon, has pledged to Sigma Kappa social sorority at Transylvania University in Lexington.
Thursday, May 27, 1976 The Letcher County Fiscal Court took the first step toward developing the county’s own sanitary landfill dump at its May meeting. The court decided not to pay the Kentucky River Garbage District (KRGD) for the use of its landfill at Millstone and discussed plans for setting up a system within the county to bury the trash.
. President Gerald Ford and former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter were the Letcher County winners in the presidential primary election.
. Federal and state mining officials announced this week that there is still possibility of future explosions in the sealed Scotia mine where 26 men died in two explosions in March, and that no time had been set for reopening the mine.
Wednesday, May 28, 1986 A public defender has been appointed to replace a Somerset attorney who was fired by one of the three men charged with murdering 23-year-old Tammy Dee Acker. Judge F. Byrd Hogg has appointed Pat McNally of Hazard as the new lead attorney for defendant Donald Terry Bartley of Evarts, court records show.
. Elderly people in Letcher County and other Central Appalachian counties are fewer than the national average, but their personal circumstances are “alarmingly worse.” They are poorer and more likely to be disabled. They fall well below the national average in terms of income, access to transportation, availability of telephones, and the presence of resources such as long-term care facilities. Poverty levels are extremely high, with about 25 percent living below the national poverty level, compared with 15 percent nationwide.
Wednesday, May 29, 1996 School buses ran safely through the lower end of Letcher County Monday morning, despite the flooding last Tuesday that had dangerously undercut some roads up to six feet. The safety of the roads were ensured by the quick work of County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith and some dedicated workers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resources Conservation Service.
. The Letcher Fiscal Court on Monday night passed a resolution authorizing County Attorney Harold Bolling to work with a group of citizens to take action necessary “to lay the framework and groundwork” for a countywide water and sewer district.
. The Letcher Fiscal Court is getting tough with motel and hotel owners who are not paying the county’s new three-percent tourism tax.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006 The U.S. Postal Service wants to consolidate two Letcher County post offices, but retired postmasters fear that would cause the communities in question to lose their identifies. The postal service wants to consolidate Thornton and Millstone Post Offices with the Mayking Post Office.
. Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade said last week’s primary election had the lowest number of voters during a countywide election in many years. The clerk’s office calculated 5,686 citizens voted here on May 16 — a figure well below the 7,215 votes cast during the primary election in 2002 and 8,372 in the 1998 primary election.
. Members of the Whitesburg Veterans of Foreign Wars and Whitesburg American Legion will hold Memorial Day services for U.S. veterans in cemeteries throughout Letcher County on May 30.
. Whitesburg native Bryan Howard, a standout on Transylvania University’s nationally ranked men’s basketball team, has been named Pioneer Athlete of the Year. A team captain, he was part of a group of seven seniors who led Transylvania to a 27-5 record this year. He is the son of Keith and Greta Howard of Whitesburg.