Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
Thursday, June 3, 1926 Two sheriff ’s deputies were shot in an ambush at Whitaker late Saturday. Letcher County Deputy Delzy Collins and Deputy McKinley Fleming each suffered a serious gunshot wound after answering a call about two men who were drunk and disorderly. Upon arriving at Whitaker from neighboring Seco, the deputies were fired upon by Jesse Stambaugh who, with another man who remains unidentified, had taken positions on a hillside overlooking the town. As the deputies were trying to work their way up the hill to reach the suspects, Collins was shot in the shoulder and left unconscious. Fleming continued the battle until he too was wounded in the shoulder, but he was able to shoot and wound Stambaugh twice. The two suspects then fled through the woods toward Stambaugh’s home at Beaver Creek. Stambaugh was arrested Sunday after Sheriff Morgan T. Reynolds and Deputy John D. Blair followed Stambaugh’s bloody trail to Beaver Creek. The two deputies and Stambaugh are expected to recover from their wounds. The other suspect, who remains at large, is surnamed Martin.
. The big sale of the Jeff Ison property at Blackey took place as scheduled Wednesday. All lots in the upper division near the Ison home sold quickly, some at “fancy” prices. The Blackey Hotel and Store property brought $5,125. The buyer was Letcher County Jailer Fess Whitaker. Total sales for the day amounted to about $15,000.
. “On Saturday night the streets of Whitesburg were crowded to almost suffocation,” writes Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb. “It is estimated that at least 1,000 people were sauntering along the beautiful streets and enjoying the various exercises. Cars were everywhere, hundreds having driving into town to spend a pleasant hour. There was no evidence whatsoever, so far as heard, of any misbehavior and no indication of any drunkenness.”
. A long-needed U.S. Post Office will soon open in Neon. It is understood that W.M. Quillen will be the first postmaster and will open the new office just as soon as supplies arrive by train.
. Miners are happy to be working daily again in Letcher County, but mine operators remain discouraged because of the low price for a ton of coal. Still, merchants say trade has picked up over the last few weeks. “A trip to Elsiecoal yesterday indicates that place is working overtime,” editor Webb writes. “Nobody was seen loafing on the job. These people are working and shipping coal every day. … The Cash Mercantile Company, wholesale and retail, was constantly over-rushed.”
. The Morgan Brothers Store in Neon is now crowded with new merchandise. Jim and Dan Morgan have long been successful mercantile men in and around Blackey.
. F.A. Hopkins, merchant, is expected to open a new business at once in one of the new buildings recently erected in Neon.
. The Neon Bakery is undergoing repairs and will reopen soon.
. The Chero-Cola and Ice Cream Factory is operating its Neon plant daily to meet the high demand here for its product. [Chero-Cola was established in 1910 and renamed Royal Crown Cola after its recipe was reformulated in 1934.]
. Many Letcher County residents are “exultant over the prospects” of having the highway “hard-surfaced from Pound Gap to the county seat.” Grade work is starting on the new highway from the mouth of Potters Fork to Neon.
. Arthur Day, who has been an invalid since being injured in a slate fall at the Imperial mine at Sergent in August 1925, was entertained at his home Sunday by a string band performing sacred music. While Mr. Day, who still lives at Sergent, is helpless, he retains a pleasant demeanor and laughs and talks to his friends.
. Joe Sumpter, about 40 and married and with a family, was killed in a slate fall at Elsiecoal this week. He is a son of Henry Sumpter of Big Cowan.
. “A few nights ago, J.A. Holbrook, merchant at Bastin, left the safe in his store unlocked. Next day he found that at least $800 in currency had disappeared from it,” notes Eagle editor and publisher Webb.
Thursday, June 6, 1946 An argument over a ground squirrel hole resulted in the death of a 13-year-old Hemphill boy. Billy Houston Jackson was shot and killed May 29 by his 14-year-old playmate, Roscoe Hall. Authorities say the shooting occurred after Hall had agreed to give Jackson a shotgun shell if Jackson would agree to carry water to pour into the hole to force a ground squirrel to leave its den. After Jackson failed to coax the rodent out of the den an argument started and Hall demanded the return of the shotgun shell. When Jackson refused, Hall shot and killed him. Jackson was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Jackson. He is buried at Hemphill.
. The R.H. Hobbs Company is apologizing for running out of nylon stockings before “every woman in Whitesburg and Letcher County could have gotten a pair.” The company has purchased an advertisement saying it “got a few dozen pairs for each of our stores. Instead of hiding them under a counter and slipping them out, one pair at a time, we decided the right way to do it was to put a sign in our window telling the general public we had nylons and let the ‘first come, first served’ be the order until the last pair was sold.”
. Why should we have fought a war when we cannot enjoy the principles of freedom for which we fought?” a group of World War II veterans ask in a letter to the editor calling for the legalization of alcohol sales in Letcher County for the first time since 1943.
. A Perry County woman says she shot and killed her 27-year-old husband because he whipped one of their children and then threatened to leave home after she ordered him to leave the child alone. Police say Lizzie White Simpson shot James Preston Simpson with a high-powered rifle he had brought back from Germany after serving in the European Theater. The shooting took place at Blue Diamond. Mr. Simpson died at the Hazard hospital.
. A new meatpacking house being built at Letcher is expected to be one of the best of its kind in southeastern Kentucky. The new establishment, built at a cost of $100,000, will be owned and operated by Wardrup Provision Company of Harlan.
. Concerned that she would have to cook without lard, Mrs. Lee Meade went out and killed a 36-pound groundhog at Deane. She got six quarts of lard from the “hog,”
believed to be one of the largest ever killed in the county.
. McRoberts Elementary School Principal Ed Lafferty leaving at once to accept a position in a private boys’ school in New York State.
. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 7-1 that the socalled “Jim Crow Law” enacted by the state of Virginia is unconstitutional. The law requires that negro passengers be separated from white passengers on buses traveling through the state. The court ruled that the law violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The case was brought before the Supreme Court by a woman who was fined $10 for refusing to change her seat during a bus trip through Virginia.
. A disagreement over a sign related to the coming wet-dry election in Letcher County is being cited as the reason why a Neon popcorn vendor has lost his business. The vendor, Felix Pence, said several men pushed his popcorn stand across the railroad tracks and into Boone Fork after he refused to let the men place a sign on his stand supporting the “wets.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been notified about the incident.
. U.S. Sen. Carter Glass, 88, died in Washington last week. One of the most colorful figures in national affairs for over a quarter of a century, Glass was credited with devising the present Federal Banking System in the U.S. He also served as Secretary of the Treasury during the administration of President Woodrow Wilson.
Thursday, May 31, 1956 South East Coal Company says it will rebuild a tipple, conveyor and head-house that were destroyed by fire a week ago. The Millstone fire put many men out of work.
. A dozen or more new truck mines will begin production in the new Rockhouse Creek Field in Letcher County. New mines will also open along the upper stretches of Linefork.
. Vance Johnson, 36, of Isom, was crushed to death Tuesday when a bulldozer he was unloading from a truck fell on him. Johnson, the father of three, was preparing to clear some land for Curt Banks Coal Company.
. The Whitesburg Department Store, owned and operated by young businessman Hoover Dawahare, has completed its expansion. Its Main Street showroom is now 155 feet long by 29 feet wide.
. Final arrangements have been approved by the trustees of the United Mine Workers of America Welfare and Retirement Fund for the official dedication of the 10 Memorial Hospitals in Whitesburg and elsewhere in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. UMW President John L. Lewis will make the dedication address on Saturday in Beckley, W.Va.
. Mr. and Mrs. Bill Fairchild have announced the birth of their first child, a baby girl whom they have named Constance Woodrick. The baby was born May 26 at Whitesburg Memorial Hospital.
Thursday, June 2, 1966 Letcher County Schools Superintendent Dave L. Craft this week announced placement of teachers for the 29 county elementary and high schools for the coming year.
. Funeral services were held June 1 for Jeremiah Postmaster George Hampton, 59. He served the Jeremiah office for 27 years before dying on the eve of his 60th birthday.
. The Kentucky State Highway Department is going to take on the job of helping to maintain the Little Shepherd Trail on top of Pine Mountain. The department has allocated $50,000 to provide dust control treatment on the 38-mile stretch from Whitesburg to Harlan.
. Whitesburg’s Appalachian Regional Hospital was one of six Kentucky institutions to sign agreements this week qualifying it for the Medicare program. The ceremonies were held in Frankfort.
. Letcher County Health Department Director Dr. James F. Keeler announced that Hazel Streebeck, a Louisiana native, has joined the staff of the Letcher County Health Department as a public health nurse.
. With the new picnic grounds on the Left Fork of Millstone about ready to be opened to the public, the Millstone Council is conducting a contest to find a suitable name for the picnic area. The winner will receive a $3 prize. The picnic area is located on the head of the Left Fork of Millstone Creek, near the old South East Coal Company bathhouse.
. Classes will begin at 13 Letcher County schools June 15 in the 1966 Head Start program. This year volunteers will work at each school to help teach the mothers of Head Start pupils such skills as sewing and clothing repair, how to clean house, nutrition, budgeting and child care.
. Legislation for a rural Community Development District Program has been proposed in connection with President Johnson’s Rural Poverty Program. Under the federal Community Development District Act, small cities and their rural neighbors could combine resources and utilize the guidance of a professional planning staff. The center of a given district would be within convenient commuting distance of the included territory.
. A Boone Motor Company employee was injured when the wrecker he was driving veered off KY 15 at the West End Market near Whitesburg and overturned into the neighborhood below. Residents of the small neighborhood below the market say it is the third time in three weeks that such an accident has occurred. There is no guardrail along the road.
. Army Private Darius G. Wright, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Wright of Mayking, was assigned to the 1st Logistical Command at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam on May 12. He is a 1964 graduate of Whitesburg High School.
. Alvin Smallwood, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Smallwood, Burdine, has been promoted to Army Specialist Four in Saigon, Vietnam. The 23-year-old soldier is a 1960 graduate of Jenkins High School.
. Bobby V. Reach of Fleming was graduated from Louisiana State University May 28 with a Master of Science degree. He was one of four Kentuckians among LSU’s 1,200 graduates.
Thursday, June 10, 1976 The smell of sulphur dioxide that has hung over the west end of Whitesburg for the past year and a half has vanished. The burning gob pile responsible for the noxious fumes and located on a lot in Caudill Town just outside the city limits has been smothered with a layer of dirt by Letcher County road crews.
. The Neon City Council has officially notified a Louisiana engineering firm of its decision to withdraw from a contract made last year with the company for the engineering of a new water system.
. Two sanitation districts — one in the upper end of Letcher County and the other centered around Whitesburg — have been accepted into a federal program designed to upgrade existing sewer facilities and build new ones. But the completion of the projects over the next few years will depend on the ability of the local districts to come up with funds the match the federal grants.
Wednesday, June 11, 1986 One man has confessed to taking part in the robbery of a Fleming-Neon home last August that resulted in the murder of 23-year-old Tammy Dee Acker. Donald Terry Bartley, 27, of Evarts in Harlan County, says Miss Acker was stabbed to death after he, Roger Dale Epperson and Benny Lee Hodge found nearly $2 million in a safe inside the home she shared with her father, Dr. Roscoe J. Acker.
. Urging striking workers to “use common sense,” Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg agreed to allow them to continue picketing the entrance to the Whitesburg hospital. Appalachian Regional Hospitals Inc. had gone to court seeking a ban on picketing in front of the hospital, while limiting to two the number of workers allowed to picket beside the Whitesburg bypass in back of the hospital.
. Fleming-Neon water and sewer lines are installed in violation of state regulations, according to Mayor James Seals and others.
Wednesday, June 12, 1996 The Jenkins City Council is stepping up its actions against the Premier Elkhorn Coal Company, which had angered residents by tracking mud onto the city’s roads and filling the air with dust, caking the sides of cars and homes.
. The state unemployment office in Whitesburg may be in danger of being closed, if the state approves a proposal currently in front of the Commissioner for the Department for Employment Services.
. Farrah Bates, of Isom, was crowned queen of the recent 1996 Mountain Laurel Festival at Pineville. She represented Alice Lloyd College and was one of 18 contestants, each nominated by a Kentucky college or university.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006 The Thornton-Camp Branch Road portion of Hwy. 1862 will be closed Thursday so that maintenance workers can replace a “cross drain.” Matthew Moore, state maintenance engineer for Letcher and Knott counties, said because the drain runs under the road “there is no other way to replace it than to close the road to traffic while we work.”
. Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell slightly in April. The county’s jobless rate for April was 8 percent, down from 8.4 percent in March.
. The cost of electricity is going up for residents of Letcher County served by Cumberland Valley Electric Inc. A rate increased approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission is the rural electric cooperative’s first in 26 years and would raise the average monthly residential bill to $76.76, up from $71.66.
. Cameron Wright, a graduate of Letcher County Central High School, signed scholarship papers on June 2 to play basketball at Alice Lloyd College.