Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, December 23, 1926 A gun battle between a constable’s posse organized by Letcher County Constable Brent Breeding and alleged rumrunner Elijah Worrix, 56, resulted in the death of Worrix. Breeding, who is alleged to have shot Worrix, suffered wounds to his hand and eye. “It seems the officers heard that Worrix and others had gone to Knott County for liquor and decided to watch for them and capture them and the liquor,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “When the runners appeared, the posse demanded of them the liquor a few words passed when the shooting became general. When the battle ended it was found Worrix was badly wounded and he was rushed to town [Whitesburg] for medical aid and later taken to Fleming hospital, where he died.”

. “We come again with our letter telling our wants,” brothers Ralph and Woodford Webb write to Santa Claus via The Mountain Eagle. “We are like most other little boys and want toys, fruit, candy, nuts, etc., besides a good story book.” The Webb brothers are the sons of Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb.

. “I am a girl of 9 and go to school,” Ivol Holcomb writes to Santa Claus. “Bring me a pair of shoes, some candy, nuts, and a bed about 30 inches long for my doll Irene.”

. The Kentucky State Legislature has passed a bill authorizing the construction of a road from Jeff in Perry County to Viper, Blackey, and then up Rockhouse Creek to the mouth of Garner in Letcher County.

. In a doubleheader basketball game between Whitesburg and Stuart Robinson schools, Whitesburg’s boys’ and girls’ teams won both games, 21-9 and 16-4. A large crowd was present.

Thursday, December 25, 1946 Christmas 1946 is a “considerable improvement” over most of the other Christmas holidays so far in the 1940s, The Mountain Eagle observes. Holiday wrinkles began in 1941 with the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor. There was gloom at Christmas 1942 because Allied forces had made little progress in World War II after landing successfully in North Africa. Christmas 1943 was the quiet before the storm, as United States citizens were anticipating the coming invasion of Europe. There remained some doubt about the outcome of the war at Christmas 1944, as Hitler made what would be his final stand. While there were reasons to be happier during Christmas 1945 with the war’s ending, many soldiers had not yet been reunited with their families.

. The new King Coal Theatre at Jenkins held its grand opening December 23. The movie house, which seats 1,100, is located in the former electric company building.

. Aunt Sarah Blair, a Letcher County woman who had 12 grandsons fighting in World War II, died at Whitco December 19 after a short illness. Mrs. Blair, who died just a few weeks short of her 80th birthday, was very proud of her grandsons, all of whom survived the war even though some were taken prisoner, some were wounded, and some were reported missing in action.

. A&P Store employees in Letcher County who have more than six months of service with the company will share in additional compensation totaling approximately $1.75 million for the company’s U.S. workers.

. The towns of Pound and Big Stone Gap in Virginia have voted to permit the sale of whiskey, wine and beer inside the corporate limits of each. The newest votes reverse decisions made by voters just two weeks ago to outlaw the sales of alcohol.

. Plans for a hospital to serve the miners and their families in the Big Sandy and Hazard coalfields were announced this week. The location for the proposed institution was not disclosed. A special committee representing the miners of UMWA District 30 has been assigned the task of raising half a million dollars for the project. Some union miners have already pledged two days’ pay as their initial contributions to the fund.

Thursday, December 20, 1956 Letcher County is facing a rabies epidemic “of major proportions,” county health officials say after it was determined yesterday that a dog that bit a Millstone boy was rabid. Foxes are also known to be rabid in the Millstone, Colson and Isom areas, helping make the county “a reservoir of rabies.”

. A Letcher County resident had the distinction of casting one of Kentucky’s 10 official votes for President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon this week. Bill Adams, a former state representative, served as a member of Kentucky’s Electoral College, which met Monday in the Senate chamber of the state Capitol and certified that Eisenhower-Nixon carried Kentucky by a 95,739 vote plurality. Mr. Adams is also one of two Kentuckians named to the national committee charged with making plans for the Eisenhower-Nixon inauguration in January.

. A new point system designed to crack down on reckless or careless drivers went into effect this week. The point system, to be enforced by Kentucky State Police, means that for the first time, the state will be able to suspend the driver’s license of anyone who habitually violates traffic rules. Point assignments for each violation are: Misrepresenting or falsifying application, 12 points; racing, 6 points; reckless driving, four points, passing on a curve or hill in a no passing zone, or passing a school bus while loading or unloading children, 4 points; speeding, 3 points; other moving hazardous violations, 3 points. A driver accumulating nine points in one year may face a 60-day suspension of driver’s license. Drivers accumulating 12 points will face a six-month license suspension.

. A.C. Brown, a prominent lumberman in Letcher County for a number of years, has died at age 69 after becoming ill at his home in Whitesburg. A carpenter for many years, he was instrumental in the construction of many of the county’s better buildings. In later years, he was a partner with his son Don Brown in Brown Lumber Company.

. Letcher County Judge James M. Caudill has announced will seek re-election to the office he now holds.

. The Buttrey children of Isom — Frieda Sue, 10, James Letcher, 4, and Estella Jo, 2 — tell Santa they “hope it snows so the sleigh will get over the road fast” to deliver presents to them and their cousins, including Becky and Cordelia Collins of Whitesburg. “I have been pretty good, although my mother and daddy think I’m pretty bad sometimes,” writes James Letcher. “I would like for you to bring me a bicycle with a horn on it, some guns with holsters, a top, a ball, and bedroom shoes.”

. Robert S. Mansfield, manager and part owner of WKIC radio in Hazard, died of a heart attack Wednesday. The 31-year-old, who was named “young man of the year” in Perry County last year by the Hazard Junior Chamber of Commerce, had gone to the hospital to consult with a doctor about chest pains and was fatally stricken a short

time later.

. Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells announces that he will seek re-election to the office of circuit judge for the 33rd Judicial District, which is composed of Letcher and Perry Counties, on the Democratic ticket. Wells has served as judge here for the past five years.

. Jenkins Schools Superintendent C.V. Snapp was given a surprise birthday party hosted by the district’s principals and teachers.

. A&P Store employees in Letcher County who have more than six months of service with the company will share in additional compensation totaling approximately $2.5 million for the company’s U.S. workers.

. Actor Paul Newman stars in “The Rack,” showing this weekend at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. On Sunday and Monday, Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward star in “A Kiss Before Dying.”

Thursday, December 22, 1966 Jack E. McVey, administrator of Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital for the past year, has resigned effected January 20 to become assistant director of the 1,800-bed Baltimore City Hospital medical complex.

. Motorists in Kentucky will begin changing to new blue license plates with white numerals on December 29.

. The Letcher County Economic Opportunity Committee reorganizing to give the poor a greater voice in running the War on Poverty in the county. The committee adopted new bylaws at its December meeting that will give poor people a majority of representatives on the committee, which governs the War on Poverty locally.

. ”Well, Christmas is almost here, the gayest season of the year. But sometimes I fear that we tend to get away from what Christmas is meant to mean to us,” wrote Eagle correspondent Mabel Kiser.

. Friends of Kendall Ison will be happy to learn that he is doing fair after a nearly fatal 30-foot fall from a tree in which he was gathering pinecones for Christmas decorations.

. Alice Lloyd College this week ended its campaign for nancial support in Letcher County. The campaign concluded with a receipt of a donation of 48 mattresses from Joe Reynolds and Reynolds Furniture Company.

Thursday, December 23, 1976 After 28 years of practicing law in Whitesburg, Harry M. Caudill is retiring at the end of this month to pursue his writing and other interests.

. South East Coal Co. is opening three new deep mines in 1977 that will eventually quadruple its present production of one million tons of coal a year. The new mines — two in Letcher County and one in Knott County — will each produce an estimated one million tons of coal per year at full production, according to Bill Cahoon, mining engineer.

. Pictured on the front page of The Mountain Eagle are six of Santa’s little helpers — weighing between 3 pounds, 11 ounces and 11 pounds, eight ounces — who arrived in the maternity ward of Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital this week. They are appropriately attired in red suits and Santa hats made by LPN Bertha Moretz and Dr. Mina Hizona, an obstetrician with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp.

. All 11 of the men who died last March 11 in the second of two methane gas explosions at the Scotia Mine at Ovenfork, were killed by the initial force of the blast, according to autopsy reports. The three men in direct line of the blast were killed when their bodies were thrown into a low concrete wall. The other eight men who were not in line with the explosion died from collapsed lungs, caused

by sudden changes in air pressure resulting from the blast.

Wednesday, December 24, 1986 Harry M. Caudill spoke at the meeting of the Kentucky Area Development District, and urged mountain people to recall their forefathers who rallied at Kings Mountain, South Carolina, in 1780 to defeat the British in a battle that turned around the Revolutionary War. Mountain people of today, Caudill said, must show equal courage and determination if Appalachia is to have much of a future.

. The local chapter of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club met with members of the Neon Area Jaycees in Whitesburg in Sunday to donate new and used toys to the Jaycees’ Christmas drive for needy families. The motorcycle club obtained the toys with the help of Parkway Pharmacy of Whitesburg, Golden Oak Mining Co., Hall Equipment Co., Slone’s Pic-Pac, Gwen Christon and Super X Drug of Hazard.

. Mary Blair of Jeremiah, proved herself a true blue University of Kentucky fan when she refused to go to a hospital while experiencing chest pains during the UKBoston University UKIT championship game. After the game was completed, she allowed herself to be taken to Whitesburg Hospital where she is now resting comfortably and is expected to fully recover. UK defeated Boston 81-69 in the last few minutes of the game by knocking in eight straight free throws.

Wednesday, December 25, 1996 Letcher County’s widespread water and sewer problems made the front section of the Sunday, December 22, issue of The New York Times newspaper. In a copyrighted story, The Times describes the circumstances that produced the water and sewer conditions and speaks of recent efforts to correct them. It mentions the creation by Letcher County officials of the first countywide water and sewer district in eastern Kentucky.

. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets broke open a close game at home Dec. 16 against Hazard with an 11-0 run to start the second half and then converted their free throws in the final minutes to upset the previously unbeaten Bulldogs, 71-59.

. Betty Kramer, principal of Martha Jane Potter Elementary School at Kona, fulfilled a bargain she had made with her students. Kramer, a graduate of Indiana University, had offered to dress in Kentucky blue and white and to paint her face those colors if her students reached the school’s goal of 1,400 points in a reading contest before the University of Kentucky-Indiana University basketball game earlier this month.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 A story by Associated Press writer Samira Jafari marks the 50th anniversary of Tom and Pat Gish’s ownership of The Mountain Eagle. The couple took over the newspaper on January 1, 1956 and have since survived floods, death threats, arson and theft. The Gishes “have demonstrated more tenacity than almost any crusading rural newspaper in the country,” said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky. “Fifty years is a long time to ride a white horse.”

. B&L Management Services of Lincoln, Neb., has bought 194 delinquent tax certificates in Letcher County for $111,052. The purchase means that property owners will now have to pay much more than the original tax bills to get liens removed from their property, or lose their land at a public auction.

. Kentucky Power Company serviceman Gary Bentley is pictured on the front page of The Mountain Eagle rescuing a cat which had climbed to the top of a power pole at Thornton. Bentley was called out on Christmas Eve to bring down the cat, which refused to come back down the pole on its own.



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