Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were




Pro baseball dates back to February 2, 1876 Pictured above is a rare baseball card from 1869 of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who lay the foundation for today’s Major League Baseball. As MLB teams prepare to welcome pitchers and catchers to camp to signify the opening of Spring Training, it is worth remembering that on February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which came to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), was formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held. The first official game of baseball in the United States took place in June 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball club, according to the History Channel. (AP Photo/Fresno Bee)

Pro baseball dates back to February 2, 1876 Pictured above is a rare baseball card from 1869 of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who lay the foundation for today’s Major League Baseball. As MLB teams prepare to welcome pitchers and catchers to camp to signify the opening of Spring Training, it is worth remembering that on February 2, 1876, the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which came to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), was formed. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held. The first official game of baseball in the United States took place in June 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1869, the Cincinnati Red Stockings became America’s first professional baseball club, according to the History Channel. (AP Photo/Fresno Bee)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, February 3, 1927 Two men, believed to be Hungarians, were charged with possessing 15 gallons of moonshine in Fleming after authorities conducted a two-hour search.

. The father of a Thornton Gap School student was sentenced to one year in prison after being found guilty of “confederating against” a teacher at the school after she corrected his child last fall. School students were the only witnesses at the trial of Bob Clark, who forced his wife to beat the teacher. The witnesses said Clark and his wife stopped the teacher on the road and that Clark, with a gun in his hand, threatened to shoot his wife if she did not beat the teacher. The jury was out only a few minutes before returning the guilty verdict.

. Joe Vignorali was found guilty of murdering Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Bob Wright. Codefendant Joe Centi will be tried separately. Wright was killed in June during a raid on a Burdine boarding house, operated by Centi, where Vignorali, an Italian immigrant, was making and selling wine illegally.

Groundhog Day began in 1887 On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the History Channel says. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring. In photo above, Sam Light, center, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, points to a sign held by members of the club in Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, January 1961. They posed for the picture a few days before Groundhog Day, February 2, with a stuffed stand-in for Punxsutawney Phil. (AP Photo)

Groundhog Day began in 1887 On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, was celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the History Channel says. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring. In photo above, Sam Light, center, president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, points to a sign held by members of the club in Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, January 1961. They posed for the picture a few days before Groundhog Day, February 2, with a stuffed stand-in for Punxsutawney Phil. (AP Photo)

. Melvin “Buddy” Salyer, an employee of the Rockhouse Coal Company at Blackey, was electrocuted Monday when he leaned against the substation of the Kentucky and West Virginia Power line, which had an exposed wire. He was 40 years old and leaves behind his wife and four children.

. A two-year-old Blackey girl died of whooping cough on Tuesday.

Whitesburg High School suffered its first basketball loss at home this season, falling to Carr Creek by the score of 12- 11. Whitesburg made only three of 12 free throw attempts during the game.

. The U.S. Forest Service reports a large demand for highgrade black walnut logs for plywood and veneer uses. Logs suitable for cutting are bringing prices between $150 and $200 for a thousand board feet. The logs must be 18 to 24 inches in diameter at the small end and practically clear of defects.

Thursday, February 4, 1937 A large number of visitors are being drawn to Jenkins to visit Blowing Rock, a cavernous cave believed to lead on down to unexplored regions in Pine Mountain. The cave is known to many in the area for the fact that it blows both cold and hot air intermittently with considerable force. “Sometimes the blow is hot and in an instant it may turn to frigid cold,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

. Foreman Zach Banks has 20 men employed on a WPA project at the mouth of Cowan. The road branching off from the Cowan road and running downriver to Hot Spot is due to be put on grade and surfaced with creek gravel.

. Reverend and Mrs. L.O. Griffith have arrived in Whitesburg, where Reverend Griffith will take over the pastorate of the local Baptist Church. He comes to Whitesburg from Wheatley, Kentucky.

. A 46-year-old McRoberts man died Tuesday of the dreaded disease meningitis. The man, Tom Nelson, was a coal loader and leaves behind his wife and nine children.

. Mines owned by Consolidation Coal Company at McRoberts and Elk Horn Coal Corporation at Fleming, Hemphill and Haymond are resuming operations for the first time in several days after flooding kept railroads from furnishing empty coal cars to the region.

Thursday, February 6, 1947 The new East Jenkins Theatre, owned and managed by A.B. Phipps and James Vanover, opened for business on Sunday, February 2. Seating capacity is approximately 500.

. Mr. Groundhog saw his shadow on February 2, which, according to old-timers, means we will have six more weeks of bad weather.

. Contending that the “competitive press is dying,” Senator Murray (D-Montana) has called for immediate federal action to see to it that every small and new newspaper gets a fair share of the available newsprint in the U.S.

. Jim Holcomb was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty here to robbing the Bank of Whitesburg and seriously wounding guard Clark Day during the commission of the crime. Holcomb’s codefendant, Carmen Stacy, will be tried in Pike County after being granted a change of venue.

. Ford Motor Company has announced price cuts ranging from $15 to $50 on all cars it produces.

. Letcher County is represented by 56 students at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

John Wayne stars in “Without Reservation,” showing February 11-12 at the Haymond Theatre.

. D.&P. Electrical Company, owned by Willie Dawahare and J.B. Peters, will open in Neon on Saturday, February 8.

. The towns of Jenkins and McRoberts now get electrical service from the Kentucky & West Virginia Power Company.

. The federal Interstate Commerce Commission has authorized the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to construct a 16-mile extension of its Rockhouse Creek branch in Letcher County to serve a new mine of the Consolidation Coal Company.

. Kingdom Come resident Harding Ison writes that Linefork residents pay taxes and should get the same benefits as people living elsewhere in Letcher County. “Little children who have to walk three or four miles to school wading mud and water and holding to blackberry roots to keep from falling into the creek — how do you expect them to get an education?” Harding writes. “Miners cannot get out to work without leaving home before daylight and getting back after dark, and then sometimes they can’t get out because of the road being in the creek bed when it comes a tide. The miners have to take a day off to fix it before they can get out the next day.”

Thursday, February 7, 1957 U.S. Senator John Sherman Cooper and Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler visited Letcher County this week to assure flood victims that both state and federal governments would do everything possible to bring fast flood relief to those who need it. Cooper attended a meeting of the Whitesburg City Council Monday night, while Chandler met with County Judge James M. Caudill, Neon Mayor Hillard Kincer and others. It was Chandler’s second trip to the county in a week. The governor estimates flood damage across the state to be more than $1 billion.

. Some 125 homes in Letcher County received damage from floodwaters, Red Cross workers estimated. Ten homes were destroyed. There are 15 to 20 cases of extreme hardship brought on by the flood, the agency said. Among communities where water damaged houses were Whitco, Linefork, Turkey Creek, Ulvah, Blackey (one of the hardest hit towns), Jeremiah, Roxana, Ice, UZ, Mayking, Thornton, Millstone, Seco, Rockhouse, McRoberts, Fleming, Neon, and Whitesburg.

. The Letcher County Health Department said Wednesday that Whitesburg’s water supply is safe to drink, but warned that water from wells across the county may be unsafe for use. Typhoid shots are still necessary because water is not

the only carrier of typhoid fever, Dr. R. Dow Collins, health officer, said.

. The Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company has announced plans for a $24,000 addition to its building on Church Street in Whitesburg.

. Master Sergeant Jackie Ray Reynolds, 26, of Millstone, drowned when the car he was driving plunged off Kentucky 15 at Hazard on Saturday and into the North Fork of the Kentucky River. A companion, Allen C. Evans, 28, also of Millstone, was able to swim to safety. Reynolds was pinned behind the wheel of the car, which floated about 500 feet downstream before it was recovered some five hours later.

. “The legends that follow this worst flood in our history will be as many as there were people who experienced it,” Mrs. T.M. Perry writes in her “Jenkins Society News” column for The Mountain Eagle. “A young couple saw their brand-new trailer home float out midstream, then watched a state patrolman throw a stick of dynamite and blow it to bits to save a bridge.”

. “One of the most distressing things about Letcher County’s flood was the needless terror and heartbreak caused among persons away from here who didn’t know what had happened to their loved ones back home,” Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish writes in an editorial. “Not until two or three days after the flood had hit and left Letcher County was it known outside the county that no one had been killed and that Neon and Whitesburg had neither burned up or washed away.” The panic ensued, Gish writes, after the Associated Press and United Press news services reported, correctly, that water was so high that all roads leading into Whitesburg were cut off, that the Whitesburg radio station was flooded out and off the air, and that Neon had five feet of water standing on Main Street that was covered with gasoline leaking from tanks. Because Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph phone lines were out, it was at least 48 hours before the wire services could update their stories. “The end result was that thousands of person in such places as Detroit went through a horrible 24 or 48 hours, and in many instances much longer, thinking that their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or other relatives in Letcher County may have drowned in the flood.”

. Roy Crawford, a Whitesburg mining engineer, is the new president of the Kentucky Truck Coal Operators’ Association, formed to bring full recognition to 1,600 operators of small truck-mines in Kentucky. The association will be headquartered in Frankfort.

. The U.S. Weather Bureau has set up a rainfall reporting station in Whitesburg. Mrs. Jeanette Day has been appointed as the station’s rainfall observer.

. University of Kentucky football coach Blanton Collier will be the guest speaker at the Whitesburg High School Athletic Banquet, to be held at the VFW on Thursday, February 14.

Thursday, February 2, 1967 The baby boom which has been underway the past few years reached its peak during 1966 with the birth of 349 infants at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital. This was the second highest number of births in a year in the history of the hospital and was exceeded only in 1958 when there were 372 births.

. The Jenkins City Council awarded a contract for construction of a new city hall. Jim Lucas & Son Construction Co. of Jenkins was awarded the contract on the firm’s low bid of $31,215.

. There was a near record gain in the number of telephones in Letcher County during 1966. Southern Bell Telephone Co. district manager J.M. Gipe, of Pikeville, said about 293 phones were added during the year, bringing the total number of telephones in service in Letcher County to approximately 3,786.

Thursday, February 3, 1977 A Houston-based oil company has purchased two Letcher County coal firms and leases containing an estimated 32 millions tons of low sulfur coal. Howell Corp. last week purchased 100 percent of the stock in Globe and Lake Coal Companies, owned by Bill Blair of Lexington and Joe Newell, Jimmy Hogg and Attorney Ronald Polly, all of Letcher County; mining equipment and processing plants at Ulvah, owned by B&B Coal Sales Inc., which is owned by Blair and his three sons; coal leases owned by Globe, Lake and Alamo Coal companies, owned by Blair.

. Flashing warning lights will be installed at the intersection of KY 15 and 160 in Knott County, according to Kirby Ison Jr., district highway traffic engineer. The intersection is

the scene of a fatal accident last October that claimed the lives of five Letcher Countians.

. Freezing temperatures and ice-cover roads are having their effect on Letcher Circuit Court. Judge F. Byrd Hogg has continued January cases to April term of court because of bad weather conditions.

Wednesday, February 4, 1987 A team from Letcher High School will take part in the “KET Scholastic Challenge” which will be broadcast on the statewide network on Sunday. Each hour-long broadcast consists of two games, with three high school teams competing in each. Each game has five rounds of questions in the area of English, history, math and science with one round devoted entire to questions about Kentucky. Members of the Letcher team include Mary Bailey, daughter of Troy Bailey Jr. of Letcher; Ken Griffith, captain, son of Willetta Griffith of Ulvah; and Kristi Caudill, daughter of George H. Caudill, of Blackey. Faculty advisors are Sue Hall and Tony Blair.

. Jenkins will get a Hardee’s restaurant and there may be one in Whitesburg as well, the attorney for a Hardee’s franchise holder says Hardee’s will be the first national chain restaurant in Jenkins.

. Letcher County Judge/Executive Ruben Watts said the county jail cannot be brought up to state standards. According to the state jail code, the jail is too small and since the facility is located on the third floor of the courthouse, there is no room for expansion.

Wednesday, February 5, 1997 Pam Elkins, a newly-elected Jenkins school board member, is ineligible to serve because her brother works as a school bus mechanic for the independent school district. State officials, however, have been unable to declare Elkins’s seat on the board vacant because she has never taken the oath of office.

. Mark Stone, who has lived in the Blackey area since he was six years old, was “very surprised, but happy” when he became the mayor of the City of Blackey late last month. Stone was sworn in as mayor on January 25, after members of the small city’s council appointed him mayor by a unanimous vote.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007 Mayor Charles Dixon told the Jenkins City Council and a large audience Monday that the city can no longer support the Jenkins Days Festival as it has in past years, and that the city budget for the coming fiscal year will not include funding for the festival.

. Cocaine in a men’s waist pack was recently left on a counter at a Neon self-service station. Neon Police Chief Henry Day said the driver of a Buick Century pumped gas on January 28 while a passenger went into the Neon Chevron gas station and laid a men’s waist pack on the counter while he paid for the gas. The passenger left the store without the waist pack. A customer found the waist pack and opened it looking for identification, and discovered 12 small bags of cocaine estimated to be worth about $600.

. Jenkins High School student Lindsay Brooke Gibson has received a $1,000 WYMT-TV Mountain Classic Scholarship. She is the daughter of William and Carla Gibson of McRoberts.


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