Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, March 3, 1927 John J. Wright, son of Broad Sam Wright, was shot to death last Saturday afternoon on Slick rock, near Jenkins. Details of the shooting are not known at this time, but trial for Jenkins Police Officer Andy Lawson will be held in Whitesburg this coming Saturday. Lawson was slightly wounded in the arm as a result of the shooting incident.

. Grace Collins, small daughter of Sanders Collins of Seco, was snatched from almost certain death as she stood on the railroad track at the Seco station in front of a moving train. The hero in this case is Archie V. Sergent, who was waiting with others for the train to arrive from Neon. Sergent dragged the little girl from the track as she stood with a box in her hand facing the oncoming train. Little Grace apparently had become so excited with fear she was unable to move from the track before Sergent exposed himself to danger.

. Whitesburg High School’s basketball season closed Monday night at the Armory with the 12-7 defeat of the fast Carr Creek team. It was the third win in less than a week for the local boys, who also defeated Hazard Baptist Institute, 14-12, and Jenkins, 22-1. Coach Glenn’s boys now go to Hazard Friday for the post-season tournament.

. The Daniel Boone Hotel has been crowded to the limit for the last week, a good indication that business is good in Letcher County. Thirty-five out-of-town guests were registered at the hotel on Tuesday night.

. The Letcher County Fish, Game and Gun Club will hold its first regular meeting tonight in the rear of the Letcher State Bank Building.

. Kentucky state highway department men are now at work surveying the road from Belcraft to Ermine in preparation of widening this stretch of highway.

. The Kyva Motor Company of Whitesburg and Millstone has received two railcar loads of Oaklands and Pontiacs. The General Motors vehicles are on display now, all at remarkably low prices for sixcylinder cars.

. “Forbidden Fruit” is the subject of revival services being held at the Whitesburg Methodist Church with the Rev. O.H. Callis of Wilmore, Kentucky as general evangelist. Evening services are open only to men and boys over 12 years of age.

. Much has been said, pro and con, about the power of the press, but a real demonstration was held at Butterfly in neighboring Perry County on Sunday when a few copies of the Louisville Courier Journal kicked the train off the track. The bundle of papers was thrown from the moving train, hit something and bounced back under the wheels. Three cars were derailed. Says The Mountain Eagle about the incident, “Several years ago in the English Parliament, a great statesman pointed to the newspapermen gathered and said, ‘Yonder is the Fourth Estate,’ referring to the power of the newspaper in government. Now it is safe bet that the man who tossed those papers Sunday will handle the ‘press’ with a little more dignity and consideration.”

. Sealed bids will be received until 6 p.m. March 12, 1927, for the furnishing of all materials and construction of a school building to serve the Whitesburg Graded Common School District No. 1 of Whitesburg, Kentucky.

Thursday, March 4, 1937 The dreaded disease of spinal meningitis struck in all its fury this week in the little town of Blackey, where three of the citizens of that quiet peaceful community were stricken and died within a short time. Two in the McKenzie family answered the call of the Grim Reaper within a few short hours of each other — Mrs. Maggie McKenzie, 41, and her eightyear

old son, Clifton McKenzie. The third victim is Russell Blair, 15. County health officials, including Dr. Dow Collins, and local physicians are doing their utmost to stop the outbreak of spinal meningitis in Letcher County.

. The new Dr. Pepper Bottling Company of Whitesburg lost a large plate glass window Saturday after a delivery truck rolled into it after the driver forgot to set the parking brake.

. “It is with a great deal of pleasure that ye old editor announces to our friends who might be mourning and our enemies who might be rejoicing that the reports of our sudden demise from this vale of tears are ‘greatly exaggerated,’” writes Mountain Eagle editor J. Crook. “How or when the story of our ‘death’ started, we do not know. However, unless we are very much mistaken, we are still very much alive, from the neck down at any rate.”

. “We were all so proud of the new bridge the WPA workers were building for us,” Elk Creek correspondent Troah Campbell writes. “They had the tiers up and nothing to do but wait for an order for the steel to be sent in for the completion of the bridge. Now, one of those tiers has settled until is looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.”

. Kentucky, with a population of 2.5 million, had 1,962 deaths from venereal disease syphilis last year. By comparison, Massachusetts, population above 4 million, had 1,950 syphilis deaths in 1936.

. The L&N Railroad has purchased 2,700 all-steel hopper cars and 327 all-steel ballast cars for the Eastern Kentucky Coalfi eld at a cost of $6.6 million.

Thursday, March 6, 1947 Mrs. Elizabeth Gene Hollan, 20, of Neon is dead of a gunshot wound and her husband, Dave Hollan, has been bound over to the Letcher County Grand Jury in connection with the case after posting $2,000 bond. Mrs. Hollan, a native of Maryland, was pronounced dead at the Fleming hospital early Sunday morning after she was shot at her home in Neon. Authorities say she and her husband “tussled” over a gun after she kept Mr. Hollan out of the home and then allowed him to enter about 3 a.m. After Mr. Hollan got in the home, he told Mrs. Hollan he wanted to go to Lexington, but she told him he wasn’t going anywhere and grabbed the gun, which went off during the tussle and sent a bullet into the right side of her head. Mr. Hollan has been operating a restaurant and poolroom in Neon. The body of his wife, a devout Catholic and mother of three, was returned to Maryland for burial.

. Verdie Noble of Blackey was killed Monday in a slate fall in the Caudill- Whitaker Coal Company mine while he was loading coal. Mr. Noble had worked in around the mines since he was 16 years old.

. Vineyard Craft announces the sale of his grocery store in Neon to Mr. and Mrs. James M. Caudill.

. A rare Indian peace pipe made of steatite rock found in western North Carolina and in the Kentucky mountains was plowed up on George Riley Ison’s farm on Linefork. The pipe is thought to be of Cherokee Indian origin and made in the image of Judaculla, the Indian “master of all game animals.” The pipe is thought to be between 600 and 1,000 years old.

. The Elkhorn Junior Coal Company of Thornton has resumed operations after being idled by a strike for one week. The strike occurred after members of the mine committee refused to let the mine operate until a man was hired to record mine car weights from the scale ribbon to the scale sheet.

. Ferdinand “Fritz” Moore is leaving his job as manager of Craft Funeral Home, Neon, to become district manager with United Benefit Life Insurance in the territory made up of Laurel, Clay, Leslie, Perry and Letcher counties. Moore and his wife and children will again make their home in Mrs. Moore’s house on Madison Avenue in Whitesburg.

Thursday, March 7, 1957 The Whitesburg Yellowjackets will meet Wolfe County Friday in the semifi nals of the 14th Regional Tournament after defeating the Fleming-Neon Pirates in the opening round at Hazard, 72-70. The Pirates had beaten the Yellowjackets, who overcame a 37-24 halftime deficit, in the finals of the district tournament last week, 58-49.

. The late January flooding cut coal production in half in eastern Kentucky. The Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Operators Association reports that for the week ending February 2, only 106,980 tons of coal was mined, compared to 268,680 tons for the same period in 1956. Production rebounded to 239,170 tons by the week ending February 9, still below the 265,680 tons mined during the same week last year.

. A shipment of 94,000 young trees will arrive in Whitesburg next Tuesday to be distributed to residents taking part in the reforestation program. The shipment includes black locust, walnut, yellow poplar, loblolly pine, shortleaf pine, and white and Scotch pines.

. A large group of Letcher County citizens is expected to attend a meeting at Blackey on Friday, March 15, to discuss the future of Stuart Robinson High School. Efforts are being made to develop and preserve the institution as a Christian school.

. “We have tried the soft-hearted approach, and it has failed. In the name of self-preservation, it is time to toughen up,” Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish writes about the nation’s juvenile crime problem brought to light recently by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Writing that “Molly-coddling” is not the answer to a “problem of grim dimensions in this country,” Gish says Hoover “makes a strong case against the custom of not publishing the names of young criminals” in newspapers.

. William Reed Hall, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Hall of Whitesburg, celebrated his first birthday Sunday afternoon, March 3. “Mary and the little lamb was the theme carried out in table decorations and refreshments,” writes Whitesburg correspondent Mrs. Cecil Webb.

. Paul Mark Frazier, son of Billy Paul and Shirlee Frazier and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Craft, celebrated his first birthday with a party at his new house. Among the guests attending were Melissa Ann Combs, Joe Mark Combs, Michael Burl Combs, Rodney Joe Stamper, William Reed Hall, Jimmie Asher, Gerald Combs, Archie Banks, and Leigh Lewis. The children enjoyed suckers and balloons.

. Dr. Julius Bell has assumed his duties as head surgeon at Sharon Heights Hospital in Jenkins.

. Natalie Wood stars in two features showing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. “A Cry In The Night” will show March 7-9, followed by “The Girl He Left Behind,” showing March 10-11. On March 12-13, Henry Fonda stars in “Grapes of Wrath.”

Thursday, March 2, 1967 The Jenkins High School Cavaliers defeated the Letcher High School Eagles 61-48 in the opening game of the district basketball tournament held at the Whitesburg High School gymnasium Tuesday.

. The Office on Economic Opportunity has approved a $37,000 grant to extend the anti-poverty community action program until July 1. The grant will permit continuation of a program of outreach and social services, which began in Letcher County, last April.

. At least half of the men now enrolled in the Work Experience and Training Program in Letcher County — and possibly as many as three-fourths — will lose their jobs during the next few weeks. Almost all of the men over 45 years old will be fired, regardless of their welfare needs. Congressman Carl D. Perkins already placed much of the blame of the cutback in the

Work Experience and Training Program on Frankfort’s door.

Thursday, March 3, 1977 Whitesburg attorney Peyton F. Reynolds has decided not to run for the new district judgeship and has instead filed to run for Commonwealth’s Attorney in the May 24 primary elections. Reynolds’s decision means Letcher County will not have a district judge come January, 1978 when the Judicial Article — passed last fall — takes effect in the state. The district judge, who must be a lawyer, will draw an annual salary of $28,500 before taxes, whereas the average attorney’s earnings in Whitesburg is at least $50,000 a year. Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg said that the State Supreme Court will appoint judges from nearby districts to assume judicial responsibilities here.

. Recovery teams working to ventilate the 2-Southeast section of the Scotia Coal Co.’s Bottom Mine this week reached the locomotive which is widely believed to have caused the two fatal methane gas explosions that killed 26 men at the Ovenfork Mine last March 9 and 11.

. Mafia families are moving into the coal, oil and gas businesses in Kentucky using the state primarily as a base to defraud people in other states, Kentucky Securities Director John Bunnell said this week.

Wednesday, March 4, 1987 More than 25 county residents have been sentenced in Letcher District Court recently for illegal trash dumping. Judge Larry Collins said most of the offenders were fined $350 and court costs. Instead of paying fines, however, many of them will be permitted to take part in a courtsupervised garbage pick-up program.

. A new state ruling may force consolidation of Letcher County’s high schools. A recent ruling by the Kentucky Board of Education makes nearly all of Letcher County schools “interim centers” and prohibits renovations or new buildings at those schools. Unless population trends change, the ruling apparently will eventually require consolidation of the county system’s three high schools and perhaps of more lower-level schools.

. The Letcher County Board of Education has endorsed a plan by the State Department of Education to build a middle school in the Hemphill area.

Wednesday, March 5, 1997 Warning: If you are caught dumping trash in Letcher County you might have to pay a $5,000 fine. That’s the message being delivered to local residents by the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, which has agreed to help clean up the county.

. Letcher County escaped the death and destruction caused by flooding that hit much of Kentucky over the weekend, but heavy rainfall did create havoc here Monday. The North Fork of the Kentucky River crested at nine feet early Monday afternoon, just a foot below flood stage.

Wednesday, March 5, 2007 A light snow fell Sunday after warmer, spring-like temperatures gave way to the return of Old Man Winter. Warmer weather is expected to return to the region today, with the forecast calling for highs from 56 to 61.

. The City of Whitesburg is hoping an old traffic bridge behind the Letcher County Board of Education can be salvaged and moved to connect Broadway Street (behind the courthouse) to the free parking lot at the end of Main Street.

. Jason Ray Ison, 22, is on trial this week in Letcher Circuit Court on three counts of vehicular homicide and five other charges in connection with a car wreck that killed his wife and two other passengers.

. The Letcher County Central High School gymnasium will host the boys’ 14th Regional Basketball Tournament this week. It is the first time the tournament has been held here in modern history.



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