Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, April 8, 1917 Kentucky Governor Augustus Owsley Stanley wired Captain George W. Jenkins of Letcher County ordering him to mobilize his soldier boys in Company D to be ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice [following President Woodrow Wilson’s request that Congress declare war on Germany]. “The boys will all march gladly to any point and there, like the patriots they are, defend their country’s cause and its flag,” The Mountain Eagle says.

. Local road contractor Nat Hale was badly injured Saturday morning when a dynamite shot fired prematurely at his road job on Camp Branch. Doctors believe he will live, but fear he may be blinded.

. The “oil excitement” that has swept over Estill County, Wolfe County, and other sections of the mountains has at last reached up the North Fork of the Kentucky River, with some interest being shown in Leslie County and a little in Letcher County.

Thursday, April 7, 1927 The Eastern Kentucky Hardwood Flooring Company is opening a modern new plant at Whitco, near Whitesburg. The company will produce tongueand groove, end-matched, kiln-dried hardwood flooring in oak, window and doorframes, and other lumber products.

. Letcher County now observes two times zones. While Whitesburg and the portion of the county to the west remain on Central Time, the area of the county that includes Jenkins, McRoberts and Fleming has moved to Eastern Time after the request of coal companies who want to have their hours uniform with their mines in other states.

. Letcher State Bank of Whitesburg celebrated its third anniversary on April 1.

. Officials from Consolidation Coal Company’s Pittsburgh office were in Jenkins and McRoberts over the weekend for the grand openings of new and remodeled company stores and supply houses. Part of the festivities included a dance in Jenkins on Friday night with music performed by the Jenkins Orchestra. A style show featuring authentic copies of the latest Paris gowns were on display at the company stores.

. All 42 rooms at the Daniel Boone Hotel in Whitesburg were full of guests Tuesday.

. Attorney D.D. “Uncle Dan” Fields, who was elected sheriff in Letcher County in 1888, died at his home in Whitesburg on Wednesday. He was 75. His parents, Isaac and Alcy Fields, were part of the first five families to settle in Letcher County.

. The L&N Railroad announces excursion rates to Natural Bridge, Kentucky, effective April 29 and continuing until October 1 for the round trip price of $5.25.

. Professor H.H. Harris, superintendent of the Whitesburg graded and high schools, has tendered his resignation to the Board of Trustees “in friendly spirit.” Harris has helped the high school grow from 12 pupils when he got here eight years ago to 160 pupils today.

Thursday, April 8, 1937 In its weekly feature “It Is So,” The Mountain Eagle reports: “During the Civil War, Letcher County was rather a camping ground for many soldiers from both the North and the South. The Pound Gap was a gateway for the armies passing from Kentucky to Virginia or vice-versa. It was in 1864 that General Humphrey Marshall, one of the leading Southern generals, and some 6,000 men camped in the environs of Whitesburg. Marshall had come in from Virginia with his soldiers and they camped in and around the mouth of Solomon for several days. After a week or so they broke camp and moved on down the river. Hiram Williams, who was then a boy of about 12 years of age, says it was a great sight to see all of those soldiers. His home was on Solomon just above where the soldiers camped.

. Emogene Amburgey, 12, the champion speller of Letcher County, will compete in the Kentucky State Spelling Bee in Louisville on April 15. The event will be broadcast by WHAS radio, which is sponsoring the event with The Courier-Journal and The Louisville Times.

. The head of a Letcher County cow that was sent to a state laboratory in Lexington for testing shows the presence of rabies. Laura Sturgill of Cowan, who had been feeding and milking the animal, is taking treatments for prevention of rabies.

. Work is progressing nicely on the road being built up Thornton Creek by the 25 men employed by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA). The road is being built 17 feet wide and the fill is being made of crushed rock, 10 inches deep. The crown of the road will be made with creek gravel.

. Work at the Starling Corporation has picked up again, mining coal five days and nights a week at Kings Creek.

Thursday, April 10, 1947

A new bank has been organized in the town of Neon and approved by the Kentucky Banking Commission. The bank will start with a capital stock of $50,000 and a surplus of $50,000. Dr. D.V. Bentley was elected president and D.A. Harmon has been employed as cashier. This is the first bank venture in the history of Neon.

. A strike by an estimated 340,000 workers today crippled the nation’s telephone system after union leaders spurned a dramatic last-minute government plea for a 48-hour postponement. The telephone “tie up” is the first of its kind in U.S. history. Toll calls, information and local operator service were the first affected by the strike.

. Letcher Schools Superintendent Martha Jane Potter attended the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Meeting held in Chicago March 23-26.

. Upon the resignation of Millard Saylor, Ray Pigman has assumed the positions of football and basketball coach at Whitesburg High School. Pigman, of Letcher County, is a 1942 graduate of Georgetown College, where he lettered in both football and basketball. He served four years in the Navy before completing his Master’s degree at the University of Kentucky.

. Henry Ford, famed pioneer of the automobile industry, died at 11:40 p.m. Monday at his home in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit. Ford, 83, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage after having spent the day inspecting floodwater damages around the Ford plant. High waters of the River Rouge running through the Ford estate had cut power and heating devices at the Ford residence at the time of his death.

. Voluntary statements giving details of the armed robbery and murder of former paratrooper Vernon Hodge, 28, of Louisville were made April 7 by the three men accused of the crime. In separate statements, Jasper Nease, 23, of McRoberts, Herbert H. Workman, 21, of Tesla, West Virginia, and Daniel McPeak, 21, of Dublin, Virginia, detailed the armed robbery of Hodge a few miles from Louisville, his murder near Hazard, and their trip on to Letcher County in the car they stole from Hodge. The men told how they bound and gagged their guard at the Army brig at Fort Knox and escaped with his carbine. None of the men admitted he was the actual murderer, but each named the other two as the principals. They agreed that Hodge was bound, weighted, and thrown into the North Fork of the Kentucky River near Hazard, but claimed he was still alive when they left him behind and headed for Letcher County. Prosecutors now believe Hodge was murdered in Louisville and his body dumped in Perry County. Autopsy of Hodge’s body found that he was strangled to death. The three will be tried in Jefferson County May 19 on a charge of armed robbery, a capital crime punishable by death sentence under Kentucky law. The three could still face murder charges in Perry County.

Thursday, April 11, 1957 The Letcher Fiscal Court has voted to pay for telephone service and have it reinstalled in the office of Sheriff Robert B. Collins.

. Recipients of Social Security benefits are reminded that they do have to pay income taxes on those benefits, officials with the agency’s Hazard office say.

. Hoover Dawahare was installed as the new president of the Whitesburg Jaycees at the organization’s annual banquet held at the local VFW Club on April 5. After a short speech by Dawahare, reports The Mountain Eagle, “Dr. Walter Owens, Emory Lewis and Woodford Blair, dressed like rabbits, did an interesting skit called Peter Cottontail. The entire banquet then sang the song and did the Bunnyhop.”

. Nathaniel “Nathan” Baker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Baker of Whitesburg,

has been named “sailor of the month” by the commanding officer of the Navy’s Air Transport Squadron Twenty-Two. Baker volunteered for the Navy in 1954 and received basic training at Bainbridge.

. At 4:30 a.m. Monday, 114 members of Whitesburg High School’s senior class will board three buses bound for their “senior trip” to Washington, D.C. The students are scheduled to return Thursday at 10 p.m.

. Hayes Metal Products of Pikeville is manufacturing shuttle cars for underground mines that hold two tons of coal and cost $2,500.

Thursday, April 6, 1967 Letcher County stands to lose about $125,000 in federal aid to schools as the result of a congressional committee’s action this week. County officials estimate this was the amount above current federal aid, which the school system would have received next year under a formula which gives more aid to poorer school districts.

. Whitesburg was without electric power for several minutes Tuesday morning after a truck collided with a utility pole and sheared it in two. The pole, located on Bentley Avenue near Bridge Street, blocked traffic in and out of the city. A tangle of potentially lethal wires fell on parked cars, houses and sidewalks.

. About 50 residents of the Blackey area met Sunday afternoon at the Blackey Community Center and voted to explore possible ways of retaining the building for the use of the community. Wayne Dixon, owner of the building, last week asked the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council to remove its equipment from the building within 30 days. The council had operated an anti-poverty program in the center for the past year. The Blackey residents named Clyde Back, Harry Smith and Mrs. Joe Begley to a committee to contact Dixon’s attorney and see whether any arrangements to use the building could be made.

. U.S. Air Force Captain Guy L. Palumbo, son of Mrs. John Palumbo Sr. of Whitesburg, has been decorated with three military medals at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. Capt. Palumbo was awarded the Air Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal. He received the Air Medal for meritorious achievement as a combat crewmember in Southeast Asia. He was cited for his outstanding airmanship and courage on successful missions under hazardous conditions.

. Jane Allen Robinson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Robinson of Sergent, was winner of the annual Letcher County spelling bee held at Whitesburg. She is an eighth-grade student at Whitesburg.

Thursday, April 7, 1977 Ten eastern Kentucky counties were declared disaster areas this week when they were hit by some of the worst flooding in this area’s history. At least five people were killed — four in Harlan County — and thousands were left homeless as heavy rains forced the Kentucky, Cumberland and Big Sandy Rivers over their banks and up to record levels in several counties. Letcher County escaped the brunt of the flood, although the swollen Kentucky River left behind tons of mud and at least $500,000 in damage to roads and bridges.

. A strike at nine Appalachian Regional Hospitals throughout the mountains was averted when a new three-year contract was ratified March 31 by members of the United Steelworkers of America, which represents two-thirds of all ARH employees.

. ”I dread the month of April for one things — it’s when the snakes wake up and begin to crawl again,” writes columnist

Sara Ison. “If anything can make me move fast it’s to see a snake, even if I do know it’s a harmless one.”

. Rib roast is on sale at the Whitesburg A&P store for $1.59 a pound. Strawberries are 59 cents a pint.

Wednesday, April 8, 1987 Trees fell across power lines and caused many of the power failures that plagued Letcher County during the fourday April snow, which ended Sunday. Weather observers said the snow may be the heaviest ever in Kentucky.

. The Letcher County Development Corporation and the City of Whitesburg are looking at the possibility of a new airport in or near city limits.

. Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear has announced that Josephine D’Amato Richardson, of Whitesburg, will serve as a member of the Beshear for Governor State Steering Committee. Richardson is vice-chair of the Kentucky Commission on Women and a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council and the Prichard Committee for Excellence in Education.

Wednesday, April 9, 1997 Most rural Letcher County homeowners will have to continue paying hundreds of dollars a year in extra home insurance costs if the Letcher Fiscal Court doesn’t join the National Flood Insurance Program. Homeowners’ insurance premiums that now cost about $780 a year could be reduced to about $400 a year if a countywide water system was in place.

. One man says he is ready to go to court to stop the City of Whitesburg from reopening a portion of Old Highway 15 for use as a road into the shopping center, which houses a grocery store, a fast-food restaurant, a motel and a medical clinic. Glenn Brown, who owns property adjacent to the only road now being used for access to the center, says the city doesn’t have the right to open the old road because it doesn’t own it. According to Brown, the road is owned by the Whitesburg Municipal Housing Commission, which obtained the property by deed in 1969. Brown also said that portions of the new shopping center are built on land that is still owned by the housing commission.

. Redbuds in flower are a heady sight across the eastern Kentucky mountains this week. The trees are reaching their peak bloom and an equal show of dogwood blossoms is just ready to follow them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 Voters in the City of Whitesburg are being asked to decide next week for the first time in 60 years whether it should be legal to sell alcoholic beverages in the city limits. A special election will be held next Tuesday to allow voters to determine whether the city should become a “limited” option territory, making the sale of alcoholic beverages legal only in restaurants that seat at least 100 people.

. Police in Jenkins are looking for a man who pulled a knife on Father Edward Randall and robbed him less than two weeks after he had burglarized the elderly Catholic priest’s home.

. The Letcher Fiscal Court has approved a resolution supporting members of the United Steelworkers of America Local 15468 in their continuing strike against Appalachian Regional Hospital. The hospital workers walked off their jobs April 1 after contract negotiations failed.

. A baseball game between Letcher County Central and Owsley County was called in the fourth inning with LCC leading 4-1 because of snow.



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