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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, May 27, 1937 New Mountain Eagle editor J. Crook tells readers he has a “sore ear and one knot on the side of the head” after being assaulted in the offices of the Neon News by “an irate candidate for office” he did not name. “All is well that ends, and ye old editor is fast learning about Letcher County politics,” Crook writes. “This is lesson number one.” The Neon News is owned and operated by The Eagle.

. The First National Bank of Fleming remains in “receivership” as its assets continue to be liquidated.

. The Blue Grass Businessmen’s organization of Lexington arrived by special train in Whitesburg last night. After they were welcomed by Mayor H.H. Harris, the men were paraded from the L&N Depot to the Letcher County Courthouse as the Man O’ War Drum and Bugle Corps led the way.

. The Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg reopened to record crowds who wanted to experience the theater’s new Western Electric Mirrophonic sound system. Kentucky Theatre general manager J.E. Isaacs said he was well please with the opening reception and is enthusiastic about the theater’s new talking machinery, stating it was the best he’s ever heard.

. Charlie Dixon of Hallie has been selected as the “most outstanding senior of 1937” by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

Thursday, May 29, 1947 Colonel Narce Whitaker of Linefork on May 26 became the first member of the Army Air Force to hold four Silver Star medals. He was presented the third Oak Leaf Cluster to his Silver Star in Washington, D.C., by Lieutenant General Ira Baker, deputy commander of the Army Air Force. His latest decoration is for “gallantry in action over Midway Island from June 3 to 7, 1942.” The citation says Colonel Whitaker, then a captain, demonstrated outstanding courage and proficiency throughout a period of bitter aerial combat with the Japanese. Besides the four Silver Stars, Colonel Whitaker has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Commendation Ribbon. A graduate of Stuart Robinson High School at Blackey, Colonel Whitaker is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Squire Whitaker of Roxana.

. Citizens of Whitesburg and Letcher County were shocked Wednesday morning when news reached them telling of the robbery, assault and murder of Mr. Clinton Cornett, 66, father-in-law of Letcher County Jailer John Gose. Mr. Cornett was robbed, beaten and left to die near the head of Linefork, in the Pine Mountain Section. In a bedside interview at Lynch Hospital before he died, Mr. Cornett identified the perpetrators as Luther Elbert Holcomb, 30, and Roscoe Holcomb, 18. He told authorities he had spent Sunday night with his daughter and Mr. Gose in Whitesburg before he returned home via Cumberland on Monday morning. He said that while walking through the mountains toward his home at Linefork he was met by the two suspects, who he said were carrying 8-1/2 gallons of moonshine whiskey. He said they robbed him of $2 and kicked him in the ribs before throwing him over the hill and leaving him for dead. Mr. Cornett said that after he regained consciousness, he was able to crawl about three-fourths of a mile to the home of his brother-in-law, Elbert Holcomb, who called for help. The suspects are being held in the Letcher County Jail in Whitesburg.

. W.H. Belt of Neon has been elected commander of the McClelland Anderson Post 104 of the American Legion at Neon. Elected vice-commanders were Robert Hall of Jackhorn, Sam Terry of Neon, and B.S Strange of Jackhorn.

. Jenkins High School held its 26th annual commencement on Tuesday, May 20. Valedictorian was Mickey Mullins. Betty Jane Fugate was salutatorian.

. Fifty business and residential lots will be sold at auction in Jenkins on Saturday, May 31. Being sold is the property of Mr. Hobart Tucker.

. Leon Ingram of Linefork was killed in a car wreck at Kingscreek on Friday, May 23. A World War II veteran who was discharged from service five months ago, he was only 19 years old.

. Mr. and Mrs. Zennith Bentley have chosen the name Randall Taft as the name for their son born May 26 in Jenkins Hospital. [Randall Bentley went on to become the first sitting Letcher District Court Judge in the 1970s.]

. Evans Funeral Home of Whitesburg is selling flowers for Memorial Day decorations.

. The new Bank of Neon will open soon with a capital stock of $50,000 and surplus of $50,000. The top two officers will be Dr. D.V. Bentley, president, and Dr. E.G. Skaggs, vice-president. The bank will be housed in the Neon Drug Company building.

. This week has been a big one for Sam Bates of Whitesburg. In addition of announcing the construction of a $40,000

coal ramp on Rockhouse Creek beside the new L&N Railroad spur, Bates and his wife have purchased the Adams Hotel in Whitesburg, which will be operated by Otis Mohn.

. Jimmy Dixon, son of Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon, and Harold Vermillion were injured in a wreck near Whitesburg on Saturday. The wreck is believed to have occurred after something went wrong with the steering on the Jeep Dixon was driving.

. Ford trucks are being sold at Combs Motor Company in Whitesburg.

Thursday, May 30, 1957 Former Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon held a lead of more than 150 votes today in his race against Judge James M. Caudill for the Democratic nomination for the office. Returns were in from only 18 of the county’s 53 voting precincts, as the vote counting was going at its usual slow pace in the county courthouse.

. One hundred thirty-three seniors were graduated from Whitesburg High School at commencement ceremonies Friday night in the school gymnasium. The valedictory address was given by Ronald Newton Collier and the salutatory address by Sue Carrol Caudill.

. Autographed copies of U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy’s book, “Profiles In Courage,” were presented by Cohen’s Department Store of Norton, Virginia to the Whitesburg High School students with the highest standing in their class.

. Hoover Dawahare, president of the Whitesburg Jaycees, announced that the first dog vaccination clinic will be held in Jenkins Saturday, June 1 in front of the railroad depot.

Thursday, May 18, 1967 Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital has been notified that it is one of the “perfect record” winners in the 1966 Hospital Safety Contest sponsored by the American Hospital Association and the National Safety Council. This is the fifth time out of six entries that the hospital has won a “perfect record” award.

. One hundred eighty-six seniors will receive diplomas at commencement exercises at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Whitesburg High School. Valedictorians of the 1967 class are Stephen Combs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Combs of Marlowe, and Judy Hammock, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Hammock of Whitesburg.

. This issue marks the 60th birthday of The Mountain Eagle. The paper was founded in 1907 by Nehemiah Webb. The Mountain Eagle is one of the oldest businesses in continuous operation not only in Letcher County, but also in Kentucky.

. The tiny Letcher County community of Carcassonne will take part in the celebration commemorating Kentucky’s 175th anniversary as a state. Carcassonne will sponsor a fair and festival June 2, 3 and 4 at the Carcassonne Community Center.

. “In the Misty Moonlight” was the theme of the junior-senior prom presented by the junior class of Jenkins High School.

. The Fleming Baptist Church is expressing its thanks and appreciation to First Baptist Church in Whitesburg for its gift to the Fleming church of a pulpit and three chairs.

Thursday, May 19, 1977 Contests for county judge/executive, sheriff and county clerk are drawing the interest of Letcher County voters. Incumbent county judge Estill Blair, a Republican, did not seek re-election, and political observers see the Democratic nominee as a shoo-in in the November election. Former County Judge Robert B. Collins and Tax Commissioner Sam Clinton Webb are the top contestants in the race for Democratic nominee.

. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars have scheduled Memorial Day services. The services will be held on Sunday, May 29, and officials have asked families to be on time at cemeteries so the schedule can be kept.

. ”We want to thank the coal truck drivers along our part of Route 7 for slowing down and being more considerate of the congested area travelers,” writes Blackey correspondent Gaynell Begley. “When they were made aware of the serious danger, they cooperated, and we hope they do the same in other parts of this county.”

. Round steak is on sale for $1.19 a pound at the Whitesburg A&P. Sliced pork chops are $1.09 a pound.

Wednesday, May 20, 1987 Miners at Golden Oak Mining Company of Whitesburg will decide next month whether they want to be represented by the United Mine Workers Union. The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled an election at Golden Oak on June 5, a company spokesman confirmed this week. Golden Oak employs about 300 miners, nearly all of who work underground.

. With loud speakers blasting Bruce Springsteen hits and volunteers passing out free hotdogs and Royal Crown Cola, John Y. Brown Jr. bought his campaign for governor to Whitesburg this week. Brown, who called himself a “hard-nosed operator,” promised new jobs, no new taxes, and better education. He also talked about his past term as governor.

. A 120-bed nursing home may locate in Letcher County. A certificate of need was filed with the state last week asking for approval of the facility, which would be located in or near Whitesburg. Whitesburg Mayor James Asher said the nursing home has already been endorsed by several civic groups and the City of Whitesburg.

Wednesday, May 21, 1997 Former Letcher County school board chairman Tommy R. Vanover is named in a felony indictment charging him with illegally registering his motor vehicle in another state. Authorities expect other Letcher County residents to be named in similar indictments over the next several weeks.

. Members and former members of Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church’s founding this weekend.

. The Kentucky Public Service Commission voted unanimously Monday to approve creation of a water and sewer district to serve all citizens of Letcher County. The Letcher Fiscal Court will now be responsible for creation of the district, which will open the way for the county to coordinate extension of public water and sewer service to most areas of Letcher County. The work is expected to take about 15 years and to cost $55,000,000 or more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Mayor James Wiley Craft this week declared a moratorium on the issuance of a work permit that would allow contractors to begin tearing down the old KYVA Motor Company building on Madison Street. Craft took the action after the Letcher County Conservation District’s governing board voted to abandon plans to renovate the building to use for its offices and voted to tear it down instead. The KYVA building, built more than 80 years ago, is one of several downtown buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

. A state transportation official say construction should be fully underway within two years on a $101 million project to reconstruct 9.6 miles of U.S. Route 119 in Letcher County.

. Drillers L.L.C., an oil and gas service company, has completed its purchase of a “spec” building the county erected several years ago at Gateway Industrial Park at Jenkins. Company officials said they hope to have three shifts operating by the end of the year, with 75 employees.

. An open house will take place from 3 to 5 p.m., May 27, to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of Lloyd and Grace Brown. The open house will be held at the Browns’ home.



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