Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
Thursday, January 12, 1928 The criminal court system moved quickly against Homer Mitchell, a black man charged with the late December murder of 38-year-old Malcolm Slone in the coal town of Wolfpit in southern Pike County. Mitchell, 42, was sentenced to death by the electric chair seven days after he shot and killed Slone. The National Guard was called into Pike County to protect Mitchell after he was found by a large posse hiding inside the Corrigan McKinney Steel Company’s lower seam mine, also in Wolfpit. “The report of the trial states it was one of the most orderly legal procedures ever held in Pike County,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Feelings ran high against Mitchell until it was seen that he would get a swift trial, and then the citizens were content to let the law take its course.”
. Green Hall was the victim of a mysterious shooting Tuesday night at Bastin, near Thornton Creek. His wounds, while serious, are not expected to be fatal. As Mr. Hall left Willie Lucas’s store a shot rang out in the dark, wounding Hall in the chest and hand. The only clues officers have to work with are an empty shotgun shell found nearby and footprints of a man wearing a “number eight” shoe. The footprints disappear into Thornton Creek.
. The Kentucky and West Virginia Power Company will spend $15,000 to remodel the old Masonic building in Whitesburg, which the power company recently purchased.
. A crowd of between 300 and 400 people saw Whitesburg High School’s first basketball game in its new gymnasium, which wasn’t completed until early last week. The fans, many of who gave high marks to the new structure, saw Whitesburg defeat Blue Diamond High School, 19 to 13.
. Dr. D.V. Bentley and H.S. Short have announced they are closing Short Motor Company.
Thursday, January 13, 1938 The Kentucky State Highway Commission has ordered that right of way be obtained for the final link of the Blackey to Jeff to Hazard road. The road is complete except for a two-mile stretch below Blackey.
. The Red Top Brewing Company’s Walter Page will be in Whitesburg Friday to entertain with his various card tricks and slight of hand performances. He will appear at Rotary Club’s weekly luncheon as guest of Dewey Polly, whose Coca-Cola Bottling Works distributes Red Top Beer and Ale in Letcher County.
. Four men were convicted in Letcher Circuit Court this week of robbing Moses Adams of Hot Spot of $18.76. Convicted of the robbery were Charles Turner and Lester Barger of Perry County and Brack Bolling and Chester Bolling of Hot Spot. The robbery occurred in December after the Bollings, who have lived in Letcher County for about a year, recruited Turner and Barger to come to this county and help them commit robberies.
. Henry Cook was found not guilty of murder in Letcher Circuit Court on Wednesday. Cook had been charged with killing Clay Sweeney on Christmas Eve, but a jury found that Cook acted in selfdefense after Sweeney attacked him and knocked him down.
. The Letcher County Grand Jury says “the whiskey business in this county (is) deplorable in that those who drink and get drunk most always use boisterous, vulgar and unbecoming language that children, ladies and gentlemen should not hear.” The jury, in its January report, said the situation is a “public nuisance.”
Thursday, January 8, 1948 The trials of Leonard Fields and his wife, along with their son, Charlie, and Willard Collier are set for January 26 in Letcher Circuit Court. The five are accused in the shotgun slayings of two Letcher County sheriff ’s deputies near Eolia in December.
. Sandy Adams has just completed work on his new two-story block and brick building about a mile above Whitesburg. Nice apartments are now available for rent upstairs with room downstairs for the large hardware and furniture store Adams will soon open and operate.
. Kentucky state highway officials are addressing the problem of metal road signs being used as target practice by amateur marksmen at the rate of 12,000 signs a year.
. Ladies shopping at Frank Abdoo’s A&M Dry Goods store in Neon will receive one pair of nylon hose free for every $10 spent.
. A rematch between heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis and Jersey Joe Walcott will be held this coming summer. Walcott nearly dethroned Louis a few weeks ago.
Thursday, January 16, 1958 Members of the new Letcher Fiscal Court have adopted a rule calling for “private sessions” of the court to transact part of the county’s business. Magistrate Cleamond Scott voted against the rule, saying he had “nothing to hide” and
doesn’t think the court can legally have a private session.
. “We are sorry that the Letcher Fiscal Court decided this week that the business of Letcher County is private business and of no concern to you,” Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish writes in an editorial. “… Members of the court appear to have forgotten just exactly who and what they are. We should like to remind them. They were elected by the citizens of the county to conduct the affairs of the county. Those same citizens — the voters — have a right to expect the county’s affairs to be conducted properly, in an honest, aboveboard, public manner.”
. The Letcher County Public Library may have to close its doors soon because of a lack of operating funds. Such a move would deprive pupils in all but two county schools of library service, since two bookmobiles operated by the county library provide the only library service to rural schools. The library’s plight is the result of the Letcher Fiscal Court’s failure this week to consider increasing the county’s appropriation to the library this year from $300 to $1,200. Without that increase the county is ineligible to receive $850 from the state in library aid.
. Auto tags for 1958 are now on sale, says Letcher County Clerk Charlie Wright. March 1 is the deadline for buying the new tags.
. Jenkins High School’s Emory Smallwood sank four free throws and hit a 45- foot push shot to overcome Whitesburg’s six-point lead in the final four minutes of Tuesday’s thrilling game, which ended with the Cavalier defeating the Yellowjackets by one point.
. Acie Hall scored a total of 79 points last week to lead the Fleming-Neon Pirates to victories over Dorton, Hall High, Whitesburg and Jenkins.
. W.D. “Bill” Terrill last Thursday became the third mayor in the history of the Town of Jenkins. The outspoken Democrat succeeds Ezra Johnson, who did not run for re-election. Terrill came to Letcher County from Jackson in 1937 to work for Consolidation Coal Company, now Bethlehem Mines Corp. Today he is a repairman at the company’s Central Shop.
. The Kentucky Attorney General’s Office has dropped its lawsuit seeking to remove Whitesburg businessman Basil Hall from the Letcher County Board of Education. The Attorney General’s Office had said that Hall was ineligible to serve on the board because he had sold 20 bushels of potatoes to the Whitesburg School Lunchroom in September 1956 and received $56 in payment for them.
. Army Captain Edward L. Phillips, son of Mr. and Mrs. General G. Phillips of Seco, recently was appointed commander of the 10th Signal Battalion’s Company A in Germany. Captain Phillips, a 1936 graduate of Fleming-Neon High School, entered the Army in 1943.
. The Smokehouse Poolroom is for sale in downtown Neon. It comes with six tables, two pinball machines, and other equipment.
. Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman star in “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” showing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg January 21-22.
Thursday, January 11, 1968 Hobart Ison, a Letcher County man accused of murdering Canadian film producer Hugh O’Connor at Jeremiah on Sept. 20, will be tried in Harlan County. Letcher County Circuit Judge J.L. Hays decided to transfer the case after two days of efforts to seat a jury here had ended unsuccessfully. O’Connor was widely known in Canada and was considered one of the foremost Canadian film producers. He and his crew were en route from Whitesburg to Hazard when they stopped on KY 7 at Jeremiah to film a group of five rental houses owned by Ison. They had been shooting film for an hour and a half, according to a crew spokesman, when Ison drove up and jumped out, armed with a pistol, and told them to get off his property. The crew was loading equipment into the cars when Ison opened fire on them. O’Connor was struck and killed by a bullet which apparently penetrated his heart.
. A mid-morning fire destroyed the Quillen Apartments building on Main Street. Whitesburg firemen fought all day in an effort to save the building. They were successful in attempts to keep the flames from spreading to Pigman Cleaners and other nearby structures.
. Frankie Joe Majority, 18, son of Mrs. Edith Majority of Whitesburg, has enlisted in the U.S. Navy’s 120 Day Delayed enlistment program. He is a graduate of Whitesburg High School.
. Letcher County is still reeling this week from the onslaught of winter weather, which began just after Christmas. Snow, sleet and freezing weather forced the dismissal of schools for several days and made highways treacherous.
Thursday, January 5, 1978 As newly elected County Judge Robert Collins takes office, he says he has returned to an office stripped of all traces of the former administration of Estill Blair, including, apparently, most of the county’s financial records. “We can’t find records of anything, no coal severance tax or revenue sharing accounts, no county payrolls, no record of the general fund,” said Collins. Collins said Blair, contacted
by Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg, said the records had been “for a final check.”
. Several minor coal strike incidents occurred in Letcher County this week as the United Mine Workers strike entered its fifth week. Roving pickets, estimated at 40 to 45 men by state police, appeared periodically Tuesday near Gilley, but mines remained open and no arrests were reported. Eastern Kentucky was generally quiet after two explosions damaged the home of a non-union miner at Stearns in McCreary County, and destroyed six pieces of equipment at a Martin County strip mine.
. The new Jenkins City Council met and voted to reinstate an ordinance creating a city water commission. The commission was set up last winter to deal with severe water problems in the town. Attempts to institute changes within the water department created friction, and eventually the commission was dissolved.
. ”The Sting” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford is playing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.
Wednesday, January 13, 1988 Appalachian coal producers are moving into 1988 through a cloud of uncertainty unusual for even what seems to be chronically uncertain times. Producers and consumers say there is little hope of duplicating 1987’s record production — an estimated 910 million tons — or near-record consumption of 908 million tons. But just how well the industry will do likely will depend on variables over which the coal industry has little control: how the national economy reacts to last fall’s stock market crash, and how Congress deals with the budget and trade deficits, which also affect the national economy.
. A tractor-trailer stopped inches from the edge of Pine Mountain, but kept U.S. 119 blocked for more than six hours as a result of the mishap. Police said the accident was the second in which the truck was involved within minutes. Kentucky State Police say the tractor-trailer hit a Childers oil tank truck earlier, but the accident was minor. The tractor-trailer continued up Pine Mountain and met a truck on the wrong side of the road in a steep curve and the driver apparently attempted to dodge the oncoming truck and two wheels of his truck dropped over the mountainside.
. The Cumberland City Council voted last week to oust Mayor Glen Shepherd, and installed in his place newly elected Councilman Carl Hatfield. Thus far Shepherd has refused to respond to the vote other than to say the council violated his rights and to question the legality of the vote. Shepherd says it is up to the council to prove he is no longer mayor, but Hatfi eld says it is up to Shepherd to prove he still holds the office.
. Three Letcher County men have pleaded guilty to charges of receiving stolen property in connection with a burglary at Whitesburg High School. Stolen from the school gymnasium were a computer printer, 14 basketballs, 11 pairs of girls’ tennis shoes, and two girls’ basketball jerseys.
Wednesday, January 7, 1998 Two local matters will be among State Rep. Paul Mason’s concerns during the
Kentucky General Assembly’s biennial session, which begins this week. One is the rebuilding of U.S. 119 across Pine Mountain. The other is the need for water and sewer projects throughout Letcher County.
. Attorneys for Larry Forgy and hundreds of former South East Coal Co. miners told a judge they have worked out a deal to settle a lawsuit the miners filed against the 1995 Republican gubernatorial candidate. The 300 miners or their survivors could receive hundreds of thousands of dollars under the plan. The miners were shorted nearly $800,000 in wages and benefits when South East folded in early 1993.
. Members of the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission and representatives of the Kentucky Department of Transportation have agreed to work together in the future to make highway projects more sensitive to the environment and to keep the ecology of protected natural areas as intact as possible. The commission voted after a public meeting at the Oven Fork Community Center to declare the proposed route for rebuilding U.S. 119 through a portion of the Bad Branch Nature Preserve “an unavoidable public necessity.”
. Bald eagles have been arriving in Kentucky for a couple of months. But the bulk of the 250 to 300 eagles that usually winter in Kentucky will come with the cold weather that usually blows in with the new year. According to banding surveys, most of these birds come from the Great Lakes region.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008 Data collected in 2007 indicates an alarming 12 percent of the adult population in Letcher County suffers from Type II diabetes — a chronic disease that can be caused by poor eating habits, and lack of exercise. “Sixty years ago we had to worry about people working in the coal mines,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now head of the Center for Health Transformation in Washington, D.C. “Now we have to worry about people dying because they don’t do anything.”
. Kentucky suffered its first mine fatality of 2008 when Roy Douglas Sturgill II, 29, of Cowan, died of injuries he received when the truck he was driving backed over a steep embankment at Cumberland River Coal Company’s Blue Ridge surface mine at Over Fork.
. 2007 is on pace to become one of the warmest years for the continuous United States since national records began in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The year was marked with exceptional drought in the U.S. Southeast and West, which helped fuel an extremely active wildfire season. Preliminary date will be updated in early January to reflect the final three weeks of December.
. A winter snowstorm left Pine Mountain snowcapped for a short time last week, but the snow didn’t stay around long. Unseasonably warm weather that brought the high temperature to around 70 degrees on Monday is expected to give way to cooler weather by the end of the week. The high is expected to fall to about 40 degrees by Sunday.