Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

A banner headline across the front page of the March 18, 1948 edition of The Mountain Eagle let readers know about the week’s big news — a fatal train wreck at Thornton.

A banner headline across the front page of the March 18, 1948 edition of The Mountain Eagle let readers know about the week’s big news — a fatal train wreck at Thornton.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, March 15, 1928 L&N Passenger Train No. 1 was held up for 2-1/2 hours and the “Short Dog” coming out of Neon was delayed eight hours after three cars from a coal train coming from Neon derailed at Apex Tuesday morning.

. A federal judge in Jackson has ordered Prohibition Officer Clark Day to return the malt extract he confiscated recently from the A&P Food Store in Whitesburg. The judge said he will make a final ruling in September on the question of whether the A&P broke the law when it sold the malt, which can be used in home brewing.

. Citizens of Whitesburg were brought to their front doors Sunday morning to view an “army” of about 40 prisoners being marched from train at the L&N Depot to the Letcher County Jail. “It was a curious sight to look upon this group of almost 40 men who marched to the music of Federal Judge A.M.J. Cochran,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Liquor cases, all of them, and most of them with a sentence of six months.”

. Sam Collins, son of Blue Finn Collins of Colly, was rushed to the Jackson hospital Sunday at 2 a.m. for treatment of gunshot wounds he suffered in a disturbance Saturday night at a dance on Colly. One bullet passed through his body from side to side. A second man, Brent Collins, came to Whitesburg Sunday morning to have gunshot wounds to his arm and side dressed. The two men say they were wounded at the same time by either Tounsel Breeding or Constable Matthew Collins, or both of the men.

. Green Hall of Thornton is in serious condition after he was fired upon and wounded by an unknown assailant. Two of the bullets in Hall’s body are too deep to be removed. This makes the fourth time Mr. Hall has been shot, the last shot striking him on January 10 when he left Willie Lucas’s store. Bloodhounds were used Monday in an effort to catch the person who fired the shot Sunday night.

. South-East Coal Company is hardsurfacing the roads in its company town of Seco.

. The A&P Tea Company is opening a new store in Neon this week.

Thursday, March 17, 1938 Herman Combs, manager of the Dr. Pepper Bottling Company and Whitesburg Wholesale Company, has announced that both of his businesses have secured a charter with the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations), a federation of unions.

. A young Letcher couple died tragically Sunday evening when they were electrocuted during the windstorm of that evening. Troy Hamblin, 23, and his wife Opal Hamblin, 19, died after they came into contact with the lead electrical wire servicing the home. The accident occurred after Mr. Hamblin arrived at the couple’s home located just below the tipple of Dixie Diamond Coal Company, where he worked, and found the home to be without electrical service. While trying to find the problem, Mr. Hamblin came into contact with the hot wire. Mrs. Hamblin came into contact with the same wire when she went to check on her husband.

. Two men have been charged with stealing a number of parcel post packages and a small amount of cash at the Blackey Post Office. Robert Strunk and Clarence Wilson were arrested today (Thursday) in Lothair in connection with the Tuesday night burglary and later confessed to the crime. They have been placed in the Hindman jail awaiting an appearance in federal court in Pikeville.

Thursday, March 18, 1948 Two trainmen were killed instantly late Wednesday evening in a train accident just above Thornton. Brakeman Carl Mays, 23, and fireman Warrant Reynolds, age not given, were killed when the train derailed for an unknown reason. Both men were from Hazard. “No one seems to know the exact cause of the accident,” reports The Mountain Eagle. “Some reported a broken rail. Others say it is thought the switch had been thrown.”

. The Kentucky House of Representatives voted 58 to 6 to approve a Senate bill that combines the counties of Letcher and Perry into the 33rd judicial district and combines the counties of Bell and Leslie into the 41st judicial district. The bill also makes Harlan and Pike counties separate judicial districts.

The Jenkins hospital has been sold to the Sisters of Divine Providence, a Catholic group headquartered in Melbourne, Kentucky, a town located about nine miles down the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

. Nearly of all of eastern Kentucky’s 25,000 coal miners in the Big Sandy and Hazard districts are out of work this week as a nationwide strike has been called by the United Mine Workers of America.

. Nearly half of the 2,000 Jenkins homes placed for sale a little more than a year ago have sold. The seller, Consolidation Coal Company, also placed all of the town’s businesses up for sale that were once related to the company’s mining of coal. Only three of those businesses remain for sale. It is estimated that 85 percent of the houses will have been sold within the next year. Many of the homebuyers have built new foundations, basements, and bathrooms and installed central heat.

. A River Rouge, Michigan woman was shot to death in a crowded nightclub and her husband has been charged with the murder. The victim, red-haired Lula Caldwell, 26, formerly of Dorton, Ky., died on Sunday night in the hospital where she was taken for treatment after her husband, Homer Caldwell, walked into the darkened Coolidge Inn and shot her three times in the heart. Her companion, 22-year-old Claude Carbeille, was shot in the arm and leg. “She’s my wife and they got what was coming to them,” Mr. Caldwell, a 27-year-old steel worker, said after firing the shots as Mrs. Caldwell and Carbeille sat at a table among a crowd of about 100 patrons who were being entertained by three comedians.

. The Hemphill No. 6 Mine owned and operated by Elk Horn Coal Corporation is one of seven Kentucky mines commended by the U.S. Bureau of Mines for taking steps to increase employee safety.

. Mrs. Gertrude Minton of Farraday and Mrs. Virginia Craft of Kona were among the very first widows to receive a death gratuity check for $1,000 from United Mine Workers of America’s Welfare and Retirement Fund, established in 1947. Mrs. Craft is the widow of Sam Craft, who was electrocuted on the job in December when he came into contact with a live wire while working for Dark Hollow Coal Corporation. She has three children. Mrs. Minton is the widow of Theodore Minton, who died last November after an illness of two years.

. The county bridge across Rockhouse Creek at Blair Branch collapsed this week from the weight of heavy machinery using it.

. The Whitesburg Lions Club adjourned its meeting early March 11 so its members could listen to the radio broadcast of No. 1-ranked Western Kentucky’s 68 to 61 win over LaSalle in the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament. A crowd of 17,179 fans attended the game in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Western’s Hurryin’ Hilltoppers are the favorites to win the eight-team NIT, which is the nation’s top college basketball tournament.

Thursday, March 20, 1958 Six men now driving Letcher County school buses have not been examined to see whether they are physically fit to serve as drivers. Letcher School Superintendent W.B. Hall took steps this week to see that all drivers get physical examinations, school board personnel said. Records in Hall’s office show the board employs one man as a bus driver who has only one eye, one who has a crippled foot, one who has 10-30 vision, and another man who “needs glasses.” Since the tragic school bus accident at Prestonsburg several weeks ago that killed 26 students and the driver, parents and school officials have become more concerned about the safety of buses here. Letcher County now employs 25 bus drivers and three contract drivers. The subject of school bus safety was brought up at the board’s March meeting by Dr. B.F. Wright, who is a board member.

. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets fell to Hazard in the final game of the 14th Region Tournament, 38 to 32.

. The Whitesburg Athletic Association will stage a march on homes within Whitesburg Monday night to raise funds for Jimmie Bert Tolliver, one-time star football and basketball player who is a victim of cancer. Tolliver, a son of former Whitesburg High School principal and current Breathitt County High principal Millard Tolliver, is a 1951 graduate of Whitesburg High School and a student at the University of Louisville Medical School.

. The old Jenkins Recreation Building,

once a familiar sight to many Letcher County residents, is no more. The building’s new owners, Adams Real Estate Company, tore it down recently after it was condemned as unsafe by the City of Jenkins.

. Gary Lynn Mullins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Morris Mullins of Whitesburg, celebrated his fourth birthday Saturday afternoon with a party in the recreation room of the Methodist Church. Among those attending the party were Larry and Gary Cornett, Jimmy Asher, Herbert Smith, Susan and Karen Crawford, and Myra Alice Wright.

Thursday, March 14, 1968 Jesse L. Amburgey of Knott County will be recommended as the new director of the Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council. Amburgey has worked for the past year as Knott County developer for LKLP. Prior to that, he was principal of Carr Creek Elementary School.

. Army S/Sgt. Bobby Gene Sexton has been visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lutie Sexton, and family of Jackhorn, following his return from two years in Vietnam. Sexton, who has been in the Army 15 years, will be stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., for a year then expects to be sent back to Vietnam.

. The district champion Jenkins Cavaliers reached the finals of the regional basketball tournament but lost to Lee County 62-50. Named to the all-tournament team were Eddie Conley and Mike Sergent, both of Jenkins, and Dickie Adams of Letcher.

Thursday, March 9, 1978 The Carter Administration is expected to take its request for Taft-Hartley injunctions into federal district court in Washington and rumors are increasing that the President may seek power to seize coal mines. President Carter announced his decision to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act when members of the striking United Mine Workers of America overwhelming rejected the latest contract-proposal from the Bituminous Coal Operators of America.

. Federal mine officials have served Scotia Coal Co. with 28 closure orders and 44 notices of mine violations stemming from the two explosions which killed 26 men two years ago this week. The citations and closure orders resulted from the investigation of the Scotia disaster made by the Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration.

. A Mountain Eagle editorial entitled “Miners are human” says the second anniversary of the Scotia mine disaster “comes as miners throughout the Appalachian area await a federal court order at the end of the week under provisions of the much-hated Taft-Hartley labor law, ordering miners to mine coal or go to jail on contempt-of-court charges. . . . We fail to understand, however, the kind of White House action that treats coal miners as some kind of simple-minded idiots who have to be threatened at gunpoint by state police, U.S. marshals, sheriffs and their deputies, the National Guard, the U.S. Army, and numerous private armies on private coal company payrolls. Cut off the food stamps, starve the children, bring out the Guard, use live bullets, mine the coal! All this from a President who has brought world attention upon himself by talking about Human Rights. Coal miners are not human?”

. Residents of McRoberts, Jenkins and the upper half of Letcher County want the state to build a section of new road to connect from McRoberts directly with the proposed new U.S. 23 on Beefhide Creek. Magistrate D. Charles Dixon estimated that about one and half miles of new road would be all that would be required to cross a mountain at the head of 15 Hollow between McRoberts and Beefhide.

Wednesday, March 16, 1988 The Letcher County Board of Education will discuss a conduct policy for sports events at its next meeting. Fights erupted at a game between Letcher and Jenkins in the first round of the basketball tournament, and at a game between Letcher and Fleming-Neon in the title game. Fans poured onto the court to join in the fray during the final four seconds of the championship. Superintendent Bernard Watts said he is concerned about the state of athletics in all schools.

. Developers have notified the Whitesburg city government that they intend to exercise an option to buy part of the Whitesburg Industrial Site for a new restaurant. Laurel Run Resources of Salt Lick bought the 90-day option on two acres of land near the site in January. The city restricted the tract to restaurant use. Mayor James Asher said he knows nothing about the proposed business except it is

apparently a fast food restaurant.

. One workman was injured when debris from the old Jenkins power plant entered the cab of the front-end loader being used to pull the structure down. Mayor Robert Shubert called the building “rotten” and scoffed at reports that the structure was sound until demolition began.

. “Hasn’t the weather been beautiful for a few days! Nice, but the trees are budding out much too early,” writes Sergent correspondent Vendetta Fields. “I’m afraid they likely will get killed, especially the fruit trees, which are showing a faint tinge of color right now. One cold snap could do it.”

Wednesday, March 11, 1998 Jenkins Police Chief Bill Tackett said a man armed with a .38 caliber pistol entered the Ashland Kwik Mart in Jenkins at 4:10 am. Saturday and took an undetermined amount of money from the store’s cash register. Tackett said police don’t think the robbery at Jenkins is connected with the robbery last month of Community Trust Bank in Neon, which also remains unsolved. He said the city police officer who was on patrol at the time, Bert Slone, was on his way to the store for a cup of coffee at the time of the robbery and arrived “within two minutes” after the suspect left the store.

. Michael Dwayne Baker Jr., 29, of Whitesburg, died March 2 when a mine roof collapsed at Leeco Inc.’s Maces Creek Mine. He was Kentucky’s first coal-mining fatality of the year. A section of the roof collapsed while Baker was trying to install a temporary roof-support jack. He was a son of Michael and Lula Adams Baker of Dry Fork and was married to Susan Cornett Baker.

. First Lt. Gene York, a former Whitesburg resident, is the new commander of the 307th Maintenance Company of the Kentucky Army National Guard. York was born and reared in Whitesburg and was graduated from Whitesburg High School in 1985. His grandmother is Whitesburg resident Juanita York.

. A nanny goat belonging to Doug Banks of Ice gave birth to quadruplet kids. According to the National Agricultural Library, the average litter size for nanny goats is two. Banks said in years past he raised goats for their milk, but that he now plans to fence the hillside beside his home and let the animals help with brush control.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 A fight over how Letcher County’s coal severance tax money should be spent has broken out between five of six members of the Letcher Fiscal Court and the two state legislators who represent the county. The fiscal court voted 5-1 to adopt a resolution asking the Kentucky General Assembly to throw out a list of 46 projects identified by 94th District Rep. Leslie Combs and 92nd District Rep. Ancel Smith as those most deserving of being funded with $6.185 million in severance money. The fiscal court called on 29th District State Sen. Johnny Ray Turner to amend the list so that it contains nothing more than the 32 projects recommended by the fiscal court for funding.

. Formal sentencing is set for next month in Pike Circuit Court for Delania Hylton Fields, who pleaded guilty to third-degree fetal homicide on Feb. 22. Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II will recommend Fields be sentenced to 10 years in prison, with credit for the five years and seven months she served before she was released on appeal in May 2005. Fields’s newborn baby was found inside a garbage bag that had been placed inside of a closet of the mobile home she shared with her husband at Kingscreek.

. Anthony Cowden of Whitesburg, the owner of the Starlite Café, is permitted to sell alcoholic drinks again after pleading guilty to 12 misdemeanor charges of violating the state’s liquor-by-the-drink laws. Cowden pleaded guilty to six counts of extending credit for the purchase of alcoholic drinks and three counts of operating disorderly premises. A Starlite employee pleaded guilty to two counts of selling alcoholic beverages to a minor and to one count of selling alcoholic beverages to a patron who was already intoxicated.

. A proposed trail system around Whitesburg would allow hikers on the Pine Mountain Trail a way into town to re-supply, eat and spend a night out of the woods. Citizens interested in the trail system will meet March 25 at the Letcher County Tourism Building. Joel Beverly, owner of Apogee Environmental Consultants and Summit City Café in Whitesburg, said he got the idea from cities like Hot Springs, N.C., which is on the Appalachian Trail and Damascus, Va., which has the Virginia Creeper Trail.

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