Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, April 5, 1928 Three new brick school buildings — at Blackey, Fleming and Whitesburg — will be dedicated during separate ceremonies next week. The Blackey building will be dedicated first, on April 12 at 9:30 a.m., followed by a ceremony in Fleming at 7 p.m. on the same day. The final dedication program will take place in Whitesburg at 7 p.m. on April 13. The featured speakers at the three ceremonies — all set to start on railroad time — will be State Superintendent W.C. Bell and University of Louisville president George Colvin. Letcher Schools Superintendent Arlie Boggs said the building dedications mark “the beginning of a new era in education in Letcher County.”

. Consolidation Coal Company is planning to build 200 new homes for miners this spring.

. The Kentucky Department of Education is conducting a census of school children in Letcher County after estimating the number of students at 10,300.

President Lyndon B. Johnson worked to prepare his farewell speech delivered in 1968. See Page 5. (AP Photo)

President Lyndon B. Johnson worked to prepare his farewell speech delivered in 1968. See Page 5. (AP Photo)

. Joe Romeo has been awarded a $5,300 contract by the Whitesburg City Council to build a new bridge and approaches over the North Fork of the Kentucky River at the lower end of Whitesburg.

. The Norman Hotel in Whitesburg is being remodeled. In addition to fresh coats of paint in the rooms, new linoleum has been placed on the floors and new plaster on the walls of the kitchen and dining room.

. N.R. “Nelt” Webb of Whitesburg celebrated his 75th birthday on April 3, the same day his wife gave birth to twin sons in the Webb home. Each boy weighed seven pounds at birth.

. Rates for White Star Transportation’s hourly bus runs between Jenkins and Whitesburg have been reduced to $1.50.

. Miss Sillar Reynolds, a popular Letcher County school teacher from Whitesburg, wed Milburn Polly of Kona during a ceremony held Saturday at the Letcher County Clerk’s Office. Polly currently works for the Elkhorn Coal Company.

Thursday, April 7, 1938 Jenkins High School’s debate team has won the Kentucky High School Forensic League’s district tournament held in Hazard. It marks the first time the Jenkins team has won the general trophy.

. The Letcher County community of Gander [Carcassonne] has been chosen to host the state’s first conference of “radio listening stations” later this month. University of Kentucky President Frank L. McVey will be joined at the April 29-30 conference by representatives of the 27 “radio listening centers” UK has established across eastern Kentucky. While UK has maintained a regular broadcast schedule over WHAS radio in Louisville since 1929, it wasn’t until 1933 that the listening centers were established in remote portions of the mountains. The first night of the conference, to be held at the Carcassonne Community Center, will feature folklorist and musician John Jacob Niles before leading a demonstration of a typical listening center group hearing and discussing an educational broadcast.

. A freak cow named “Girlie” has been on exhibition in downtown Whitesburg this week on the Frazier lot across from the Letcher County Courthouse. “Girlie” was cartooned by Ripley in his “Believe It or Not” and is said to be the only animal of its kind known to science. She was born hairless with skin the same texture as that of a human. In addition to the cow, a medicine man has also been attracting much attention in front of the courthouse this week.

. Errol Flynn stars with Joan Blondell in the movie “The Perfect Specimen,” showing next Wednesday and Thursday at the Bentley Theatre in Neon.

. The L&N Railroad says it hauled 30 million tons of coal in 1937, or more than 600,000 carloads.

. Work is expected to resume in a few days on the WPA road project on Doty Creek in lower Rockhouse.

Thursday, April 8, 1948 Neither Joy Manufacturing nor Bituminous Coal Research Inc. (BCR) will comment on the number of coal miners whose jobs would be affected when so-called “continuous mining machines” are put on the market, probably later this year. The two organization refused to comment after BCR announced that 70 of the nation’s leading coal companies and railroads have launched a $250,000 program to continue designing a machine “that will mine coal cheaper and faster.” Joy Manufacturing is already testing two of the “continuous miners.” The BCR said the goal “is a machine that will cut coal off the solid without the use of explosives and load the coal continuously onto a conveyor or into mine cars.” Coal is now mined by a cutting process, blasting and loading.

. Joseph Pendleton, 19, of Jenkins, is starting his second season of professional baseball in the farm system of the Washington Senators. After helping the Jenkins Cavaliers win the Lonesome Pine League, Pendleton was signed by the Senators and assigned to their minor league team in New London, Connecticut, where he

finished the 1947 season with a .357 batting average. The 6’2” 185-lb. right-handed hitter has been assigned to the Senators’ Emporia, Virginia affiliate for the 1948 season.

. Leonard Fields of Oven Fork was sentenced to 42 years in prison this week after being convicted in the double murders of Letcher County Sheriff ’s Deputies Willard Hall and Dave Galloway at the Fields home on Christmas Eve. The sentence was handed down in Pike Circuit Court, where the trial was moved. Fields’s wife, his son Charles, and Willard Collier will be tried on the same murder charges during the May term of Pike Circuit Court.

. Consolidation Coal Company has leased the Elkhorn Collieries’ Winters Mine at Farraday on Thornton Creek. The lease of the mine, which works in the No. 3 Elkhorn seam, includes coal, equipment and plant, but not the houses or store.

. Fifty-six cars of coal were loaded and shipped out of Letcher County this week as a few truck mines were able to operate despite the nationwide coal strike called by the United Mine Workers of America.

. The nationwide coal strike called by the United Mine Workers Union “has seriously crippled the steel industry,” the trade journal Iron Age reports this week.

. Construction is expected to start later this year on a modern city hall building to serve the City of Jenkins. The brick and stone building will cost $60,000 and will be located on property near the city jail donated by Consolidation Coal Company. In addition to city offices and city police court, the building will house offices of the Jenkins locals of the United Mine Workers of America.

. The Letcher County Board of Education this week awarded a bid for the construction of a modern gymnasium at Whitesburg High School to Armstrong Construction Company of Tennessee.

. City of Whitesburg water foreman Jasper “Jepp” Cornett was seriously injured Sunday when he was burned while turning on water pumps in the city’s pump house. Cornett is being treated at the Jenkins hospital for second-degree burns to his face, neck and hands he suffered after an electrical spark ignited natural gas that had gathered in the pump house.

. John Wayne and Laraine Day star in the movie “Tycoon,” showing this week at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Ronald Reagan and Shirley Temple star in the movie “That Hagen Girl,” scheduled to show later this month (April 18 and 19) at the Haymond Theatre in Haymond. Admission is 40 cents for adults, 20 cents for children.

Thursday, April 10, 1958 The April Letcher County Grand Jury is looking into the affairs of the Letcher County Board of Education. Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells, who said he had heard reports there “were irregularities in he actions of the school board,” directed the grand jury’s attention to the school board’s business. Wells said he did not know if the reports were true or not, but asked that jurors investigate.

. After being inactive for several years, the Douglas Day Post No. 152 of the American Legion is reorganizing to serve the Whitesburg area. The post was organized here more than 30 years ago.

. Prosecuting witnesses have asked for and been granted dismissal of 24 criminal cases in Letcher Circuit Court. Most of the cases were dismissed on motions filed by Commonwealth’s Attorney Tolbert Combs.

. A new post office will be built at Neon between now and early fall, Postmaster General Summerfield announced this week from Washington. He said the Neon post office is one of 23 to be built in Kentucky at a cost of about $30,000 each. James E. Morris is currently the acting postmaster at Neon.

. The Letcher County Grand Jury is investigating the death of Milford Henry King, 39, Ermine, who died in the county jail last Friday after being arrested on a drunkenness charge. Jailer Bob Morgan said King died two days after he fell onto a concrete floor from the top bunk of a jail bed. While a jury empaneled by Coroner Virginia Craft ruled that King died of natural causes, members of King’s family say he asked for a doctor to examine his injuries and Sexton refused to call one.

. Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon this week called a special meeting of the Letcher Fiscal Court to consider the purchase of voting machines for use in most Letcher precincts in the November election. If approved, the new machines would cut the costs of elections here by several thousand dollars.

Thursday, April 4, 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson told a nationwide TV audience that “I shall not and will not accept the nomination of my party for a second term of the presidency.” President Johnson said that he did not want to involve the office of the President in partisan politics and that he would devote the major part of his time to bringing about peace in Vietnam.

. PFC Geder Martin, son of Helen and French Martin of Letcher County, is serving with the 26th Infantry in Vietnam. He is a grandson of Mrs. Florence Martin of Hall, Ky.

. Jenkins voters approved a 50-cent tax in a special election to finance three new school buildings. The margin of victory was 218 votes. The new tax will pay for two elementary schools and a high school.

. Dudley Webb, a senior at the University of Kentucky College of Law, has won top honors in the university’s 1968 Law Alumni Day Trial. In the finals, Webb competed against three other student lawyers chosen best in their respective classes. Webb is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Woodford Webb of Premium.

. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets defeated the Letcher Eagles 12-5 for the school’s second victory in the young baseball season.

Thursday, March 30, 1978 The United Mine Workers of America ratified a contract under which its 160,000 members will return to work after a strike that had lasted 112 days.

. The Appalachian Regional Commission voted $4 million in loans and grants to hospitals in the Appalachian region, and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare has authorized about $2.5 million in grants to clinics in the region. The hospitals and clinics have been financially drained by the long coal strike.

. “While emergency federal grants and loans to the hard-pressed clinics and hospitals of Appalachia are needed and welcome, they fall far short of the ultimate need,” says a Mountain Eagle editorial. “The Carter Administration, much of the national media, and even some leaders of the UMW never seemed to comprehend the simple point a lot of the striking miners were making. They weren’t interested in a just a rehashed Blue Cross-style health insurance program guaranteed by,

of all things the coal industry itself. They wanted to guarantee the continuation and survival of the free, comprehensive, community-type health care facilities which had emerged as a living monument to John L. Lewis and the thousands of coal miners in whose name they were built. Those miners over the years had brought to Appalachia a health system, which, for a time, was the best in the nation.”

. Clint Eastwood stars in “The Gauntlet” playing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Wednesday, April 6, 1988 The Mountain Eagle got to be an even older bird this week. This issue is Number 1 of Volume 81. The “old buzzard” was founded in 1907 by Nehemiah Webb of Whitesburg.

. City police said they have received a number of calls from store owners and their employees concerned about the number of Mexican immigrants visiting their businesses. They found that the immigrants, employees of Napieralski Forestry Co. in Witts Spring, Ark., are planting trees on hundreds of acres of minelands owned by Golden Oak Mining Company. Golden Oak is required to plant 50,000 trees to satisfy federal and state reclamation standards.


In an article on the coming of the railroads into Appalachia, Letcher County attorney and author Harry M. Caudill writes, “An inescapable consequence of the hiring by the railroad company (L&N) of all or most of the county seat lawyers was that no one was left to advise the landowners. Merchants expected the railroad to bring them prosperity and urged the landowners to agree quickly. On every side the leading personalities of the region recommended approval of the right-of- right-of-way deeds. Consequently, by October 1910 the agents had secured 80 percent of the needed land. In all they bought 1,060 acres and acquired 120 acres as gifts. The total cost to the L&N was $229,285.”

. Brenda Williamson of Partridge has become Letcher County’s first female deputy sheriff.

Wednesday, April 1, 1998 Letcher County will receive two water and sewer projects announced by U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers in connection with the PRIDE cleanup program. One will go to the City of Whitesburg and the other to the Letcher County Water and Sewer District. The Whitesburg grant of $568,000 will extend sewer lines to 22 homes on Long Branch that now have faulty septic tanks or “straight pipe” sewer lines draining directly into the Kentucky River. The Letcher County grant of $328,000 will provide an innovative sewage disposal system for a cluster of 30 homes that also have straight pipes or faulty septic tanks.

. The University of Kentucky’s Comeback Cats overcame their largest halftime deficit — 10 points — in the NCAA Tournament’s championship game and won their seven national title. The Wildcats defeated Utah by a score of 78-69.

. Letcher County schools are better off than four nearby districts in terms of the number of students per teacher, according to figures compiled by James

Slone, director of student services for the county school system. Elementary classes in the county system are limited to “two below cap size” and high school classes are “six below cap size.” State law sets the “cap size” which is 24 for primary classes, 28 for fourth grade, 29 for fifth and sixth grades, and 31 for seventh through 12th grade.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 Country music superstar Loretta Lynn, the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” from Van Lear, sang to an appreciative audience at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville. The concert was also a homecoming for up-and-coming stars Halfway to Hazard, a duo comprised of mountain natives David Tolliver and Chad Warrix.

. Letcher Fiscal Court has passed an nuisance ordinance. The unanimous approval of the second and final reading of the ordinance means officials can go to work to clear the county of blighted and deteriorated property, junk automobiles, and overgrown property.

. The Jenkins Police Department will soon begin handing out coupons for prizes from Jenkins businesses to drivers who are obeying the law. Police will reward drivers for wearing seatbelts and for having children properly restrained in car seats and boosters. Drivers could also be rewarded for coming to a full stop at stop signs, traveling at the speed limit while other drivers are driving faster, and obeying other traffic rules.

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