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The Way We Were




RFK GUNNED DOWN 50 YEARS AGO — Less than four months after his historic visit to Letcher County and elsewhere in Appalachia, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan while campaigning in Los Angeles. In this June 5, 1968 photo, Sen. Kennedy lies on the floor at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles waiting for the arrival of medical aid moments after he was shot. Assisting Kennedy was hotel busboy Juan Romero, whose hand Kennedy was shaking when the shots were fired. Kennedy died the next day. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times)

RFK GUNNED DOWN 50 YEARS AGO — Less than four months after his historic visit to Letcher County and elsewhere in Appalachia, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan while campaigning in Los Angeles. In this June 5, 1968 photo, Sen. Kennedy lies on the floor at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles waiting for the arrival of medical aid moments after he was shot. Assisting Kennedy was hotel busboy Juan Romero, whose hand Kennedy was shaking when the shots were fired. Kennedy died the next day. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, June 14, 1928

A daredevil flying his airplane from Cincinnati, Ohio to Hendersonville, North Carolina was forced to crash-land Sunday near Mayking after “losing his bearings.” Pilot Graham Curry, of Henderson, had been using a railroad track below as a guide for the first leg of his flight from Cincinnati to Knoxville, Tennessee. All was well until Curry arrived over Winchester, where the railroad forks to McRoberts or to Knoxville. Curry mistakenly chose the McRoberts route, only to realize it after the track ended. With only 30 minutes of daylight remaining and Curry becoming more confused by the many mine branch tracks leading off the main track, he decided to look for a place to land and chose a large field near Mayking. “After a long glide that brought his plane within 10 feet of the ground, (Curry) saw the immediate danger of a crash with the short landing field,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “He tried to right his plane, and in doing so his right wing struck an apple tree, turning his plane over and causing an upsidedown landing, completely wrecking his plane.” Curry escaped the crash with only a small cut on his right leg, but remains in town preparing his wrecked plane for shipment back to Cincinnati. Since the accident, Curry, known as the “Young Flier,” has appeared in person twice at the Karlton Theater in Whitesburg, where he made interesting talks on his flight and the fundamentals of aviation. Hundreds of Letcher County residents have traveled to Mayking to view the plane.

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Thieves made off with $360 in cash and

140 in checks after breaking into the Kyva Motor Company building at Millstone early Sunday morning and blowing open a safe. Letcher County Sheriff Morgan T. Reynolds said the burglary seems to have been carried out by a professional who entered through a rear window. Nitroglycerin was used to blow the safe open, Reynolds said.

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Consolidation Coal Company’s Kentucky operations appear to be excluded for now from the company’s decision to close 10 mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and lay off 2,500 miners.

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A nurse at Eastern State Hospital arrived in Letcher County this week to take custody of a Blackey woman “judged to be a lunatic.”

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Lee Moore, the 13-year-old son of Whitesburg attorney Harry L. Moore, was shot accidentally in the family home in Whitesburg on Wednesday. Young Moore was shot in the thigh after handing his mother what he thought was an empty revolver and asking her to show him how it works.

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The erection of a new boys’ dormitory at the Carcassonne Community Center at Gander and the employment of Professor H.H. Hadley as superintendent marks an important chapter in the life of the school in rural Letcher County. Beginning five years ago as a small one-room school, the facility has grown rapidly and now employs four instructors in addition to Hadley and the school’s director/music teacher, Virginia D. Bryson. Hadley comes to Letcher County from Greely College in Greely, Colorado. The rate for attending school at Carcassonne, which also offers credits of four years for high school, is $7.50 per month.

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The Letcher Circuit Court has ordered the contents of the Blackey News Company to be sold at auction to satisfy a $500 debt owed to the Blackey State Bank. Among the items ordered sold are four ice cream tables, a popcorn machine, on soda fountain, one malted milk machine, 16 wire chairs, two chewing gum cases, and one floor bookrack.

Thursday, June 9, 1938

Works Progress Administration Administrator Harry L. Hopkins has sent a notice to all WPA workers in Letcher County and elsewhere reminding them they “have the right to vote in any election for any candidate” they choose. “No one will lose his WPA job because of his vote in any election or his failure to contribute to any campaign fund,” Hopkins says. “… Your personal opinions and your politics are nobody’s business but your own.”

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Work has started on the filling station on the Frazier lot at the corner of Main Street and Jail Street, across from the Letcher County Courthouse. The station is being built by the Ashland Refining Company and will be a modern filling station in every respect. It has not been announced who will be in charge of the station at this time.

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Kentucky Governor Albert B. “Happy” Chandler filed notification and declaration papers Monday as candidate for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator.

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“The latest reports on television progress indicate that it’s still a long way around the corner as far as you listeners are concerned,” writes Tom Fiedale, whose syndicated column “Listen To This” covers radio programming by CBS and NBC.

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“The mining industry, for which we almost solely depend for existence, seems to be on the up trend just a little at this writing. Some of our miners have been getting work with the WPA, but they all prefer their old positions — back into the mines where they have always been at home.” — An item from the Sergent news column.

Thursday, June 10, 1948

Miles M. Holbrook of Letcher County was shot and killed Saturday as he tried to separate family members involved in a quarrel. Six people will face hearings in connection with the case.

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Two men have been charged with murdering George West, whose body was found near the place where he worked at Premium. Being held in the Letcher County Jail on murder charges are Townsel Collins and Hassel Brock, both of Premium.

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A shooting war between the United States and Russia is at least five years away, Dr. John W. Taylor, president of the University of Louisville, told the graduating class of Millersburg Military Academy in an address on June 1.

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The pace of attendance for the 16 teams in Major League Baseball is ahead of last year’s record of 19,874,539 spectators.

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The Kentucky State Highway Patrol reports that three men have been charged in the beating of 50-year-old W.D. Cohelia, mine superintendent of Harlan-Wallins Coal Corporation’s Verda mine in Harlan County. The three men, including the president of a United Mine Workers local union, are believed to by among a group of 12 to 15 men who pulled Cohelia from his car and hit him in the mouth and on the side of his head. Police say Cohelia’s wife started shooting at the men when she saw what was happening. Although some in the group returned fire, no one was wounded in the exchange. The incident occurred at Highsplint after some 425 miners of the Verda mine left their jobs to protest the hiring of Cohelia as superintendent.

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A new service station opened this week at the new building recently erected by George Tolliver and located opposite the Haymond General Store. The new filling station, considered one of the best in this section, will handle Standard Oil products and Atlas tires.

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Southern Bell Telephone Company expects to add between 300 and 400 telephones in the Whitesburg area before the end of 1948.

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Hobart Tucker has announced the opening of his new Tucker’s Restaurant in his new building in Jenkins. Tucker says an adjoining section will soon house a modern hardware store.

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The new 1949 Ford automobiles will arrive at McKinney Motor Company in Neon on June 19.

Thursday, June 12, 1958

South-East Coal Company has given the Millstone School building to the Letcher County Board of Education.

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Funeral services for Airman Anthony C. Day, 22, will be held in Whitesburg Saturday in the chapel of Craft Funeral Home. Young Day drowned May 21 when he and another airman fell overboard from a rented motorboat on Lake Memphremagog, a large glacial lake that lies in Vermont in the United States and Quebec in Canada. Day had been stationed at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts.

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Whitesburg High School basketball star Marrell “Marty” Blair has signed a scholarship offer with Morehead State College.

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Funeral services were held Sunday for former Millstone man killed in a construction accident in Dayton, Ohio. Phil Douglas Hoskins, 22, was killed June 5 when he was buried by gravel while working on a construction site.

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John “Coopie” Collins has been named acting postmaster at the McRoberts Post Office.

Thursday, June 6, 1968

Senator Robert F. Kennedy, a symbol of hope for many Kentucky mountain residents, died early today in Los Angeles, the victim of an assassin’s bullet. Kennedy visited Whitesburg, Letcher County and neighboring counties for a firsthand look at the Appalachian area in February. He was shot in the Ambassador Hotel at Los Angeles where he was celebrating his victory in the California presidential primary election with a large crowd.

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The trial of Hobart Ison for the murder of Canadian film producer Hugh O’Conner ended last week in a deadlocked jury in the Harlan County Circuit Court. The case was ruled a mistrial and Judge Edward G. Hall indicated he will set a date for a second trial on Sept. 5. Witnesses testified that O’Conner and his four-man crew were taking pictures of property owned by Ison near Jeremiah Sept. 20 when Ison arrived, told them to leave and then started shooting. O’Conner was shot dead as he tried to get his equipment and crew ready to leave.

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A hole was blown in a truck and buildings in downtown Whitesburg were shaken Saturday night when someone apparently threw dynamite into the back of a pickup truck owned by Night City Policeman Raymond Frazier. The explosion also broke three windows on the second floor of the Family Drug building.

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The VFW is off to a flying start in the 1968 Little League season. Eddie Garrett started the year with a no-hit shutout against Coke and won again in relief against Glo-Coal. Eddie Morgan also has a 2-0 record with victories over Coke and R.C. Tommy Pace and Craig Campbell have paced the VFW hitting attack.

Thursday, June 1, 1978

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has declined to accredit two privately-operated schools in Letcher County — Calvary Christian Academy Elementary and High School, and Mayking Christian Elementary School. The two Letcher County schools are among 19 Christian schools involved in a lawsuit challenging the board’s right to approve private schools.

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Federal aviation authorities are conducting an investigation at Lonesome Pine Airport, Wise, Va., into the cause of the loss of a propeller from a Navy aircraft flying over Letcher County. The pilots were able to land the aircraft safely at Wise. The Neon Fire Department recovered the propeller near the home of Dan Quillen. No one was injured by the falling propeller.

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“Election Day has come and gone in Letcher County and about the quietest election Letcher County, or anyway, Millstone, has ever seen,” writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser. “Of the over four hundred registered voters, only thirty were out and voted.”

Wednesday, June 8, 1988

Jenkins City Councilman Wayne Fleming wants the city to buy out Kentucky Power Company’s equipment in Jenkins and sell electricity to city residents. Fleming told the rest of the council that he is fed up with the power company. “I just wanted to see if it’s feasible for the City of Jenkins to take over the power company,” Fleming said.

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Whitesburg attorney and author Harry M. Caudill writes of the hard lives of early immigrants, including one of his ancestors who came to America in 1635. He says, “William Cawdle (Caudill) was an indentured servant. This means he lacked the money to pay his ship fare and signed a contract or ‘indenture’ that bound him to labor for a period of time as the ‘bond servant’ of any person who, on his arrival in America, would pay his passage money. The sum was generally about five pounds sterling in British money, worth four or five years of labor.”

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Letcher County fire departments will begin picking up junked cars this week in an effort to clean up the county and raise money at the same time. Proceeds from the collection will go the fire department in the district where the cars are picked up.

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Joe and Irene Reynolds will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception hosted by their children on June 12. In 1957, Mr. Reynolds opened the Reynolds Furniture Co. store in Whitesburg and Mrs. Reynolds has worked with him in the store since then.

Wednesday, June 3, 1998

An emotional group of about 100 parents and children begged members of the Letcher County Board of Education to keep Campbell’s Branch Elementary School open. The board was holding a special meeting at the school on Leatherwood Creek to hear opinions on the future of the school, which has 79 pupils in grades one through six.

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Four Letcher County eighth-graders have been named to the Robinson Scholars program by the University of Kentucky. The students are Jonathan Michael Banks of Thornton, Charles Ramey of Burdine, and Justine Matthew Holbrook and Ginger Nicole Taylor, both of Ermine. The scholarship, funded by earnings from mining and logging operations in Robinson Forest, can be used for expenses at the University of Kentucky or any of Kentucky’s community college after graduation from high school.

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Jenkins High School student Ryan Potter took first place in the 100-meter dash at the Class A track meet in Lexington. Potter also finished fifth in the 200-meter dash.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Kingscreek logger and his son were convicted of criminal mischief this week in connection with the theft of 10 trees from property belonging to the heirs of the late James and Lillian Day. George “Roy” Logan, 49, was ordered to spend 10 days in the county jail and to pay a $500 fine. Joshua R. Logan, 22, did not receive a jail sentence but was fined $250.

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Citizens of Jenkins will see a raise in both water rates and sanitation fees in the coming fiscal year, but the increase in sanitation fees will only be half the initial raise proposed by the city’s utilities commission. The council split its vote on both increases and several members expressed misgivings about increasing rates on two city services that are vital to the health and safety of citizens.

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Looking at old issues of magazines and newspapers on microfilm should be easier with a new microfilm machine the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library recently purchased. The new Microfilm ScanPro 400i prints from negative and positive film. In addition to microfilm it also reads fiche. Lena Tidal, director of the Letcher County Public Libraries, said the $4,000 machine was bought with a private donation.

Anna Wright of Roxana, was the winner of the Mountain Heritage Festival Golden Girl pageant. The pageant was held to benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.


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