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The Way We Were




Elvis Presley begins his biggest comeback 1968 was a big year for Elvis Presley. On June 27, 1968, Elvis took the stage to record the “jam session” portion of what would become known as his “1968 Comeback Special,” which would be televised later in the year on NBC-TV and credited with rejuvenating the megastar’s flagging career. The “jam session” took place just after Elvis returned from a Hawaii vacation with his wife Priscilla and their recently born daughter, Lisa Marie (pictured above). The session is still considered at as the greatest performance in Presley’s life, even though he first had to overcome a bout of stage fright. (AP Photo)

Elvis Presley begins his biggest comeback 1968 was a big year for Elvis Presley. On June 27, 1968, Elvis took the stage to record the “jam session” portion of what would become known as his “1968 Comeback Special,” which would be televised later in the year on NBC-TV and credited with rejuvenating the megastar’s flagging career. The “jam session” took place just after Elvis returned from a Hawaii vacation with his wife Priscilla and their recently born daughter, Lisa Marie (pictured above). The session is still considered at as the greatest performance in Presley’s life, even though he first had to overcome a bout of stage fright. (AP Photo)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, July 5, 1928 Emery “M” Adams, 26, died Sunday morning at the Seco Hospital of burns he received in a car wreck Saturday night at Whitesburg. The wreck occurred when Adams was attempting to turn his car at the end of the concrete road above the W.I. Vermillion place. Adams instead backed the car all the way down the steep bank, where it flipped over. Onlookers said the car immediately caught fire upon landing, and that Adams was trapped inside after being thrown from the front seat into the back seat. Adams apparently had just returned to Whitesburg from Lexington, where he had taken some passengers in the car, which he uses as a taxi. He was pulled from the burning wreckage by Ed Holcomb and Henry Deal after Holcomb used his fist to break out the car’s rear window. Adams was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Adams of Cowan. He was buried Monday morning in his family’s cemetery at Smoot Creek.

. Letcher County residents are being cautioned about typhoid fever and other diseases after floodwaters found their way into water wells, sewage disposal systems, and privies.

. The valuable L.M. Wright property at Hemphill, known as the Rev. Elijah Baker Tract, will be sold into house lots at an auction Saturday. Hemphill is located only about 1-1/2 miles from the Pike County line. A state highway is now being built up Long Fork and will join Shelby Creek, located only four miles away. Plans are to connect the roads through the Wright property, which would increase the value of the property.

. Dr. B.F. Wright has returned home to Seco after attending the Democratic National Convention in Houston.

. Eight O’Clock coffee is on sale at the A&P Food Store in Whitesburg at three pounds for one dollar.

. Mrs. French Hawk has returned to Whitesburg from Hyden, where she attended the dedication of the new Frontier Nursing Service Hospital, organized by Mary Breckinridge. Sir William Leslie Mackenzie, M.D., and Lady Mackenzie of Scotland were present were present as the guests of honor. Sir William Leslie originated the idea for this type of frontier nursing program in Scotland.

Thursday, June 30, 1938 Jenkins Lake, which has been closed to fishing for the last several years while the lake was being restocked, will reopen to the public for fishing on July 1.

. Two large culverts will be installed on Main Street in Neon in hopes of keeping a small lake from forming there nearly every time it rains hard. In addition, the state highway department will fill the street with rock and gravel to make it level with the sidewalks. There have been occasions when the water has been halfway up on the windows of some of the buildings on Main Street.

. Squirrel hunting season will open July 1 under the new state law. The limit on squirrels is six.

. A crew of 40 men is working in two shifts rushing the construction of the Madison Street Bridge in Whitesburg. The bridge is being built with the help of the federal WPA program, which is furnishing the labor.

. Pascal Fields, manager of the Good Will Service Station in the east end of Whitesburg, was taken to Jenkins Hospital on Monday for an appendicitis operation.

. New York Yankees baseball star Lou Gehrig stars in the movie western “Rawhide,” showing July 8-9 at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg. The movie, filmed earlier this year during baseball’s offseason, stars Gehrig as a baseball star who is retiring from the sport to become a western cattle rancher.

Thursday, July 1, 1948 The execution of Jasper Nease, the Letcher County native convicted of armed robbery in the hitchhike slaying of Vernon L. Hodge of Louisville, was set today for July 20. Nease, of McRoberts, was one of three soldiers who broke out of the guardhouse at Fort Knox last year and were convicted of robbing Hodge, who gave them a ride to Louisville. Nease’s sentence was upheld April 23, and today Kentucky’s high court refused to reconsider its ruling. It issued a mandate for the execution of Nease in the electric chair at the state penitentiary in Eddyville.

. All employees of Champion Stores’ Kentucky division, many of them from Jenkins and McRoberts, met at High Knob in Virginia last week for their annual picnic. About 250 people attended the event, including Champion Stores officials from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

. The UMWA’s John L. Lewis and most of the nation’s soft coal operators signed a new coal contract doubling the money for the miners’ welfare-pension fund and giving working miners a $1 per day raise. The agreement is expected to increase the cost of a ton of coal by 40 cents. Miners aged 62 who retired after May 28, 1946 with 20 years of service will be paid pensions of $100 per month.

. The remains of Army Private Kirby

Dixon, son of the late Rich Dixon and Mary Dixon of Blackey, were returned to Letcher County for reburial on June 23, 1948. Pvt. Dixon was killed July 11, 1943 while in battle in France during World War II. He was 22 years old. Burial was in the family cemetery at Blackey.

. Funeral services for Private First Class Hugh Hart, a Silver Star recipient who joined the Army on January 2, 1942 at age 16 and was killed in action in the North African Campaign on March 31, 1943, were held recently at the home of his mother, Mrs. Millie Hart of Sandlick. PFC Hart’s remains were returned to Letcher County on June 19. PFC Hart was awarded the Silver Star posthumously in August 1943 for the gallantry he showed when his battalion was under intense fire by the enemy, yet he remained at his guns firing back with accuracy until he was mortally wounded by an exploding shell.

. The remains of Private William J. Caudill arrived home at Ulvah on June 22, more than years after he was killed in action at Manila, Philippine Islands in February 1945 after two years of service. He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Caudill of Ulvah.

. On Monday evening of this week, Dr. R. Dow Collins and Miss Grace Wells were married during a quiet ceremony in the home of the groom. Both groom and bride are key employees with the Letcher County Health Department. The wedding ceremony was performed by Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon in the presence of only a few close friends. The couple are enjoying a short vacation in their home here.

. New York Governor Thomas Dewey became the first defeated Republican presidential candidate ever to win renomination when he became the unanimous choice at the GOP’s 24th National Convention, held this time in Philadelphia. Dewey’s running mate is California Governor Earl Warren. The duo will try to end 16 years of Democratic control of the White House in November.

Thursday, July 3, 1958 The purchase of modern voting machines by the Letcher Fiscal Court is forcing a consolidation of voting precincts all across the county. For instance, the precincts of Beefhide, Burdine, Rocky Branch and East Jenkins will vote in the Rocky Branch precinct; Kona, Laviers and Millstone will vote at the mouth of Millstone Creek, and West Whitesburg and Sandlick will vote at West Whitesburg.

. Traffic problems and teenage drivers occupied the attention of the Whitesburg City Council at its meeting Tuesday night. Mayor Arthur Banks agreed with the city council that too much speeding is taking place inside the city limits with teenage boys being “the offenders in 80 or 90 percent of the cases.” In addition to calling for the speeding teens to be ticketed and ordered to pay fines, the councilmen called on city police to crack down on drivers who have been turning their cars around in the post office driveway and those who have been parking on the yellow line in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel.

. The growing tendency of Letcher County residents to dump their garbage in any convenient place is costing residents of the county considerable money each year. The issue came up during a lengthy meeting of the Letcher County Beautifi cation, Sanitation and Improvement Committee, which is being activated after a year of idleness. Hassell Stamper, the county road foreman for the state highway department, said garbage is stopping up culverts in the county and costing a huge amount of tax money to clean them out. “I know of nobody who tries harder to choke a river to death than the people at Neon,” added Cecil Hensley, Letcher County’s soil conservationist. Hensley said that after the 1957 flood, one Neon merchant disposed of all of his stock by dumping it in the stream that flows through downtown. The county has no garbage dump and no uniform system for collecting garbage and hauling it away.

. Letcher County Health Officer Dr. R. Dow Collins is now “Colonel” Dr. Collins. Collins, a staunch Republican, received his appointment as a Kentucky Colonel from Democratic Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler.

. James Dean and Natalie Wood star “Rebel Without A Cause,” showing at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg on July 8 and 9.

Thursday, June 27, 1968 Pleas of parents, students and county officials failed to persuade the State Board of Education to change its mind about Kingdom Come High School. The board reaffirmed a ruling refusing accreditation to the school. The action means that the state will not permit state funds to be spent at the high school and in effect requires the county school board to shut down the school, which has less that 100 students.

. First Lieutenant LeRoy Stallard, son of Mrs. Dona Adams, of Whitesburg, is on duty at Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam. Lt. Stallard, an F-4C Phantom pilot, is a member of the Pacific Air Forces. He is a 1959 graduate of Whitesburg High School, and earned his B.S. degree from Cumberland College. He received his commission in 1966 upon completion of Officers Training School.

. Gov. Louie B. Nunn has appointed Whitesburg Attorney Stephen Combs Jr. as Letcher Circuit Judge to replace the late

J.L. Hays. Combs, a Republican, has practiced law longer than any other attorney now active here. He will serve until the November election.

. A moonshine still is on display on the rst floor of the Letcher County Courthouse. It was captured this week by the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Office, but its owner was not found. The still was located on Tolson Creek, and officers had it under observation for several days before they brought it in.

Thursday, June 22, 1978 Development of oil and gas reserves in Letcher County is on the increase with the recent acquisition of right to approximately 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas by two major firms. Ray Resources, subsidiary of Canadian-owned Flying Diamond Oil Corp., is operating in partnership with Kentucky River Coal Corp. to develop around 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas in the Linefork and Ulvah areas.

. State Rep. Hoover Dawahare, DWhitesburg, is reported to be considering a try for the governor’s seat in next year’s election. Dawahare supports a return of more coal severance tax to coal counties and reportedly said if he ran, he would call for a 20 to 30 percent cut in state income taxes or the removal of sales tax from home utilities.

. Now serving at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., with a Military Airlift Command unit is Master Sergeant Kelsey R. Adams, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey G. Adams of Jenkins. Sgt. Adams, a pararescue/recovery technician, is a 1962 graduate of Jenkins High School.

. “Mr. and Mrs. Nelvin Killen celebrated their 77th wedding anniversary June 17,” writes Cowan correspondent Elsie Banks. “He is 98 years old and she is 95.”

Wednesday, June 29, 1988 All but one of the incumbent county officeholders say they plan to run again in 1989 — but not all would say for what office. Judge/Executive Ruben Watts and four of the five magistrates said they will run again in the May primary election. Magistrate Bill Bates, a first-term magistrate from Blackey, said he is not planning to seek re-election.

. Cocaine charges were filed against five people. A Florida woman was arrested after a sheriff ’s deputy discovered more than 16 grams of cocaine in the rented mini-van she was driving. Another Florida resident, two Letcher County residents and a man from Kansas were arrested after a raid at a house at UZ.

. Jack Hall has been hired as the new football coach at Fleming-Neon. Hall first came to Fleming-Neon as an assistant to Dave Hurst in 1956 and now returns.

. State crews have begun picking up junk cars in an effort to clean up Letcher County and raise money for the county’s volunteer fire departments. Tommy Day said the county has already collected more than 300 signed releases to dispose of the cars and he expects at least that many more before the drive is over.

Wednesday, June 24, 1998 What is believed to be Kentucky’s first

rural door-to-door recycling pick-up service moved a step closer to becoming a reality last week when the Letcher Fiscal Court awarded a bid for construction of a new recycling building at Cowan. County officials believe that collecting recyclables door-to-door will save thousands of dollars a year in landfill dumping fees.

. A 20-year-old man with a drug “shopping list” hidden under his hat was arrested by Whitesburg City Police after he allegedly burglarized at least one house and was caught trying to break into another. Officer Sean Blair said the ransacked house is owned by a physician who is vacationing away from town.

. The Letcher Fiscal Court will not grant Venture Contractors Inc. 20 additional days to complete the renovation of the county courthouse and jail. The decision means Venture will have to pay the county government a $300 penalty for each day after July 2 that the $4.5 million project is not finished.

. Army Pvt. Noah T. Day II has graduated from One Station Unit Training at Fort McClellan, Anniston, Ala. He is a son of Noah T. Day of Whitesburg and Donna L. Day of Columbus, Ind. His wife, Teresa, is a daughter of Billy R. and Karen Sturgill of Neon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 For its 40 years of community leadership, especially on civil rights and reconciliation, The Neshoba Democrat, a weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Miss., is this year’s winner of the Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, established the award to honor the couple who have published The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg for more than 51 years. The Gishes were the first recipients of the award.

. Community volunteers who have been working for more than two years to get a federal prison built in Letcher County came another step closer to their goal last week when U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has awarded a contract to an international engineering firm to perform a site selection study here.

. Letcher County is in the beginning stages of its second drought in as many summers. Brian Schoettmer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, says Letcher County can be categorized as “abnormally dry.” He said the county is an inch below normal for the amount of rain it should receive in June. For 2008 Letcher County has a 4.5-inch deficient.

. Black bear hunting is expected to become a legal sport in much of Letcher County. At a meeting earlier this month, the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission proposed a Kentucky resident-only black bear season in Letcher, Harlan and Pike counties from Dec. 19 through Dec. 20, 2009. If the proposal is approved by the Kentucky General Assembly, modern firearms, muzzleloaders, crossbows and archery equipment would be legal for the season.


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