Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were



Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, July 12, 1928 One man was killed and at least three other men were critically injured Sunday in Jenkins after a car plunged down Pine Mountain, near the Kentucky-Virginia state line. About 3 a.m. Sunday, many Jenkins residents were awakened to the constant sounds of a motor horn. Upon investigation, it was learned that a car had gone over the mountain at a sharp curve, throwing all five passengers — all from Kona — out of the vehicle. Killed instantly was Ermin Eckles. Only one passenger, the slightly injured Henry Potter Jr., was expected to survive.

. Jeweler E.C. Bentley has purchased the repair shop owned by Wesley Wright in Neon and is operating it himself.

. The Texaco Oil Company is opening a new station at the foot of the Pine Mountain Road near Whitesburg. D.W. Little will have charge of the Texaco station. Little was formerly with Standard Oil, but resigned a few days ago to take this job instead.

. A three-foot rattlesnake with eight rattlers on its tail was killed near High Rock by a group of campers from Whitesburg.

. A dispute over whether an automobile would be allowed to travel on the fresh concrete of a Harlan County road led to the death of Harlan County Sheriff Floyd Ball and Deputy Sheriff John Hensley. The two were shot by three or four men who had attempted to break through a barrier and travel on the newly laid concrete.

. Authorities are trying to identify a man who was killed in an automobile wreck in Seco Wednesday morning. The unidentifi ed man was the driver of a car owned by M.C. Edwards of Hazard, who is in the Seco hospital fighting for his life. Police say Edwards told them he had agreed to give the man a ride from Harlan to Letcher County, but did not know who he was. Edwards told police he let the unknown man take over the wheel of his car at Jenkins and that things were going fine until they hit a patch of heavy fog at Seco. There, the automobile ran off the off the concrete road and into a large hole.

Thursday, July 7, 1938 Dawahare’s Department Store in Whitesburg was the scene of a shooting on Saturday, July 2 that has resulted in murder charges being filed against the assailant. Lola E. Adams, 33, was shot twice in the store by Mrs. Leland Jones. Mrs. Adams, the wife of Virgil Adams and mother of a young daughter, died at 11 p.m. on July 2 at the Seco hospital.

. Finishing touches are being applied to the new Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church building in Whitesburg, with dedication ceremonies scheduled for July 24. Construction of the church began 10 years ago, but was slowed during the years of the Great Depression, after which sections were completed as money allowed. Membership has risen from 15 when the construction started to about 200 members now.

. Jiles W. Pendleton, 31-year-old motorman at Sandlick Coal Company, was accidentally electrocuted on the job on Saturday morning, July 2. The accident occurred after Pendleton walked about 50 feet inside to get his motor so he could bring it outside to the sand pit for sand. After he had been gone for some time, his brakeman walked in to see what was going on and found his body sitting in the motor.

. The new Whitesburg Recreation Center located behind the Whitesburg Grade School. The building was made possible by the federal Works Progress Administration and the Kentucky Board of Education.

. Rural schools in Letcher County will open July 25. All other schools will open September 5, the Letcher County Board of Education has announced.

. Bing Crosby and Mary Carlisle star in “Doctor Rhythm,” showing next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, July 8, 1948 The City of Neon will soon be getting a “new” movie theater. The Virginia Amusement Company of Hazard is preparing to start constructing on remodeling its existing theater next door to Collier Furniture Company on property owned by Dr. D.V. Bentley.

. The new Jenkins Swimming Pool had its official opening on July 4.

. Voters in Perry County voted overwhelmingly Saturday to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages. Many of the citizens who voted to re-establish alcohol sales said that conditions under dry laws had not improved, as bootleggers began operating in numerous places.

. Carl D. Perkins of Hindman is a candidate for the Democrat Party nomination for the office of U.S. Congressman in the 7th Congressional District. A Knott County attorney, Perkins is a World War II veteran who saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, Northern France, the Battle of Central Europe, and the Battle of the Rhine.

. The Joe Lewis vs. Jersey Joe Walcott heavyweight boxing championship fight will be shown Sunday and Monday at the

Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Truck mine operators R.R. Crawford and N.J. Lucas have purchased 8,800 acres of coal properties on Breedings Creek near the Letcher-Knott county line. Coal mined in the area will be shipped from the Rockhouse Branch of the L&N Railroad. The coal lands were purchased from the Kentucky River Coal Corporation and individuals.

. In a letter to the editor of The Mountain Eagle, Letcher County resident Charles Kincer asks his fellow citizens to think about what will happen to the county’s economy when coal is gone. Writes Kincer, “When your beautiful fields have been gutted, when all of that valuable coal has been removed, when you have at last been bled white, when your momentous boom is completed, then Letcher County, what are you going to do? Yes, you will be as you were in your early days — desolate, unproductive, and forgotten.” Kincer also cautions residents to pay attention to who is getting rich from Letcher County’s coal: “Many are becoming wealthy, mostly those who do not plan to remain within your bounds. Who is gaining control of your wealth? It certainly is not so much the true inhabitants of Letcher County, but instead those people who are transient — people who are here and whose chief interest lies back in another place.”

. The Elkhorn and Jellico Coal Company’s Marlowe mining operation consists of five separate mines — none of them

interconnected — and employs 140 men who produce an average of 1,000 tons of coal per day. That information was released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Mines, which has recommended that a number of safety improvements be made at the mines. Inspector Leslie Allen has called on the company to outlaw smoking inside the mines and using more rock dust and water to control coal dust during cutting. Allen also called on the company to make sure its miners are following its timbering rules.

. Government attorneys are taking long look at the new draft law to see whether it gives President Truman the power to seize steel company-owned coal mines if next Tuesday’s threatened strike occurs. The steel firms squared away this week for what looks like a major tussle with UMWA President John L. Lewis over his union shop contract with the rest of the soft coal industry. The steel firms have asked the National Labor Relations Board to seek an injunction against the union shop provision. The new draft law says Mr. Truman may take over “any plant, mine or other facility” and operate it for the production of government-ordered materials vital to the nation’s defense. The steel company mines produce one-tenth of the nation’s bituminous coal, but all of that output goes to fuel the nation’s steel mills.

Thursday, July 10, 1958 The Letcher Fiscal Court and the Letcher County Budget Commission locked in a struggle this week that may keep the

county government in financial hot water for some months to come. Two members of the budget committee — County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg and Whitesburg attorney Stephen Combs Jr., who represents the citizens of the county on the commission — refused to sign the budget if it contained in it provisions to pay the eight magistrates salaries of $200 a month each. The magistrates, who make up the fiscal court, said they would not approve any budget that did not contain provisions for the salaries they voted themselves several months ago.

. Letcher County’s number one need can be summed up in one word — “roads” — in the opinion of Wilson Wyatt, a former Louisville mayor who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor. “When the roads were being passed out, eastern Kentucky was forgotten,” Wyatt told a crowd gathered in the Letcher Circuit Courtroom.

. Kern Whitaker of Blackey announced this week that he will be a candidate for the Letcher County Board of Education from Division Five. He said that if he is elected he will vote against keeping W.B. Hall as the county’s school superintendent.

. The Letcher County Board of Education voted this week to pay Stuart Robinson- Highland School $18,000 in rent for use of buildings on the school campus during the coming school term. The school had

originally asked for $28,000 in rent for the year, but agreed to reduce it. Board Chairman Daniel V. Johnson said he reluctantly agreed to the $18,000 rental fee, but criticized the Stuart Robinson owners for using “underhanded methods” to “extort money from what little we have to operate our schools.”

. The Jenkins Independent Board of Education has approved an operating budget of $277,155 for the next school year. The amount is $14,130 less than last year’s working budget.

Thursday, July 4, 1968 A new annexation ordinance is expected to be ready for action by the Whitesburg City Council at its meeting next month, according to Whitesburg Mayor Arthur Banks. Banks told the city council that City Attorney Leroy Fields is working on the ordinance and hopes to have it ready for council action at the next meeting.

. The Jaycees’ Fourth of July celebration will begin at 10 a.m., Friday, in downtown Whitesburg. Rides will be provided for youngsters and various games and booths will be provided for adults. A square dance is scheduled for Friday night and will be held in the street. A sock hop will be held in the gymnasium for teenagers.

. 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.

. Skinless franks are 55 cents for pound package this week at the Whitesburg A&P. Ocean perch is $1.39 for a five-pound package.

Thursday, June 29, 1978 A three-judge panel heard arguments by attorneys for the widows of the 15 men killed in the first Scotia Mine explosion in 1976 and coal company lawyers in the U.S. Court of Appeals on whether Blue Diamond Coal Co. should be considered a separate corporation from Scotia Coal Co. The widows have brought a $60 million suit against Blue Diamond. The court will decide if the case should be dismissed or returned to the U.S. District Court in eastern Kentucky for jury trial. The widows’ suit, which charges Blue Diamond with negligence in connection with the first Scotia explosion, was dismissed by eastern Kentucky Federal Judge H. David Hermansdorf.

. Two persons drowned at Carr Creek Lake within the past week, according to Kentucky State Police. Police and rescue squads are dragging the lake near Frazier’s Boat Dock as they search for the body of an unidentifi ed adult male thought to have

been drowned Tuesday evening. Lester Combs, two-year-old son of Juanita and Hacker Combs, drowned in the lake Friday.

. The Tennessee Valley Authority may set a new agency coal price record if Chairman S. David Freeman approves a set of contracts for 65 million tons of coal worth $2.6 billion. The proposed coal purchases will go to Island Creek Coal Sales Co. and Pittston Coal Sales Co.

. The Neon Volunteer Fire Department has a July 4 celebration planned. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with the Pet and Kiddie Parade. In addition to booths, contest for all ages will be held throughout the day.

Wednesday, July 6, 1988 Fred Lewis, an official of a health care corporation from Leslie County, has confirmed that his company is negotiating to build a nursing home in Whitesburg. The Kentucky Commission for Health Care Economics originally granted a permit for the nursing home to American Health Care Corp. of Nashville, Tenn. The company decided not to build the nursing home after all, and offered to sell the permit. Several people have apparently considered building the facility, with Lewis’s company the latest.

. “It appears that our ancestors on these shores were surprising indifferent to religion until a strong religious revival set them to building church houses and joining their congregations,” writes Whitesburg author and attorney Harry M. Caudill. “Camp meeting revivals were conducted, the practice spreading to the remotest headwaters of obscure rivers. For example a revivalist preacher named Partridge eventually reached a small but eager congregation on the Poor Fork of the Cumberland not that far from the Virginia border. His ‘power’ was so great that the community took his name and when a post office was authorized it was called Partridge.”

. U.S. 23 at Jenkins was the site of another accident this week, when a truck lost its brakes on the steep grade. The truck was apparently traveling 45 to 50 miles per hour down Jenkins Mountain when the brakes when out. The driver tried to turn left onto U.S. 119, but an oncoming car prevented him from making the turn.

. Whitesburg High School students Patrick Bentley and Travis Day attended a summer baseball camp at Morehead State University that was directed by Steve Hamilton, the MSU head baseball coach who played professional baseball for 16 years.

Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Two million dollars to provide sewer service to 500 homes in

Letcher County is included in the annual spending bill that provides funds for the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The money is intended to extend sewer service to areas of Kona, Cromona and Potters Fork.

. A four-day marijuana eradication effort in Letcher County resulted in the destruction of about 5,000 pot plants, police say. Captain Danny Webb, commander of the Kentucky State Police post in Hazard, said the marijuana was found growing between June 22 and June 25 by the state’s Special Operations Marijuana Strike Fork. Webb said the plants were spotted during helicopter flights over the Linefork area of Letcher County, including the communities of Turkey Creek, Big Branch, Defeated Creek and Lynn Branch.

. Marine Lance Cpl. Brian S. Damron, 21, recently took part in a mock naval assault staged off the coast of southern California. A member of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he is the son of Roy and Denise Damron of Jenkins.

. Coal mining accounted for only 15 percent of jobs in the Kentucky River Area Development District in May, behind construction at 22 percent and trade at 21 percent. Manufacturing jobs were 14 percent of the district’s total employment of 38,944.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 The Letcher Fiscal Court voted last week to spend up to $6 million to turn the old A&P grocery building in Whitesburg into a new recreation center that will be operated by the county government. Among suggestions for the center brought up in the meeting were a walking track, an indoor swimming pool, a stage and gathering area for an “open-mic” entertainment salon, multi-purpose rooms, and putt-putt golf.

. Independence Day fireworks celebrations will take place at several places in Letcher County, one of which will include a free concert by country music star Gene Watson. A live American bald eagle will be on display at the Whitesburg show at Parkway Plaza.

. Food World owner Larry Whitaker is retiring after opening the store every morning at 7 a.m. for nearly 25 years. “It will sure give me time to do things differently,” Whitaker said of his retirement. “Life is so uncertain that if you have things you want to do, you better go and do them.”

. Army Pvt. Gary J. Caudill has completed basic combat training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla. He is the son of Joyce Caudill of Whitesburg, and is a 2007 graduate of Jenkins High School.



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