Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Homer king Babe Ruth dies at 53 Newspapers all across the United States, large and small, carried the news of the death of home run king Babe Ruth, who died from cancer in New York City on August 16, 1948. The Mountain Eagle carried the news on the front page of its August 19, 1948 edition. Above, an ailing Ruth is seen wearing his famed number 3 uniform, bowing as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands of fans who saw the No. 3 retired permanently by the Yankees during the June 13, 1948 observance of the 25th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium in New York. For two days after his death, Ruth’s body lay in state at the main entrance to Yankee Stadium, and tens of thousands of people stood in line to pay their last respects. He was buried in Hawthorne, New York. Ruth retired from baseball in 1935, having hit a then-record 714 home runs. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1946 and died two years later at age 53. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)

Homer king Babe Ruth dies at 53 Newspapers all across the United States, large and small, carried the news of the death of home run king Babe Ruth, who died from cancer in New York City on August 16, 1948. The Mountain Eagle carried the news on the front page of its August 19, 1948 edition. Above, an ailing Ruth is seen wearing his famed number 3 uniform, bowing as he acknowledges the cheers of thousands of fans who saw the No. 3 retired permanently by the Yankees during the June 13, 1948 observance of the 25th anniversary of the opening of Yankee Stadium in New York. For two days after his death, Ruth’s body lay in state at the main entrance to Yankee Stadium, and tens of thousands of people stood in line to pay their last respects. He was buried in Hawthorne, New York. Ruth retired from baseball in 1935, having hit a then-record 714 home runs. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1946 and died two years later at age 53. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 1928 Four members of the Hiram Fields family of McRoberts are dead after a two-car wreck on Dunham Hill, between McRoberts and Jenkins. Two other members of the family were injured, one critically. Witnesses say Hiram Fields was driving toward Jenkins when he entered a curve too fast, causing the vehicle to swerve into the opposite lane and hit the front wheel of an oncoming car being driven by Wash Wright. The Fields car then plunged over Dunham Hill, causing the deaths of Mrs. Hiram Fields, 48; her son Chester Fields and his wife Linda Fields, both 25, and Mrs. Fields’s 14-yearold daughter, Daisy Fields. Hiram Fields is in critical condition at the Jenkins hospital. The sixth passenger in the Fields car, Arlie Birchfield, suffered only minor injuries. “Never before in the history of automobiles in Letcher [County] have the citizens witnessed such a wreck that befell six members of [the] Elder Hiram Fields family last Sunday evening,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

. Five members of a Millstone family escaped serious injury Wednesday night after the vehicle in which they were riding plunged over a 50-foot embankment in Whitesburg. Bert Routley was driving from downtown Whitesburg toward the family’s home when Routley was blinded by heavy fog and ran over the embankment, located between Tunnel Hill and the end of the concrete roadway out of Whitesburg. Also in the vehicle were Routley’s wife, daughter, son and a niece.

. Thomas Curry visited The Mountain Eagle on Tuesday to announce he would continue to manage the New York Bargain Store in Neon, which he owns with his brother. The Curry brothers have opened a second store across the street in Neon and have named it the Boston Bargain Store. Tom Curry’s brother will manage the new store.

. Mountain Eagle editor J.L. Crawford was married Sunday in Mt. Olivet, Ky., to Adline Colyer. She is a daughter of Judge and Mrs. C.E. Colyer of Mt. Olivet and began teaching school last year at Whitesburg High School. The couple will return to Letcher County on August 29 after a honeymoon trip to Mammoth Cave and other points of interest in Kentucky and Tennessee.

. “The hometown newspaper, as an institution, has survived many difficulties — the onslaughts of opposition, the increase in the cost of publication, the peril of unpaid subscriptions, the uncertainty of advertising patronage, the problems of competition, and the hazards of its own mistakes,” a Mountain Eagle editorial says on the eve of the paper’s 21st birthday. “Through all of this the home newspaper still lives.”

. The Letcher County Health Department is completing its first year of operation. The department opened in 1927 under the direction of Dr. R.E. May, who comes to Letcher County from Mt. Sterling. Writing that Dr. May, “could be compared to an angel of mercy,” a Mountain Eagle editorial says the health department’s “works will be felt through even generations to come.”

. The L&N Railroad announces that effective August 26, Train 2 will start leaving daily to Lexington from Whitesburg at 3 p.m. instead of 3:15 p.m., and that Train 15 will leave for Lexington at 4:40 p.m. every day except Sunday instead of 4:55 p.m.

. The D.D. Fields property in Whitesburg has been divided into building lots and will be sold at auction on August 31. The property, located within two blocks of the Letcher County Courthouse, is being called “the best and possibly the only available property to be had in this thriving metropolis.” A steel bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River connects the property with downtown Whitesburg.

Thursday, August 18, 1938 A young Texas man with strong Letcher County connections died August 9 in a workplace accident in Dallas, Texas. Jack Day Gray, son of Cowan native Mahala Day Grey and grandson of the late Diana F. Blair, also of Cowan, died from burns he suffered after a five-gallon tin of paint thinner exploded while he was welding in his father’s shop, Grey’s Top and Paint Company. He is survived by a large number of relatives in Letcher County.

. Two Jenkins women were killed Wednesday morning in a two-vehicle wreck on Panbowl Hill on Route 15 at Jackson. Katherine Rice, 72, and Mrs. Sam Privitt, 52, were passengers in the back seat of a car driven by Ray Boggs, 18, of Dunham, when the car, headed to LaGrange, Ky., collided with a truck hauling stone, killing the two women instantly. Boggs and the two passengers riding in the front seat with him — Mrs. Henry Hughes, 30, and her four-year-old son Donald — suffered only minor injuries. Boggs told authorities that he was driving on wet pavement when he applied his brakes in an attempt to avoid colliding with the truck. The truck crushed the rear of the car as a result.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 1948 Military funeral services were held this week for Arthur Ray Hendrix; a paratrooper hero of World War II who lost his life on the second day of the Sicily invasion. The remains of Paratrooper Hendrix were

returned to Letcher County for reburial in the Vanover Cemetery at East Jenkins. Hendrix was the first employee of Consolidation Coal Company to lose his life during World War II. As a result, the company has announced it will pay tribute to him by naming its new mine at Deane the “Hendrix Mine.” The mine, which is costing several millions of dollars to open, will be one of the largest mines to operate in eastern Kentucky and is the first mine to be served by two railroads, the C&O and the L &N.

. The remains of Corporal Comey Wright, who was killed in action on May 2, 1944 at Angio, Italy, just 12 miles from Rome, were returned home to Letcher County for a reburial ceremony held at Thornton Cemetery. Corporal Wright was a son of Tilden and Lydia Craft Wright of Millstone. Survivors in addition to his parents include brothers Nick Wright, Bill Wright, Harvey Wright, S.T. Wright Jr., and Charlie Wright. Sister Seldom Wright also survives.

. United Mine Workers of America President John L. Lewis is expected to the principal speaker at a big Labor Day celebration to be held at the Jenkins Ball Park.

. The Fleming schools will open for the 1948-49 term on August 30.

. Tom Curry’s new department store will hold its grand opening in Neon on August 27.

. Hindman resident Carl D. Perkins is thanking Letcher County voters for selecting him as their Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Perkins will face Republican incumbent W. Howes Meade in November.

. The town of Neon is getting new sidewalks from the corner of the new business block to the Harlow Garage on the upper end of Main Street. Meanwhile, Dr. B.F. Wright says he will spare no expense in building a new theater on the site of the old Joel Johnson building located across the street from Sam Hush’s department store. The old building, which is now being torn down to make room for the theater, was built in 1918 for use as a hotel and restaurant and has been considered an eyesore in the town.

. Born in Louisville on August 14 to former Letcher County residents, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Adams, was “a fine young son,” Terry Douglas Adams. The mother of Mrs. Adams, Elizabeth Lucas of Letcher County, has been visiting them for the past few weeks. [Note: Terry Adams is a founding member of the critically acclaimed rock band NRBQ, which was formed in the Louisville suburb of Shively in 1965. He still performs with the band.]

. Babe Ruth, the idol of millions of American baseball fans, has died in New York after a lingering illness of cancer of the throat. Ruth is considered the most popular baseball play of all time.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 1958 Friday is back-to-school day for approximately 1,744 pupils attending Jenkins Independent Schools. School bells will ring at 8:30 a.m. for students at Jenkins School, Lower McRoberts School, Upper McRoberts School, Burdine School, Dunham School, and the Negro School.

. The idea of a “Skyline Drive” along Pine Mountain from Pineville to Elkhorn City —a 100-mile project costing perhaps $25 million — has received tentative approval from the Eastern Kentucky Regional Planning Commission. The commission on Wednesday voted to ask the state highway department to conduct a feasibility study of the proposed project so that more can be learned about costs. Virgil Proctor, president of the Lexington consulting engineering firm Proctor-Ingels, said the road “sounds like a fantastic idea, and it is a fantastic idea. It can be done, and it has been done in other places.”

. Officials with Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Corp. said this week they do not believe Whitesburg residents will be inconvenienced when the company moves its local business office to Pikeville on September 1. Reacting to protests by members of the Whitesburg City Council, Southern Bell’s district manager, Bob Taylor, said Letcher County has only 1,600 telephone customers now and would need about 1,000 more in order to get a business office opened again. He said Letcher County customers will be able to call the Pikeville office toll-free and can pay their bills by mail or by visiting Reynolds Furniture Company in Whitesburg.

. All Letcher County schools are scheduled to open Monday, August 25, at 8:30 a.m., Supt. W.B. Hall announced.

. Letcher County lost three more of its trained teachers this week, all of them leaving for higher paying jobs elsewhere. Mr. and Mrs. Wes Ison and Donald Whitaker have accepted jobs with the Patriot Posey School District in Patriot, Indiana. Reports are that the Indiana school system is paying all three nearly twice the salary they received while teaching in Letcher County.

. South-East Coal Company President Harry LaViers Sr. said he wanted to make “a public apology” to his friends and neighbors in Letcher County who thought he was slighting them when he recently proposed the building of a major new road across eastern Kentucky, but did not mention Letcher County in the proposal. LaViers said he simply picked up a yardstick and placed it on a map and drew

a line from a point near Winchester in central Kentucky to the eastern-most tip of Kentucky, a point in Pike County, when he made the proposal during a meeting of the Eastern Kentucky Regional Planning Commission in Prestonsburg last month. LaViers said he would be the last person in Kentucky to deliberately slight Letcher County on roads or any other matter. He pointed out that his firm, South-East Coal, centers its entire mining operations within Letcher County and is in the process of investing large sums of money in expansion of its operations here.

. Claiming that eastern Kentucky citizens are their own worst enemy, the developer of the new “La Citadelle” resort motel opened recently on a mountaintop overlooking Hazard, said, “the only thing wrong with eastern Kentucky is the people that live in it.” Lawrence Davis, a Miami, Florida real estate developer and highly successful theater owner, was in Hazard Tuesday to address the Eastern Kentucky Regional Planning Commission. “The people that live here have no faith,” said Davis, recalling that people in Hazard “laughed at me when I started this motel, and they wished it would fall off the cliff.” He lamented that many people seemed envious and more less dared him to succeed with La Citadelle, which he has. “We could have eight or 10 motels like La Citadelle in various counties in eastern Kentucky and we still could fill them,” Davis told the commission. “Why, we’ve had tourists that never even heard of Hazard, or never even heard of eastern Kentucky.” Davis said the first thing eastern Kentucky must do to become a true tourist destination is to clean itself up and “make your town attractive.”

. The Sergent Post Office, founded in 1898, is celebrating its 60th birthday. The office was named in honor of Wilse Sergent, a popular Letcher County resident who had served as sheriff many years before.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 1968 The Kentucky Court of Appeals has been asked to reverse a Franklin Circuit Court decision upholding the legality of the closing of Kingdom Come School at Linefork. Special Circuit Judge Robert Hall Smith of Georgetown ruled that the Kentucky State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has the right to close the school. He said a longer bus ride for students was not too great a price to pay for an adequate school plant and teachers. Parents who are seeking to keep the school open filed the appeal.

. Kentucky is leading other states in building Appalachian development highways, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Kentucky has completed 40.2 miles of the 416.3 miles allocated to it. Most of that is part of KY 15 between Jackson and Whitesburg and part of US 23. The first project in the entire system, authorized in 1965, was begun at Isom in Letcher County.

. The federal Department of Agriculture and Office of Economic Opportunity have announced a $1.4 million Special Impact Program grant to Letcher County but have turned administration of the grant over the Kentucky River Area Development District, an eight-county agency based in Hazard, an agency in which Letcher County has only a minority voice. The

program was made available to Letcher County after a visit here by U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy in February.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 1978 Traveling carnivals and Tackett & Manning Coal Company came under fire as Jenkins residents reiterated complaints that their water supply is tainted. “Tackett & Manning dump fuel oil into the ditch leading into the lake and every time it rains it goes into the lake,” said a Jenkins man. Several people also complained about traveling carnivals and other shows dumping garbage and sewage from portolets into the lake.

. An estimated $10,000 worth of damage to floors, walls, furniture, doors and foundation masonry occurred at the Presbyterian Church on Sandlick when weekend rains unleashed a torrent of silt, rock and mud from the access road to Ivy Coal Co. State strip mine inspector George Combs said the citation he issued to the coal company in response to the slide could bring a fine of between $500 and $5,000.

. A reunion at Stuart Robinson School drew more than 400 people who gathered on the campus where they once worked, studied and, in many cases, lived at eastern Kentucky’s oldest “mission school”.

. A new “total hardware” store in coming to Whitesburg. Coast to Coast Stores will open an 8,000-square foot store in Parkway Plaza shopping center. The store will be owned by Joe Walters of Whitesburg.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17, 1988 Premium natives Don and Dudley Webb have generated much of the recent activity that has led to redevelopment of the Lexington skyline. The brothers are Kentucky’s best-known real estate developers and leading entrepreneurs. They are the oldest children of Woodford “Dood” and Elizabeth “Dot” Combs Webb.

. The Whitesburg City Council has hired Nesbitt Engineering of Hazard to do preliminary engineering for a proposed new water system. Nesbitt will study the need for water both inside and immediately outside the city limits, interview residents door-to-door and do a feasibility study for building a new system.

. Whitesburg Cinemas never planned to show “The Last Temptation of Christ,” but that hasn’t stopped local churches from threatening to boycott the theater if the controversial film does run. Theater manager Mike Solomon said the petitions and callers have said they will boycott the twin-cinema for a year if it runs the newly released film.

. Neon telephone users will be able to buy touch-tone and custom dialing services as of August 20. South Central Bell manager Art Willett said his firm is spending more than $2.4 million for a new telecommunications network for Letcher County.


Kentucky geologists are calling the layers of rock at Pound Gap “one of the most extraordinary geologic sections to be found in the eastern United States.” The road cut where new U.S. Highway 23 enters the gap is “truly the most magnificent rock exposure in Kentucky,” said Dr. Donald R. Chester Jr., president of the Kentucky Society of Professional Geologists.

. Classified workers in the Letcher County school system are still dissatisfied with the paychecks but they agreed tentatively to stay on the job and to try to work things out with Dr. William Kinzer, superintendent of county schools. Peggy Wilcox, head of the classified employees’ organization, and Atwell Turner, a retired teacher who is now a bus driver, said surrounding counties employ classified workers at “higher beginning salaries than we get after 20 years.”

. A hearing is set today in Letcher Circuit Court for forfeiture of the bond of Jerome Boggs, 29, of Van. Boggs is charged in the break-in of Pascal Fields’s service station in Whitesburg and assault of its elderly owner. Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney William Collins said that Boggs, who had been under house arrest, was arrested July 28 in Harlan County.

The August 24 menu for Letcher County schools includes hammy sammy, lasagna, green beans, potato chips, salad and breadsticks. Breakfast will be a sausage pancake porky.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2008 Funding for a proposed new water line between Payne Gap and Kona is not included is a list of coal severance projects approved this week by Letcher Fiscal Court. Judge/Executive Jim Ward said that severance money will arrive in several distribution cycles and that priority lists made earlier in the year would have to be modified to reflect the change.

. Black bear sightings are becoming more frequent in Letcher County as two photos in The Mountain Eagle show. Jenkins police officers St. Adam Swindell and Tim Miller loaded the body of a young female cub into the back of a pickup for transport to state biologists at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. The officers

said the cub was killed after being hit by at least one car on US 23 near Jenkins. Another black bear was photographed while searching through garbage cans in Bottom Fork near Mayking.

. The City of Jenkins will have a citywide cleanup from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on August 16. Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens said volunteers will be picking up litter on KY 805 and people should drive with caution.

. Little Cowan resident Phillip Little is one of two finalists who remain eligible to win more than $60,000 in prizes to be awarded as part of engine-maker Evinrude’s “Ultimate Fantasy Fishing Experience.” Little will be on stage at Lake Murray near Charleston, S.C., later this week when Evinrude officials announce the winner of the contest during a weigh-in for the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup — the Super Bowl, World Series and Daytona 500 for the world’s top professional bass fishermen.

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