Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1928 The historic old “Daniel Boone Tree” at Kona is nearly dead. Efforts by the owner of the famous beech tree, W.H. Potter, are nearly exhausted. Seeing that the tree was in danger of dying in 1915, Holbrook allowed a friend to cut out a block of the trunk of the tree that bore the initials, “D.B.” and the date of the year “1871.” The block is now with the Kentucky Historical Society. The tree, which stands at the very edge of the North Fork of the Kentucky River, has been a Letcher County landmark for years. Local historians have traced the career of Daniel Boone closely enough to know that he camped on Potter’s Fork, which empties into the North Fork, during the winter of 1871. The letters inscribed on the bark on the beech were said to have been similar to other inscriptions made by Boone. Potter says his family can trace the record of the tree nearly all the way back to the time when Boone was here, leaving little doubt as to the authenticity of the inscription.
. Students and faculty members at the Whitesburg and Letcher County High School held a rally in the Letcher County Courthouse on Friday afternoon for the purpose of enlisting the aid of citizens to help establish a football team at the school. A large group of citizens attended the rally, during which the need for a football team was stressed, especially since other schools in the region are now forming teams. “The great item of expense in starting a football team is uniforms,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “The school board has already accounted for all of its funds for this year, and if Whitesburg is to be represented on the gridiron the uniforms must be bought through donations.” Added the paper, “There is no greater sport than football. This school has reached the point in its development when it cannot afford to remain in the background in any line of endeavor. Other schools are asking us why we do not have a football team.”
. The Whitesburg and Letcher County High School has selected the first staff for its official publication, The Black Kat. Cecil Baker was named editor-in-chief. The staff plans to publish a four-page, four-column monthly.
. Curt Wright and Hugh Combs are having their barbershop in the Daniel Boone Hotel building repaired and remodeled. The room has been covered with a new ceiling and the walls have been painted. New lights are being placed and another barber chair will be added.
. Mr. and Mrs. James B. McAuley of Kona are happy to announce the arrival of a fine baby boy born at their house last Wednesday. The boy weighed 10 pounds and is named James Potter McAuley.
. Monroe Banks, son of Zack Banks of Cowan, needed 72 stitches to close wounds to his left arm and left side after Caleb Partin cut him with a knife he was wielding last Saturday night. Partin and Earl Sheets were charged in the case and are both being held in the Letcher County Jail. Partin and Sheets are Tennesseans but have been working in the mines at McRoberts. The fight occurred at the home of Mr. Banks. His wife told police Sheets held her husband while Partin used the knife.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1938 The proposed dam on Cumberland River in Letcher County took another step toward becoming reality this week with the arrival here of three government engineers from the Nashville flood control office. The engineers left for the Eolia area Thursday morning to look at possible sites for the dam in the company of U.S. Rep. A.J. May and a motorcade of about 20 cars.
. Dr. John M. Bentley, well-known Neon dentist, died Tuesday at the Fleming hospital after a short illness. A native of the Democrat community of Letcher County, Dr. Bentley taught school at Rockhouse and Deane to earn enough money to put himself through dental school at the University of Louisville. He also practiced dentistry in Whitesburg, Fleming and in East Jenkins.
. The Commercial Hotel in Whitesburg has a new owner, Archie V. Sergent.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1948 Colonel Alvin Grey of Kona is being held in the Letcher County Jail in connection with the death of his wife, Bessie Grey, after a domestic quarrel in Haymond. Authorities say Grey admitted to causing his wife’s death by hitting her on the head with his fists and injuring her in other ways. Mrs. Grey, the 50-year-old mother of one son, was an active member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at Haymond. The couple moved to Kona from Birmingham, Alabama about three years ago.
. Mrs. James Mullins apparently will not be prosecuted for shooting her husband after she returned to their home and found him with another woman. Mrs. Mullins told authorities she fired five shots at her husband after he attempted to beat her, and that three of the bullets hit their mark. Mr. Mullins is being treated at the Fleming hospital and is expected to recover fully.
. A new rail siding being constructed by the L&N Railroad will extend from Blackey to Elk Creek. The siding was made necessary by an increase in freight traffic and the development of the coalfield in the Blackey area.
. Whitesburg High School defeated visiting Belfry, 27 to 0, and Fleming High School
fell to home-standing Norton, 13 to 7, in weekend football action.
. The trial of Mrs. Lona Fields, who is accused in the December 1947 shotgun slayings of Letcher County sheriff ’s deputies Willard Hall and Dave Galloway at her home on Cumberland River, has been transferred back to Letcher County from Pike County. Leonard Fields was given a life sentence after being convicted of the same crime in Pike Circuit Court earlier this year. Two other defendants, Willard Collier and Charlie Fields, are also charged in the case.
. A 20-year-old Consolidation Coal Company miner died Tuesday after coming into contact with a high-voltage wire in Mine 214 at McRoberts. Earl Polly, son of Milford Polly of Haymond, was buried Thursday in the Guy Holbrook Cemetery at Potter’s Fork. In addition to his father, he is survived by his wife, Irene Mullins Polly, and their two sons, Earl Calvin, 2-1/2 years, and Billy Wayne, 15 months.
. Ewing Crase, manager of the ice cream and bottling plants of Champion Stores, was seriously injured September 9 while repairing an elevator in the Dunham Store. He is being treated in the Jenkins hospital for broken ribs and a spinal injury.
. The Jenkins Cavaliers were defeated by Evarts High School, 32 to 6, in a game played on the Jenkins field.
. Henry Fonda stars in “The Fugitive,” showing next Thursday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.
. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland star in “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” showing September 19 and 20 at the Haymond Theatre at Cromona.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1958 Kentucky State Conservation Commissioner Laban Jackson has agreed to come to Letcher County next month to look into the possibilities of creating a state park on Pine Mountain. The mountain, stretching from one end of the county to the other, offers at least three logical sites for park development, either as one major park or three separate small parks. Jackson has agreed to explore all three.
. A boom in the coal industry returned to Letcher County this week with the result that almost every coal mine, both truck and rail, was working full-time. The boom started in a big way when officials of Bethlehem Steel Company called in truck coal operators big and small and urged them to ready their mines for full production. Bethlehem officials assured the truck miners of a steady market for coal for at least two months, or until the winter freeze occurs on the Great Lakes, where much of Letcher County’s coal is shipped.
. A special hearing of the Kentucky Public Service Commission will be held in Frankfort on September 24 on the Jenkins town council’s objection to the removal of the Kentucky Power Company office from the town.
. The Cumberland Amusement Company Inc. of Cumberland, Ky., has acquired the Margie Grand Theatre in Harlan. Cumberland Amusement is owned and operated by the Isaac family. The Margie Grand will be managed by Sam Isaac, who also manages the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg, the Novo Theatre in Cumberland, the Lynch Theatre in Lynch, and the State Theatre in Appalachia, Va.
. Audie Murphy stars in “Ride A Crooked Trail,” showing September 21 and 22 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1968
In a bill sent to Congress this week, President Lyndon Johnson asked for stronger safety regulations and improved working conditions for American coal miners. The bill includes surface mining under U.S. safety regulations; currently surface mining is regulated only by the state. It strengthens the authority of the U.S. Department of the Interior to regulate mining activities. The bill also provides for the development of occupational health standards designed to fight pneumoconiosis (commonly known as black lung) and other lung ailments. It calls for heavy fines and jail terms for coal executives who deliberately ignore or disregard federal regulations and extended safety enforcement to the working faces of coal mines.
. More than 200 persons attended opening ceremonies for the Boone Fork Community Kitchen at the Boone Fork Community Center at Fleming. The kitchen is designed to provide hot meals to elderly persons who cannot afford to or are unable to provide the meals for themselves. Opal Hughes, director of the program, said those who cannot afford to pay will be charged 40 cents a meal. Those who cannot afford to pay and are “in a reasonable active condition” will be expected to perform some service in exchange for the meals, she said.
. Mike Burkich, former “most valuable player” on the Whitesburg Yellowjackets football team, will turn in his first performance for the Georgetown College Tigers in the team’s game against Emory and Henry University at Bristol, Tenn., on Sept. 14.
. The Whitesburg Yellowjackets downed Cawood High School, 13 to 7.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 1978
Governor Julian Carroll has appointed Letcher County Judge Robert Collins to the Appalachian Development Council. Carroll asked Collins and the council’s 19 other members to “rewrite the history of the mountains.”
. Harlan County Judge Sid Douglas has issued temporary restraining orders to disarm pickets and non-union employees and to limit United Mine Workers picketing at Jericol Mining Inc.’s Glenbrook Mine in Harlan County. The mine is the scene of growing violence since the mine attempted to reopen using non-union miners, and Jericol has refused to sign the 1978 UMW contract. UMW miners have been on strike there since the national walkout began Dec. 6, 1977.
. “Today I went into the tool house and there sits a copperhead with its yellow head drawn back already to strike out at me,” writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser. “I struck first with a bar I had gone into the tool house to get. At first it tried to fight then decided to run. I followed it and held it until Blaine came and killed it with a hoe. Inside were seven little ones. So I killed eight at one blow.”
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1988 Billy Joe Royal will perform in concert at the Whitesburg football field September 20 as part of the Mountain Heritage Festival. He recorded the hit “Down in the Boondocks” in 1956 and is now back on the charts with “I’ll Pin a Note on Your Pillow.”
. Rumors of devil worshippers have begun to circulate in Letcher County and the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department has reported one complaint that vacuum cleaner salesmen were really devil worshippers up to no good. Deputy Sheriff Rick Anderson said he stopped a van carrying the traveling salesmen near Isom and the salesmen were just that — salesmen.
. Both the unemployment rate and the size of the labor force in Letcher County fell slightly during July. The unemployment rate in Letcher County fell from 13.6 percent in June to 13.4 percent in July. At the same time, the number of persons in the labor force dropped by 39, from 8,456 in June to 8,417 in July.
. Writing about education, Whitesburg attorney and author Harry M. Caudill says, “Education is essential and state and federal agencies and the universities now offer a wide range of scholarships, low-interest loans, and outright grants to ambitious students. Ignorance has become a matter of choice. Today no ambitious young person in Kentucky can truthfully assert that he or she is ‘too poor’ to go to college.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1998 Two Tennessee men charged with robbing the Neon branch of Community Trust Bank are scheduled to make a court appearance in Whitesburg Thursday. Michael Travis Addison, 20, and Michael Eugene Ramsey, 21, both of Sevierville, Tenn., and two juveniles were arrested by Fleming- Neon Police Chief Neal Yonts and Letcher County Deputy Sheriff Chris Fleming minutes after the robbery. Yonts and Fleming answered a silent alarm trigged by bank employees.
. An open house will be held Sept. 16 to honor Whitesburg resident Geneva Preston Picklesimer on her 102nd birthday. Mrs. Picklesimer grew up on Davis Branch in Johnson County. She met her husband, the late Virgil Picklesimer, when both were students at Paintsville High School. The couple moved to Letcher County in 1933 and lived at Seco and later moved to Whitesburg.
. The Letcher County and Jenkins Independent school districts are charter sponsors of the new Challenger Learning Center of Kentucky, located at Hazard Community College. The Center uses space exploration as a theme to help attain a high level of knowledge and competency in the areas of science, mathematics, technology, communications and interpersonal relations.
. The winners of the fall 1998 Roy R. Crawford Memorial Scholarships are Steven Neal Fields, Natisha Cee Johnson and Ann Wright Yinger.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2008 Derrick Scott Bates, 21, of Jenkins, is in jail after he confessed to police that he robbed the Jenkins branch of Community Trust Bank on September 5. Bates walked into the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department on Monday and told police he was armed with a knife when he stole about $1,000 after he reached through a teller’s window and took it from the countertop.
. Public schools in Letcher County received more than half of the $6,337,647 in property taxes collected by the Letcher County’s Sheriff ’s Department for the 2007 tax year. A sheriff ’s settlement approved by the Letcher Fiscal Court shows that the Jenkins Independent and Letcher County school systems received $3,241,855 of the total tax collected.
. The Fleming-Neon City Council learned this week that health insurance rates for the city workers will increase by an average of $487.69 per month for each employee covered. After learning of the expected rate increase, the council voted to schedule a special meeting to address the issue.
. The Letcher County Central High School Cougars defeated the Musketeers of Greenup County 67-6 for the second win. District action begins this week.