Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

A war memorial attached to the front of the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg carries the names of 21 Letcher County soldiers whose deaths were related to World War I. The memorial also honors Letcher County soldiers who died in World War II and in Korea. Saturday, November 11, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that would end World War I and give birth to the national holiday we now call Veterans Day. (Eagle photo)

A war memorial attached to the front of the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg carries the names of 21 Letcher County soldiers whose deaths were related to World War I. The memorial also honors Letcher County soldiers who died in World War II and in Korea. Saturday, November 11, marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that would end World War I and give birth to the national holiday we now call Veterans Day. (Eagle photo)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1928 “Most of the boys who were escorted to Bull Hole on the night of November 6 have returned and are apparently in good condition,” The Mountain Eagle reports in the aftermath of last week’s general election.

. The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled today that the five candidates for trustee in the town of Blackey, whose names were written on the ballot for voters, are entitled to hold office. In the 1927 general election, the names of A.A. Weddle, W.H. Walter, F.C. Cornett, R.B. Caudill and T.B. Watts were printed on the ballot as candidates for trustee of Blackey. When the votes were counted, it was found that write-in candidates Herman Ison, A. Whitaker, Squire Adams, Lyda Adams and Wilson Caudill were elected with the most votes. The write-in candidates were unseated on a technicality and they appealed, resulting in today’s finding.

. Pointing to the depleted business resources of Letcher County, especially the lower Kentucky River section of the county, the Blackey State Bank this week chose to go into liquidation. Before the bank’s assets were surrendered to the state it was determined that depositors should expect to be paid 100 percent of their holdings. “The directors feel positive that no depositor will lose anything on account of the liquidation,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

. A Baptist preacher was killed at Shelby Gap late Sunday after he mistakenly stepped in front of a Chesapeake & Ohio passenger train. The preacher, the Rev. George Powell, 66, of Pikeville, had attended church at Ford’s Branch, about 25 miles from his home at Pikeville, and was on his way to Shelby Junction to board a train for home when he stepped directly in front of the engine of a train that was approaching him from behind.

. Ira Potter, well-known on the border of Letcher and Pike counties, surrendered to authorities Wednesday after he shot and killed Ben Caudill, a renter who had quarreled with Potter over some hogs Caudill had killed for him. The shooting occurred after Caudill arrived at Potter’s home earlier Wednesday and the two began arguing about the hog killing. Potter said Caudill hit him on the head with a stick, after which he shot Caudill six times. A wife and three children survive Caudill.

. Prohibition officers traveled the short distance from Whitesburg to Whitco yesterday and returned with nine gallons of whiskey, which the officers poured into the gutter on the streets. It is said three persons were arrested.

. Coal miner Ben Webb, son of the late Charlie Webb of Mayking, was trapped for more than four hours as the result of an accident involving a cutting machine in a Mayking mine. Luckily, he was extricated without suffering serious injury.

. “Some people contend that the coal business is slightly improving, while others argue that it is still deplorable,” The Mountain Eagle observes.

. “A heavy frost came down on Monday night and now we may expect mountain, hill and dale to give up their summer clothes,” The Eagle notes.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 1938 The results of Tuesday’s election indicate that present Letcher County Schools Superintendent Watson Webb is likely to be replaced at the helm of the county school system by Martha Jane Potter, who “sponsored and backed” winning candidates who had pledged to support her in her bid to become superintendent. “There was not a frown on young Watson Webb’s brow,” The Mountain Eagle observed in a front-page commentary. “It always takes a great man to be a good sport under the most trying of circumstances, and Watson Webb and his friends are that.” [Note: Watson Webb is the father of Jim Webb, the WMMT radio personality and former Letcher County Chamber of Commerce president who died recently.]

. Mountain Eagle editor and publisher W.P. Nolan isn’t afraid to state publicly his displeasure with the more strenuous aspects of his job, particularly when it came to county elections. “We feel some release now from the stress thrown gladly on us on account of the election just passed, and we will now be able to make the Eagle scream much louder and better,” Nolan writes this week in his “Emanations” column. “We stop here long enough to offer sympathies to those who lost in the election and congratulate those whose banners flew successfully at the top. Somehow, and though I have never appreciated it, I have noticed that in elections, someone always manages to lose.”

. Joe I. Day, accompanied by sons O’Ramus and Lester and Vincent Sergent, returned to Letcher County from Norris Lake in Tennessee this week with evidence to back up his fish tale — 22 bass ranging in weight from two to five pounds each and a 22-inch long Northern pike.

. The Letcher County government’s best building outside of the county courthouse was destroyed by fire of unknown origin late Thursday night. The building, the location of which is not mentioned in this Mountain Eagle report, was built in 1933 by the federal Works Progress Administration program at a cost of about $60,000.

For the last few years it has housed the operations of New Deal sewing programs financed by the WPA and the National Youth Administration. It was also home to a sizeable number of county government files.

. Voters in the City of Whitesburg defeated a $20,000 bond issue during Tuesday’s election by a vote of 208 votes to 192 votes.

. Millard “Moose” Niece of Whitesburg, about 23 years of age, is charged with firing five bullets into the torso of Cecil Sumpter, another young Whitesburg man. Young Niece, who is not married, has been employed on a WPA project. After Niece shot Sumpter he telephoned Whitesburg policeman Bill Caudill and asked him to “come and get him.” Upon appearing in court, Niece admitted to shooting Sumpter but said he wasn’t sure how effective the shots might be. He said he fired the shots at Sumpter because Sumpter had been abusing him on a regular basis.

. A wild scene was created Saturday night when William “Billy” Caudill Jr., 22, of Dry Fork was slashed with a knife in the head, face, and throat before bleeding to death at the Fleming Hospital, where Dr. Collier had rushed him for treatment from Whitesburg. The stabbing took place on Little Colley early Saturday night as Billy Caudill, a 1936 Whitesburg High School graduate, and Dana Smith were walking along the road when 18-year-old Lester Amburgey walked up to the couple and began stabbing Caudill. Jealousy is said to be the motive in the stabbing, which also left Miss Smith with a badly wounded arm. Amburgey fled from the scene but was later apprehended.

. Mrs. Alvin Cantrell, a former resident of Dunham, was killed instantly Sunday in an accident that also left her three-yearold son seriously injured. The mishap occurred on the Mayo Trail toward Pikeville while Mrs. Cantrell, her husband, and their son were returning to Pound, Virginia from a visit in Paintsville, Ky. Mr. Cantrell told authorities that the son was standing and leaning against the car door when it suddenly sprung open and he fell out onto the concrete road. Alvin Cantrell said he fought to keep his wife from jumping out of the vehicle as well, but claimed the battle to keep her inside kept him from lowering the vehicle’s speed below 45 miles per hour and that she eventually jumped, resulting in her breaking her neck. Mr. Cantrell said he picked his son and wife up off the pavement and took them to the Jenkins hospital, where Mrs. Cantrell was pronounced dead on arrival.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 1948 Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon has set December 4, 1948 as the date of a local option election for the City of Jenkins. The election is being held in accordance with state law, which requires Dixon to call for the vote after 912 Jenkins residents signed a legal petition stating they wish to vote on the question of whether alcoholic beverages should be sold in the city. Jenkins, along with the rest of Letcher County, was voted “dry” by a narrow margin of 16 votes in 1943, when many of the county’s young men were away fighting in World War II.

. Ladd’s Theatre is now open in the new Ladd Building in Jenkins. “Two Gun Troubadour,” “Phantom Rancher,” “Hawaii Calls,” and “Tarzan’s Revenge” are among the first movies scheduled to be shown in the 450-seat room.

. Two young Letcher County men were killed in a roof fall at South-East Coal Company’s Millstone mine at about 1 a.m. this morning (Thursday). The victims are Denver Ratliff, 26, and Elmer Williams, 29. Both men were the married fathers of one child. Ratliff had worked for South- East for 2-1/2 years. Williams had entered the mine for his first shift of work when the accident occurred. The two deaths marked the first major accident at the Millstone mine in many months. Earlier this year, South-East received an award naming the Millstone mine as the safest mine in the Big Sandy Elkhorn Field.

. A 12-year-old Thornton boy has been missing from his home since Monday. The parents of James Breeding said he was last seen leaving his home around noon on Monday after refusing earlier to go to school. Ted Breeding said his son was wearing overall pants and a Polo shirt when he left Thornton headed in the direction of Pound, Virginia. The youth, who weighs about 90 pounds, is described as being jovial in nature and having dark skin, brown eyes, and brown hair.

. The Chili Bowl Jr. opened this week at Haymond, next door to Akers’ Filling Station. C.E. Akers bought the station recently and leased the restaurant to Mr. and Mrs. John E. Manies of Neon. Mr. and Mrs. Manies currently operate the Chili Bowl at Neon, which has been very successful during the three years it has been operating.

. Jenkins city police are investigating the November 10 robbery of $600 from the Jenkins Theatre. Police Chief Hibbert Elkins said thieves broke into the theatre sometime yesterday and hauled off a 600-pound safe, which was later found broken open at Millstone.

. A Friday night drinking party inside a barn at Millstone turned tragic when Johnny Vanover, 20, was shot and killed by Raymond Short, 24. The shooting occurred on property owned by Sid Bentley.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1958 Plans for construction of a new high

school building for Fleming-Neon ran into a legal snag this week that will delay the project for several weeks. The hitch on the project is a discovery that the Letcher County Board of Education does not have a clear title to the site for the new building. The Elkhorn Coal Corporation still owns mineral rights to the site, and bonds to finance construction of the school cannot be sold until the county gains title to those mineral rights. The coal company has indicated it will deed the mineral rights to the county later this month.

. Thirty-eight polio patients in Letcher County are being helped by the March of Dimes organization. Because of the high number of cases, the county has used up all available polio-fighting funds and has had to turn to national headquarters for help. The request for more help from the March of Dimes was answered this week when the organization issued a check for $6,000 to be spent on local patients.

. Whitesburg attorney Harry M. Caudill announced this week he will be a candidate for the office of state representative in the May Democratic primary election. Caudill has served two terms as representative from Letcher County, but did not seek reelection in 1957.

. Don Woodford Webb, son of Mr. and Mrs. Woodford Webb, was recently pledged to the Beta Delta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order of Georgetown College. Webb, a 19-year-old junior majoring in business-economics, is a member of the Georgetonian sports staff, an honor roll student, and is currently president of the Young Democrats Club of Georgetown College.

. Coach Nick Diachenko’s Cavaliers brought another honor to Jenkins by shellacking Knox Central in the Pinnacle Bowl at Middlesboro on Saturday night. A following of some 400 Jenkins partisans made the 104-mile trip to the Bell County town and were well rewarded for their efforts.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1968 Republicans Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew have been elected president and vice-president of the United States. The election was the closest since 1912. Letcher County voters favored Democrats Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie by a majority of about 250 votes.

. “Today there’s very few girls that would know which end of the cow carries the milk sack,” writes Ice correspondent Siller Brown.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 1978 Funeral services for James Reid “Jimmy” Brown were held November 1 at the Whitesburg Methodist Church. Brown, who was eastern Kentucky field representative for U.S. Sen. Water D. Huddleston, was killed about dusk on October 29, when he slipped and fell from the top of Bad Branch Falls on Pine Mountain. He was a former city manager of Whitesburg and served for two years on the staff of Gov. Julian Carroll when Carroll was lieutenant governor. The accident occurred while Brown and a group of close friends were hiking at the falls.

. Harry M. Caudill has proposed a severance tax of 25 cents on each barrel of oil and 25 cents on each 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas extracted in Kentucky. Caudill said the proceeds should go to the state’s public school system.

. Larry Johnson, the last of five persons who escaped from the Letcher County Jail on October 2, gave himself up and went back to jail. Deputy Sheriff Joe Begley brought Johnson to jail after Johnson went to the home of Herman Campbell in Carcassonne and asked Campbell to call the sheriff because he wanted to surrender. Three other escapees were recaptured two weeks ago as they sought to ride an L&N coal train out of the county.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1988 A constitutional amendment that would effectively prohibit strip mining under Kentucky’s old “broadform” minerals deed without a landowner’s consent was overwhelmingly approved by state’s voters Tuesday. With all but three of the state’s 3,228 precincts reporting, 82 percent of the voters had backed the amendment.

. The Whitesburg City Council will try to buy the former Whitesburg Coca-Cola bottling plant. The council voted unanimously to make an offer on the plant, which has been vacant since early this year.

. Seco native Raymond Smith was the first Kentuckian to set foot on French soil in the June 1944 Allied invasion of Europe, writes columnist William T. Cornett in a profile of Smith. Smith, who had joined the U.S. Army when he was barely 16 years old, was one of the Army’s original parachute troop members.

. Fleming-Neon struggled in its final regular season game but managed to squeeze out a 12-6 victory over host M.C. Napier. With the win, the Pirates closed out one of their most successful seasons with a record of 9-2 and now prepare to meet Pineville in the opening round of Class A playoff action.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1998 Image Entry, a data processing facility, has announced it will begin operating in Whitesburg in January and will employ up to 150 people. This is the

first time in Letcher County’s history that new jobs are coming in significant numbers and the jobs aren’t tied to the coal and timber industries.

. Jerome Boggs will spend four years in prison for attacking Pascal Fields, an elderly filling station owner, in Whitesburg on October 6, 1997. Boggs pleaded guilty October 28, 1998 in Letcher Circuit Court to striking Fields and stealing $180 from him.

Kelly Spangler of Whitesburg has been named to the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches’ pre-season Associated Press All-State team. A 5’6” guard noted for her outside shooting, she averaged 22 points per game last year along with four rebounds and four steals.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2008 Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin garnered nearly 70 percent of the ballots cast in Letcher County, 5,367 to 2,623 for Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

. The National Association of Woolly Worm Winter Weather Watchers is predicting a warm winter, according to Points East columnist Ike Adams.

. “People are busy in various ways as colder weather will be coming soon,” writes Cowan columnist Elsie Banks. “We are thankful for our four seasons. I like them all. About time you get used to one, a new one comes.”

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