Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Neon was once full of stores Here are some of the downtown Neon stores that participated in a “Million Dollar Sale” during the 1958 holiday season. This is a portion of a two-page ad for the sale. It appeared in The Mountain Eagle on November 27, 1958.

Neon was once full of stores Here are some of the downtown Neon stores that participated in a “Million Dollar Sale” during the 1958 holiday season. This is a portion of a two-page ad for the sale. It appeared in The Mountain Eagle on November 27, 1958.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1928 Letcher County school teachers Leonard Morgan, Charlie Hall, and Hazel Hall were injured in a car crash while on their way to teach in Neon. The teaching trio left Ermine Monday morning bound for Neon when the car in which they were riding hit an icy spot on the concrete road at Seco and “tumbled many times over a rough and high embankment, almost completely demolishing it.” Miss Hall, the 20-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Hall of Ermine and sister of Charlie Hall, was critically injured in the mishap, having been thrown more than 30 feet from the car. The injuries sustained by Morgan and Charlie Hall were not as bad.

. U.S. Rep. Katherine Langley, whose district includes Letcher County, is one of only five female members of the U.S. Congress.

. Mrs. George Blair, 65, of Blair Branch of Lower Rockhouse Creek, was shot and killed by her son-in-law, Raymond Sizemore, after what is being called “a general family racket.” Sizemore is being held in the Letcher County Jail pending an examination hearing.

. When Republican Party nominee Herbert Hoover defeated Democrat Al Smith for the office of President of the United States, few people were more upset than Mrs. Martha Caudill of Jeremiah. “Well, I went to the election, rode in a rough wagon, voted under the rooster, and now because I did this I am very sick,” Mrs. Caudill writes in a letter to the editor of The Mountain Eagle, Nehemiah Webb. “I am, as you know, quite and aged woman, but I never hated to hear the new of our man’s defeat so bad.”

. A combination subscription of the daily afternoon Lexington Leader and the weekly Mountain Eagle is now on sale for $5 per year.

. Mrs. Thomas Collier, 35, of Thornton, has died after suffering from “dropsy” for a number of months.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1938 An L&N Railroad train operator was killed and two other men were badly injured after a truck-train crash at the railroad crossing at Ermine on Tuesday afternoon. The wreck occurred after a truck loaded with brick from Barbourville ran into the down-bound passenger train. Hobart Combs, the 37-year-old L&N operator, was flagging the train and was caught under the loaded truck. The two injured men, Charlie Swafford, 28, and Earl Shoupe, 21, were occupants of the truck and are expected to survive their injuries. The truck was loaded with brick bound for Caudill Lumber Company of Ermine and was within 100 yards of its destination when the wreck occurred.

. D.F. Smith of Eolia has not missed an edition of The Mountain Eagle for 30 years. John H. Campbell of Ulvah is another 30-year subscriber. Both men came to Whitesburg to renew their subscriptions earlier this week.

. “The Mountain Eagle may be a little thing, but little things are the mightiest things in the world,” writes editor Nehemiah M. Webb. The paper “may have been a little thing in the 1909-10 when it set Wall Street afire and sent millions [of dollars] flowing into our coalfields, and all along since it has been a little star pointing the way to human happiness and peace in these wonderful hills.” [Webb is referring to The Eagle’s announcement nearly 20 year ago that the railroad was coming to Letcher County to open up the coalfields.]

. Word reached here Saturday that Bill Kincer of Kona, a student at College of Augusta in Georgia, fractured one of his legs while playing football, a sport in which he is becoming a star.

. Raymond Webb, 17, of Mayking, lost his left arm when he accidentally fired a shotgun and struck himself in the left arm, near the elbow. He is a student at Whitesburg High School.

. Several Letcher County residents, including the son of Whitesburg High School Principal R. Dean Squires, are upset because The Courier-Journal of Louisville sent photographers to Letcher County to photograph a tiny number of people in the county who handle poisonous snakes during church services. In a response printed in The Courier-Journal, James Squires criticizes the paper for leaving people “under the impression that this ‘Holy Roller’ religion is the only religion in eastern Kentucky.” Adds the younger Squires, who now lives in Richmond: “Down-state residents who have made a trip through the mountains very seldom tell their neighbors about how clean the town of Jenkins is, or how up-to-date Benham and Lynch are, or how beautiful the scenery is on Pine Mountain, a few miles outside of Whitesburg.”

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1948 A group of people identifying themselves as “Law Abiding Citizens of Mayking and Surrounding Territory” is criticizing Letcher County’s law enforcement agencies for taking little action to stop “bootlegging, the [illegal] selling of beer and liquor.” The group is headed by J.H. Polly.

. Funeral services were held here on

November 20 for Private Pony W. Bates, whose body was returned from overseas, where young Bates lost his live during World War II.

. District Eight Magistrate Gad Johnson resigned his office a few days ago and has been replaced by Booten Bates of Neon. Johnson said he quit the office because he could not get any other county officials to help him in his efforts to clean up the litter and illegal dumping in Letcher County. “I just could not get any cooperation and I could not sit idly by and see the thing that are going on and that are taking place in our county,” Johnson said.

. Officers with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control office raided a roadhouse at Sawdust Junction on the Rockhouse- Blackey highway and reported finding three slot machines and a quantity of liquor and beer, all of which was taken to the Letcher County Courthouse for storage. The officers said the roadhouse was being operated by Joe Bates.

. Letcher Coal Company’s No. 4 mine near Cromona employs 57 men and produces about 320 tons of coal daily, says a report from U.S. Bureau of Mines Inspector Harold Wiley.

. Tyrone Power stars in “Captain From Castille,” the movie showing December 5 and 6 at the Gem Theatre in McRoberts, now under the direction of James Hall, manater.

. John B. Strunk, aviation devices, third class, USN, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Strunk of Neon, is playing right tackle for the Kanohe Klippers football squad, one of eight service teams entered in the 14th Naval District football league in the Hawaiian Islands. Strunk played football for Fleming-Neon High School four years before entering the Navy in August 1941.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 1958 Jimmy Hill, the red-headed aggressive speedster who was a 14-letter winner in four sports as one of Fleming-Neon High School’s all-time greats, is one of the reasons why the University of Kentucky’s freshman team is undefeated again this season. The first-team All-State halfback of 1957 leads the Kitten contingent in pass receiving.

. Neon merchants have organized a businessman’s association, and as their first project are sponsoring a citywide sale next week. Advertised as a “Million Dollar Sale,” the even will last from Wednesday through Saturday. Among the stores participating are Hazen’s 5 cent to $1 Store, Hush Department Store, Wise Department Store, Neon Electric and Furniture Store, Western Auto Store, Neon Rexall, A&P Food Store, Service Cleaners, Sarah’s Style Shop, Compton’s Shoe Shop, P&Q Department Store, Tom Curry Department Store, Wright Jewelers, Craft Department Store, Kincer Hardware, Ward’s Cash Store, Kincer’s IGA Food Store, Dock’s Grocery, Jackson’s Furniture, and Dawahare’s.

. Blanton Collier, head football coach at the University of Kentucky, will speak at the annual Jenkins Quarterback Club Athletic Banquet on Saturday, December 6 at the Jenkins Fieldhouse.

. The board of trustees for the proposed school at Blackey voted Tuesday night to work toward establishing a junior college to serve Letcher and neighboring counties.

. Former Whitesburg High School cheerleader Donna Sue Spangler has been selected as cheerleader at Union College in Barbourville, where she is a freshman.

. Former Jenkins High School football star Gary Harrison is a member of the Indiana University freshman football team. At Jenkins, Harrison won four letters in football while playing halfback for the Cavaliers. He has won four letters in baseball, two in basketball, and four in track.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1968 Funeral services were held in Paintsville for Dr. E.C. Skaggs, who practiced medicine in Letcher County for many years. He and his Fleming hospital played an important role in Letcher County medical care until the opening of the United Mine Workers Miners Memorial Hospital in Whitesburg. Dr. Skaggs closed out his Letcher County operation and moved to Paintsville 12 years ago. He practiced there until cancer forced his retirement a few months before his death.

. Growing numbers of scientists are becoming worried about the possibility that an underground atomic explosion such as the one being suggested for eastern Kentucky could go out of control and “might trigger disaster.” Columbia Gas Company and the Atomic Energy Commission are looking at eastern Kentucky and some other guinea pig areas to set off an underground atomic explosion to create underground storage area space for natural gas. The explosion could be made without the consent of the residents of the area, who would be unlikely to benefit from the tests whatever the outcome.

. Directors of the Kentucky River Area Development District have given tentative approval to a request from two Letcher County groups for planning funds totaling about $33,000. Southeastern Kentucky Housing Development Corporation is seeking $25,000 for planning and engineering work for development of sites for 180 new homes in east Whitesburg. The Whitesburg Industrial Foundation is asking for $8,000 to plan for enlargement and development of an industrial site it

owns in West Whitesburg. Both groups indicated they would seek loans later from the Special Impact grant made recently to the board at the urging of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1978 Insufficient rain — two inches less than last year, September through November — has left the Jenkins reservoir with one foot of water and forced residents to rely on a private water supply. “For all practical purposes the Jenkins reservoir is empty,” said T.V. Bumgardner, superintendent of Jenkins Water and Sewer Department. “We are asking both businesses and individuals to cut down on water use.”

. Property tax bills are now being mailed, after being delayed for two months. Sheriff Vernon Hall’s quietus from the state Department of Revenue, permitting him to distribute the tax bills, was late to arrive. Then the county school board’s certification from the state setting the maximum school tax rate failed to arrive on time, and the school tax rate could not be set. Meanwhile the tax bills were ordered using the old school rate and when those bills arrived, they were wrong and had to be reprinted.

. Dennis Summers, an Illinois coal miner who suffered massive and apparently permanent brain damage in a 1973 accident caused by defective mining equipment, has been award $1.7 million, the largest out-of-court settlement on record for this type of lawsuit. Summers, a member of the United Mine Workers, was operating a roof-bolting machine at Ziegler Coal Co.’s No. 4 mine in Johnson City, Ill., when a drill bit broke and swung in an arc and hit him. Attorney William D. Maddux brought the lawsuit against Manson Machine Co., the bolter manufacturer, and Kennametal Co., the bolt supplier.

. The Letcher County Board of Education will install a new heating system at Whitesburg High School over Christmas vacation, replacing one which the board hopes will hold together until the holidays.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1988 After months of negotiations, the last three Bethlehem Steel mining properties in eastern Kentucky are to be sold within a few days. The mines, 25, 26 and 29 in Pike County, are still operating. The name of the buyer could not be confirmed by Eagle press time, but it is believed to be Donn Chickering or a company controlled by him.

. Rather than risk a jury’s possible death penalty recommendation, Anthony and Carolyn Smith accepted a sentencing agreement of life imprisonment for the burning deaths of Carolyn Smith’s parents and brother.

. On the 25th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Letcher County Sheriff Ben Buster Taylor recalls

standing guard over Kennedy’s coffin. Taylor says he and 34 other Green Berets served as part of Kennedy’s honor guard “because his brother (the late Robert F. Kennedy) requested us to.”

. Coca-Cola Consolidated has accepted the City of Whitesburg’s bid of $150,000 to buy the vacant Coca-Cola bottling plant in Whitesburg.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1998 The Letcher County Water and Sewer Commission is trying to figure out how to get public water service to Isom, Jeremiah and other communities along Highway 7 between Isom and Blackey. A new municipal water treatment plant is already in use in Blackey and has the capacity to serve about a thousand more customers. The water and sewer commission hopes to contract with municipal water systems to extend service lines to other parts of the county.

. Groundbreaking ceremonies for an addition to Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital were held in front of the hospital building on November 10. Donnie Fields, administrator of the hospital, welcome about 100 people who listened to remarks from government and hospital officials and watched as they dug symbolic first shovelfuls of dirt to start the new project.

. The Whitesburg Middle School Lady ’Jackets rode eighth-grade guard Afton Blair’s triple-double to a 43-29 victory over Letcher Middle School in the championship game of the Letcher County Elementary Athletics Association girls’ basketball tournament.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2008 County Treasurer Phillip Hampton told the Letcher County Fiscal Court that despite all the reorganization and cost savings from switching to mini-packer trucks, shifting personnel, and other measures, it may be necessary to raise garbage rates in the near future. Hampton said even though costs are down in Sanitation, the department is still operating in the red and is a drain on the county’s General Fund.

. Since water from the Whitesburg Municipal Water System has been deemed safe to consume, Letcher County Judge/ Executive Jim Ward said the county is donating 38 pallets of gallon jugs and canned drinking water to Magoffin County, which is now facing water problems of its own. The water was originally donated to Letcher County a few weeks ago by various coal companies, gas companies and other businesses when a non-consumption water advisory was ordered by the Kentucky Division of Water for customers of the Whitesburg Municipal Water System.

. Verlin Ray Short, 37, of Mayking, was fined $100 for each of seven counts of illegally buying, selling and transporting reptiles.

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