Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1928 On Tuesday morning, natural gas was struck on the Weddington lease on Buckley’s Creek in Pike County by Oscar Sear and his associates. After drilling the few extra feet necessary to bring the well in on Wednesday morning, it was estimated the new well would produce around two million cubic feet per day, which is much better than expected. The gas was found at a depth of 1,475 feet in what is know as the Maxon Sand. “This is a new field for gas, but from all indications it is a very rich one, and it is certain that within the next few months many wells will be going down,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

. James Stamper, 65, his visiting his native Whitesburg since the first time he left here many years ago. Stamper’s mother is a daughter of Hiram Hogg, who once owned all of the land on which Whitesburg now stands. James Stamper now lives in Saratoga, California, where he is in the fruit-raising business.

. Young coal miner Watson Collins was killed last Thursday at about 8:30 p.m. when a large block of coal hit him on the head as he was climbing aboard his loaded wagon to haul coal from the Elk Creek Tipple. He leaves behind a wife, a baby, and many friends.

. A legal notice appearing in this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle announces the “receiver’s sale” of the “coal land” owned by Consolidated Fuel Company. The land begins at Johnson’s Fork at Premium, continues up Smoot Creek to Bee Tree Branch, crosses the ridge to the head of Blair Branch of Rockhouse Creek, and then goes up Spring Branch.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1938 The keeping and feeding of hogs within the city limits of Whitesburg will be illegal beginning January 1, 1939.

. Mrs. Cornelia Thomas, 25, a normally quiet woman from Number Three Hollow near Jenkins, shot and killed her husband, Earl Thomas, 30, after he allegedly attacked her with a razor at about 3 a.m. on Monday. Police officers Charlie Cline and Landis Bates arrived on the scene to find Mr. Thomas dead with a razor clutched in his hand. He had been shot four times with a .38 Special pistol. Mrs. Johnson was arrested and taken to the Jenkins Jail, although the case seemed unquestionably a matter of self-defense. Mr. Thomas’s body will be shipped to Alabama for burial.

. Fire destroyed a building housing the post office, the telephone exchange, and the jail in the town of Fleming around midnight last Friday. The coal company’s loss is estimated at around $10,000. The people of Fleming fought hard to save the property until the fire departments of Jenkins and Whitesburg arrived to help. For a time it looked like all of the town’s main buildings would be destroyed. The fire is believed to have started from defective wiring.

. A group of boys’ taunting of a 60-yearold Perry County man nearly cost the life of a 20-year-old Linefork man on Saturday evening. Jesse Spencer shot Irvine Caudill of Campbell’s Branch after Caudill and “a bunch of boys” were teasing Spencer, who was arrested and lodged in the Perry County Jail after the incident.

. “America’s beloved soprano,” Jessica Dragonette, will make her only Kentucky appearance on Tuesday, January 17, 1939 in Hazard. Miss Dragonette left radio in November 1937 to go on her current tour of the United States, which began in January 1938. Admission for the concert is $2.25 plus 23 cents in state tax.

. The new Family Theatre is now open in Hazard.

. Whitesburg High School opened in 1911 with an enrollment of nine pupils. Today there are 524 students enrolled at WHS.

. “What better present could you give to friend than a year’s subscription to The Mountain Eagle?” asks a house ad. “The price is $1.50.”

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1948 Voters in Jenkins went to the polls on December 4 and voted, by a 363-vote margin, against bringing back the sale of liquor and beer in the town. Jenkins and the rest of the county were narrowly voted dry two and a half years ago, but the state legislature later passed a law that allows fourth-class cities like Jenkins to have a separate vote on the wet-dry issue.

. Dr. B.F. Wright of Seco announced today that he will spend between $75,000 and $100,000 on a modern drive-in theater to be built in the spacious lot at the mouth of Solomon Branch in Whitesburg. Dr. Wright says the drive-in will be built to hold 300 cars.

. Troy Back, 43, and Henry Hall, 38, were killed Sunday afternoon when Hall’s five-passenger convertible couple, being driven by Johnny Fields, went out of control on U.S. 119 near Thornton Gap and sideswiped a cliff. Injured in the accident were Troy Back’s wife and daughter and John Duke, all of whom were passengers in the vehicle. Hall, a World War II veteran of Mayking, had been to Blackey to attend the wedding of Duke’s daughter and was taking Mr. Duke to work at the Elkhorn Coal Corporation mine at Fleming at the

time of the wreck. Hall also worked for Elkhorn Coal. Back, of Elk Creek, was employed by Blue Diamond Coal Company at Toner.

. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall star in “Key Largo,” showing Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Work is progressing nicely on Dr. Sam Quillen’s new building in downtown Neon.

. Sandlick Coal Company’s Belcraft mine employs 93 men and produces 500 tons of coal per day, according to an inspection report released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Mines.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1958 The Whitesburg City Council gave final approval this week to the proposed new city occupational license tax fees despite opposition from employees at the Whitesburg Memorial Hospital. The new fee is expected to add about $4,000 to the city’s revenue, with about half of that coming from the hospital workers.

. Eight teams, including Fleming-Neon, Jenkins and Letcher, will play in Whitesburg High School’s first invitational basketball tournament. The tourney starts December 17.

. Dock B. Franklin, who was appointed postmaster at Sergent on October 16, 1920, says he is resigning from the job after 39 years.

. The Dunham High School Blue Devils, led by Johnny Osley, Milton Motley and Curtice Slone, outplayed Johns Creek in the final three quarters, but it was not enough to overcome a huge early deficit as the Blue Devils fell, 61 to 50.

. Private Robert Earl (Pud) Shubert is home in Jenkins on leave after finishing his eight weeks of training with the Marines at Parris Island, South Carolina.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1968 The deaths of 78 men in a November 20 explosion at a Mannington, W.Va., coal mine — the worst mining disaster since 1951 — has prompted Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall to call a conference in Washington December 29 to discuss mine safety problems and possible solutions. A federal Bureau of Mines safety expert admits that the 1952 Coal Mine Safety Act has “so many loopholes you could put barns through it.” Since the law was passed, 5,500 miners had died on the job, according to U.S. Rep. Ken Hechler of West Virginia.

. The Kentucky Un-American Activities Committee came to eastern Kentucky for four days of hearings after recommending to Gov. Louie B. Nunn that the state withdraw support for anti-poverty programs run by the Appalachian Volunteers. Meeting in Pikeville, the Committee ran into an AV staff member, Edith Easterling of Pike County, who told the committee that before the AVs began working in Pike County, nobody else had been doing anything about poverty there.

. The Whitesburg Municipal Housing Commission is accepting applications for two-bedroom apartments. The commission said it has more applications than space available for one-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. The commission has 40 apartments for rent and says it expects to start work soon on 60 more. The minimum rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $33 a month.

. The Little Shepherd Trail has become the key to unlocking modern tourism development in the Cumberland Mountains area of southeastern Kentucky, state offi cials say. The unpaved trail stretches for 38 miles along the 2,800-foot crest of Pine Mountain from Whitesburg to Harlan.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1978 Standard Oil of Indiana has reached an “agreement in principle” with Blue Diamond Coal Co. to buy all of the “coal assets” of the Knoxville-based corporation, according to a Standard Oil spokesman. Blue Diamond owns the Scotia mine in Letcher County where 26 men were killed in twin methane gas explosions in March, 1976. The company is involved in a number of legal battles stemming from the disaster including a suit by the 15 widows from the first explosion seeking $60 million. That suit is now on appeal in the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced the formation of a task group to identify, isolate, and propose remedies to the limitations on housing and community development in the 16 major coal-producing counties in east Kentucky, including Letcher County.

. The state highway department has released a map detailing which Letcher County roads will get priority treatment for snow removal this winter. Top attention will go to Ky 15, U.S. 119, U.S. 23, and Ky 805.

. “Raspberry Red,” a good old-fashioned high school comedy, will be presented by the Whitesburg High School Drama Club at 8 p.m. tonight in the Whitesburg Middle School auditorium. The play is about a young boy named Red, played by Mike Warf, and how he learns a valuable lesson in keeping clean — in an interesting way.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1988 The state Department of Transportation has agreed to do a preliminary study on whether KY 15 should be widened to

four lanes from Campton to Whitesburg. Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman last summer proposed widening the road into a four-lane connector between I-75/64 in Kentucky and I-81 in Virginia. However Gorman said that a committee set up by the Kentucky River Area Development District to promote the idea had not yet met, because he is still trying to “plant the seeds” for the idea among state officials.

. The Family Foundation of America, a nonprofit Florida-based relief organization, has adopted Letcher County and began its work this week with the delivery of more than 1,000 stuffed toys for needy children. The organization’s founders arrived Monday towing a trailer behind their car. A tractor-trailer loaded with 40,000 pounds of clothing, food and toys is scheduled to arrive Friday. The shipment is being sent by the Mormon Church through the Family Foundation.

. Michael Sizemore, 26, of Premium, killed a 19-pound male bobcat while he was hunting on an auger road above his home. Sizemore shot the animal with a shotgun.

. William Henry and Florence Richmond will celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary December 8 at their home on Dry Fork. She is 87 and he is 83.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1998 The City of Whitesburg has received formal notice that it may have constructed two retention ponds for its new water treatment plant on land the city does not own. Former Whitesburg Mayor James Asher, representing Letcher County coal operator Wilford Niece, wrote Whitesburg Mayor Jack Howard that Niece is the owner of the property, which adjoins the water purification plant. Niece is asking “that these ponds be removed immediately,” Asher wrote Howard.

. Land, known locally as the “Lucas property” and proposed as the site for a Letcher County recreation complex, may be sold at public auction December 19. The land is owned by the heirs of the late

Willie Lucas, who farmed it for a number of years. As a result of construction fill deposited during the construction of the Whitesburg bypass, the property gained about 11 acres of land and has been appraised at $600,000.

. A memorial service for former Whitesburg resident Frances Renaker Ammerman, 97, will be held December 5. She died November 24. Mrs. Ammerman was a former Letcher County teacher and she and her husband, the late Lewis Conner Ammerman, owned and operated Ammerman Motor Co. in Whitesburg.

. The Letcher Eagles lost at home to Cordia November 24, 108-105.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2008 Police say customers were able to buy more than apples and beans at a Whitesburg fruit and vegetable stand. George Thomas, 66, of Whitesburg, was arrested at his produce stand located behind Rite- Aid Pharmacy after the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department investigated allegations that Thomas was selling prescription narcotics illegally.

. The Environmental Protection Agency, rejecting pleas from state governors and environmental groups, signed off this week on making it easier to dump mountaintop mining waste near rivers and streams. The EPA said it did so because it secured additional safeguards. The new rule would rewrite a regulation enacted in 1983 that bars mining companies from dumping huge waste piles within 100 feet of temporary streams when it could diminish water quality and quantity.

Kentucky State Police are looking for three men who recently conned an elderly Letcher County couple out of $900. Police say the men offered to lightning proof a home for a charge of $14, and when the work was finished the men raised the price to $900.

The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars edged newly consolidated Harlan County High School 51-46.

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