Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Early edition Pictured above is a copy of one of the earliest editions of The Mountain Eagle that still exists. This front page was printed on December 17, 1908, just about 16 months after the very first edition of The Eagle appeared on August 7, 1907.

Early edition Pictured above is a copy of one of the earliest editions of The Mountain Eagle that still exists. This front page was printed on December 17, 1908, just about 16 months after the very first edition of The Eagle appeared on August 7, 1907.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1908 A new trial has been granted to Floyd Frazier, who was convicted in Letcher Circuit Court for the murder of Mrs. Ellen Flanary. In granting the new trial, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said the trial judge committed a reversible error when he failed to give the jury instructions on selfdefense. Frazier was convicted in Letcher Circuit Court in May 1907.

. Dr. J.E. Venters has sold his interest in the Letcher County Home Telephone Company. Booker Venters is the new partner of W.B. Webb.

. The 11-year-old daughter of I.D. Caudill was killed in a house fire Saturday at Indian Bottom, near the mouth of Rockhouse. The child was apparently asleep in bed when a spark caught her bedclothes on fire. No one else was in the room at the time.

. U.S. Army soldier Melvin Caudill writes to the editor of The Mountain Eagle from Fort McIntosh, Texas, about missing his Letcher County home and how he hopes to return here as “a citizen” in about a year. “I often take in bullfights, which are the usual Sunday afternoon attraction in old Mexico,” Caudill writes. “The trees here are as green now as they are in May in dear old Letcher County, and the yards are full of nice flowers.”

. T.G. Wright, a school principal from Craftsville in Letcher County, announces that he will open a “subscription school” at the mouth of Millstone. Classes will begin on January 4, 1909. The price for students attending primary grades is $1 per month. Intermediate grades will cost $1.50 per month.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1928 Neon Police Chief N.M. Bentley shot and killed a 25-year-old Knott County man early Saturday night at C.J. Strickland’s restaurant. The fatal shooting occurred after Chief Bentley and Neon Police Judge Tolliver were called to the restaurant to arrest Charlie Gibson, who was being drunk and disorderly. When Bentley spoke to Gibson, Gibson pulled out a .38 special handgun and attempted to shoot Bentley, who fired at Gibson twice. Gibson, a son of Isaac Gibson of Hindman, had been working at McRoberts and living with a brother who owns a grocery store in Neon.

. Well-known Kingdom Come resident Drew Frazier was badly injured when he was run over by a horse-drawn wagon near his home a few days ago.

. Letcher State Bank, Whitesburg, is now paying four-percent interest on savings accounts.

. The Combs Hotel in Hazard, believed to be the largest hotel in the mountains, was destroyed by fire early Saturday night. At least 10 people are believed to have perished in the flames.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 1938 Letcher County Schools Superintendent Watson C. Webb is being credited for leading the successful effort to persuade the federal Works Progress Administration to build a new school building in Neon at a cost of $143,712. The new elementary school building will stand two stories tall and hold 23 classrooms. It will be built on property near the present Fleming High School building.

. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad seeking authority from the Kentucky Railroad Commission to abandon ticket service at Roxana, beginning January 1.

. Sanders Collins returned to Whitesburg from Louisville this week in a new 1939 Chevrolet car, which he will use as a demonstrator. He says a train-carload of the vehicles will arrive at Boone Motor Company in a few days.

. Many of the WPA workers have been transferred from the Spring Branch road project at lower Rockhouse to Whitesburg to begin work on a street project here.

. A U.S. District Court judge has ordered Letcher County to pay $14,550 to the Women’s Catholic Order of Foresters for bond payments on which the county has defaulted.

. Tex Ritter stars in “Starlight Over Texas,” showing at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg on December 23-24.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1948 A Letcher County man, separated from his wife just four days earlier, shot her and two other women to death in Virginia on Tuesday before critically wounding himself. Before the eyes of his terrified two-year-old daughter, 35-year-old Leon Caldwell of Burdine shot his wife to death and then killed his mother-in-law and his wife’s sister before turning his gun on himself. Police in Portsmouth, Va., broke down the locked door of the sister’s apartment and found little Carolyn Caldwell sobbing over the body of her mother, Mrs. Delores Caldwell, 25. Mrs. Pearl Stout, 50, also of Burdine and the mother of Mrs. Caldwell lay dying with Caldwell sprawled unconscious nearby. He was taken to a hospital, but is near death. Neighbors said Mrs. Ruby Culbertson, Mrs. Caldwell’s sister, fled screaming down the back stairs after the shooting. Halfway to the ground she crumpled and fell to the bottom of the stairs, where she was found dead. Detective

A.P. Brockwell said Mrs. Culbertson had been shot before she fled from the room. Mrs. Stout, who traveled to Portsmouth with Mrs. Caldwell to live with Mrs. Culbertson, died on the way to the hospital. Police say that on December 13, Caldwell telephoned his wife and asked her to return to Burdine. She refused to do so immediately, but said she would think it over, Detective Brockwell said. Caldwell then hired a taxicab in Kentucky and started out for Virginia. Police said he stopped and bought a handgun at Pound on his way to the apartment. Police said Mrs. Culbertson ran down the back stairs, followed by Mrs. Caldwell’s two other children from a previous marriage — Glenda Douglas, 9, and Roger David Douglas, 4. Caldwell, who is conscious though not expected to live, made a full confession. He said he bought the pistol “with intention to use it.” The bodies were to be brought back to Letcher County for burial on Elk Creek.

. Whitesburg City Police Chief Hillard Profitt is calling on parents of school-aged children to help him teach them how to cross the road at the new stoplights the city purchased recently. “I am painting yellow lines for them to cross the streets,” Profitt said. “You parents can help by teaching the child to cross the streets between the yellow line only when the lights are green. Also, the school teachers should caution the children to do the same.”

. Jenkins Bottling Plant, owned and operated by the Champion Stores, has been purchased by the Neon Bottling Company and will be moved to Neon.

. The remains of T-Sgt. Luther Lucas, neon of Arthur and Nannie Sergent Lucas of Farraday, were returned home from France on December 10 for reburial in the family plot of the Thornton Cemetery. Sgt. Lucas entered the Army in 1942 and was killed in action in France on January 19, 1945. He was 24 years old. He was a miner with the Elkhorn Collieries Coal Corporation at Farraday before he entered the service.

. A new church has been organized in Dairy Hollow at Jenkins. The Lily Church now has an enrollment of 45 in its Sunday school.

. Funeral services were held Saturday at the St. George Catholic Church in Jenkins for well-known Letcher County stone mason Arthur Calabretta, 66, who died last Thursday at the Fleming hospital, where he was being treated for heart problems. Known as “King Arthur” to his many friends, Calabretta was a native of Italy. He came to work in the United States in 1909. His only surviving relative in Letcher County is Joe Romeo, his brother-in-law. Together, Calabretta and Romeo worked to build many of the best buildings in Letcher County. Calabretta’s wife and two children still live in Sant’Andrea, Italy.

. Kyva Motor Company is one of only 26 car dealerships in the United States that have held Pontiac franchises for 25 years or more. Kyva Motor president and general manager Wilson S. Renaker and the other 25 dealers were honored in Pontiac, Michigan last week, where Harry J. Klinger, general manager of Pontiac Motor Division and vice president of General Motors Corporation presented each with a gold watch. “This is one of the oldest dealerships anywhere in the country today,” Klinger said of Kyva. “It is among the pioneers in America’s greatest industry.” Renaker was elected president of Kyva Motor when it was formed at Millstone on January 17, 1923. He was only a part-time dealer in those days, working for South- East Coal Company in Millstone during the day and selling cars at night. That first year, Letcher County citizens bought 18 Oaklands, the forerunner of Pontiac. In 1942, Renaker bought all of the outstanding stock of the dealership. His immediate family now controls it. Renaker’s son-inlaw, Russell Price, a graduate of the General Motors Institute, is now vice president of the company.

. Randolph Scott and Marguerite Chapman star in western “Coroner Creek,” showing Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Whitesburg High School football players Porky Polly, Gayle Fields, and Alex Hall were named to the Big Sandy All-Conference team. Yellowjacket players James Gose and Harrison Garret received honorable mention.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 1958 A visitor to the office of Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon demonstrated the seriousness of Letcher County’s growing unemployment problem this week. A lady from McRoberts came to Whitesburg to ask Dixon to contact a son who is in the Army. She said her husband, a coal miner who has been unemployed for four years, was at home dying from cancer. The woman said she has absolutely no money and can’t get her husband in a hospital for care because she can’t pay the bill. Bill Fleming, president of a UMW local at Jenkins, says that of the 937 miners in his local, only 200 currently have jobs while many of the 737 without work have exhausted their unemployment benefits. He said 150 of the jobless miners have no income at all.

. The typical Letcher County family receiving commodities is composed of five persons and receives the following each month: 10 pounds of cheese; five pounds of rice; 18 pounds of dried milk; 30 pounds of flour; 25 pounds of meal, and eight pounds of butter. The value of those foods is estimated at about $25,

said Letcher County Judge Arthur Dixon. Dixon added that the county has been notifi ed that no more cheese will be shipped here.

. Ronald Polly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Millard Polly of McRoberts, is a member of the University of Kentucky Debate Team that took top honors in the Dixie Classic Debate Tournament last week. The UK team, composed of Polly and one other youth, was the only undefeated team in the tournament. Polly is a graduate of Jenkins High School.

. Mr. and Mrs. James Breeding of Whitesburg are the proud parents of a new seven pound, six ounce baby girl born Monday (December 15) at the Whitesburg Memorial Hospital. The baby has been named Rachel Ann.

. Bill Jordan of Jenkins has announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination for the office of state representative. One other Democrat, Harry M. Caudill of Whitesburg, announced his candidacy earlier.

. A program featuring the development of the new Lonesome Pine Airport in Wise, Virginia was presented to the Jenkins Kiwanis Club on Thursday evening.

. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr star in An Affair to Remember,” showing December 18-20 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1968 The Kentucky Department of Transportation is giving serious consideration to tunneling through Pine Mountain with the new routing of US 119. Core drilling has been in progress for several months in the area considering the most likely for the tunnel — starting at the head of Big Cowan and continuing for about a mile and a quarter. The cost is estimated at $28 million.

. Jenkins Mayor R. Percy Elkins says he has received word that the federal Economic Development Administration is willing to provide funds to buy the Jenkins water system, now owned by Kentucky Water Co. of Louisville. U.S. Rep. Carl D. Perkins told Elkins EDA would be willing to make a grant of 70 percent of the cost and a loan of 30 percent to buy and improve the system. The city has filed a complaint with the Kentucky Public Service Commission asking the PSC to help the city in its efforts to force the water company to provide better service to Jenkins.

. Two Whitesburg High School football stars — Joe Hunsucker and Ralph Coldiron — have been selected for the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference all-conference team.

. The Appalachian Volunteers have asked for a federal civil rights investigation into efforts of the Kentucky Unamerican Activities Committee to persuade Gov. Louie B. Nunn to take whatever steps are necessary to end the AV program in eastern Kentucky. They say the KUAC is unconstitutional and its investigations of the AVs is violating the U.S. Constitution, particularly the freedom of speech, assembly and association.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1978 Six residents of Letcher County were arrested and $10,546.23 in stolen property

was recovered in what Sheriff Vernon Hall called a crackdown on “one of the biggest theft rings we’ve ever had in Letcher County.” The arrests were part of six-month joint investigation by the Kentucky State Police criminal investigations division, the Greenup County Sheriff ’s Department, and the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department. Table saws, motorcycles, building supplies, boat engines and trailers, electric tools and six vehicles have been found and will be returned to their original owners.

. Beginning February 16, Universal Studios will be in Letcher County filming the movie version of Loretta Lynn’s book, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The cast and crew of approximately 100 will be working in the county for about a month.

. The City of Neon is negotiating the purchase of a 13-acre site behind the Harlow Motor Company garage for a site for housing for the elderly. Mayor James Seals said Harlow is asking $100,000 for the site, which contains three acres of bottomland.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1988 A newly formed “Letcher County Drug Task Force” has made five arrests for drug and alcohol sales, and police officers said more arrests are expected. Sheriff ’s deputies, constables and city police offi cers from Whitesburg, Neon and Jenkins raided buildings in five areas over the weekend, arresting five persons and confi scating beer, liquor, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

. Construction on a new housing project will begin near Goose Creek after Christmas, Fleming-Neon Mayor James Seals said. The privately owned project will include 36 apartments in four buildings and will be built on land bought from HOMES, Inc. The complex will be called Mountain Pride Apartments.

. Letcher County’s unemployment rate fell slightly from September to October at the same time the labor force grew by about 50 persons. Figures from the state Cabinet for Human Resources show that 7,518 persons held jobs in the county during October, and 906 were actively seeking employment but could not find work. The October unemployment rate was 10.8 percent, down from 11 percent in September.

. The Lady Pirates of Fleming-Neon High School defeated Buckhorn 79-49, and Leslie County 43-42.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1998 Despite progress over the past six years, schools in eastern Kentucky continue to lag behind schools in the rest of the state. Scores on the most recent statewide test just released show eastern Kentucky school districts still four to seven points behind their counterparts in the rest of the state. Two Letcher County high schools, Whitesburg and Fleming-Neon, are third and fourth from the bottom in the ranking of the state’s 229 high schools. They were declared “in decline” in the most recent test scoring.

. State Rep. Paul Mason of Whitesburg was in critical condition Monday at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. Mason, 63, underwent surgery for removal of a benign pancreatic tumor on November 30.

. The Image Entry data processing facil-

ity may open temporarily in the large building that is now partly occupied by Whitesburg City Hall. London-based Image Entry has been looking for a temporary home since it announced it late October that it would open a plant in Letcher County that will hire up to 150 people. The company eventually hopes to build a permanent facility on the Whitesburg Industrial Site.


The jobless rate in Letcher County rose eight-tenths of a percent to 7.8 percent in October, according to figures released by the Kentucky Cabinet on Workforce Development. The county’s jobless rate was down .9 percent from October 1997.


DECEMBER 10, 2008

A Letcher County grand jury says Kentucky’s timber theft problem could be reduced significantly if laws were enacted to require special licenses for loggers and landowners. The jury also recommends that the logging industry be required to buy public notice advertising similar to that now required of coal companies before they start mining operations.


The City of Fleming- Neon is “holding its own” with drought conditions, and water levels in the city’s two wells are slowly inching upward, according to Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips. Phillips told the Fleming-Neon City Council that thanks to a rainy autumn and voluntary conservation measures taken by water customers, the city’s water supply is making a comeback, even if it is slow.


The Ermine Senior Citizen Center won the Senior Center of the Year Award, writes Lizzie M. Wright. “Twenty-five members from our center went to Hazard to see our site manager, Debbie Slone, receive the award. County Judge Jim Ward and Eddie Meade were there also.”


Writing about wintertime fishing, columnist Greg “Gabby” Caudill says, “Planning a winter trip ahead of time can really make all the difference in the world in your success and safety of your winter trip. One of the best tips I could give for a winter fishing trip would be to know the behavior of the type of fish you want to catch and to choose a lake that is know to have good winter fishing for that fish.”

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