Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

 

 

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 1919

For the first time in 11 weeks, schools at Whitesburg and Whitco resumed classes this week after being closed for the flu epidemic. This week, about 150 students returned to classes at Whitesburg Grade School. The school’s furnace is working again after being rebuilt by Whitesburg contractor A.C. Brown.

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U.S. Army soldier Arlie Boggs, of the 51st Regiment, writes to his Letcher County friends and family members from France through The Mountain Eagle to let them know he is safe and sound after having “safely crossed the great barrier, known as the battlefield.” Writes Boggs, “I have been in the very thickest and deadliest of fighting, and you can perhaps realize how good we feel in knowing that we have had a hand in putting the Kaiser and hordes to flight and, it looks to me, out of business.” Boggs cannot hide his happiness with the thought of returning home to his native Letcher County after experiencing the Big War. “We can hardly contain ourselves when it appears to us that we can surely in the near future meet our old friends again back in dear old Letcher. The very name — oh, the thought of it is sweet to us but Letcher so far, far away. … Let us thank God and the hand that He directed that the war is over.”

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“Now that the hush of the battle storm is on and peace is dawning on the horizon, (this is) the first time any of us are permitted to reveal our whereabouts,” Letcher County soldier Wiley Adams writes to The Mountain Eagle from France, where he has been stationed during the “Big War.” Writes Adams: “I am in Central or South France just a little bit South of the Seine River, about 90 miles from the bloody battle line when the Armistice was signed. … You may put it down that I am having a good time, but I am sorry — really sorry — that I did not get to the battle line and try what I know I feel like I have the ‘spunk’ to do.” Adams continues, “France is indeed all it has been pictured to be, and ideal land of sunshine and flowers, but somehow or other it does not appeal to me.”

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Flu has claimed the lives of two “precious” Letcher County mothers. J.A. Harr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Bentley, leaves a husband and four children to mourn her heavy loss. Mrs. Bill Williams, a daughter of Bow Williams of Kingdom Come, also leaves a husband and several small children.

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The Mountain Eagle enters this week upon its 13th year of existence,” a notice on the front page of this week’s edition says. “People who are slow paying are not good for its progress.”

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“Wednesday’s heavy rains precipitated a big tide in the North Fork and, as a result, trains are running behind time or entirely tied up,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

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“As we close our columns this week the snow — the beautiful snow — is covering everything white,” The Eagle concludes in this four-page edition.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 1929

Two well-known Letcher County families were involved in a New Year’s Eve shooting that left one man dead. John D. Blair, of Rockhouse, was killed by a gunshot fired by William Wright, son of Tilden Wright of Millstone. The shooting occurred in the Wright home after Blair showed up to discuss a personal matter with Wright, who at the time was also being visited by Ben J. Adams. Authorities are told that Tilden Wright’s son, William, shot Blair after the younger Wright walked into the dining room of the home and saw Blair threatening his father with a .38-caliber handgun. Blair was shot four times, including one shot to the head. [See related coverage, this page.]

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“No man in Letcher County or eastern Kentucky was better known that Felix G. Fields,” The Mountain Eagle observes in a front-page story. “He was in his 48th year and in the midst of a strong and alert physical, mental and political manhood.” Sadly, Fields died Tuesday morning at the Jenkins hospital, leaving behind his wife, three sons, and a number of brothers and sisters. He became ill on his way from Pikeville, where he was living temporarily. The former Letcher County Attorney was also postmaster here for a number of years and was active in Prohibition enforcement. He represented Consolidation Coal Company. Surviving sons are Emmitt, Orell and Archie.

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An L&N Railroad engineer on the Lexington to-McRoberts train No. 4 was killed when his train was derailed near High Bridge in central Kentucky. John Daily, 50, of Lexington, jumped from his cab when the train left the tracks and hit his head against a rock.

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The McRoberts School will be closed for some time because of the flu outbreak.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1948

For the first time in nearly 40 years, the U.S. Congress is expected to vote to approve a pay raise for the office of the President. A Senate subcommittee has a bill ready that would raise the pay by $25,000, which would leave President Harry S. Truman as the government’s first $100,000 a year man. The last time a president got a pay raise was in 1909, when William Howard Taft’s pay was hiked to $75,000 from $50,000.

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Enoch R. Holbrook is the lucky winner of the 1949 Ford car given away on Christmas Eve by downtown Whitesburg merchants. It is estimated that as many as 5,000 people were gathered for the drawing.

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Robert B. Collins announces his candidacy for sheriff in the August Democratic primary election.

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Red Skelton stars in “Fuller Brush Man,” showing Sunday and Monday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 1, 1959

Letcher County reported only nine polio cases in 1958, but the cost of treating patients with the disease remains high here. Obligations of $14,067 were incurred during the past year in assisting with the medical care of 39 patients.

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A large area around Neon was without lights for about six hours Saturday night after an auto struck a utility pole on the Neon road in front of Hillard Kincer’s home.

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Letcher Circuit Court will convene at 10 a.m. next Monday. Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells of Hazard will preside over 65 criminal cases, including the murder case of Maxwell Oliver, who is accused in the slaying last fall of Conley Potter. Potter was killed while he and his cousin, a deputy constable, were attempting to bring Oliver and a woman companion to the Letcher County Jail.

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Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin star in “The Young Lions,” showing Sunday through Monday at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 26, 1968

The Leslie, Knott, Letcher, Perry Community Action Council is expecting a 10- to 15-percent cut in funds during the next fiscal year.

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Robert Collins reportedly is considering running against incumbent Letcher County Judge James M. Caudill in the 1969 Democratic primary election. Republicans are indicating support for Estill Blair as their party’s nominee for county judge. Sheriff Maynard Hogg is not eligible to succeed himself, but no other candidates have come forward.

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Jack Rivel, a former assistant director of the Appalachian Volunteers, has been employed by the Eastern Kentucky Housing Development Corporation. Pat Gish, executive director of the agency, said Rivel will work with community groups and other interested persons to develop housing for low-income families in the LKLP area.

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Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser says a Christmas dinner at the Millstone Sewing Center, a community agency where she works, will feature “turkey and trimmings and shucky beans.”

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1978

Three Letcher County residents told the President’s Commission on Coal this week about housing conditions in the eastern Kentucky coalfields. Leonard Fleming of Kona, a United Mine Workers of America union local president; Ed Harris, an official of Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. in Jenkins; and Pat Gish, of Eastern Kentucky Housing Development Corp in Neon, told the commission that coal miners are having trouble getting loans for housing on terms they can afford.

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Most of the miners who work for Elkhorn and Jellico Coal Co. were laid off this week, apparently victims of declining markets and failing coal prices which are beginning to be felt by many mining operations through the eastern Kentucky and central Appalachian coalfields. Company officials declined to release exact figures, but some of the men who were laid off said about 100 had been released from their jobs, leaving a workforce of some two dozen men.

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Letcher County sheriff ’s deputies stopped two men for speeding and running a stop sign near Eolia and found their pickup truck was loaded with stolen mining equipment. Sheriff Vernon Hall said the equipment had been taken earlier from three mines on the Kentucky-Virginia border owned by Big M Mining Co. of Pardee, Va.

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Staff Sergeant Lunford Hollyfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Collins Hollyfield of Jenkins, has arrived for duty at Spangdahlem, Germany. Sergeant Hollyfield, a metal processing specialist with a unit of the U.S. Air Force in Europe, previously served at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. He is a 1966 graduate of Jenkins High School.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 1988

B.J. Ewing of Nesbitt Engineering in Hazard, says the engineers have broken down the proposed new Whitesburg water system into three phases and the first phase — a new one-million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant — appears to have a good chance of being paid for with federal money.

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Two dozen new high-paying coal mining jobs had more than 1,300 people, some driving as far as 100 miles, going to Pikeville to fill out applications. An official of Sidney Coal Co., which offered the positions, said he had mixed feelings about the turnout, but it seemed a sad statement about the economy of eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia.

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The big sports winners of 1988 were the women. Sisters-in-law Florence Griffith Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee combined to win five gold medals at the Seoul Olympics, speed skater Bonnie Blair revived America’s hopes at Calgary, Steffi Graf won the Grand Slam in tennis and Olympic Gold, while Winning Colors became only the third filly to win the Kentucky Derby.

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The visiting Lady Pirates of Fleming-Ne- on kept their perfect record intact at 8-0 with a 66-42 victory over Whitesburg.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 1998

Two men were exhausted but uninjured after volunteers with the Neon Rescue Squad and the Pound (Va.) Rescue Squad pulled them from the floor of a deep cave near Jenkins. Police said the two Kingsport, Tenn., men became trapped on the floor of the cave on Pine Mountain after rappelling 220 feet from the entrance located below the new rest area on U.S. Hwy. 23, near the Kentucky-Virginia state line. Rescuers were notified that the two men were trapped after a third man was able to climb to safety and call relatives on a cellular telephone.

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Letcher County Court Clerk Charlie Wright was guest of honor at a reception held in the office of his nephew, Letcher Circuit Judge Samuel T. Wright III, in the new courthouse. Charlie Wright has been county clerk for the past 49 years but did not seek reelection this year. He was first elected to office in 1949.

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Basil Hall, 32, of Sinnett in Leslie County, was killed in an accident a Unicorn Mining’s Copeland Mine in Bledsoe. Hall died when he fell from a moving mantrip while riding 2-1/2 miles into the mine. Hall’s death was the 10th mining fatality in Kentucky this year.

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The Jenkins Lady Cavaliers will host their annual invitational, Community Trust Bank’s New Year’s Eve Classic. In the two-pool, six-team round robin format, each team is guaranteed at least three games with the eventual tourney champion playing four games in a three-day period.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2008

A Mountain Eagle editorial expressed appreciation for the kind words spoken about the late Tom Gish, who died last month after publishing the Eagle for nearly 52 years. After saying how much the family had been comforted by generous expressions of support from friends and neighbors both near and far, the editorial continues, saying “The next time you know a family has lost a loved one, let them know that you care. Visit them if you can, even if only for a little while. Shake some hands, give some hugs, and share some stories . . . It all adds up.”

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Judge T. Todd Hodgdon says he will need at least 30 days to decide whether coal miner Charles Scott Howard of Roxana was wrongly disciplined in 2007 for videotaping underground safety problems and showing the footage to federal inspectors. Judge Hodgdon made the pronouncement after hearing testimony for two days in the trial of a discrimination complaint filed against Appalachia, Va.- based Cumberland River Coal Co. Howard originally filed the complaint with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration about three weeks after he received a written warning from Cumberland River Coal for potentially creating an unsafe work environment when he made a videotape of water pouring through faulty mine seals underground in April 2007.

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Members of the Jenkins Independent Board of Education say there is no truth to rumors that McRoberts Elementary School will be closing. Board Chairman Durward Narramore said he was concerned about what he called unfounded rumors that the board planned to close the school.

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Almost 200 Whitesburg High School alumni donated a total of more than $38,000 to purchase a Steinway “B” concert grand piano for Letcher County Central High School.

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