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The Way We Were

First insulin shot given in 1922 Pictured here is Sir Frederick Banting, discoverer of insulin and head of the Banting Institute of Toronto, obligingly donning a ten-gallon hat to pose for the photographer during his sojourn at Jasper National Park, Alberta, July 1, 1936. On January 23, 1922, 14-year-old Canadian Leonard Thompson became the first person to receive an insulin injection as treatment for diabetes. Until then, the only way to treat diabetes was through dieting. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press)

First insulin shot given in 1922 Pictured here is Sir Frederick Banting, discoverer of insulin and head of the Banting Institute of Toronto, obligingly donning a ten-gallon hat to pose for the photographer during his sojourn at Jasper National Park, Alberta, July 1, 1936. On January 23, 1922, 14-year-old Canadian Leonard Thompson became the first person to receive an insulin injection as treatment for diabetes. Until then, the only way to treat diabetes was through dieting. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press)

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 1909

Millionaire capitalists John C.C. Mayo, Johnson Newlon Camden Jr., and others toured the rich coalfields of Letcher County’s Boone Fork and Elkhorn Creek last week. “It is useless to add that the gentlemen unacquainted with the vast wealth of coking coal and virgin timber of this section were simply elated over our boundless wealth in natural resources — resources that will bring Eastern Kentucky to the front and make her the richest country under the sun,” an anonymous columnist writes in The Mountain Eagle’s weekly feature Sergent Sayings.

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The Letcher County Republican Committee voted unanimously to schedule a primary election for April 9 for the purpose of nominating candidates for county offices.

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The Mountain Eagle says it now has “nearly 800 intelligent subscribers in Letcher County and the list grows.”

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 1929

A former Whitco man has been sentenced to two years in the Kentucky State Reformatory after being found guilty in Letcher Circuit Court on the charge of child desertion. Tom Williams left his two young children and wife in Whitco some two years after the couple were married.

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The state highway between Jenkins and Whitesburg is nearly impassable after a series of freezes and thaws. “No one who knew the conditions that ordinarily prevail in winter in this country pretended to believe that the little thin strip of sandstone in the surfacing would stand up long. It was foolish to believe that it would,” The Mountain Eagle reports on its front page.

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John Jones, 85, is one of only three Confederate soldiers who are still alive today in Letcher County. Also living are Chunk Craft and Noah Reedy. Two Union soldiers from Letcher County are still alive. They are Jim Collins and John Sexton.

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A member of one of Letcher County’s earliest pioneer families has died at age 81. Enoch A. Holbrook, a grandson of Dutch Webb, died Tuesday at his home near Mayking.

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Traveling salesman working up and down the railroad line between Jackson and McRoberts report that trade in the coalfields is the “slackest” they have seen in many months.

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Longtime Neon merchant W.E. Wright closing his store.

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The flu outbreak has hit the Carbon Glow community hard. The coal company there has had two relief doctors and a nurse on duty during the epidemic.

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Unusually high winds Friday afternoon blew off a portion of the roof of the gymnasium at the Stuart Robinson School at Blackey.

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A loaf of bread is on sale at the A&P Store in Whitesburg this week for six cents, or two loaves for nine cents.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 1949

A Letcher Circuit Court jury returned a verdict of not guilty in the trial of Hassel Smith, who along with his brother, Carlos, was charged in the September 1948 shooting death of Deputy Letcher County Constable Matthew Collins. The found that Hassel Smith, 24, was acting in self defense. According to testimony, Hassel and Carlos Smith, 26, and a third brother stopped at the Sawdust Junction near Isom to get something to eat on their way to work. Upon their arrival, Matthew and Bennie Collins searched them and took their knives and other small objects. When the Smiths finished eating and asked that the items taken from them be returned, an argument broke out and Matthew and Bennie Collins threatened to take the brothers to jail. Bennie Collins then drew his gun and fired a shot at Carlos Smith, the bullet grazing his arm. Hassel Smith was able to take Bennie Collins’s gun from him and used it to shoot Matthew Collins in the chest after he saw the latter aiming his gun at at him. Witnesses testified that Matthew Collins kept shooting at Hassel Smith until Smith was able to also take his gun from him. A prosecution witness admitted that Matthew Collins drew his gun while the Smith brothers were pleading with him not to shoot them.

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Goebel Adams of Mayking and Jess Holbrook of Kona attended the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman held in Washington, D.C. on January 20.

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Mrs. Bill Deaton, 63, was in critical condition at the Fleming Hospital, where she was taken after being hit by a passenger car as she was standing on a sidewalk in front of her Haymond home. The driver of the car was a teenager from Jackhorn who was accompanied by his girlfriend.

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A large crowd attended a military funeral held Sunday at Whitaker for brothers Braton and Buford Salyers, who were killed in action in the European Theater in World War II.

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Mothers from Roxana are calling on local officials to build a road to serve the homes where they live. “We live in the section between Roxana and Blackey, a section where there is no road of any kind,” the women write. “Our only means of travel is by railroad. If you happen to live on the other side of the river you just don’t travel in there winter.” The mothers are sharing stories of medical emergencies they confront regularly, including the refusal of doctors in the county to travel to their homes for child births. It took one family 12 hours to get a doctor to their home to help an elderly woman who was seriously ill.

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A recent inspection of South-East Coal Company’s Seco No. 1 Mine by inspectors with the U.S. Bureau of Mines found the mine operating safely. The mine employed 226 men and produced 1,800 tons of coal a day at the time it was examined in December.

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D.C. Smith has taken over the operation of the bus station and restaurant at Jenkins on the first floor of the Recreation Building.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 29, 1959

The Eisenhower Administration and the Democratic Congress drew their battle lines sharply Tuesday over the issue of how much money the federal government should spend to help Eastern Kentucky and other distressed areas rebuild their economy. The Democrats have introduced a plan to use $379,500,000 to help areas such as Eastern Kentucky get new plants to combat unemployment. The White House is standing firm that no more than $55,000,000 should be invested in the project.

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All coal mines where workers are represented by the United Mine Workers of America were closed Tuesday in honor of late UMW District 30 President Sam Caddy, who died in Lexington on Saturday, a week after he suffered a heart attack. The native of England, who was 75, was sent to Kentucky in 1933 by UMW President John L. Lewis.

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Members of the Letcher Fiscal Court may become personally liable if they do not require all excess fees owed to the county are turned over to the county treasury, state Auditor of Public Accounts Mary Louise Foust said in a statement.

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Miss Cleo Stamper has been named to chair the recently-organized Letcher County Council for Education. The group, appointed by Letcher Schools Supt. W.B. Hall, is charged with determining the top needs of the county’s schools.

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Coach Dan Burton’s Whitesburg Yellowjackets continue to show improvement. They won their second straight game Saturday, 43 to 31, over the Cumberland Redskins.

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Nancy Bates, owner of the Style Shoppe in Whitesburg, has returned from a buying trip to New York City. She was accompanied by Barbara West.

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The Sapphire mine at Camp Branch ran four days each of the past two weeks.

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The rampaging Jenkins Cavaliers are now living up to earlier expectations. A recent seven-day period saw Coach Rex Chaney’s Cavs roll over Dorton, M.C. Napier, Wheelwright, and Fleming-Neon. The Green and White were underdogs in all four games, according to the Courier- Journal’s Litkenhouse ratings.

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The Dunham Blue Devils gained one of its most important victories of the season Saturday, dropping perennial 15th Region powerhouse Flat Gap, 61 to 60, in overtime at Jenkins.

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Strong winds Wednesday night damaged or blew off the roofs of several homes in the Neon area.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 1969

Eastern Kentucky will have to look to something besides the coal industry for a source of higher employment, said Harry LaViers Jr., vice president of South East Coal Company, at a seminar on economic development. South East Coal has extensive mining operations in Letcher County. LaViers said he doubted there will ever be a large-scale increase in coal employment. He explained that more and better machines will be used to meet the rising demand for coal.

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Taste anything different in your city water this past week? The Whitesburg water system began fluoridating the city water supply on January 14, and the next day the Kentucky Water Company plants at Jenkins and McRoberts also began adding fluoride to their water supplies.

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Anthony Duty, son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Duty of Neon, was promoted to Private First Class and assigned to the 589th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam on Dec. 29. Also serving in Vietnam is Technical Sergeant Roscoe L. Thomas, son of Mr. and Mrs. Watson Thomas of Whitesburg, who is on duty at Da Nang AB, Vietnam. Sergeant Thomas, a jet engine mechanic, is a member of the Pacific Air Forces. He is a 1954 graduate of Whitesburg High School. His wife, Sara, is the daughter of Mrs. Lula Newman, Blackey.

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“With the river running high we can see where most of the garbage is thrown,” writes Blackey correspondent Charles Ann Mullis. “I’m afraid the good people of Letcher County, or at least some of them, don’t care much how the riverbanks look.”

THURSDAY, JANUARY 18, 1979

Concluding a tour of Whitesburg Middle School and High School, the state fire marshal said he would recommend a structural stability check of the middle school building and a survey of the old high school by a certified electrician. In the middle school, the first marshal expressed concern over cracks in the supporting walls and the weakness of the wood floors. He noted the poorly spliced electrical wiring near wood door frames, insufficient ventilation in the boiler room and inadequate smoke detection devices. The fire marshal found the high school riddled with bad wiring and other potential fire hazards. The third floor of the building, sealed off since 1966, is used for storing broken wooden chairs, books, papers, boxes and other flammable items. Electricity was supposed to have been turned off when the floor was closed, but inspection revealed electricity was still on.

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Jenkins citizens won a temporary victory in their continuing battle against inadequate water service and skyrocketing water rates. By a vote of four to two, the Jenkins City Council voted against increasing rates by 25 percent at this time. The council may vote again on the increase next month.

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Two famed eastern Kentucky natives were in Whitesburg and Letcher County this week in connection with the making of the movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Loretta Lynn was here to look over proposed locations for the film about her life, and Lee Majors, a star in the movie, also was here. Miss Lynn is from Paintsville and Majors is from Middlesboro.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1989

Mayor James Asher says he plans to ask the Whitesburg City Council to sell the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant to Southeast Community College, a University of Kentucky community college located in Cumberland. Other suggestions for the building are a museum of Appalachian culture and a library.

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More than 200 students from 20 teams competed in the largest academic meet ever in Letcher County. The Letcher County Academic Tournament pitted teams from elementary and middle schools all over the county in written assessment and quick recall matches. A total of 233 students gathered for this year’s match, up from 204 in 1988.

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In praising the performance of the Harlan Boys Choir at the inauguration of President George Bush, columnist Ike Adams writes, “When those young guys sang ‘This Is My Country’ that indescribable flow of emotion that includes warmth and gladness and thankfulness began welling inside me before they had finished the first line.”

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The proposed closing of some recreation areas at Carr Fork Lake won’t hit the lake very hard, says the project supervisor at Carr Fork. The cuts are proposed in the 1990 federal budget, which would close some recreation areas at Carr Fork and other Kentucky lakes. U.S. Rep. Chris Perkins called the proposal “absolutely absurd”. “These facilities were built with the help of federal funds,” said Perkins. “To shut down existing facilities would be a complete waste of well spent taxpayer dollars.”

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 1999

Whitesburg and Letcher County officials will meet to decide how to proceed with renovations of Whitesburg City Hall intended to provide space for Image Entry Inc. The council gave the go-ahead January 12 for electrical work to begin on the condition that the data processing pay for it. Image Entry had announce a January 23 target date for startup of its operation.

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High winds broke power lines, knocked down trees and overturned an unoccupied mobile home at Ice. A storm line that started over Arkansas and moved quickly east brought springlike winds and rains to Letcher County. No injuries were reported but there was some property damage.

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District 5 Magistrate Wayne Fleming has proposed an ordinance like one in use at Jenkins that would allow the county to condemn and demolish abandoned houses that pose a fire or health hazard. County Attorney Harold Bolling is adapting the ordinance to fit the county’s needs before the fiscal court adopts it.

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The Jenkins Lady Cavaliers defeated two-time defending All-A state champion Hazard, 64-31, in the finals of the girls’ 14th Region All-A Classic tournament to earn a berth in next week’s All-A state tournament in Richmond.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2009

Barack Obama claimed his place in history as America’s first black president Tuesday. “We gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” said the nation’s 44th president at his inauguration.

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A subsidiary of Equitable Resources Inc., Equitable Production, is a natural gas company drilling wells and constructing pipelines in Letcher County. Its representative, Kevin West, appeared before Letcher Fiscal Court this week to apologize for damages to the new Thornton Park caused by heavy equipment belonging to a subcontractor. West said as soon as weather permits Equitable will repair the damages. [Note: The damages were never repaired.]

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The 6,000-acre Hensley-Pine Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Letcher County will be closed to all bear hunting and serves as a sanctuary for denning females, state officials say. On an additional 12,421 acres surrounding this wildlife management area, bear hunting will be limited to landowners, their spouses and dependent children hunting on their own property.

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“We have about 16 inches of snow and it keeps falling, with temperatures close to and below zero and winds that go right through a person,” writes Northeast Ohio columnist Emma Lou Engle.

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