Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Just what was ‘Whitco’ back in 1909? Pictured above is an image from an inside page of the February 4, 1909 edition of The Mountain Eagle. The ad asks the question, “What is Whitco?” We won’t tell you the answer in this week’s edition of The Eagle (January 30, 2019) but next week we will reprint a page from the February 11, 1909 edition that does.

Just what was ‘Whitco’ back in 1909? Pictured above is an image from an inside page of the February 4, 1909 edition of The Mountain Eagle. The ad asks the question, “What is Whitco?” We won’t tell you the answer in this week’s edition of The Eagle (January 30, 2019) but next week we will reprint a page from the February 11, 1909 edition that does.

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1909

Word is the Atlantic Coast Line Railway Company has for the price of $500,000 purchased the Lexington & Eastern Railway, a distance of 90 miles from Lexington to Jackson. It is also being reported that the railroad will be extended from Jackson through the rich coal and timber territories of southeastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia to Big Stone Gap and on through to Tidewater, Virginia. “This would give the Atlantic Coast Line control of the richest coal and timberlands in the South,” The Mountain Eagle reports in a story headlined, “If True The Following Will Be of Great Interest to Our Readers.” Adds the Eagle: “To say the railroad will be built through to Big Stone Gap must be erroneous, but we believe the road will go through Pound Gap or Osborn’s Gap and intersect with the Southern Railroad, which will soon be finished to the Breaks [of the Big Sandy]. When this is done the greatest coalfield on earth will be middled and a new era will dawn for Letcher County. Gentlemen, let the ‘tooter’ come and let every citizen along the route stand ready to throw at least one shovel of dirt.”

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The Letcher County Republican Executive Committee has changed the date of its recently-approved primary election for county offices from April 9 to April 16.

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“New quarters will soon be opened up in the Bull Hole and a keeper appointed,” a writer identified only as Joe predicts in his column, “Late Happenings.”

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“Gee did it turn cold!,” the writer known only as Joe exclaims in his column, “Late Happenings.”

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Nearly 100 pupils are now enrolled in the school at Whitesburg.

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“What Is Whitco?” an advertisement appearing at the top of Page 4 asks.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 1929

E.L. Walters of Jenkins visited the offices of The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg this week to announce he is leaving his positions as Vice President, Cashier, and Director of the First National Banks of Jenkins and Vice President and Director of the First National Bank of Fleming to accept a more lucrative job as Cashier of the Paintsville National Bank, a two-million dollar institution. A native of Johnson County, Mr. Walters is leaving Letcher County after 11 years of service here.

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Whitesburg is expected to soon have its own five and ten cent store. Reports are that the Hogg Building on Main Street that was formerly occupied by the City Grocery Store will soon be home to a store headquartered in Pikeville that is expected to not only handle five- and ten-cent goods but numbers of other articles at a higher price.

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N.R. Lindsay, charged with killing his brother at Fleming about six years ago, was tried and found guilty this week in Letcher Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 18 years in the state penitentiary.

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Fourteen Blackey residents, most of them children, have died of the flu in the past three weeks.

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Residents of Craftsville report that “everything is dull and quiet” there, with the cutting and hauling of lumber “the most active thing going on now.”

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Mantie Whitaker, widow of late Letcher County Jailer Fess Whitaker, has announced she is seeking the Republican Party nomination for the election to the office to which he was appointed after her husband’s death in an automobile accident.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 1949

All plumbers and carpenters employed by the Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins, McRoberts and elsewhere in southeastern Kentucky were fired January 31. The firings are the result of the company divesting itself of all real estate.

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Jenkins City Police officers on Friday helped law-enforcement officers from neighboring Virginia destroy a still on Pine Mountain, near the new railroad tunnel between Jenkins and Pound, Va. Officials say the still, located between the tunnel and Raven Rock, was being operated by three men when police arrived, all of whom “were mere shadows taking flight through the underbrush.” A crude cabin about 20 feet long by 20 feet wide housed the 200-gallon steam-type still that was recovered. Also recovered were 400 pounds of sugar, 200 pounds of meal, about 1,200 gallons of mash, and 16 gallons of moonshine whiskey.

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Single copy prices of The Mountain Eagle are rising to 10 cents as the result of increases in the cost of stock, labor and supplies. The new price for a one-year subscription is $3. A six-month subscription is now $1.75.

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Work resumed this week at Consolidation Coal Company Mine No. 214 at McRoberts after a labor dispute involving the duties assigned to loading machine operators and helpers was settled after a meeting with officials from the United Mine Workers of America.

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The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that 152 prisoners were put to death in the U.S. during 1947. Of these condemned prisoners, 128 were put to death for murder, 23 for rape, and one for burglary. Nearly half the executions occurred in five states — North Carolina (22, including one for burglary); Georgia (16); South Carolina (13); New York (12), and Pennsylvania (11). Of the total, 110 were listed as Negroes and 42 as whites. Six states — Maine, Rhode Island, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Carolina — do not have the death penalty.

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Mrs. Goebel Ritter, who has been in Letcher County visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James M. Caudill of Neon, left by plane on Sunday for an extended visit with her husband, Goebel Ritter. Mr. Ritter is playing professional basketball with the New York Knickerbockers.

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The American College of Surgeons has accredited the Sharon Heights Hospital of Jenkins. The hospital, formerly known as the Jenkins City Hospital, has been under the operation of Catholic sisters with the Congregation of Divine Providence since 1946. The College of Surgeons has also accredited the Lynch Hospital in Harlan County.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1959

Kentucky Highway Commissioner Ward Oates showed the Eastern Kentucky Regional Planning Commission a map this week tracing Y-shaped road to open up the central part of eastern Kentucky to industrial central Kentucky. A trunk arm would run from Winchester to Campton. From Campton, a southern arm would stretch to Whitesburg and a northern arm to Pikeville.

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Cromona postmistress Esther Branham died Tuesday in Paintsville after recently undergoing surgery. She was 41 years old and had worked at Cromona for the past 11 years.

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Russell Price, president and general manager of Kyva Motor Company, this week received a commission as “Kentucky Colonel” from Gov. A.B. Chandler.

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Whitesburg businessman Cossie Quillen asked members of the Whitesburg City Council to order the closings of Whitesburg High School and Whitesburg Grade School until school officials make the buildings as safe as possible against fires. City Fire Chief Remious Day said he recently submitted recommendations to the county school system for making the schools safer, but doesn’t believe the city has the authority to order the buildings closed.

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The Whitesburg Junior Chamber of Commerce is making plans to sponsor a “Miss Letcher County” contest and to send the winner to the “Miss Kentucky” contest later this year.

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Jim Caudill of Ulvah has gone back to his job at International Harvester in Indianapolis, Indiana after the settlement of a two-month strike.

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Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster star in “Run Silent, Run Deep,” showing at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg February 8-9.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 1969

“Black lung” is a new phrase describing an old ailment among coalminers — an inability to breathe normally after working a few years in the mines. What’s new about the situation is that a group of West Virginia physicians has been taking the initiative to get the situation corrected. Some 2,000 to 3,000 miners and former miners gathered in Charleston to hear noted cardiologist Dr. I.E. Buff tell them they are committing suicide when they work in dust-filled mines. They also heard Congressman Ken Hechler attack both the United Mine Workers union and the coal companies for not supporting effective health legislation.

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Thieves backed up a truck to the rear of B&F Furniture Co. on the Blackey road early Tuesday morning and made off with an estimated $20,000 in merchandise. Color television sets, radios, guns and watches were taken, according to store owner Begie Breeding Jr. Letcher County Sheriff Maynard Hogg said the truck believed to have been used to haul away the items had been recovered, and that the suspects had been identified and were under investigation.

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Airman First Class Arnold M. Blair, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Blair of Whitesburg, is a member of the first U.S. Air Force unit to fly the modified C-119 Fairchild transport as an attack aircraft in the Vietnam War. Blair is a graduate of Whitesburg High School and attended Morehead State College. His wife is the former Paulette K. Miller.

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Neither rain nor sleet nor snow or anything else is halting construction of the new KY 15 between Whitesburg and Hazard. Despite unusually severe winter weather, contractors and the road keep rolling along, except for an occasional day off in the most extreme situations.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 1979

Appalachian coal producers have entered the first quarter of 1979 overproducing coal, in the process creating a market trend that observers predict may not stabilize before year’s end. While utilities may benefit initially from lower prices, the depressed market — coupled with enforcement of the new strip mine regulations — may well drive a third of the producers (small companies that boom and bust with market cycles) permanently out of business, market analysts are warning.

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The Elkhorn division of the Beth- Elkhorn Corporation said this week that about 210 employees at the division’s Hendrix mine No. 22 near Deane were placed on layoff effective January 22. Mine No. 22, which has been producing coal for the steam generating and industrial heating market, has been idle since December 29, because of a lack of orders for steam coal.

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The widows of coal miners killed in the March 9, 1976 Scotia mine disaster in Letcher County have won the right to continue their $60 million lawsuit against Blue Diamond Coal Co. of Knoxville, Tenn. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati overturned—ona2to1vote—U.S. District Judge David Hermansdorfer’s ruling dismissing the damage suit filed by the widows.

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Sen. Wendell Ford has nominated Michael Majority of Whitesburg to the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo., for the class that starts in the fall of 1979. Majority is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Majority.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1989

The University of Kentucky has made no definite move to allow Southeast Community College to establish a Whitesburg extension, despite more than $300,000 in pledges from community businesses and residents. Though some local residents were under the impression that “Southeast Community College – Whitesburg Campus” would be an actual campus, Community College Chancellor Charles T. Wethington says the new extension would be a part of Southeast and would not be a college to itself.

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Mayking residents are concerned about a huge pile of garbage that has collected on the Kentucky River near Cram Creek. One man said a tree, which fell across the river about three years ago, caused the mess to collect. He said the last hard rains brought most of the garbage downstream, where it lodged in the tree’s branches. More garbage caught on that garbage, and now the river is covered with a 50-foot long island of plastic bottles, garbage bags, and other refuse.

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Kerr-McGee Corporation has announced it has decided not to purchase the operations of Lake Coal Company, including 30 million tons of recoverable coal and a preparation plant at Roxana.

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The defending 14th Region champions, the Fleming-Neon Lady Pirates, defeated the Lady Cats of Breathitt County 57-39. The Lady Pirates are now 15-0.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 1999

The state will cut its allocation to the Letcher County School District by more than $800,000 next year. Daryl Boggs, assistant superintendent for finance, said the problem is the increase in the unmined minerals assessment for the county. The state formula that determines how much money public schools receive reduces the amount from state SEEK funds if local tax assessments increase.

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Image Entry officially opened its new Letcher County data processing facility Monday when the company’s first 18 employees reported to work in the Whitesburg municipal building.

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The state Department of Transportation will begin buying property this fall for a new section of US 119 from Partridge to Oven Fork. The final route has been chosen for the 6.9-mile section of highway and the department is in the process of choosing a contractor to buy the right of way.

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Beavers have built a dam in Worlie Bates’s fishing pond at Loves Branch. Bates said he had never seen a beaver until the beavers appeared about four years ago and started damming up Rockhouse Creek. Beavers are making a comeback all over Kentucky. And, unlike deer, elk and assorted other wildlife, they’re doing it without the help of man.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2009

A Mountain Eagle editorial titled “We saw history”, describes the Eagle’s attendance at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and says “ . . . we continue to grow more thankful each day that we were able to have a bird’s eye view for the inauguration of the first black president in the history of the United States, Barack Obama.”

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The Kentucky Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for Jeffrey Allen of Sandlick, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 2006 after a jury found him guilty of murdering a 2½-year old foster child who was in his care. Four justices voted in support of the ruling, holding that jurors may have become prejudiced against Allen after they were improperly allowed to hear recordings of two non-emergency telephone calls to E-911 officials in Hazard. Three justices joined in a dissenting opinion, which said Allen’s conviction should stand because the admission of the 911 tapes was a “harmless” error.

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Twenty-three people have been named in indictments by the Letcher County Grand Jury including a man who is accused of theft of services from the City of Whitesburg. The man is charged with reconnecting his home to city water lines after the service was disconnected because of non-payment. He is also charged with damaging pipes, fittings and locks belonging to the city, and with being a persistent felony offender.

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The Letcher County Central Lady Cougars maintained their runner-up spot in the regional rankings with impressive wins last week, 52-40 over visiting Harlan County on Jan. 22 and 58-49 at Knott County Central last Saturday.

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