Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1909

Under the headline “Gentle Spring!” the following appears on this week’s front page of The Mountain Eagle: “On my way to town the other day I met a mountaineer who told me another man told him that his boy knew a boy whose father told him their nearest neighbor had related to the mail boy that he had seen the first robin this spring. Hurrah for spring.”

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On Sunday evening, J.H. Baird, A.E. Baird, and E.R. Freeman, prominent southern capitalists from Nashville, Tennessee, arrived in Whitesburg from Stonega, Virginia. They are very much interested in our rich timber and mineral resources and will be in our county for several days. J.H. Baird is the editor and publisher of Southern Lumberman, based in Nashville. He is also the Grand Scrivenator of the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. A.E. Baird is a large real estate owner and lumberman. The three men tell The Mountain Eagle it is their intention to invest no less than $200,000 at once in timber and mineral in Letcher County.

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This issue marks the end of the first six months of The Mountain Eagle’s second year in business.

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Harrison Banks remains in the Whitesburg jail under $1,000 bond pending any indictment against him in connection with the death of his brother, Spencer Banks. Spencer’s wife swore to authorities that she saw Harrison throw a rock the hit her husband in the head and caused his death. Harrison denies throwing a rock and says a bulldog that was in pursuit of Spencer caught him and pulled him down, causing him to hit his head on a rock, resulting in his death.

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A few “saw logs” were seen floating past Whitesburg in the North Fork of the Kentucky River on Monday.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1929

Tomorrow, February 22, is the 197th birthday of George Washington, the “Father of HIs Country” and first president of the United States.

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Letcher Circuit Judge Fields ordered four special guards to look after the county jail after the arrival there of Martin Craft, who is accused of killing Letcher County Deputy Sheriff W. Hezekial Carter, about 45, after shooting him six times on a street in downtown Neon. While no motive for the shooting is known, bullets from his own gun killed Deputy Carter. Martin Craft is a son of Marian Craft of the head of the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Kona and has strong connections all over the county.

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To the surprise of his many friends, Herman Hale, cashier of Letcher State Bank in Whitesburg since it was organized here, is leaving town for a more lucrative position with the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, Virginia.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 1939

Whitesburg became a flurry of activity and fun Monday evening when it became known that every radio in town and most radios out in the county were receiving broadcasts originating from the Salyer Radio Station in downtown Whitesburg. Anyone who wanted was allowed to use the microphone, including Mrs. Miles Moore, who sang a number of solos. The broadcast was received as far away as Hazard and Wheelwright. The local broadcasting will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday. The federal government has so far refused to grant a permit to allow the station to broadcast full-time.

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The Breathitt County Health Department warns that five shaving brushes purchased in Jackson recently were loaded with deadly anthrax germs. Seven of the brushes, all labeled “Imperial Sterilized, Japan, 322,” have already been sold to customers.

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Bob Hope stars in “Thanks for the Memory,” showing February 26-27 at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1949

Jasper McFall, a 49-year-old coal miner from Dry Fork, is charged with beating his wife to death with a broken shotgun. Mrs. McFall, 44, was killed at her home on Dry Fork last Thursday. Her husband was a few hours later in Wise, Virginia, based on information contained in a warrant sworn out by the couple’s 17-year-old son, Bobby. Letcher County Sheriff Herman Combs said Jasper McFall locked Bobby and two younger children out the house while he beat their mother. The couple had eight children, ranging in age from five to 20. The father said he does not remember the beating. “I guess I just went crazy,” he said. “My wife was always good to me.”

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court has voted to use proceeds from a gasoline tax to build a two-mile road connecting KY 160 at Roxana with KY 7 at Blackey, and to the rural road from the forks of Camp Branch to miles toward Thornton Creek. Also scheduled to be built is a half-mile road from U.S. 119 to Sergent.

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Probably the biggest crowd ever to see an indoor event in the Jenkins area witnessed the minstrel show put on by the Jenkins Kiwanis Club in the Jenkins Theater on February 18. Joe Asher, master of ceremonies, reports a crowd of approximately 1,000. He said the antics and capers of the black-faced end men were applauded a great deal. Proceeds from the minstrel will benefit underprivileged children, Boy Scout troops, the Community Chest and other charitable organizations in the Jenkins area.

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Dr. B.F. Wright reports that his new drive-in theater in downtown Whitesburg, at the mouth of Solomon Creek, has been named the Elinda Ann Drive-In and should open no later than May 1. Wright says each car will have an in-car speaker. There will be a concession stand, a children’s playground and a women’s lounge as well. [Note: The drive-in theater was located on the site now occupied by the Letcher County Recreational Center and Dairy Queen.]

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Lt. Col. Marcus “Boadie” Adams was visiting his mother, Mrs. Cornelia W. Adams, in Whitesburg week after returning from Greece, where he was a member of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff planning committee, composed of American military advisers to the Greek National Army. Before he left Greece, Adams was decorated by Greek Monarch King Paul with the Gold Medal of Valor, the Medal of Excellent Service, and the Greek War Cross. He was with the Greek Army in the Albanian Mountains for a year, helping fight against the communist-backed guerrilla troops.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1959

For the first time in the history of high school sports in Letcher County, a separate “B” team basketball tournament will be held, beginning on March 2. Teams from Jenkins, Whitesburg, Kingdom Come, Letcher, Dunham, and Fleming- Neon will participate in the inaugural event.

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Barbara Bentley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ron Bentley of Whitesburg, won first place in the 11 to 14 age group in the Tri-State Baton Twirling Contest held this month. A majorette with the Whitesburg High School Band, she won the state championship for her age group at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville last spring.

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A tip from a Letcher County resident led Kentucky State Police to arrest seven persons here Tuesday afternoon on charges of transporting stolen automobiles across the state line. Police were tipped after a local resident saw the men changing auto license tags at the junction of US 119 and KY 15. All the suspects are from Floyd County.

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A “note burning” of the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church’s former indebtedness will be held Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Former pastor, the Rev. C.A. Lingle, will conduct the ceremony.

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Arnold Marrell Blair, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Blair of Thornton, is finishing the season as a member of the Morehead State College freshman basketball team. Blair is a 1958 graduate of Whitesburg High School, where he starred for Coach Ernie Trosper.

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Acie Hall, former Fleming-Neon High School basketball star, is completing the season as a regular on the Morehead State College freshman basketball team. A son of Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Hall of Jackhorn, he is a six-foot, six-inch forward.

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Hedy Lamarr and Jane Powell star in the movie “The Female Animal,” showing Feb. 26-28 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

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Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baster, and Edward G. Robinson star in Cecil B. Demille’s “The Ten Commandments,” coming soon to Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. Released in 1956, the film will have its first run in Whitesburg later in March.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 1969

Congressman Carl D. Perkins, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, has introduced legislation to facilitate payment of adequate compensation for coal miners disabled by black lung disease. Perkins described his proposed legislation as “essential in assuring disabled workers adequate levels of income to maintain them and their families in continued health and dignity.”

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Eight Letcher County residents recently played a role in a search for a missing airplane — a search that ended tragically when the plane was found wrecked, its pilot dead. Local members of the Civil Air Patrol searching for the missing plane, which was flying from Pikeville to North Carolina, were Richard Keeler, Jack Frazier, Emery Lewis, Roy Crawford, Art Pender, Estill Banks, Clyde Lucas and Cecil Caudill. All are active aviators who do their flying from Whitesburg’s mountaintop airport. The missing plane was eventually found in North Carolina.

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“No one can say that the people of Letcher County are unwilling to work,” writes McRoberts correspondent Madelyn Combs. “The large turnout in Whitesburg to sign up for jobs and the building of a factory proves that the only reason they are not working is that there’s nowhere to work at here.”

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1979

The City of Whitesburg is in violation of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act requiring monitoring of the water discharged into the Kentucky River by the city sewage treatment plant. The Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a hearing February 27 in Atlanta for the city to explain why it has failed to file reports with the agency. Mayor Ferdinand Moore said the city has not filed these reports because it has not been monitoring the sewage discharge.

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The state fire marshal has recommended a structural stability check of Whitesburg Middle School. His recommendation is part of a 10-page report in which he lists 80 fire code violations discovered during a recent inspection of Letcher County schools.

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By unanimous vote, the Blackey town council has rejected a request by Universal Studios to use the town’s main street as a setting for the movie, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”.

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“Cows standing in a circle with their heads in is a sure sign of weather change,” writes Millstone correspondent Mabel Kiser. “If you see cattle standing in this position and it is 100 degrees, be sure the weather will turn cooler.”

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1989

Just a month after one company announced it was no longer interested in buying Lake Coal Company, another firm has apparently agreed to consider purchasing the Letcher County firm. According to reports, Coastal Coal Company of Richmond, Va., is considering the purchase of Lake’s 30 million tons of recoverable coal reserves and its preparation plant at Roxana.

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The Whitesburg City Council voted for the second year in a row to spend $5,000 to create a “tree-scape” in the downtown area. The plantings are part of a master revitalization plan adopted by the city last year. The plan also calls for rearranging the parking in downtown, and building a bridge across the North Fork of the Kentucky River between Broadway and Railroad Streets.

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The Letcher County Board of Education did away with collective bargaining for teachers in 1976, and has voted against it repeatedly since then. But Jon Henrikson, president of the Letcher County Teachers Organization, has asked the board to recognize the LCTO as the official representative of its members and to resume negotiations with the organization. The board has voted to study the matter.

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Funeral services were held for Paul Vermillion, 74, former president of the Bank of Whitesburg. He retired several years ago after a long career in banking but remained on the Bank of Whitesburg’s board and served as a consultant to it.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 1999

In nominating conventions to fill the office left vacant by the death of state Rep. Paul Mason, the Democrats chose Arthur “Ozz” Jackson and the Republicans chose Howard Cornett as candidates. Harlan “Tootie” Seals will also run as an Independent.

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Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton says he is going to a put a four-lane highway all the way to Jenkins and he is going to demonstrate that “you can take mountain towns like Jenkins and Hindman and make viable communities out of them.” Patton made the remarks at a meeting February 11 at the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg. His appearance here was part of a tour through eastern Kentucky to open his campaign for a second term as governor.

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Three coal companies owe 93 percent of the unmined mineral taxes delinquent in Letcher County. Pike-Letcher Land Co. owes $78,825, Crawford and Mulholland owes $24,645 and Enterprise Coal Co. owes $4,799. The amounts also includes interest and penalties

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Beulah and Cassel Caudill celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary February 16. Their children asked friends and family to shower them with cards for the occasion. They have received more than 75 cards, including one from Governor Paul Patton.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2009

Appalachia is a poor and “hopeless” region because people who live here won’t “help themselves,” Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly says. O’Reilly also believes “that the culture in Appalachia harms the children almost beyond repair,” and that people who live here should look to move out of the region as soon as possible.

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Amber Lashea Watts, Paige Nicole Lewis and Rebecca Hampton are winners of the spring 2009 Roy R. Crawford Memorial Scholarships.

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