Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 1909

Letcher County’s taxable property is assessed for $1,790,701 for the 1909 tax year.

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Former Harlan County resident P.F. Hensley, now living at Paint Lick in Garrard County, struck it rich the other day when while remodeling a large home on a small farm he purchased there. He was removing some old hearth stones in front of a fireplace when he came across $22,500 in gold, silver, and fine diamonds. No one seems to know who placed the money and diamonds under the hearth.

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The Spring Normal School at Baker is scheduled to open Monday. Richard Quillen is the principal.

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G.B. Vaughn of Paintsville was in Whitesburg this week looking after the interests of the Northern Coal & Coke Company.

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“To some the ‘Bullhole’ may be regarded as a kind of mythical ‘Salt River’ up or down, which all defeated candidates are set sailing immediately after an election,” The Mountain Eagle observes. “But with us, such is not the case. The Bullhole, in fact, is a reality. It is a long, dark, deep fissure leading into the veritable bowels of the earth, from which no living being could make its escape. Located high upon the broad breast of [Pine Mountain], overlooking Whitesburg and surrounded on all sides by giant boulders in primeval solitudes, while over its wide, thirsty mouth the mountain owl and the dingy bat flit in silence, it could but be a suitable habitation for the rejected and the damned. No wonder, then, the poor candidate bestirs himself in the daytime and is haunted at night by ‘bull-mares’ and nightmares.”

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The Marlin Firearms Company is advertising its Model 1894 Repeating Rifle, .25-20 gauge, which it says is “built for settled districts, where good range and killing power are desired with safety to the neighborhood.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1929

Murder defendant Martin Craft was ordered held without bond at the end of an ‘examining trial’ held before Judge Bentley on Friday. Craft is accused of murdering Letcher County Deputy Sheriff W.H. Carter.

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The snow that fell on Letcher County last week is believed to be the deepest to hit this region in at least 10 years. While the snow was about 10 inches deep in the lower parts, it still was far less than the 28 inches of white stuff recorded in Whitesburg in January 1917, at the base of Pine Mountain.

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A picture on the front page of this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle shows President-elect Herbert Hoover and Vice President-elect Charles Curtis. Hoover, who is replacing President Calvin Coolidge, will be inaugurated March 4.

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The Rex Theater opened Tuesday night “with an excellent crowd and good pictures,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

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The Turkey Creek School will end its current term March 16.

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Attendance at the Millstone School averages 36 to 38 students per day. The school is closed this week because of high water.

THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 1949

Consolidation Coal Company announces that on February 1 it completed the sale of all of its houses in the town of Jenkins, a city of 10,000 population. Jenkins has been the largest “company town” in Kentucky and one of the largest in the United States. “In the short span of two years, the City of Jenkins has undergone a complete transformation,” the company says in a news release. “There probably is not another large coal mining town in the United States in which the company has so completely divested itself of public and private properties and reverted to its primary business of mining coal.”

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Taxicab drivers in Neon have organized a local union and applied for a charter in the United Construction Workers, an affiliate of the United Mine Workers of America. Officers elected at the first meeting were Roy Brown, president; Harry Spence, Vice President, Arnold Phillips, recording secretary; Clifford Davis, financial secretary; and Clyde Davis, Creed Potter and Anglee Mabellinia, committeemen.

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Hemphill Grade school recently moved into its new $125,000 building, which is considered one of the best new school buildings in the state.

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Ivan “Red” Kimbrell of Neon is being held in the Wise County Jail in Virginia in connection with the slaying Tuesday morning of Clyde Davidson, a Norton poolroom operator. Kimbrell is being held under a $10,000 bond.

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Hattie Cook was released on a $5,000 bond Wednesday after being charged in connection with the death of her husband, Ed Cook. Mrs. Cook told authorities that she had to shoot Mr. Cook one time in the side with a pistol about 9 p.m. Saturday when he arrived drunk at the home they shared with their children at Camp Branch and began abusing her. Mr. Cook was about 40 years old. Mrs. Cook is 44. The couple, who were married 22 years, had eight children ranging in age from five to 21.

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The Jenkins Cavaliers, a member of the professional Mountain States League, have acquired player/manager Joe Vitter for the coming season, which opens May 1 when the Hazard Bombers visit on the Jenkins field. Vitter, a 38-year-old New Orleans native, began his professional baseball career in 1934, and has played with minor league affiliates of the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. Two years ago he was playing for the Spartanburg Peaches, a Cleveland Indians affiliate. [Note: Vitter stayed with Jenkins throughout the 1949 season, batting .304 while playing third base in 70 games.]

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Jenkins City Police on Wednesday captured two of four convicts who escaped while working on a road-building gang near Pound, Virginia. The names of the convicts, who were caught in Dairy Hollow and at Dunham Gap, were not released, but their ages were given as 20 and 21 years. Police said they committed no acts of violence while in Letcher County.

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The U.S. Mail is still arriving in Letcher County twice daily despite the L&N Railroad discontinuing two trains to and from Lexington this week. The mail now arrives in Whitesburg and Fleming by truck.

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“In our opinion the L&N Railroad can blame no one but itself for the lack of passengers” on its trains to and from Fleming to Lexington, The Mountain Eagle says in an editorial lamenting the fact the railroad discontinued two of the trains from Letcher County to Fayette County. “The L&N gives as their reason for stopping the trains the fact they were losing money. … We would like to ask just why this is so. Anyone who has been a passenger on the L&N coaches leaving Letcher County will quickly recall that the passenger train service was not what it should have been. A person going to Lexington, for instance, would arrive grimy and dirty from the soot and smoke, (and) extremely tired from the uncomfortable riding conditions. The L&N provided no club cars, no Pullman accommodations, and nothing else but the bare essentials for passenger service on the trains leaving and arriving in Letcher County and the other communities in this section.”

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Violinist Dave Rubinoff, who tours as Rubinoff and his Violin, will perform in concert in Jenkins on March 22. Rubinoff ’s music has been a fixture on the radio for much of the past 20 years, including on the Chase and Sanborn Hour. He has also performed at the White House with his famous violin, a Stradivarius he famously insures for $100,000.

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Herbert Workman, 22, of Tesla, West Virginia, is scheduled to be executed early tomorrow, March 4, in the Kentucky State Penitentiary’s electric chair in Eddyville. The other two men convicted in the kidnapping and murder of war veteran Vernon L. Hodge of Louisville were put to death in Eddyville last year. They were Jasper Nease, 24, of McRoberts, and Daniel T. McPeak, of Dublin, Virginia.

THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 1959

The City of Whitesburg is going to have to buy property for an entrance to the basement of the City Hall building. Mayor Arthur T. Banks told the city council Tuesday night that Arthur Johnson of Lynch, owner of the Johnson Motel, has served notice on the city that after 12:00 a.m. on March 10, trucks belonging to the city may no longer cross his property. Mayor Banks said a right-of-way of about 15 feet will be needed.

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Martha Carson, recording and television star, will appear at the Neon Theater on March 12 at 8 p.m. A native of the Neon area, Carson is considered a top singer of spirituals. She has toured with stars such as Steve Allen, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jimmy Dean and others.

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Wilson Wyatt, candidate for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor on the Combs-Wyatt ticket, is scheduled to be in Letcher County campaigning on Saturday, March 14.

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Letcher County Attorney F. Byrd Hogg sent notices this week to delinquent taxpayers of 1952 to pay or or face court action. The notices are part of Hogg’s campaign to collect back taxes in the county ad bring the new tax rolls up to date. Hogg started his campaign, so far has brought $35,000, mostly to the county’s two school systems, shortly after he took office last year, starting with delinquent taxes from 1949-50.

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Attorneys practicing in Whitesburg are protesting the City of Whitesburg’s new occupational license tax, claiming an unjustified 333-1/3 percent hike in the fee they pay.

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Miss Ann Louise Daniel, daughter of Eugene Daniel Jr. of Whitesburg and the late Mrs. Daniel, was chosen as a candidate for the Miss Kentuckian contest by the Delta Zeta Sorority at the University of Kentucky, where she is a junior majoring in medical technology.

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Students at Jenkins High School are very happy with the new lockers now being assembled under the supervision of Fitzhugh Craft, maintenance director.

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Coach Wendell Lewis’s Dunham Blue Devils defeated the Letcher Eagles of Henry Ed Wright by scoring 24 points in the final frame to erase what had been a 12-point lead for Letcher at the end of the third quarter.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial recommends that Letcher County’s tourism promoters “take advantage” of the fact that two of the most famous novels of all time, John Fox Jr.’s “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” and “Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come,” were set in this county. “We have a colorful heritage to offer tourists who come here this summer,” and now is the time to make use of it,” the editorial says.

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Brigitte Bardot stars in “La Parisienne,” showing Sunday through next Wednesday at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1969

No word has been received as to whether Whitesburg is still in the running as the site for a proposed factory. There were some indications, however, that the firm has not yet settled upon Whitesburg as the site.

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Former Letcher County Judge Robert Collins announced he will oppose incumbent Judge James M. Caudill in the Democratic primary election for county judge. Collins and Caudill are long-time political enemies. Caudill won over Collins in the last election but lost 12 years ago to Arthur Dixon, who ran with Collins’s backing. Caudill is seeking his fourth term in office.

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“This winter was so bad and cold — or it might have been just me, not feeling too well,” writes Ice correspondent Siller Brown. “I seemed to be rushing spring. We needed more light and warmer weather so bad, and now that the days are getting longer and more light, people will feel better in a few weeks. Sickness is bad, but I would not mind a few weeks of spring fever.”

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1979

Three of the five Blackey Town Council members have resigned after the animosity that emerged in a special called meeting to discuss a request by Universal Studios to use the town as a setting for the film “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The Blackey Council later voted to deny Universal’s request.

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Fishpond Lake Park will be closed to the public again this summer. Citing a lack of funds to pay for maintenance, security and utilities, County Judge Robert Collins told the Letcher County Fiscal Court that after construction is completed on the park in June, it will remain closed. The county decision to let the park stay closed is contrary to federal policy, since 80 percent of the funding for construction came from the federal government. Letcher County is under a mandate to open the park.

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Letcher County has withdrawn from the Kentucky River Health District and will begin operating the health department independently at the end of this fiscal year.

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James F. and Millie Blair Williams of Blackey celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary January 19. Among their gifts was a letter from Kentucky Gov. Julian Carroll commissioning them both as honorary Kentucky Colonels.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 1989

Ever since state and federal offi- cials raided a so-called “chop shop” at McRoberts 16 months ago, rumors have been widespread that the operation was allowed to continue under the blessing of some of Letcher County’s powers-that-be. Tales of who might be involved seems to grow wilder as the investigation grew longer. But state and local law enforcement officials think the situation will change now that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested four of the seven men named in the 38-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court. “It doesn’t matter what we say or do we’re going to be criticized, but as far as I’m concerned they’ve gotten everybody involved locally,” said Danny Webb, a Kentucky State Police lieutenant who helped the FBI conduct its investigation.

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Ed Ison has received the Purple Heart he won when he was wounded in Vietnam 21 years ago. The medal came without fanfare and without ceremony in a small, brown cardboard box. Ison was a switchboard operator with the 9th Infantry in Cat Lai near Saigon when he was wounded in the leg and head during a mortar attack on May 8, 1968.

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Whitesburg officials have sent proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation for a possible branch of Southeast Community College to be reviewed by college officials. Mayor James Asher said Letcher County residents and businesses so far have pledged $431,850 toward bringing a college campus here. Some real estate has also been pledged.

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Fifteen students from five Letcher County middle schools have advanced to the state Governor’s Cup academic tournament. They are: Marie Sturgill, Cortney Day, Jerry Fields, Trish Henson, Matthew Adams, Christy Caudill, Amy Masters, Naveen Rao, Alvin Holbrook, Autumn Hampton, Mary Ann Solo, Jason Bates, Aaron Kincer, John Perry and Shannon Polly.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 1999

Letcher County school officials are exploring a plan to train students and teachers in using computers in the district. A teacher would be training in basic technical support for Microsoft and Novell products and would then teach students the same skills. Students and teachers using district computers would then call a “help desk” number and speak to one of those students when they have a problem.

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School attendance is rising slowly after break called to allow flu and other illnesses to run their course. Only about 81 percent of students attended classes last week at Letcher High School, the hardest hit of any school in the county. Influenza is the main problem in the Jenkins Independent School District. In the Letcher County School District, there were outbreaks of influenza, Fifths disease, strep throat and a stomach virus.

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Martha Miller Nolan Baird, 93, who with her first husband published The Mountain Eagle for 25 years, died February 19 in Florida. She and her first husband, W. Pearl Nolan, came to Letcher County in 1932 and established The Neon News, a weekly newspaper. They published the paper until 1952 when they consolidated it with The Mountain Eagle, which they had bought from in October of 1938.

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Little League baseball teams will be allowed to use a field on the Whitesburg Industrial Site this summer. City council members agreed with Mayor Nathan Baker that the teams should be allowed to use the field but cautioned that if other leagues use it, they should be required to help with the upkeep.

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2009

State officials hope a non-consumption water advisory issued 10 days ago for about 4,000 water customers in Letcher County will be lifted soon, perhaps as early as today. The state Division of Water issued the advisory February 16 after an undetermined amount of diesel fuel was found to have leaked into the North Fork of the Kentucky River from storage lot at Mayking. The leak occurred on property owned by Childers Oil of Whitesburg after an old underground storage tank was hauled to the site.

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In writing about a special report on ABC News on eastern Kentucky, a Mountain Eagle editorial says, “Our personal belief is that central Appalachia is a proving ground for the future of the United States. The problems that afflict the region today are the consequences of having been an economic colony ever since the first trainloads of local coal went off to power the industrial revolution that profited so many others. If Appalachia is hopeless, then the rest of the United States can’t be far behind — because the mighty country that Appalachian coal miners worked so hard to make possible is in big trouble.”

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Fishing column writer Greg “Gabby” Caudill says one of his all time favorite lakes is Dale Hollow. The lake, he says, always offers a memorial fishing trip.

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Alpha Natural Resources Inc., parent company of Letcher County-based Enterprise Mining, has announced a new scholarship program that awards 53 college grants annually, ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to qualified high school seniors.

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