Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 1909

The front page of this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle carries a large photo of the country’s new president, William Howard Taft. He is the first president who will earn salary and expenses totaling $100,000.

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Well-known Letcher County native Fess Whitaker writes from Big Springs, Texas, in support of the candidacy of R.B. Bentley to the office of Letcher County Clerk.

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The trial of Joseph A. Blair, a Letcher County native who is charged with the December 15, 1908 shotgun murder of Joseph Kearns near Apache, Oklahoma has ended, with Blair being found guilty of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years of “hard labor” in prison.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 1929

Young Bill Tolliver of Letcher County is being praised for saving the life of the three-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cassie Amburgey after the girl fell from a window of the Amburgey home and into the rolling waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Young Tolliver saw her fall and was able to rescue her.

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Fire has destroyed the new $2,000 home of Frank Caudill in the Collins-Harvie [Upper Bottom] addition in Whitesburg. Caudill had insured the home for only $1,000.

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Floyd Adams is the man who operates the busy “Stumble Inn,” which is located in the upper end of Haymond.

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The L&N Railroad has announced the following changes in its passenger train schedule from Whitesburg: Train 4 for Lexington will leave at 4:41 a.m. instead of 4:26; Train 16 for Hazard will leave at 7:55 a.m. instead of 5:40; Train 3 for McRoberts will leave at 8:48 p.m. instead of 9:18, and Train 15 for McRoberts will leave at 3:29 p.m.

THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 1949

Accused murderer James Page, about 40, is still at large and is said to be hiding in the hills around Bottom Fork. Page is accused of killing Elbert Kincer of Haymond and seriously wounding Page’s own small son and his stepson-in-law. The shootings occurred at the home of A.J. Arrington, a neighbor of Page’s who is also his brother-in-law, about 2 p.m. on Sunday. The trouble allegedly grew out of Page’s resentment of his stepdaughter’s marriage to Eugene Johnson two weeks ago. Johnson was shot in the leg, and is recovering in the Seco hospital. The shooting of young Page is said to have been accidental. Kincer was a miner with Letcher Coal Company.

A fire destroyed the George Hogg Building on Main Street in Whitesburg Monday morning that threatened to envelope the whole block. As it is, flames destroyed the R.H. Hobbs Five and Ten Cent Store, Quillen Drug, several offices and one apartment. Monetary damage is expected to total at least $200,000.

Memorial services will be held at the Seco Freewill Baptist Church this week for Army Private Dolphia Holbrook and his brother, Navy Seaman Wesley Holbrook, both of whom were killed in action in World War II. Dolphia was killed in North Africa on July 18, 1943. He was 25 years old. Wesley was killed in Japan on May 11, 1945, and is buried at sea.

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Funeral services for Private First Class Edgar Smith were held March 3 at the Seco Freewill Baptist Church. An Infantryman with the First Division of Company D, he was killed in action on July 10, 1943 in the Battle of Gela in Italy during the invasion of Sicily.

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Eleven students from Holmes High School in Covington, Ky., visited deep mines operated by Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins February 25. The 11 students and their teachers visited the working face at one mine and also visited the site of the former log cabin home of the late John W. “Bad John” Wright, a noted law enforcement officer from the region who was the “Devil Judd Tolliver” character in John Fox Jr.’s novel, “Trail of the Lonesome Pine.” Consolidation Coal has an office in the Cincinnati Enquirer building, and it was through that office the trip to Letcher County was arranged.

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All 430 mailboxes inside the Whitesburg Post Office are now rented, with a waiting list of 57 people who would like a box.

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The body of Private Seldon Barnett, son of Mr. and Mrs. French Barnett of Letcher, was brought home from Italy and was buried Saturday near the old home. A native of Smoot Creek, he died of wounds he suffered during heavy fighting in Italy during World War II.

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A dispute over a section foreman caused three Consolidation Coal Company mines — No. 214 at McRoberts, No. 204 at Jenkins, and No. 207 at Dunham — to be idled this week. The striking United Mine Workers union miners number approximately 1,050. The miners vowed to stay off the job until after a certain foreman is removed from the McRoberts mine.

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Jean Franklin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Franklin of Neon, was married Saturday to Herbert Caudill, son of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Caudill of Ermine.

THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 1959

Wilson W. Wyatt, candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, will speak at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg. He will speak on behalf of Bert T. Combs of Prestonsburg, candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor.

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W.S. Long is celebrating the 14th anniversary of his being appointed to his job of conservation officer — or “game warden” — for Letcher County. Long, 58, is a married father of four.

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Howard Tweed, 37, of Dunham, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home shortly before noon Wednesday. Members of Tweed’s family said he had been despondent since he was forced out of work several months ago with the closing of Champion Stores’ Dunham operation, where he had worked as a butcher. His wife and four children survive him.

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The United Mine Workers of America will hold a meeting for members at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg. UMW contracts with four ramps in Letcher County are set to expire on Monday. The ramps are Colly Elkhorn at Ermine; Elkhorn Coal Co. at Mayking and Kona, and Elkhorn Junior at Thornton. All four have refused to sign the new UMW contract, which calls for a $2-perday pay increase for miners. Consolidation Coal Company, South-East Coal Company, Elkhorn-Jellico Coal Company and most other mines in the county have already signed similar contracts.

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The 53rd District Champion Jenkins Cavaliers defeated Powell County Wednesday, 60 to 49, in the first round of the 14th Region Tournament at Hazard. The Fleming-Neon Pirates, district runners-up, will meet Breathitt County, the state’s top-ranked team, tonight.

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W.H. and Maggie Brown of Ulvah have a brand new grandson, Marion Reed Whitaker, their second grandchild to be born in three weeks. This one was born to Charlie and Christine Whitaker. It’s the first grandchild for Press and Mattie Whitaker of Linefork.

THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 1969

President Nixon submitted to Congress this week a health and safety bill for coal miners, based on legislation drafted by the Johnson administration. The bill, which received support from Rep. Carl D. Perkins of eastern Kentucky, would set strict standards for acceptable dust concentration in mines; empower the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations concerning roof supports and other safety procedures; call for three Bureau of Mine inspections per year at all major mines; require operators to reassign men with x-ray evidence of black lung disease to dust-free areas; and raised employment standards for federal mine inspectors.

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The Johnson Home, a pioneer Kentucky home, perhaps the oldest in eastern Kentucky, is awaiting an almost certain destruction at the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as work moves along on the Carr Creek Dam. The Johnson Home is at Cody in Knott County, in the path of the waters of the dam.

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The second annual Letcher County Arts and Crafts Show will be held on April 5 in Whitesburg. “This is an ideal opportunity for woodcarvers, dulcimer, fiddle, banjo makers, doll makers, rug hookers, basket weavers, quilters, chair makers, potters and artists to display their crafts,” the sponsors said.

THURSDAY, MARCH 1, 1979

Three years after 26 men died in twin explosions at the Scotia mine in Oven Fork, federal Mine Health and Safety Administration officials are calling the mine “one of the safest mines in Letcher County.” Hargis Ison, supervisor of coal mine inspectors in MSHA’s Whitesburg office, attributed the “safe” mine conditions to two factors — increased inspection by his office and rehabilitation efforts undertake by the company since the March 1976 disaster.

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The Blackey Town Council has reversed its earlier decision to deny Universal Studios access to the town as a location for filming “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and has signed a contract with the movie company

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The Department of Transportation plans to file condemnation proceedings this week in an effort to obtain a waste disposal site for the proposed Whitesburg bypass. Officials chose the hollow behind Appalachian Regional Hospital belonging to the Lucas family. Failure to negotiate successfully with the Lucas heirs led to the decision to file condemnation proceedings.

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Gregg Creech of Whitesburg High School has been nominated to the 1979 McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Team. Creech has a 22.1-point game average and leads the team in free throws and field goals. He is the son of Harvey and Shirley Creech of Partridge.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 1989

Psychologist Steven Giles says he used casualty records to show Appalachian counties in four states tallied combat deaths in Vietnam higher than the national average and out of synch with their overall rates of military service and populations. “If you were from a large urban area you were much more likely to have been in Vietnam,” he said. “If you were from Appalachia, you were 50 percent more likely to have been killed in Vietnam.” In Kentucky, he said, the rate of combat deaths in the Appalachian counties was 84.2 per 100,000 males compared with 65.2 from other rural areas and 63.6 from metropolitan areas.

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Third-graders in West Whitesburg Elementary School’s creative writing class are the authors of a book, If I Fell in Love with a Watermelon. The course was taught last year by Bob Henry Baber. About 20 of the students read their stories to parents, grandparents and news media at the school recently.

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The Jenkins Cavaliers defeated the Fleming-Neon Pirates 76-62 to win the 53rd District championship.

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“The snow soon went away followed by several days of spring-like weather,” writes Cowan correspondent Elsie C. Banks. “The crocus and Easter lilies are in bloom so springtime is almost here.”

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 1999

Jerome Boggs, who was convicted of bludgeoning and robbing Pascal Fields, an 88-year-old Whitesburg gas station owner, is up for parole six months after he went to prison. Boggs was sentenced to four years in prison in November 1998 and will be eligible for parole in April. The crime outraged Whitesburg residents, many of whom can’t remember a time when Fields was not pumping gas. Fields opened his gas station on Bentley Avenue in 1941. He had pumped gas at other stations in Whitesburg since 1941.

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A grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce will allow a nonprofit group to install public computers connected to the Internet in Letcher and three other southeastern Kentucky counties. The Mountain Association Center for Rural Development will place three computers in public places in each of four counties. The goal is to place them in areas far from public libraries, where computers are already available.

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Don Crosthwaite, 72, a Kentucky broadcaster and entertainer known professionally as Don Cross, died February 27. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he came to Whitesburg to work at WTCW-WXKQ radio station in 1954. He later became manager and owner of the station, which he sold in 1985.

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Three county teams are still alive and well in 14th Regional Tournament action. The Whitesburg boys played Owsley County Tuesday night, and the Whitesburg girls play Breathitt County Wednesday night. The Jenkins girls play Knott Central on Thursday.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009

A truck driver and other passers-by joined forces to clean up rocks that fell from a cliff on Highway 15, between Whitesburg and Hazard. The rockslide was blocking both lanes when the truck driver started moving rocks and others joined it. Falling rocks have been a problem at the location since the road opened in the early 1970s.

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The Letcher County Water and Sewer District has authorized an engineering firm to examine the possibility of using water from Pound, Va., to supply residents of the Cumberland River area while abandoning an earlier plan to buy water from Harlan County.

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A photograph by Chris Anderson in The Mountain Eagle shows an elk herd numbering as many as 26 standing in a field beside U.S. 119 at Mayking. The elk are drinking water from the North Fork of the Kentucky River, and their presence has been a treat for motorists who stop and look.

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