Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

 

 

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, APRIL 1, 1909

Letcher County native William J. Caudill, after making for himself much fame and fortune in the new state of Oklahoma, is now investing heavily in New Mexico, where it is said he will soon make his home. An Oklahoma newspaper says Caudill could have been governor of Kentucky if he had chosen to stay in the commonwealth.

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As former President Theodore Roosevelt, now America’s most distinguished private citizen, set sail from New York last week for his long-planned tour of Africa, one of his comrades at San Juan Hill, Major E.H. Brown, died of apoplexy at the dinner table at his home in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Brown, 54, was captain of a company of the Third Infantry in the Battle of San Juan Hill, where he and then- Colonel Roosevelt became fast friends.

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In announcing the candidacy of Lewis Hall of Deane for Letcher County sheriff, Hall was misidentified as a member of the Baptist Church. “While Mr. Hall is not yet a member of this church, he is a strong believer in its principles,” The Mountain Eagle says.

Fifty years ago … On March 26, 1959 Carol Brown was selected the winner of the Miss Letcher County Pageant sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). One of 11 contestants in the pageant — eight of whom appear at the top of this page — Miss Brown finished ahead of Adrienne Jackson and Ann Daniel of Whitesburg in the local pageant, and then went on later in the year to capture the title of Miss Kentucky. News and photos about the local pageant appeared in the March 26 and April 2, 1959 editions of The Mountain Eagle.

Fifty years ago … On March 26, 1959 Carol Brown was selected the winner of the Miss Letcher County Pageant sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). One of 11 contestants in the pageant — eight of whom appear at the top of this page — Miss Brown finished ahead of Adrienne Jackson and Ann Daniel of Whitesburg in the local pageant, and then went on later in the year to capture the title of Miss Kentucky. News and photos about the local pageant appeared in the March 26 and April 2, 1959 editions of The Mountain Eagle.

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An old-fashioned working, grubbing and chopping was held Saturday at Henry Dixon’s on Linefork, A big dance party was held afterward at Dishman Back’s place. A large crowd attended.

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 1919

This edition of The Mountain Eagle could not be located.

THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 1929

While people living along the Cumberland and Big Sandy rivers suffered much heavier flood damage than those who live along the North Fork of the Kentucky River, much of Letcher County did suffer considerable property damage but no loss of life. Rain began falling Friday night and did not slow down until late Saturday. “In the Blackey, lower Rockhouse and Bull Creek sections, farmlands and unoccupied houses were sept into the raging waters,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “The usual happened in Neon, its streets being flooded” and its “railroad tracks covered with water and slides from hillsides.” Floodwaters claimed the lives of 37 men, women and children throughout the South.

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Another “chain store” is locating in Whitesburg. The Noble Store, which specializes in ready-to-wear clothing, will open its seventh store in mid-April in the Henry Combs building on Main Street.

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Andy Shepherd, formerly of Linefork and Defeated Creek, was killed accidentally when a telegraph pole fell on him at Poor Fork. Sons Chris and Dock Shepherd of Big Cowan survive him.

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Doctor Thomas Wilson is leaving his job as manager of the Hogg Drug Store in Whitesburg and returning to his hometown of Pineville. He and his wife and young son quickly became very popular here after their arrival several months ago. He is moving them back to Bell County after being offered a job that pays more.

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The editor of The Mountain Eagle is offering a free one-year subscription to the first student under 16 years of age who will provide him with the name of a future president of the United States who crossed the Delaware River on that cold Christmas night with General George Washington.

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“The birds are singing, the frogs are doing their best to make music, and farmers of plowing on the hillsides,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “It must be that spring his here.”

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Norman Realty of Whitesburg will soon offer for sell some valuable property in the upper part of Haymond after it is “laid off ” into lots and small farms. The property is the only link between Haymond, Dunham and Jenkins.

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Bed sheets are on sale for 75 cents each at the S.F. Dawahare Store in downtown Neon. Pillow cases are on sale for 20 cents. Men’s suits are on sale for $9.45 and women’s coats are being offered at $8.95.

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Coal mining work is slow in McRoberts, where all mines are idle on some days and one is idle nearly every day.

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 1939

This edition of The Mountain Eagle could not be located.

THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 1949

Whitesburg’s new florist shop, Messenger Florist, will open next Wednesday, April 6. The new business will be located in the former Combs Motor Company building on Railroad Street, just across from the new Combs building. For the past 12 years, flower orders have been taken through various agencies and brought into Letcher County from out-ofcounty and out-of-state florists.The florist is owned by Letcher County Extension Service agent Robert Fike, Donald Frost, and Mrs. Archie (Virginia) Craft.

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Seven murder cases are already on the docket for the April term of Letcher Circuit Court and more are expected to be added. The murder cases include those of Townsel Collins and Hassel Brock, James Cook, Lona Fields and Charlie Fields, Shorty Marcum, Ted Meade, and Raymond Short. Two other men, James Page and Jasper McFall, have been charged with murder but have not been indicted yet. Also on the docket are two rape cases, one arson case, and one manslaughter case.

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Funeral services were held in Whitesburg Monday for Lee Roy Reneker, 76, vice president of Kyva Motor Company and prominent Letcher County citizen for many years.

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Letcher County coal miners returned to work Monday after being idle for two weeks in what was called a “memorial” strike by the United Mine Workers of America. The shutdown started locally at the Consolidation Coal Company mines two weeks ago. A nationwide work stoppage began last week. The strike also affected 70,000 railroad workers.

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After being closed down for much of the past two weeks, truck mines are now working “fairly well” in Letcher County, as coal orders from the Great Lakes region are being filled.

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Whitesburg High School football coach Ray Pigman reports that 50 players turned out for spring practice Monday. Pigman said it is the largest group of boys he has had so far.

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Linefork residents continue to plead for a road to be built in their area. “There isn’t another place in Letcher County that doesn’t have a good road,” young Evadean Cornett writes in a letter to the editor of The Mountain Eagle. “We have walked many miles to pay our taxes. We have done the same to elect our county officials. Don’t they owe us something? There have been cases right here in our neighborhood when our own blood and kin have died because we could not get a doctor. Must this continue? We need a good road. It is our right.”

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There were 487 recipients of old age assistance in Letcher County during the month of February, state government reports. The total amount paid to the county’s elderly recipients was $9,893, an average of $20.31 per person. The state also reports there were 310 dependent children in the county receiving aid totaling $11,874 in February, or $38.30 per child.

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Little Ronald Lee Halcomb of Isom, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert H. Holcomb, is recovering from a severe case of the measles complicated by pneumonia.

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Services are now being held at the new Baptist Church in Neon.

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The Adams Theatre is now open and operating in Doc Adams’s garage in Whitco. Shows in the air-conditioned building are held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The price of admission is 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults.

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Hassel Stamper has announced his candidacy for the office of Sheriff of Letcher County in the August primary. He is a Democrat.

THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 1959

Carol Brown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Brown on Whitesburg, will represent Letcher County in the Miss Kentucky contest. A freshman at Eastern State College in Richmond, she won the title of Miss Letcher County in a contest sponsored by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Adrienne Jackson of Neon finished second and Ann Daniel of Whitesburg was third.

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Sam Collins Jr., 38, is the new acting postmaster at Whitesburg. A graduate of Whitesburg High School and Eastern State College, he has operated coal mines but now has them under lease while he devotes his full time to the post office job.

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C.V. Snapp, superintendent of city schools at Jenkins, is a candidate for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Kentucky. Snapp, a Republican, filed his papers in Frankfort on Wednesday night. A native of Nicholas County, he has been superintendent at Jenkins for 27 years. He is a veteran of World War I.

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The Whitesburg Planning and Zoning Commission announced today it will hold a hearing on a zoning ordinance for Whitesburg, which will be submitted to the city council for approval. Members of the commission have been working to draw up the ordinance for the past three months. Members are: Paul Vermillion, chairman; McKinley Day; Dr. Lee Moore; Ferdinand Moore; Mayor Arthur Banks; City Attorney LeRoy W. Fields, and Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish. The proposed ordinance divides Whitesburg into six types of districts, ranging from residential to light industrial.

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Picketing was orderly in Letcher County this week as the coal strike neared the end of its third week.

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Letcher Circuit Judge Courtney C. Wells has overruled a petition from Gem Elkhorn Coal Company seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent mass picketing by members of the United Mine Workers of America during the current coal strike. Judge Wells made his ruling on the same day the case was filed by the company’s owner, Roland Price.

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Warrants were issued in Letcher County Wednesday for four men charged with the dynamiting last week of a building and coal tipple belonging to John and Landon Sexton at the head of Beaver Creek. The Sextons swore to the warrants.

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Letcher County’s truck miners organized into an association this week and immediately adopted a health insurance plan for their employees and their families. The $11.65 monthly cost of the insurance, which went into effect Wednesday, will be borne one-third by the employees and two-thirds by the truck mine operators. Bradley Breeding was elected president of the new Letcher-Knott Independent Truck Mines Association.

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Ray P. Biggerstaff, Whitesburg, has been appointed National Aide-de-Camp, Recruiting Class, to the Commander-in- Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John W. Mahan of Helena, Montana.

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Paul Anka, Danny & The Juniors, The Royal Teens and others star in “Let’s Rock,” showing this weekend at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

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James Stewart and Shelley Winters star in “Winchester 73,” showing Saturday night at the Elinda Ann Drive-Inn in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 1969

Whitesburg was granted an additional $210,735 in federal funds today to permit completion of the city’s urban renewal project. The grant was announced by Congressman Carl D. Perkins who said the extra money is designed to meet increased costs of the project, now authorized to cost a total of $717,581. Whitesburg Housing Director Don Brown said the action clears the way for completion of the urban renewal project and the construction of an additional 64 public housing units.

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Funeral services were held Monday for Spec. 4 Donnie Wayne Caudill, 21, a Letcher County boy killed fighting in Vietnam. Caudill was a member of a tank or track vehicle crew which apparently was hit by a booby-trap during a “sweep” operation in the rubber plantation area north of Saigon. He died March 13.

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Funds were approved today for the 1969 Head Start program in Letcher, Knott, Leslie and Perry counties. Congressman Carl D. Perkins said the funds provide for 1,500 preschool children in 41 centers in the four counties. The program was written and submitted for funding by Mrs. Goebel Ritter, Whitesburg, who has been director of Head Start activities in the four counties during the past year.

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Olla Vae Cornett, a fifth-grade student

Kingdom Come Settlement School, is the spelling champion of Letcher County. Second-place winner was Charlene Tacket of Colson Elementary School.

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 1979

Federal Mine Health and Safety Administration inspectors issued two citations for roof violations against Scotia Coal Co. during the investigation into a roof fall accident that killed two men and injured a third at the Upper Taggart Mine at Oven Fork March 14. Killed were section foreman Grant Sturgill, 45, of Partridge, and utility man Ernest Stetzer, 38, of Eolia. The men were pillaring out of the section — mining the coal pillars supporting the roof — when the roof collapsed. Larkin Napier, 30, was injured and was trapped in the mine for nearly six hours until rescuers could reach him.

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If Letcher County does not immediately pay some of the $22,890 owed to the Kentucky River Garbage and Refuse Disposal District, the Millstone landfill will close. The county does not have any plan for disposing of garbage in the event the landfill shuts down. Mike Cann, manager for the district, says he has “no other alternative” but to close the dump with the county five months behind in payment.

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Pittston Corporation, the largest inde- independent marketer of metallurgical coal, has reportedly taken a $6 a long ton cut in prices to maintain contract tonnage at last year’s level. This does not bode well for smaller shippers, like those in eastern Kentucky. Since 1974, U.S. shipments to Japan have declined by more than half.

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Actor Tommy Lee Jones, in Letcher County for the filming of “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” faces trial on charges of drunkenness, resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. Jones, 33, was arrested after his car crashed in Pound, Va., Thursday.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 1989

Letcher County’s population may again be increasing after eight years of decline, but two of its cities are still shrinking. Estimates show the population in rural Letcher County may be up by more than 200 people over February of last year. However, Jenkins, Fleming-Neon and the area around them appear to be losing population.

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The University of Kentucky has approved the old Whitesburg Coca-Cola bottling plant for use as classrooms for Southeast Community College.

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At least 26 Letcher County retailers will sell Kentucky lottery tickets. Tickets for the first two lottery games are scheduled to go on sale April 4 at 7:01 a.m.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 1999

Letcher County is well ahead in efforts to clean up and make mountain counties both beautiful and safe. Judge/ Executive Carroll Smith and a new fiscal court took office in 1994 and started enforcing mandatory garbage collection in the county. Smith also set up a water/sewer study group to develop ways of getting better water supplies to the entire county and to extend public sewers. Smith and the fiscal court worked to set up a recycling center to be run by the county. The center is to be dedicated soon.

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The Letcher County school system would lose 9-1/2 teaching positions, two administrators and 2-1/2 classified positions under a recommendation made by Superintendent William Kinzer. Kinzer said the cutbacks are necessary because of decreasing enrollment. He said the system lost 181 students last school year and 131 so far this year.

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An advertisement in The Mountain Eagle offers the old Daniel Boone Hotel, identified as a “four-story building on Main Street in Whitesburg formerly occupied by MCHC” for rent or sale.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2009

More than 50 volunteers went to Carcassonne to plant nearly 4,000 high-value hardwood seedlings. The trees were planted on a five-acre plot. “This is a demonstration project to show that it is possible to reforest the estimated 741,000 barren acres of Appalachian Mountains that have been stripped and won’t grow trees,” said Sam Adams, Kentucky coordinator of the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team.

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The Letcher County Water and Sewer District has asked the Public Service Commission for permission to end $350 hook-on fees. Phillip “Pee Wee” Back, chairman of the water and sewer district board, said he has spoken with a number of homeowners who want public water but have a hard time paying $350 up front. Doing away with the fee would attract new customers and increase the monthly cash flow, Back said.

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Ed Boggs, formerly of Jenkins, recently celebrated his 99th birthday. He is now living on his daughter’s property in Jasper, Ala. Boggs retired from Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. after more than 40 years in the coal mines.

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