Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1909

A Letcher County man has been found guilty and sentenced to death for the murder of Mrs. Ellen Flannery in May 1907. A jury brought to Whitesburg from Knott County reached the verdict after hearing evidence for four days in the second retrial of Floyd Frazier. [A copy of the original story, which appeared on Page 3 of the April 29, 1909 edition of The Mountain Eagle, appears this page, bottom left.]

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“The [house] coal famine continues,” writes Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb. “Millions of bushels of coal all over the county and not a peck to burn. It looks like someone would like to earn a few dollars by raising a hundred or two bushels.”

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Corn planting is “the order of the day” across much of Letcher County.

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A telegram from Georgetown states that Thomas M. Barron, the printer arrested at The Mountain Eagle last week and taken to Scott County, was completely exonerated there from the charge against him that was contained in an arrest warrant. Not a single witness appeared against him.

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Jason Cox, who was defeated recently in a bid for the Republican nomination for Letcher County Jailer, writes that he is now “at home cutting briars, cursing and wishing I had never run.” Cox writes that in addition to the campaign costing him $23.97 in cash and 27 full days of his time, he also spent “246 miles on horseback, waded the river 29 times and swam it six times.” He adds that he “ate 128 free meals,” had “18 fights and got whipped 17 times, rolled logs six days, split 177 rails, and cleared one-half acre of ground.”

THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 1929

The Consolidated Fuel Company, which has extensive coal mining operations in the Smoot Creek and Rockhouse Creek areas, has been placed under receivership by the U.S. District Court, with all of its assets ordered sold at auction in Whitesburg on May 22. In addition to the company’s mineral holdings, the auction will include “all machinery and other equipment, tools, appliances, tipples, hoists, tracks, mines, cars, railroad tracks, sidings, car elevators, structures, plants, buildings, miners’ houses, and all other improvements.”

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In address to the nation about the crime problem in the United States, new President Herbert Hoover says that in our nation’s “desire to be merciful, the pendulum has swung in favor of the prisoner and far away from the protection of society.”

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A three-year-old Millstone girl is dead and her older sister is seriously ill after they ate blood pressure tablets believing them to be candy. The two girls were among several Millstone children left alone while their parents attended church. No one was made aware the tablets had been ingested until after the three-year-old got sick Sunday night.

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Long strings of loaded coal cars have been running daily down the railroad along the North Fork of the Kentucky River as production continues to pick up in the Boone and Elkhorn coalfields of Letcher County.

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The call of the whippoorwill is an oldtimer’s sign that it’s corn-planting time.

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Blackey residents are complaining that the road from the mouth of Garner to Whitesburg is impassable at this time. Meanwhile, people who drive cars over the state highway from Whitesburg to the mouth of Garner say it is a downright shame how the highway department is neglecting the road.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court has created a number of new voting precincts. Among them are No. 47, which will be located in Dr. Whitaker’s theater building in Blackey; No. 46 at John D. Dixon’s store near the mouth of Doty Creek, and No. 48 at Carbon Glow.

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 1949

Jasper McFall, 45, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty last week in Letcher Circuit Court of murdering his wife February 15 at the couple’s home on Dry Fork. The jury deliberated only 15 minutes before returning the guilty verdict and recommending the sentence, which was immediately imposed upon McFall by Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Ward. Mrs. McFall was 44. The couple had eight children, ranging in age from five to 20.

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The remains of Private First Class John S. Lewis were returned to Letcher County last week for reburial in the family cemetery at Carbon Glow. Lewis, 22, was killed in action in Germany on Christmas Day in 1944. His wife, Edith Salyers, his parents, Jack and Silva Hampton Lewis, and daughter Louise survive him.

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Letcher County Coroner Archie Craft is the new president of the Southeastern Kentucky Funeral Directors Association. Craft, who owns and operates funeral homes in Whitesburg and Neon, was elected by unanimous vote at the group’s annual meeting in Corbin last night.

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Quillen Drug Store will reopen this week in its new building located on Railroad Street in Whitesburg, across from Home Lumber Company. Quillen Drug’s former location on Main Street was destroyed by fire in early March.

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Former Whitesburg High School coach Henry Dean Addington has died unexpectedly at age 33. He was pronounced dead Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital in Lexington, where he was being treated after suffering a paralytic stroke. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Addington, and three sisters, Gurtha Boatright and Cora and Dorothy Addington, survive him.

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A murder charge against Raymond Short, 24, was dismissed this week after prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to try him in the case resulting from the November 1948 shooting of Junior Vanover of Neon. Vanover was killed during a “drinking party” at a barn on Millstone Creek.

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All three high schools in the Letcher County School System — Fleming, Kingdom Come and Whitesburg — are now accredited by the Kentucky Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The announcement was made by the Kentucky Board of Education.

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Private First Class Herbert Baker was buried in the Baker Cemetery at Millstone on Wednesday. Baker, whose remains were returned to Letcher County, died March 10, 1945 in an Army hospital in Brink, Germany. He was critically wounded in battle the day before. He was 19 years old.

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The late Arvel Wendell Boggs was one of Consol’s most trusted and faithful employees,” says an article appearing in Consolidation Coal Company’s Checkerboard magazine. Known as A.W., Boggs worked for Consol for more than 30 years, most recently as chief clerk in the treasurer’s office. His first work with Consol was as a laborer in the construction unit. After that he worked as a tipple man, brakeman, recreation building clerk, supply clerk, and payroll clerk. His wife, Beulah Davidson Boggs, daughters Emogene Anderson and Leah Jane Boggs, and son Wendell Davidson Boggs survive him.

THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 1959

Two thousand members of the Kentucky National Guard remained on duty in Letcher and Perry counties today as violence continued to mark the sixweek old coal strike. The latest reported incident was a dynamite explosion late Wednesday night at a tipple at Ulvah. On Wednesday morning, shots were fired near Jack Blair’s mine at Mayking. Guards at the mine were unable to spot their assailants and fired at rifle flashes 300 yards away. Blair, a Letcher County native who has operated a mine here for 15 years, said he is closing his mine and moving his equipment to Norton, Virginia. He said he does not plan to return. In Letcher County, Guardsmen are quartered in the Whitesburg High School gymnasium and at Letcher High School near Blackey.

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Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler will be the principal speaker at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the University of Kentucky college center at Cumberland. The ceremony is set for Sunday afternoon, May 10.

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Sam Wiley Quillen, nine-year-old son of Dr. and Mrs. Sam Quillen of Neon, is being credited with helping save the lives of two fishermen whose boat capsized on Lake Cumberland recently. Sam Wiley was fishing with his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. A.S. Davidson, when he saw he boat capsize and heard the two fishermen, neither wearing a lifejacket, call for help. Grandson and grandfather rushed to the scene and were able to grab one man by his clothing and get him to the side of boat. The other man was able to grab hold of an oar, after which the two men crawled into the Davidson boat. “Sam Wiley probably saved their lives,” writes Neon correspondent Grace Hall, who also points out that young Quillen belongs to the Neon Boy Scout troop.

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Leonard Collins has retired from the Jenkins Post Office, ending a 25-year career with the postal service. He plans to spend his retirement on his farm at Colson.

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Jenkins native Robert C. Haynes has been named dean of men for the next academic year at Transylvania University in Lexington. A graduate of Jenkins High School and Transylvania, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Haynes of Jenkins.

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The Cow Branch Elementary School’s 8th grade class returned to Letcher County on April 18 after three days spent touring points in the state. The 10-member class made stops at Natural Bridge, Keeneland Racecourse, My Old Kentucky Home, Lincoln’s Birthplace, Mammoth Cave, and Cumberland Falls. The students were also able to take an airplane ride and a boat ride on Lake Cumberland.

THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1969

The three physicians who spearheaded the mine health campaign in West Virginia will speak at the Perry County Courthouse in Hazard. The doctors spoke to a sizeable group of miners in Wheelwright several weeks ago, and a large turnout is expected in Hazard. The doctors — I.E. Buff of Charleston, W.Va., Donald Rasmussen of Beckley, W.Va., and Hawey Wells of Johnston, Penn. — provided much of the leadership for the West Virginia black lung campaign that ultimately shut down most of the state’s mines, causing the West Virginia legislature to pass a new workmen’s compensation law recognizing black lung as an occupational disease.

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Funds were cut back this week for four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in Kentucky, reducing somewhat the chances that the Corps will make any immediate efforts to revive plans for the Kingdom Come Dam. Funds for the Carr Fork Reservoir were cut by more than 50 percent.

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Sergeant David Collins currently is in the second month of his second round of service in Vietnam. Collins, at Vung Tau, Vietnam, with the 805th transportation unit, is married to the former Linda Rose Combs, daughter of Curtis Combs of Colson. The Collinses have two daughters, Kim and Debbie, students at Whitesburg Elementary School.

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This week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle includes a photograph of fifty-nine members of the senior class at Fleming-Neon High School and the adults who accompanied them in traveling to Washington, D.C. for their senior trip.

THURSDAY, APRIL 19, 1979

The Millstone landfill is still open and operating, although Letcher County hasn’t paid any of the $22,890 owed to Kentucky River Garbage and Refuse Disposal District. No decision has been made to close the landfill, and board members would have to vote to cut off the services. So far this hasn’t been done, but the board voted at the March 19 meeting to adopt a policy for delinquent accounts. The new policy is that when payment is past due, to cut off services. The board said, however, it would be hesitant to close a landfill.

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Volunteers in two community cleanup projects, one begun a few weeks ago and the other starting Saturday, are fighting a growing pile of garbage and picking up illegal roadside dumps in the Cowan area. Big Cowan volunteers have cleaned four miles along the highway and have about six miles to go. People in the community are gathering in the evenings to work and several truckloads of trash have been hauled away. Meanwhile, a similar project in Little Cowan will kick off Saturday.

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More women are working in coal mines, in spite of slow settlements of sex discrimination complaints against coal companies, said Betty Jean Hall of the Coal Employment Project in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The number of women miners has almost doubled in the past year. As of Sept. 15, 1978, there were 2,000 women employed as miners, up from 992 in July 1977. In 1973, there were no women employed as miners.

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The Blackey Senior Citizens Center held its grand opening Saturday. The center has a library, a kitchen, a dining area, and a quilting area.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26, 1989

Irotas Manufacturing Co. has delayed plans for opening a factory in Whitesburg to make press cylinders. Owner William Harold Kiser, a Millstone native, says one of his largest customers has been taken over by another company and he does not know what effect that may have on his operations.

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Former Whitesburg resident Belinda Mason has been elected the first president of the 12,000-member National Association of People with AIDS. Ms. Mason started the Kentuckiana People with AIDS Coalition. She was given untested blood during the birth of her second child and later tested positive for the HIV virus. She has since been diagnosed with AIDS-related condition, but she does not have AIDS, she said. She is the daughter of Paul Mason of Whitesburg and Barbara Mason.

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Postal officials say they will make do with the existing post office in downtown Whitesburg, but the postmaster says the office will be moved within three years.

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“The dogwoods, creeping phlox and many other flowers are in full bloom,” writes Cowan correspondent Elsie Banks. “The redbuds are beginning to fade, but they are still pretty. Our hills are beautiful this time of year. You don’t realize there are so many dogwoods and flowering trees until they are in bloom.”

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 1999

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted to lay off 24 county employees as officials continue to look for ways to end the current fiscal year with a balanced budget. The layoffs, the first in five years in Letcher County government, affect 22 of 25 hourly employees with the county’s road and bridge department and the only two hourly workers at the new Letcher County Recycling Center.

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Jenkins is abuzz with rumors that a new super Walmart may locate beside new U.S. 23 on the outskirts of town. Walmart and city officials shot down those rumors Friday. A Walmart spokesman said there are no plans for a store in Jenkins or anywhere in the area immediately around the existing store in Whitesburg.

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The Whitesburg City Council has decided to sell the city’s old airport and its old city hall. The airport is unfit for use as an airport and the old city hall has been rented since the city moved to a newly remodeled building in 1992.

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Ritter Kincer Fugate of Mayking, celebrated her 100th birthday April 11. More than 100 friends and relatives gathered to mark the occasion.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22, 2009

Larry D. Collins, a former Letcher Circuit judge, is facing new criminal charges. Collins was the first sitting circuit judge to be indicted in Kentucky when he was charged with accepting bribes in 1992. He was arrested in Lexington recently after being charged with making unauthorized purchases on the debit card of a former employer. Collins was charged with three counts of theft by unlawful taking and three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. He was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun.

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Letcher County’s annual operating budget is expected to increase by $900,000 this year because of a spike in natural gas production. County Treasurer Phillip Hampton said that an increase in several tax receipts from natural gas production accounted for the increase. Hampton said that during the last two quarters the county has received more money from severance taxes on natural gas than it has in coal.

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Gurney Norman, a writer with strong connections to Letcher County, will be inducted this week as Kentucky Poet Laureate for the 2009-2010 term. Norman attended the Stuart Robinson School near Blackey. His first novel, “Divine Right’s Trip”, was originally published in the margins of the “Last Whole Earth Catalog”, which sold two million copies worldwide.

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Pictured in this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle is a dryland fish that J.B. Holcomb found in Knott County. It is 7-3/4 inches long, 11 inches round, and almost 4 inches through.

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