Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, JULY 11, 1929

A 25-year-old newlywed man from Dunham drowned last Tuesday evening after friends threw him into the deep end of Elkhorn Lake at Jenkins during an impromptu celebration of his marriage. Gabe Hughes was wed to 18-year-old Jose May Davis two weeks ago at the Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg. The Mountain Eagle reports the events leading to the drowning this way: “Their marriage was kept quiet, but on last Tuesday [word] leaked out and spread among the friends of Mr. Hughes. In the evening, some of these [friends] gathered to offer the usual congratulations by demanding a ‘treat.’ The young Hughes, it is said, refused. Then they proposed to ‘duck’ him in the big lake. He reluctantly, it is said, consented. He was picked up and thrown into the deep water. The young man struggled to regain the bank, but he suddenly disappeared in the water, and in 10 minutes was taken out a dead man. Whether the shock or cramps caused him to drown no one knows.” Two men, William Wright and James Varney, are charged in connection with the death of Hughes. They were brought to Whitesburg to jail by Policeman Privitt, but were allowed to post bond pending their appearance in court here next Monday.

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Twenty-two years after he founded The Mountain Eagle, Nehemiah Webb is once again the newspaper’s sole owner. Webb announces this week that he has bought the “entire plant and goodwill” of the Whitesburg paper. “Since the year 1922, the date when the financial interests of The Mountain Eagle passed into other hands, the heart of the present editor and founder has yearned for it back,” says a front-page story announcing Webb’s purchase. “It was the child of his best efforts, the realization of his best strength and manhood, the ambition of his heart. Stray away from the old sanctuary as he might, his dreams wondered back to it.”

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Carcassonne School opened July 8 with an overcrowded house. Another room for the upper grades is being prepared. By the first of next week the school will be in a position to take several additional boys and girls. Forty-seven students are enrolled so far this year, 17 of them returning from last year.

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Dr. Randall Dow Collins, a graduate of the University of Louisville medical school, is preparing to start practicing medicine in Whitesburg after having gone through two years of full practice experience elsewhere. He is a son of Colson farmer William Collins.

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Thirteen Letcher County men and women are seeking the Republican nomination for the office of county jailer in the August primary election.

THURSDAY, JULY 14, 1949

A political battle of words continued this week between sheriff ’s candidate Robert B. Collins and coal operator R.P. Price. The dispute went public last week when Collins, a current state representative, purchased an advertisement in The Mountain Eagle criticizing Price for wrongfully accusing Collins of being a business partner with convicted bootlegger Sam J. Bates. Price answers Collins in this week’s edition of The Eagle, stating that Price was repeating what he’d heard — that Collins was partnering with Bates in a “roadhouse” on Sandlick. “It is true that I told several people what I heard,” Price writes, “but after investigating the records in the Letcher County Clerk’s Office I found that the roadhouse is not in the name of Robert B. Collins, but is in the name of his brother, Ben F. Collins.”

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S.J. “Sam” Bates and seven other men charged with conspiracy to violate Internal Revenue laws are scheduled to stand trial July 18 in federal court in Jackson. The eight men were indicted after federal agents raided Bates’s home in Whitesburg in search of illegal alcoholic beverages and recovered several weapons, including a machine gun and a sawed-off shotgun.

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A coroner’s jury of six Letcher County men have ruled the deaths of Leon Sturgill and Mrs. Della Mae Caudill Reed as a murder-suicide. The two were found shot to death Friday in the back seat of an automobile parked along US Highway 119 on Pine Mountain, near the Big Bend Hotel. The jury agreed that Sturgill, the operator of roadhouse near where the shootings took place and the father three, shot Mrs. Reed, the mother of a 17-month-old son, before turning the gun on himself.

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Two men were fined $350 each this week on charges of illegal possession of whiskey. The two, Alga Bargo and Ira Kennedy, were arrested Sunday by state Alcoholic Beverage Control officers at a roadhouse on Cumberland River and brought to Whitesburg to jail. Their trial was held Monday. Seized from the roadhouse were 901 half-cases of beer, a partial case of whiskey, three pistols, and between $15 and $20 in cash taken from a group of men who were playing poker when the raid started.

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Letcher Circuit Judge Sam H. Ward entered a directed verdict of not guilty Friday in the murder trial of Mrs. Hattie Cook, 43, who was charged with shooting her husband to death on February 26. Mrs. Cook testified she shot Ed Cook after he came home drunk, threatened her life, and shot at her. A witness for the state, Andrew Niece, denied that Mr. Cook was drunk at the time, saying he had accompanied him to a nearby church before the slaying. The couple had eight children during their 22 years of marriage.

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Two Jenkins businesses were burglarized this week. A thief or thieves took a small amount of change from the cash register at Tucker’s Hardware Store on Main Street and $10 in cash from Bodell Plumbing Company.

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Noting the heat wave now going on here and elsewhere in the United States, a Mountain Eagle editorial calls on local business leaders and others to stop ignoring the “tourist trade” and start working to lure visitors to sites such as the top of Pine Mountain, where the weather is “cool and inviting on even the hottest days [and] would be a weary city-dweller’s haven if it offered tourist accommodations.”

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“Johnny Belinda,” starring Lew Ayres and Jane Wyman, will show at the Haymond Theatre in Cromona July 17-18.

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Showing at the Elinda Ann Drive-In Theatre in Whitesburg July 14-15 is “The Return of the Bad Men,” starring Randolph Scott and George “Gabby” Hayes.

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The Jenkins Recorder is the name of a local newspaper published in Jenkins during 1921 and 1922, according to a feature story in this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle. The weekly paper was edited and published by C.E. Belt, who is elderly and now living in Neon. The paper prospered for a time before the lack of independent businesses in the coal-company owned town eventually caused it to suspend publication.

THURSDAY, JULY 16, 1959

The Letcher County Fiscal Court approved a new budget for the county Tuesday, then voted to borrow $52,000 from the Bank of Whitesburg to pay current bills, some of them several months old. The budget totals $161,813 and is for the fiscal year that started July 1.

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Three men were indicted this week on charges of murdering James Otis Adams last April 16 at Little Shepherd Coal Company’s tipple in Letcher County. The three suspects are Harrison Stidham, Verlin King, and Democrat Holliman. All have been held in the Perry County Jail in Hazard since shortly after Adams was shot to death after he had driven his truck to the coal ramp during the coal strike.

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Thirty-eight parents of second-graders at Whitesburg Elementary School have lost in their efforts to get Mrs. Cora Addington Fredehl retained as teacher for their children next year. Mrs. Fredehl was notified a few days ago of her transfer to a teaching job at Marlowe. Letcher Schools Superintendent W.B. Hall said he is moving Mrs. Fredehl to Marlowe because “she doesn’t fit in with the program” at Whitesburg and was unable to get along with the other teachers. However, a petition in support of Mrs. Fredehl signed by the 38 parents commends her for her “special interests in many of these children, having followed them since they were in kindergarten under her sister, Mrs. Gurtha Boatright.” The petition also notes her AB degree and 24 years of teaching experience. Another Whitesburg teacher, Betty Jo Collins, said she taught with Mrs. Fredehl and finds her to be “a good teacher. She goes into the school room and teaches the children what they should know. If she had any trouble with any of the other teachers I did not know about it.” Mrs. Fredehl also has the support of Whitesburg Elementary School Principal Leonard Morgan.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial criticizes the decision by Letcher Schools Superintendent W.B. Hall to transfer Cora Addington Fredehl from her job teaching second grade at Whitesburg Elementary School to a teaching job at Marlowe. “Letcher County will continue having the worst school system in Kentucky as long as our superintendent is permitted to engage in this petty kind of politics whenever the mood strikes him,” the editorial says.

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Creighton Wright of Jenkins was sentenced to 10 years in the state penitentiary this week after being found guilty in Letcher Circuit Court of the malicious shooting and wounding of his wife.

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The July Letcher County Grand Jury recommends that the county tear down its jail and start all over again.

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The Letcher County Board of Education is standing firm on its position that it will not have a county lunchroom director next year unless it is assured the job will go to Nora H. Hall, wife of Superintendent W.B. Hall.

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Cohen’s House of Fashion in nearby Norton, Virginia is advertising its 60th Anniversary Sale.

THURSDAY, JULY 10, 1969

Congress acted this week to extend the life of the Appalachian Regional Development Act two more years, as the Senate adopted a $444 million supplementary appropriation without debate. The House has not yet passed the bill and, so far, has indicated no interest in approving an appropriation as large as that cleared by the Senate.

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Danny M. Hatton was awarded the Bronze Star for valor in combat in Vietnam. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Maney Hatton of Seco and is a 1966 graduate of Whitesburg High School. He is due to return home from Phan Rang, Vietnam about July 27.

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In Tom Bethell’s review of Whitesburg attorney and author Harry Caudill’s new book, “Dark Hills to Westward: The Saga of Jenny Wiley”, he says, “Harry Caudill is one hell of a storyteller — as anyone knows who has sat in his living room and listened to him spin out an improbable yarn of thunderous events and infinite perfidies in a Kentucky that is only just now fading into history.” Bethell’s main criticism of the book is its portrayal of Indians, who were being driven from their land by the white settlers. The review says, “The treatment of Indians weakens the book; but it is still a first-rate piece of storytelling.”

THURSDAY, JULY 5, 1979

A group of German investors is financing a major new coal development in the Rockhouse area of Letcher County. The $10 million facility, which should be in operation in August 1980, is expected to move two million tons of coal per year and employ 1,500 persons.

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Fleming-Neon High School teacher Margaret Reasor was killed in a two-car accident on U.S. 23 in Pike County. She and three other teachers, Thelma Garrett, Henrietta Thomas and Joyce Cassidy, were on their way to summer classes in Pikeville when the accident occurred.

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All local legal problems involving site and fill area for the Whitesburg bypass apparently were resolved this week, and a work order was issued for construction of the 2.3-mile highway. Work is expected to commence next week.

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Playing at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg is “Paradise Alley” starring Sylvester Stallone.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 1989

Thousands of sites in Daniel Boone National Forest are known to have been inhabited or used as burial grounds by prehistoric peoples. Ninety-five percent have been destroyed by vandals. Cecil Ison, a forest archaeologist for the U.S. Forest Service, said in the five years he has worked in the forest, about 1,000 Indian camp sites and burial grounds have been destroyed by looters.

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Letcher County’s unemployment rate has increased slightly. The county’s unemployment rate was 10.9 percent at the end of May, compared with a rate of 10.6 percent in April.

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Blackey citizens are organizing to make sure Lexington’s Kentucky River Steering Committee doesn’t decide it wants to flood their community. The committee has said it will consider reservoirs on tributaries in eastern Kentucky to send water to Lexington.

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The Fleming-Neon High School football Pirates are looking for a few good linemen to go with a very experienced offensive backfield. Ten seniors were graduated from last season’s 9-3 squad, and the only returning lineman is Ben McCray.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 1999

President Bill Clinton put special emphasis on bringing jobs to Appalachia when he came to Hazard on Monday. He announced 864 new jobs at Sykes Enterprises Inc. for Hazard and Pikeville. The stop was one of a series of visits to some of the poorest areas on the country to persuade Congress to pass Clinton’s New Markets Initiative, which would give businesses up to a 25 percent tax credit for locating in economically depressed areas.

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Letcher County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith plans to ask members of Letcher Fiscal Court to approve a “living wage” rate of $7.50 an hour for anyone employed in Letcher County. Smith said he would present his request to the county magistrates at their meeting July 12. The current minimum wage in the county is currently $5.15 an hour.

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Thirty years of photographs by nationally known photographer Earl Dotter will be on display through October 4 at Appalshop in Whitesburg. Dotter spent 10 years photographing miners and their families for the United Mine Workers Journal.

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A police raid on an indoor marijuana growing operation turned into a hike through the hills after state and federal officers discovered more than 1,500 more marijuana plants growing in and around Long Branch of Linefork. Most of the plants were planted in small plots and some were under trees that had been pulled over and tied to the ground to hide the plants from aircraft. Police did not know if the indoor growing operation and outdoor operation were connected.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8, 2009

The Jenkins Independent and Letcher County school boards may have violated a state attorney general’s opinion when members met in private to evaluate the respective superintendents, Deborah Watts and Anna Craft. Each of the two school boards awarded a pay raise to its superintendent after the closed session, and each of which appeared to have violated an attorney general’s opinion requiring the superintendent evaluations be done in public.

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People who visit Jenkins Lake to feed ducks, mallards and geese may soon be cited and fined if they continue to feed the birds. The Jenkins City Council voted unanimously at its July meeting to approve a new law prohibiting people from feeding the ducks and mallards in hopes the migratory birds will head farther north.

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Police are advising local businesses to be cautious when accepting checks after a woman cashed a check in Jenkins on a Whitesburg bank that doesn’t exist. “They’re putting bogus businesses, banks and employee information on the checks,” said Jenkins Police Chief Jim Stephens.

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