Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, AUGUST 19, 1909

W.E. Wright of Baker reports sowing five bushels of goose wheat seed that will “thrash out” about 50 bushels. “It cost me about seven dollars to get it in shock and I think it is worth $65 now,” Wright says in a letter to The Mountain Eagle. “I aim to sow 10 bushels this fall and will sell the rest to people who want to sow for as reasonable as possible.”

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Letcher County farmer Dow Collins will arrive from Stonega, Virginia this week with a large thrasher. “Don’t you wish you had about 100 bushels of big yellow-grained wheat to thrash?” The Mountain Eagle asks. “Get ready this year to have it next year.”

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Eolia farmers have been busy cutting and putting up hay.

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Heavy rains Monday night caused much damage to crops growing in Sergent and Mayking.

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The decision by Lewis Brothers Wholesale to advertise in last week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle paid off well for the company, resulting in $160 in cash sales Saturday.

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Work on the new Baptist church at Mayking is progressing nicely.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 15, 1929

“Ain’t it a grand and glorious feeling?” That’s the question The Mountain Eagle is asking now that automobile drivers can leave Whitesburg and “in five hours be speeding down Main Street in Lexington.” Adds the Eagle, “It may sound funny, but it’s true. If you don’t believe it, then try a few hours’ drive by the way of Hazard and Jackson and be convinced.”

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A front-page story in The Mountain Eagle praises the City of Whitesburg for the work it is doing to raise the Madison Street bridge by two feet. Getting rid of the “jolts” the bridge causes to travelers is “certainly a long-needed and much appreciated improvement” to the structure, the Eagle says.

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Cameo Coal Company of Mayking has been sold to Heuser Coal Company. The property was appraised for $8,000, but was sold for only $4,400.

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Average attendance at Potter’s Fork School is 32 students, or about 85 percent of total enrollment.

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Construction of a bridge across the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Blackey still is not under way even though construction contracts were let some time ago.

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The Elsiecoal School has four teachers who deliver lessons to 181 students. Letcher Schools Superintendent Arlie Boggs visited the school recently.

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The arrival in Letcher County of a large number of agents with the Bureau of Prohibition has led The Mountain Eagle to question what the paper sees as the “entrapment” of local citizens accused of violating the Volstead Act, which has outlawed the sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States since January 1920. Noting that enforcement of the law “has brought much good to the human family,” the Eagle says the measure “has at the same time been the source of much corruption, dissipation, death, and ruin.”

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A.C. Slemp of Millstone has purchased one of the four new Pontiacs that arrived in Whitesburg on Friday.

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W.F. Mandt, superintendent of the Carbon Glow mines, says the coal business is starting to pick up again.

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The hopes of the people of Elsiecoal were raised when preparations for re-opening the mine there began last Saturday.

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Elkhorn Coal Corporation is advertising for “good steady coal loaders” to work at its mines at Haymond and Fleming. “Can use some good steady coal loaders,” the ad says. “Good boarding houses. Apply at mines.”

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“If all the 40 million tons — 796,000 carloads — of coal shipped over the L&N lines in 1928 could have been carried on one train, this train, with engines necessary to pull it, would have had to be fully 6,000 miles long, about one-fourth the distance around the world,” says an advertisement purchased by the L&N Railroad.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 1949

A 24-year-old Letcher County man was shot and killed near Thornton last night, said Letcher County Jailer John M. Adams. Charged in connection with the shooting is Jesse Earls, said Adams, who added that a brother of Earls, Ernest Earls, was still being sought by authorities on Thursday. Young Bates was the operator of a roadhouse at Thornton. He was a son of Hennie Bates, also of Thornton.

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Virgil Picklesimer of Whitesburg has been elected to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He is an official with South-East Coal Company.

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A total of 1,100 students are expected to be on the campus shared by Whitesburg Elementary School and Whitesburg High School when classes begin Monday, August 29.

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The new Whitesburg City Hall will be officially opened next Thursday (August 25) after a dedication ceremony.

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Sam Isaac, 19, is the new manager of the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg and will also manage the new Isaac’s Alene Theatre when it opens here. A student of Virginia Polytechnic Institute at Blacksburg, Va., he has been a frequent visitor to Whitesburg. His father, J.E. Isaac of Cumberland, has been in the movie business for 30 years. The elder Isaac came to Kentucky in 1922 after opening and operating theaters in Norton, Virginia for a number of years.

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Dr. and Mrs. Sam Quillen of Neon are receiving congratulations this week on the arrival of a nine-pound son born at their home last Friday night. The boy has been christened Sam Wiley Quillen II.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 1959

A “stagecoach road” along the top of Pine Mountain, where tourists could be treated to a ride in a replica of a real stagecoach, is among the attractions proposed for a potential state park on the Harlan- Letcher county line. The Cumberland Lions

Club is soliciting donations of $5,000 for the purchase of 350 acres of land to be included in the park. Other land would be donated. The Lions want residents of Cumberland to sign $100 notes at the local bank to be repaid at $10 per month for 10 months.

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Kentucky Power Company is asking the state Public Service Commission to authorize an increase in the monthly minimum charge for electric service from $1 to $2.

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The Thornton Union Association of Regular Baptist Churches has made a gesture of peace with the Indian Bottom Association in an effort to heal a breach of several years standing. The action was taken at the annual meeting of the association last weekend at Blackey. Six churches — Oven Fork, Poor Fork, Little Zion at Jeff, Little Dove on Carr Creek, and Maple Grove on Tolson — were given letters of dismissal from the Thornton Union Association and counseled to return to the Indian Bottom Association.

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Traffic around Whitesburg High School and Elementary School will be one-way during rush hours beginning with the opening of school. Mayor Pro Tem Ferdinand

Moore said traffic will be routed up College Hill, around by the high school building, and out the road below the gymnasium.

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Joseph J. Doney, administrator of Whitesburg Memorial Hospital since it opened, will leave September 15 to become a consultant with the International Cooperation of Administrators, a branch of the U.S. State Department. Doney’s successor at the Whitesburg hospital will be Charles Dimmock Jenkins, who for the past three years has served as assistant administrator at Williamson Memorial Hospital, the largest in the chain of hospitals operated by the Miners Memorial Hospital Association.

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The state highway department has awarded a contract for construction of a one-mile section of road that will lead to a new portal to be built by South-East Coal Company on Smoot Creek. The road will extend from KY 160, one mile south of KY 15, toward Sandlick Gap. The South- East portal will serve as the main entry for workers in the company’s new mine now being developed on Camp Branch at Polly. The mine is expected to employ some 300 men when it is in full operation in about two years from now.

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Gerald Frazier and Charles Martin of Whitesburg High School have spent the past two weeks in Williamson, West Virginia, getting ready for the annual Kiwanis Senior Bowl football game.

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Only about 75 days remain until the first killing frost of autumn hits here, writes Letcher County Extension Agent Robert H. Fike.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 14, 1969

Two well-known Letcher County men, Dr. B.F. Wright and John Lucas, died this week.

Dr. Wright, 78, performed thousands of operations and delivered thousand of babies. He was deeply involved in Letcher County politics and served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in the 1930s. He was county judge for one term from 1941 to 1945.

John Lucas, 89, of Cromona, was a principal organizer in Letcher and other eastern Kentucky counties for the United Mine Workers of America during the 1930s. He also was a member of the original committee in Letcher County for the operation of the Economic Opportunity programs.

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Walter Eastman “Easter” Mullis and the stone animals he carved are the subject of a Mountain Eagle article, which also includes photographs of a stone lion at Blackey, a lamb tombstone atop Garner Mountain, a stone pony, and two small lions in Lexington. Mullis was a heavy equipment operator for the Kentucky Highway Department. He made the animals from solid blocks of limestone left over from quarrying for roads. He died in 1961.

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Ice correspondent Siller Brown recalls old people telling her that spider webs were set by the devil to “catch us if we did not be good.”

THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 1979

Letcher County is one of 15 counties in Kentucky with enough coal reserves to support a huge coal-liquefaction plant, says a U.S. Department of Energy study. No area in Kentucky may be suitable for such a plant, however, because of high pollution levels in the state, the report says.

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Although a state and federal inspection report from more than a year ago cautions the City of Jenkins to study the stability of the above-town dam that holds the city’s water supply, no engineering study has yet been made because of a lack of funds. Almost all of the concrete facing has cracked off the Elkhorn Lake dam, which was built in 1911 by Consolidated Coal, and water appears to be seeping through the east end of the structure.

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Jenkins and McRoberts residents’ utility bills will include a new three-percent school tax. Alexander Eversole, the new Jenkins school superintendent, said approximately $40,000 will be generated annually by the tax.

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Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) will purchase most of Wheelwright, a coalmining town of approximately 1,000, at a cost of $1,275,000. The purchase will include the town’s sewer, water and natural gas systems, 90 single-family homes, 120 vacant lots, 20 commercial buildings and a run down 32-acre golf course. Wheelwright was established in the late 1930s by Inland Steel Co. KHC will offer the homes at a low interest rate to the present residents.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 1989

Developers plan to double the size of an apartment complex for elderly and low-income people under construction in Fleming-Neon. The site will include 12 apartments for the elderly and handicapped and 24 units for low-income people, and now will contain another 36 units. Other housing units planned or under construction in Letcher County include 36 proposed in Jenkins and 16 proposed in Whitesburg.

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The state Board of Education has approved a plan that would close Fleming- Neon High School and Letcher High School and require the local board to build a new high school at Isom. The plan would also close Campbell’s Branch, Hemphill and Beckham Bates elementary schools and force the system back into a kindergarten-to-eighth-grade and ninth grade-twelfth-grade program. Under the plan the local board would have five years to close the schools and redistrict the county school system.

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The City of Whitesburg has hired retired Kentucky State Police Detective Frank Fleming as chief of police, the first person to officially hold that post in nearly four years.

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More than a billion people on five continents may see a total lunar eclipse tonight when the full moon passes through the Earth’s shadow.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 1999

The first section of the proposed Pine Mountain Trail could be ready for hikers by October. The Pine Mountain Trail Association met Aug. 3 and decided the existing portion of the trail from Breaks Interstate Park to Pound Gap can be blazed by October.

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The federal Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is releasing $7,749,823 in emergency assistance for Kentucky to help low-income citizens pay the costs of keeping cool in the face of the area’s ongoing heat wave. At least five deaths have been attributed to the heat wave since July 19.

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“Journey through the ‘70’s” will be the theme of the annual Neon Days celebration scheduled for Sept. 3-5. The event will include a square dance and cakewalk, live music, a disco dance contest, and a parade.

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“The Sixth Sense” and “Runaway Bride” are playing at the Whitesburg Cinema.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2009

Charles Scott Howard, of Roxana, was ordered reinstated to his former job on Band Mill Mine No. 2’s underground construction crew after a ruling by the U.S. Labor Secretary’s Office. Howard was one of 88 hourly and salaried miners who were laid off from Cumberland River Coal’s operations in Letcher and Harlan counties on May 14. A Mine Health and Safety Administration investigator determined that Howard “has a history of safety complaints including formal and informal complaints about discrete safety hazards at mines where he was employed, testifying before Congress and MSHA relating to the safe operations of coal mines and filing several complaints relating to discriminatory actions by Cumberland River Coal Co.” Howard will receive full back pay and benefits plus interest for the time he missed work.

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The Kentucky Parole Board says that confessed murderer Donald Terry Bartley, 51, will become eligible for parole in October. Bartley pleaded guilty in 1987 to taking part in the August 1985 murder of 23-year-old Tammy Dee Acker and the robbery and attempted murder of her father, Dr. Roscoe Acker of Fleming-Neon. Letcher Commonwealth’s Attorney Edison G. Banks II said he will formally oppose parole for Bartley if a hearing is held.

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The First Baptist Church of Whitesburg is celebrating its 100th anniversary this summer. Church members will unseal a time capsule created on June 7, 1964 and are collecting items to place in a new time capsule.

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The Fleming-Neon High School Alumni Association hosted a “Gathering of the Pirates” June 26-27. Alumni from 1944 to 2006 traveled from 20 states and two foreign countries to attend the event.

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