Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1909

“Three of the stingiest men in Kentucky were in Whitesburg on Monday. One of them will not drink as much water as he wants unless it’s from another man’s well. The second forbids any of his family from writing anything not of a small hand, as it is a waste of ink to make large letters. The third man stops his clock at night in order to save wear and tear on the machinery. All three men decline to subscribe to The Mountain Eagle on grounds it is a terrible strain on their spectacles to read newspapers, even in the daytime.” — From a front-page advertisement calling on readers to subscribe to The Mountain Eagle. “Pay the Eagle, for it needs food,” says another front-page advertisement urging readers to subscribe at the low rate of $1 per year or 50 cents for six months.

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Among statewide news briefs carried under the headline “Kentucky Kernels” is the following notice of a “medical branch” being planned for State University at Lexington: “It has finally been decided to have a medical branch of the State University at Lexington. An appropriation of $25,000 will be asked at the next session of the Legislature.” [Editor’s Note: State University’s name was changed to the University of Kentucky in 1916. The UK College of Medicine was founded in 1954.]

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According to another item from “Kentucky Kernels,” a column carried on the front page of The Mountain Eagle, “A new set of pardoning rules has been sent out by Governor Augustus E. Wilson. He says that no applications for restoration to citizenship will be considered within two months of a primary or general election. Governor Wilson further says that the political affiliation of no man will be considered in granting a pardon.”

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The Ira Fields & Co. general store in Whitesburg is “doing an immense business,” The Mountain Eagle reports. Why? Because “they still advertise,” the paper says.

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Two Letcher County men were sentenced to terms in the state penitentiary in a period of about 20 minutes Tuesday. In separate cases, Bud Spurgeon was given a four-year sentence for breaking into and stealing numerous items from the store belonging Ewens and Dr. Cook at Democrat. Henry Wright was then sentenced to two years in “the pen” for “unceremoniously riding a mule away from its owner in Norton, Virginia.” Wright, 17, was arrested on Big Cowan with the mule in his possession. The sentences were handed down after Wright and Spurgeon pleaded guilty.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1929

More than 2,000 people attended the lot sale at Whitaker last Saturday. The property brought nearly $12,000, although a large portion of it remains unsold. Located between Neon and Seco, Whitaker is expected to become a business center for that area of the county.

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Major John P. Wood, the famous Air Mail and racing pilot who once frequented Letcher County, died September 2 after his plane crashed while he was trying to lower the speed record between Los Angeles, California and Cleveland, Ohio. Wood was one of two men aboard the Lockheed 5 Vega when it crashed in a thunderstorm in the desert around Needles, California. The plane’s mechanic was able to parachute to safety. “Readers of the Eagle will recall that a few years ago a young man named John P. Wood frequently landed near Whitesburg in his airplane and not infrequently took some of our people for a fly in the air,” The Mountain Eagle reports.

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A Jenkins woman was slightly injured after the home in which she was living was torn in two after being struck by lightning Sunday evening. The name of the woman was not released.

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The Mountain Eagle is calling on the L&N Railroad to change the schedule of its “second train down in the morning” from Fleming … so as to accommodate the hundreds of high school children living in the sections above Whitesburg.” According to the Eagle, school now “opens before that train runs, necessitating that students walk into the city or ride taxis or buses at a much heavier cost. We would suggest that the L&N officials arrange this schedule.”

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Uncle Silas Wright, one of Whitesburg’s most popular barbers, narrowly escaped serious injury Monday when he was hit and knocked to the pavement by a passing car.

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Letcher County’s population now totals about 40,000. More than 3,000 of those people now live in the City of Whitesburg.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1949

For the second time since spring the high school at Fleming has had its name changed. In July, the Letcher County Board of Education voted to rename Fleming High School to Neon-Fleming High School. Last Friday, the board voted to change the name to Fleming-Neon High School.

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A Chesapeake & Ohio Railway conductor killed himself early Tuesday morning in the home of a Jenkins police officer. Harry Lee Tackett, 55, shot himself in the head about 6:30 a.m. with a gun belonging to Officer Charlie Cline. Authorities say Tackett, who had been staying in a boarding house near Cline’s home, was visiting while Cline was getting ready for work. When Cline left the room, Tackett removed Cline’s pistol from its holster and shot himself. Tackett had worked for the C&O for 33 years and was a conductor in the Jenkins yards.

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A 25-year-old Neon man attempted suicide in the Letcher County Jail Sunday by using the handle of a tin coffee cup to cut himself. Jailer John M. Adams said he inmate was found “near death” after removing the handle from the cup, forming it “into a knife,” and cutting himself on the arm. Adams said the man, who is being treated at Jenkins Hospital, was being held on an “insanity warrant” at the time of the incident.

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Work on the project to widen Main Street in Jenkins was finished Wednesday when the final strip of blacktop was laid. The street has been widened from 18 feet to 37 feet.

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A 15-year-old Jenkins boy was injured slightly Wednesday when he lost control of the automobile he was driving in East Whitesburg.

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A 58-year-old Colson man died Tuesday in the Hazard hospital, where was being treated for injuries he suffered after falling from a horse on August 29. Phillip Gibson is survived by his wife and 12 children.

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John Palumbo Sr. has been selected to supervise construction of a clubhouse for the American Legion’s Douglas Day Post on Pine Mountain.

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Kyva Motor Company of Whitesburg is the local dealer for deep freezers manufactured by International Harvester. The freezers are available in two sizes — 11.1 cubic foot and 4.2 cubic foot.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1959

A motorcade of about 200 cars, led by Whitesburg’s fire chief, met Miss Kentucky Carol Brown at Kona as she returned home from the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The motorcade was joined at Tunnel Hill by the Whitesburg High School Marching Band, which led Miss Brown and the motorcade to her home in the Upper Bottom section of Whitesburg. Once there, Miss Brown stood on her spotlighted porch and waved and smiled at every car that slowly passed, giving the occupants a long look at our own Miss Kentucky.

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City Supermarket, a new grocery store located next door to the Bank of Whitesburg, is bringing a new concept to Letcher County — the use of Top Value Stamps.

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The Kentucky Department of Education has refused to approve construction of a new lunchroom at Haymond School. State officials notified the Letcher County School Board that it could not allow the construction so long as there is such a severe shortage of classroom space in the county.

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The Keeneland Foundation in Lexington announced this week that Rosemary Brown of Jenkins has received a four-year scholarship in education to Morehead State University.

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Whitesburg High School football star Roger Kincer scored 30 points while leading the Yellowjackets to a 31-12 win over Benham. This boosted Kincer’s total points to 61 for the three games played so far this season, making him the state’s leading scorer.

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Kentucky has become the first state to test a road-paving material derived from coal.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 1969

With American troops now in Laos and Thailand as well as Vietnam, an editorial reprinted from The Kentucky Labor News asks the question, “Who declares war?” The editorial quotes Sen. John Sherman Cooper, who says: “Wars start from small beginnings … A likely way become involved in a war is to put our armed forces in another country where there is a local war. And if we stay in there long enough, and send enough men there, they will be fired on some day, and then … it is a matter of national honor and, because the President has the constitutional duty to protect our troops, we will have to be involved in a war.”

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School enrollment figures for Letcher and surrounding counties show that movement of people from eastern Kentucky continued at a high rate during the past year. Letcher County reported a drop in school enrollment from 5,866 at the beginning of school last year to a 5,679 enrollment figure at the beginning of school now.

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Army Private First Class Walter B. Sexton, 22, son of Charlie Sexton of Whitesburg, was assigned August 8 to the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam. His wife, Sherry, lives in Warren, Mich.

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In one of the best opening games in years, the Jenkins Cavaliers defeated Elkhorn City 26-22. In a Courier-Journal survey, Elkhorn City had been picked fourth in the Fourth Region of Class “A” football.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1979

Beth-Elkhorn miners are back at work this week under a federal temporary restraining order. The employees ended a United Mine Workers wildcat strike of nearly three weeks and returned to work. The strike’s end followed an agreement between Beth-Elkhorn and eight Mine 22 miners who were suspended and scheduled to be fired on company charges of “picketing and causing an illegal work stoppage.” The men will instead be suspended for ten days.

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The Mayking Head Start bus wrecked Wednesday afternoon on Craft’s Colly when a front wheel fell into an unmarked break in the road. Although five children were on the bus, they were unharmed; they all had their seatbelts fastened.

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The Kentucky River Garbage and Refuse Disposal District sent its endloader back to the Millstone landfill Tuesday, following a Letcher Circuit Court temporary restraining order to keep the solid waste disposal site open. The district pulled the equipment out last week and shut the landfill down after Letcher Fiscal Court made no move to pay the approximately $30,000 owed to the district.

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Extra lean ground round is on sale at the A&P food store for $1.69 a pound. Five pounds of sugar is 79 cents.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1989

A law barring anyone under 18 from the Fleming-Neon streets after 10 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian went into effect two weeks ago. City councilman Steve Hall, who is 24, said “If they’re not out there they can’t be robbing people and vandalizing things.” He said teens have no reason to be on the streets at night, and people “hanging out” on the streets cause a problem because the city has only one police officer.

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Gov. Wallace Wilkinson will tell Letcher County high school students to “say no to drugs” in a speech here next week. The governor will speak to an assembly of the freshman and sophomore classes of the three county high schools and Jenkins High School.

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The Mountain Heritage Festival will be in full swing by Friday. Events include a quilt show, a billiards tournament, a puttputt golf tournament, Blackey/Elk Creek/ Carcassonne Day, Rich Kirby in concert, a street dance, a carnival, and a football bowl.

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An advertisement appearing in The Mountain Eagle seeks 20 men to help set up rides for the carnival to be held at the Mountain Heritage Festival.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1999

A photograph on page 1 of The Mountain Eagle shows Buford Stonic Jr. of Letcher as he floats over the Isom Day festival on a powered parachute.

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The Letcher Fiscal Court will consider an ordinance Monday to require property owners to either fix or demolish dilapidated buildings. The court approved the first reading of the ordinance last month. District 5 Magistrate Wayne Fleming, who proposed the ordinance, said if the owners fail to tear down blighted and deteriorated buildings and clean up the mess, the county will do it after condemnation of the property.

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Geraldine and Rodney Ison will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a reception at Blair Branch Old Regular Baptist Church on Sept. 11. The couple have operated Rodney Ison’s Garage for the last 50 years.

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Fishing with Gabby columnist Greg Caudill writes about the increase of the use of scented and rattling baits. These types of baits can really help your fishing, he says. His tip of the week is “when fishing a rattling bait in stained water, remember a fish’s strike zone is smaller because of poor vision in the stained water, so be sure to keep the lure moving so the fish can zero in on the lure’s rattles.”

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2009

Volunteers of all talents are needed to help provide free healthcare to thousands of people at a two-day clinic in Jenkins. The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps (RAM) will be the first of its kind in Letcher County. General medical services such as mammograms and blood sugar and cholesterol checks will be available as well as dental and vision services.

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Mountain Heritage Festival contests include quilting, baking and canning, and woodcraft. Entries may be taken to the Letcher County Extension Office.

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The visiting Letcher County Central High School Cougars defeated the Hazard Bulldogs 35-21, ending an 18-game home winning streak for the Bulldogs.

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