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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
February 1964 was a huge month in the early career of boxing great Muhammad Ali, the Louisville native then known as Cassius Clay. One week after meeting The Beatles (from left, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison) at his training camp in Miami Beach, Florida on February 18, 1964, where he was preparing for his historic fight with Sonny Liston, the 22-year-old Clay defeated Liston on February 25, 1964 by a seventh-round knockout. That World Heavyweight Championship fight, which Clay entered as a 7-1 underdog, is considered the fourth greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. (AP Photo)

February 1964 was a huge month in the early career of boxing great Muhammad Ali, the Louisville native then known as Cassius Clay. One week after meeting The Beatles (from left, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison) at his training camp in Miami Beach, Florida on February 18, 1964, where he was preparing for his historic fight with Sonny Liston, the 22-year-old Clay defeated Liston on February 25, 1964 by a seventh-round knockout. That World Heavyweight Championship fight, which Clay entered as a 7-1 underdog, is considered the fourth greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. (AP Photo)

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 27, 1930

“… Letcher County must do something toward lifting lower Linefork out of the mud and giving its citizens an equal opportunity with other sections of the county,” The Mountain Eagle writes in a front-page commentary. The writing comes after Blackey-area residents attending last week’s meeting of the Letcher Fiscal Court to complain about the state’s decision to fund a highway from the mouth on Kings Creek toward the head of Linefork instead of starting the road at the mouth of Linefork.

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The two oldest living representatives of two of Letcher County’s first settlers have been married 63 years. Enoch Craft and Polly Ann Craft have been living in Millstone for the past 55 years. Enoch, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, will turn 88 years old on February 28. Polly will soon turn 83. He is a son of the late Baptist minister Arch Craft. She is a daughter of the late John A. Caudill, who was also a Baptist minister.

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Dr. Moses Adkins, one of eastern Kentucky’s leading physicians, died Saturday at his home in Millard in Pike County. He was 63. Dr. Adkins is a native of Rockhouse Creek in Letcher County. He is a brother of Dr. Boaz Adkins of Whitesburg, Basil Adkins of Rockhouse, and Mrs. Pollie Morgan of Neon.

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Florsheim brand shoes for men are on sale for $8.85 a pair at Golde’s Cash Store in Neon.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 29, 1940

More than 200 guests danced to the sounds of Deekin Fryes Orchestra at a reception Saturday night at the Jenkins Masonic Lodge. The event was sponsored by members of the Jenkins Cavalier Mining Institute, which is made up of employees of Consolidation Coal Company.

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Linefork native W. Bradley Cornett, who now lives in Columbus, Ohio, has been named superintendent of agencies for the Loyal Protective Life Insurance Company of Boston. Cornett, who be in charge of the agencies in the 24 states where the company operates, remembers The Mountain Eagle as “the first newspaper I ever read.”

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Charles Blair was critically injured in a mining accident at Carbon Glow Coal Company, located just above Blackey. A former member of the Letcher County School Board, the Cowan resident is being treated at the Hazard Hospital.

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Funeral services will be held tomorrow (Friday) at the Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg for former Letcher County Schools Superintendent Elijah B. Hale, who died this morning. A native of Colson, he was a teacher at the Whitesburg Common School and High School for 45 years. Professor Hale was the father of Bank of Whitesburg cashier Herman Hale and Whitesburg schools music teacher Rosa Hale Jones.

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A feud that began on primary election day two years ago in Breathitt County has claimed another victim. Lewis Combs, 34, a Kentucky state truck tax collector, was fatally shot Saturday night in front of the crowded Jackson Post Office by 27-year-old Fred Deaton, known as the one-armed Breathitt County sheriff ’s deputy. Two years ago, Lewis Combs’s brother, Lee Combs, a former deputy sheriff, was shot and killed by Fred Deaton’s father, Breathitt County Sheriff Walter Deaton, after the two were in a gun battle on the stairway leading to the headquarters of Senator Alben Barkley. Lewis Combs was chairman of the Senate campaign of A.B. “Happy” Chandler. Walter Deaton was injured in that melee.

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Virgil D. Picklesimer, general superintendent of South-East Coal Co., and G.S. Jenkins, general superintendent of Consolidation Coal Company, are on the program to give addresses at the 17th Annual Coal Convention and Exposition of the American Mining Congress, set to be held in Cincinnati this year from April 29 through May 3.

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James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Priscilla Land star in the movie “The Roaring Twenties,” showing March 3 and 4 at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

THURSDAY MARCH 2, 1950

Consolidation Coal Company’s board of directors has voted to reduced pay to all salaried employees by 20 percent in the higher brackets and 5 percent in the lower amendment. The move comes as the current coal strike continues. Consolidation’s directors say its mines at Jenkins, Dunham, McRoberts, Thornton and Marshall’s Branch in Letcher County have operated only two days in the last two month.

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Funeral services were held in Blackey Wednesday for former Letcher County Sheriff William H. Caudill, who died February 25 at age 57. Caudill served as police chief in Neon and Jenkins before he served as sheriff from 1934 through 1938.

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Members of the Whitesburg Lions Club will present their annual minstrel show next Tuesday night in the Whitesburg Grade School Auditorium. The production is entitled “Cornpone and Possum.”

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Dr. Boaz Adkins, a retired dentist from Sandlick, is in critical condition at a Johnson City, Tennessee hospital, where he is being treated for a stroke. He is a veteran of the Spanish-American War.

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Road conditions on Highway 317 at Hemphill got to be so poor that community members came together to fill holes with “red dog” gathered from nearby slate dumps.

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Two teen-aged girls were sentenced this week to Greendale House of Reform in connection with two burglaries in Letcher County and one in Virginia two weeks ago. In sentencing the two girls, Letcher County Judge G. Bennett Adams criticized the parents of Jackie and Francis Mallory, both of Neon Junction. Adams said the blame or the poor behavior should be placed “squarely on the parents,” Mr. and Mrs. G.W. Mallory.

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Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan star in the movie “The Westerner,” showing March 7 and 8 at the Haymond Theatre in Cromona.

THURSDAY MARCH 3, 1960

About 1,200 fans are expected to be on hand tonight at the Jenkins Field House to witness what shapes up to be the most important contest of the 53rd District Tournament. The winner of this contest between the Jenkins Cavaliers and Whitesburg Yellowjackets is expected to go on to win the district title.

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The strange case of the Lusk Mountain skeletons found in Letcher County is now in the hands of scientists. A collection of human bones, which almost felled a 100-pound feed sack, was taken to the Kentucky State Police crime laboratory in Lexington by Mrs. Archie Craft, Letcher County coroner. The skeletons were found high atop the mountain near the mouth of Linefork Creek in lower Letcher County on the old William Lusk property. The site is located about one mile up Linefork Creek and about 20 miles north of Whitesburg. The first bones discovered after 16-year-old Carlos Holbrook found a skull beneath a cairn of flat rocks under a cliff recess about 10 feet from floor to ceiling.

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A frame house at Whitco burned to the ground Tuesday and two other homes there were damaged while the City of Whitesburg’s fire equipment remained within the city limits. Neon’s volunteer fire department answered the call and arrived at Whitco 19 minutes later. After Whitesburg officials explained that the city’s insurance does not cover lives or property outside the city limits, the Whitesburg City Council voted Tuesday to investigate to see whether the insurance can be broadened to cover similar situations in the future.

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Letcher County’s public library program was saved from death this week by action of the Kentucky Division of Library Extension, which sent a contribution of $900 along with 158 new books and the promise of a reconditioned bookmobile later this month.

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June 1 is the announced starting date for construction of a new $39 million power plant to be built by the Kentucky Power Company on the Big Sandy River near Louisa. The plant, which is scheduled to open in 1962, is expected to burn 750,000 tons of eastern Kentucky coal each year.

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Dee Dawahare of Whitesburg and Patsy Darnell of McRoberts were wed February 26 at the Whitesburg home of Mr. and Mrs. Woodrow Dawahare. The couple will live in Neon, where Mr. Dawahare is manager of Dawahare’s Neon store.

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William Reed Hall celebrated his fourth birthday Saturday with a party at Whitesburg City Hall.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 26, 1970

A front-page article by Mountain Eagle editor Tom Gish tells of gas and oil discoveries in Letcher County said to be worth at least $100 million. Letcher County Judge Robert Collins is proposing the oil and gas be taxed along with coal and limestone. Collins wants the state legislature to amend existing law to permit county fiscal courts to levy a 1 to 5 percent tax upon the market value of all minerals and timber production.

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Letcher County teachers joined thousands of teachers in Kentucky in a statewide work stoppage to press for higher salaries and benefits. Schools were closed for the entire week and the date of reopening is uncertain.

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A Mountain Eagle editorial on the work stoppage by Kentucky teachers says, “We would like to see the teachers in Letcher County ask parents to meet with them to discuss their common problems and what should be the ultimate goal of both parents and teachers — the best education possible for Letcher County children. We would like to see the school system as a whole make parents feel more welcome in the schools and more a part of them. The old advice to ‘leave education to the educators’ has gotten us to this sorry state the schools are now in and it is time for some new approaches.”

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Frank Sturgill, son of Mrs. Margie Sturgill of Whitesburg, was promoted to Army specialist five recently near Kornwestheim, Germany, where he is serving with he 7th Engineer Brigade. The 21-year-old soldier is a 1966 graduate of Whitesburg High School. His wife, Carolyn, is with him in Germany.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28, 1980

After completing an investigation into the legality of the county’s use of $8,750 in federal disaster relief funds to pay salaries and expenses of some county officials, County Attorney Forrest Cook has determined that the use of the money was “improper.” All officials who received the salary and expense payments from the funds have been advised to pay the money back to the county, Cook said. The money came from funds used to build the new Civil Defense building at Mayking.

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The Jenkins Independent School District plans to take action against the cities of Fleming-Neon and Jenkins if they don’t soon remit to the school system the utility taxes it claims they owe. The school board last May imposed a three percent utility tax on the utility bills of residents of Jenkins and McRoberts.

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Pvt. Christopher D. Roberts, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher D. Roberts of Pikeville, recently was assigned as a cannoneer with the 14th Field Artillery in Zirndorf, Germany. Roberts entered the Army last September.

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On February 20, the Fleming-Neon Lady Pirates defeated Whitesburg in three separate games. The Lady Pirates freshmen won 15-14, the B-team won 33-22, and the A-team won 36-35.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 28, 1990

Letcher County’s school systems apparently will gain more than $3 million in state school funds if Gov. Wallace Wilkinson’s school reform package is approved. Jenkins schools could receive a 25 percent increase of this year’s funds, and Letcher County could receive a 24.69 percent increase.

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Work has begun to stabilize a slide that is causing the ground to fall away beneath US 119 and a nearby house on Pine Mountain. The Kentucky State Highway Department began repairs to the road last week, and the U.S. Office of Surface Mining will take bids in early March to correct the portion affecting the house.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court may begin “laying the groundwork” for mandatory garbage collection at a special meeting next week. The court last week approved the first reading of an ordinance placing a dumping fee on garbage taken to the county landfill, but magistrates and Judge/Executive Ruben Watts say that is a temporary measure until the county can prepare for mandatory collection.

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Former Whitesburg resident Charles M. “Marty” Newell has been named executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 23, 2000

Members of the Reynolds family have donated the old A&P building in Whitesburg to Southeast Community College— Whitesburg Campus. The million-dollar property apparently is the largest gift ever from a Letcher County family to a local public institution. The members of the family who are donating the building, which most recently housed the United Super and Foodland stores, are J.C. Reynolds and Mahala Reynolds Frazier of Whitesburg and James Reynolds of Winter Park, Fla.

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Forged prescriptions, stolen drugs, misprescribed drugs, doctor shopping, street-level drug sales — all combine to make controlled prescription drug abuse the most prevalent form of drug abuse in Letcher County and southeastern Kentucky. Police see cases involving heroin only a couple of times a year in southeastern Kentucky. “What you do see over your way is a major controlled prescription drug problem,” said John Harris, supervisor of the Kentucky State Police Southeast Regional Laboratory, the crime lab that tests confiscated drugs to determine what they are.

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Cassel and Beulah Caudill celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary February 26. He is 99 years old and she is 91. They marked their anniversary with a dinner cooked by Mrs. Caudill for her husband and children.

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The Whitesburg High School boys’ varsity cheerleaders and girls’ varsity cheerleaders took first-place finishes in the 2-1/2 routine at the 14th Region cheerleading competition. The two teams will advance to state competition in March.

WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24, 2010

Police are looking for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever vandalized a community park at Thornton. Letcher County Ranger Sean Blair said someone drove a vehicle through the gate of the park and knocked over a port-a-potty.

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The Office of Surface Mining will request that a mudslide in Craft’s Colly be declared an emergency. Steve Rathbun, Appalachian team leader of the OSM, said preliminary investigation indicates that some mine drainage coming out approximately at the elevation of the road located above Gillis Halcomb’s residence is the cause of the mudslide. He said water is “saturating the area above and below causing the unstable condition.”

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Cowan, Campbell’s Branch and Linefork/ Kingdom Come Community Centers have received funding from the Brushy Fork Institute to expand their Traditional Arts program this spring such as Passing the Pick and Bow, an after-school music program, and the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School.

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“What a welcome sight was the sun shining on Pine Mountain,” writes Eolia correspondent Brenda Gross. “As Tony and I were having breakfast, we watched as the sun’s rays began their slow descent into the Eolia valley. Our cabin sits on a little knoll and we watched as the golden light touched our neighbors’ rooftops, causing the frost to glisten like diamonds.”

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