Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

In this July 30, 1965 file photo, President Lyndon B. Johnson uses the last of many pens to complete the signing of the Medicare Bill into law at ceremonies at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, July 30, 1965, with former President Harry S. Truman at his side. (AP Photo)

In this July 30, 1965 file photo, President Lyndon B. Johnson uses the last of many pens to complete the signing of the Medicare Bill into law at ceremonies at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, July 30, 1965, with former President Harry S. Truman at his side. (AP Photo)

LBJ signs ’65 Medicare bill

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri former President Harry Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card.

Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945, had become the first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.

The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966.

In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act, which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.

Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, was also signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act.

— The History Channel

President Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks in late July, 1956. (AP)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower speaks in late July, 1956. (AP)

In God We Trust’ law OK’d

On July 30, 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase “under God” inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The phrase had been placed on U.S. coins since the Civil War when, according to the historical association of the United States Treasury, religious sentiment reached a peak. Eisenhower’s treasury secretary, George Humphrey, had suggested adding the phrase to paper currency as well.

Although some historical accounts claim Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, most presidential scholars now believe his family was Mennonite. Either way, Eisenhower abandoned his family’s religion before entering the Army, and took the unusual step of being baptized relatively late in his adult life as a Presbyterian. The baptism took place in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president.

Although Eisenhower embraced religion, biographers insist he never intended to force his beliefs on anyone. In fact, the chapel-like structure near where he and his wife Mamie are buried on the grounds of his presidential library is called the “Place of Meditation” and is intentionally inter-denominational. At a Flag Day speech in 1954, he elaborated on his feelings about the place of religion in public life when he discussed why he had wanted to include “under God” in the pledge of allegiance: “In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

The first paper money with the phrase “In God We Trust” was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions “God,” considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church and state.

— The History Channel 

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in August 1907


Final plans are being made for the free clinic for crippled children in Letcher County, which will be held by the Crippled Children Commission in the Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg. Between 75 and 100 crippled boys and girls are expected to attend the clinic. s

The following men have applied for enlistment in the Regular Army and were sent to Ft. Knox July 31: John Dixon, Lonzie K. Sexton, Pascal Dixon, Columbus Adams, Hurley Niece, Clyde Collier, Coleman Fields, James Hatton, Junior Hatton, Alvin Parsons, Robert Harris, John G. Bayes, Durward Banks, Elbert Hatton, Charlie Maggard, Floyd Hensley, Senior Hatton, Bennett Trent and John R. Bates. s

Mrs. Dink Henderson, from Little Creek, above Neon, was taken to the Fleming Hospital, suffering from injuries from knife wounds reported to have been inflicted by her husband. Henderson was arrested and placed in the Whitesburg jail. s

Eolia School has begun, with an enrollment of 77. Meryl Brown at Oven Fork has 33 students. Teachers this year are Miss Patricia and Mr. Elmer Parsons. Also Leonard Boggs.


Ellis Bowman, Mayking, who risked his life for the safety of 22 of his comrades last year at Elkhorn Coal Company’s mine, was honored at a banquet of the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Mining Institute in Pikeville. His citation reads: “Ellis Bowman, 53, on May 12, 1949, at great personal risk, climbed over the tops of several cars of a moving man-trip in the Elkhorn Coal Company’s No. 2 mine at Kona, Ky., after the motorman had been thrown off and injured. He kept the trip from running out of control down a grade thus saving the 22 other passengers from possible injury or death.” s

Mrs. Esta Craft Conway took office Monday as Sheriff of Pike County, succeeding her late husband, Roy Conway, who was cut down by an assassin’s bullet Friday. Sheriff Roy Conway, a vowed opponent of bootleggers and gamblers, was shot and killed after being lured from his bed by a mysterious phone call. As he left his home to investigate the call about 11 P.M., the sheriff was shot in the back. s

Fifi, the “Sally Rand” of France, and others appear in person in “Studio Scandals”, a stage revue playing at the Alene Theatre, Whitesburg, August 10, continuous from 1 P.M. Studio Scandals features renowned television, radio, recording and vaudeville performances. It also features Fifi, a sensational Parisian dance star. s

Jack Banks, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Banks of Isom, has reported to Keesler AFB, Mississippi to begin training in the Radio Operators School.


Whitesburg automobile dealer Sanders Collins asked the city council to take immediate action to dredge out the Kentucky River through the city. Collins said the river has filled in six feet in the past two years in places within town. He predicted that another flood similar to one two years ago would do far greater damage and would wash out bridges, because of the filling in of the river bed. s

Gov. Bert Combs named Mrs. Virginia Craft, Whitesburg, to membership on the newly-created Kentucky Advisory Council for Medical Assistance. The council was created to supervise Kentucky’s new program of hospital and medical care for poor persons unable to finance their own health programs. s

Two Whitesburg High School football players will take part in the annual East-West game in Lexington next week. They are Roger Kincer, halfback, and Carter Bradshaw, guard. s

Letcher County polio patients may enjoy a free swimming party and picnic Friday at the Whitesburg swimming pool. The party is sponsored by the local chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.


Bill Blair and Joe Newell, operators of Century Coal Co., have a big problem — the Louisville and Nashville Railroad does not have enough railroad cars to move their coal. The company is rated for 106 coal cars a day from L&N Railroad, but on Monday received 99 railroad cars, on Tuesday 60 railroad cars, and on Wednesday 20 railroad cars. Today, Thursday, only 36 cars are expected. Century had been trying to meet the situation by stockpiling coal. “But we’ve just about run out of places to stockpile,” Newell said. Similar stockpiles of coal have been springing up at just about every coal loading point in Letcher County. s

Funeral services for T-Sgt. Douglas R. Anderson of Jenkins were held July 14. He died in Phu Cat, Vietnam. He was the son of Dora S Anderson and the late James Lee Anderson. s

The Kentucky River Area Development District reclaimed $116,000 of a Special Impact award the Whitesburg Industrial Foundation for development of an industrial site in Whitesburg. A motion to approve the action was made by R. Percy Elkins of Jenkins, who was attending the KRADD board meeting as an alternate for Whitesburg Mayor Ferdinand Moore. Some $52,000 of the $116,000 was reprogrammed to the Golden Years Rest Home at Jenkins. s

The Golden Years Rest Home at Jenkins has received an allocation of Special Impact funds totaling $127,193 for renovation of the old Sharon Heights Hospital at Jenkins for use as a rest home. The Kentucky River Area Development District provided an additional $52,193 for the project and had earlier awarded a $75,000 grant.


A highly successful 12- year program which provided prenatal and postnatal care for more than 5,000 low-income Letcher County women and their babies has ended, and angry county officials are accusing the local Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) of bringing about withdrawal of the program through “political manipulation.” The program was an outgrowth of a visit to Letcher County by Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was shocked at conditions here in the late 1960s. Joseph E. Smith, deputy commissioner of the Bureau for Health Services of the Department for Human Resources, wrote Letcher County officials that MCHC has “agreed to serve the prenatal population in Letcher County.” Smith said the federal Department of Health and Human Services provides funds to both MCHC and the Bureau for Health Services to provide maternity care. s

Preliminary 1980 Census figures give Letcher County less population that earlier studies had predicted, and county officials are asking for a recount. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that its computations give the county only 28,660 residents as of April 1. Predictions of the Kentucky River Area Development District indicated that Letcher County has a 1980 population of 31,791. s

RCA recording artist Gary Stewart of Jenkins and the Drug Store Cowboys from Lubbock, Texas, will appear at Clinch Valley College in a special benefit performance for June Appal Recordings. Also appearing will be Ron Short; Southwind with Steve Olinger, Richard Kennedy, Randy Adams, George Campbell and John Ray; and the Payroll Boys with Jack Wright, Roger Hall, Marion Sumner, Sonny Houston and Jack Tottle. s

Elder and Mrs. Henry Welch celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The couple were married on July 9, 1920.


South East Coal Co. officials are surprised at how many of the company’s employees voted to join the United Mine Workers union, but apparently they have no plans to contest the outcome of a representation election held in Letcher and two other counties last week. “It surprised the heck out of me,” company superintendent Daniel Quillen Jr. said of the workers’ 540-149 vote in favor of union representation. South East officials had until the close of business Tuesday (yesterday) to contest the outcome of the election. If no objections were filed a date would be set for the company and union to begin negotiating a new labor contract. s

For the first time in more than 10 years, a judge has administered the oath of office to five persons as trustees of the City of Blackey. County Judge/Executive appointed the five after residents asked that their city be reactivated. The five appointed are Wallace Bolling, Virgil Caudill, Debbie Sexton, Marie Amburgey and Johnny Sexton. Their terms will expire on election eve. s

Revenue Cabinet figures put the value of unmined coal in Letcher County at only $38 million, a little more than oneeighth the value of the coal mined here in 1989. Cabinet officials blame the low assessment on under-reporting by mineral owners who were asked to submit tax returns stating the amount of coal they owned. The last local assessment was $75.8 million, and former Property Valuation Administrator Columbus Sexton, who made the assessment, said his figure was too low. Letcher County coal companies produced 10,208,740 tons of coal in 1989. With the market price of high quality, low-sulfur coal at about $30 a ton, the value of coal mined here last year along would have amounted to $306,262,200. s

Jenkins Independent Board of Education has put its 3 percent utility tax on cable television service. Jenkins School had already taxed other utilities.


Police say there was no body discovered at Fishpond Lake, despite rumors to the contrary. Neon Rescue Squad went to the lake after receiving reports that a car had rolled into the lake, but officials said nothing was found. Several people called The Mountain Eagle saying a body was pulled from the lake, but Kentucky State Police, the Letcher County Coroner and the rescue squad all said the rumors were not true. s

The Letcher County Board of Education is facing a $20,000 deficit in the athletics department at Whitesburg High School. Superintendent William Kinzer said the deficit developed over the course of the last several years, but he was not sure how long it has gone on. Assistant Superintendent Daryl Boggs said the deficit was caused by too many people buying things when there wasn’t enough money to pay for them. s

Brian Archelaus Cook, a 1998 graduate of Whitesburg High School, was graduated July 14 from the United States Navy Basic Training in Great Lakes, Ill. Attending the ceremony were his parents, Wendell and Alicia Cook of Colson; his sister, Amy Cook; and his grandparents, Charles and Shirley Day of Whitco. He is also the grandson of Nancy Cook of Colson and the late Astor Cook. s

“It is a good time to gather your chicory for your tea medicine,” writes Sergent correspondent Vendetta Fields. “It is in full bloom and all parts of the plant can be used.”


A black bear was hit by a coal truck in Partridge, making it the seventh bear killed in traffic accidents in Kentucky since May. Mark Marraccini, of the Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife, says it is not uncommon for bears to venture onto roads, especially if the bears have been relocated a few times. The bear was hit by the coal truck when it ran into traffic about a mile above the Letcher/Harlan County line. s

The floor in the Whitesburg Middle School’s gymnasium will have to be replaced after being damaged by heavy rains last month. The school roof was being replaced in June when the rains came and caused the gym floor to buckle in several places, especially at center court. Other damages to the school were avoided because teachers had covered computers and filing cabinets with plastic while the roof was being replaced. s

Making A’s and B’s has gotten a little easier for students in the Jenkins schools. The Jenkins Independent Board of Education voted to give a little more leeway in the district’s grading scale to allow for higher letter grades in the coming year. The board agreed to lower the grade scale to 90-100 for an A, 80-89 for a B, and 70-79 for a C. s

Bent Senses will play July 31 at Summit City in Whitesburg. On August 7, the Kevin Abernathy Bank will perform there, followed by Edgehill Avenue on August 14.

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