Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907
‘The Austin’ automobile made a visit to Letcher 90 years ago This screenshot taken from the 1930 film “Remote Control” shows a new American Austin automobile. The city of Whitesburg was abuzz this week in 1930 when a model of the tiny 4-cylindar car manufactured in Butler, Pennsylvania was parked on the street in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel and later displayed at Kyva Motor Company.

‘The Austin’ automobile made a visit to Letcher 90 years ago: This screenshot taken from the 1930 film “Remote Control” shows a new American Austin automobile. The city of Whitesburg was abuzz this week in 1930 when a model of the tiny 4-cylindar car manufactured in Butler, Pennsylvania was parked on the street in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel and later displayed at Kyva Motor Company.

THURSDAY AUGUST 4, 1910

Letcher County Judge John D. Fitzpatrick says now that the “corn working is now over,” he expects “every man in Letcher County that is of road age” to be out working on making the county’s roads better. “The overseers will be held responsible if work is not started at once,” Judge Fitzpatrick tells The Mountain Eagle.

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The third year of The Mountain Eagle ends soon and none of our friends will want to be owing us on subscriptions when the year ends. If this article has a blue pencil mark across it you owe us, or we think you do.

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The town of Middlesboro suffered a loss by fire last week of $55,000. Four saloons and two restaurants were burned. Insurance carried was $13,000.

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In a letter to the editor, Willis Tolliver writes that he had been smoking cigarettes for about five years and didn’t feel “their evil effect” until about a month ago. “They have affected my lungs and weakened me in every way,” he writes. “I can’t run as much or play at school without my breath giving out. I am 17 years and have smoked since I was 12. I hate to see our boys going around with cigarettes in their mouths, looking pale and hollow cheeked. Boys, stop it before it is too late!”

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“Until last month, Whitesburg and the county generally could boast of very good mailing facilities from the railroad, but during the last month it seems that the railroad people from Stonega to Appalachia, the line over which most of our mail matter is dispatched, have seriously hampered the rapid transit of mail matter to and from this place,” Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah Webb writes in an editorial. “Originally, a letter mailed at this place at 10:45 a.m. on any day would be in Louisville or other equally distant point the next morning, but now a letter mailed at the above time would not leave Stonega till next morning, perhaps not till next evening. Does government consent to such delays as this?”

THURSDAY AUGUST 7, 1930

“No boxing bout, prize fight, medicine man, snake charmer or soapbox lecturer could have drawn the attention of all of Whitesburg as did the Baby Austin when it arrived in our city Tuesday afternoon,” a front-page story reports about the arrival of the American Austin Car Company’s new automobile that was parked in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel. The vehicle was driven to Letcher County by a representative of a Lexington car dealership for display at the Kyva Motor Company on Madison Avenue.

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A young Mayking woman who reportedly was learning to drive was killed Saturday afternoon when the vehicle she was driving toward Neon plunged over the high embankment near Thornton Gap and into the North Fork of the Kentucky River below. She was identified as Miss Bessie Gibson. A young man who was riding with her was slightly bruised but not injured seriously.

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The Mountain Eagle is encouraging all Letcher County residents to contribute money toward rebuilding the Carcassonne School, which was destroyed by fire.

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Mrs. Z.T. Hurst leased the Cumberland Hotel in Neon August 1 and has taken over management of the facility.

THURSDAY AUGUST 8, 1940

The Shoeshine Boys of Whitesburg erected at the grave of little Billy Flynn a beautiful little monument, which was built by the Appalachian Marble and Grant Works of Mayking and donated to the memory of Whitesburg’s little shoeshine boy. On the face of the rock is cut with the name of Billy Flynn with the date of his birth and death and then cut below, is “Little Shine Boy.”

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Mr. Floyd Farley of Burdine is $510.00 richer as a result of having had the lucky number at the Jenkins Ball Club. Mr. Farley, who has a family, states that he intends to use the money to pay off his debts and square even with the world.

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The contractors for the job of painting all of the Consolidated Coal Company houses have begun work. Mr. Earn Duncan of Norton, Va., is the man in charge of hiring the men. He has his crew of men and has begun work on Number One Hill, in Burdine.

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Coaches Follace Fields and Dean Addington, of the faculty at Whitesburg High School, announced this week that the fall football practice will begin on Monday, two weeks before schools open. Uniforms will be issued at 1:00, August 19, at the Grade School Building.

THURSDAY AUGUST 10, 1950

Three prisoners awaiting transfer to the state penitentiary at LaGrange escaped from the Letcher County Jail Tuesday. The three men were identified as Vernon Collins, 23, Can Bentley, 21, and Bryce Breeding, 19. All three had been sentenced for grand larceny. The Sheriff ’s office reported that the trio sawed their way out through window bars and swung to the ground on a rope made of blankets.

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Two important proposed projects, the building of a swimming pool and the construction of a hospital for Whitesburg, were discussed at the meeting of the Whitesburg Business Men’s Club. Mr. Virgil Picklesimer reported that he had visited pools in other towns and could see no reason why Whitesburg couldn’t have its own pool. Dr. Pigman Sr. reported that the hospital committee had not been able to contact the proper authorities on the building of a hospital in Whitesburg, but stated that it will be necessary to have the arrangements made or the money in the amount of one-third of the cost of the hospital before the federal government will grant the other two-thirds.

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Millard Tolliver, principal of Whitesburg schools, says the schools will open August 28. He said he expects the enrollment to be much larger than it was last year. New subjects added to the schools’ schedule are speech, business, arithmetic, world geography and second year algebra.

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The Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Co. has asked for a $2,291,000 rate increase. This is the fourth-rate increase the company has sought since 1946. The latest raise has been in effect since July 6 under a $900,000 bond guaranteeing refunds of the raise in event any or all of it is denied.

THURSDAY AUGUST 11, 1960

There were 3,005 Letcher Countians who received $1,699,332 in monthly Social Security benefits last year. This is quite a large increase over 1940, the year month Social Security benefits were first paid, when $15,072 was paid to 92 persons. Although Social Security benefits are intended primarily for the financial security of the individual and his family, the economy of Letcher County is boosted tremendously by the income.

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Better mail service in the afternoons to Lexington will begin here August 15, Acting Postmaster Sam Collins Jr. said. Mail deposited in the post office by 4:30 p.m. will leave Whitesburg on the Cumberland Coach Lines’ Hazard run at 4:45 p.m. It will make connection at Hazard with Greyhound Lines and will go on to Lexington, where it will arrive about midnight. At present mail deposited after 3:15 does not leave Whitesburg until after 6 a.m. the next day.

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The Jenkins Little League Organization will stage its annual All-Star games at the Jenkins ballpark August 13. Players from Dunham, Burdine, Jenkins and McRoberts will team up to play the Pound Little League All-Stars and the Wise Pony League All-Stars. Five hundred fans are expected to be on hand.

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Marine Acting Cpl. Franklin C. Combs, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ishmael Combs of Whitesburg, is serving with the Second Battalion of the Sixth Marine Regiment, a unit of the Second Marine Division at Camp LeJeune, N.C.

THURSDAY AUGUST 6, 1970

Funeral services were held Sunday for William Pearl Nolan, 70, former editor and publisher of The Mountain Eagle. Mr. Nolan died July 30 at his home at Mayking of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had undergone major surgery several weeks earlier. He and his wife owned and operated the Hazard Herald for the past 15 years.

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Separate accidents claimed the lives of two men here this week. Ronnie Tyrone Bentley, 28, drowned Sunday at Fishpond Lake. Billy Stephen Whitaker, 27, was injured Tuesday in the Scotia Coal Co. mine on Cumberland River and was pronounced dead at the Whitesburg hospital. Witnesses said Whitaker was apparently was the victim of electric shock.

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An estimated 5,500 students will begin classes in the Letcher County school system on August 24. Teachers will begin work on August 21, with an in-service training session on “The Changing Role of the Teacher.”

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Army Specialist Four Jessie L. Miller, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roy F. Miller, Jenkins, has received a certificate for driving military vehicles more than 5,000 miles with no accidents and no traffic violations. Miller is a heavy truck driver with the 47th Transportation Company near Long Binh, Vietnam.

THURSDAY AUGUST 7, 1980

An official with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) denied this week that MCHC had anything to do with bringing about the disbanding of a 12-year state-federal program, which provided prenatal and postnatal care for more than 5,000 low-income Letcher County women and their babies. Mrs. Lois A. Baker, the executive director of MCHC, said she received a letter from Dr. Grady Stumbo of the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, telling her the department would not renew its contract with the Letcher County Health Department for the prenatal program and asking if her agency could take care of prenatal cases on a sliding scale. That was her first knowledge that the program was going to end, she said.

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Officials of the Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corporation say that reports of a major layoff at the company’s Mine 29, located on Caney Creek in Pike County, amounts to nothing more than rumors. “We’ve been hearing about that all week,” said a Beth- Elkhorn spokesman Ray Mullins. “There’s all kinds of rumors floating around.” Mullins said 29 miners at Mine 29 were laid off in June before miners’ vacation, but since then no company employee has been laid off at Mine 29. Mullins said the rumor may have started when, after vacation, 14 men were laid off at the company’s Mine 22. That mine has been idle now for over a year.

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Poor bookkeeping records maintained by the City of Jenkins made a “satisfactory” audit of the city’s books for 1979 “impossible,” according to a Virginia accountant who recently completed the audit. In a letter received by the Jenkins City Council Monday, William C. Shears, a Certified Public Accountant, said he was only able to do an accurate account of the records maintained by the city for Revenue Sharing and Anti-Recessional Funds. Records used in recording income and expenditures “were inadequate in almost all respects,” he said. The audit was started this past spring under orders from the city council.

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Letcher County ranked ninth in 1978 among the state’s 60 oil-producing counties with a 1978 production of 223,743 barrels of oil. Kentucky ranks 17th among the 33 oil-producing states in the United States.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 8, 1990

Mandatory garbage collection will begin September 1 in Letcher County. The fiscal court unanimously approved the second reading of a mandatory garbage ordinance last week, changing only the effective date. Judge/Executive Ruben Watts asked for the change, from August 1 to September 1, saying, “I haven’t had time to get my act together” to help write regulations for the ordinance.

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Letcher County might be facing another fight with the gas industry. The fiscal court lost its battle to stop Equitable Resources from drilling a gas well on county land at Fishpond Lake, and now a subsidiary of the company has announced its intention to run a six-inch gas line across the property. Bill Crum, a representative of Kentucky-West Virginia Gas Company, approached the court after its July meeting had adjourned to talk about the proposed line. When Judge/Executive Ruben Watts asked if the company was asking the county’s permission, Crum said it is not. “I’m informing you of the intention to construct a gas line,” he said. He later said he was seeking permission to cross a county road.

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The National Labor Relations Board may take up to 30 days to decided if there is merit to South East Coal Co.’s request that the agency cancel the United Mine Workers’ landslide victory in a July 24 union election. A South East attorney filed objections with the NLRB last week charging UMW organizers with threatening and improperly promising benefits to workers in exchange for votes during the union’s successful drive to sign up the coal miners. A union attorney has called the charges “absolutely ridiculous.” South East workers in Letcher, Estill and Knott counties voted 540-149 for UMW representation.

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Unemployment rose nearly one percentage point from May to June in Letcher County, but was still below the rate for June a year ago. Letcher County had a jobless rate of 8.8 percent in June, up from 7.9 percent in May, but still less than the 9.9 percent recorded in June of 1989.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2, 2000

The question of whether magistrates or commissioners should sit on the Letcher Fiscal Court may find its way onto the November election ballot again this year. A group calling itself Citizens for Change in the Millennium is circulating a petition around the county to get the following question placed on the ballot: “Are you for or against having a fiscal court composed of three commissioners and the county judge/executive?” In 1966, the same question was put before voters. That year, 2,491 were for the change to commissioners and 2,494 were against it.

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Most of the water tested as part of a study for the Letcher County Water and Sewer District fails to meet federal drinking water standards, a study released this week shows. Of the 102 households interviewed, 58 have to treat the water from their wells and 66 of the families don’t drink the water, even when it is treated. The study is part of an effort by the Letcher County Water and Sewer District to get money from the U.S. Department of Abandoned Mine Lines to help build water lines to replace those damaged by mining.

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Letcher County Schools will open August 10 for students, but teachers will start back to work on August 7. The school district will kick off the new year for teachers and community leaders with a “Lunch with a Focus on Education” on Monday at Pine Mountain Grill.

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“The Ermine Senior Citizens Center had its fourth Thursday of the month potluck,” writes Whitesburg correspondent Mary Majority. “Charlie Brown, Dovella Webb and Mae Blair won the prizes. We had a large attendance. We would like to thank our ladies at the potluck for the fine down-home cooking. It’s some of the best in the county.”

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 4, 2010

Jenkins residents may see an increase in property taxes and cable television rates in coming months. Mayor Charles Dixon asked the Jenkins City Council to consider the possibility of a small increase in property taxes, and James Campbell of Intermountain Cable used the possibility of rate hikes as a bargaining chip in his request to be allowed to discontinue the Intermountain Cable office in Jenkins. Mayor Dixon said city revenues are badly in need of an increase. He said the present rate of 45 cents per $100 of real property has not been raised since 2004.

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The Whitesburg City Police will be setting up roadblocks checking for city stickers beginning the week of August 9. Persons living or working inside the city limits are required to have stickers on their vehicles. The cost is $7.50 for the first sticker and additional stickers for the same household are $5 each.

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A groundbreaking ceremony for the new Letcher County Area Vocational/ Technical Center is set for 1:30 p.m., August 6, on the campus of Letcher County Central High School at Ermine.

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The Southeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center recently hosted its annual Letcher County Summer Scrubs Camp to give seven students the opportunity to explore healthcare careers. Each day of the camp, students spoke with, asked questions of, and observed healthcare professionals at work. Students saw behind the scenes of Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, spent time in the different departments, and attended presentations give by several staff members.

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