Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.
NEW CHURCH — This architect’s drawing of what is now the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg appeared on the front page of the March 12, 1931 edition of The Mountain Eagle.

NEW CHURCH — This architect’s drawing of what is now the Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg appeared on the front page of the March 12, 1931 edition of The Mountain Eagle.


MARCH 12, 1931

A new state law requires that all teachers and students be vaccinated against smallpox before they can begin their school work for the July and September sessions. s

The front page of this week’s edition of The Mountain Eagle carries an architect’s drawing of the new Whitesburg Presbyterian Church, which is now under construction. Pastor O.V. Caudill and church elders Dr. B.C. Bach, J.M. Adams, Dr. Thomas Jennins, and A.C. Jenkins say the Whitesburg church will be the first Presbyterian Church in the mountains where one can attend without having to travel “on the back of the faithful mule.” s

A civil lawsuit that involves some very find points in law is continuing in Letcher Circuit Court. The suit is over the old Henderson Halcomb property on Linefork, and originated over the ownership of several large poplar trees that were cut and sold some months ago. Attorney French Hawk represents one bunch of heirs, while attorney Stephen Combs Jr. represents the others. s

“So far as history records, Christopher Gist and several persons with him were the first white persons to pass through what is now Letcher County,” Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah Webb writes. “This was along about 1796 or 1797 when this bunch of explorers passed over from Troublesome Creek to the North Fork of the Kentucky River where Hazard now stands, then up the North Fork and on through Pound Gap (and into Virginia) up Indian Creek, naming it, and on to Guest River, believed to have been originally named Gist’s River. (They camped) for a few days at Guest’s Station, now Coeburn, Va., and then on to Osborne’s Ford, now St. Paul, when all trace of them ends or is indefinite.” s

George B. Terrill, of the Neon Advocate in Neon, was a visitor at The Mountain Eagle today. The Advocate is having trouble on account of being minus a printer. s

In a front-page editorial, The Mountain Eagle says that in order “to save the people more suffering and poverty, The Eagle is urging every able-bodied person that possibly do so to get out in the sunshine on the hillsides and raise a crop. If you are able to do and don’t do it then you can have no excuse to complain or to go about begging. There used to be a law that he who wouldn’t and didn’t should not eat, and the local Ku Klux (Klan) enforced it. Quit whining and hit the dirt. A lazy lurch of a man and a few children with all the wide, uncultivated areas in this county ought to be taken to the whipping post. Or worse, he ought to have his bottom kicked and kicked and kicked.” s

Hamburger meat is on sale for 25 cents for two pounds at the A&P in Whitesburg. The store is offering chuck roast at 10 cents per pound.


MARCH 13, 1941

Fire thought to have started from a defective flue caused considerable damage to the building between the Kentucky Theatre and Sandy Adams Hotel Sunday. The F.A. Hopkins Grocery lost considerably although the damage has not been estimated at this time. Mrs. Hattie Holcomb had a narrow escape as she lived in one room in this building and ran in after her clothes and was overcome by smoke. Joe I. Day went in and found her in an unconscious state and carried her to safety. s

The play “Swing Out” will be presented in the auditorium of the graded school building for the benefit of the Whitesburg Methodist Church on March 13 and 14. This is a three-act comedy and is directed by Miss Hillerbrick, representative of the National Producing Company of Kansas City. Admission will be adults 25 cents, children 10 cents. s

McClellan Anderson Post No. 104, Neon, will celebrate the Legion’s birthday in a party to be held at the Fleming High School auditorium on Saturday, March 15, at 7 p.m., to which the public is invited. s

“Come Live With Me” starring James Stewart and Hedy Lamarr will be presented this week at Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre.

From The Mountain Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


MARCH 14, 1941

The people of Letcher County will be interested to know the final results of the campaign the last half of January for the support of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (polio). A total of $107.74 was raised in Letcher County during the campaign. The money raised has been sent to the State Chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The State Chapter will send half of all funds raised in Kentucky to the National Foundation in New York City. The other half will be held by the State Chapter for use in Kentucky only. s

The much discussed lendlease bill designed to aid Great Britain passed the U.S. Senate on Saturday by a vote of 61 to 30. President Roosevelt signed the bill on Tuesday and it empowers him to act immediately. Among the things that will be rushed to Britain’s aid are small naval vessels, food supplies, and Navy equipment. s

Miss Reable Griffith, of Jenkins, a student at Milligan College in Tennessee where she will graduate this spring, was lately voted as Milligan College’s most popular student. During vacation times Reable has usually been employed in the Jenkins Store.


MARCH 15, 1951

A measles epidemic which hit Letcher County four weeks ago is on the decline, Health Director Dow W. Collins said. Dr. Collins said that the epidemic was in decline after taking two lives during its height. A 28-year-old expectant mother, Mrs. Delma Whitaker of Sandlick, and a four-year-old child, Phyllis Jean Newsome of Seco, were the victims. s

Steve Adams, assistant to Supt. Dave Craft, spoke at a Rotary Club meeting and said that the county’s first school was in the hollow of a tree, located near what is now the football field, It was taught by a Virginian. The first high school was organized in Whitesburg in 1915 with Mrs. Eunice Baker as teacher, he said. s

Named as the outstanding seaman of his company at Great Lakes Naval Base, Ill., recently was Raymond L. Polly, son of Mr. and Mrs. Milburn Polly of Whitesburg. s

The purchase of Day’s Grocery was announced this week by the new owners, Ed Maggard and Carl Napier. The store is located in the Lewis Block in Whitesburg and was originally owned by the Lewis Brothers, now owners of the Lewis Wholesale Co. It was bought by Gene Day in 1944.


MARCH 16, 1961

The possibility has developed that a bus service may be returned between Hazard and Jenkins. Cumberland Coach Lines filed a new petition with the State Department of Motor Transportation, withdrawing its previous request for permission to abandon its franchise to service the Jenkins-Whitesburg- Hazard route. s

Fiscal Court and the Board of Education awarded contracts Tuesday for construction of new consolidated grade schools at Colson and Campbell’s Branch. The buildings will cost a total of $376,646. G. Marcus Jones General Contracting of Morristown, Tenn., was awarded the contract for construction of the 14-room Colson School on the firm’s low bid of $210,000. Howard & Turpin of Harlan was awarded the contract for the eight-room Campbell’s Branch School on a low bid of $136,836. s

Army Pvt. Howard R. Johnson, 18, son of Ed Johnson, Whitesburg, arrived in Korea Feb. 27, and is now a member of the 7th Infantry Division. The division is one of two combat divisions which have remained in Korea since the war.

Fleming policeman Ralph Potter received a certificate of appreciation and a cash award from the Fleming-Neon PTA this week. The honor resulted from Potter’s services in seeing that children of the area get to school safely.


MARCH 11, 1971

The latest House redistricting proposal to find favor in the state legislature would leave Letcher County whole, without being divided into other legislative districts. s

Letcher County is currently suffering through a serious outbreak of infectious hepatitis, and no one really knows precisely what’s causing it or how to prevent it from spreading. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by an infectious virus. Esther Sparks, acting administrative assistant of the Letcher County Health Department, acknowledged the presence of the disease in the county. “We are trying to find the source of it,” she said. s

The Louisville Audubon Society has organized a tour of strip-mine areas in eastern Kentucky for about 100 members this weekend. The fact-finding tour will include extensive travel through Letcher County so that members may view strip mines as well as gas and oil damage in the county. s

“The Hawaiians” starring Charleton Heston will play this week at the Alene Theatre.


MARCH 12, 1981

Angry coal miners in blue jeans and work jackets marched near the White House this week and demanded that the Reagan administration continue full black-lung benefits. Some 177,000 miners around the country emphasized their protest by a two-day walkout. s

The Letcher County Board of Education says it will ask Letcher Fiscal Court for an emergency grant to replace the electrical wiring at Fleming-Neon Elementary School. County schools Supt. Jack Burkich says a two-year-old study sets the cost at $100,000. s

Recent studies show that people prefer living in small towns and rural areas if they are within commuting distance of metropolitan areas. A poll by the University of Kentucky shows that overall, 86 percent of Kentuckians surveyed recommend Kentucky as an excellent or good place to live. More than 65 percent of those surveyed say they live in rural areas and small towns.


MARCH 13, 1991

The Letcher County Library Board has chosen a site for the proposed Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library. The board met Thursday to decide if it would buy the Hobbs Building, a vacant department store, or the Ammerman Building, a school bus repair and maintenance facility. After a discussion, the board voted unanimously to buy the Hobbs Building. s

Officials from an eight-county area have ranked the rebuilding of KY 15 as the most important proposed road project in the region. The officials, members of the Kentucky River Area Development District, voted by secret ballot to rank the roads. s

Joe and Gaynell Begley of Blackey, longtime activists for environmental rights, will receive Berea College Service Awards. The Begleys founded the Citizens League to Protect Surface Rights, one of the nation’s first anti-strip mining groups. They later led community efforts against high electric power rates, overweight coal hauling and noise pollution. Mrs. Begley is a 1937 graduate of Berea College. s

The Whitesburg Lady Yellowjackets outscored M.C. Napier 16-2 in the third quarter and went on to post a 55-31 win in the semifinals of the girls’ 14th Regional Tournament.


MARCH 14, 2001

The Kentucky Department of Transportation has banned all vehicles longer than 30 feet from US 119 until improvements are made to make the road safe. Tractor-trailers often range up to more than 70 feet. s

A proposed furniture factory at Isom has run aground on an unforeseen problem. The U.S. Small Business Administration has denied its loan because flood control maps show the building Mountaineer Furniture Manufacturing is remodeling is in the flood plain, and Letcher County has never joined the National Flood Insurance Program. The business would employ 30 people initially, with a possibility of 100 to 150 total jobs in the future. s

The Letcher Fiscal Court has deadlocked 3-3 on a request by some county employees to be represented by the United Steelworkers union. Judge/Executive Carroll Smith, Magistrate Wayne Fleming and Magistrate Homer Rose voted in favor of accepting the union as the bargaining agent for county sanitation department and road department workers. Magistrates Mack Fultz, Robert Lewis and Nolan “Junior” Banks voted against the union. s

“Kentucky Transportation Commissioner James Codell is to be congratulated for his decision to ban all vehicles longer than 30 feet from crossing the torturous Pine Mountain road — US 119 — until the road can be made safer,” a Mountain Eagle editorial says. “It is a decision — and a course of action — long sought by anxious residents who have to travel the road frequently, always conscious of the fact that a big tractor-trailer might be just around the next curve, taking up both sides of the narrow highway.”


MARCH 16, 2011

Police fanned out in Letcher County to arrest seven of 21 persons named in 35 felony indictments related to drug trafficking. The arrests and indictments are the result of a long investigation by the counter drug task force Operation UNITE into illegal prescription drug sales in Letcher County. The undercover investigation leading up to the roundup began about one year ago and involved primarily the pain medicines hydrocodone and oxycodone. s

Funding cuts of at least $61 billion being pushed by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives would include cuts locally to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and the Low Income Home Energy Association Program (LIHEAP). A third program which provides cheap family planning to Letcher County residents of all income levels would be eliminated under the budget being touted by Republican leaders, including U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers. s

Work on a highway bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River at Mayking is expected to be finished in about two months. Work on the northbound lane of the US 119 bridge was finished Tuesday and work on rebuilding the southbound lane is expected to start today.

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