Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.
Developing Consolidation Coal’s Mine 205 in Jenkins

Developing Consolidation Coal’s Mine 205 in Jenkins


MARCH 18, 1921

The Millstone Post Office has been moved from the end of the bridge to over in town near the new amusement hall. s

Crown [Dry Fork] postmaster John C. Brown lost his home to Friday night. The fire originated in a defective flue in the kitchen. s

A number of persons in Whitesburg witnessed the passage of an airship going west Saturday night. It was apparently not more than a thousand feet above the earth. The lights were plainly visible, and the rattle of the machinery could be heard. No one had an idea of the destination of the plane or from whence it came. s

Letcher County’s first allfemale jury was empaneled Wednesday. After hearing a minor breach of the peace case, it took the women jurors only four minutes of deliberation before finding the defendant not guilty. The verdict was met with hearty approval from nearly every spectator in the crowded courtroom of County Judge Fess Whitaker. s

One of Letcher County’s largest and earliest major coal mining operations, Mine No. 205 at Jenkins, was being prepared for opening in the Elkhorn No. 3 seam when these two photographs were made in early autumn 1911, nearly 110 years ago. (Photos courtesy University of Kentucky Digital Library)

One of Letcher County’s largest and earliest major coal mining operations, Mine No. 205 at Jenkins, was being prepared for opening in the Elkhorn No. 3 seam when these two photographs were made in early autumn 1911, nearly 110 years ago. (Photos courtesy University of Kentucky Digital Library)

Letcher County Judge Fess Whitaker has summoned every pauper in Letcher County to show up for inspection and examination at the courthouse on the first Tuesday in April.


MARCH 19, 1931

The Douglas Day Post of the American Legion is now meeting every second Friday night in each month and is extending an invitation to every veteran of the World War to become a member. Eighteen new members were inducted this past Friday night in a meeting at Whitesburg City Hall. s

Pointing out improvements made to the City of Whitesburg in a letter to the editor of The Mountain Eagle, citizen P.E. Sloan says that when he first arrived in the town in February 1923, Main Street “was a river of mud and could be navigated on foot only in one place, in front of the Daniel Boone Hotel. By watching the mule teams go through the streets, the mud seemed to be from 15 to 24 inches deep in other places. We had but very few sidewalks and the cows seemed to think they belonged to them. It was usually easier to step in the gutter and go around the cows than to try to convince them otherwise. Since that time we have paved practically all of the streets and built sidewalks to all parts of town.” Sloan adds that during the eight years he has lived in Whitesburg, the city has built a water and sewer system, four bridges, and a number of new buildings that now house businesses including Kyva Motor Company, Combs Motor Company, The Mountain Eagle, Whitesburg Wholesale, Lewis Wholesale, Home Lumber Company, the Pine Mountain Hotel, and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. s

For the first time in several years, human blood stained the streets of Whitesburg after Fred Blair, 35, walked quietly up the sidewalk to the entrance of Mullins Brothers Dept. Store, where he met 27-year-old Ike Maggard and deliberately shot him to death. In all, Blair shot Maggard, a widower of eight months, five times, leaving four children without a father and a mother. A domestic dispute involving Maggard, Blair and Blair’s estranged wife is believed to be the motive behind the shooting. s

Showing at the Jenkins Theatre next Sunday and Monday is “Check and Double Check,” a comedy film based on the toprated Amos ‘n’ Andy radio show.


MARCH 20, 1941

Nine moonshine stills, with a total daily capacity of 395 gallons, were found and destroyed by State Department of Revenue representatives during February. In addition, field men destroyed 119 gallons of moonshine, 1,625 gallons of mash, and 53 gallons of “doggings” retrieved from empty barrels at the distillery. s

According to Parole Officer Lawrence Branham, Bob Neece of Neon is being returned to La- Grange to complete the five-year term to which he was sentenced in the April Circuit Court, 1937. He is being returned because of being drunk twice. s

Wintz Jenkins, son of Mrs. J.D.W. Collins and captain of the Stuart Robinson basketball team, was placed on the all-regional basketball team. Delmar Caudill, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Caudill of Jeremiah and forward on the team, also received a spot on the team. s

“The Philadelphia Story” with Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart will play this week at Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre.

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


MARCH 21, 1941

The Fiscal Court of Letcher County met Tuesday. In this session they made arrangements, whereby the steam shovel, located on Cowan, which had been setting idle for the past few months due to lack of W.P.A. funds, is to be used further on this road, having rented it for the further construction of the Cowan to Dry Fork road. s

S.L. Strunk, who is in the U.S. Army at Camp Stewart, Ga., was home for seven days. Everyone was very glad to see him. s

“Wild Man of Borneo” is being shown this week at the Jenkins Theatre. The film stars Frank Morgan and Billie Burke.


MARCH 22, 1951

One of the largest receptions ever given a Letcher County group or individual was on hand to greet the Whitesburg Yellowjackets, State Tournament participants, as they returned from Lexington Sunday. Traveling in three cars, the “surprise team” of Kentucky’s Select Sixteen was met at Isom Stockyards six miles out of Whitesburg. A motorcade of over 200 cars met Coach Ray Pigman and his Yellowjacket team, losers to Manual in the consolation game of the state. s

Donald Tackett, 18, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nelse Tackett of Dunham, has been reported killed in Korea on December 24. He had previously been reported missing in action. s

Two miners and one mine electrician were killed and one other injured in a slate fall at the Hendrix mine of Consolidation Coal Co. at Deane Monday. Dead are Ollie M. Dunn, 41, of McRoberts; Roscoe F. Meade, 46, of Neon; and Charles T. Bellamy, 28, mine electrician from Jenkins. Injured was Miles Davidson, 35, of Jenkins. Davidson was taken to the Jenkins hospital in serious condition with a broken back. The men were reported to be clearing a large space in the mine for a coal conveyor when the roof slate fell. The fall brought to 17 the number of mine fatalities for the current year. s

A reward is offered for information leading to the return of an English Shepherd dog which was stolen or strayed from the home of Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Nolan at Mayking. No questions asked if dog is returned and reward of $10 will be paid.


MARCH 23, 1961

The Whitesburg Ministerial Association’s charitable and relief work came to a stop this week because of a lack of money. The Rev. Robert S. Owens Jr., president, said the association is overdrawn at the bank and can’t dispense any more relief until it receives some contributions. s

Books from the Letcher County Public Library are easily available now to residents of the Fleming-Neon area through a reading shelf at Tucker’s Café in Neon. More than 200 volumes have been circulated since the shelf was set up several weeks ago. s

Army Specialist Four Paul E. Roberts, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Roberts of Cromona, participated with other personnel from the 3rd Armored Division’s 122nd Ordinance Battalion in a six-week field training exercise in Germany. Specialist Roberts, who arrived overseas in February 1959, is a mechanic in the battalion’s Company B in Gelnhausen. s

A meeting to organize a Boy Scout troop was held Wednesday in the basement of Doermann Presbyterian Church under the guidance of the Blackey Lions Club. Lowell Walters will serve as scoutmaster. He is a retired Army career man and widely experienced in Boy Scout work.


MARCH 18, 1971

The U.S. Senate, by a 77-3 vote, decided to extend funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission for four more years. The action came despite President Nixon’s urging that only one year’s funding be approved.

There were more hearings into the Finley mine disaster in which 38 men died, this time Congressional subcommittee in Hazard. Testimony was taken from miners, the mine operator and others. While aimed at gaining a specific account of the Finley tragedy, the ultimate purpose of the probe is to gather evidence of the practices — or lack thereof — of the Bureau of Mines in enforcing the 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act. s

Employment in the fivecounty area served by the Hazard Employment Security Office was up 5.7 percent in January over January a year ago. The five counties include Letcher, Knott, Perry, Leslie and Breathitt. s

“Beneath the Planet of the Apes” is being shown this week at the Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.


MARCH 19, 1981

A nationwide coal strike seems inevitable as the United Mine Workers of America and coal operators broke off talks concerning a new contract. Negotiators indicate their members will walk off the job at midnight on March 26. The Bituminous Coal Operators Association of America wants to allow coal companies to establish their own pension funding in place of the union-wide pension; to have miners work seven days week; to stop paying welfare and retirement fund royalties on coal bought from non-union mines by union mines; and to establish “mandatory overtime,” which would mean miners would have to finish whatever was underway when quitting time came. s

School lunch costs are going up as a result of the Reagan administration’s decision to cut federal reimbursements for school lunch programs by as much as 45 percent. s

Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation has received final state approval of its request for $1.3 million in federal money to finance its health care activities during the coming year. The vote cleared the way for the agency to submit its proposal to federal officials. s

The crime rate in Letcher County rose 19.3 percent in 1980, according to interim figures released by Kentucky State Police. At least 339 major crimes were reported to state police in 1980, a jump from the 284 reported in 1979. Violent crimes were down slightly, but burglaries, larceny, and auto theft skyrocketed.


MARCH 20, 1991

Some Letcher Countians are apparently so desperate for work that hundreds have either called or stopped by the employment office here asking for jobs helping to rebuild Kuwait. Peggy Mason, senior interviewer in the Whitesburg office of the Kentucky Department for Employment Service, said her office has filled out about 200 forms for future reference and about 20 people a day have been calling to see if applications are being taken. s

At least five youths escaped serious injury when a foot bridge on which they were walking collapsed and dumped them into Linefork Creek. The incident occurred Saturday, when six boys — ages 17 to 13 — were walking across the bridge from KY 1103 to property belonging to Nora Halcomb, an elderly Linefork woman who has been trying to get the structure repaired for several years. Mrs. Halcomb and her neighbors have been trying for years to get the Letcher County government to build a new car bridge or repair the old foot bridge. s

The Whitesburg High School “Iron Jackets” weightlifting team took second place in the King of the Bluegrass Power Lifting meet, only two points behind first place Lincoln County. s

Two college programs for young children, “Computer Fun for Kids” and “College for Kids Spring Fling”, will be held in April in Whitesburg and Hazard.


MARCH 21, 2001

Guns purchased at a Whitesburg pawn shop were used in crimes as far away as San Diego, Calif., an agent of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms said. ATF agents served a federal search warrant on Frank’s Guns and Pawn shop, taking some guns and store records. Mark Wilson, resident agent in charge of the AFT’s Ashland field office, said the investigation has been underway for several months. “Basically some guns have been sold without doing the required paperwork,” Wilson said. “Doing things like that allows guns to get into the wrong hands.” s

Saying that “money will be no obstacle,” Gov Paul Patton said he will pursue a $50 million reconstruction of US 119 across Pine Mountain and will ask federal transportation authorities and the General Assembly to speed it up. The Transportation Cabinet has banned trucks longer than 30 feet from twisting, narrow strip of road between Whitesburg and Ovenfork because of safety concerns. s

Two Letcher County families have had to move out of their homes because of damage they say was caused by blasting from nearby coal mines. In an incident that occurred more than a year ago at Indian Creek, Henry and Elizabeth Sergent, both 71, fought the issue out through the Kentucky Department for Surface Mine Reclamation and Enforcement for nearly a year before receiving notice in February that their hearing had been cancelled. The Sergents’ house has buckled and twisted floors and an addition at the back of the house has dropped more than inch below the rest of the floor. Henry Sergent blames the blasting on Consol of Kentucky. In another incident, Margie Anderson, who is 91 and uses a wheelchair, had to move out of her house on Gray’s Branch at Haymond after it collapsed. Her daughter called TECO Coal, which operates a nearby stripmine, but TECO denied setting off the blast. s

Like many young men who were born and raised in eastern Kentucky, J.D. Holcomb has to move out of the region to find work. But it took Holcomb only three months to land a job. Holcomb, a Whitesburg native, works for North Carolina-based Hendrick Motorsports, one of the top organizations that fields racing teams in NASCAR. Holcomb is a member of driver Terry Labonte’s Winston Cup series team and Jack Sprague’s Craftsman Truck Series team.


MARCH 23, 2011

Signs of hard fiscal times to come were plentiful at the March meeting of the Letcher County Fiscal Court as County Treasurer Phillip Hampton made an ominous prediction near the end of the meeting. Judge/Executive Jim Ward told the court that Letcher County’s State Road Aid Fund had been reduced by approximately $200,000 from last year’s allotment of more than $800,000. Ward explained that the road allotment came from a combination of gasoline taxes and other fees, all of which were down. “I have a feeling that all state funding will be down this year, everywhere,” said Hampton. s

Voters in the City of Jenkins will decide during the May Primary Election whether the sale of alcoholic beverages should be permitted in restaurants that seat at least 50 people. “This is to promote economic development, tourism and hotels,” said Letcher County Clerk Winston Meade. s

Samantha Swindler, the editor and publisher of the weekly Headlight Herald in Tillamook, Ore., is the winner of the 2010 Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky, gives the award in honor of the couple who published The Mountain Eagle for more than 50 years. Tom Gish, who died in 2008, and his wife Pat were the first recipients of the award. As managing editor of the Times- Tribune in Corbin, Swindler spearheaded an investigation of the Whitley County sheriff that helped lead to his defeat for re-election and his subsequent indictment on 18 charges of abuse of public trust and three counts of tampering with physical evidence. s

Eva Cook, of Dry Fork, celebrated her 90th birthday on March 20 with a surprise birthday party given by her family. She enjoys working in her garden, canning, fishing and quilting.

Leave a Reply