Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.
The bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River on Main Street in Whitesburg was being constructed in this 1941 photo. (Courtesy University of Kentucky)

The bridge over the North Fork of the Kentucky River on Main Street in Whitesburg was being constructed in this 1941 photo. (Courtesy University of Kentucky)


MARCH 26, 1931

Eighteen persons, mostly children, had their tonsils removed this morning at the Seco Hospital. The Letcher County Health Department was instrumental in getting the work done at the “Tonsil Clinic.” Among them was Geraldine Johnson, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Parnell Johnson. Parnell is a printer at The Mountain Eagle. s

A late spring is always one of the best indications of a good crop and growing year. So far, the fruit prospects are good. s

The Rev. S.T. Wright returned to Letcher County this week from Frankfort, where he spoke with state highway officials about road building in the mountains. Wright said the state highway commission’s chairman, Ben Johnson, is highly in favor of doing all he can for us. s

One of the saddest accidents the Neon School has experience occurred this past Monday around 5 p.m. when Vaiden Tolliver, the young son of Mrs. L.F. Tolliver, was fatally injured after he was hit by an automobile driven by Baxter Beverly.


MARCH 27, 1941

The death of Ermon Howard, a 28-year-old Jenkins coal miner, put an end to one of the best safety records ever established in the Big Sandy Elkhorn Coal Fields. Young Howard, an employee of Consolidation Coal Co. Mine No. 204-7 at Jenkins, was injured on Monday, March 10, and died Friday. He was crushed between two cars. Mine No. 204-7 had been without a fatal accident for several years. During that period, more than five million tons of coal had been mined. s

Mrs. Morgan Anderson received a message Sunday advising her of the serious injury of her son, Lloyd Anderson, who was hit by an automobile at Detroit one day last week. He suffered a dislocated shoulder, fractured hip and injuries to the pelvis. He was hit by the car while walking with his family in the street. s

The House of Representatives approved the Federal Mine Safety Bill by a near unanimous voice vote and sent the CIO-sponsored measure to the Senate, where it was approved. s

On March 18, a cast of players from Fleming High School presented a play, “Dotty and Daffy”, in the Whitesburg school auditorium. The play is a comedy and was directed by Miss Lutie Adams of Fleming. The proceeds of the play were given to the Music Department to help defray the expenses for entering students in the District Music Contest at Pikeville. s

From The Mountain Eagle’s sister publication The Neon



MARCH 28, 1941

Preparations are underway for the big miners’ rally to be held in the Jenkins ballpark April 1. It will be in celebration of the seven-hour day anniversary. An all-day program will get underway beginning at 10 a.m. It will be a big red-letter day for miners. s

“Local sales of Royal Crown Cola have increased so greatly in the past two months that we will look for 1941 to be the biggest year in our history,” said Mr. McAuley of the Nehi plant. s

On Tuesday, the Methodist Women’s Society of Christian Service of Neon-Fleming gave Mrs. Ed Hyden a farewell handkerchief shower in the basement of the new church. Mrs. Hyden received many lovely handkerchiefs. Her husband has been the manager of the Western Auto Supply Shop for some time, but is return to Hyden to carry on work there.


MARCH 29, 1951

Stuart Craft, 40, a former Neon resident and ex-mining engineer, was found shot to death in an Ashland railroad station Tuesday. Craft, son of the late Joseph Craft and Mrs. Craft of Neon, was discovered in the Chesapeake and Ohio’s station’s washroom. s

Terry Pitman, of Moore Branch at the head of the Kentucky River, was fined $50 for moonshining and placed under a $500 peace bond. Pitman was arrested at his home by Deputies Archie Adams, Sam Blair and Jim Short. s

Jimmy Burt Tolliver, Whitesburg High School forward, was selected to the Courier-Journal All-State basketball team. Tolliver was described as “a sharpshooter in the best mountain tradition.” He was the leading scorer in the state meet with 83 points, averaging close to 17 points per game for the season with a total of 530. s

“Wages of Sin” will play this week at the Elinda Ann Drive-In in Whitesburg.


MARCH 30, 1961

Whitesburg may be eligible for financial aid under the area redevelopment bills in Congress. Mayor Ferdinand Moore said he has been studying the bills introduced by Senator Douglas of Illinois and Representative Spence of Kentucky. The bills provide for loans for industrial-commercial projects as well as loans and grants for public facilities in areas where there has been substantial and persistent unemployment for an extended period of time. s

Army PFC Charles M. Motley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe W. Motley of Dunham, recently participated in a special training exercise in Korea. A security guard in the cavalry’s Company A, Motley entered the Army in June 1959. He is a 1959 graduate of Dunham High School. s

Mr. and Mrs. John Sammons of Pine Mountain Road celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on March 26. Mr. Sammons was a miner for 37 until his retirement in 1952. s

The Whitesburg Rotary Club will sponsor a pancake breakfast Saturday at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church. Proceeds will go to the Easter Seal Campaign of the Kentucky Society for Crippled Children.


MARCH 25, 1971

Low bids some $30,000 below engineering estimates were submitted to the City of Whitesburg for construction of a new sewage treatment plant and additional water and sewer lines. The low bid was submitted by Hall Contracting Co. of Louisville. s

The political scene in Letcher County livened up considerably this week with a visit from former Gov. Bert T. Combs. Also visiting were Sen. F.M. Burke of Pikeville and Pikeville attorney Kelsey E. Friend, both candidates for Senate in the new senatorial district which is composed of Pike and Letcher counties. s

Several medals awarded posthumously to their son, Sgt. Bobby C. Fields, have been received by Mr. and Mrs. John R. Fields of Blackey. Included were the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Sharpshooters Medal. Sgt. Fields was killed last fall in Vietnam. s

“Well, today our week has started off with snow,” writes Sandlick correspondent Daisy Halcomb, “but it is so pretty — snow and sunshine.”


MARCH 26, 1981

“The world clamors for American coal,” writes Richard L. Strout of the Christian Science Monitor News Service in an article carried by The Mountain Eagle. “The United States has a third of the world’s economically recoverable coal reservices. An impending strike by the unionized miners who dig out 50 percent of the coal produced in the U.S. is but a minor detour on the way to what, in terms of energy, is called the Age of Coal. … America’s coal seems destined to become the world’s dominant energy source in the next 20 years. Already U.S. coal ports are beyond capacity with demands that increase every day. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan have all cited coal as America’s strategic resource.” s

Union miners will vote next week on a new contract which would take on an additional $132 on the weekly paychecks within the next three years. s

Ray Brown of Blackey has filed suit against Letcher Fiscal Court for payment for work he did on a roof for the Letcher County Courthouse. He says he is still owed more than $4,600 of the $9,600 payment he was to receive for the roof. Dorothy Collins of Collins Lumber Co. at Isom expects to file a suit to recover $36,720 she says the county owes her for materials used in the roofing job. Magistrate Charles Dixon says he would welcome the suits because they would show “who okayed the contracts.” s

The Jenkins Independent Board of Education has been awarded payment for a lawsuit concerning construction-related damages to the nearly 10-yearold Jenkins High School building. Companies involved in the planning for construction of the building entered an out-of-court settlement with the board to pay for damages to the building caused by a sinking foundation.


MARCH 27, 1991

Owen Wayne Wright, who owns the Western Auto Store in Whitesburg, told the Whitesburg City Council last week that Whitesburg has been held apart from Letcher County, and predicted that will continue to be true unless something is done to let people outside the city know they are welcome. Police and politicians continually block a major street, the parking meters are a joke, and there are not enough garbage cans on Main Street, Wright said. s

U.S. Rep. Chris Perkins introduced a bill Monday that would make it easier for miners and their families to qualify for black-lung benefits. The legislation would change an “unjust system” and “give the miner a fair chance” to receive benefits, Perkins said. The bill would lessen the burden of medical proof for 10-year mine veterans who filed claims between July 1, 1973 and April 1, 1980. s

Heavy rains caused damage to roads and bridges over the weekend, but most Letcher residents escaped serious damage. Letcher County Judge/Executive Ruben Watts said he has had no reports of damage to homes after a cloudburst before dawn Saturday sent streams in many hollows roaring out of their banks. s

David R. Holbrook was promoted to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army. He has been serving with the 20th Engineer Brigade in Saudi Arabia since September. He is the son of Corene Holbrook of Mayking and the late Eddie Holbrook. He is married to the former Jennifer Nobles of Craft’s Colly.


MARCH 28, 2001

Letcher County had the third-highest percentage population loss of any Kentucky county from 1990 to 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau figures show. Jenkins lost 350 people over the 10-year period. Fleming-Neon gained 81 residents over the same period, and Whitesburg lost 36. s

State Vehicle Enforcement officers were strictly enforcing the ban on large vehicles on US 119 across Pine Mountain this week. But State Rep. Howard Cornett, who sought improved safety on the road and who lauded the announcement of the ban when it was made, now says the ban goes too far. Cornett said he and others had asked the state Transportation Cabinet to ban tractor-trailers from the mountain road, but he never dreamed of a ban on all vehicles over 30 feet. s

Employees represented by the United Steelworkers of America have ratified a new three-year contract with Appalachian Regional Healthcare. Under the new agreement, ARH employees will get a 2.5 percent wage increase effective March 26, and 3.5 increases in the second and third years of the contract. s

Cory Harris, an eighth-grade student at Cowan Elementary School, will participate in the state level of the National Geography Bee to be held in April at the University of Louisville. Cory won the school-level geography bee and entered the next level of competition by completing a written exam on geography. He is a son of Mike and Glenna Harris.


MARCH 30, 2011

Among the 20 counties ranked as Kentucky’s unhealthiest, 19 are situated east of Lexington and most are in the heart of the mountain region, according to the annual County Health Rankings, released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report ranks Letcher County as the ninth least healthy county in Kentucky. s

What was initially reported to police as an accidental shooting inside a Jenkins home has transpired into a murder investigation centered around two Georgia men police say were in Letcher County taking part in “illegal activity involving drugs.” Police have charged Alfred White, 42 of Jonesboro, Ga., with the shooting death of Walter Johnson Jr., of Atlanta. s

At a meeting of the Letcher County Water and Sewer District Board of Directors, Board Chairman Phillip “Pee Wee” Back announced that Superintendent Tim Reed will step down from the superintendent’s position as soon as a suitable replacement is found. The board also spoke informally with representatives of Veolia Water about the possibility of Veolia taking over the day-to-day management and operation. Veolia manages water and sewer works for the City of Whitesburg. Back’s announcement about Reed came after a lengthy executive session. s

“March delivered a taste of warm summer weather, then turned back to colder temperatures and even a little snow Monday morning,” writes Jeremiah correspondent Delana Banks. “But it’s still a lot better than the tough winter we’ve had, plus it’s so pretty with all the spring flowers blooming everywhere.”

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