Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


APRIL 1, 1921

A gun battle on Pine Creek at Mayking ended here Sunday with the severe wounding of two men from across the mountain in Virginia. Over 100 shots were said to be fired in a gun battle that is said to have been caused by the “free flow of mountain dew.” The complete names of the wounded men are not known, but their last names are Ingle, who was shot through the breast, and Singleton, whose arm was almost shot in two above the elbow. s

Work is going well in the Letcher County community of Bluefield, where the Ulvah Coal Company is fairly busy. s

Bluefield resident Bud Fields caught a 29-pound catfish a few days ago. s

At least 10 new buildings are currently under construction in Whitesburg, with many others being planned. s

A train filled with business representatives from Lexington will travel to McRoberts on April 18. After leaving for the return trip on the morning of April 19, the train will stop in Whitesburg at 8 a.m. It’s second stop will be at Blackey. s

The new Blackey Theater will open Saturday night, April 2, beginning at 5 p.m. or as soon as the “down train” arrives there. Two free shows will be given that night, and everyone is invited. The theater will begin charging for admission on Monday, April 4, for two shows each night. Persons from the Whitesburg area can go down to Blackey on the 4 p.m. train, see the shows and return home on the late-night train. s

The Elkhorn-Hazard Coal Company mine on Sandlick will start mining again in a few days after having been shut down for many days.


APRIL 2, 1931

It rained and rained, and waters of the North Fork of the Kentucky River were once again lapping and gurgling but did not escape its banks. However, water depths nearly 20 feet above normal were reported from as far downriver as Jackson. s

Uncle Si Cornett of Linefork, a Union Army veteran of the War Between the States, has died. Believed to be in his Eighties, Mr. Cornett never married. He was known as a unique man who had considerable amounts of money hidden around his homeplace. However, he died without mentioning to anyone the whereabouts of the money. s

Voters in the Whitesburg school division will vote next Saturday to remain as a graded school or to enter the Letcher County system of schools. It is believed that most people are for making the change.


APRIL 3, 1941

Earl Jones, 54-year-old night watchman of Mary-Helen Coal Corporation, died in Harlan Hospital at 2 p.m. from bullet wounds in the head and chest after being shot down before a union picket line at Coalgood early Tuesday morning. Bill Gibbs, of Kenvir, allegedly a member of the picket line, is being held in the county jail. s

Miners from all sections of southeastern Kentucky gathered at the Jenkins Ball Park for a big celebration of Labor Day on Tuesday, April 1. Despite intermittent showers a number of speakers were heard and a part of the program was carried out successfully. s

The Lower Rockhouse News reports that Willie Adams lost almost all his outbuildings and food and feed supply in a fire the past week. The fire got into the hayloft after the garden had been cleaned and the rubbish burned. s

“Down Argentine Way” starring Don Ameche, Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda is playing at Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre.

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


APRIL 4, 1941

Nazi propaganda guns were turned against Yugoslavia today with declarations that the Balkan kingdom was ridden with “uncontrollable hate, inciters doing their work with German nationalists insulted and molested and the whole country in a state of turbulence.” The report is that 75,000 German troops are stationed on the Hungarian-Yugoslavia border and that Hitler might demand immediate demobilization of Yugoslavia. s

Burdine Webb, who writes the Jenkins News, says, “The big new million-dollar coal tipple that is planned for No. 7 is more than certain to be a reality. It has been discussed, pro and con, for some time, and at this particular time it seems a certainty.” s

Woodrow Dawahare left this week for Fort Thomas where he will be temporarily stationed. At this time, it is not known just where he will be permanently located. Woodrow is the son of S.F. Dawahare, well known Letcher County merchant. s

The Dunham News reports that Mr. Szabo, who was hurt in the mine about two weeks ago, has returned home from the hospital. He is much improved.


APRIL 5, 1951

A former Whitesburg woman was the recipient of a telegram informing her that her husband, Sgt. Willard A. Kiger, had been returned to the American lines. An ex-Mountain Eagle employee, Mary Kiger received word on March 19 that her husband, previously reported missing in action, had been liberated from capture by “the Chinese Reds.” s

S.F. Dawahare, president of the Dawahare stores, will leave next week for an extensive tour of the Middle Eastern countries of Egypt, Syria, Arabia and Jerusalem. He will depart by airplane on April 14 and land on the same day in his birthplace, Syria. He said this will be his first trip “home” since he left there in 1906, when it took him 30 days to reach Mexico from Syria. s

Twelve thousand trees, ordered by Letcher County landowners to reforest idle acres, were distributed here says Forest Ranger Joseph M. Craft. Shortleaf pines led the demand for trees with 6,000. Other species were black walnut, 3,200; black locust, 2,300; yellow poplar, 300; and white pine, 200.


APRIL 6, 1961

The Easter Bunny left more of a surprise than usual for Letcher County residents, who went to bed Sunday night with the stars shining brightly and awoke Monday morning to find nearly two inches of snow on the ground. s

The Letcher County Board of Education has requested the Whitesburg Municipal Housing Commission to look into the possibilities of acquiring a site for a new Whitesburg grade school through the federal urban renewal program. Whitesburg is currently planning a large-scale, low-rent housing project. s

Army Pvt. Bill Campbell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benton Campbell, Hallie, recently was assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The 20-year-old soldier is a 1960 graduate of Letcher High School and attended Lees Junior College. s

Circulation of books from the Letcher County Public Library has tripled since the library moved into its new location in the L&N depot. A report showed that 10,688 books have been checked out; the average monthly circulation of books during 1960 was 3,028.


APRIL 8, 1971

Spring vacation has begun two days early in the Jenkins Independent School System. Due to tensions arising between Black students’ parents and the Jenkins Board of Education, Superintendent Henry Ed Wright ordered the school closed. Parents and students in the Tom Biggs section of McRoberts began a boycott which will end only after five Black students expelled by the Board of Education are reinstated. The boycotters claim that the five expulsions were unfair and reflect a basic pattern of alleged neglect and mistreatment of Black students in the Jenkins school system. s

Funeral services for I.D. Maggard, 99, were held March 31 at the Isom Presbyterian Church. Maggard, who would have been 100 in July, was known as Uncle Ike and was long active in the Little Colley Regular Baptist Church as a singer and a preacher. s

A request made by the Appalachian Regional Hospital in Whitesburg to the Kentucky River Comprehensive Health Planning Council for $150,000 to expand emergency care facilities was turned down at the council’s quarterly meeting. The Whitesburg facility had requested the money, which would have been matched by a $30,000 local contribution, in an effort to ease some of the heavy burden currently being placed on the hospital’s existing emergency section. s

The fourth annual Letcher County Craft Fair will take place April 10. The event will include spinning, soap making, hog butchering, picking and fiddling. It will be held in the Historical Society log cabin.


APRIL 9, 1981

Three members of the Jenkins City Council walked out of the April council meeting because of what they called poor handling of city funds by Mayor James E. “Chum” Tackett. They were protesting Tackett’s transfer of city funds in and out of three separate city budgets without approval by the council. s

Kentucky State Police have increased patrol activity here this week amid reports of violence as the United Mine Workers of America’s national strike entered its 13th day. Police are gearing up their patrols mostly in the Payne Gap area, where up to 100 pickets reportedly gathered Tuesday at the Kentucky-Virginia state line on U.S. 23. Pickets are said to have forced truck drivers hauling non-union coal to dump their loads beside the road. Police say they received reports of gunshots fired near Colson at a truck belonging to South East Coal Co. About 40 pickets reportedly blocked the road to Kingscreek at about the same time. s

Two persons have been arrested in connection with a fire which gutted the band room on the Whitesburg High School campus. The blaze destroyed about $6,000 worth of band uniforms, two pianos, all percussion equipment, a large amount of sheet music and most of the band’s other instruments. The loss is estimated at $80,000.


APRIL 3, 1991

Letcher County was one of 86 Kentucky counties that lost population through migration between 1980 and 1990. The county’s net migration loss was an estimated 5,384, or 17.5 percent of the population. s

Letcher County Judge/Executive Ruben Watts has asked the state for an extension of unemployment benefits to laid-off miners. Watts said in a letter to Michael Robinson, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, that coal operators have predicted an upswing in sales of coal already mined, and said that should see more jobs. s

The United Mine Workers union will not be forced to pay more than $20 million in fines racked up during a bitter 10-month strike of Pittston Coal Group Inc., an appeals court has ruled. A divided panel of the Virginia Court of Appeals set the fines aside. Russell County Circuit Judge Donald A. McGlothin Jr. imposed the fines during the labor dispute because he said the union repeatedly violated his order limiting strike activities. The union was also fined for disrupting the company’s operations. s

“On Sunday (Easter) we gathered at Sandlick Fire Department for an egg hunt,” writes Colson correspondent Darlene Pettibone. “Thanks to the Hall families for the use of their yards and also to our firemen who took the time to hide the 19 dozen eggs for the kids.”


APRIL 4, 2001

District 5 Magistrate Wayne Fleming is asking the City of Jenkins to look into the location of a mine silt pond that replaced one that overflowed in February. He is also asking the city to speak with Premier-Elkhorn Coal Co. about coal trucks leaving the same mine. Fleming is worried that a pond built at the head of Upper Dunham to collect silt from the company’s Mine 35 is built too close to a “bore hole” from the surface down to the abandoned Beth-Elkhorn Mine 206. s

Three out of four kids agree — a new road should go through Pine Mountain instead of over it. Letcher County Judge/Executive Carroll Smith said he conducted a non-scientific survey of kids at Cowan Elementary School while attending a career day at the school and found a tunnel to be the first choice of the students.


APRIL 6, 2011

Kentucky State Police Detective Randy Combs testified during a preliminary hearing that Alfred White Jr., 43, of Jonesboro, Ga., told Angela Mays, who was living in the Premier Subdivision Home where the shooting occurred, of his plans to kill Walter Johnson Jr., 39, of Atlanta, in Jenkins. Combs testified that Mays and Tom Blair were told by White to provide false information to the police and give White enough time to flee the crime scene before the police arrived. s

A male donkey was captured uninjured after disrupting traffic twice on the Whitesburg Bypass. Police are now looking for the donkey’s owner. s

Three Letcher County residents were accused of trying to rob the Mayking Post Office. Dustin Isaac Yeary, 26, was arrested and charged with first-degree robbery and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. Jeffrey Lynn McClain, 25, and Katie Renee Larue, 27, were arrested and charged with complicity to first-degree robbery. Kentucky State Police Detective Randy Combs said McClain and Larue drove Yeary to the post office where he went inside and put a gun in the face of the clerk. Yeary jumped over the counter, said Combs, but couldn’t get any money because the drawer was locked. s

Columnist Steve Brewer described a trip to Florida to hunt wild turkeys and said, “We drove a thousand miles over two days, paid a war pension for nonresident tags, and got to hunt for an hour.”

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