Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


APRIL 15, 1921

Special agents boarded the Whitesburg-bound L&N passenger train in Lexington on Saturday and succeeded in charging about 40 passengers with train-hopping, drunkenness, or possessing alcohol on the train. “It is a good thing and should have a salutary effect on those who follow such practices,” The Mountain Eagle comments on the arrests. s

A movie theater and Vaudeville playhouse is opening in Whitesburg May 9. The new venue will be under the management of A.C. Brown. “The Virgin of Stamboul,” starring Priscilla Dean is scheduled to be the first movie shown. s

It is believed that all of Letcher County’s fruit crop for the coming summer was destroyed by the heavy freeze that occurred over the weekend. s

An entire railcar load of mules and horses was unloaded in Whitesburg Friday. All sold quickly on Saturday. s

For the first time ever, Letcher Circuit Court opened on Monday with two women appointed to serve on each of two trial juries. Meanwhile, Circuit Judge Vanover remarked at the start of the session that of the 29 murder cases he has heard during his career on the bench, 27 of them have been related to whiskey. s

Last Sunday, while everything seemed quiet, two prisoners — Arla Hunsucker and Jack Webb — escaped from the county jail in Whitesburg and fled into the woods. After bloodhounds brought by train from Lexington failed to follow their trails to Sergent, where Hunsucker and Webb were seen, the two prisoners were later captured in Fleming and returned to Whitesburg. s

While the past decade has brought major growth to Letcher County with the coming of the railroad and new citizens from across the globe, a Mountain Eagle editorial warns that while eastern Kentucky is the greatest “in the world … it is true that under present circumstances it is liable to go to ruin the surest and the quickest.”

“Ten years ago we had only our own people to deal with and we had a small population, but now from the four corners of the earth our population is made up and conditions are very, very different,” The Eagle writes. “Even our own people seem to be different from themselves. They seem excited and nervous. … We long for the good old quiet, peaceful times again, and the way to get them is to drop the foolishness, quit the things that perplex, interrupt and destroy.” s

Bill Reynolds, candidate for Letcher County Jailer, was kicked by a hog and severely injured.


APRIL 16, 1931

The Bull Creek community of Letcher County if battling a fatal epidemic believed to be some type of spinal meningitis. One person has died and six others have taken ill and are expected to pass as well. The county health department has taken control of the situation. s

Many are left behind to mourn the death of George Fields, longtime postmaster at Gander in Letcher County, who has died of a type of meningitis that is circulating through the Bull Creek area. s

Letcher County Attorney Astor Hogg of Whitesburg has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. Before becoming county attorney, Hogg was elected mayor of Whitesburg in 1926 at the age of only 25. s

The 20-millionth Ford automobile was produced in Detroit on April 14 and then driven by Henry Ford to his estate, where Mr. Ford parked it beside the first model of Ford, made in 1983. Edsel Ford and two other Ford Motor officials rode with the elder Mr. Ford. The car is to be taken for a tour of the country and then placed in the Ford Museum. s

Twenty-three out-of-state guests have stayed at the Daniel Boone Hotel in Whitesburg over the last few days.


APRIL 17, 1941

A hail of bullets early Tuesday morning on a dark mountainside near Middlesboro killed four men — including the president and vice president of a coal mine — and wounded possibly 25 others, four critically. Governor Johnson telegraphed President Roosevelt that the eastern Kentucky coal mine work stoppage has caused a “most grave” situation and asked that the wage controversy be taken up by the National Labor Mediation Board. s

Thirteen Southern coal operators reiterated through a spokesman this week they were willing to grant an 11 percent wage increase to the United Mine Workers of America and begin operation of the mines at once. s

Dr. Lee Townsend and Mr. Encil Deen, bee men from Lexington, will be in Letcher County for a bee meeting at the Whitesburg Courthouse Saturday at 9 a.m. Anyone who has bees is invited to attend. s

Coy Holstein, who used to live at Thornton and who finished school at Whitesburg High School, is the new owner of the hardware store formerly owned by Ed Maggard.

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


APRIL 18, 1941

Whitesburg citizens were greatly excited and worried Tuesday when a car driven by a Hammond boy overturned just below Tunnel Hill. The occupants of the car were Bill Blair, Bennie Hart, Sid Combs and the Hammond boy. They received only minor injuries. s

“Rhythm on the River” starring Bing Crosby is playing this week at the McRoberts Theatre. s

Nat Craft of Neon recently purchased the White Coach Lunch at Neon Junction and is now open for business. He sells all kinds of sandwiches and cold drinks, and also has curb service for the traveling public. s

“1941 promises to be a fine fishing season. The fish are thick in the creek and the banks are covered with frogs,” writes Pound correspondent Mrs. Lillian Hall.


APRIL 19, 1951

A telegram received by Mrs. Nettie Hughes, of Whitesburg, Tuesday informed her that her son, Pfc. Jack Hughes, had been killed in action while fighting in Korea. s

Guy Jackson, owner of Jackson House Furniture at Neon Junction, one of the county’s older furniture concerns, announced this week that his company will go out of business. Jackson said that insufficient business in the past two years and the present poor business in the county were the reasons for his closing. s

Veteran Neon Policeman Aus Hudson, 63, was injured yesterday when his car was struck by a train at the Seco crossing. In the accident, Hudson was tossed from the car and dragged several feet down the tracks. His condition was reported as serious. s

“Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm” starring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride is playing this week at Isaac’s Alene Theatre.


APRIL 20, 1961

The Post Office Department has approved a site for a new post office building to be constructed at Neon. The lot is at Depot and Bridge streets, 63 by 61 by 129 feet. s

Gurtha Boatright has been named Whitesburg Woman of the Year for her many years of working with children in the Lions Club kindergarten. The honor was given by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary. s

Army Pvt. Glenn Boggs, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jonah Boggs, Kingscreek, recently arrived in Germany and is now a member of the 50th Infantry. He is a 1957 graduate of Whitesburg High School. s

Bing Crosby, Fabian and Tuesday Weld star in “High Time” showing this week at Isaac’s Alene Theatre.


APRIL 22, 1971

The Whitesburg City Council voted to chain and padlock the city garbage dump on Pine Mountain, and permit its use only by official Whitesburg sanitation workers. The action was taken after the April Grand Jury stated that the dump is in deplorable condition. The Grand Jury said the council should be given 30 days to correct the dump situation. s

The Whitesburg City Council has decided to take another look at annexing territory at both ends of town. Under consideration is an extension of city limits to take in the Pine Mountain Junction area and also the Solomon Road area. The other extension would take in territory at the west end of Whitesburg along the new Highway 15 to the cut at the top of the hill and down to but not including Whitco. s

Eight forest fires have been reported to the Forestry Service here since April 17 as the unseasonably dry spell continued through the month. The Forestry Service said its crews have been working 16 hours a day for the past three weeks to halt the fires. s

The Whitesburg Lions Club will hold its annual variety show and kindergarten program tonight at 7 p.m. at the grade school auditorium.


APRIL 23, 1981

Little strike activity is reported in Letcher County this week as the national coal strike entered its 26th day. State troopers say there are a few roving vehicles of strikers. s

Seven county officials, one former county official and two residents are to appear in Letcher Circuit Court this week to face charges stemming from a year-long investigation into the county’s financial affairs. s

A 22-year-old McRoberts man was seriously injured when he was shot in the face by a Letcher County sheriff’s deputy.


APRIL 17, 1991

Construction is expected to begin this week on a flood control project in Fleming-Neon which is estimated to cost $250,000. Mayor Rick Bevins said the project is financed with an emergency grant to correct problems caused when flooding early this month filled up the freshly dredged streams with silt. s

A secret Letcher County School Board meeting to discuss the athletic program at Letcher High School ended after three hours without any action by the board. Persons familiar with the purpose of the closed session said it involved allegations against a Letcher High School teacher and coach. Kentucky law allows closed sessions only for discussion of personnel matters where an individual employee or student may be disciplined or dismissed or employed, discussion of real estate acquisition when a public discussion might affect the price of the property or in cases of pending litigation. s

Appalachian author and University of Kentucky English professor Gurney Norman talked to Whitesburg Middle School students last week about his life, his writing and what they want to be when they grow up. s

“Home Alone” and “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” are playing this week at the Jeremiah Drive-In Theatre.


APRIL 18, 2001

Two members have resigned from the Letcher Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service Board of Directors, citing continued disagreements about finances for the troubled department. The two were among a group elected by area residents who attended a meeting at the firehouse after Fire Chief Gary Rogers and a group of fire department members ousted former chief Al Adams and the previous board. s

Image Entry Inc., the data entry company that operates an office in Whitesburg, has been sold to FYI Incorporated of Dallas Texas. The sale will have no effect on the Letcher County operation, which is slated to move to Jenkins later this year, said Bill Deaton, president and founder of Image Entry. s

A third workday is planned April 21 to work on the old Jenkins High School yard and the section of the building where the old Head Start was located. There have been some improvements since the last workday — the major one being a new roof that is guaranteed for 30 years. s

There will be a square dance at Carcassonne Community Center this Saturday. Music will be by the Trough Sloppers and Charlie Whitaker will be the caller.


APRIL 20, 2011

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted 4-2 this week to reverse an action from the month before designed to give magistrates a vote on whether to allow heavy gas company drilling equipment to cross certain county-maintained roads. A vote mandating that overweight haul permits be brought before the entire fiscal court rather than decided on solely by the judge/executive’s office was reversed after District One Magistrate Bobby Howard and District Four Magistrate Keith Adams changed their votes after Howard told the court he felt it would hurt small business in Letcher County. s

Jenkins Mayor G.C. Kincer and his administration hope to move into the new City Hall building in about three weeks. The Main Street building formerly served as an office building for the old Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. It was occupied most recently by the Jenkins Independent Board of Education. s

The Letcher County Wolves football team will host a Meet the Wolves day April 30 at the Fleming-Neon football field. Three other teams will be present, the Knoxville Knights, Tri-State Wildcats and Pike County Crusaders. s

StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization which records, preserves and shares the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs, will record interviews in Whitesburg from April 21 to May 14 as part of its cross-country Mobile-Booth tour.

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