Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


APRIL 29, 1921

A Letcher Circuit Court jury this week acquitted William J. Bates, 63, in the murder of his son, Noah Bentley, who was shot down about three months ago near the elder Bentley’s home. A large number of Thornton and Sergent residents attended the trial and were in the courtroom for the announcement of the verdict, which the jury reached after deliberating for just a short time. s

The murder trial of Beckham Bates, 19, who was charged in last year’s murder of Elijah Sergent, ended Tuesday after the jury could not agree on a verdict. Testifying against Beckham Bates was his older brother, Uriah Bates, was convicted on the same charges earlier.


APRIL 30, 1931

The Harlan County Fiscal Court has agreed to pay the initial cost of roadwork in that county that will be part of the new road being built from the town of Cumberland to the head of Linefork in Letcher County. s

Someone has stolen Judge James M. Caudill’s Chevrolet automobile while it was parked in Jenkins on Wednesday. Judge Caudill, of Neon, is offering a $25 reward for the return of the vehicle, a 1928 four-door sedan with Perry County plates. s

Whitesburg High School will graduate 30 seniors this spring. s

Dr. G.D. Ison, who runs an excellent hospital at Blackey, was a guest in Whitesburg Monday evening.


MAY 1, 1941

The coal wage controversy which has been pending for one month, was according to the radio and news dispatches, temporarily settled on Wednesday, and if our information is correct, work in the Fleming mines started this morning. All Jenkins and the surrounding coalfields now have an eye to work with increased wages and are to return to their accustomed places at once, it was announced here today. The news came with much rejoicing among all, as a month off means much to the thousands employed by Consolidation Coal Company alone, not to mention anything about the other multitude of men who depend solely upon the coal industry for sustenance. s

Stephen Combs Jr., was elected by unanimous acclaim president of the local Whitesburg Rotary Club. George Stewart was chosen as vice-president, Ben Sergent secretary, and Herman Hale treasurer. s

“Several copperheads have been reported this year,” writes Lower Rockhouse correspondent John Q. Adams, “and most of them have been located down near the main water courses where they were never found in the past, with the exception of very dry summers when the hills became very dry.” s

Mr. Chealis Hammond was called to Lexington last week, at which time he received his final orders to appear with the Fayette County recruits on May 1 at Fort Thomas, Ky. He will be here with his parents until May 1.

From the Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


MAY 2, 1941

Coal miners will get a raise of $1 per day under an agreement reached on the coal wage controversy which has been pending for a month. The soft coal mines cover eight states in the Appalachian area and employ about 100,000 men and for several weeks it was feared an agreement could not be reached.

The United States Defense Savings Bonds and Postal Saving Stamps were placed on sale in the main post office at the opening of business on May 1, as part of the national effort to make America impregnable. s

Mrs. V.B. Scott of Jenkins is sending the Neon News to her son in Hawaii. We hope every copy reaches him, and that he will enjoy them all. s

“Flight on Command” and “This Thing Called Love” can be seen this week at the McRoberts Theatre.


MAY 3, 1951

Four boys — three from Premium and one from Roxana — were arrested Sunday by Sheriff Hassel Stamper for the theft of an automobile three weeks ago. Stamper said that the car was stolen from George Collins of Colly. The car was found last week at the head of Mill Branch. s

Three Gordon men were arrested in separate moonshining cases Sunday, Sheriff Hassel Stamper reported. The three arrests also prompted Sheriff Stamper to say that there will be a crackdown on moonshining in the Linefork area of Gordon. Stamper said he has received several reports recently of heavy moonshining in this area. s

Thirteen students will be graduated from Blackey Grade School in ceremonies to be held at the school Tuesday night. Valedictorian of the class is Sandra Lee Miller. s

The new Jenkins Public Library opened on May 1 at 1 p.m., it was announced this week by the Jenkins Woman’s Club, which sponsors the civic project.


MAY 4, 1961

Letcher High School Principal Jeff Mayes says his school will graduate 53 seniors Wednesday. Lt. Gov. Wilson W. Wyatt will be the speaker. Frances Collier is valedictorian, and Philip Brown is salutatorian. s

Glenn Ihrig, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ihrig of Whitesburg, has been elected Social Activities Chairman for the Berea College Student Association for 1961- 62. He is an incoming junior at Berea College, and is a graduate of Whitesburg High School. s

“Web of Evidence” and “The Night Fighters” are being shown this week at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.


MAY 6, 1971

In a United States District Court ruling, former coal miners earned a victory which will give them a chance for fair dealings with the United Mine Workers Welfare and Retirement Fund. A federal judge found that the late John L. Lewis, head for the miners’ union for many years, and some of his closest allies conspired to deprive ill and retired coal miners of profits due the UMW pension fund. The judge made his ruling in a suit brought by 79 miners and widows again the UMW, the retirement fund, and the National Bank of Washington, which is owned by the union. The suit is a class action brought by the group on behalf of all UMW miners. s

The Pine Mountain Caves, which have attracted adventurous Letcher County youth for several generations, this week drew wider attention as the result of claims that rooms in the cave system might rival anything in Mammoth Cave, the world’s largest. Stories of a chamber bigger that the Letcher County Courthouse, which covers an entire square, and nearly 400 feet high were told by Dr. Raymond Love, Blackey, who said he had been exploring the caves for the past eight months. s

Bids will be taken May 21 for construction of the new West Whitesburg Elementary School, which will be built on the old fairgrounds site in the urban renewal area of West Whitesburg. s

Army Private Elmer R. Profitt, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Profitt of Whitesburg, recently completed nine weeks of advanced individual infantry training at Fort Polk, La. During the course, he received guerilla training and lived under simulated Vietnam conditions for five days, fighting off night attacks and conducting raids on enemy villages. He is a 1967 graduate of Whitesburg High School and attended the University of Kentucky.


MAY 7, 1981

Union miners in West Virginia said they view the contract offered by the United Mine Workers as another step toward cutting off their lifelines completely. s

After more than five years of planning and development, construction is set to begin on the first of several homes in the Ben’s Branch section of Jenkins. The Kentucky Housing Corporation, a state agency, has contracted with two Louisville firms to build the first 20 single-family houses and several multi-family apartment houses.

The murder trial of two men accused in the 1975 slaying of Letcher County coal operator William Harvey Jackson has been continued until August 17. Johnson was shot14 times in the head and chest with a .22 caliber weapon as he carried garbage out of his home at Payne Gap on his way to work. The shooting is one of the most sensational in Letcher County history and is mentioned frequently in national newspapers and television reports of organized crime in the coalfields. s

Talks will resume between the United Mine Workers union and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association on the 41st day of the national strike. State police reported only one incident in connection with the strike in Letcher County this week — damage to several trucks by gunfire.


MAY 1, 1991

South East Coal Co., which laid off half of its workforce last October, has furloughed its remaining 400 employees and shut down until July 1. Company President Harry LaViers Jr. said state Supreme Court Justice Charles Leibson’s decision last week to withhold $40 million tied up in a seven-year legal battle with Kentucky Utilities Co. necessitated the move. s

After three years and five tries, Whitesburg will finally get a new water treatment plant. The new plant will be nearly three times the size of the current plant, providing capacity for extending water lines to surrounding communities and for economic expansion. Gov. Wallace Wilkerson was expected Tuesday to formally announce the $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to help build the plant. s

A group of local residents will take over operation of the McRoberts Clinic June 1. The group is forming a non-profit corporation to run the clinic, in an attempt to keep some kind of medical services in the McRoberts community. Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation announced last month that it would close the clinic because of the low number of patients. MCHC’s executive committee agreed last week to lease the clinic building and equipment to the local group for $1 a year. s

“Dances with Wolves” will be shown this weekend at the Jeremiah Drive-In Theatre.


MAY 2, 2001

Renovation of Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital started in November 1998. Now, $12 million and 2-1/2 years later, the work is finally complete. The first thing most people notice is the facelift. Exterior insulation gives the building a stucco appearance, and contractors added 110 parking spaces. Inside, there is central air and heat, the gift shop and pharmacy are bigger, all departments have waiting rooms, and there are no six-bed wards. s

Natural Resources Secretary James Bickford has declared the area around Pine Mountain Settlement School off limits to future mining. Nally & Hamilton Enterprises has proposed mining land north of the campus. Two existing mining operations near the school property and within the area declared off limits will not be affected and may continue. One is an underground mine and the other is a surface mine. s

Gov. Paul Patton, in his annual address to eastern Kentucky leaders, said the region has made tremendous strides over the past decade to overcome economic problems. Most of the improvements thus far have come because people from throughout the mountains have finally begun working together despite county lines that in the past have been boundaries political leaders rarely crossed, said Patton. s

Funeral services for James Still, 94, an award-winning author and poet from Knott County, were held Tuesday in Hindman. Still drew on decades of everyday experiences in Knott County in his critically acclaimed works.


MAY 4, 2011

Charles Scott Howard, a Letcher County coal miner and safety activist, has filed a lawsuit in Letcher Circuit Court against Cumberland River Coal Co. alleging the company laid him off in May 2009 because he made safety complaints to federal and state mine safety enforcement

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