Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


MAY 6, 1921

Letcher County Jailer Fess Whitaker says he is running for re-election and will be a Republican candidate in the August primary election. s

Steve Frazier of Dalna lost a good horse when it strangled after falling through the floor of its stall. s

The Day Hotel in Whitesburg is now being managed by Susanne Holcomb. s

Redwine Holland, who was charged with complicity in the killing of a black man at Jenkins some time ago, was tried and acquitted in Letcher Circuit Court. s

John D. Sergent, longtime store manager and clerk for the Whitesburg Coal Company at Whitco, has been transferred to Lexington, where he will have office work for the same company. s

The widow of Franklin Hunsucker died Wednesday while staying at the Jenkins Hotel. On the morning of Caroline Hunsucker’s death, the couple’s son, Arlan Hunsucker, was sent to the state reformatory for five years for the killing of Franklin Hunsucker several weeks ago. “We hope that no such case will ever again darken the records of our courts,” The Mountain Eagle notes in the front-page story about the sentencing of the younger Hunsucker. According to the paper’s account, Caroline Hunsucker “sat up on her death bed to give such testimony as might save (her son) from a life sentence or execution. … Mother love is not to be compared to other love.”


MAY 7, 1931

Governor Samson has ordered units of the Kentucky National Guard to Harlan County to assist in quelling disturbances related to labor troubles at the coal companies there. About 345 members of the Guard and other agencies were gathering in the Evarts area, where they will be commanded by Col. Dan Carrell of Louisville, but will be located under the direction of Sheriff Blair. s

The first settlement of Letcher County occurred on the eastern end, next to the Pine Mountain and Black Mountain sections. Only five families made the venture — Adams, Caudill, Collins, Craft, and Sturgill. Each of the families has large numbers of children. Ten or more young men either came with the five families or soon followed them and started their own families. Among these family names were Hall, Bentley, Cook, Combs, Fields, Holbrook, Webb, Polly, Day, Blair, Wright, Frazier, Hogg, Whitaker, and Stamper. s

Mr. Isaac, the proprietor of the movie theatre at Cumberland, has taken charge of the Whitesburg Theatre and is installing RCA sound equipment. “Mr. Isaac is a proven success in the moving picture business and will, no doubt, build a good business here,” The Mountain Eagle predicts in its coverage. The theatre is set to reopen on May 15. s

Josef Schlickau has resigned his position with Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins and will sail this week from New York for his home in Germany. s

The L&N Railroad is offering special weekend excursion fees for its passenger trains, including those serving Letcher County. The special roundtrip fares cost the amount of the one-way ticket plus 20 cents. The fares apply to and from points in the South, East of the Mississippi River and South of the Ohio River, including St. Louis, Evansville, Indiana, Louisville and Cincinnati.


MAY 8, 1941

An agreement has been reached among the garages and service stations in and near Whitesburg whereby they will close their places of business between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Sundays in order to give owners and employees the opportunity to attend Sunday school and church services. s

Many citizens of Whitesburg were saddened and grieved on Tuesday when word came that young John Baker, 27, of Hazard, had been electrocuted while at his work for the Kentucky and West Virginia Power Co. in that town. John was the chief lineman for his company. s

Deputy Sheriff Oramus Day and Mayor Bill Collins recently made a trip to Akron, Ohio to bring back Finley Bird, wanted in Letcher County for the stabbing of Dempsey Amburgey at a Sandlick roadhouse some time ago. When Bird was caught in Ohio, the sheriff of Letcher County was notified he was ready to return. However, when the Letcher officials appeared there, he said he had changed his mind and the officers returned empty-handed.

A report in the Stuart Robinson School news says, “Recent visitors on the campus are two of ‘our boys’ who are now in the Army — Carl Shepherd of Fort Knox and Corporal Denver Back of Fort Bragg, N.C.”

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


MAY 9, 1941

N.R. Day, Dawson Dixon, Watson Webb and the County Agriculture Agent attended a meeting at Quicksand April 29 to hear an explanation of the government’s program to increase food production in the interests of national defense and aid for Great Britain and other nations opposing the Axis nations. Farmers are asked to increase the production of hogs, dairy and poultry products, and such vegetables as tomatoes for canning, peas, beans and sweet corn. Prices of these products are to be supported by government buying so farmers may be assured of a market. s

“Most of our people are making things count in planting our gardens and crops in an effort to aid defense work and evade the sure-to-be-high prices for commodities,” says the Sergent News Notes. “It will pay large dividends, folks.” s

The Senior Science Class of the Neon-Fleming high school visited the Royal Crown Bottling Plant Friday, where it was explained to the group the methods of bottling carbonated drinks. Each member of the class was given a souvenir bottle of Royal Crown or Nehi.


MAY 10, 1951

A list of 190 teachers — including a professional basketball star — who will probably teach in Letcher County schools next year was released Tuesday by Dave L. Craft, county school superintendent. Among those listed is Goebel Ritter, former Eastern Kentucky Teachers College and New York Knickerbockers basketball player. Ritter has played with the Knickerbockers for the past seven years. s

Five persons have been arrested since last Saturday in bootlegging raids as Sheriff Hassel Stamper and his deputies continued a crackdown. Stamper and his men raided three private residences, a grocery, and arrested the fifth offender twice, once in his car and then again the next day at his home on different charges. s

“At War with The Army” starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis is being shown this week at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg. s

Peter Pan Peanut Butter is on sale at the Whitesburg A&P for 36 cents a jar. Starkist Tuna is 34 cents a tin.


MAY 11, 1961

Three deaths by violence occurred within a five-day period in Letcher County this week. The first victim was Lonzie Hall, 39, of Mayking, who died of shotgun wounds in the face last Thursday night. The second victim was Enoch A. Craft, 46, of Neon, who died Saturday at his residence in Zack Hollow as the result of gunshot wounds. The third victim was Wilson Mullins, 59, of Whitesburg, who died at his home Monday of gunshot wounds. Coroner Virginia Craft said Mullins’s wounds were self-inflicted.

Dr. P.B. Miller, a spokesman for the Presbyterian Church, believes the Stuart Robinson property will be made available to the state for a junior college on “the most generous terms.” A group of citizens interested in possible use of the Stuart Robinson campus by the state went to Atlanta, Ga., to confer with Dr. Miller. s

Mrs. Jack Little, of Whitesburg, was injured Sunday when a tree fell in front of her truck on Tunnel Hill. Mrs. Little’s vehicle struck the tree head-on. Witnesses said the tree slid down the mountainside onto the road directly in front of the truck which Mrs. Little was driving. s

Sp/4 Daniel Seals, son of Mr. and Mrs. Delzie Seals, Colson, is a radio-teletype operator in the 3rd Signal Battalion’s Company D., which is located at Frankfurt, Germany. The 21-year-old soldier attended Hindman Settlement High School.


MAY 13, 1971

Whitesburg City Council will ask the federal Department of the Interior to look at the Pine Mountain caves and give an opinion as to their potential as a tourist attraction. The caves have attracted the attention of a number of newsmen and other interested persons since the publication of stories quoting Raymond Love as saying the caves rival Mammoth Cave in size and length. s

Most postage rates will go up Sunday, Postmaster R.C. Day Jr. said today. The increase is the first general raise in postal rates since 1967. The new rates will raise rates for first-class letters from six to eight cents an ounce and for airmail from 10 to 11 cents an ounce. Postcards will go from five to six cents and airmail postcards from eight to nine cents.

The Millstone Sewing Center, one of the oldest and most successful action projects in eastern Kentucky, will die on July 7 unless something can be done to save it. The death blow to the program was dealt this week by staff members of the LKLP Community Action Council who failed to include a request for continuation of the project in their application for funds for another year for the four-county anti-poverty program run by LKLP.

Thieves broke into the post office at Cromona over the weekend and stole a few stamps, some letters and a couple of packages. The money order machine was also stolen. However, the thief or thieves could not break into the office safe, and the main supply of stamps and cash was not disturbed.


MAY 14, 1981

State officials are expected to decide this week whether to provide a new plant to house Whitesburg High School. Supt. Jack Burkich said representatives of the state School Board Authority are here measuring to see how much money would be needed to replace the old Whitesburg High School building. The old building was condemned two years ago because of structural damage. s

More than 50 candidates for Letcher County offices traded charges at an abbreviated but heated meeting of the four-member county Board of Elections. Candidates questioned an apparent decision by the board to change the procedure used in selecting precinct officers. s

Several members of the Whitesburg City Council say it would be unfair to the next city council for them to approve Kentucky Power Co.’s proposal to pay the city a 25 percent annual refund on the money paid for streetlights in exchange for the company’s right to operate within the city limits. s

After 28 years as a member of the Whitesburg City Council, Dr. Lee Moore said farewell. He and his wife and their daughter are moving to Florida to live. Moore had been a strong figure on the city council.


MAY 8, 1991

Coal industry sources told The Mountain Eagle this week that a division of Westmoreland Coal Co. has negotiated the purchase of Golden Oak Mining Co. of Whitesburg. Kentucky Criterion Coal Co., the firm which reportedly has agreed to purchase Golden Oak, owns much of the mineral holdings once owned here by Bethlehem Steel Corp., including a tipple at Deane. s

Unemployment was up again in March in Letcher County, bringing the official rate to 13.9 percent — nearly double that of one year ago. s

Jenkins may file suit to gain a right of way to lay waterlines to the home of a city resident. Utility commission chairman Kedrick Sanders asked the council to take whatever action is necessary to gain a right of way to lay the lines and to do so within 30 days. Sanders said there has been a dispute over the land for two to three years. s

Rosa Marie Halcomb and Joel M. Weber, seniors at Whitesburg High School, are finalists in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship competition.


MAY 9, 2001

Some of Appalachia’s largest reservoirs of coal sludge may be stored underground, a method some environmentalists prefer. In one instance, a coal company pumped more than 131 million gallons of the material a year into the portals of two worked-out mines on 6,000 acres of land in Pike County. “Under certain circumstances, it is an appropriate alternative,” said Tom Fitzgerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council, an environmental watchdog organization. “It is a more responsible approach than building high-hazard embankment structures and pumping them full of millions of gallons of slurry material.” s

Clara Williams, 94, who served meals to Whitesburg residents for more than 20 years, died April 30. Mrs. Williams was the widow of Windus Williams, who assisted her in operating Clara’s Restaurant on Railroad Street (now East Main Street) for 13 years until the couple retired in 1981. Earlier she had operated a restaurant at the Whitesburg bowling alley for four years. Before that, she operated the City Café in the Daniel Boone Hotel for about five years.


MAY 11, 2011

Veolia Water, the company managing the City of Whitesburg’s waterworks, is calling on city officials to raise monthly water rates for customers. The Veolia Water regional manager approached the Whitesburg City Council to ask about an overdue bill of more than $500,000 the city owes Veolia. He said the city has not made a regular $83,000 monthly payment in four months, and that Veolia has conducted a survey of regional water rates and Whitesburg rates are substantially lower than the average. s

The Pine Mountain Trail Conference will hold a dedication of the Black Bear Shelter, the newest overnight shelter on the Pine Mountain Trail. The Black Bear Shelter is located at Kingdom Come State Park in Cumberland and will accommodate up to 20 hikers. s

The Kentucky School Boards Association presented the Letcher County Public School District with the Public Education Achieves in Kentucky Award at Letcher Elementary School in recognition of a districtwide piano program. All third- and fourth-grade classes in the district, which is about 500 students, take lessons once a week.

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