Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


MAY 20, 1921

James Loggins is receiving daily shipments of good clean hard ice at his ice shop in Blackey. The ice can be used to cool the White Frost refrigerator now being sold at Whitesburg Hardware.

Graduation ceremonies for Whitesburg Graded School and Letcher County High School were held in Whitesburg on Friday, May 6.

Frank Neff is the proprietor of Whitesburg Shoe Repair, now located in the Lewis Building.

More than 500 people attended Saturday’s opening night of the new Pearl Theatre in Whitesburg. A.C. Brown is the man in charge.

Mining jobs are good again in Millstone.


MAY 21, 1931

The town of Fleming was jarred around 5:40 a.m. Sunday by an explosion at the Mine No. 1 substation. An investigation revealed the explosion was caused by a workman, Poland native Kazamier “Kaiser” Zbroja, taking his own life. The blast also injured substation worker A.D. Jones and destroyed the substation itself. Zbroja had been working for Elkhorn Coal Company for four years. Jones has worked there for 15 years. Jones told authorities that Zbroja came into the substation carrying a battery in one hand and a piece of wire in the other. He had explosives hidden under his clothes.

A 50-foot lookout tower will be erected on Pine Mountain, on a high point in the neighborhood of where the state highway passes over. It will be the seventh forest fire tower in the eastern part of Kentucky.

Local businesspeople say times are slightly improving and money is getting easier.

Thirty-five boys and girls graduated the Whitesburg graded and high schools last Friday evening.

A delay in the shipment of necessary materials means the Kentucky Theatre is not yet ready to open in Whitesburg.

A man was cleared of wrongdoing in Letcher Circuit Court this week when he was able to prove he did not break into a pool room, but instead broke out of it after falling asleep before the business closed.

Daniel Wampler of Jenkins was put in jail in Wise County, Virginia last Sunday after he pulled out a pistol and shot and killed Daniel Boggs, 55, of Almira, Virginia. The shooting occurred after Boggs, who was unarmed, asked Wampler to pay a small debt he owed.

Dogwood Winter has been severe in the Jeremiah area this year.


MAY 22, 1941

The Works Progress Administration ( WPA) wi l l start as soon as is practical to complete 14.5 miles of various Letcher County roads by installing drainage, surfacing with traffic bound stone and final dressing. The project is sponsored by the Letcher County Fiscal Court at a cost to the Court of $2,895 and a cost to the Federal Government of $11,674. Approximately 78 men will be given employment for three months.

Private Melvin Ca l ton, of Kingscreek, is one of three soldiers who drowned when the Army’s Fort Slocum Launch Q-11 collided with the Lehigh Valley Tug Claremont in New York’s East River.

Dr. Lee Moore of Whitesburg has been appointed dental examiner for Letcher County. Under the new draft system, the new draftees are referred to their local appointed dentist for classification instead of being sent to Louisville as has been the case heretofore.

The Kentucky Theatre will present “Back Street” starring Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullivan this week.

From the Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


MAY 23, 1941

Two hundred-sixty Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Indiana young men hopped into cockpits of Army training planes this week as members of the inaugural class enrolled under the Air Corps new 30,000-pilots-a-year program.

Forest fires have been raging in various sections of the mountains for some time now, and it seems that there is no way of extinguishing them unless it rains. It is a shame that much of our valuable timber and wildlife must be destroyed.

On Sunday morning, the Reverend Thomas B. Ashley of Pikeville delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of Jenkins High School. The auditorium was filled to capacity and the music was very fine.

Mr. Bill Hensley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Hensley of Straight Row, is visiting here for a few days from the Army, reports Dunham correspondent Mrs. Fred Vinson.


MAY 24, 1951

An attempt to ban together small Letcher County truck mine operators and ramp owners in a coal co-op association to eliminate price-cutting amongst them will be made tomorrow in Huntington, W.Va. The purpose of the proposed association is to eliminate the “price war” that is now going on amongst small operators and ramp owners, and thus ensure them a fair price for the coal they are producing and loading. Many are now selling top grade coal at $3.50 and $3.75 a ton when they should be getting over $4 a ton.

A new football conference, the Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference, will replace the old Big Sandy Conference, said Whitesburg Coach Ray Pigman. With the exception of Hazard, a prospective member, all teams are from Big Sandy. s A search for Leslie Dixon, 29, a Bull Creek resident who has robbed five homes and two stores in the past month, is underway, Sheriff Hassel Stamper said. Dixon has already served three one-year terms in the state penitentiary for grand larceny. He is now charged with breaking and entering the Dixon store, Ulvah, the H.D. Caudill store on Bull Creek and the homes, where he has stolen food and clothes. Stamper said Dixon lives in caves in the mountains and out of doors.

Two services, both honoring the Letcher County war dead and Memorial Day, have been planned for next week by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Services over the graves of servicemen buried in Letcher County will be held Sunday. A countywide service at Whitesburg Grade School will be held Wednesday.


MAY 25, 1961

Democrat James M. Caudill and Republican Bill Adams will lead the parties’ tickets in the general election this fall. Both were nominated for the office of county judge in the primary election Tuesday.

Plans for reconstruction of the bridge across the Kentucky River into Long Avenue were announced this week by the Department of Highways. The department will take bids on the project in Frankfort on June 9.

The City of Whitesburg garbage truck got into the after-election spirit quickly. Early Wednesday it appeared on the city streets bearing this sign: BULL HOLE EXPRESS ONE WAY.

Randall A. Holbrook, engineman third class, U.S. Navy, son of Mrs. Verdia Day of Mayking, is serving aboard the ocean non- magnetic minesweeper USS Persistent off the coast of California.


MAY 27, 1971

The Survivors of the Hurricane Creek Massacre, a group born from past tragedy, is dealing with current problems while emphasizing that its primary concern is for the future. The name of the organization, which was formed by some of the widows of the 38 miners killed when the Finley Coal Co. mine on Hurricane Creek in Leslie County blew up, indicates the widows’ feeling that they were widowed primarily because of violation and lack of enforcement of the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969. The widows talk about donated money, clothing, food and other items that they never received, and not getting information about the raise in workman’s compensation funds if Findley was found negligent and how to receive money from the black lung program. The organization is seeking contacts with survivors of other mine tragedies to stand together to fight for their rights and to assist other families.

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) has decided to withhold approval of a $929,510 request from the LKLP Community Action Council for a comprehensive medical program. However, OEO has indicated it will finance a six-month “program development” period, giving LKLP the time to rewrite its health proposal to make it acceptable to OEO.

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a lower court decision which charged the United Mine Workers and Consolidation Coal Co. with conspiracy to drive South East Coal Co. out of business. Unless the High Court reverses its decision, which seems unlikely, $7.5 million in damages, plus $1 million in interest accrued in the five-year case, will be paid to South East Co. by the UMW and Consolidation Coal.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars will sell Buddy Poppies here Saturday for the benefit of needy war veterans and their families.


MAY 28, 1981

All incumbent members of the Letcher Fiscal Court were defeated in their bids for renomination in the May 26 primary election. They included Judge/Executive Robert B. Collins, who lost to former sheriff Ruben Watts, and Magistrates Add Polly and Billy Keel, Democrats, and George Arthur Adams, the only Republican on the fiscal court. Keel lost to Winston Meade, Polly lost to Johnny Sturgill and Adams lost to Steve Banks. Incumbents Charles Dixon and Lee Hogg did not run for re-election. Ben B. “Buster” Taylor is the Democratic nominee for sheriff and Lewis Hall is the Republican nominee. Incumbent County Court Clerk Charlie Wright is again the Democrats’ biggest vote-getter. Incumbent Macie Warf won the Democratic nomination for circuit court clerk.

The third annual National Conference of Women Coal Miners was held in southern Illinois near Carbondale. Twelve Letcher County women were at the conference, including Pam Baker of Jenkins, who is assistant safety director for Chaparall Coal Co. in Pike County, and Sandy Bailey of Mayking, who after five years at Beth-Elkhorn Coal in Jenkins is now with the U.S. Mine Health and Safety Administration in Whitesburg. WEDNESDAY MAY 22, 1991 Officials exhumed the body of Susan Daniels Smith to perform a full autopsy, nearly two years after the pregnant Pike County woman was slain by her FBI agent lover. Mark Putnam was allowed to plead guilty toThrst-degree manslaughter in Smith’s death after agreeing to tell where he had buried her body. He said he lost control and strangled Smith when Smith threatened to tell his wife and superiors that she was carrying his child.


Whitesburg’s newest national chain restaurant is expected to open next week. Subway, which specializes in submarine sandwiches, is scheduled to open May 29. Bill and Margaret Ihrig, who own the restaurant, have had the franchise for both Whitesburg and Jenkins for about year, but until a few months ago they had been unable to find a suitable location.


Banjo player Lee Sexton has earned widespread recognition in recent years. He recorded hisfirst album, “Whoa, Mule!”, two years ago for June Appal Recordings in Whitesburg and he has a video of the title song on the national Country Music Television network. In June, he was travel to San Antonio, Texas, to perform at the Guadeloupe Arts and Crafts Festival.


“ Catch the Hawk” starring Bruce Willis will play this week at the Jeremiah Drive-InTheater.


MAY 23, 2001

Five magisterial districts, six census tracts, 30 voting precincts, 1,013 census blocks. The three redistricting commissioners appointed by the Letcher Fiscal Court last week have to make sense of all those numbers and decide how to split Letcher County’s 25,277 residents equally and fairly among districts.


The superintendent search committee for Letcher County Schools has recommended five candidates for superintendent to the Letcher County School Board. All five are from Kentucky and two are from Letcher County. The candidates are Anna Craft, Sherry Holbrook, Ronald Lester, Pamela Stephens and Larry Woods.


Cook and Sons Mining Co., which did bulldozer work on Letcher County’s ballpark in Whitesburg, will apparently donate the work, Judge/Executive Carroll Smith said.Thefiscal court became involved in an argument over the work because Smith had told the company he couldn’t authorize the work without a vote by the court. The court then received a bill for $8,040 and Magistrate Robert Lewis sought to have the court advertise for bids tofinish the work because the total value would have been more than $10,000. Smith said it was improper to do the work first then advertise for bids. Smith said Cook and Sons Mining Co. said it will donate the work rather than be involved in more disputes over the bill.


MAY 25, 2011

The Letcher County Board of Education has approved a tentative budget that cuts a number of teacher and staff positions to help make up for significant losses in state funding and the rising costs of diesel fuel and utility bills.The board was told that $915,000 is being budgeted for utility costs for the 2011-2012 school year, an increase of $146,800 from last year. For the 2010-2011 school years, $769,000 was allotted for utility bills.


Cumberland River Coal Co., a subsidiary of Arch Coal, has donated $12,000 to the Mountain Shrine Club in Whitesburg to help fund a mobile kitchen unit so the Shriners can cook meals at different functions.The $30,000 unit will include a pull-along trailer. The Shriners, who cater events to raise money for the Shriners’ hospitals, didn’t have the equipment to cook food on location.


The Whitesburg American Legion wi l l observe Memorial Day at 38 cemeteries in Letcher County on May 29. The ceremonies begin at 7:25 a.m. at the Edd Sexton Cemetery at Sandlick and continue throughout the day, ending at 5 p.m. at Douglas Day Post 152 Cemetery at Pine Mountain.

Leave a Reply