Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


JULY 1, 1921

Voter registration has grown from 1,600 in 1911 to more than 8,000 in Letcher County today.

Considerable additions and improvements are being made to the Home Lumber plant in Whitesburg.

Longtime Letcher County citizens are saying last Friday and Saturday were two of the hottest days ever known here.

L.R. Perry, the man who built the Letcher County Courthouse in Whitesburg, died a few days ago at his home in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.

Sam Hart is the new manager of the Pearl Theatre in Whitesburg. He replaces A.C. Brown.

A relay race, potato race, three-legged race, fat women’s race, sack race, one-legged race, wheelbarrow race, and slender women’s race are on tap for the community of Seco’s big Fourth of July Celebration at the Seco Ballpark. The winner of the greasy pole contest will receive $2, while the winner of the greasy pig contest gets to keep the pig. There will also be a 133-piece fireworks display.


JULY 2, 1931

The lack of a proper Fourth of July celebration in downtown Whitesburg and disappointment over a visit to Natural Tunnel in Virginia has drawn the ire of Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb this week. “Where is that glorious Fourth of July celebration that Whitesburg should have?” Webb asks in a front-page column. “What is the matter without town?” As for Natural Tunnel, Webb writes, “We drove out to Natural Tunnel in Scott County, Virginia last Sunday and observed that same old hole was still in the ridge where Stock Creek used to flow. They actually charge 50 cents to get a peep at it, whereas the top of Pine Mountain, grander a hundred times in scenic wonder and beauty, is entirely free for lookers.”

A “trachoma clinic” held in Whitesburg on Wednesday resulted in 40 cases of eye infections being discovered in the 170 Letcher County citizens who were examined. Twenty-one of those need hospital treatment and were referred to the U.S. Trachoma Hospital in Richmond, Kentucky.


JULY 3, 1941

Though fully in defense of his duty, Policeman J.P. Fleming of the Jenkins force shot and almost instantly killed C.E. Bartley, about 35, a native of Pike County, on the No. 1 Hill at Burdine late Sunday. The police force received an urgent call and Policeman Fleming, Ira Johnson, and Charlie McCoy rushed to the scene. Bartley, likely more or less intoxicated, was causing a reign of terror about his home, having threatened to kill his wife, his father-in-law, and perhaps other members of the family.

Marion Caudill of Linefork, and William Holcomb of Crown, have been selected for induction by Local Board No. 102, to leave on July 7 for Fort Thomas. Both boys are volunteers.

An affair of significant importance and of historical appeal to every citizen of Letcher County will be the formal presentation to Letcher County of a handsome portrait of Gov. Robert P. Letcher, on the opening day of Letcher Circuit Court on July 7, at 1 p.m. in the courthouse.

Directed by Mr. Hugh Adams, the Letcher County Band won honors at music festivals in Pikeville and Lexington the past school year.

From The Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


JULY 4, 1941

Kentucky motorists must procure their operator’s license in the county of their residence under a new law which will be aggressively enforced for the first time this year. The present licenses expire July 31. The only exceptions under the Act, passed in 1940, are persons who are temporarily residing in another county when it is time they seek to renew their licenses.

Ralph Lamar Caldwell, 15, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Caldwell, Burdine, met a tragic death by drowning in Pound River below the Pound a few days ago.

“The Wheelwright baseball outfit went away Sunday with defeat imprinted on the anatomies,” writes Jenkins correspondent Burdine Webb. “The Jenkins Cavaliers outstripped them by a score to 10-7. Some of the Jenkins boys did splendid playing.”

“Northwest Mounted Police” with Gary Cooper and “Across the Sierra” are playing this month at the Jenkins Theatre.


JULY 5, 1951

The office of the Letcher County Chapter of the American Red Cross will be closed indefinitely July 9, due to lack of funds, Chapter Chairman Russell Price announced. County Red Cross Chapters are supported by contributions of the County, and Mr. Price pointed out the citizens of Letcher County have failed to contribute to the cause during the past several campaigns.

Sheriff Hassel Stamper continued his drive against bootlegging with six arrests and three convictions reported during the past two weeks. Howard Mullin was fined $50 for processing and selling moonshine. Put under a $500 peace bond and fined $50 were Dock Bentley, and Whitaker, and Willard Mullins. Sylvan Hall is to be tried for possession of beer, and the cases of Estill Bentley and George Tolliver are pending.

Letcher County rural schools will open July 23 for the 1951-52 school year. Sixty-eight schools will be open on that date, including Kingdom Come High School.

Cpl. Clyde E. Collins, McRoberts; Sgt. William C. Nunley, Cromona, and Sfc. Elijah Stallard, Whitesburg, were reported among the 2,406 rotation troops scheduled to arrive at Seattle from Korea June 30. The troops were scheduled to arrive aboard the Navy transport Marine Phoenix.


JULY 6, 1961

A Mountain Eagle editorial questions the Tennessee Valley Authority’s purchase of eastern Kentucky coal lands, and asks just what the TVA has in mind. “Is the TVA going to enter directly into the production of coal for its giant steam plants, dealing another harsh blow to the already crippled coal industry? Will it eventually be selling coal on the open market in competition with private enterprise, just as it now sells electricity? … It is time, we believe for a serious high-level investigation into TVA and its coal policies,” says the editorial.

The Jenkins Board of Education has failed to renew the contract of C.V. Snapp as superintendent of the Jenkins Independent School District. At a special meeting called Wednesday, the board voted three to one against employing Snapp for a 32nd year as superintendent.

The Letcher County Board of Education has hired Sanford Adams as superintendent of schools for a four-year term beginning July 1, 1962. The board voted unanimously at its July meeting Saturday to give Adams a four-year contract at the expiration of his present two-year term.

A new building is being erected in downtown Whitesburg at the rear of Holstein Hardware. Owner Coy Holstein said the building will be used to provide additional storage space for the A&P, plus added display space for the hardware store.


July 8, 1971

A new addition to Kingdom Come School, Linefork, will be built this fall by the Letcher County Board of Education. The building will include a cafeteria, all-purpose room, and classrooms. A four-room building constructed several years ago will be moved on the site to make room for the new building.

The Kentucky Department of Highways has awarded contracts for construction of 6.4 miles of the Whitesburg-Jenkins road. A second longer section of the road was not put under contract because some power lines in the right of way have not yet been moved.

The Letcher County Mental Health-Mental Retardation Association will sponsor a country-western show July 24 at the Whitesburg High School gymnasium. Jimmy Skinner, the “Kentucky Colonel,” will be the featured singer. Other performers include Emma Smith, Hindman, and Steve Craft and the Letcher County Hillbillies.


JULY 9, 1981

Golden Oak Mining Company will spend about $15 million on construction of the new coal processing plant it will build at Camp Branch on the old Elkhorn Jellico Coal Co. tipple site. The new processing plant will be able to load coal in unit trains. While Golden Oak will operate the plant principally for the processing of coal from its own mines, it is not ruling out the possibility of washing coal owned and mined by others.

For the second time in four months, a Jenkins City Council meeting came to an abrupt end this week when three councilmen walked out in protest of action taken by Mayor James F. “Chum” Tackett. Charging Tackett illegally committed the city to furnish water to the Ben’s Branch housing development in East Jenkins, councilmen Willard Hall, Jr., Ray Banks, and Doc Adkins stormed out of the council meeting. s Yolanda Hall, Cumberland, has been invited to Washington, D.C., to present her views on underground coal mine safety to a study group of the National Academy of Sciences. Hall, a miner who works for U.S. Steel Co., is one of three miners invited to talk about mines, miners, and mine safety.

“Superman” starring Gene Hackman and Christopher Reeve is held over at Isaac’s Alene Theatre.


JULY 3, 1991

Kentucky’s top education official has issued a harsh statement about the Letcher County School District, say he “will not tolerate” obstruction of the school reform law. Kentucky Education Commissioner Dr. Thomas C. Boysen issued his statement in response to the resignation of Charlene Collins as principal of West Whitesburg Elementary School. Collins resigned her post last week, saying Letcher County superintendent’s office harassed her over the school-based decision-making council at the Whitesburg school. She has taken a job in the Jenkins School System as a supervisor.

Dan Gilbert, a former Whitesburg insurance agent, was arrested last week after being indicted on six theft-related charges. Gilbert, who owned and operated the now-defunct Gilbert and Combs Insurance Co. Inc. and Gilbert Loan Co., is charged in the indictments with five counts of failure to make required disposition of property and one count of theft by deception. Most of the charges stem from complaints that Gilbert, while acting as an agent for various insurance companies, collected insurance premiums from customers and failed to forward the money to the insurance companies’ home offices.

The new sewage treatment plant at Jenkins will get its final inspection next week. Jenkins is under an agreed order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to finish construction by July 15.

Domestic coal production totaled 19.5 million tons during the week ending June 22, down 2 percent from the 19.7 million tons produced in the previous week.


JULY 4, 2001

The Letcher County Board of Education is nearing a decision on where to locate a proposed new central high school. The board last Thursday heard presentations and received sealed bids from owners of five tracts of property being considered for the proposed school, which would combine Whitesburg, Letcher, and Fleming-Neon high schools. It has also asked the Kentucky Department of Transportation to check the highway access points from each piece of property under consideration and has asked the Kentucky Department of Education to review the properties.

A representative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said that the department will begin veteran services at Mountain Comprehensive Health Corp.’s Whitesburg clinic. “In fact, the first patients are scheduled to be in July 12,” said J.B. Finlay, associate director for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Huntington, W.Va. That’s two years later than originally announced. MCHC Executive Director Lois Baker first announced plans to serve veterans through MCHC’s existing clinic in March 1999, saying the services would begin in July 1999.

“The copperhead snakes are sure abundant this year,” writes Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “Clarence picked up a piece of tin, and there a big one laid. I have heard of so many. Just be careful when you pick up a board or tin, you never what is hiding under it.”

“Atlantis” and “Tomb Raider” are showing this week at the Route 7 Drive-In.


JULY 6, 2011

After hearing witnesses testify about charges of embezzlement and gross patient neglect, Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright ordered again last week that Golden Years Rest Home of Jenkins remain in receivership while criminal and civil matters involving the home and its former administrator continue to be sorted out. Wright first ordered the 44-bed personal care home into receivership on June 9 at the request of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, who filed a lawsuit earlier that day seeking the involuntary dissolution of the company which operates the rest home, Letcher Co. Golden Years Rest Home, Inc., and its five-member board of directors. Conway said the action was necessary “to protect the residents and interests” of the home.

Summit City’s owners say they have reached an agreement with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) which will allow them to continue serving alcohol for the next six months. Amelia Kirby, co-owner and general manager of Summit City, made the announcement after an administrative hearing before the ABC board in Frankfort. Summit City had been scheduled to close August 1 because the restaurant/ concert venue was unable to meet a licensing requirement that 70 percent of its income is from the sale of food.

Mabel Blair Burklow will celebrate her 100th birthday on July 6 with family and friends. She was born in Whitesburg to Sam C. “Barber Sam” and Adeline Blair.

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