Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


AUGUST 12, 1921

More than 4,300 Letcher County voters went the polls Saturday to cast their ballot in the 1921 primary election for county offices. As for the losing candidates, The Mountain Eagle says, “Out of the mouth of the Bullhole vituperations and cursing, moans and screams are spewing. While the deeps are silent the shallows murmur.”

The Rockhouse Coal Company at Blackey is offering a reward for the return of a rim and tire lost from a Buick car someone on the road between Norton, Virginia, and Whitesburg.

Fess Whitaker, who was narrowly defeated in the primary election for the office of Letcher County Judge by a vote of 2,240 to 2,069, has announced he will run as a write-in candidate for the office of sheriff in the November general election.

“We are ashamed to say it, but already more than 100 indictments have been returned by the grand jury now in session,” Mountain Eagle editor N.M. Webb writes.


AUGUST 13, 1931

A 60-year-old mother of 10 was killed early Sunday night when the car in which she was riding plunged down the Whitesburg side of Sandlick Gap. Four others were injured in the accident. The victim, Mrs. Clint Ison of Whitaker Branch, Linefork, was a passenger in a car driven by Doug Halcomb of Linefork when the car went out of control at a sharp curve in the highway and tumbled some 200 feet before coming to a rest. “Had the state highway department exercised the discretion within its province, the awful tragedy would have been averted,” The Mountain Eagle says, noting that no “guard posts and cables” have been installed at the location.

Andy Lawson, 35, was killed early today while working on Consolidation Coal Company’s slate dump above Haymond.

The Hart Building, formerly known as the Day Hotel and located on the corner of Railroad Street in Whitesburg, has been purchased by Dr. B.B. Baker. The business will now be known as Baker Hotel and Cafe.

Less Hogg has been awarded the contract to build a new school building on Bull Creek at Carcassonne.

“Summer is growing dim, fall is near, and the singing of Katydids makes us feel sad at night,” the Eagle’s Colly correspondent writes.

Joe I. Day is now in charge of the Cumberland Hotel in Neon.

Noting the filth in and around the homes and businesses of some Whitesburg residents, a Mountain Eagle editorial says current conditions call for the Whitesburg City Council to take immediate steps to get the town cleaned up again. Noting that filth and poor sanitation hosts germs that spread “the ranking deadly diseases that prey upon human life, such as typhoid, pneumonia, diphtheria, measles, mumps, whooping cough and the like,” the editorial says, “To tell the truth we may kill ourselves or our neighbors and should be held responsible for the suffering caused or the deaths resulting.”


AUGUST 14, 1941

One after one, the candidates are slowly drifting back from the “Bull Hole” and in a short time we predict all about the election will have been forgotten and the normal route of their daily lives once more resumed. It seems that those who went to the “Bull Hole” most stubbornly were those who were defeated by only a few votes

Mr. and Mrs. Harrison Salyer of Seco came in on Wednesday to send the paper to their son, Corporal Braton Salyer, and his brother, a private, at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

The bituminous coal division reported to Secretary Ickes of the Interior Department there was still some cause for serious concern over the possibility of a coal shortage. Heavy seasonal and industrial demands might arise in the fall.

“Dry weather is playing havoc with our corn and late vegetables,” writes Crown correspondent Lloyd Brown, “although a good supply of potatoes and early vegetables is reported.”

From The Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


AUGUST 15, 1941

The new recreation building at Hemphill is now nearing completion and will be modern and up to date in every respect. This new recreation headquarters will add much to Hemphill as well as be a great benefit to the Elk Horn Coal Corp. and the citizens of that section. The old building was destroyed by fire several months ago.

Wendell L. Wilkie predicted an Allied victory yesterday. “For the first time, I can see victory in sight because the United States has made defense preparations,” the 1940 Republican presidential nominee said. He said that if isolationists had had their way, the United States now would not have its bigger Army and Navy, its selective service program, and its aid to Britain program and would be in the grip of a Nazi triumph.

The annual Favorite Hymn Service, sponsored by the Methodist Church, will be held on August 17. At the service the 10 ranking hymns as determined by a poll of the community will be sung.

The Quillen clan will hold its annual reunion on August 24 at Antioch, a little church on a site donated by James Quillen Sr., a pioneer settler of Scott County, Va.


AUGUST 16, 1951

Lt. Colonel Klair E. Back, of Whitesburg, has been awarded the Legion of Merit. Lt. Colonel Back is commanding officer of the Third Air Rescue Squadron, which is providing rescue covers for fighters and bombers of Far East air forces as they make daily strikes against the communists in Korea.

Plans for building a spur railroad line in Letcher County to connect the Louisville and Nashville Railroad with the Chesapeake & Ohio have been announced by the Hazard Coal Operators Association. A survey has been started to determine the exact route of the new rail line.

Jack Burkich, of Fleming, has been named principal of the Stuart Robinson School for the coming year. A graduate of Eastern State College, Mr. Burkich taught at Eastern while dong his graduate work. He taught at Fleming High School last year.

The Wh i tesburg Junior Chamber of Commerce has begun construction on an observation post on the first curve above the spring on Pine Mountain, Woodrow Dawahare announced. The project is being built on a site about 100 feet by 30 feet and will consist of a stone wall, a covered picnic table, a small walkway for photographers, and a sandpit for kids. All labor is being done free of charge by Chamber of Commerce members and the materials have been donated.


AUGUST 17, 1961

An A&P advertisement appears on pages 6 and 7 of The Mountain Eagle printed in three colors — blue, red and black. To the editor’s knowledge, this is the first color ad of its type in a newspaper in Kentucky.

State Sen. Archie Craft has been named Whitesburg’s Man of the Year by the city Chamber of Commerce.

The State Highway Department will take bids next month for the blacktopping of the Payne Gap-Kona Road. The road has been graveled for several years but allowed to lie unpaved until the base settled.

The Jenkins Board of Education has approved a 1961-62 salary schedule which gives every teacher a $200 a year increase in pay.


AUGUST 19, 1971

Hundreds of miners and miners’ widows met at the Belfry High School gymnasium to hear Rep. Carl D. Perkins explain black lung legislation. Perkins told the group of proposed improvements to the black lung benefits law. He compared the statistics of Kentucky of those of Pennsylvania. “In Pennsylvania,” he said, “68.3 percent of all claims filed have been approved. In Kentucky, only 28 percent of claims filed have been approved.”

The Kentucky Highway Department will start work within a few days on a new bridge at the mouth of Defeated Creek, Rep. Ray Collins said this week. Collins said the state set aside $24,000 for an all-weather bridge there last month.

Jenkins Police Judge Jesse Bates was elected chairman of the Letcher County Democrat Party at a meeting of the executive committee. Bates succeeds Rudolph “Doc” Williams, who resigned in April to run for state representative.

The First Security Bank of Whitesburg and Neon announced this week that is has contracted to become part of the worldwide BankAmericard bank credit card program.


AUGUST 20, 1981

The greatest danger facing organized labor in the United States today is the Reagan administration, according to Sam Church, president of the United Mine Workers union. Church said, Reagan “is continually cutting the poor man and working man; and lastly, he’s taking action against another labor union,” the Professional Air Traffic Controllers.

A truck belonging to the John H. Drew Amusement Co. rammed a power pole beside the old Salyer Radio Corp. building on River Road in Whitesburg, leaving most of the city without electrical service all day Sunday and much of the night. Cable television subscribers in the Whitesburg area were without reception until Monday evening.

B.F. Robinette Contractors, Inc. is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the return of stolen equipment including a Caterpillar 950 loader, a 1972 GMC fuel truck and a LeRoi 160 air compressor.


AUGUST 14, 1991

A lack of enough candidates to fill vacant council seats in the cities of Whitesburg and Fleming-Neon has given would-be council members an extra two months to declare their candidacy. The filing deadline for the nonpartisan races was officially set for August 6, but had to be extended until October 5 after only one candidate from Whitesburg and five from Fleming-Neon filed to run for the six council seats that will become vacant in each of the cities in January.

Spokesmen for 26 families living near Mountain Motor Speedway at Isom plan to ask Letcher Fiscal Court for help in controlling late racing, traffic, and noise at the racetrack. The track often holds races until 2 or 3 a.m. on Sunday mornings, the residents said, and “the noise issue is unbearable.”

A revitalized Whitesburg-Letcher County Industrial Foundation Inc. has “determined to take whatever action to protect the industrial site” on Highway 15 at the west end of town. The Whitesburg City Council voted recently to trade the site for a nearby former strip mine and coal tipple, and the original industrial site would be leased to developers for a shopping center. The foundation is fighting the trade, and says it wants to preserve the industrial site property as an industrial site for jobs for Letcher Countians.

Sgt. Major Terry L. Trent has received the Bronze Star medal from the U.S. Army for “exemplary professionalism and initiative” in the performance of duty in combat in the War in the Gulf. He is the son of Doris and Lee Hamilton of Coeburn, Va., and the late Clyde Trent. Since July 1 he has been stationed in Korea.


AUGUST 15, 2001

The Letcher Fiscal Court deadlocked Monday on a vote on flood insurance, dooming the measure for the second time in a year. While the court was evenly split, the audience was decidedly in favor of joining the National Flood Insurance Program. Fifteen people in the audience spoke in favor of joining the program. Three spoke against it. Magistrates Robert Lewis, Mack Fultz, and Homer Rose voted against flood insurance. Judge/ Executive Carroll Smith and Magistrates Wayne Fleming and Nolan “Junior” Banks voted for it.

Former Whitesburg resident J.D. Holcomb will be the front-tire carrier for NASCAR driver Terry Labonte’s pit crew in Michigan on Sunday. Holcomb, a 21-year-old Whitesburg High School graduate, has been working in Labonte’s North Carolina shop from more than a year, but is a newcomer to the Winston Cup driver’s pit team.


AUGUST 17, 2011

Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright said he will review proposals from three firms interested in leasing Golden Years Rest Home after a courtappointed receiver and the attorney general’s office asked Wright to authorize the receiver to execute a temporary operating lease. Assistant Attorney General David Spenard said during a hearing on August 12 that the rest home does not have the financial capacity to continue to operate in its present capacity. Golden Years owes about $88,000 in bank loans and $45,000 in smaller bills, a several years of state and federal taxes have not been paid.

A group of Millstone residents attended the August meeting of Letcher Fiscal Court to tell the court “anyplace but here” on the issue of locating a steam garbage “cooker” in the community. The cooker is under study by a committee appointed to seek a solution to the expense of operating and maintaining the Letcher County Sanitation Department. The cooking process is supposed to reduce organic waste to usable briquettes that can be sold as fuel.

Whitesburg police are reminding motorists to reduce speeds to 25 miles per hour near school zones and to use turn signals. Acting Whitesburg Police Chief Tyrone Fields said citations will be issued if people don’t obey traffic laws.

Chris Caudill of Whitesburg was the grand champion of the 2011 Fruit and Vegetable Contest at the Letcher County Extension Office. He won a blue ribbon for his banana peppers, and his jalapeno peppers won overall.

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