Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


AUGUST 26, 1921

Seven weeks after loading their Studebaker automobile and leaving their Concord, California home on July 4, Elijah Baker, his wife, the former Nan Breeding, and their five children have arrived in Whitesburg to visit Judge S.E. Baker, who is Elijah’s father. It is their first trip back home since they moved West in 1901. “It was one of the most wonderful trips ever made,” The Mountain Eagle reports about the 3,262-mile journey on its front page. “There were only a few breakdowns and not enough mishaps to mention.” According to the family, they have no intention of returning to the Golden State.

The body of late Corporal Patrick H. Hall, who was killed October 12, 1918, while fighting for his country in the Mouse-Argonne Forest offensive in France during the World War, has reached Hoboken, New Jersey, and will be shipped back to Letcher County in the next few days. Hall was one of 26,277 American soldiers who lost their lives in the 47-day offensive against German forces, which began September 26 and ended with the Armistice of November 11, 1918. He will be buried beside his mother in the family graveyard at Mayking. Hall was killed in the second phase of the Mouse-Argonne offensive, which remains the deadliest battle in U.S. history and is credited for ending the war. A son of former Letcher County Jailer Will Hall, he volunteered to serve in the armed forces after the U.S. declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917.

The Daniel Boone Hotel in Whitesburg is now under the management of John E. Salyer.

“ What has become of the proposition to build streets in Whitesburg,” The Eagle asks in a front-page commentary.

A baseball game between married and single men was held in Whitesburg Sunday with the bachelors winning, 8-2.

A violent windstorm last week did much damage to crops and property. Whole fields of corn were laid to the ground.

A number of Letcher County citizens plan to ride the train to Lexington to take in the Bluegrass Fair September 5 through 10.

“A bloody pathway lighted up by moonshine was pictured by a number of attorneys in prosecution this week,” The Eagle comments after the Letcher County Grand Jury this week returned 250 indictments against people charged with selling and transporting liquor. “With the horrors portrayed and the crimes due to it staged, we still hear a few decent people speak in favor of it. Few people could be worked up to the awful things they sometimes do without first firing their blood with ‘white lightning.’” The Eagle also notes that the Letcher County

Beginning with next week’s edition, The Mountain Eagle will be printed on Thursdays instead of Fridays.


AUGUST 27, 1931

After hearing testimony for a day and a half, a Letcher Circuit Court jury has found a Letcher County man guilty of murder and sentenced him to three years in the state reformatory. John “Big John” Adams, 57, was never arrested after he shot and killed Calvin Little on the Letcher-Pike county line in November 1925, but surrendered to authorities several months ago.

In his remarks to the newly impaneled Letcher County Grand Jury, Judge Fields noted there has been only one killing in the county since the last term of court. “What other county with a population of 36,000 people can so boast?” The Mountain Eagle asks. “The high standard of citizenship in Letcher County is responsible for this.”

According to reports, the Elk Horn Coal Corporation is moving it offices from New York City to Fleming. The reports also say that J.F. Caufield, who was recently elected treasurer of the company while it is under receivership, will have charge of the Fleming office.

Kingdom Come High School defeated the Roxana Independents, 15-6, in a boys’ basketball game played at Linefork.

Dr. B. F. Wright of Seco, candidate for state representative of the 97th District, which includes Letcher and Perry counties, has released his platform. Wright says he will call for passage of a new law that places “first offenders of the law, under 21 years of age, on probation instead of incarcerating them with hardened criminals in state reformatories.” Wright said the law would not affect suspects charged with “heinous crimes.”

Whitesburg attorney French Hawk has been appointed as receiver for all the property of the Puritan Elkhorn Coal Company of Sergent in a case filed in Letcher Circuit Court.


AUGUST 28, 1941

The residents of Jenkins were shocked Friday when news came of the tragic death of Ed Holbrook, mine motorman at Cosolidation Coal’s No. 204 mine here. An open rail switch brought death to the victim

Private First Class Troy Frazier of Hot Spot has been promoted to corporal on the recommendation of his battery commander at Fort Bragg, N.C. Corporal Frazier is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sol Frazier. He has been in the Army since Oct. 26, 1939.

“The new building of J.W. Jones is near completion,” says the Neon correspondent, “and will be ready for the A&P Tea Company by September.” The new building is located in Neon.

James Stewart, Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr, and Lana Turner star in “Zeigfield Girl” playing at Isaac’s Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

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


AUGUST 29, 1941

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that on the average, defense production is up to estimates and, in some cases actually exceeds estimates. He said, however, he still is not satisfied with armament production. He said several hundred tanks completed this year have gone to the British; the quota of 61 anti-aircraft guns monthly is being more than met; 160 37-mm anti-tank guns will be delivered in August, 260 in September and 320 in October; 340 81-mm mortars will be made in August.

Uni t ed Mine Workers of America Local No. 6800 is sponsoring a Labor Day celebration September 1. Contests with valuable prizes will add to the attractions of the day.

Miss Pearl Welch, a graduate of Fleming High School, has been awarded a free tuition scholarship from Pikeville College in recognition of the high scholastic record with which she graduated the past year. Pearl is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Welch of Hemphill Road near Neon.

The annual reunion of the Bach family will be held at the Experiment Station at Quicksand on August 31.


AUGUST 30, 1951

Rogan “Buck” Clifton, a driver for the Bailey Taxi Company, Cumberland, pleaded guilty to possessing intoxicating liquor in a dry territory and was fined $39.50. Clifton was arrested when he unloaded a suitcase full of half-pint bottles of whiskey in front of the Southern Hotel in Whitesburg. Officers became suspicious when hotel employee Juanita Sturgill couldn’t carry the suitcase she came out of the hotel to get. She was fined $29.50.

Two hunters have been killed and one injured in hunting accidents. According to R.B. Caudill, Ernest Hall and John Terry were hunting at Vest when both men, on opposite sides of a tree, saw a squirrel. Hall fired and hit Terry, who died a short time later in a hospital. Odus Farler and Kenneth Brashear were hunting on Mason’s Creek when Brashear mistook Farler for a squirrel and shot him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. Also on Mason’s Creek, Ray Pennington was mistaken for a squirrel and was shot in the left side and arm.

John A. Erwin, seaman apprentice, U.S. Navy, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Erwin of McRoberts. He is serving aboard the destroyer USS Uhlmann with the Pacific Fleet. He entered the Navy in 1950.

The Whitesburg Schools will open September 3 at 8 a.m. All grades will report for enrollment, but only the freshmen are to report on that day. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors will enroll on Tuesday.


AUGUST 31, 1961

Both the Letcher County and Jenkins Independent school systems will have a record amount of money for operation this year. Funds coming to the county system will total about $1,382,733 this year, an increase of 14.3 percent. The Jenkins system will receive $315,669, an increase of 8.4 percent.

Mrs. Estella Carlyle of McRoberts is retiring this year after 40 years as a teacher in Letcher County. Mrs. Carlyle taught at Sergent and Mayking in 1921 in the Letcher County school system, and since 1922 has taught in the Tom Biggs School in the Jenkins Independent system.

About 35 members of an Army Reserve unit based at Neon are included in President Kennedy’s call-up of the 100th Division. They will go on active duty September 25 and will report to Fort Polk, Louisiana on October 1. The commanding officer is Capt. Jessie C. Holbrook Jr., who recently left Letcher County to take a teaching job in Florida. He will return here before going on active duty.

Jimmy Collins, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Collins of Whitesburg, will leave next week for Scotland. He will study music at the University of St. Andrews near Edinburgh. Collins is a college junior and is majoring in trombone.



Fire destroyed one building and seriously damaged another in downtown Whitesburg early Friday morning. The R.H. Hobbs Co. store was a total loss. The Western Auto building next door to it was heavily damaged on the second floor and received a large amount of water damage.

The nation’s economic problems caught up with Letcher County’s coal industry, causing a slump of major proportions. South-East Coal Co. laid off 92 men in Letcher County and 14 in Estill County. Marlowe Coal laid off 22 men. It is reported that coal sales are down 75 percent since two years ago.

A national survey of coal miners being conducted by the federal government has found evidence of black lung among 40 percent of the first 4,200 miners examined in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Whitesburg High School Yellowjackets have compiled a 2-0 win-loss record by defeating the Wheelwright Trojans and the Elkhorn City Cougars in the first two games of the season.



Jenkins Mayor James F. “Chum” Tackett is facing charges of obstructing governmental operations growing out of an attempt by state agents to pick up contraband liquor at Jenkins City Hall. Tackett also faces charges of menacing, harassment, and terroristic threatening arising from the same incident.

Atwell Turner, who teaches at Whitesburg Middle School, is one of the plaintiffs in a suit filed seeking to stop Gov. John Y. Brown Jr.’s 1981-82 budget cuts for public schools. Turner is one of eight teachers from across Kentucky who filed the suit in Franklin Circuit Court calling Brown’s actions unconstitutional and illegal.

“It is still hot and dry in the Flat Lands; rain is needed so much,” writes correspondent Mabel Kiser. “But God will send rain in due season. I guess we already have harvested more garden produce than we deserve.”

The 1981 edition of The Trail of the Lonesome Pine outdoor drama comes to a close this Labor Day weekend at Big Stone Gap, Va. A theater spokesman notes that many drama patrons are enjoying the late summer performances because the mountain air is just a bit more temperate. A light jacket or sweater may come in handy.


AUGUST 28, 1991

Haymond residents should be getting water from the city of Fleming-Neon by next fall. The city will begin next spring laying water lines to the community, which lies just outside the city limits. The project is expected to cost $1.1 million to complete. The city has received about $360,000 in grants and is expecting a grant and a loan from the federal Farmers Home Administration.

The eighth annual Mountain Heritage Festival gets underway Friday night. The festival will begin with a dance on Main Street in Blackey, followed Saturday by Blackey/Elk Creek/Carcassonne Day. The festival will continue throughout September. The theme for the festival this year is “All Roads Lead Home.”

Letcher County’s Debra Tuggle, who composed and recorded songs for two cleanup events on the Ohio River, has written and recorded a special theme song for the first Kentucky River Sweep, a September 14 riverbank cleanup in 22 Kentucky counties. The song is titled “Kentucky River, Please Remember Me.”

“Point Break” starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves is playing this weekend at the Jeremiah Drive-In Theatre.


AUGUST 29, 2001

A reclaimed strip mine at Van is apparently the top choice in the search for a location for a new central high school. The Letcher County Board of Education commissioned a survey of the property, known as the James Harry Fields property.

The Isom Days festival starts Thursday with it annual outdoor drama, a fictional account of Sawdust Junction, the area’s reallife honky-tonk district in the 1930s and ‘40s. The festival also includes a rodeo to be held Friday and Saturday nights.

Natisha Cee Johnson, Kaleb Blair, and Stephen David Warrick are recipients of the 2001 Roy R. Crawford Memorial College Scholarships.

Nighttime is his favorite time to fish, says columnist Greg “Gabby” Caudill. “I can’t stand the extreme heat in July and August; it makes fishing very uncomfortable to me. … I like to get to the boat ramp about 7 or 8 p.m. and put my boat in, because by this time most of the pleasure boaters are ready to head home.”


AUGUST 31, 2011

Police are still looking for Stevie Daniel Wynn, 32, of Thornton, a Letcher County jail inmate who assaulted a Perry County jail security officer and escaped while being transferred back to Whitesburg after an appearance in Hazard last week. Taxes on real and personal property will go up in Jenkins despite pleas from Mayor G.C. Kincer, City Attorney Randall Tackett, and other citizens who attended a special called meeting of the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education. The board voted 4-1 to raise taxes on real and personal property by the compensating rate of 76.9 cents per $100. “ Linda and Dennie Hall have been married 52 years,” writes Whitesburg correspondent Oma Hatton. “I can remember when she was a little girl. Does that make me old? I hope not. I don’t feel like I’m over the hill.”

The United Way of Southeastern Kentucky will induct two new members into its Hall of Fame, including Jim McDannel of Whitesburg.

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