Whitesburg KY
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.



Early Saturday the last taps were sounded for Dudley Hall, about 25, in No. 214 mine at McRoberts. Hall had been employed at McRoberts for some time. Just before he was to complete the night’s shift, a heavy slate fall came unexpectedly and without warning and crushed him to death.

Lilburn Johnson, 21, of Crown, has been promoted to the rank of sergeant in Company I of the Eleventh Infantry Regiment in Fort Custer, Mich.

This week the Future Farmers, American Legion, 4-H Clubs, and other civic organizations are putting on an extensive “Aluminum for Defense” drive in Letcher County. This is one way in which every man, woman and child can aid in an All-Out Defense plan for our own country.

Celebration of the Labor Day holiday brought hundreds of tourists and vacationers to the Coal Fields. At one time we saw as many as 10 cars with Ohio license tags, besides numerous others from other states.

From The Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:



At this season when fruits and vegetables are plentiful the wisest thing to do is lay away everything possible. Rising food prices are going to make it tough for the poor man to buy. And as long as the war continues, prices will go higher and higher on everything.

About a month ago we were advised by the State Highway Department that our county roads would soon be scraped and put in good condition. Our information is that they will begin on Colly Creek first and then go to other sections of the county.

A new A&P store is located in Neon in a new building at the site formerly occupied by the Ford Furniture Company. The furniture company was forced to move from their old location due to lack of storage space and a greater demand in their volume of business.

Curt Campbell, 41, assistant foreman at the Fourseam Coal Company, was killed when he was crushed under falling slate. He was the father of nine children.



Lawrence W. Wetherby won the Democratic primary election for the position of Kentucky governor. Eugene Siler is the Republican candidate for the office.

Hubert Leland Hill, 19, son of Jessie Hill of Premium, was killed instantly August 31 when he contacted a live wire in the Premium Coal Company mine where he was working. Hill was reported to be loading tools onto the mantrip when he came in contact with the wire.

The Whitesburg City Council appointed Coy Holstein to the City Water Commission to fill the vacancy left by the expired term of Herman Hale. Mr. Holstein was appointed after it was learned that Mr. Hale, because of other activities, would not be available for another term.

Ralph Palumbo and Doug Polly have been elected captain and alternate captain of the 1951 Whitesburg Yellowjacket football team. Both are playing their fourth year on the team.



A Mountain Eagle editorial questions Letcher Countians giving to national charitable groups while the Whitesburg Ministerial Association struggles to find money to take care of our own needy people. The editorial asks, “Is it right to give money to the Cancer Society when one’s own neighbors are starving? We don’t think so.”

“Due to a change of working conditions at the mines, some of our men who worked on the tipple at Dunham lost their jobs,” writes McRoberts correspondent Flora Scott.

Pfc. Ralph E. Clark, 20, son of Mrs. Virginia Clark, Burdine, recently participated in Army training tests in Germany. Clark is a radio-telephone operator. He is a 1960 graduate of Jenkins High School.

Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, and Laurence Olivier star in “The Devil’s Disciple” at Isaac’s Alene Theatre this week.

Nearly 1,000 persons attended classes here this week to learn ways of preparing food distributed in the government’s commodity program. The class was sponsored by the Letcher County Health Department and local Homemakers groups.


SEPTEMBER 16, 1971

More than 2,500 Letcher County youngsters face the prospect of going without lunch at school if the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out plans to reduce aid available to local schools under the federal school lunch program. Rep. Carl D. Perkins’s Committee on Education and Labor has estimated that it would take $511 million to provide free or reduced-price lunches to the nation’s needy schoolchildren. The Department of Agriculture budgeted only $390 million for the program. Perkins will conduct hearings beginning Monday in hopes of restoring all the program’s budget.

Two Letcher Countians are scheduled to testify at Congressional hearings into strip mining. Katherine Haynes, an elderly Blackey widow who has been taken to court by strippers seeking to mine her land under a broad-form deed, and storekeeper Joe Begley, a leader of the Citizens League to Protect Surface Rights, plan to appear before the committee to tell of their experiences with strip mining.

Army Specialist Five Donald C. Trent, 23, son of Mr. Clyde Trent Jr. of Whitesburg, is serving with the 17th Ordinance Co. at Fort Sill, Okla. Spec. Trent is a welder in the company.

Boone Fork Community Kitchen at Fleming received its first shipment of U.S. surplus commodity foods this week. The center will use the foods to supplement the meals it serves each day to elderly people in the Neon-Fleming area.


SEPTEMBER 10, 1981

Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg has declared former police chief Ernest “Sam” Wyatt the official winner of the Democratic nomination for mayor of Jenkins. Hogg’s ruling apparently puts to rest a suit filed by incumbent Mayor James F. “Chum” Tackett asking that the results of the city’s Dunham precinct be declared null and void and he be declared the winner of the primary election.

Jenkins Police Chief Franklin Tackitt this week filed to run for the office of mayor of Jenkins in the November general election. Tackitt filed on the non-partisan “Good Government” ticket.

Almost 40 mine rescue teams from coal mines in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia came to Cumberland Saturday to compete against each other in an annual contest sponsored by the Harlan Mining Institute. First place winner was Leco Coal Co. of London, second place was Blue Diamond Coal Co.’s Scotia mine team, third place was Southeast Coal Co. of Letcher County, and fourth place was Benham Coal Co.

“Under the Rainbow” starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher is held over through Sunday at Isaac’s Alene Theatre.



The Mountain Heritage Festival started Friday night at Blackey. Blackey, Elk Creek, Carcassonne Day brought out the crowds Saturday for old-time music, arts and crafts, square dancing, and games.

Union miners lined up outside seven Blue Diamond Coal Co. mines this week to protest a federal bankruptcy judge’s decision to void their labor contract. Miners, who called their action a protest rather than a strike, set up canopies and lawn chair at the entrances to Blue Diamond mines all along Leatherwood Creek in Perry County. Blue Diamond laid off all but 30 of its 370 workers in June, about a month after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors. Most of its employees worked at the Leatherwood mines and 292 of those laid off belong to the Southern Labor Union, which has only 350 dues-paying members.

Elkhorn Branch residents are waiting to see if Mountain Motor Speedway owners keep their word and work out a compromise with the track’s neighbors who are upset over late-night noise at the track. Residents of Elkhorn Branch, above the track near Isom, have been complaining that racing goes on most of the night on Saturdays and that the noise keeps them awake and keeps them from watching television and carrying on conversations in their own homes.

Three Letcher County residents have recently enlisted in military service. Janice Lynette Smith and James G. Hardin, both 1991 graduates of Whitesburg High School, have enlisted in the U.S. Air Force delayed enlistment program. Charles E. Caudill has enlisted in the U.S. Army delayed enlistment program. He is a 1988 graduate of Letcher High School.



The Letcher County Tourism and Convention Commission has bought the old Whitesburg Post Office building in downtown Whitesburg. The building will become the new Letcher County Tourist Information Center.

Donald Ray Hall, 42, of Fleming Neon, has been sentenced to 80 years in prison for beating and shooting his ex-wife, Melissa Hall, and holding a gun to his five-year-old son’s head.



John William Pigg Jr. has admitted killing 70-year-old Ralph Marcum of Goose Creek and will be sentenced to 50 years in prison if Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright approves a plea agreement reached in the case.

State police are looking for two men who burglarized the Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance agency at Dry Fork last weekend. Kentucky State Police Det. Chris Collins says surveillance footage shows two men going back and forth to the building. He says the men stayed on the premises for a while and stole money.

Bennett and Linda Combs celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary on Aug. 25.

Leave a Reply