Whitesburg KY

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


OCTOBER 7, 1921

Letcher County’s first snow of the season fell Tuesday. It is the earliest, perhaps, ever known here.

The Whitesburg Post Office is selling more stamps this year than it did one year ago. Gross receipts for the Whitesburg office were $850.17 for the quarter ending September 30, 1920. The gross receipts for the quarter ending September 30, 1921, were $1,041.99.

Former President William Howard Taft is now Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. It rarely occurs that a former president attains such high honors after having once served as chief executive of the nation.

Five gallons of pure corn liquor were poured into the gutter in front of the Whitesburg Post Office a few days ago. The liquor was ordered destroyed captured a man, his horse, and the whiskey. It is not unusual to see moonshine running in the streets of our town these days.

The heavy flowing of oil from wells sunk near Weeksbury in the Beaver Creek section of Floyd County are being reported. These are among the first fields developed in eastern Kentucky.

One coal lease and buildings at Blackey will be sold at public auction November 7 to settle a $71.12 tax bill owed by the Woodburn Coal Company for the year 1920, says Letcher County Sheriff James Tolliver.


OCTOBER 8, 1931

The Mayking airfield continues to attract many people anxious to view the airplanes now stationed there.

The Cameo Mining Company continues to operate at Mayking with new mines expected to triple coal production there.

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted unanimously this week to accept the state highway department’s request to take over the purchases of rights-of-way and construction of the proposed new Garner-to- Blackey Road, a distance of approximately nine miles.

Roy Campbell reports that he and Sherman Halcomb discovered a human skeleton in a small wooden box, about two feet long by 14 inches wide, while on a hunting trip to the head of Lewis Creek, a branch of the Cumberland River near the Letcher-Harlan County line. Campbell said that in addition to a dismembered body the box held decayed clothing and a pair of shoes about size nine. He said the box was found under a ledge near the top of Black Mountain, on the right side of the lefthand fork of the creek.

The Letcher Coal and Improvement Company has purchased most of the Puritan Elkhorn Coal Company property at Sergent that was sold at public auction Saturday.

Molasses making is now in full force in the Blackey area.


OCTOBER 9, 1941

Superintendent Watson C. Webb has appointed Professor Millard Tolliver as principal of Whitesburg High School to fill the vacancy made when Professor Orell Fields resigned to accept a position with the National Youth Administration.

Letcher Circuit Court convened on Monday with Hon. Judge R. Monroe Fields presiding. A heavy docket is scheduled for this court. Twenty-nine felonies and 32 misdemeanors were on the docket when the court convened, and at the end of the second day of court 16 indictments had been returned by the Grand Jury.

Unemployed workers of Letcher County received $1,838 in jobless benefits during August. During this month, 305 claims were filed by residents of the county; 21 of these were initial claims and 284 were continued claims.

A number of good strings of largemouth bass have been caught from the North Fork of the Kentucky River here and one bass weighed four pounds. These bass are being caught mostly on the Tandem Spinner. The spinner is also catching white perch.

From The Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


OCTOBER 10, 1941

The South-East Coal Company boys who attended the State First Aid Contest held in Lexington are now back working. They report this was one of the best judged contests they have attended. Forty one first aid teams entered the meet, and the South-East team at Millstone won second place.

Ralph Booten Bates, one of Neon’s best businessmen for a good many years, is announcing he is a candidate for Police Judge. Martin Wright, who is closely related to a good many of Neon’s citizens, is a contender for the same office.

Mrs. Joe T. Sudduth, Whitesburg, has accepted a position as History Teacher in Fleming High School. Mrs. Sudduth received her college education at Kentucky Wesleyan and the University of Kentucky.

Mrs. Jesse Holbrook and her daughter, Martha Anne, Millstone, are planning a trip to Bermuda to vacation and visit with Jesse Jr., who is stationed there with the Army.


OCTOBER 11, 1951

The Consolidation Coal Co. Mine 214, Jenkins, finished third in the first-aid contest while the Clover Splint Mine, also owned by Consol, finished third in the mine rescue event in the national first-aid and mine rescue contest.

Letcher County Forest Warden Joe Craft said the period between October 15 to November 15 is fire season and all persons are warned not to burn anything during that period without notifying their warden or ranger.

M.Sgt. Virgil B. Banks, whose wife and children reside in Whitesburg, is serving in Korea with the famed 21st “Gimlet” Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division, the first to fight in Korea. Sgt. Banks has served 19 years in the U.S. Army, part of which was spent in Panama. At the outbreak of the Korean conflict he was sent to the Far East after receiving a leave at home.

“Destination Moon” will be seen this week at the Elinda Ann Drive-In. The showing is a benefit for the Whitesburg Fire Department.


OCTOBER 12, 1961

The largest building boom in many years is underway in Letcher County. Under construction are the new First Security Bank in Whitesburg, a 14-room consolidated grade school at Colson, an eight-room consolidated grade school at Campbell’s Branch, and surfacing of a three-mile portion of a major new Jenkins-Whitesburg road, an eventual replacement for U.S. 119. Recent weeks have also seen construction of the Cardinal, a new restaurant in Whitesburg, a four-room addition to the Whitesburg High School English building, remodeling and enlargement of the Whitesburg Bargain Store, addition of a new front to the Tolliver Building on Main Street, a new bridge across the Kentucky River in Whitesburg, a new city water well, and construction of numerous residences.

The Letcher County Board of Education is preparing to build a four-classroom addition to Eolia Grade School. The addition will also include a principal’s office.

Members of the Whitesburg Lions Club have gone on record as favoring a “yes” vote on the tax for a health center to be decided here next month.

Army Specialist Four James K. Shaw, 20, son of Luther M. Shaw of Eddyville, was graduated from the Seventh U.S. Army Non- Commissioned Officer Academy in Bad Totz, Germany.


OCTOBER 21, 1971

In the first such activity reported in Letcher County in the current nationwide soft-coal strike, about 40 or 50 United Mine Workers members attempted to stop operations at a non-union coal loading ramp in Neon. The men gathered at the Big H Coal Co. operation yesterday. Reports vary, but there is agreement that trucks delivering coal to be loaded at the railhead did stop. Neon Mayor Durward Banks and a state police spokesman said the action had been peaceful with “no incident reported”, according to police.

Three years after it originally won its court case, South-East Coal Co. has received two checks totaling $8,907,000 from Consolidation Coal Co. and the United Mine Workers of America. The money is the result of damages awarded South-East, plus interest and court fees, after the Letcher County operation had successfully argued that the two defendants had conspired to put it out of business.

“It’s sad to see the beautiful flowers, and all the pretty green foliage fade with age and die,” writes Ice correspondent Siller Brown. “We have not had any frost here yet, but everything just lives so long. If it is not killed by frost it dies just the same at the appointed time.”

In its report for the October term, the Letcher Grand Jury called for the county to request the state Department of Highways to remove all junked cars along Letcher County roads.


OCTOBER 15, 1981

The proposed new plant to house Whitesburg High School apparently will be built on the present school campus on School Hill in Whitesburg. The Letcher County School Board voted this week to have state officials survey the site to see if it “would be suitable.”

Miners at U.S. Steel’s Lynch coal operation will lose six paid workdays from their work schedule over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The company plans to cut three days from both weeks. The loss of six workdays is due to a decline in demand for steel products from U.S. Steel’s Gary, Ind., plant, U.S. Steel spokesman Mike Koff said.

The Whitesburg City Council plans to make a formal protest to the state highway department for the state’s failure to provide a traffic light at the downtown exit from the new Whitesburg bypass.

A Quilt Day will be held October 20 in Whitesburg in an effort to locate and document handmade quilts produced during the 19th century. It will be held at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church.


OCTOBER 9, 1991

Several Letcher County families — mainly Breedings and Isons — played a major part in research on retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disorder that often leads to blindness. A research team located a gene that causes an autosomal domination RP, in which a parent has a 50 percent chance in passing on the gene, and the disease, to each child.

A controversy surrounding county bidding is continuing. Daniel Isaac, who owns Isaac Lumber Co. at Deane, says he has never sold culverts to the county and that he is not involved in the ongoing fight between fiscal court members. Judge/Executive Ruben Watts told the fiscal court that the county had bought some culverts from Isaac, after Sheriff Steve Banks reported he had found no culverts made from the thickness of metal bid by Amburgey Hardware of Roxana. After Isaac read a newspaper account of the meeting, he telephoned The Mountain Eagle and said Watts was wrong. Isaac said that he has never sold culverts to the county. “I handle plastic culverts, but I’ve never sold them any of those either,” said Isaac.

Domestic coal production totaled 20.4 million tons during the week ending September 28, up slightly from the 20.2 million tons produced in the previous week. Wyoming ranked first among the coal-producing states with 3.6 million tons. West Virginia was second at 3.3 million tons and Kentucky was third at 3.2 million tons.

“Dying Young” with Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott and “Ernest Scared Stupid” are playing at Whitesburg I and II this week.


OCTOBER 10, 2001

The first reading of an ordinance to regulate the way the petroleum industry builds natural gas lines in Letcher County was approved by the fiscal court. The new ordinance comes from citizen groups, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and Columbia Natural Resources.

Letcher High School, the defending Region 8 volleyball champion, will go for its third straight championship when the tournament opens this week in Hazard.

Appalshop is in New York City with its two-year national tour. “Voices from Home” features artists from Appalachia and New York whose work explore the cultures of urban New York, including Puerto Rican communities, and rural Appalachia.

The Letcher Fiscal Court voted 4-2 against an ordinance that would have placed a nickel deposit on beverage containers in the county.


OCTOBER 12, 2011

Former Golden Years Rest Home administrator James F. “Chum” Tackett will serve a prison term of two years and two days and repay the federal government $113,547 in entitlement checks he stole from the home’s residents if a plea agreement submitted this week is approved by U.S. District Court Judge Amul R. Thapar. The plea agreement was signed Monday and filed Tuesday in Pikeville, two weeks before Tackett, 69, of Burdine, was scheduled to be tried on 52 counts of theft of federal money.

Elementary and middle school students will stay at their current schools for the rest of this academic year, said Letcher County School Superintendent Anna Craft. Craft said rumors have been spreading through the county since the Letcher County Board of Education in July authorized the creation of seven teams to look at elementary students attending classes in separate schools from middle school students.

Appalachian Wireless has entered into an agreement with Verizon Wireless to participate in the LTE in Rural America program. Under the program, Appalachian Wireless will deploy and operate a state-of-the-art 4G LTE to provide greater telecommunications capabilities and choices for eastern Kentucky residents.

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