Whitesburg KY
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The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since 1907.


OCTOBER 22, 1931

A love affair gone bad has ended in the shooting death of a teacher at the Elsiecoal school on Smoot Creek. Dewey Brashears, a well-known and highly respected young man, shot and killed 22-year-old schoolteacher Verna Frazier after school ended last Friday. Miss Frazier, a sweet and happy young woman, was ending her relationship with Brashears, but agreed to get in a car with him after she found him waiting outside the school. As the couple drove up Smoot Creek, Brashears stopped the car, got out, and then fired two shots into the car, killing Miss Frazier instantly. Brashear then shot himself near the heart but is expected to survive. He is being treated at the Seco hospital, where he is under the watch of a guard. Funeral services for Miss Frazier were held Sunday at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Shade Frazier of Smoot Creek. Brashears had been employed by the L&N Railroad as an operator for a number or years but was not working at the time of the shooting.

The Jenkins Meat Market purchased over 400 pounds of locally grown chestnuts in one day last week.

The Fleming High School football team lost a hard-fought game to Stuart Robinson School this past Saturday, 20-13, in a game played on the McRoberts field.

Thomas A. Edison, for half a century the world’s greatest and best-known genius, has died at age 84 at his home in West Orange, New Jersey. The world regards his perfecting the incandescent lamp as his greatest achievement, but he had earned more than 1,000 patents in his lifetime worth a total value of more than $15 billion. Edison’s other inventions include the phonograph, the movie camera and viewer, the alkaline storage battery used in mining lamps, the automatic telegraph, light sockets with on-off switches, and safety fuses and insulating materials. “Humanity owes him a great debt of gratitude,” writes Mountain Eagle editor Nehemiah M. Webb. “It is likely he will never have an equal, though no one can ever know.”

Work on the new highway up Kingscreek is moving slowly but surely.

The Elkhorn Coal Corporation is now operating its mines five days a week. s

More than 800 gallons of real country molasses have been produced over the last two weeks in the Kingscreek area.


OCTOBER 23, 1941

The rapid changes that have taken place around, below, and above the old No. 7 mining operation at Dunham is easily seen as the new tipple is already rearing its head heavenward. Construction work on the new tipple, which will mean so much to Jenkins and the Consolidation Coal Company, extends on to Straight Row at the extreme upper end of Dunham.

Royal Air Force bombs spread great lakes of fire visible 80 miles away in a prolonged attack Tuesday night on Naples, Italy and pounded heavily the German port of Breman. Meanwhile, Hitler’s supreme offensives upon Moscow have been halted. Military authorities on London declared German striking power is diminishing in both Leningrad and Moscow.

Masonic degrees were confirmed Friday night upon Dr. Lee Moore and Otis Mohn at the Whitesburg Lodge.

Gordon Maggard, 32, was killed after he was struck Sunday night by L&N Train No. 3 near Cornettsville. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Funeral services for Douglas Polly, 30, who was killed in a slate fall at Haymond Tuesday afternoon, will be held Saturday at the Mayking cemetery.

Louis Budnick has been elected post commander at the Neon American Legion. Eight new members were also enrolled.

Whitco’s basketball team visited Mayking and Hemphill on Sunday and won by a big score at both places.

Irvin Day has applied for a roadhouse license at Eolia.

Gov. Keen Johnson is asking all Kentuckians to observe October 27 as Navy Day.

Madeline Crum has applied for a roadhouse license at Whitaker.

The journalism class at Whitesburg High School has just published the first issue of the Black Kat student newspaper.

“They Met in Bombay” starring Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell is playing at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

From The Eagle’s sister publication The Neon News:


OCTOBER 24 1941

The Jenkins High School Girls’ First Aid Team competed in Pikeville September 27 with other teams of the Big Sandy District. They won first place in the district. This entitled the team to enter the state meet held in Lexington, and they returned as state champions.

“Hold That Ghost” with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello will be shown at the Jenkins Theatre October 26 and 27.


OCTOBER 25, 1951

Donald Kincer, 16, of Mayking had his pockets full of bills of large denominations and, “literally speaking”, had money to burn. The only trouble was the money didn’t belong to Donald and officers became suspicious when he started buying cars and outbidding everyone at box suppers. The youth said that he had taken the money from a briefcase that was in the back seat of a car owned by Mr. S.E. Adams, Letcher County coal operator. Mr. Adams and police officers refused to divulge how much money is involved, but reports indicate that it is about $20,000.

Junior Hatton, a 16-year-old Blackey youth, was seriously injured when he fell from a dumping platform at the Jeanne Francis Coal Company mine at Blackey. The accident occurred when Junior jumped up to sit on a banister of the dumping platform in order to keep out of the way of a car which was being dumped.

Fifteen Baptist churches from Harlan, Letcher and Perry counties were formed into a new association. The Pine Mountain Association of Kentucky Baptists was formed at a meeting held at First Baptist Church, Whitesburg, October 19.

Bob Harvie, 46, Premium miner, was killed at Sassafras Saturday when struck by a car driven by a youth who had recently returned from Korea. At the time of the fatal accident, Mr. Harvie, with the help of some other men, was pushing his truck off the highway after the truck had been sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver.


OCTOBER 26, 1961

The federal Public Housing Administration has authorized a planning loan of $10,000 to help the Whitesburg Municipal Housing Commission complete plans for a 50-unit housing project here. The announcement said 14 of the units in the new project are to be allotted to elderly persons.

The Whitesburg Municipal Water Board can ease its water-supply problems temporarily by drilling wells, but a system using the Kentucky River as a source of water is the only long-range answer, Dr. Clayton J. Bennett, water board member, said. Dr. Bennett said the city needs a system similar to the one recently built at Hazard that would cost $350,000.

Bee Day, Whitesburg, reported he landed a 27-inch blue catfish at Spring Branch Lake, a small lake at the mouth of Spring Branch on Rockhouse. Day said the fish weighed about 11 pounds.

Two Whitesburg natives have purchased Service Cleaners of Neon and have taken over operation of the firm. They are Walker and Bill Pigman, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Pigman of Whitesburg. For the past six years they have associated in the operation of a dry cleaning plant at Clintwood, Va.


NOVEMBER 4, 1971

The nationwide bituminous coal strike went into its 35th day today with no end in sight. While negotiations for a new contract continued in Washington between representatives of the United Mine Workers and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association, thousands of miners in Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other mining states signed up for food stamps.

The Letcher County Board of Education is considering what to do about the proposed new building at Kingdom Come Settlement School after bids for construction of the new building exceeded the money available for the second time this year. The board rejected all bids on the building several weeks ago and re-advertised, cutting some items which had been included in the original plans.

The Democrat Party swept back into power in Kentucky’s state administration this week as Wendell Ford defeated Tom Emberton in the race for governor by nearly 60,000 votes.

Sgt. Edsel Banks, son of Mr. and Mrs. Estill Banks of West Carrolton, Ohio and a grandson of Mr. and Mrs. B.B. Banks of Whitesburg, is on duty with the U.S. Army near Saigon and the Cambodian border in Vietnam. On June 11, he received a diploma for completion of the Field Artillery NCO Candidate SDB course.

The Whitesburg Yellowjackets defeated Belfry’s Pirates Friday 14-0 and closed out their 1971 football season with a 6-5 record to make them the 1971 Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference champs.


OCTOBER 29, 1981

At least 20 precinct officers who served in the May primary election have since resigned, and more resignations are expected before the end of this week. The resignations come in the face of a special grand jury’s report last week critical of the manner in which the Board of Elections and the county’s 124 precinct officers handled the primary election.

Cold rain and 14-degree air did not hinder homecoming parade festivities in Whitesburg. The theme of the parade was Kentucky Hi-Lites, and Coal Miner’s Daughter was the theme of the first prizewinning freshman class float.

“Rinda Vae Potter, daughter of Charles Lee and Pauline Potter, came home with five of her Japanese friends,” writes Cowan correspondent Elsie C. Banks. “They all met at the home of Jack and Bessie Day of Little Cowan, which was enjoyed by all. . . . They are all sophomores at Lees Junior College. . . Jack Day’s stay in Japan during his Air Force service was very helpful in communicating and understanding where they live.”

“Tarzan The Ape Man” starring Bo Derek and Richard Harris will be shown at the Cinema 7 Drive-In Theatre this week.


OCTOBER 23, 1991

The Kentucky Department of Education is proposing two new school buildings and major changes in most existing buildings in the Letcher County school system. Some of items in the new “facility plan” the department is proposing are: a reorganization of the entire system into a K5-3-4 plan which would include seven elementary schools serving pupils from kindergarten through fifth grade, two middle schools, and a single high school; construction of a new high school serving 1,400 students to be located in the vicinity of Whitesburg and closing of the present Fleming-Neon and Letcher high schools; and construction of a new middle school in the vicinity of Isom.

“Ladies Home Journal” magazine names Letcher County native Belinda Mason a “Real Life American Heroine” in its November issue. The magazine compiled a list of the nation’s 50 “most inspiring women.” Mason, who died last month of AIDS, was selected from Kentucky. The magazine said of Mason, “The 33-year-old newspaper reporter contracted the HIV virus through blood transfusions during childbirth in 1987. For the next four years she lectured around the country, trying to bring a sense of urgency and compassion to those who thought AIDS could never touch them.”

A highway planning bill that includes a proposal for an interstate highway through Letcher County has been approved by a key committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The full House is expected to vote on the measure this week.

Domestic coal production totaled 20 million tons during the week ending October 12, up 3 percent from the 19.3 million tons produced during the previous week.


OCTOBER 24, 2001

Letcher County School District employees, upset by a plan to mail or direct deposit their paychecks, got a promise that the procedure will be changed if it doesn’t work. Attwell Turner, a bus driver and retired teacher, said teachers and classified employees are afraid checks won’t be mailed out in time for them to receive their checks on payday, and some don’t want direct deposit. He said employees would prefer to pick up the checks at the location where they work.

Blackey may hire a private company to run its water plant. The city council voted three to one last week to authorize Mayor Mike Dixon to sign a contract with US Filter Inc. to run the city water plant, if the contract passes legal muster.

A white powder sent to Whitesburg attorney James D. Asher’s law office did not contain anthrax, health officials said. The powder was sent with documents, apparently checks made out to one of Asher’s clients. Police said that the envelope was from a local business and was delivered by a secretary of the business.

“We had a Letcher County Day on September 29,” writes Northeast Ohio correspondent Emma Lou Engle. “We met at Mill Hollow Park in Vermillion, Ohio, and had a beautiful sunny day but with a cool breeze. We had a really good time visiting, eating good country food — even shucky beans — and listening to good country and gospel music. We had people there from Deane, Democrat, Eolia, Fleming, Jackhorn, Jenkins, Millstone, Rockhouse, Seco, Thornton and Whitesburg.”


OCTOBER 26, 2011

Joshua Wayne Maggard, of Blackey, and Joshua Mullins of Jeremiah, are accused by the Letcher County Grand Jury of taking steel retainer beams from a road near Elk Creek. The grand jury says the men took steel retaining beams used to support a county road and prevent the road from eroding or slipping into the adjoining stream.

Police are looking for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for stealing tools and metal from a church retreat near an entrance to the Little Shepherd Trail. All of the tin covering a picnic shelter located on property owned by Truth Ministries at Pine Mountain was stolen, as well as battery-operated drills, chainsaws and other tools.

As the U.S. Postal Service considers closing dozens of eastern Kentucky post offices, Burdine residents are fighting to keep their office open. At a meeting held at Burdine Elementary School, residents voiced their concerns over the proposed closing of the Burdine Post Office, which was established nearly 114 years ago.

Whitney Creech’s gamehigh 38 points led the Jenkins Middle School Lady Cavaliers to a 45-36 victory and the middle school title over Martha Jane Potter Elementary in the finals of the 2011 Letcher County Elementary Girls’ Basketball Tournament.

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