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The way we were in Letcher Co.



Thursday, April 30, 1925 With the new road now finished, the travel time from Whitesburg to Blackey has been reduced to 58 minutes, down from the four hours it took not too long ago by horseback.

. Consolidated Fuel Company at Elsiecoal is looking for coal loaders to hire.

. According to the sheriff ’s settlement for 1924, 388 Letcher County men over the age of 55 were exonerated from paying the county poll tax.

. South East Coal Company’s Seco mine is expected to greatly increase its coal mining and coal shipments this month as compared to months past.

. With the City of Whitesburg is experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough, health officials are being called upon to take action to prevent the spread of the dangerous malady.

. Remembering the late snowstorm of May 19, 1894, Mountain Eagle editor and publisher Nehemiah M. Webb writes: “At that time the hills were as green as in July, and on seeing the heavy snow on that day many people went to be declaring that the end of time was near. In a day or two after the snow was gone, the sun came out as warm as ever and, aside from the broken timber in the hills, practically no damage was done to growing plants or fruits.”

. “Hindenburg is the biggest word in the headlines of the daily newspapers, and readers will be reminded of the terrible days of 1917 when our boys were pouring shot and shell into the Germans and teaching them some dear lessons,” Eagle editor and publisher Webb writes. “Last Sunday, Field Marshall von Hindenburg was elected president of the Republic of Germany. President Hindenburg is 78, too late to do much harm.”

. Work has started on the Mayking-Haymond highway. The old road will be open to the public until late this year, but there will be a few stretches where the old route will be obliterated.

. Hotel operators tell The Eagle that business it getting better, as men traveling here now wear smiles instead of the frowns the did some weeks ago.

. White Star Transportation Company of Fleming has led an application with the state highway commission to operate a one-car transportation service daily from Whitesburg to Blackey and return.

. First National Bank of Whitesburg is paying four (4) percent on certificates of deposit.

Thursday, May 3, 1945 First Lieutenant Josilee Vest Callahan, Whitesburg, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal. The 26-year-old nurse was chief surgical nurse at an American air base in Russia when German planes attacked the station. While the raid was still on Lt. Callahan rushed to the aid of a wounded soldier and assisted at an emergency operation that saved the soldier’s life. A volunteer, Lt. Callahan is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Heddie Vest. She went to Russia in April 1944 and assisted at the first operation ever performed at an American hospital in Russia. When she and another nurse visited Moscow, they discovered they were the first American nurses who have ever been to that city.

. The land known as the Mayking Golf Course has been subdivided and sold to some of Letcher County’s leading citizens. One of the tracts on the point was bought by Jim Hunsucker of Sergent. The site where the Country Clubhouse was located was sold to J.M. Sims of Neon. The property originally belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Polly.

. Technical Sergeant Carl Smallwood, 28, of Whitesburg, was wounded by a German sniper’s bullet while advancing with his infantry unit near Koblenz, Germany. Smallwood is now recovering at the 128th General Hospital in England. “Our mission was to clear several miles of a highway which was still held by the Germans,” Smallwood, a platoon sergeant, said from his hospital bed. “I was hit when we were about 25 yards from a roadblock which was being held by Nazi SS troops.” It was the second time that Smallwood, who was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, was wounded in action. The first occurred in November 1944, when he was hit by enemy shrapnel. Sgt. Smallwood entered the Army in November 1939. He is a son of Daisy L. Smallwood of Whitesburg.

. A report has been received from the War Department that Private First Class Paul Pigman of Whitesburg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Pigman, was slightly wounded in Germany on April 9.

. Corporal Clyde Caudill, formerly of Jeremiah, was reportedly slightly wounded in action while fighting in the war overseas.

. The bodies of Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, his young mistress, Claretta Petacci, and other fascist leaders executed with them have been removed to a morgue in Milan, where they lay in rude, wooden coffins.

. The replacing of caps on empty soft drink bottles is no longer necessary as a war material salvaging measure, according to J.B. McAuley, proprietor of the Nehi Beverage Company of Neon. Consumers are still requested to return empty bottles promptly, since the supply is barely sufficient for current production needs.

. D.R. Hollan announces that he has sold his one-half interest in Hollan-Wright Coal Company to S.J. Bates of Whitesburg, also known at “Tunnel Hill Sam.”

. Mrs. Emma Brashear of Blackey has been notified by the War Department that her son, Private First Class Ralph Brashear, is a prisoner of the Germans. He had been missing since January.

. Mrs. Lois Campbell of Blackey has been notified by the War Department that her husband, Private First Class Arthur Campbell, was seriously wounded in Germany on April 7.

. Sergeant Ottis Frazier is home at Defeated Creek on a 30-day furlough after being wounding in the foot while fighting overseas in Belgium and Germany.

. Private First Class Virgil Blair, 23, of Jeremiah, is

now recovering at the 52nd General U.S. Army hospital England after being wounded in the right leg by machinegun fire. “During the heavy attack on Prüm, the Jerries permitted one company to get through before opening up with their artillery,” said PFC Blair, who has been awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Purple Heart to signify the second time he has been wounded in action, “As my company advanced the Germans countered with a terrific machinegun attack. I was hit in the right leg as I sought cover. Luckily, our squad escaped with minor casualties.”

. President Truman warned the Nazis and Japanese this week that to fight on means national suicide by continuing to fight a war which for those two nations is irretrievably lost. The warning comes after the fall of Berlin, the reported death of Hitler, the fall of Hamburg, the collapse of the German army, and the unconditional surrender of Italy.

. Seaman First Class Parnell Hiram Murray, 22, of Whitesburg, was aboard the new USS Little when she had her first engagement with the enemy. It occurred on February 19, 1945 — D-day at Iwo Jima. The Little, under fire, went to within 800 yards of the beach to shell Japanese caves and mortar positions, retiring only when most of her ammunition was expended.

. Private First Class Raymond Gibson, 20, of Colson, was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in the right shoulder by bazooka fragments during fighting in Hürtgen, Germany. “We were driving the Germans our of Hürtgen,” said Pfc. Gibson, “and they were shelling us with everything they had. I jumped into a hole, but my head and shoulders stuck out. A bazooka shell exploded and I was hit by fragments in my shoulder.” Pfc. Gibson, a former coal miner for Consolidation Coal Company at McRoberts, was evacuated to a hospital for treatment.

. William Berry, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Berry of Cromona, has been wounded in Germany and is now recovering in an Army hospital.

. U.S. Army Major Marcus W. Adams has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement in combat. On August 27, 1944, Major Adams was assigned the mission of establishing a strategically important roadblock to protect the right flank of the 3d Battalion while fighting in France. The Army’s citation for the medal says, “After the block was organized under the skillful supervision of Major Adams, the enemy launched a savage assault in an attempt the smash the position. He valiantly exposed himself to direct small arms and tank fire in order to observe hostile installations from the window of a nearby house. Without a thought for his personal safety, he fearlessly remained in position and, from his vantage point, directed accurate fire on the enemy troops. Throughout the day, he braved machinegun and sniper fire to check on the positions of his men and to encourage them in repelling the attack.” Major Adams is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wash Adams of Whitesburg.

Thursday, April 28, 1955 The Whitesburg City Council has voted build a modern sewage disposal plant for the town. According to Mayor Arthur Banks, the new hospital that is near completion, will contribute $60,000 to the project. Banks, who did not put a price tag on the project, said the cost of the new plant would equal only about two soft drinks or a package of cigarettes daily.

. Rev. Ralph B. Wilder of Lynch is the new pastor of

The Church of God in Whitesburg. Rev. Wilder and his family are staying temporarily at the home of his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Dorsey, on Madison Street in Whitesburg. Mr. Dorsey is circulation manager for the Knoxville News-Sentinel in Letcher County.

. O.C. James, valedictorian of the graduating class at Fleming-Neon High School, has been given the Annual Award of the Reader’s Digest Association for students who by their successful schoolwork give promise of attaining leadership in the community. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Tip James of Jackhorn.

. Mickey Mantle Clemons is the name of the new son born to Mr. and Mrs. John Clemons of Letcher.

. The two-door, six-passenger Buick Special Sedan, Model 48, is on sale at Kyva Motor Company in Whitesburg. Add $81.70 for a heater and $92.50 for a radio and antenna.

Thursday, April 29, 1965 Work has begun on a 2.7-mile relocation of KY 15 just west of Whitesburg.

. A Mountain Eagle editorial on the Appalachian Development Act, which authorized $800 million for highway construction, says instead of building adequate highways, officials have agreed to “build a road in the mountains limited in design to 50 miles an hours.” The editorial says state and local officials have not objected to the plan and “their silence can only lead to a general public conclusion that they go along with the apparent Washington belief that eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian area is a second-rate area deserving only third-rate roads.”

. Arthur Bates of Roxana, is reported to have killed the rst copperhead of the season in his front yard.

. Students representing the Beta Club of Fleming-Neon High School will appear on “Classroom Quiz” on television station WCYB. The group includes Anna Laura Caudill, James Earl Gibson and James Gregory Bentley. Stanley Loren is an alternate.

Thursday, May 1, 1975 Thirty foreign diplomats have arrived in Letcher County to discuss local problems with 30 county residents. The diplomats are here under the auspices of the Travel Program for Foreign Diplomats Inc., a nonprofit agency which sponsors annual tours for representatives of foreign countries.

. In response to Letcher County Judge Estill Blair’s removal of the county’s legal advertising from The Mountain Eagle, an editorial says, “Policies of The Mountain Eagle will not be changed in the slightest by the presence or absence of legal notices. We have weathered many other boycotts and political attacks in the past, some from true masters of the game, and we’ll manage this time. And we will continue to report the news from the courthouse, whether they like it in the sheriff ’s office and the judge’s office, or whether they don’t.”

. Flooding in Neon is the worst since 1957. Damage is estimated at $150,000.

Wednesday, May 8, 1985 Letcher County’s unemployment rate dropped nearly five percent from February to March 1985, but it was still

the highest in the state. The county’s jobless rate was 20.5 percent, down from 25 percent in February.

. An editorial in The Mountain Eagle warns of a collapse of the American economy unless President Reagan and the Congress take action to protect American jobs from foreign competition. “Should Appalachian coal miners go back to $1 an hour wages to compete with Colombian miners,” says the editorial. “Must the U.S. abandon mine safety standards, give up on strip mine reclamation, forget widows’ and orphans’ benefits and miners’ pensions and shove Black Lung victims out to die without care so that the American coal mine can compete with coal from Colombia, or coal produced in near-slave conditions in South Africa?”

. Blackwood Theaters Inc. of Coeburn, Va., announced the new Whitesburg Cinema at Ermine will open to the public May 16, 1985. “Code of Violence” starring Chuck Norris and “Rustler’s Rhapsody” will be the first movies shown at the theater.

. Letcher County Extension Agent Paul Morris says

severe winter weather in January and February had killed peach buds and there would be no peach crop in Letcher County. Many ornamental shrubs and hedges were also damaged.

Wednesday, May 3, 1995 The Letcher County Board of Education voted unanimously to reject a two-year agreement proposed by state education officials to keep state managers in charge of the local school system until June 1997.

. The nine-hole Raven Rock Golf Course has opened. The golf course was built by TECO on a reclaimed strip mine site.

. Letcher County elementary school students are getting a course in river management. Students are learning how to take water samples, map watersheds, identify river plants and animals, and estimate fish population.

. ”I guess the little winters are starting,” writes Ice correspondent Sara C. Ison. “Seems every time something blooms, when it starts to shed we have a cool spell.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 Letcher County native Dr. Shelba J. Proffitt was named to the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame Class. Dr. Proffitt is the deputy program executive officer for Air and Missile in Huntsville, Ala. She was a member of Wernher von Braun’s space team, and held key positions with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and with the U.S. Air Force. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Proffitt of Whitesburg.

. Dr. Sam Quillen Jr. of Neon was sworn in as a board member by Letcher Circuit Judge Sam Wright at the Letcher County Board of Education regular meeting. Quillen replaces former board member Elisa Bentley who resigned from the board in late February.

. Special Letcher Court Circuit Judge Stephen Combs has ordered a new trial for Delania Fields, who was convicted of manslaughter for the 1998 death of her infant daughter. Combs’s ruling is the result of a hearing held to determine whether Fields was entitled to a new trial because she received ineffective assistance from her previous attorney.

. Frank and Patty Majority of Whitesburg, recently visited their son, Mike Majority, and his family during ShawFest 2005, a celebration of air power at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, S.C. Mike Majority is a recently retired F-16 fighter pilot.



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