2016-01-20 / Columns

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, January 21, 1926 In celebration of Letcher State Bank’s second full year in business, members of the bank’s board of directors were treated to a banquet prepared and served by the Whitesburg Woman’s Club on Tuesday. Herman Hale, the bank’s cashier, sponsored the banquet. The Letcher County School Board and the City of Whitesburg now keep their money in the bank, which has become selfsupporting.

. Noting that a proposed tax on coal would result in starvation and penury (for) three- to five-thousand miners,” The Mountain Eagle is editorializing against a proposed tax on coal production. “Kill or even cripple in the least our coal industry and you sap the very life of our progress and at one fell swoop you throw us back 20 years.”

. Letcher County Jailer Fess Whitaker is being praised for his efforts to clean up the Letcher County Courthouse. “Fess Whitaker walked right in as Jailer and went to straightening things up around the public square,” notes Eagle editor Webb. “The public toilet on the square was a disgrace, but is now in good shape, and the streets all around are clean and decent. Say what you will, Fess is a great deal better than he is painted, and The Eagle trusts he will keep right on growing in the estimation of the people.”

. The Kentucky General Assembly is back in session, leading Mountain Eagle editor N.M. Webb to comment: “In our serious opinion there are already too many laws. There should be fewer and better one.”

. A chief gunner on the U.S.S. Medusa, the largest naval repair ship in the world, committed suicide in Vallejo, California after enough poison to have killed the entire ship’s company of 484 men was found in one of the fresh water tanks. An investigation is continuing.

Thursday, January 24, 1946 A front-page photograph shows Major Charles E. Goetz of the Fort Knox Separation Center pinning a Purple Heart Medal on the uniform of Private Ivan Whitaker of Ulvah just before Whitaker’s discharge after serving overseas for 22 months. Whitaker was a member of the 36th Infantry Division.

. Letcher County residents Kirby Ison, H.B. Reedy and Marvin Collins have established a new business known as “Reedy’s Plumbing & Heating.” Reedy comes to Whitesburg from his job supervising plumbing and heating at Clinton Engineering works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He has also worked in plumbing and heating for the Tennessee Valley Authority and Ford Motor Company. Collins is an expert electrician. The new business will sell Philco products.

. Sheriff Herman C. Combs reports that his office has made more than 40 arrests since he became sheriff on January 7.

. High labor costs are threatening the future of the coal industry, reports the trade journal Coal Age. “Apparently there is no obstacle under the law to prevent the miners from browbeating the coal industry into complying with any wage demands the unions may care to make,” the magazine says.

. Jesse Bates and Charlie Johnson of Jenkins were at the Letcher County Courthouse earlier this week showing off two fine does they killed while deer hunting in Bullitt County. The does were the second and third killed this year by Letcher County residents. The first, a 14-point buck, was taken in North Carolina by Ercel “Star” Frazier.

. Private First Class Harold Long, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Long of Whitesburg, was recently awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Bronze Star Medal for his heroic achievement in The Battle of Hurtgen Forest, Germany in November 1944. In addition to the Bronze Star with the Oak Leaf Cluster, Private Long now holds the Presidential Citation, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and the European Theater Ribbon with four Battle Stars.

. New Letcher County Agricultural Agent Corbett Lovely reports visiting 4-H clubs at Seco, Doty, Blackey, Tolliver Town, Mayking, Ermine, Marlowe, Isom, Little Colley, Millstone and Whitco since he arrived here January 7.

. Clarence J. Daniels writes in this week’s Eagle about his days as a prisoner of war in Japan, including his ordeal in the Bataan Death March. “In Bataan we had eaten, among other things, lizards and monkeys and horse meat. At Cabanatuan we ate, if we could get them, dogs, cats, snakes and caribou. Our main diet usually consisted of rice and thin watery soup. Longue, by the way, is boiled watery rice, and there were plenty of worms and weevils in what we got. But fortunately, we all had our hopes and dreams.”

. More American workers are now on strike than at any other time in history as labor department officials estimate that 1.6 million workers — most of them members of the CIO’s United Steelworkers Union — are now on strike.

Thursday, January 19, 1956 Letcher County Health Department officials credit the easy availability of the drug penicillin with helping control the spread of venereal diseases here. Noting that the health department treated four cases of syphilis and nine cases of gonorrhea in 1995, officials said, “We report that this is not the serious problem it was in former years — doubtless due in great part to penicillin.” The department also reports that it answered 420 nuisance complaints in Letcher County in 1955.

. Two former Letcher County women and their two small children narrowly escaped tragedy last Friday morning when a passenger train struck their automobile in East Mansfield, Ohio. The car, a 1954 model driven by Mrs. Avonelle Joseph, had stalled on the railroad tracks as she attempted to cross. Luckily, the train had slowed down to 15 miles per hour to make a mail drop at a nearby train station before hitting the car on the driver’s side. Mrs. Joseph was hospitalized for treatment of slight injuries. Uninjured were her one-year-old daughter, Deborah Louise, along with passengers Mrs. Sybil Johnson, daughter of Mrs. Polly Bates of Mayking, and her son, Alan Dale, five years old.

. The Williams family has purchased Combs Motor

Company in Whitesburg. The dealership, which has been under the management of H. Combs Jr., was sold to Colson Williams Sr. and his sons, Jimmy and Colson Jr. Jimmy Williams owns and manages Williams General Electric Company in Whitesburg.

. State Representative Harry M. Caudill, now in his second term in the General Assembly, has offered a bill that would ban the sale of candy and soft drinks on school premises while school is in session. The sales ban would be exempted on sales during athletic contests held after school hours.

. Patricia Mink of Jenkins got the surprise of her life on a recent Friday when she was “arrested” in the city of Gadsden, Alabama, only to learn that she was being named the city’s “Guest of the Week.” Miss Mink was en route to Montgomery, Alabama from Jenkins on January 6 when the “arrest” was made by Chamber of Commerce officials who overtook her in a police radio car, issued a hearty welcome, and awarded to her cost-free overnight accommodations, meals, gasoline and entertainment for the duration of her stay. Officials in the North Alabama town say they will continue the “Guest of the Week” promotion every Friday.

. East Kentucky Beverage Company, which serves Letcher and four other Kentucky River counties, has been awarded the franchise to distribute Orange Crush, the world’s largest selling orange-flavored soft drink.

. Letcher County Health Director Dr. R. Dow Collins is reminding parents that eligible children should be vaccinated against polio with the Salk vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Collins said the vaccine needs time to take properly before the next polio season arrives in mid to late summer.

. The Whitesburg Jaycees hope to recruit pet food manufacturer Hill Packing Company to Letcher County. Hill Packing President Burton Hill is working with the Jaycees to try to find a suitable site.

. Sports reporter Don Woodford Webb reports that Robert Meade scored 26 points and Rex Polly added 19 to help the Whitesburg Yellowjackets past the Hazard Bulldogs, 73-49.

Thursday, January 20, 1966 A legal controversy seems to be holding up a decision from Frankfort on the question of double sessions for Whitesburg high and grade school pupils. Supt. Of Schools Dave L. Craft said he has been told by Don Bale, supervisor of instruction in the State Department of Education, that the state is reluctant to approve double sessions for Whitesburg until it obtains legal opinions as to what agency has the authority to reopen the high school and grade school buildings closed last week by order of the City of Whitesburg building inspector, Remious Day. The buildings were closed by Day on several grounds, including but not limited to lack of fire safety, after the January grand jury issued a report calling the buildings fire hazards and calling on officials to enforce sanitation and safety codes.

. ”Woodrow Wilson, a field representative of Hirsch Bros. & Co, a food manufacturing firm in Louisville, was in Letcher County checking on the possibility of organizing a county-wide project for the production of cucumbers,” writes Blackey correspondent Larry Caudill. “The Paramount pickles people sponsor the project on a family basis to put some cash each summer into the family budget with the children taking an active part.”

. ”The absence of snow makes me fearful for our crops next year. When there is little snow, there are more insects, and I am afraid there will be little moisture too,” wrote Eagle correspondent Mabel Kiser.

Thursday, January 22, 1976 Workers at the Adams Stone Co. in Jenkins have been on strike for two weeks and are expecting to be out for another three before negotiations on a new contract are completed. The limestone quarrying company employs about 75 people and is one of several stone, concrete, blacktopping, and trucking companies owned by Stuart Adams of Jenkins.

. Paul Auxier has resigned from his position as captain of the Letcher County patrol because he has been “treated unfairly,” he said, and has not been allowed “to properly enforce the law in this county.” Auxier has said he has been “pressurized by two magistrates” to “enforce

the law unfairly.”

. The January Letcher County Grant Jury has reported that it spent part of its seven-day session investigating “alleged illegal conduct of public officials and employees,” but it returned no indictment in the case and didn’t specify who was investigated.

Wednesday, January 29, 1986 April 1 is the target date for the beginning of construction on the new Whitesburg Middle School and the beginning of renovation of Whitesburg High School.

. Letcher County so far has been spared the outbreak of influenza, which has forced at least 30 school systems in Kentucky to cancel classes for various lengths of time. However, school officials here say they are keeping a close watch on absenteeism in case the illness does strike.

. The Letcher Fiscal Court has officially asked the Public Service Commission to do something about the unusually high power bills received this month by most Letcher County residents. The court unanimously approved a resolution asking the PSC “to take positive and immediate action against Kentucky Power Company to compel them to roll back the power rates to a reasonable level.”

. A dog that stood a four-day vigil over a dead running mate captivated passers-by in West Whitesburg. The dog, wearing a collar and believed to be part shepherd, began the watch after another dog it apparently had been running with was hit and killed by an automobile Friday morning on KY 15, across from the Whitesburg football field.

Wednesday, January 31, 1996 For the second time in less than a year, the Kentucky Commissioner of Education has assumed “full and complete control” of the Letcher County school system. Education Commissioner Wilmer S. Cody notified members of the Letcher County Board of Education of his action on Monday. Cody acted after the board fired Rick King as the board’s attorney during an executive session at the January 23 regular meeting of the board.

. A group of Harlan and Letcher Countians who traveled to the state capitol last week got at least part of what they were after — a chance to once again tell the commonwealth’s governor how important the completion of US 119 is to the region. Residents of both counties have lobbied for over 20 years to see the highway from Cumberland to Whitesburg completed. The treacherous stretch of road across Pine Mountain has been the site of numerous accidents and has been called one of the most dangerous roads in Kentucky.

. Letcher County native Johnny Ray Williams has helped lead Georgetown College to an 18-1 record and a No. 1 ranking in the national NAIA poll. Williams, a former Jenkins High School standout, was recently named the NAIA’s Player of the Week after scoring 87 points in three Georgetown wins. He is currently averaging 20.4 points per game, with a field goal shooting percentage of 69.9 percent.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 The trial for Jeffrey Allen, 42, began January 17 and is expected to continue through this week. Allen is charged with murdering two-year-old Dakota Yonts, his foster child, by beating the toddler to death in March 2003.

. Construction may begin within a year on a new fourlane road that will give Letcher County residents easy access to Grundy, Va., and on to Beckley, W.Va. The road, to be called Coalfields Expressway, will begin at U.S. 23 near Pound, Va., and end 116 miles later in Beckley, near the intersection of Interstate 64 and Interstate 77.

. David Dye, the head of the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, walked out of a Senate hearing Monday after being asked to stay to listen to additional witness testimony and answer questions of the Labor Subcommittee. Dye had completed about five minutes of testimony and answered questions on the Sago Mine disaster and MSHA policies.

. Jerome Boggs, who pleaded guilty to murdering Timothy Cook and his two-year-old son T.J. in 2002, is asking that his conviction and sentence be vacated. Boggs says he deserves to stand trial for the murders because his attorneys were “ineffective.”

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