2018-05-16 / Columns

The Way We Were

Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, May 24, 1928 Local barber Arthur Hart died of apparent chest injuries after wrecking his automobile near the old coal tipple at Kona. Hart, 22, a barber and part owner of the City Barber Shop in Whitesburg, is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel. A single man, he was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Elzy Hart of Seco, formerly of Rockhouse.

. One hundred and fifty members of the Louisville Board of Trade are scheduled to visit Whitesburg on Wednesday, June 6, at 4 p.m. The group will arrive aboard the L&N Railroad’s Eastern Kentucky Special.

. While one state highway crew is in Letcher County trying to decide whether the Cumberland road will take the river route or the skyline way, another crew is in our county surveying the Mayo Trail between Jenkins and Pikeville. A third crew is busy working on the Whitesburg to Hazard road, which should be ready for travel in a few weeks.

. If Cornucopia is the horn of plenty, the horn of the 6 o’clock bus out of Whitesburg is the horn of Hades, one observer notes in The Mountain Eagle.

. Sixty lots and one house will be sold at auction May 31 at the Fairview Addition in Whitesburg, formerly known as the Wilson Fields home and farm.

. Mountain Eagle founder Nehemiah M. Webb, who at present is connected with the Letcher County Leader, plans to write a history of Letcher County and its people. “Mr. Webb is well fitted for this work, having spent almost his entire life here,” The Eagle observes.

. The A&P food store in Whitesburg is now open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights to accommodate customers who live out of town and those who can’t get here before 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 19, 1938 The town of Jenkins, identified recently as a “speed trap” and “menace to motorists” by the American Automobile Association (AAA), says it placed controversial speed limit signs at the beginning of this year after six fatal accidents were recorded there in 1937.

. Kentucky’s lieutenant governor, Keen Johnson, delivered the keynote address Friday night to the largest number of seniors — 69 — to ever graduate Whitesburg High School.

. Flames believed to have started from sparks of a cutting and welding torch Monday night swept through the tipple, conveyor and head house of the Black Mountain Coal Corporation Mine No. 30 for an estimated loss of $225,000. No one was injured during the fire, even though its progress was fast.

. Thirteen businesses from across Letcher County, including drug stores, package stores, and a business known as The Bulldog at Ulvah, have met the state Department of Revenue’s end-of-May deadline for filing for applications for new licenses to sell whiskey.

. Herman Hale, cashier of the Bank of Whitesburg, has announced the bank will be open only from 8 a.m. until noon on Saturdays beginning next month. Banking hours will still remain the same on all other days, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Mr. Hale says the new hours “will give the employees of the bank a little more time off.”

. Kentucky Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler was in Jenkins and Whitesburg on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, to address large crowds.

. The dedication of the Ulvah Bridge is being called a great success despite the rains that delayed the program for a few hours.

Thursday, May 20, 1948 Saying “you can’t shove safety down people’s throats,” the retiring safety chief of the U.S. Bureau of Mines recommends that the federal safety code for coal mines be abolished. Stepping down four days after his 70th birthday from the position he has held since 1926, Daniel Harrington said that as long as coal is mined in the quantity this nation demands, there will be disasters such as that which killed 111 men at Centralia, Illinois a year ago. But, he pointed out, “The overall fatality rate in coal mines declined from about six deaths per million tons of coal produced in 1911 to 1.72 last year. … If we didn’t have a coal mine safety code, I’m of the opinion it would go down faster.” Adding that he wants to “make this plain,” Harrington said the Bureau of Mines “can do a better job of safety work by giving service along educational and recommendatory lines than it can ever do by shoving safety down people’s throats.”

. Dr. Bill Adams has opened his new office in the basement of The Mountain Eagle building in Whitesburg.

. Director John Ford’s “Tobacco Road,” starring Gene Tierney, and “Grapes of Wrath,” starring Henry Fonda, are being shown as a double feature next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, May 22, 1958 A Whitesburg airman is believed to be one of two men who disappeared today

on a windswept lake at Newport, Vermont. The United Press Association reported the two men disappeared after they set out on a fishing trip. One airman was identified as a Worcester, Massachusetts resident. The other airman is believed to be the owner of an automobile with Kentucky plates found parked near the lake. Kentucky State Police say the license plates are registered to Anthony Day Jr. of Whitesburg and his father, Anthony Day Sr. Both of the missing airmen were stationed at Westover Field, Massachusetts.

. A circuit judge in western Kentucky ruled today that it is illegal for magistrates — including those in Letcher County — to pay themselves salaries of $200 a month. The ruling was made in Greenville, Kentucky by Muhlenberg Circuit Judge Arthur T. Iler in a test case filed by several Muhlenberg citizens after that county’s magistrates voted themselves salaries of $200 per month. Judge Iler ruled the pay raise violates a provision of the state constitution, which states that salaries of public officials may not be changed during their terms in office.

. Nearly half of every dollar paid in taxes to Letcher County goes to help pay off a road bond debt voted here in the 1920s, said County Judge Arthur Dixon.

. Letcher County Sheriff Johnny Fulton said this week he does not think he has too many persons serving on his staff as deputy sheriffs. Fulton said that more than half of the total of 48 deputies are property owners who were appointed so they could protect their own property from vandalism.

. The new girls’ cottage at the Mountain Haven Children’s Home at Van will be dedicated on Sunday, June 1, the home’s president, Raymond Collins, announced. Collins said the new cottage meets state standards and will serve as a replacement for the old farmhouse that was considered too much of a fire hazard.

. Acie Hall, a 6-6 Fleming-Neon High School basketball star who averaged 24.3 points a game as a senior, has signed a grant-in-aid with Morehead State College.

. Jo Ella Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Martin of Democrat, gave the valedictory address at Riverside Academy last week.

. Coal mine fatalities in Kentucky totaled 14 during March, a record low for the month since records have been kept.

. Twenty students graduated Monday night from Kingdom Come High School. The valedictory address was delivered by Colon Sparkman.

. Rock Hudson and Dorothy Malone star in “The Tarnished Angel,” showing May 25 and May 26 at Isaac’s Alene Theatre in Whitesburg.

Thursday, May 16, 1968 A huge mass of logs, rocks and mud from a strip mine spoil bank slid off a steep ridge and blocked a gravel road from Clear Creek into Lotts Creek about 10 miles east of Hazard. The slide came off a mountain which was strip-mined for coal two years ago by a company owned by William Sturgill, one of the largest coal operators in east Kentucky. Local people, school buses and mailmen are having to take a round trip detour of some 30 miles to get from one section of the road to the other.

. An emergency grant of $85,488 to help alleviate hunger and malnutrition has been approved for Leslie, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties by the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity. The grant will be for a period of six months and can be use by local agencies to supplement school lunches, pay for nutrition classes or to buy food stamps or food for impoverished families.

. Lois Adams Baker, president of Letcher Manufacturing Company, Isom, this week was named Kentucky’s “Small Businessman of the Year.” The award is given by the Kentucky office of the Small Business Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

. Jenkins School Superintendent Chester L. Sparks resigned this week, effective June 30. He said his plans for the future are incomplete.

Thursday, May 11, 1978 The federal government has fined Scotia Coal Co. $267,897 for 59 violations of mine safety laws found in the investigation following two explosions at the Scotia Mine. Blue Diamond Coal Co., Scotia’s parent firm, has filed an appeal of the violations with the Mine Safety Review Board. Twenty-six men were killed in two explosions at the Scotia Mine in March 1976.

. Letcher County teachers have learned that increases in state power equalization money, for which they fought during the 1978 General Assembly, will probably not be used to pay higher salaries. The teachers, in concert with the Kentucky Education Association, had lobbied to pass legislation which doubles the amount of power equalization money received by counties like Letcher. The money is supposed to be spread throughout a school system to improve education. However, Supt. Kendall Boggs told teachers that even with the additional money, county schools are expected to run $17,000 in the red next year.

. Coal production in Kentucky experienced a record year in 1977 despite the

drop-off in mining caused by the coal strike that began in December. Kentucky’s surface and underground mining operations produced 147,827,929 tons of coal last year.

. “James and Ruby Fields of Elk Creek Mountain celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary May 7,” writes Blackey correspondent Gaynell Begley. “They, living near where their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents had lived, had no need to search out their roots, they were so close to them. They are an example of the object of life, to live happily and productively, close to their natural surroundings.”

Wednesday, May 18, 1988 “It is probable that a high percentage of the men who settled eastern Kentucky had been exposed to instruction in district schools in the old states,” writes Letcher County author and attorney Harry M. Caudill. The land they settled “was so hard and harsh that public schooling was lacking for a generation or longer. Consequently, Kentuckians, and especially eastern Kentuckians, tended to grow up less literate than their parents. This regression was a regrettable facet of our history but in a land as unbroken and roadless as Appalachian it was unavoidable.”

. The proposed Jenkins sewage treatment plant may run more than one-half million dollars more than first expected because of a slate dump under the site. Jim Brashear, of the Kentucky River Area Development District, said he and Mayor Robert Shubert have “burned a hot trail to Frankfort” to ask for more grant money.

. More than 6,000 tons of litter and debris was removed from areas of Letcher County during the cleanup that just ended, County Judge/Executive Ruben Watts said. Judge Watts said he hopes Letcher County will become “the standard for all eastern Kentucky.”

. The second annual Seedtime on the Cumberland festival will open June 3 at Appalshop. The two-day festival is a celebration of traditional music and storytelling from the Appalachian region.

Wednesday, May 13, 1998 This week, Whitesburg City Police obtained felony arrest warrants charging 29-year-old Jerome Boggs with firstdegree robbery and first-degree assault in the October 6 hold-up of the Pascal Fields Service Station in downtown Whitesburg. Boggs, who has a long criminal record of theft-related charges, has been a prime suspect in the service station robbery since about two weeks after someone got away with $180 after striking the 88-yearold Fields in the head with a club. Fields has operated the service station since 1941.

. The need for a Whitesburg airport has been under discussion by members of the Whitesburg Industrial Development Committee for several years. The city owns land near Isom donated by Red Fox Coal Co., which is no longer in operation. Plans for a 7,200-foot runway are being discussed.

. Letcher County Judge/Executive Carroll A. Smith and Bill Grier, a Lexington engineer who helped develop plans for a countywide water and sewer system in Letcher County, were in Frankfort recently to accept a plaque honoring Smith and members of the county Water and Sewer Group. The plaque, given by the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission, cites the dedication of Smith and the study group to the elimination of straight-pipe sewage discharges into county streams and to the creation of a countywide water and sewage system.

. The Kentucky Senior Barnstorming Tour will come to Knott County Central High School on May 20. The tour features University of Kentucky basketball players Jeff Sheppard, Cameron Mills and Allen Edwards and former UK stars.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 The Letcher County Grand Jury has cleared the way for prosecutors to seek the death penalty against John William Pigg Jr., Lloyd Steven Pigg, and Christina Collins, who are charged with beating 70-year-old Ralph Marcum to death. Collins told police that John Pigg hit Marcum with a hammer after Marcum refused to give the trio a ride to buy more beer.

. The primary election will be held next week. In Letcher County’s 32 voting precincts, polls will open at 6 a.m. on Tuesday and will close at 6 p.m. unless voters who arrived before then are waiting to cast their ballot.

. Kingscreek correspondent Margie Ison writes about the “really cool’ Mother’s Day present she received — an open face rod and reel. “I can’t wait to try it out,” she writes.

. Letcher County Central third baseman Micca Boggs hit a homerun to put her team ahead, but the Lady Cavs softball team came back to win the game 7-2.

. Kingscreek correspondent Margie Ison writes about the “really cool’ Mother’s Day present she received — an open face rod and reel. “I can’t wait to try it out,” she writes.

. Letcher County Central third baseman Micca Boggs hit a homerun to put her team ahead, but the Lady Cavs softball team came back to win the game 7-2.

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