2018-07-11 / Columns

The Way We Were


Eighty years ago this month, The Mountain Eagle carried this invitation to attend the dedication of the new Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, located behind the Letcher County Courthouse. Eighty years ago this month, The Mountain Eagle carried this invitation to attend the dedication of the new Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church, located behind the Letcher County Courthouse. Clips from available Mountain Eagle pages since our founding in 1907

Thursday, July 19, 1928 Tom Nunnelley, night watchman at the Woodrock mine near Blackey, died Monday after being shot Sunday by his father, G.E. Nunnelley. Tom Nunnelley’s brother-in-law, Sam Begley, was seriously wounded during the incident. Authorities say Tom Nunnelley became angry with his father and was wielding a pistol as the two argued. As Sam Begley tried to take the gun away from Tom Nunnelley, the firearm hit the floor and was picked up by G.E. Nunnelley, who then shot the other two men. “All of the men were miners and reported to be good workmen,” The Mountain Eagle reports. “Whiskey is supposed to have caused the trouble. Tom Nunnelley leaves a wife and five children.”

. Two prominent Letcher County men were involved in separate automobile accidents Saturday night, but neither man was hurt badly. Coal operator Arthur Bastin of Kona was forced to drive his car into a cliff near Mayking to keep from hitting another car. His vehicle was badly damaged. Gordon Lewis suffered a few cuts and bruises after he lost control of his car in heavy fog near Jenkins and turned it over in a ditch.

. Rural schools in Letcher County opened on Monday. This does not include the schools at Blackey, Elsiecoal, Whitesburg, Millstone, Seco and Fleming.

. A young man drowned today in Jenkins Lake while swimming with a number of companions. The others boys thought he had gotten out of the lake and left until they saw his clothes still on the bank. The boy’s identity wasn’t known at press time. His body was found a few feet from the shore.

. A 24-pound bag of Purity flour is on sale this week at the Whitesburg A&P Store for $1.14. A 10-pound bag of freshly ground corn meal is on sale for 32 cents. Cartons of 200 name brand cigarettes including Camel, Chesterfield, and Lucky Strike are on sale for $1.15.

. The Blackey State Bank reports assets of $137,231 and liabilities of $137,231 in its annual “report of condition” as of June 30, 1928. The Blackey bank is the smallest of five banking institutions now doing business in Letcher County. The largest, First National Bank of Whitesburg, reports assets of $870,358 with the same amount of liabilities.

Thursday, July 14, 1938 John Harris Marbury, 22, died Sunday in the Jenkins hospital, eight days after he collapsed while boxing during one of the preliminary matches opened to amateurs as part of a professional event held in Jenkins on July 2. Funeral services for Marbury were held in Jenkins before his body was shipped to his native Gadsden, Alabama for burial.

. Police are trying to determine why H.F. Foote of Haymond shot his wife in the heart with a .22 caliber rifle inside the couple’s home Tuesday. Funeral services for Margaret Curtis Foote, 41, were to be held Sunday, July 17, at the Haymond Colored Church. In addition to her husband, who remains in jail in Whitesburg, eight children survive Mrs. Foote.

. Col. Thomas S. Haymond, a member of the Bituminous Coal Commission and eponym of the Letcher County coal camp of Haymond, is back in Washington, D.C., this week telling his associates of the catch of an 81-pound marlin taken 34 miles off the shore from Ocean City, Maryland. The prize measured 7 feet, 9 inches, and took 39 minutes to land. Haymond was fishing aboard the Cutty Sark when he caught the marlin.

. Kirby Ison had his work on the county’s tax books interrupted yesterday (July 13) by a young couple wanting to get married. Kirby, an obliging young man took off from job long enough to start the couple on their way on the sea of matrimony. They are Mollie Duncil, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Duncil of Democrat, and Venson Caudill, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hisey Caudill of Jeremiah.

. A group of Letcher County residents were in Covington last Friday to hear President Franklin Roosevelt speak before a record crowd at Latonia Race Track. The group consisted of Susan Hall and Mrs. Goebel Adams of Neon, Mrs. Jesse C. Holbrook and her daughter Lelia Jean and son Raydon of Kona, and Mrs. George Webb and her son Raymond of Mayking.

. The third annual reunion of Letcher County’s oldest families — the Webbs, Crafts, and Adamses — was held Sunday at the Mayking Cemetery. The event drew several hundred people, including Professor H.H. Harris of Whitesburg, who spoke to the crowd about “how these old families with the Bible in one hand and their gun in the other paved the way for civilization in the valleys of the Cumberland and Kentucky rivers and of the splendid citizenship that exists here” because of them.

. George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bob Hope, Betty Grable and others star in the film “College Swing” showing next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kentucky Theatre in Whitesburg.

. Mr. and Mrs. M.K. Marlowe were called to Caryville, Tennessee last Sunday after the death of Mr. Marlowe’s father, Alex

Marlowe.

. The Bank of Neon reports total assets of $907,264 against total liabilities of $812,814 in its annual “report of condition” published this week as required under law.

. At the close of business on June 30, 1938, the Bank of Whitesburg had assets of $732,750 and liabilities of $732,750, according to the bank’s annual “report of condition.”

Tuesday, July 15, 1948 Letcher County Constable Jody P. Adams will be tried this week for the murder of Howard Polly. Adams is also charged with rape, drunkenness in office, and making an arrest without proper authority. Adams is the constable for District Five.

. In a somewhat stormy Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia this week, Harry S. Truman was nominated for president and Kentucky Senator Alben W. Barkley for vice-president.

. Virgil Picklesimer, an official with South-East Coal Company, has succeeded Archie Craft as president of the Whitesburg Rotary Club.

. The Letcher County Health Department has condemned as unsightly and unsanitary the undeveloped basement located next to the Whitesburg Post Offi ce on Main Street. The action is being cheered by The Mountain Eagle, which says, “It has been an eyesore long enough and is of no value whatever as it is. … Many regard this as the best property on Main Street if developed properly.”

. A teenager from McRoberts and a boy from Blackey died separate accidental deaths over the past few days. In McRoberts, 17-year-old Leland Collins Jr. was electrocuted while watching a truck pulling scrap iron. The mishap occurred when the cable being used to pull the scrap broke and made contact with a live electrical wire before wrapping itself around the arm of Collins, who was a student at Jenkins High School. In Blackey, fouryear old Ralph Clayton Dunn drowned while wading in the river.

. Letcher County’s truck mines were idle this week after more than 300 mine owners here shut down their operations rather than cut $1 off the price for each ton of coal, as was being demanded by coal buyers in Letcher, Pike and Johnson counties.

. “For the first time in the history of our section, the little people have been privileged to realize some of actual value of this wonderful ‘black gold’ that time has implanted in the bowels of our good earth,” a Mountain Eagle editorial says, referring to a price dispute between the county’s 300-plus small mine owners and coal buyers. “In the past, most of the coal has been leased to huge holding companies and big millionaires from other states who not only did not spend their money here, but did not even live among us. Let’s do everything in our power to keep our truck mines in operation. … Let’s not give the monopolies a chance to eliminate the best thing that has ever happened to us.”

. The Letcher County Grand Jury this

week told Circuit Judge R. Monroe Fields “that some person or persons in the vicinity of Whitesburg are promiscuously dispensing pills or capsules reported to contain narcotics.” The grand jury recommends in its final report that the investigation be continued by the next grand jury.

. Records for the first half of 1948 show that Letcher County had 775 lives births, 157 deaths, and 26 stillbirths, the Letcher County Health Department reports. Many of the new babies were delivered by Dr. T.R. Collier of Whitesburg (134), Dr. D.V. Bentley of Neon (124), Dr. T.M. Perry of Jenkins (52), Dr. J.R. Chitwood of Fleming (45), and Dr. Lundy Adams of Blackey (32).

. Henry Fonda and Barbara Bel Geddes star in “The Long Night,” showing July 20 and 21 at the Haymond Theatre in Cromona.

Thursday, July 15, 1958 A skyline drive from Pine Mountain in Letcher County to the Breaks of the Big Sandy was suggested this week by Wilson Wyatt of Louisville, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor. Speaking in Lexington this week, Wyatt said the scenic road would be “a project of most extraordinary importance” and “a real approach to tourist opportunities in eastern Kentucky.”

. The Letcher County Grand Jury this week returned indictments against two men charged with murder. In one indictment, Fayette King is charged with the shooting death of Philip Mullins at the King home. The other indictment charges Bill Sexton with shooting and killing Glen Maggard at Blair Lake near Partridge.

. Three Letcher County men went to prison this week for failing to properly care for their children. They were Lovell Mullins, who was sentenced to five years for failing to support infant children; George W. Davis, sentenced to one year on a similar charge, and Lonzo Hall, sentenced to one year on a charge of child desertion.

. Letcher County Board of Education Chairman Dr. B.F. Wright said he would resign his position on the school board if Superintendent W.B. Hall can prove his statement that a new school for the Blackey area would have already been built if not for the actions of Dr. Wright. “… If Supt. Hall can produce proof to substantiate or verify (his) statement, I will resign as a member of the Letcher County Board of Education, and I do believe that nothing I could do would please him more,” Dr. Wright said.

. Eggs are on sale for 3 dozen for $1 at Champion Stores in Jenkins and McRoberts. A loaf of bread from Pullman, Kerns, Betsy Ross, or Bunny is on sale for 29 cents. Assorted flavors of Pet ice cream are on sale for 79 cents for a half-gallon.

. Mr. and Mrs. Watson Webb and sons Robin and Jimmy of Shadyside, Ohio were here during the weekend for the celebration of the 90th birthday of Mr. Webb’s mother, Katharine Webb. While Mr. Webb and Robin returned to Ohio on Monday, Mrs. Webb and Jimmy, accompanied by Mrs. Gordon Lewis and Gordon Jr., went

to Detroit, Michigan to visit.

. The rock band Lloyd Arnold and his Rockin’ Drifters will appear live onstage Friday night at the Elinda Ann Drive-In in Whitesburg. Admission is 60 cents for adults. The film “Peyton Place” will begin showing at the Elinda Ann on Sunday.

Thursday, July 11, 1968 Work is to resume on the low-water dam in the Kentucky River intended to impound water to supply the City of Whitesburg’s municipal water system. Work was halted several months ago amid reports that the structure was not properly designed. State health officials had said the new structure was useless because its intake pipes were already covered with sediment.

. Whitesburg Jaycees are growing beards in preparation for the celebration of the city’s 126th anniversary on Labor Day.

. Whitesburg Attorney Stephen Combs Jr. has been sworn in as Letcher Circuit Judge, succeeding the late Judge J.L. Hayes.

. E.J. Safford, the first director and first staff member of the LKLP Community Action Council, headquartered in Whitesburg, announced he is leaving eastern Kentucky to return to New York. In a farewell letter to members of the board of directors, he pointed out that LKLP is Kentucky’s second largest community action agency, second only to Louisville.

Thursday, July 6, 1978 The Department of Labor’s proposed regulations setting guidelines for implementing the Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1977 have been widely criticized. Representatives of Black Lung Associations (BLA) in Kentucky, Illinois, West Virginia and Pennsylvania charged the Labor Department with “violating the intent of Congress” by weakening certain features in the Act. Although the law was designed to expand eligibility for benefits, BLA members criticized proposed medical disability standards as “unrealistic and unduly harsh.”

. Kentucky Sen. Wendell Ford predicts that a planned study of the nation’s coal transportation network will show that the current system is “woefully inadequate and a major obstacle which cloud the future role of coal in the national energy policy.”

. Kentucky Power Co., which serves Letcher County and much of eastern Kentucky, has asked the state Public Service Commission to approve a 10 percent rate increase.

. Twelve of the 170 participants in the recent Morehead State University Men’s Basketball Camp were from Letcher County. They include Steven Kincer, Greg Creech, Greg Thomas, Tim Sexton, Buddy Roe, Manis Blair, Jeff Gose, Bill Witt, Greg Hogg, Baron Mullins, John Nichols, and Janson Howard.

Wednesday, July 13, 1988

Letcher County’s unemployment rate rose a half a percent in May. The rate went from 12.1 percent in April to 12.6 percent in May. Letcher was one of only 14 Kentucky counties reporting higher rates in May.

. “Eastern Kentuckians who are now approaching their 25th birthdays should be reminded that they have lived in a time of unparalleled regional progress,” writes Letcher County attorney and author Harry M. Caudill. “It has been an era in which numerous important public issues affecting the mountains have been resolved.”

. Middlefork Health Group Inc. of Leslie County is in the process of buying the stock of Letcher County Health Care Center Inc., which now holds the permit for a nursing home here. The new nursing home will be located on the Steve Williams farm on Circle Drive between Whitesburg Appalachian Hospital and the Kentucky River.

. Airman Kenneth P. Kincer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Kincer of Whitesburg, and Airman Billy W. Elkins Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Elkins of Jenkins, have completed Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

Wednesday, July 8, 1998 Three coal and land companies are responsible for more than four-fifths of the unmined minerals taxes delinquent in Letcher County. The firms are Pike Letcher Coal Partners, a unit of Tampa Electric Co. (TECO), which owes $120,043.63; Panther Land Corp. which owes $49,987.84; and Marlowe Coal Prt. Thomas A. Br., which owes $41,801.16.

. A tractor-trailer loaded with several tons of processed lm was heading north on U.S. Hwy. 23 last week when it spilled its load after the driver lost control of the rig on the Jenkins-Pound Mountain. The spilled film, which apparently was on its way to be recycled, looked like crushed glass to many who passed by the accident. Offi cials say the out-of-state driver was not seriously hurt in

the accident.

. Laptop computers will be in the hands of all federal mine inspectors by the end of the year. By using the laptops, mine inspectors will replace handwritten forms with electronic ones when issuing safety or health citations. They will also have easy access to reference materials such as agency regulations and injury rates.

. What are the jumps? “The term ‘the bass are in the jumps’ refers to a time in midsummer when large schools of shad school up and hold in open water areas and the bass follow them and feed heavily on them,” writes Greg Caudill in his column, “Fishing with Gabby.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 Dawahare’s, the family clothing chain formed in Letcher County 101 years ago, is closing its Whitesburg store and other 21 locations between Pikeville and Paducah. The closing is expected to affect about five fulltime employees in the Whitesburg location, the oldest in the chain, and will leave a big hole in the city’s Main Street.

. Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward appointed Delbert Anderson, Truman Halcomb, and Buddy Sexton to the nuisance, blighted and deteriorated property review board. The review board was created as a part of the nuisance ordinance, put into place to allow blighted and deteriorated property as well as junk automobiles and overgrown property to be cleared from the county.

. A photograph accompanying Whitesburg correspondent Oma Hatton’s news in The Mountain Eagle shows Jonathan Adams and another American soldier posing with some Iraqi children. Adams, son of Eddie Adams and Tammie Cook and grandson of Brenda and Bennett Adams of Craft’s Colly, is an American serviceman stationed in Iraq.

. The Cumberland Mountain Bluegrass Music Festival will be held July 11 and 12 at the Little Shepherd Amphitheatre at Jenkins. Among the groups scheduled to perform at the festival is the Cowan Creek Youth String Band.

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