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Bill Thayer

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Section I

This webpage reproduces a section of
The History of Jenkins, Kentucky

published by The Jenkins Area Jaycees
Jenkins, Kentucky 1973

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

J‑1 Odds and Ends

This was in February 1947. The McRoberts office building has been sold to the United Mine Workers of America, Local Union #6281. Mine 214 is situated at McRoberts. Negotiations were conducted by Morgan Dillard.

The building which now serves as the meeting place for the Freewill Baptist Church at Dunham was built by the Consolidation Coal Company in 1912‑13. At that time and for several years the building served many purposes. Christians of different denominations held worship services here from time to time. Also to further men's knowledge in mining and first aid classes were held at regular intervals in this community building. In 1931 the building was deeded to the Freewill Baptist Church. Instrumental in its early beginnings were Everett Edwards and L. H. Winchell, the first pastors. Today the building is used solely for the purpose of magnification of the name of Christ, the worship of God and the upbuilding of his kingdom. The present pastor, Andy Timblin, along with the members extend a warm and cordial welcome to join them in their regular weekly worship service.

[image ALT: A church. It Dunham Freewill Baptist Church at the foot of Store Hill, in Dunham, Kentucky.]
Dunham Freewill Baptist Church at the foot of Store Hill.

Photo © W. P. Thayer 2005

This item was taken from Coal Age, July 1967. Output coal at Pike Mine #26. In 1967 this was the latest mine that Beth-Elkhorn had opened. Mine 26 was carved out of steep Kentucky hills. This is a mine to be proud of and Beth-Elkhorn has reason to be proud as this new mine features the latest mining and preparation equipment available. Haulage is by shuttle car, belt and under­ground rail. Power­ful shuttle cars carry the coal from the face of the conveyor that carry it to the under­ground loading points. At these loading points 30‑ton cars pulled by 60‑ton locomotives, that are probably the largest in any coal mine, automatically load for the trip to the nearby preparation plant. More than three years of planning has gone into Pike Mine #26. The mine was developed from a valley at the base of Pine Mountain which is about midway between Jenkins and Elkhorn City. It will have access to larger reserves of lower Elkhorn and Elkhorn #2 coal and as a result the Beth-Elkhorn Corporation will be assured of about 50 years production of high grade coal. To make the valley beauti­ful 22 acres sites were created in the isolated valley chosen. To fill in the valley bottom Beth-Elkhorn moved one and ½ million cubic yards of material from a nearby country side. In some places in the valley as much as 70 feet was required, which had to be compacted into two-foot layers. This job alone took a year to complete. When the miner comes to work at 26 he parks his car and enters the change house which is part of the all brick and tile office building. Each worker has his own private locker. The shop and supply warehouse show another similar construction. These buildings are electrically heated. Division management includes the following: Dave Zegeer, Division Superintendent; B. F. Eads, Division Engineer; H. C. Mercer, Division Inspector; R. L. Blake, Supt. of Maintenance; E. W. Knight, Electrician; and L. G. Mainwaring, Preparation Engineer. The following people J‑2head the team at Pike Mine #26 in 1967: W. A. Stapleton, Mine Supt.; O. E. Harris, Assistant Mine Supt.; E. G. Damron, Mine Foreman; S. E. Chandler, Maintenance Foreman; and D. E. Narramore, Plant Foreman.

Walter Mallick, who was considered by many the finest football player in Jenkins in 1930, received a varsity letter in football. The coach was Roger Womack. The president of the *J* club was Simon Looney, the Superintendent was C. V. Snapp and the Principal was R. L. Smyth. In 1931 basketball season, Walter Mallick received a participation certificate from his coach, Roger Womack.

In 1931 the principal of Jenkins High School was W. M. Davidson.

The Twenty-sixth Annual Commencement was held at Jenkins on May 20, 1947. Mr. William J. Baird, President of Morehead State Teachers College, delivered the commencement address. Mr. Carl Fitzpatrick made the award presentations to the following students: American Legion Awards, Senior — Charles McDonough; eighth grade — Selma Jean Crase and Jerry Arrington; Valedictorian, Micky Mullins; Salutatorian, Betty Jean Fugate; History, Norma Lee Dotson; English, Betty Jean Fugate; Music, Wallace Williams; Commerce, Norma Dotson; Home Ec. Norma Jean Brown; Citizenship, Iris Plummer, and School Spirit, Jean Craft.

The McRoberts Swimming Pool. All the men in town decided that we needed a swimming pool here and they had the old railroad depot there, so they got it for a bath house and then they had the freight area to use for a little dance hall. Many men worked on the pool after they got home from their jobs. The pool was finally completed and when it first opened it cost 25¢ to go swimming there. The pool did get started through a community effort. Many of the materials were donated so the cost for the community was kept down. Later on Guy Penny bought the pool and operated it for a while. He then sold it and a roller rink was operated there for several years.

The Burdine School gave a box and pie social at the recreational building. The popularity contest was won by Miss Elizabeth Robinson, fifth grade teacher. The sum of $44 was realized which will be used to start a library in the school.

On January 5, 1914. The frame building at Brickyard is hereby designated and made a jail for the town of Jenkins. The town marshal shall officially be the keeper of the jail. It shall be his duty to provide three good meals a day for which he will be allowed the sum of 75¢ for each prisoner.

On April 7, 1912, Charles Paynter was appointed Town Attorney with a salary no higher than $50.00 a month.

In the 1928 edition of the Mutual Magazine it states that a true likeness of Dominic Braddock, better known as Dom, is of Italian J‑3birth​a and one of the oldest employees in the Elkhorn Division. Dominic is still in Jenkins and active. He is known particularly for his ability of landscape gardener, in which art he excels.

From the Mutual Magazine. A timely warning. Elkhorn Division boy has narrow escape flying a kite with wire. A story of how a kite nearly cost the life of a boy is told by Miss Evelyn Frederick, our nurse at Jenkins. Noticing a large crowd of people on Main Street, Miss Frederick investigated the cause of the trouble and learned that Walter Mallick had received a severe shock of electricity. Walter had been flying a kite but had used wire instead of string when suddenly the kite was pulled up by a strong breeze and thrown against a high tension wire of 2300 volts. The terrible shock threw the boy to the ground where he lay unconscious until M. B. Erskine, coal loader at Mine #4, arrived at the scene. Erskine remembered his first aid and mine rescue training and used a wooden cane to detach the wire, which by this time was burning a few inches above Walter's hand, and then carried the lad to a place of safety. Miss Frederick accompanied the boy to the hospital where the Doctor found that the wire had burned deep into the palm of his hand and to his fingers, producing burns of first and second degree over the arms to the elbows. This case should be sufficient warning to other boys and particularly to parents that kites should not be flown near any kind of wire and in no case should wire be substituted for a string.

On July 14, 1922, the famous Nash motor cars had come to Jenkins. There are several on our streets now. Mr. Fred Rutherford, Harry Johnson, Ben Norris, Virgil Goff and Astor Blevins are the owners. Mr. H. L. Burpo is the sales manager for the Nash.

In the 1922, August edition of The Recorder it is found that the road from Jenkins to Pound is being worked on and The Recorder states that we can now cross the "old Cumberland" at Pound Gap in cars with all ease as they are working rapidly on both sides of the mountain, or at least we have been informed that they are working on the Virginia side. We know they are busy here on the Kentucky side. It will make a fairly good mountain road when completed. Then watch the progress of the whole country.​b

In 1922 the Jenkins School District opened on August 28. The McRoberts High School, like Jenkins, was growing rapidly and several courses were added to broaden the program. English, History, Science and some more vocational work were added. The principal at McRoberts was J. C. Long and at Burdine the principal was A. F. McGuire. At Jenkins during the school year the hack was run from Burdine to Jenkins to accommodate the high school students who lived at #1, #2 and #3.

In 1922, the Tennis Championship was declared for Jenkins and the Recorder states that the baseball is not the only sport which Jenkins can excel in. We have some stars of the Tennis Court as well as on J‑4the diamond. In the East Kentucky Tennis Tournament, Mrs. Margaret Perkins and Faye Moore won the trophies in the doubles as well as the singles in the ladies tournament. Mr. Braden won in the men's tournament.

From the March 1948 Checkboard there is an announcement of the new Champion Dairy Bar. This business is located in the old market building and will be opened for business on Tuesday, February 3. A carnation will be given to each lady who is present on that day. It was estimated that 1500 people visited the Dairy Bar on the opening day. The old market has been completely remodeled and is new and modern. The color scheme is red and cream. Champion store officials feel that the Dairy Bar fills a definite need in the community and they expect to operate it so that it will be unequalled in this region for quality, service and cleanliness. Two of the employees of the Dairy bar are Hazel Stallard and Billie Dotson.

In 1948 we had the announcement of the retirement of Harry Johnson, who made his last run for the C&O. Harry was a native of Harlan County, Kentucky. He started to work on the C&O Railroad on July 24, 1907. In 1912 he was transferred to Jenkins where he hauled building material on the S&E Railroad, a branch of the B&O. These supplies that Mr. Johnson hauled were later used to build the present recreation hall that was built in Jenkins.

On July 4 and 7, 1948, the Kiwanis swimming pool was dedicated to the youth of Jenkins. The excessive depth of the pool (23 ft.) was corrected when dirt and concrete were added to make the pool a normal depth. The first dive into the new pool was made by William Crutcher, President of the Kentucky Water Company and Sam Cassidy of Consol. The two had a bet who would win. Sam won.

Before the present theater was completed arrangements were made to show movies in the old power plant. 900 windows had to be replaced since the old power plant had not been used for some time.

On August 16, 1946, B. H. Crase, for many years the head barber in the shops operated by Consol, bought the equipment and supplies and will henceforth open and operate the barber shop. Mrs. Crase will operate the beauty shop.

Your Food Market in Jenkins was opened in May 1950 by William "Butch" Mullins. Bill, at that time, had 30 years experience in operating food markets. He has worked at McRoberts, Fleming, Dunham and Marshall's Branch.

In May 1950 these men were honored by the National Coal Association in Washington for their outstanding safety record. These honorees were H. S. Akers, Rex Lawrence, Willie Baker, R. D. Kyle, Dewey Looney, Arnold Kelly, Ed Osborne, Henry Horner and J. H. Davis.

The board of directors of the Elkhorn Country Club elected in J‑51947 were George Keat, Chairman; Sam Cassidy, George Tarleton, and Elsie Johnson, all of Jenkins, and Ed Bradley of Fleming.

The Jaycees held their charter banquet on July 30, 1948. The officers were Charles Tyaheer, President; Guy Collins, Vice-Pres.; Ed Brown, Secretary; and Carl S. Davis, Treasurer. The Jaycees plan to give a trophy to an outstanding football and basketball player at the end of the 1948‑49 season to encourage more competitive spirit in the local high school.

The Jenkins Civic Woman's Club had a talent night on the third and fourth of March in 1947 at the Jenkins High School Auditorium under the direction of Mrs. John Floyd and Mrs. Seth Kegan. More than 60 children from Jenkins, Dunham, Burdine, McRoberts and other places were involved. The winners were Johnny Hall, McRoberts; Jackie Pack, Jenkins; Larry Neil Craft, McRoberts and Larry Looney, Jenkins.

The Elkhorn Country Club held its first inter-club match on September 21, 1947. Seth Kegan came out champ in the play-off. This first match attracted a large audience.

The Jenkins Town Board purchased a new fire truck in 1949. The old truck was moved to McRoberts. McRoberts, eight miles away, was in need of its own fire fighting equipment.

On October 1, 1912, Mr. H. L. Burpo of Jenkins pulled the first passenger train ever to come into Jenkins. On October 31, 1949, 37 years later,​c Mr. Burpo pulled out the last passenger train which was the "Old 1046". The one combined coach and express car was a rickety, wooden car. It had a pot-bellied stove and oil lamps. Before good roads were built, it served as the principal means of travel, but travel has dropped off. In January 1912, Mr. Burpo brought the construction train from Cincinnati that was used in constructing the tie to Jenkins, then the B&O. In 1925, the B&O sold out to the C&O. To add to his list of firsts, Mr. Burpo took the train through the tunnel above Jenkins into Pound, Virginia when the route was opened.

One of the most exciting things in Jenkins in 1949 was the visit of a Helicopter. As it arrived in Jenkins it was given various names such as a "grass bug", "the dragonfly" and the "grasshopper". It used the #1 fairway at the Elkhorn Country Club for a landing field. The helicopter was tried out to see what advantage a plane of this type could be in the coal business.

Johnnie Morris came to Champion Stores in 1949. Many people came to hear the famous call for Philip Morris.​d

The general offices of Consol were moved to the present location in 1950. The building was completely fireproof, and the Consol offices were air-conditioned. The building covered 5,000 square J‑6feet and contained Aabdoo's Jewelry, the Eagle 5 and 10. The theater seated better than 800 and the manager was Frank King.

The office girls for Consol in 1950 were Clara Shaw, Florence Argant, Dorothy Paul, Betty Hill, Bill Wynn,º Elsie Johnson and Lornee Potter.

In 1952, the Kiwanis Club of Jenkins had purchased part of the power plant building which is below the lake. This was of sufficient size to install a regulation-size basketball court. Everyone in Jenkins that was interested in the gym should help with the building and remodeling of the old power plant.

The Jenkins Band sold 3,000 tickets to a concert in the King Cole Theater so that new band uniforms could be purchased. The Jenkins High School Chorus was under the direction of Miss Lois Cooper Adams and the band was under the direction of E. Paul Lyon.

The widening of the streets of Jenkins was completed in 1949,​e when in September, Governor Earl C. Clemens visited Jenkins on a tour of Kentucky. The Jenkins High School band was present with many people to see the governor. Mr. C. V. Snapp of the Jenkins Schools was the Master of Ceremonies.

The first aid team of Mine 204 won the national champion­ship on October 21, at Pittsburg, Pa. with Mine 214 running a close second. The members of the team were Clarence Dotson, Otis Charles, Leroy Sexon,º Blaine Sexton, Raymond Wetzel, Captain T. C. Blankenship, James Rutherford. The instructor was C. D. Halbert.

Joe Bukovich, Jr. was placed in charge of the laboratory near the Central Preparation Plant.

These men had 225 years total of coal mining without a serious accident. They were Henry Wilson, Charles Slaughter, Louis Donley, John Christovich, R. R. Heddleston.

The new Marshall's Branch portal was to be ready by July 1, 1947. The new portal was to contain complete facilities for more than 500 men, including showers, ice water fountains, a first aid room and a modern lamproom. The completed building will include a change room, a large stock room, office assembly room, a fully equipped shop and a coffee and sandwich shop. A large parking lot has been constructed and lights to accommodate the "hoot owl" shift. The initial grading started in July of 1946 under the direction of R. H. Howard, Chief Engineer and Jeff Davis, Engineer.

In 1948, Edgar Wright, Repairman at Mine 204 was promoted to Assistant Maintenance Foreman at that time.

In 1947 at Mine 204, the foreman had no lost time accidents. Clarence Smith, C. D. Halbert, Dewey Looney, B. V. Draughn, H. G. McIntosh, J‑7Charles Irvin, Dallas Edwards, Andy Branham, Milt Bentley and Roscoe Miller.

The principal at Burdine in 1946‑47 was Grover L. Taylor. The American Legion Awards for that year went to Louise Whitaker and Henry Dingus. Jimmy Chandler was chosen Valedictorian.

Down the Gonset Trail. The city of Jenkins had TV in 1951. The principal reception in Jenkins was from station WSAZ‑TV in Huntington, W. Va., although in the early morning fairly good reception was received from Cincinnati and Columbus.

The story behind the TV into Jenkins is unique in that so far as is known now, this is the only installation of its kind in the state of Kentucky.

Raven Rock was picked as the site for the antenna. This site is about 850 feet higher than the city.

Gonset line was used to connect the antenna. The pathway up the mountain was called "the Gonset Trail". The total length of the line was some three thousand feet. L. D. Siniff did most of the work getting TV into the valley. There was a group of 18 men who decided to put up the money for the system. A part of this volunteer group installed the system. Some of these men were L. D. Siniff, D. C. Duncan, E. P. Auxier, R. C. Minor, Ted Brummit, Dennis Combs, Paul Jesse and Steve Varson.

In 1951 for the fourth straight year, Mickey Prunty won the Elkhorn Country Club Championship.

The 900 Club was made up of married women in 1951 and about 70% of its member­ship are wives of Consol employees. Its purpose was to help build a better community. The club was organized on March 8, 1950. It is affiliated with Radio Station WLSI in Pikeville and got its name from the 900 spot on the dial. The club helped either financially or actively in practically every community welfare project. The president of the club was Eloise Greer.

The American Legion Post at Jenkins, The Bradley Burkhart Post No. 66, was very active in various kinds of civic interests. The post helped with the Boy Scout program, summer playground activities, promoted boxing bouts, had a Drum and Bugle Corps and made awards to grade and high school students.

Moon Mullins had prize-winning flowers at the National flower show. Moon came to Jenkins from New York in 1925. His oldest son Jimmy Wayne, who was a star center for Jenkins for three years, graduated in the class of 1947.

The sixth annual Kiwanis Minstrel was held in 1951. There were about 1000 people who attended. Proceeds were used for youth and underprivileged children in the community.

On June 1, 1951, the Jenkins Telephone system was sold by J‑8Consolidation Coal Company to the Universal Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. Thus, the last remaining utility in the Jenkins area has now been sold. The houses and buildings had all been sold in 1946‑48. Towns like Jenkins and McRoberts were built and company-operated not by choice but by necessity.

In 1967, the Jenkins Pony League won the District Six baseball tournament at Elkhorn City on Sunday.º The coaches are Ben Mullins and Archie Potter. The players are as follows: Paul Faulkner, Bobby Tucker, James Addington, Norman Page, Shannon Gallion, Jimmy Greer, Mitchell Potter, Chuck Mullins, Jerry Tackett, Jerry Newsome, Wayne Mahan, David Fleming, Gary Tucker, Eddie Elswick, Steve Narramore and Mike Short. These boys are playing in Ashland, Kentucky this week. This group went to the State Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament two years in a row.

In 1963‑64. Thurman Hall of Jenkins has been selected as one of the best tackles by the coaches in a poll conducted by the Courier Journal. Hall was rated an equal with the other top four or five tackles in the state. Jerry Conley of Jenkins and Steve Bates of Whitesburg were the other Letcher County stars rated among the best players in the state. Jerry Conley rated as one of the best halfbacks. In the 1964‑65 football season the all-state football team was selected. Thurman Hall made honorable mention All-State as a tackle for Jenkins High School. In the 1964 football season the coach of the Cavaliers was Raymond Ricketts and the Community Press states that Jenkins was in for a rebuilding season since they lost UK‑bound quarterback Phil Greer and halfback Robert Collins, plus other players from the previous season such as Kenny Blair, Haskew Hayes and Jimmy Elswick.

In the May, 1922 Mutual Magazine, it states that our town is now in normal condition. That is, every house is occupied and everyone is busy. There are many new desirable citizens. It states that Mr. A. C. Nelson has accepted the position of Mine Foreman at Mine 201. We welcome him and his family to our community.

In the May 1922 issue of the Mutual Magazine it states that Mr. Hugh Chambers was proprietor of the Lakeside Dairy in Jenkins.

Thayer's Notes:

a The careful reader may be puzzled that a man named Dominic Braddock should be of Italian birth; my suggestion is that, as happened with many new arrivals at Ellis Island, he either elected to change his name, anglicizing it the better to fit in, or was accidentally assigned it in the processing mill. The two are not altogether exclusive: at any rate, he was very likely born Domenico Bardocchio.

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b This optimistic paragraph is a witness to just how close the history of Jenkins came to being very different indeed. By referring to the pass at Pound Gap as the "old Cumberland", the writer takes for granted a bit of American history we're all taught in school; to borrow the words of the National Park Service's Cumberland Gap National Historical Park website, the Cumberland Gap "was the first and best avenue for the settlement of the interior of this nation."

"The first doorway to the west" is only about 60 miles from Pound Gap, not far by New World standards: but the difference in negotiability between the two mountain passes made one a household name, and the other a backwater not to be developed for another hundred and twenty years.

Interestingly, our writer believes that history would repeat itself, holding out for this new road thru the pass — Pound Gap, this time — the expectation that it would revitalize the entire area. But the conditions of the late twentieth century were not those of the eighteenth: the handsome, easy modern highway thru Pound Gap doesn't seem to have done much for the immediate area, except possibly (my observation as someone who's walked over the mountain on that road) make it easier to supply the Wal‑Mart in Whitesburg; at least, the few large semi-trailers cruising Route 23 were almost all headed west, emblazoned with the logo of the Sino-Arkansawyer behemoth.

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c The text as printed reads "On October 1, 1912, Mr. H. L. Burpo of Jenkins pulled the first passenger train ever to come into Jenkins. On October 31, 1947, 37 years later": at least one of those three numbers is wrong, of course — but which one? I have Ezra Kiser to thank for alerting me to the proper correction, from newspaper and court records.

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d The Philip Morris cigarette brand ran an extremely success­ful publicity campaign in the 1930's, using for the purpose an amateur actor running under the name of "Johnny Morris". Somewhat like Lassie, however, Johnny Morris was in fact two people — both of them Italian-Americans. Some details are given on this page.

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e This, as far as I can tell, is what destroyed the beauti­ful double alley of maples along Main Street that can be seen in many old photographs, and that is nostalgically reported by several interviewees in this book (B. H. Crase, Nora Figger, R. H. Wassum).

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Page updated: 7 Oct 15