xt7qft8dg865 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7qft8dg865/data/mets.xml Pilcher, Louis. 19  books b92-139-29331515 English Re-produced by Eagle Printing Company, : Whitesburg, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Whitesburg (Ky.) History. Whitesburg (Ky.) Description and travel.Brown, William Kelley. Story of Whitesburg Ky.  : the open sesame to Midas' mines / by Louis Pilcher ; assisted by William Kelley Brown. text Story of Whitesburg Ky.  : the open sesame to Midas' mines / by Louis Pilcher ; assisted by William Kelley Brown. 19 2002 true xt7qft8dg865 section xt7qft8dg865 

        STORY OF

Whitesburg Ky.















-, -





and Importer

135 W. Main Street,






Phoenix Hotel BId'g.,   LEXINGTON, KY.

     WHY NOT
     When in Lexington Call at the
Dundee Woolen Mills
And see our line of Spring and Summer Woollens. Blue, black browns
and shepherd plaids. Latest shades and styles for spring and fall.




Phoenix Hotel Bldyg.,






          ASSISTED BY





            The Story of Whitesburg

          HEN I left Jackson-"Dear Old Jackson "-as the
            loyal lovingly call the metropolis of notorious or
            far-famed or far-flung, Breathitt County, Ken-
            tucky-or the town that is sometimes referred to
            by grim humorists as The City of Sudden Death,
there were over two thousand Eye-talians, Greeks and "nig-
gers" engaged in building bridges and tunnels for the one hun-
dred and two miles Extension of the Lexington  Eastern
Railway. I wanted to see the country over which it was to
traverse, but I had "buck-jumped" at footing it or observing its
ponderous beauty from the back of a mu-el, and so, when I
reluctantly left Jackson in December, i9ii, I registered a
"vow," without shaving a bald spot on the top of my knoll,
that if I were spared I'd see it at all hazards, as I was looking
for a place to locate and stay located.
    I have traveled much by rail-little by water, not being a
hydropath either by heredity or accomplishment-and I had
never seen any country more inviting or restful than the first
hundred miles of the Lexington  Eastern, which I had seen
often, but never to light and stay lit. I would flit and not stay
    Recently I had the leisure and the inclination to put my
"vow" into effect, and after a week or so in Hazard, once a
feudal and moonshine habitat, it occurred to me to put my im-
pressions into a booklet, and so, with this resolve, I went on
up the line to Whitesburg, over this route that never deserted
the North Fork of the Kentucky River except when the train
went through one of the many tunnels. As I have written up
the line from Lexington to Jackson so often I will pass it up
as a sort of back number, giving my observations to mettle
more attractive.
    These mountains seem to be inseparably identified with
feuds and moonshine 'stills but singular as it may appear, I
have never seen a feud nor as much as smelled a moonshine
'still at its place of residence. Occasionally I have seen the
copper "worm" of one brought in to some town by deputy
U. S. marshals as an exhibit that they were onto their jobs, but
all the stories of battles between the officers and the partisans



of the little measly things are a thing of the past, and I think
the reform was due to the reflective powers of Woodford G.
Dunlap, who discovered a better way of dealing with the moun-
tain moonshines than by fighting and getting the worst of it,
and now I think that his plan has been generally adopted.
Moonshining amounts to so little-a few little rotten apples
and knotty peaches and a "turn" or two of corn for home con-
sumption and for medicinal purposes, to keep the men, women
and children from bad water dysentery, that now when the
gentleman and scholar who presides over them gets to expand-
ing his business, he is politely "notified," and while he makes
himself scarce, the "Revenuers" make a raid and destroy the
outfit and take the "beer" to town-a sort of inspiring "butter-
milk," and treat it out to the boys. There is a U. S. Commis-
sioner who sits at Whitesburg, and a deputy U. S. marshal
where an example is made occasionally without bloodshed.
When railroads reach a "dry" and arid territory the occupation
of the moonshiner is gone and the bootlegger gets busy.
    If a man is determined to locate and isn't afflicted with
something like eczema that won't let him, I see no reason why
he couldn't begin life over again at restful Whitesburg where
living is easy and fishing inviting, but I have nearly all my life,
been, not unlike Huck Finn, the first night he got out from
under the wing of the Widow to meet Tom Sawyer, and they
found themselvess within reach of nigger Jim in the dark and
Huck got to itching-something has kept me from locating so
far. Wanderlust is congenital with some folks and then they
can't find the rest for the sole of their feet, but I think and I
recommend Whitesburg as a rest cure-for the other fellow,
and it is my intention to remain so long as the good people
will tolerate me.
    After an all-dav ride from Lexington for ninety miles
crossing and recrossing the mighty North Fork of the Ken-
tucky twenty-nine times in graceful curves, the passengers in
the crowded coaches begin to shift about in their seats, a long
whistle is given, and the Flagman cries out, "Whites-BUG-
Whites BIRD-W-h-i-t-e-s-b-u-r-g-" The train describes a
semi-circle and the first view of the old and noted mountain
town is seen across the river; the first glimpse not prepossess-
ihg-the rear of all the houses on Main Street and their back
yards and back alleys in full view. The passengers foot it
across the new bridge which has recently replaced the old Foot
Bridge, and after a short up-hill trudge, the old K-Y Hotel, so
famous, is reached and is recognized by its double story
veranda, and its inviting benches. It is crowded and there be-



ing no office, the parlor is pressed into service till the travelers
are assigned to their rooms. The landlord, Colonel Salyer,
understands the art of making his guests feel at home, and
soon the small table in the small down-stairs dining room is
found plentifully supplied with good cooking, and all "white"
help. Main Street being comparatively level and side-walks
good for a mountain town, guests stroll around and stretch
their legs before turning in for the night. Men, all men, and
none of them young men, and all strangers, nearly all. The
Colonel greets a drummer, or a piano man or an itinerant
preacher, or some local timber man, but the others: prospect-
ors, miners, investors, perhaps from other coal fields in Penn-
sylvania or Virginia or Oklahoma; surveyors, civil engineers,
draughtsmen; monied men, possiblv from New York; may be
globe-trotters. They are on their way to Jenkins and Mc-
Roberts, fifteen miles further; rough mining towns, poor
accommodations; hence they stop here and go and return;
go and "come back." There are promoters and "pulmoters"
and adventurers, but as yet no women. They'll be trooping in
soon, however, soon the venturesome and adventuresses will
be "trapsin" about.
    It would be interesting to know where they are from, but
as yet, the hotel is not up to the "Register" system p an inter-
esting book to study and a protection to the hotel, too-in-
teresting in after years. We love to study signatures and try
to decipher characters therefrom.
    As this is a horse-back country, timber buyers and every-
body have to go in the saddle, mostly mule-back, and men in
boots and leggings and spurs trudge in and out of the rooms;
go and return mud-bespattered. The Town is "dry" and de.
spite the crowding of four and six men to a room there is the
best of order, nearly everybody reading newspapers or maga-
zines in silence; strangers all, and uncommunicative, till they
get acquainted and find their bearings. Nothing in the way of
robberies or hold-ups have occurred, although strangers
coming, go prepared. These people are proverbially honest
and straightforward, but now the railroad-what may it not
bring The front of a drug store was torn out a few nights
ago to put in a more attractive one, and the house was left
exposed all night and nothing disturbed; no watchman was
thought of.
    A stranger who shuts his mouth and opens his ears will
learn nearly all he wants to know here after a few days so-
journ; a communicative man of curiosity will get all the in-



formation he desires right off the reel, for we are clever, socia-
ble and hospitable.
    Every few days a "man of .mystery" appears, who baffles
the curiosity of all and he gets to be a joke. Nobody can get
anything out of him. He is passed up with a laugh. In a day
or so, or perhaps a week, the curious are enlightened, and it
was nothing mysterious after all; just a form of reticence or
abstraction. No; so-and-so was not an artist in disguise nor
an actor come up here to study Hamlet in solitude, nor a
three-card monte man. Gentlemen of leisure, and we have 'em,
must have something to occupy their minds, to be sure.
    If a stranger is attending to his business he is sure to have
a knowledgeous knocker from Jackson or some rival town to
"knock" on him if he can get a willing ear. One "sharper"
turned out to be a harmless colporteur.
     These people here are open and frank and hearty withal.
They do not look upon the stranger with suspicion as they do
at "Booneville," as a fellow said, and it indicates that there is
no feudal gangrene among them: nor none like to be engend-
ered, for now a new era is at hand and new perspectives and
wider vistas are opening.
    The Old has passed away, as a scroll; behold the New
which means the Better, for Optimism and Altruism go hand
in hand.
    I am no oracle, and I am making no attempt at literature.
I am merely grinding out my impressions in a desultory man-
ner, and I do not observe minutely. Don't take my impres-
sions too seriously. I have a bad habit of introspection; too
bad to be a faithful Impressionist.
    I hear that the Genii will pour out vast fortunes as a regu-
lar "stunt," and I do not doubt it. If it's the vulgar dollars you
want get a move on. Oppor Tew Nity is here my Honey.
    Whitesburg first came into general notice when a noted
trial was transferred from Jackson to this, the historic Moun-
tain County Seat of Letcher. Then there was no railroad, no
telegraph, no telephone connection; only a narrow road, twenty
miles across the mountains, and in order to report the trial, a
telephone line had to be constructed to transmit the news to
the nearest telegraph office, thence to the newspapers. The
antiquated sleepy town was suddenly alive with newspaper cor-
respondents, lawyers, witnesses and visitors. Daylight for the
first time, from the outside world had penetrated, and disturbed
the tranquil serenity of- somnolent Whitesburg.
    The trial over once more it slept again, but never again so
soundly nor profoundly. It had been "corrupted" and its sec-



ond awakening came to stay.; the advent of the L.  N. Rail-
road, to be reached in a daylight ride from Lexington; and with
it came the two pioneers of big business, the drummer and the
Jew, to change, in a twinkling, the physiognomy of dear old
Whitesburg; saw and hammer, stir and bustle, in the race to
get in the modern Push with Winchester and Lexington.
    When the first scheduled passenger train pulled into
Whitesburg, the metropolis of Letcher County, it brought a
few promoters, and a convocation of "Pulmotors" interesting
species of the World's Higher Crit. Then there were ten
identified lawyers, and several threatening to practice at this
noted and eloquent bar; and since then, they have increased in
a Malthusian ratio without any perceptible "swelling" of the
"ordinary" or "equity" "docket"; but as the March of Civiliza-
tion brings its ravages, we may soon look for many ruthless
unravelings of the ties that bind, "without publicity," except
that which is "ventilated" at the Open Forum-the barber shop.
None of these lawyers have vet been known to treat litigants
with equal impartiality, in accepting "retainers" from both
sides simultaneously, which speaks low but lofty-rather para-
doxical-volumes in sheep, for our "bunch" of legal head-
lights. We are young, however, and our Court house was
planned for ample development, which elsewhere is said to be
synchronous or synonymous with devilment. Let us hope for
the best lawyer to win out, whatever the gist, or the crux or the
merits of the case for the learned, grave and judicious Judge
(sometimes of good liquor) to decide, without prejudice or par-
tiality to the parties, or to his pulchritudinous personality.
It is said that our Judges are doing the best they can, in the in-
fancy of our evolution, hence don't "shoot" any more of 'em
as we have been known to do in the Bluegrass. Let us not
shoot to satisfy a homicidal mania nor in mere idle moments of
absent mindedness. I have a beautiful half-tone cut of our
Court house tendered me by Br'er Editor Mark Webb of the
Whitesburg Eagle office; but I declined to use it in this desul-
tory brochure, because court houses and cottages and cows
bear such a striking family resemblance as to grate upon my
highly developed artistic temperament; they have for so long
done overtime. I should much prefer a composite picture of
American Mountain Beauties, if I had the pickin' choice of
'em. I think some Publicity, done judiciously, along this line
would draw like a mustard plaster and hold and glorify with
the magnetic influence of hypnotic power the "victims" as with
a strand of golden hair, so there!
    What you ask is a "Pulmotor" Where does "it" differ



from a Promoter A "pulmotor" is supposed to pump life into
a dead one, and hence they are synonymous. Beware of "it"
or both for they are both pioneers of G. R. Q. Wallingford.
    Whitesburg is in the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky,
and so if you contemplate a prospect don't compromise on
Jackson, or even Hazard. Go the whole hog or none. This
sage remark was the advice of a shrewd and successful lawyer
of Louisville to a promising young lawyer now here, who pros-
pered by the advice. The advisor had succeeded here before
branching out to the City.,
    What I have said of lawyers may also be said of doctors.
Since the advent of the railroad they have also multiplied at a
geometrical ratio, and while we have not yet a graduate em-
balmer, nor an incorporated cemetery, let us not be impatient
nor despair. Enterprise is up and doing, as are the doctors.
Nothing invidious is intended in these remarks. Some of these
doctors give you heroic doses, some infinitesimal, and some of
'em I hear are so obliging as to let their patients elect the treat-
ment, which is highly considerate and commendable in tnein.
None of 'em are guilty of fads or fancies or foibles, such as
secretly practicing "suggestion" and "autosuggestion" or even
if the patient has a smattering of Eddyism, and yearns for it
as though it is "unprofessional." Up here the doctors are an
"unregenerate" and hard-headed common sense set as far as I
can learn. They depend upon quinine and calomel, rather than
preying upon human credulity. I hear their fees are moderate
and that they are not in a "ring," even for long mountain visits,
where they have to "raw hide" it and often foot it; and the inti-
mation that any of them are directly or remotely, tacitly or
avowedly interested in the undertaking industry is a vile
calumny of persons who think they are doctors down at Hazard
and Jackson, who should be properly classified as belonging to
the leisure class.
    Since the rumblings of our first passenger evangel to now,
the ranks of our dental surgeons have not increased pari
passu, with our lawyers and doctors, but the creme de la
creme of literature makes their offices more inviting. This fact
ought to make the extracting of teeth painless, or less painful,
at least-to the operator. The Dentist and Literature ever go
hand in hand. There are no regular "tooth-carpenters" thriv-
ing here any more I hear, and I cheerfully make record of it
for timid new-comers, but truth compels me to confess that we
have one barber who between "long-whiles" is overworked.
When found make a note on.
    Speaking of barbers: It is said that while a victim was be-






ing "scraped" a mule was heard to hray, and an enemy of the
barber said, "Another victim- being shaved." This invidious re-
mark caused a coolness to spring up but it is thought that the
feudal period is past. In the language of Artemus Ward, "Let
it went."
    But I digress. I proceed.
    I do not like to part company with the large spacious brick
and stone edifice in which every tax burdened citizen owns an
integral part, the Temple of Justice, without saying that it is
substantially built for utilitv rather than for ornamentation, and
that it looks good for our posterity; and if they don't like it
they can tax themselves to build one to conform to the other
progress twenty years will doubtless bring, if Whitesburg is not
visited by some earthquake or cataclysm, or some calamitous
event, such as a few hoarding misers might bring who own
the town, and who enter into a conspiracy to see that the grass
is growing in the streets, as an evidence of their lack of Enter-
prise, and who fail to invite Opportunity, now that she is
knocking at the Door.
    As an object lesson, and a notable example, witness St.
    No; only add a fine Seth Thomas Clock to the Cupola,
Honorable Justices, and set it to conform to Standard Time, to
trains, to mail, to business, and the posterity referred to, will
not damn you with faint praise.
   The law is the noblest of professions, and Whitesburg is to
be congratulated upon its Court house, its bar and its officers,
for here law and order are established, and here is where timid
capital is sure, in time, to take up its abode.
    Soon you will have two trains daily from the Blue Grass
Capital, and soon there will be Sunday trains, for in the busi-
ness world, it is a long time from Saturday night till Monday
morning to start an answer to a business or important letter.
Don't be a back number. It is the inevitable. The sooner you
adjust yourself to conform to the changed conditions that con-
front you the better. The Lord loves one diligent in business.
    What of the church and the school Both healthy we
thank you. From where I write 1 see the foundation' of lime-
stone and the red earth excavation for a 20,000.00 graded
school building. to be built for all the children of the
county and by the county. The pupils are now taught in two
separate buildings by a professor and three efficient teachers.
There are about two hundred young hopefuls all healthy and
    Professor Crawford is- a scholarly gentleman, born and








bred in the famous Nelson County, and who confesses to once
being a country correspondent of newspapers. He came here
and cast his lot when it required heroic courage, came on the
hurricane deck of a mule. Now there is no hardships unless a
days ride in a palace coach is so considered by the effeminate
parlor knights and puling wights, who had better stay home.
    Three religious faiths out of six hundred different warring
sects of the outside world have penetrated and taken root, the
Baptist and the Methodist, and Presbytqrian faiths, and they
seem to fill the bill as to spiritual phenomena. We hear of
Mormon Elders, and other religious "exhibits," such as Seventh
Day Adventists, coming and going, without making any per-
ceptible headway. The ancestors of our people came from Vir-
ginia and North Carolina, Cavaliers; common sense and inde-
pendent thinkers; and when they discuss religion and creeds,
thev do it with charity, tolerance and smiles.
    Now, and for the immediate future, it will be the chase of
the Mighty Dollar and the Worship of the Money Devil, at
which indictment all acknowledge the soft impeachment when
the subject is mentioned to ears polite.
    Now let us touch the Business Pulse of Whitesburg, the
sure guide and gauge to future progress. Briefly let us cata-
logue what we have. The stranger finds one good hotel, con-
ducted bv Colonel L. H. N. Salver, who come here from. Haz-
ard over a decade ago; an ideal landlord, a gallant ex-Con-
federate soldier, a retired lawyer, who spent twenty years in
Hazard, and who is a bureau of information as to both Perry
and Letcher counties. As he states it he knows everv road and
creek and hog path, and their meanderings. Colonel Salyer is
a gentleman of varied experiences and wide range of informa-
tion on important subjects; a.man of remarkable physical and
mental vigor. His mind is a store house of interesting reminis-
cences of men and things of the remote Yesterday and Today,
and with prophetic ken for the Morrow; full of wise saws and
wise sayings, and modern instances. To meet him is a liberal
education to the Tenderfoot, with his preconceived ideas,
ignorance of history, and bump of misinformation.
    Typical of these people, his mind is practical and eminently
free from illusions, delusions and superstitions; he looks at the
problems of life and circumstances with a clear and serene men-
tal vision, and hence we risk his judgment and impressions and
comparisons as of value for they are unbiased and disinterested.
    In a tete-a-tete, Colonel Salyer, among many other things,
said of Whitesburg and Hazard, of Perry and Letcher counties,
having long been familiar with the subject:




    "I have no desire to disparage or knock our neighbor and
friendly rival Hazard, for the vast distance of untold wealth for
both towns to fatten on and batten on for years and years to
come, ought to satisfy the most hoarding skinflint. There is a
short distance between us, however, measured in railroad miles,
but to the observant mind familiar with both old towns recently
sprung into newness of life and business activity, there is a wide
divergence; and there is an immensity of difference between the
character and characteristics of the new citizens, as any one
may notice. Whitesburg is out of debt, with a surplus of its
own capital to build up on. We have no enforced idleness, no
loafers and bad characters, no lazy and indolent burden.



Letcher County is a rich county; and as an example to illus-
trate one phase of the question, all the railroad ties used were
shipped into our county teeming with timber. We are not .sell-
ing our timber, as the farmers do not need to. One reason, a
farmer gave a prospective buyer who offered him i2 an acre
for his timber was, that he intended to leave it all, as a legacy
to his progeny; a wise conclusion. We are building, and not
on borrowed capital; perhaps, building as the Emersonian
aphorism has it "Wiser Than We Knew," on a safe and firm
foundation. Our creditors, if we have any, do not have to ride
for miles, and mountain miles at that, to collect their debts.
We have many fine and productive farms and our strains of live
stock are improving."
    Much more in the same strain which lack of space forbids.
    Colonel Salyer is not thinking of leaving his children to a
guardian's care as Dr. Johnson's "Rasselas" philosophy has it.
    Earlier in this article I referred to the advent of the drum-
mer and the Jew; then the "pulmotor." At the K-Y Hotel I
soon formed the acquaintance of an Oklahoma boomer offering
town lots for sale. I wasn't surprised; they go where there is
something doing, and this agent will doubtless do business and
take somebody away from Whitesburg and Letcher County,
despite the activity here at the "great awakening." We are a
restless people, and we come and go; come and go some more,
to do better or worse; with the determination to go further,
even if we do fare worse. That's grit.
    With one old hotel doing well there are two new ones rush-
ing to completion, and would you believe it, there is not a
bakery nor a butcher shop in the town, and beef is a rarity on
the tables, yet the Armour's and the Swift's are within a day-
light travel by rail. I mention this as among the many business
opportunities here.
    I mentioned the Eagle newspaper, and I hasten to mention
the East Kentucky News, presided over by Editor Hale, the
latter Republican; the Eagle being Independent. I always like
a "two-paper" town better than a one-er, for there is always a
little breeze and friction between them even if Pickwickian
to add to the gaiety of "natives," if not nations.
    I have been unable to get any authentic history as to how
Letcher County and Whitesburg were named, but I have a
hazy and nebulous idea that the county was named in honor of
Governor Letcher and that the town was named after the
numerous White family, one of whom became noted as a poli-
tician and Congressman, John D. White, who- won the eu-



phonious soubriquet of the Crested Jayhawker of the Moun-
     I have determined not to burden this story of Today with
 anitquarian researches. I am no Old Mortuary, and I hate
 statistics too.. I am trying to reflect faithfully my impressions
 of Whitesburg, and her people, now with breath in their bodies.
 That is the extent of my ambition, and I am not going to be
 diverted into biting off more than I can masticate.
     As there is no visible coal nor oil nor natural gas rolling
 out nor gushing out right here I refuse to become excited for
 the nonce.
     The quality of the coal in my grate is profanity provoking
and I read by acetyline light. I hear the good coal is hauled
out for the consumption of the barbarian world. That means
progress; and the absence of the tintinnabulating bell from

                   THE OLD SWIMMING HOLE
the mooley cow is another great stride in -seven-league boots.
The octopii coal mining towns a few miles further up or down
the mountains McRoberts and Jenkins walled places against
competition or individual initiative-merelv treat us with "spent"
coal contempt as they ride high handed and rough shod over
us as they do their miners who.are forced to patronize their
Pluck 'Em commissaries and Takeout Hotels. Please make a
note Congresssman Langley that this isn't permitted in the new



States of Arizona or New Mexico nor in Oklahoma and why
here in your bailiwick Do they want a repetition of the trou-
bles over the line in West Virginia here From what I hear
organization and strikes will soon follow, as it is the law of re-
taliation and the law of compensation.
    There is one bright spot on the map of the Consolidation
Coal Company marked "Not For Sale," which I hear belongs
to private parties, several thousand acres, etc. Will this, in
time, mean competition for the Pluck 'Ems
    One idea seemed uppermost in the minds of a number of
thoughtful citizens with whom I held pleasant interviews, and
that was that fair Letcher County is now free and immune from
all Feudal virus and Old Grudge scorbutic festers; that further,
Whitesburg was one "dry" town by the sovereign will of a
homogeneous people, unanimous for the sentiment, and it
looked it, although all signs sometimes fail in dry weather.
    The Romance of these hills-heart of these noble old
Mountains should be Dig, Dig, Dig-The  Open Door-The
Open Sesame, To Old Midas' Mints. Here all one has to do
is to tickle the sides of Old Mount with a pick and an ava-
lanch of "gold" rushes down. Why, just the other day the Ellen
N placed an order for 3,600 new coal cars to temporarily
relieve Old Baldy of his Coal congestion-this offer to fill the
exigency. "Smith," however in the very presence of this pile
of rhino won't tickle. Smith has just come in mv room hold-
ing a ten-cent investment in Eastern literature in one hand and
the bowl of a pipe in the other to let me in on a scheme to put
a new remedy for female complaints on the market. Here
where anybody can literally coin money lawyers will sit for
hours gazing at rows of sheep bindings-briefless lawyers-
reading French translations of erotics, scorning five dollars a
day or fifty; for they can't dig. How pitiful it is too in some
    It is Nature's law of compensation that somebody tickle
something somewhere. The anti-tickler cares nothing for the
new trolley line and the order for 4400 more houses placed yes-
terday bringing the total up to a city of the third class on this
and "yon" side of the Divide twixt two coal companies' co-
operatives. Oh the fatality of Fate.
    The original Ticklers, the Mayos, the Slemps, the pioneers
of the Mineral Company, The Consolidation, The Swift Timber
 Coal Companv, all, at first blush, in the remote past started
at the mouths of the mines to tickling with picks. It was the
same with the anti-Ticklers, the '49ers; the Klondikers, too.
The "incapables" leading the van and balking at the Open


Door. The Hookworm or the Hype-what dreadful diseases
of the ImaginationI
    One of the oldest business inen in point of continuity is
Mr. J. H. Frazier who, for thirty years has been engaged in
general merchandizing here, No man is better informed as to
the topography of the mountains and streams and the Un-
explored veins of coal,
    In a conversation he described the sources of the Elldhrn
Creek, a tributary of the Big Sandy River;-the North Fork of
the Kentucky; and also the Cumberland; all of which have their
rise in Letcher County, and all at or near the same spot, near
the edge of Wise County, Va. This spot is between Jenkins
coal mines and about twelve miles northeast of Whitesburgb
There high on the Boone mountain, may be seen bubbling from
the earth a stream of water that an ox could drink dry appar-
ently, a little trickling stream or streams, one of which forms
the mighty arm of the North Fork of the Kentucky River, an-
other detouring, is the beginning of Elkhorn Creek, emptying
into the Big Sandy, going on their divergent journeys to empty
miles and miles apart. From this birdseye view may be seen
the greatest undeveloped coal fields in America and the further
up this way the greater and richer the veins. What has already
be-: Discovered is merely the primary department as I might
say..- T am optimistic, for I have evidences to go by; the opin-
ions of.the experts in Washington geological departments;
richer veins than are found in West Virginia or anywhere jin
the United States. I believe it will go beyond description or
our limited mental visions; enough coal right here to heat and
light the world for decades to come. All Along -this hundred
miles of railroad the discovered veins get better to McRoberts
and the best yet to be found in that vast area, in -my judgment.
    Mr. 'Frazier believes that here are vast fields and oppor-
tunities here for investors and individual initiatives and enter-
prises, despite the reports that the McRoberts atd' Jenkins coal
mine owners have the best; and that with a Chinese Wall
around, against all competition.
    He said' the vast fields beggar description, and one must
go and survey with one's own eyes, and with one's mind's eye
and imagination; that the' mountains -are mighty big when one
attempts to contemplate them and their' storehouses as pre-
pared by the Almighty for all his children's good, and that the
old theological idea that' all thea coal and gas and oil was brigi-
nally stored in the bowels of the earth 'for the purpose of burn-
ing it up, was exploded.
    He said that all the stories told in tiigtot and Louis-


vile of the vast coke ovens at work, were premature as no
coke is being produced as yet; and that the output of coal was
small as yet, the chief difficulty being the