This week in local history

Published 6:10 am Monday, December 17, 2018

The following events occurred during the week of Dec. 16-22 in Bell County:

1889: An attempt was made to establish a hospital in Middlesborough. The plan was that anyone subscribing $.50 (equal to about $10 today) a month would have prior right to a bed. Other sick people would get a bed only if it was not needed by a subscriber. (In early 1892, with no patients in the hospital and no funds to maintain it, it closed.)

1897: The school board rented Library Hall on 20th Street (now the Masonic Lodge) to use as a school.

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1902: David Grant Colson, “long one of Middlesboro’s most eligible bachelors, a past U. S. Congressman and presently serving in the state legislature,” according to the local newspaper, married Ethel Elliott.

1905: One of the largest raids known to Kentucky was made in Middlesboro when the plant of the Middlesborough Distilling Company, along with 14,000 gallons of whiskey, was seized by U. S. Revenue officers. It had long been suspected by officials that the local company was disposing of whiskey without paying taxes on it.

1909: Richard Barry, Jr. became the proud owner of the first motorcycle in Bell County.

1913: A raid of “disreputable houses” landed 21 women in jail. The grand jury also returned indictments against the property owners who were renting property for this use.

1929: The Boy Scouts collected, repaired and repainted over 2000 toys to be distributed to less fortunate families.

1932: The temperature fell to 2 above zero, the lowest reading recorded since 1917. Welfare Relief workers were out clearing the streets of snow

1940: Police Col. George Fisher was killed while trying to arrest a felon. Chief Minton was critically injured and P. L. Perry sustained a wound to the head in the same incident.

1950: Forty-five Bell County men received draft notices.

1968: James Pursiful was appointed Chief of Police. He succeeded retiring Chief George Ridings.

To learn more about local history, visit the Bell County Museum, located just north of the Middlesboro Post Office, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.