The Richmond Register


January 25, 2013

You can’t judge a book by its cover

Points East

PAINT LICK — I recently finished and started reading again, the best example of the old saw, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” that I’ve ever had in my hands.

The cover is a beautiful photograph of an old grist mill and the book title, laid over the photo is Eastern Kentucky Short Stories 1760-1960. The author’s name, Maynard Cornett Adams, is printed at the bottom of the photo.

At first glance, I’m thinking that I’m probably looking at another collection of Jack and Bear Tales or perhaps a compilation of Appalachian Kentucky short fiction pieces spanning two centuries because the book feels thick and heavy enough to contain the best of both with room to spare.

Propped up in bed, four hours later, at 2 a.m., my eyes were bugged out and my mouth dropped open because I was absolutely astounded and unable to lay the book down.

It’s not fiction at all. It is easily the best and most interesting series of essays on historic events and places in the eastern Kentucky and western Virginia mountains that I’ve ever had in my hands.  

It certainly is not a comprehensive history, nor does it claim to be. It simply contains the authors analysis of numerous, often-tragic, events that helped to shape the values and culture of the high country that we natives of one little section of the hills call home.  

Maynard Cornett Adams was born, as near as I can tell, around 1930 at Uz, Kentucky, a small community on the upper North Fork of the Kentucky River, seven miles or so downstream from Whitesburg. His family later moved to Dry Fork, a nearby tributary of the river and later to McRoberts and Jenkins where he finished high school.  

After high school, he attended Morehead State College and Coyne Electrical School in Chicago where he earned a degree in electricity and electronics.

After career stints in Texas and New Mexico, he moved to Colorado where he has lived for the past 45 years.

After retiring in 1997, he began a second career in writing and publishing. He has written several historical novels set in the West.

Eastern Kentucky Short Stories is the culmination of more than four years of dedicated research, including numerous interviews conducted during frequent trips back to the hills of home.\

The last 20 pages of the book detail reference sources and a bibliography Adams relied on to document his work.

Several articles from Letcher County’s Mountain Eagle, written up to 100 years ago, are cited and I found it interesting to compare writing and reporting styles from then to now.      

The book is laced with several humorous and insightful personal essays about growing up in Letcher County during the Great Depression and the formative years of the coal industry. It contains some insight into the lives of several early, notorious politicians and other unsavory characters. Several essays are dedicated to murders, hangings, lynchings and ambushes.  

A dozen or so pieces document Civil War activity in the mountains. Several  others describe feuding activity.

I found myself totally fascinated with Letcher County’s Wright-Reynolds Feud and found myself embarrassed that I’d scarcely heard about it. Hair-raising stories having to do with Ku Klux Klan activity in the hills also surprised me.  

The bottom line is that there is something here for anyone interested in the formative years of Letcher, Pike, Harlan, Knott and Perry counties in Kentucky and Wise County, Va.  

The book contains 460 pages including introductory material, hundreds of photographs, portraits and illustrations and not an inch of available space is wasted. The pages are literally crammed with concise information.

At this writing, the easiest way to get a copy of the book is to order directly from the author at: M.C.A. Books, PO Box 804, Lupton, CO 80621. The cost is $27.50 plus $5 shipping and handling, totaling $32.50 per book. If you want to order multiple copies, shipping and handling is only $1 for each additional copy.

The only retail outlets that I am aware of are the John B. Adams Store in Isom (Letcher County), Heritage Nook Books in Pound, Va. and Top Drawer Gallery in the Old Town section of Berea.

I don’t have phone numbers for the first two, but I do suggest you call Top Drawer at 985-2907 to be sure they have it in stock. I know for sure that either of these retailers can have a copy for you within a week if they are currently sold out.

I would also suggest that bookstores or other retailers interested in stocking the book get in touch with the author at (303) 857-6122, email him at or write to the address above. Mr. Adams allows retailers a generous profit margin as well as free shipping for orders of more than 12 copies.  

I will finish my second reading of Eastern Kentucky Short Stories tonight, but I have marked at least a dozen places in the book that I intend to read, yet again.

Text Only
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Education a priority? Don’t believe it

    They did it – more or less.

    They got a budget, they got a road plan and they got out of town on time.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don McNay.jpg Did you miss small business health-care tax credit?

    A Kentucky professional who owns his own business found that he missed getting the health-care tax credit.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results