Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


Chapter 16

The Newspapers of the County
by Hon. John G. Newbill


From the most authentic data available, it appears that the first newspaper printed and published in Springfield and the Ozark country was the Ozark Standard, established in the spring of 1837 by J. C. Tuberville. It was a small folio sheet, printed on an old-time hand-press, and after a brief career it passed into the hands of a Mr. Huffard, who changed the name to The Eagle.

Warren H. Graves, who was working in Jefferson City at that time, came to Springfield, and in 1844, established The Springfield Advertiser, The Eagle having had but a brief existence, and published it continuously up to the summer of 1861. In the meantime A. F. Ingram, who had started The American Standard at Greenfield, Dade county, in 1855, returned to Springfield in 1859 and established a job printing office. In 1862 he issued an irregular paper, the Springfield Missourian, designed to keep the people posted concerning the Civil war developments. He sold his printing plant in 1863 and bought it again in 1864, when he began the publication of the Patriot. Late in that year he sold a half interest to William J. Teed, and in 1868 sold his remaining interest to Edwin R. Shipley. The same year Mr. Ingram launched another paper, The Weekly Gazette, but after nine months, having been elected county treasurer, sold it also to the publishers of the Patriot.

Prior to this time the Springfield Journal was published for a few years following the war by J. W. D. L. F. Mack, sometimes referred to by his contemporary as the "Alphabetical Mack."

In the year 1846 Edward Durkey McKinney edited the Texas Democrat, supporting his father-in-law, John P. Campbell, for Congress against his only opponent, John S. Phelps, who, thirty years afterward, was elected governor. The Advertiser supported Phelps, and while he was elected, carrying the district, Mr. Campbell carried Greene county. The Texas Democrat soon after went out of commission.

May 3, 1855, the Springfield Mirror, organ of the American or "Know Nothing" party, was established by J. W. Boren. It ceased to be published with the coming of the Civil war, as did the Advertiser. [519]

Harrison E. Havens, who served two terms in Congress in the earlyseventies, was for a time editor of the Patriot. All the foregoing, published since the outbreak of the war from a political point of view, were Republican papers.

Daniel Curran Kennedy, who had been working in the Patriot office and had taken charge of another venture, the Southwest Union Press, which was destroyed by fire, associated himself with Capt. O. S. Fahnestock in 1867 and started the Springfield Leader, a Democratic paper, which, after numerous changes, is still published, now an afternoon paper, with R. L. Kennedy, son of the originator, editor.

Another Republican weekly, printed in the early seventies, was the Springfield Advertiser, edited by Prof. Orville S. Reed and Col. John P. Tracey. Its sale, about the year 1875, resulted in the hyphenation, Patriot-Advertiser, and the retirement from the editorial tripod of Professor Reed.

The Springfield Times, Democratic, was published for a few years by George M. Sawyer and Charles H. Lamoreaux up to the beginning of 1879, when it was consolidated with the Leader, under the name of the Times-Leader. The Times part of the hyphenation was dropped after a year or two.

February, 1870, Henry Lick started the Southwester, which, the following June, was removed to North Springfield and published for a time by Taylor, Hedges & Company. They soon afterward sold it to W. H. B. Trantham, who continued its publication until the latter part of 1879, when he disposed of his newspaper plant and removed to California. Under the management of the subsequent owners, Col. J. D. Williams & Company, the Southwester was in evidence for a comparatively brief period, both in the form of daily and weekly, and then ceased to exist.

For a few months, in 1871, while the Franco-Prussian war was in progress, the Leader published a daily, with the Associated Press service.

In 1878 the Patriot ventured to issue a five-column folio daily, with the press report, under the editorial management of Col. John, P. Tracey, Col. D. C. Leach, Hon. James Dumars and others. The expense was too great for the support, and after a few months it suspended. [520]

On November 1, 1879, A. A. Renshaw and Charles R. Ingram began the publication of a five-column folio daily, The Daily Extra, without the dispatches, but making a specialty of the local news. It was Republican in politics and proved a financial success, the first in the history of the daily newspapers of Springfield. In March, 1884, the Daily Extra was purchased by Dr. C. S. McClain, John R. Ferguson and Col. J. P. Tracey, who changed the name of the Journal, which, after a run of less than one year, during and after a political campaign, voluntarily suspended publication. The following year the Journal plant was bought by C. Hammontree and A. A. Renshaw, who issued a Sunday paper styled The Reflex, which a few months later they sold to Col. James Dumars, who began the publication of a daily, The Springfield Republican. He, a few months later, sold the plant to Judge James M. Cowan, his son, J. E. Cowan, becoming the editor. During the first local option campaign in Springfield, The Republican vigorously fought on the side against the traffic in strong drink, and local option was carried by a majority of some three hundred votes. Afterwards the election was declared null and void on a mere technicality, the law being expounded by Judge Rombauer, of the appellate court. Judge Cowan owned the Republican only a brief period before he sold it to C. S. Tomlinson and Barclay Meador, who not long afterward took over the old Herald plant, with the Associated Press franchise, and moved the office into the brick building on Boonville street, where, after a few years' experience, they were compelled to suspend publication. The Herald, referred to, was established as a daily in 1883, an eight-column folio with press reports, and Harrison E. Havens as managing editor and general manager, George M. Sawyer as city editor, and, J. W. McCullah as manager of the job printing department. The paper was financed by Capt. C. W. Rogers, of the 'Frisco railway, and the paper was generally considered as a railroad organ, although it declared its independence in matters of a political nature. The Patriot-Advertiser was merged into the Herald at its very beginning by the then editor and proprietor, Mr. Havens, who received stock in the Herald Company in exchange for his weekly paper. After occupying the editorial chair two years, Mr. Havens relinquished his holdings, stepped down and out, and homesteaded an eighty-acre tract of land in Taney county, where he resided for several years, returning to the practice of law after he was elected prosecuting attorney of that county. Since then he served a term as prosecuting attorney of this (Greene) county, later on removing to the new state of Oklahoma. Among the other editorial writers who were in charge or on the Herald staff at different times were George M. Sawyer, James E. Cowan and T. J. McMinn, but the paper was never a success, so after various ups and downs, its remains were purchased by or taken over by Messrs. Tomlinson and Meador, as stated heretofore.

The next venture at a Republican paper was made by a Mr. Cummings, from Ohio, associated with A. Z. Chambers, who not long after sold their plant to the Geddes Brothers, also from Ohio, who published the Republican six times a week, using a perfecting press the first brought to Springfield. It was a morning paper and deserved a better fate, for the publishers, for want of patronage, were forced into bankruptcy, and the plant was purchased by the Hon. L. H. Murray, a Democrat, who had the paper published as the local Republican organ, with C. N. Van Hosen as editor, until he sold it to, H. R. Snyder, another man from the Buckeye state, who in turn, sold to the present owners in 1906-7, E. E. E. McJimsey being the editor and manager. He came here from the St. Joseph Gazette about ten years ago. [521]

The Leader resumed the publication of an afternoon daily along in the middle eighties, and part of the time thereafter the editor and publisher, Mr. Kennedy, had associated with him S. K. Strother, and part of the time A. Z.

Chambers, until after his appointment as consul to the Island of Malta, under Mr. Cleveland's second administration, when he disposed of his interest to Frank Mitchim. Later Mitchim became sole owner, and in May, 1895, sold the entire plant to H. S. Jewell, who has since continued its publication.

The Daily Democrat was established by John O'Day in the last of the eighties, who bought and absorbed the plant of the Daily Republican that failed under the management of Tomlinson and Meador. George M. Sawyer was the editor, but after a somewhat stormy career, the paper was sold to L. H. Murray, who continued its publication under the same editorial management, with the addition of Frank W. Gregory, until he, in turn, sold it to H. S. Jewell in July, 1895. Mr. Jewell consolidated the paper with his previous purchase, the Leader, the editors being his father, J. B. Jewell, and Mr. Gregory, he himself continuing owner and general manager up to the present writing.

Ephemeral dailies or daily publications, and some weeklies, have been born and perished in the Queen City of the Ozarks, which is perhaps the history of other cities of the same importance, among them the Sun, by R. M. E. Cooper, along in the middle eighties. Later on the Record, with C. S. Baird as editor, and Almus Harrington as principal owner. In the summer of 1896, following the introduction of type-setting machines, the Chronicle, on Commercial street, was published by jobless printers, and shortly before when a strike of printers was on a cooperative morning paper was issued by compositors for several months on the same street. There was also in evidence for a few months the Daily Star, but it was so completely eclipsed that even the name of the publisher is not obtainable.

A lively campaign sheet was the Greenback News, published way back in the campaign of 1878 by Cooper and Newbill. The latter retired from the office after the campaign was over, but Mr. Cooper continued the publication of the weekly journal for several years. He afterward removed to St. Louis and engaged in some sort of newspaper work and job printing until he was killed in a street car accident.

Quite a number of fruitless efforts have be en made to establish weekly papers in various towns in the county outside of Springfield during the past quarter of a century or more, among which may be mentioned the Enterprise at Bois D'Arc, Times at Fair Grove, Times at Strafford, Republican at Ash Grove, and others. [522]

In this A. D. 1915, the newspapers in Springfield may be correctly enumerated as follows:

The Springfield Leader, daily and Sunday; H. S. Jewell, publisher and manager; R. L. Kennedy, editor; with a full staff in all departments, perfecting press and type-setting machines, the modest folio of nearly fifty years ago having grown to an up-to-date daily of from eight to sometimes forty and fifty pages.

The Springfield Republican ,the Republican Company, owners, or publishers; E. E. E. McJimsey, editor; with a full staff of employees in all departments, type-setting machines, perfecting press, a worthy competitor of the Leader.

The Express, established April 1, 1881, Democratic; J. G. Newbill, editor, with A. A. Renshaw, associate. A reliable Democratic weekly that deals fairly alike with political opponents as well as friends.

The Springfield Laborer, established nearly three years ago; organ of the Central Trades and Labor Assembly; published weekly: S. D. Whitesell, chairman; C. O. Stahl, secretary; A. Dumaw and I. D. Casebeer.

In the county outside of Springfield there are three successful weekly newspapers:

The Monitor, at Republic, established 1894-5, independent, with J. R. Derry as editor and publisher. Among the former editors who helped build up the Monitor are J. J. and B. S. Jones and Frank Anderson.

The Commonwealth at Ash Grove, established 1881, with F. L. Gillespie as editor and publisher and C. M. Gillespie, local editor. One of the first editors of the Commonwealth was Ben Lippman, now proprietor of a job printing plant in Springfield.

The Tribune, at Walnut Grove, established 1903; Miss Junia E. Heath, editor and publisher. All three of the country weeklies named are independent of political partisanship.

An unsuccessful run of about one year was enough to satisfy the publishers of the Springfield Daily Independent, on Commercial street, so the sprightly sheet suspended publication an February 7, 1915, and the plant was sold to the Laborer. The first publisher of the Independent was F. W. D. Arnold, of Lamar, Missouri, with Rev. Aaron D, States as editor. They were succeeded by a stock company as owners, J. O. Waddell, editor, and R. C. Surles, as business manager.

Among the local reporters and correspondents of metropolitan papers who did much work along the newsgathering line in this part of Missouri may be mentioned H. Clay Neville, George K. Camp and Lawrence Carroll, all three on the Leader staff but now deceased, and A. A. Renshaw, for years correspondent of the Globe-Democrat, also J. G. Newhill, correspondent of the New York World and other papers and the only local agent of the Associated Press when the late William Henry Smith was at its head as general manager. [523]


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