Fayette County Newspapers

West Union

Fayette County Pioneer:

Established by John GHARKEY and Charles McDOWELL on October 21, 1853, at West Union. McDowell did not agree with Gharkey's attitude regarding the question of slavery, which soon resulted in a dissolution of the partnership. Shortly afterward, Mr. McDowell left the county. This paper was obviously slanted toward the precepts of the Democratic Party and its message was so pointed that in May, 1863, the newspaper office was attacked and much of the material damaged. Not long afterward, Mr. Gharkey decided that the political leanings of the community were very different from his and he left Iowa to live in Missouri.

The Free Press:

The Free Press was established in September 1856 by Frank A. BADGER and C. O. MEYERS. It closed in early 1857.

The Public Review:

Established by John HALE and J. E. COOKE, closed in 1861.

The Republican Era:

Established in 1861 by J. W. ROGERS. Soon after he sold the paper to Rev. S. D. HELMS, who went to Bellevue in 1862, leaving "The Pioneer" the only newspaper in the county.

The Public Record:

Established by Andrew J. FELT in 1863. He bought the material of the Republican Era and published a Republican weekly until the spring of 1866. The following year he founded the Nashua Post, which he sold in 1874 to buy a half interest in the Waterloo Courier. He remained at Waterloo for several years.

The Fayette County Union:

This was a Democratic paper established in 1866 by William McCLINTOCK and Henry RICKEL. It was sold in 1867 to I. WOOD and Milo LACY, who conducted it somewhat more than a year, when they went to Austin, Minnesota, and the property was again taken in hand by its founders. Mr. Rickel retired in 1869, and Mr. McClintock conducted it until 1872, when his son Frank assumed control, continuing until 1877, when he retired. William McClintock was publisher until 1881. He sold out to Walter H. BUTLER, who remained until 1885, when Mr. McClintock again took charge. From 1885 to 1891 the paper was edited at different times by William McClintock, Will H. McClintock and H. B. BLACKMAN. During all this time, William McClintock was the "dominating spirit" of the paper. In 1891, Mr. Butler again bought the Union and held it until 1894, when he sold to O. M. SMITH. Two or three years later, Smith sold to George W. VanATTEN, who soon sold a half interest to P. L. AINSWORTH and not long after, his remaining interest to E. A. McILREE, of Riverside, Iowa. Mr. McIlree bought Mr. Ainsworth out after a few months and is at present <1910> sole owner and editor.

The West Union Gazette:

This paper was started in 1867 under the name of, "Republican Gazette and Clermont Leader." Messrs. TALMADGE and SHANNON bought the material of the defunct Leader and carted it to West Union, which accounts for the Clermont feature in the name of the new paper. But it was soon dropped, although the word Republican was continued for twenty years. Mr. Shannon left the paper in 1869. In 1870 John W. STEWART bought an interest in the Gazette, retained it for only one month, and then sold to J. W. ROGERS, who stayed with it for two years. In 1873, Mr. Talmadge sold an interest to Joseph A.WHITTEMORE, of Providence, Rhode Island, the paper being published under the firm name of C. H. Talmadge & Company. In 1877, David H. Whittemore took over his brother's interest in the paper and held it for two years. From that time <1879?> until May, 1907, the Gazette was owned and edited by C. H. Talmadge. After his death in 1907, the paper was published by his elder son, D. H. Talmadge.


Frank and Lee HOBSON began publication of the Argo in 1881 and continued for about ten years, when the paper was sold to SHRIVER & WAY, who retained Frank Hobson as editor and manager until they sold out to George H. NICHOLS. After about two years, he sold to Frank J. STILLMAN, who soon sold to Frank H. Hobson & Company. The "Company" in this firm was R. O. WOODARD. After a time, Mr. Hobson arranged to hold the place alone, but not for long. F. J. STILLMAN again bought it and the paper was placed in the charge of E. B. Stillman. Not long after, Hughes and Fallows, owned the paper for a brief period, but returned it to F. J. Stillman. In 1906 the paper was sold to Walter H. BEALL, of Mt. Ayr.

Educational Review:

The Review was started by G. W. FITCH, county superintendent of public schools, in 1879. It was began as a method of communicating with the teachers and school officers of their respective counties. The Review was published at public expense, one page being devoted to advertising as a means of partial self-support. The last few years of its publication it appeared as The Fayette County Teacher, and was delivered free to all teachers and school officers in the county, to whom it was sent monthly for a period of eighteen years.


Fayette Journal:

Established in the winter of 1857-58 by Charles O. MYERS, who moved his Free Press outfit from West Union for the purpose. The few months during which the Journal existed were marked by many changes. Publisher followed publisher, and editor followed editor in rapid succession. In the list are the names of BYAM, NORTON, ROBERTSON, TEMPLETON, HALBERT, WATTS, VINES, and Mrs. D. ALEXANDER. For many years Mrs. ALEXANDER wrote a weekly letter from Fayette to the West Union Gazette, only ceasing when, in March, 1894, her health broke down. She died in July of that year, aged sixty-nine years. In commenting on her death, a writer in the Gazette said: "In 1858 she came to Fayette and, although she had the cares of her little family to attend to, she found time to give to the world many hours of pleasure and profit from her literary work. . . ."

The North Iowa Observer:

This was the successor to the Journal. It was owned by William BRUSH and edited by J. W. SHANNON. After Mr. Shannon left, O. C. COLE took charge of the office. The paper was discontinued in the spring of 1861, after an existence of about a year.

The Public Record:

A stock company was formed to buy the West Union paper of that name and move it to Fayette. O. C. COLE was put in charge and the paper was issued from the Cole residence for a year. The plant was moved to Main street and Bent WOOD and W. B. LAKIN took charge and restored the North Iowa Observer heading, continuing the publication for six months. Mr. Lakin retired and Mr. Cole and Mr. Wood issued the paper till the spring of 1867. The material was turned over to Mr. Wood's brother who moved it to Austin, Minnesota.

The Fayette Journal:

About 1867, Daniel VINES started the Fayette Journal and in a short time O. C. COLE bought into the business, some new material was added and the name was changed to the Volga Valley Times. Under this name and ownership the paper was published until 1874, when it was sold to J. D. BURCH and J. O. B.SCOBEY, after a brief period of suspension. They renamed the paper the Fayette News. They published for a year and sold out to S. D. HELMS, who sold to A. E. WINROTT and Theodore FREER, who changed the name to the Clarion. Freer sold to Winrott and the Clarion became a two-town organ, The HOBSON brothers of West Union taking half an interest. The two-town arrangement didn't last long. Mr. Winrott continued the paper until 1883, when he moved it to Calmar.

The Iowa Postal Card:

Established in the fall of 1882 by O. C. COLE, The Postal Card has continued since its founding without change in ownership, except that in 1907 L. L. COLE assumed an interest and the firm name became Cole & Son. (It is not known when this paper stopped being published; it was still in operation in 1910.)

"Since the advent of the Postal Card there have been several other ventures in the field, most of them fleeting ones. The New Leaf was started by J. R. ORVIS, of Fayette. The News-Letter was started by Gay OSBORN, of Arlington. The Mercury was started by R. HUTCHISON, of Arlington. The Reporter was established by Ed. ALEXANDER, of Fayette. . . . For the greater part of fourteen years the Postal Card held the field against all comers. Then, in 1896, C. F. PAINE & Company re-established the Reporter." (It was still in production in 1910.)

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