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THAT "the pen is mightier than the sword" is a saying so trite that one is almost ashamed to quote it, yet it is worth is urging upon the attention of unobservant people that the rapid material progress of humanity in the nineteenth century is due, more than to any other one agency, to improved facilities of travel and communication. Railroads, mails and newspapers have become necessities to mankind, though many are now living who are older than the oldest railroad, and to whom a daily paper once seemed a useless extravagance. Even now changes are made yearly, and improvements discovered of such moment that the future value and function of the newspaper cannot yet be estimated.

Types were first used to reproduce only the Bible and such books as were demanded in large numbers. Then came the periodical and pamphlet. The reviews and magazines increased in number and frequency of publication, and then the weekly newspaper was established, to be supplemented in time by the daily journals. At first only large cities could support papers; now it is a poor village that cannot have one or more, and a small county that has not its half dozen. One of the most important changes in the development of the country newspaper occurred from 1860 to 1870. Before the former date, home news, locals and correspondence were not considered worth printing, but the reading matter was composed of reprints from the great journals, news from Europe, proceedings of Congress, and heavy editorials on national politics. Now these are supplied by the large city papers, which are brought to every village by those annihilators of distance, the railroads, and the home paper is largely filled with home news. The best county paper now is the one which gives the most space to town and county news, correspondence from every postoffice, and the proceedings of local organizations.

In Greene County to-day are published five newspapers, while half a dozen more have been issued that are now defunct by change of name or suspension. Generally speaking, the editors have been men of intelligence and enterprise, while to-day they are among the leading citizens of the county, and their opinions are of influence among the journalistic profession in Northwestern Iowa. The first newspaper published in Greene County was the


established in 1859 or 1860, by V. B. Crooks. This was merged, in 1863, into the


which was published by Wynkoop & Upton first, and afterward by Wynkoop & McBride. When the Record suspended, the community were without a local paper for a year or two. In 1866 the


was established by M. H. & M. L. Money. In 1871 the name was changed to that it bears at present, the


Al. Swalm was proprietor of this for a time, and then J. M. Rhoads was admitted as a partner, and the firm name was made Swalm & Rhoads. In 1874 Rhoads & Alexander succeeded Swalm & Rhoads. Two years later J. M. Rhoads became sole proprietor. The following year, 1877, Rhoads & Gray became the publishers. This partnership existed for six years, when Mr. Rhoads was again left alone. In October, 1884, he sold to E. B. Stillman, the present editor and proprietor. Under his management the Bee has continued to improve in quality and increase in circulation, and is now one of the leading Republican journals of this region. It is issued on Thursdays, at $2 a year, and is in size a seven-column quarto.


The Greene County Gazette was started in 1879, by Jackson & McLaury, as a Greenback paper. This firm was succeeded by Thornburg & McLaury, and they by C. H. Jackson. Isaac S. Russell leased the office and material from Mr. Jackson and gave to the waiting world the


which suspended in the spring of 1883. C. G. Reynolds soon after started the


and ran it a few months until it was deemed unprofitable, after which, in connection with the famous Will S. Kernan, of Okolona (Mississippi) States fame, he issued one number of the


This did not meet with a particularly cordial reception, and its projectors did not push it. The


was published at Jefferson from the spring of 1884 to January, 1885, as a Greenback and Labor paper, by J. E. Sovereign, now of the Atlantic Peoples' Advocate.


was established at Jefferson April 4, 1885, by W. M. Ferguson, as a society paper, four-column quarto in size. It was published in that style until the middle of September following, when A. M. Head became a partner, and the firm has since been Ferguson & Head. The paper was then enlarged to a six-column quarto in size. It is independent in politics, and is published on Saturdays, at $1 per year.


In the autumn of 1869, as soon as Grand Junction was laid out and building had begun, the town proprietors arranged with Mills & Co., of Des Moines, to publish a newspaper at this place. Mills & Co. were then State printers, and also publishers of the State Register. They equipped a small office at Grand Junction, and with the new year, 1870, came before the expectant citizens the first number of the Headlight. Two years later S. C. Maynard, who had been for a time manager of the office, purchased the same from Mills & Co. He has been proprietor and editor since. The Headlight is in size a seven-column quarto (double that it originally had), and is published on Thursdays, at $2 per year. It is the only Democratic paper in Greene County, and has an extensive circulation in Greene and Boone counties.


The Gazette was established in January, 1875, by W. W. Yarman. In about three years he sold to one Brown, who made it a Greenback paper, but [it] failed a year later. It was a six-column folio. The


was started in 1879, by H. O. Beatty. In October, 1882, he sold to H. G. McCulloch & Son, and in 1883 F. H. McCulloch became sole proprietor. February 8, 1884, he sold to P. A. Smith. The Journal has been from the start a Republican paper, in size a five column quarto. It is issued on Thursdays, at $1.50 a year, and circulates principally in Greene and Carroll counties.


This paper was started September 1, 1886, by M. M. Mahoney, and is a six-column quarto, independent in politics. It is published on Wednesdays, at $1 a year.

M. M. Mahoney is a son of Thomas and Sarah Mahoney, and is a native of Canada, where he was born in 1859. He has followed the "art preservative" in various places since he was ten years old. He was married October 15, 1885, to Miss Delia Warner. He is a member of the Christian church.


The Greene County Clarion was a Democratic paper, started in July, 1885, and published for nearly a year by S. W. Groves. He sold to E. N. Pense and E. Downs July 7, 1886. They changed the name to the Churdan Belle, and published it a few months, when they suspended.

Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass January, 2018 from Biographical and Historical Record of Greene County, Iowa. Published in Chicago, Ill.: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1887, pp. 489-491.

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