In the educational
chapter we named and gave the ten newspapers in
our several towns a
place among the educational features of the county.
We sometimes smile at the
country newspaper as if a sort of a little upstart,
attempt to be a paper, and joke about its patent insides, as a
product of a Sears, Roebuck & Company machine set of brains. But we
will not retract our first measure. They have played a part in all the main
historic incidents herein recorded. They are like matches and salt cellars,
every home. They are a necessity.
How often, when absent from home, do we wait the mail with a longing thought of home and of neighborhood incidents going on. When the paper arrives it becomes a combination news-letter, of all the doings of the whole town and county, with a hundred items the folks at home have failed to tell. These county newspapers become gladsome and joyous, to the ears and to the eyes. Like the Stars and Stripes, they float, they stir up your loyalty to wife, children, home, town and county.
Perhaps they state that Mary has arrived home from Grinnell or Drake University and your vanity is tickled. "Little Johnnie spoke a piece in the school program." Your family letter had not thought it of sufficient importance or had not thought of it at all, but such an item is not thought too small by the patient news-gathering editor or the typesetter. A local man starts up as a candidate. You read it and ache to get home to help him or lick him out. Your wife is elected president of the Priscilla or Ladies Aid Society, or a daughter appears in the League and your mind thinks "some pumpkins." Your daughter is married and the time-honored list of silver pickle dishes and spoons is published. Your own getting on the train to make the present trip is noted, and you feel two inches taller. Your baby wins a prize in the baby show, and you jump three jumps twenty feet to show it to somebody. When thus away from home, you even find yourself reading the advertisements, the executor's notices and bridge lettings. You read perhaps that your own town bank has two hundred and eighty thousand dollars on deposits according to their advertisement;
288 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES
your neighbor sold three carloads of steers, or that the machine dealer
twenty manure spreaders that season. You read the markets, even
you are not in business on those lines. They link you up, these county
papers do, to "Home Sweet Home," and perhaps your throat begins to
choke. The local
doings, even if you are at home, are there condensed, in
way you never would have had time to run around and find out yourself,
you being called a gossip, hunting around for news. Careful
notation of the "haps" and pointers and "squiblets," small per item, but
you read them quickly. When mother is dead the obituary is carefully
up, and the tear drops fall as you read the notice over and over, in
years to come. All the hallowed items, including all the joyous sentiments, revolve around mother, home and heaven, with love floating as a
banner; that word, the purest and holiest word in the English language, all
bubbling up through the human heart and soul Godward.
The daily Chicago papers could not supply the place. Some pungent editor sticks you righteously between the ribs and you get wrathy when it hits you and roll all over with laughter when it hits the other fellow. When done, the paper is laid down, and then picked up again to read them over, and then still over again; you have secured a fund of information and knowledge of home and family and town and county and business, of dollars in value, as likewise showing up the joys and wits of local interest, and you must at last conclude rightly that the ten papers in O'Brien county are in fact real sources of information and education.
It is believed by many that the press is an educator which is only surpassed by the public school and if it is true that truth and its dissemination is better than falsehood-if refined and elevating thought is better than groveling and bestial longings—then the country newspaper has a mission, and it is not without its responsibilities.
Again, the country editor occupies another peculiar place. In the affections of the people he is a public benefactor. He is generally poor because the spirit within him compels him to do the unremunerative work of the community. His talents are not always those of the financier. A part of the talent of the financier is to do the thing that pays—pays money. If there be needful things to do which have no profit, let others do them. All honor to the man whose life has been an industrious and helpful one and who has done the gratuities of the world and who comes down to the grave with an empty purse. Such a life dignifies privation and poverty above the dignity of kings, and is the growing sentiment of the world.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 289
newspaper circulated in this county was established in Old
1871 by John R. Pumphrey, B.F. McCormack, that ubiquitous
eccentrically talented individual who for nearly forty years was more or
less connected with the business life of the
county, was its first editor. It
was denominated the O'Brien Pioneer, printed in Cherokee county by Robert Buchanan and thus continued until the
spring of 1872, when Col. L.B.
Raymond, then publishing a paper at Cherokee, as part of a general plan
profitable establishment of newspapers in counties newly organized, to
get the valuable county printing, opened a printing office at Old O'Brien
and on May 24, 1872, he published the first paper printed in the county, continuing the former publication as the O'Brien Pioneer. Without interruption that paper has continued, published by varying printers and editors,
awhile at Primghar and later at Sanborn. It is now known as the Sanborn
Pioneer. In November, 1872, A.H. Willits purchased the paper and continued the
publication at Primghar the following spring, when the county
seat was removed to the center of the
county in compliance with the election
1872. In 1873 Major C.W. Inman purchased a half interest, but he
was soon displaced by J R. Pumphrey, the banker of the county seat, who
sold to A.G. Willits in
April, 1875. The latter was a son of A.H. Willits.
The latter was thus identified with the
paper for some seven years. And
during most of that time, by virtue of his office as clerk of the courts, he
was able to throw much of the
patronage in way of legal notices to his paper.
In January, 1879. he retired from the clerk's office and nominally from the paper, but still loaned some of his energy to editorial work. July 1, 1879, Warren Walker, an attorney of Primghar, purchased an interest and he and A.G. Willits continued its publication until 1880, when the plant was moved from Primghar to Sanborn. In 1881 the name was changed to Sanborn Pioneer, A.G. Willits being then sole owner. A.H. Willits was a forceful character in the conduct of his paper, vigorous in his style and ready to defend his rights, his town and his paper. During his life of action in the county and while publishing the paper, there cropped out the first of that rivalry that has to a greater or less degree existed between Primghar and Sheldon. This jealously and strife frequently took the form of personal attacks on the characters of the editors in the respective papers, and if half of the charges made in the pages of the Pioneer and Mail during those years are true, both Willits and Piper should have been occupants of a state criminal institution. But as time flies swiftly by, it softens the asperities of life, and, reading the story from a distance, forgetting the highly (19)
290 O BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
charged atmosphere and aroma of passion and antagonism, we can see much
good in both of these men. Their troubles first arose over the conflict as to
the final location of the McGregor railroad, afterwards the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. It was
attempting to change its direction and, passing
through Primghar, strike the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroad at a point
between Alton and
Hospers, thus giving it better selection of lands under
grant. Primghar encouraged this, as it would bring the track to the
county seat and for the same reasons Sheldon wanted it to run farther north,
as it in fact later did. A
county seat fight or two and other contentions
periodical renewal of the "warfare."
J.H. Wolf, a veteran of the Civil War, who had arrived in the county in the fall of 1872 to "spy out the land," moved his family to Franklin township in the spring of 1873. He had always taken a keen interest in county affairs, was a frequent contributor to the columns of the county papers and served as supervisor from 1879 to 1881. In December, 1883, he purchased the Sanborn Pioneer from A.G. Willits and began a newspaper career that has continued to the present time, leaving him the Nestor of the newspaper fraternity of the county. As an editor J.H. Wolf has always stood for righteousness and honesty. Frequently his positions have been subject to criticism by some of his patrons, as happens to every newspaper man, but none have ever doubted his sincerity and honesty of purpose. While conducting the O'Brien County Bell at Primghar, he had occasion to attack what he considered the extravagances of the board of supervisors, criticising especially their expenditures for county bridges. The attack brought many new subscribers, made him some friends, but antagonized the members of the board and the paper suffered great financial loss in county printing. With the passing of the board that had been attacked, the Bell regained its patronage and its campaign eventually won it friends who have increased and multiplied many fold.
In succession, the Pioneer passed for a few months under lease to S.L. Sage, who was an experienced newspaper man and who had been engaged in newspaper work for fifty years, mostly in Iowa. Next Will F. Wolf, now publisher of the Hawarden Chronicle, had charge of the paper until it was sold to H.E. Wolf, another son of the veteran newspaper man. Later George J. Clark, W.S. Johnson, C E. Foley and Richard Closson owned and conducted the paper, the latter being present editor and proprietor.
After a short experience as publisher of the Cherokee Free Press, F.M. McCormack, familiarly known as "Pomp" McCormack, came to the county in 1878, establishing his home in Sheldon. He was an actor of no
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 291
mean ability and employed in various home talent dramatic companies during his many years residence in the county, beginning his first labors in Sheldon in such an enterprise. He was an original, unique character in the pioneer days. First employed as a printer at Sheldon, assisting his brother, B.F. McCormack, in the establishment of the Sheldon News in 1879, he continued employment on Sheldon newspapers until 1885, when he began the publication of the O'Brien County Bell. The first issues were printed at Sheldon although the paper was published at Primghar. Later the plant was transferred to the county seat, which at that time had no newspaper. Primghar was then in a gloomy and depressed condition, through the removal of many of its citizens to Sanborn and other adjoining towns. Pomp had an old-fashioned Washington hand press. The Bell office was in a small building, twelve by eighteen feet in size, the same that is now used as a shoe shop near the southeast corner of the court house square. There was scarcely room to move around, set type and make up his paper. It was the home of the Bell for two years. The editor was dubbed the "crank that rings the Bell." It was prior to the building of a railroad into Primghar and a very unpromising field for newspaper enterprise. A few years previously there had been an exodus of people and buildings from Primghar to Sanborn, the new town on the Milwaukee Railroad eight miles north. Many buildings were vacant and even residents thought the town had gone "flunk." For several years the building deals had consisted of the tearing down and moving of structures to Sanborn. It had been an age of demolition instead of construction. The Bell was thus started and indeed established as a permanent paper under these most discouraging circumstances. Be it said that no town in the county, or the county itself, ever had in an editor more of a booster—each day inside the town, each week in his paper. Pomp could make a boost out of an apparent failure or a joke. He understood the pioneer and early times, and, though often magnifying trifles, he did much in putting heart into the hard situations by his newspaper boosting and humor. For instance, in 1887 Herbert E. Thayer built what is now the pool hall at the southeast corner of the square for an abstract of title and land office. In fact it had been the first building venture since the "exodus." Each week Pomp had a write up, of how Primghar' was building up again, one week writing it up as the "building at the southeast corner of the square," the next week as the "building on Main street" and so on from week to week during its building until a casual reader would conclude that the town was rushing in its construction work.
292 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
engraved head, suggestive of a birdseye view of the county, with
the name O'Brien
County Bell in large letters across its top border, so
familiar to the readers of the
Bell, illustrates Pomp's original booster cleverness. The whiskered man in the lower
right hand corner is a very good
picture of old Adam Towberman, who was one of the oldest settlers,
among the homestead crowd of the early seventies and who built the
bridges (not the early fraudulent ones) for fifteen years of the genuine
early bridge building of the county. A familiar figure in the county, he
brought in nearly if not quite all the early trees first planted and which
comprise what are now the groves. It was "Old Towb" that Pomp was
putting in that head plate. Each town of the county is intended to be shown
picture, with the enterprising telephone lines bringing in the news
paper. It was in June, 1886, that Pomp brought to the senior editor
history his sketch of the proposed heading. His idea was that that
ringing and suspended over "Primghar, the Capitol of O'Brien
County, Iowa," sounded forth Primghar and the county with a boost and
placed them "on the map." This heading would "dress the stage" of the
county, as he put it. The O'Brien County Bell has now for twenty-eight
years handed down an eccentric and indeed a practical heading with an idea
enterprise for all time to that paper. At one time Pomp got his old
Washington hand press out of his office, set it up on a wagon, attached behind several
large farm machines, including a threshing separator, hitched
four horses to the
outfit, got all the cow bells and tin pans and noisy articles
in town and with the
frisky boys all ringing them went round and round the
square, with one big bell over the press on the wagon. The
"Crank of the Pell" was
ringing the bell.
McCormack had many streaks of eccentricity and triviality which neutralized his fine boosting qualities and left him anything but a financial success. He could entertain a crowd of twenty sidewalk listeners and keep them roaring with laughter, but with the final remark, "what was it all about anyway?" Nevertheless he established firmly one of the substantial newspapers of the county now for so many years under the management of Jacob H. Wolf, assisted by his two sons, Bert and Fred. Pomp was an inveterate practical joker, wit and humorist. On one occasion he ran in the canvass for county recorder, but was defeated. Called on for a speech, he nobly rose to the occasion and made one of the wittiest ever heard in the county. It could not be pictured in print. It was distinctly "Pomp" in its originality and good humor, given at a time when bitterness of defeat might
293 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA
have soured the
ordinary speaker. His career as an actor was always manifest in his
every action; he never was caught off his guard and always
studied the effect of his
speech and action. For many years he joined the
business of auctioneer with his
It has been said of "Pomp" that he "runs a paper in just that way and manner which commends itself to the editor." He was certainly original, if not erratic in his methods. He delighted in extravagant statement and the unusual method of presenting his news. Never a financial success, he worked hard for the best interests of his community and continually made sacrifices therefor. While his methods did not always bring the result intended, no one ever doubted his loyalty to his home town. After disposing of his paper in 1894 to Wolf & Gravenor, he established a paper in Primghar in competition, but the project received but little support and quickly perished. Later he was for a short time in the newspaper business at Hartley, publishing the Hartley Journal. Later he conducted a paper at Claremont, Minnesota, and afterwards removed to Wyoming, where he now resides.
Under the management of Wolf & Gravenor, the Bell assumed a standing in the community it never before had. Its new proprietors were experienced business men, Mr. Wolf having been a printer in his early life in Pennsylvania and later conducting the newspaper at Sanborn and having been well known in the county through his newspaper work and political activities. Mr. Gravenor was not long actively connected with the business, his interests being represented by his son, and he soon disposed of his share to H.E. Wolf, a son of J.H. J. H. (sic)Wolf & Son continued the publication of the Bell and the Sanborn Pioneer for some two years, when the Pioneer was sold to George J. Clark and H.E. Wolf withdrew from the control of the Bell and his father, in a sole ownership, assisted by his sons Fred B. and Bert Wolf, has continued the publication.
For nearly thirty years, theBell has been an active factor in politics and a leading paper in the county. Located at the county seat, it has had a prestige and chance to secure the news that especially interests the taxpayer of the county and it has always been keen to secure that news and disseminate to its readers the actual condition and conduct of the administration of county business as well as chronicle the news of the community. Its criticisms of public officials and wrong doers has caused it to form some enemies and temporarily, at least, to suffer some financial loss, but it long ago earned the reputation for honesty and fearless publication of the news that has earned it hosts of friends.
294 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
In December, 1879, the O'Brien Pioneer, at Primghar, met its first close competition. Cleveland J. Reynolds arrived and established the Primghar Tribune, a seven-column folio. The paper was loudly heralded as an advocate for the correction of evils in the conduct of county business, announced reform with a big "R" and began an expose of the crookedness and rascality of the early county officials. In its first issues it began publishing an abstract of the proceedings of the county supervisors, exposing the iniquitous contracts and devious methods that had been used in filching money from the county treasury. In April, 1880, the paper was turned over to Caleb G. Bundy, a versatile writer and experienced newspaper man, who ably conducted the paper until 1882. The policy of the paper was soon shown to be vigorously in favor of objection to the county indebtedness that had been saddled on the actual settlers by the grafting bogus settlers who had organized the county. We believe that this is the only paper in the county outside of the Sheldon Eagle that openly advocated the defeat of the debt. In 1881 the county refunded its indebtedness and Bundy's policy was defeated and the paper passed out of existence. Bundy, however, immediately commenced the publication and printing of a newspaper entitled the Primghar Times. This was not properly supported, however, and on September 28, 1882, the paper was moved to Paullina, giving the town its first paper, under the title of Paullina Times. For a time Bundy & Thomas published it and Oscar D. Hamstreet, a lawyer and graduate of the State University, who had grown tired of illy paid practice of law, secured control of the paper in September, 1883. He continued its publication for about ten years, being succeeded by Frank M. Bethel and later by the present owner, A.W. McBride. Mr. Hamstreet conducted a good paper and was a thorough newspaper man. Mr. Bethel, who succeeded him, was a practical printer, a forceful writer, honest and blunt in his opinions and not always possessed of that tact in expression of opinion that might bring greater revenue to the paper. In August, 1909, he removed to Oregon, where he is engaged in newspaper work. Mr. McBride, the present owner and editor, is fearless in the discharge of his duty, rather pert and plain in the expression of his opinions, making some enemies by so doing. He has a fine literary style, witty in his comments and has good talent. Under his management the Times stands for everything clean and uplifting and for good morals, good citizenship. The experiment of starting an opposition paper in Paullina was tried by R. Jeff Taylor in 1912. His paper, the Paullina Star, proved a failure and was soon abandoned. In 1893 M.H. Galer, an unsuccessful exponent of religious preaching.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 295
proved his incompetence in another line by attempting to publish a paper
known as the Primghar Republican. It was quickly sold to E.R. Little,
the compositor employed by Galer, and the new publisher gave up the effort
before the end of the
The Democrat, established in Primghar by H.B. Waite in 1896, has been able to maintain a varied existence. Waite had formerly been a school teacher, had considerable ability as a writer, but very little business judgment, and had a propensity for extravagant statement. His business life in Primghar was strewn with frequent personal encounters, bitterness and bickerings and he finally moved to Seattle, where he now resides. During his conduct of the Democrat he engaged in a newspaper contest with the Sheldon Mail, in which he filed a larger list of subscribers than the Mail. The contest was before the county supervisors and was held to determine the right to publish official board proceedings and receive pay for the county printing. The Mail was unable to prove the Democrat list fraudulent and the Democrat won the contest, at a great expense to both parties. Later J. A. Graham, F. A. Vaughan and Ira Borland were successively connected with the paper. Mr. Borland, the present editor and publisher, is a good mechanic, was a resident of the county some twenty years ago and has returned to show his ability. He is publishing a good clean paper, typographically well printed and with a good strong editorial policy and keen eye for news. He will no doubt do much to make the Democrat a paper with a strong subscription list and of influence in the community.
The Mail was established in Sheldon by Col. L. B. Raymond, of Cherokee, in January, 1873, six months after the establishment of the village at that place and at a time, when, as its editor later stated, "Sheldon's inhabitants might be enumerated by counting your fingers." This was Colonel Raymond's second newspaper venture in the county, his previous experience having been in connection with the Pioneer at Old O'Brien. The paper at Sheldon was soon sold to D.A.W. Perkins, the pioneer attorney of the county, who later took in a partner. In September, 1874, it was sold to Frank T. Piper and in three months he sold to J.F. Glover. Glover had changed the name of the publication in January, 1875, to that of Sheldon Republic. In March it was published by Glover and a partner by name of W.B. Reed and so continued till August, 1875, when F.T, Piper regained ownership, restored the paper to its original name and continued the publication as the Sheldon Mail until his death in 1902. Frank T. Piper was a thoroughly practical newspaper man, well versed
296 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
in the technical art of
printing, a good mechanic, an excellent business man
and financier, a
vigorous editorial writer and energetic news gatherer. In
county there have been more polished writers, deeper thinkers, men with
dispositions, and many who in various single details excelled
Piper in their newspaper work, but during the entire history of the
county there have been none who can show such a long period of continued
newspaper success and so great financial returns for their efforts as this
man. Active in
politics, influential in the councils of his chosen political
party-the Republican—he was a man to be reckoned with in every political
contest and feared and loved as the life of the
aspirant for political honors
up to the Mail's standard of honesty. He was certainly in his
element as a
newspaper man and made the Mail a success in every way
from the start. He wielded a wide influence in
politics and made money.
His reputation as a newspaper man was state wide, the Mail ranking with the best weekly newspapers in the state. Mr. Piper's aggressive combativeness made him a good many enemies, but these, with his many friends, will think rather of his ability and merits. He was prominent in county politics—his support being sought after and his opposition feared. He held many offices, among them mayor of Sheldon and postmaster at the same place. He was at one time candidate for state senator and his county loyally supported him, but he failed to secure the nomination. He was many times a delegate to legislative, senatorial, congressional and state conventions of the Republican party. His ability to attract business to his paper was phenomenal. While his paper was published he never lacked advertising patronage. His methods of securing business were sure and effectual.
His columns were always well patronized and his subscription lists grew. Never while he published the Mail did any paper in the county exceed it in its list of subscribers. At all times he had the best equipped printing office in the county. Prior to 1878 advertised lists of lands in this county to be sold for taxes had been set up in Des Moines or Sioux City, printed as a supplement and included in the regular editions of the paper. Clouds of doubt as to validity of these tax sales had been cast by such methods, as it was uncertain whether it was a legitimate publication under the provisions of the law, but the entire matter, seven columns in length, was set up in the Mail office and printed in the regular edition of the Mail for that year. By 1880 he had a one-thousand-two-hundred-dollar power printing press and that was considered a marvel of mechanics in those days. In 1887, during the continued hard winter, when for weeks at a time the rail-
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 297
roads were blockaded and when the
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul did not
run a train into Sheldon for
nearly three months, the paper suffered for
"print" paper to get out its edition. Telegrams sent to Sioux City brought
reply from Perkins Brothers: "Haven't a bundle of print in the house.
help us." St. Paul telegraphed that no express company would accept
shipments for the snow bound district and in March, 1881, the paper was
compelled to issue to its subscribers two editions of limited size, printed
paper. In January, 1898, to relieve himself of some of the
printing office work. Mr. Piper took into the business C. P. Miller
and Win S. Ayers, who had been associated with him in the mechanical
department of the paper, and the business was incorporated under the name
Piper, Miller & Ayers. Later, after the death of Mr. Piper, the business
by his son, R. B. Piper, with whom was associated J. E.
Wyckoff and conducted under the corporate name of Mail Printing Company. Enlargements of the mechanical department and addition of expensive equipment did not prove a profitable investment and the business
finally disposed of to C. M. Stearns. Later it was transferred to C. O.
Button and W. A. Eddington, the former having active charge of the conduct of the
paper. By special campaigns he greatly increased the subscription list and sold the paper in 1913 to Paul C. Woods, who is its present
The Sanborn Journal was conducted by Warren Walker and R. F. Hiler from 1886 to 1889. Mr. Walker, referred to in the chapter on the legal profession, was a hard worker and gave some attention to the editorial conduct of the paper, but the mechanical work was under the supervision of Mr. Hiler. The paper showed considerable enterprise and at one time published an elaborate sketch of the business interest of and exploited the advantages of O'Brien county, fully illustrating the edition with cuts of the court house, pictures of the county officials, etc.
B. F. McCormack. the versatile founder of the Sanborn Sun and original editor of the O'Brien Pioneer, who had been an active participant in the conduct of county business for many years during its early struggle for existence and shared with the early pioneers in the sorrows and joys and profits and losses of that early experience, made his second newspaper venture in Sheldon in 1879. He had been immediately prior to that date conducting a hardware store in Sheldon and the new paper, denominated the News, was first published in the second story of the building occupied by his hardware store. His brother, F. M. McCormack, and Gus Satterlee, a
298 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
employe of the Sheldon Mail, assisted in the conduct of the paper,
which was sold soon afterward to
J. F. Ford, an experienced newspaper
man who came from
Spencer, Iowa. Later Lon F. Chapin secured an
interest and he and Ford continued the conduct of the
paper until 1885.
Ford was a good newspaper man and Chapin a perfect gentleman, a polished
writer and successful
publisher. Later he was connected with a newspaper
at Sibley, at Rock Rapids, and Pasadena, California, finally retiring and
engaging in the raising of oranges in the Golden state.
The Sheldon Eagle, established by Creglow & Reynolds in 1889, has had several owners. B. H. Perkins was connected with the paper from 1891 to 1894 and again in 1896. George L. Nelson was in charge in 1894. Later the Eagle was owned by J. H. Oates. Col. M. B. Darnell, probably the most talented, educated and finished writer ever living in the county, was a frequent contributor and editorial writer. Colonel Darnell was later connected with the Sheldon Sun. He was a surviving soldier of the Civil War, had rendered valiant service in the Union army and was a resident of the county since 1883. His editorial writings raised the newspaper to its highest level of literary worth in the history of the county and when he dropped the editorial pen the county lost one of its best writers. He was a man of broad knowledge, high ideals and a command of language and literary style that attracted attention to his paper among the newspapers of the state.
The Sheldon Gazette was established by W. H. Noyes in 1895. Noyes had formerly been in the employ of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company at Sheldon, and left there to hold the office of recorder of the county at Primghar residing there for ten years. After leaving the recorder's office he conducted a store at Primghar and was later elected sheriff, holding that office four years. The Sheldon Gazette venture did not long endure and Noyes took the plant to Pine county, Minnesota, where he conducted a newspaper, was elected a member of the state Legislature, and later established a paper at Birchwood, Wisconsin. He is now in the newspaper business at Winter. Wisconsin, his son "Tommy" being his business partner.
The Sanborn Sun, the third paper established in the county by B. F. McCormack, first saw the light of day at Sanborn. As usual with the McCormack papers, it was erratic, caustic and sensational. McCormack had his own way of entertaining his readers each week and was not dependent upon news items to furnish entertainment. The paper was finally moved to Sheldon, its subscription price raised from ten cents a year to fifty cents per
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 299
annum and later to standard
newspaper price. The paper met with varying
success under the
management of H. A. Carson, J. H. Oates, H. K. Fortuin,
passing through a receivership conducted by A. J. Walsmith, the Sheldon
attorney, and was sold May i, 1907, to Hamilton & Bartz. It had been
published part of the time as a daily and Hamilton & Bartz conducted it
so for about six months, when it was returned to a weekly edition and has
proven a great financial success, taking a leading position among the papers
county. Bert Hamilton, the senior partner, is an experienced newspaper man, having been engaged in newspaper work in this county and at
Northwood, Iowa, for thirty years. Under his wise policy and careful
management the paper has been established where its power as representing
the broadest and best
policy of a Republican newspaper is fully established.
Mr. Bartz, who was associated with Mr. Hamilton for some six
1913 and the paper is now owned by Hamilton & Son.
John Whiting for a time conducted a newspaper at Sheldon, which was later transformed into a farm journal, but, proving a financial failure, it soon succumbed to the inevitable.
An old newspaper plant owned at one time by Ira Brasheers and used for the conduct of a paper at Sanborn, was purchased at mortgage sale and later used for publication of the Cycle, by "Quad Line" Kernan. Kernan was formerly of the Okalona, Mississippi, Southern States, the famous mouthpiece of the Southern Confederacy. The Cycle contained a noisy political department and achieved a reputation for dissension and strife, but had an ephemeral existence. Kernan is said to have recently died in Kansas in a county poor house. He was brilliant in his talents, but misdirected their application.
The first newspaper at Hartley, the Record, began publication in June, 1884, with T. E. Cole as editor. He was a good printer and a bright editor. After about a year the paper was leased to Allen Crossan, who had previously been employed as teacher in the public schools there. He conducted the paper for a year, purchased it and continued it for three years more and re-sold it to Mr. Cole. Will Dunn later secured a half interest in it and in 1891 C. H. Crawford, who had closed a two-year service as county superintendent of schools, took charge of the paper. In 1894 he sold to Claude Charles. The latter changed its name to the Hartley Journal. Later the paper was sold to F. M. McCormack, then leased to Ray Gleason, formerly of the Sutherland Republican, then sold to Irving A. Dove, who conducted it till 1910 when it was sold to its present owner, Eugene B. Peck.
300 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
paper in Hartley, the News, established by G. R. Gregg in
1895, lasted just ninety days and perished. The printing material used in
its publication was purchased in July, 1896, by Allen Crossan, who sold it
to George F. Robb.
C. A. Charles returned to Hartley in 1912 and began publication of the Sentinel.
Harvey Hand, the first newspaper publisher in Sutherland, commenced publication of the Courier in 1882, quickly sold to C. H. Brintnall in November, 1882. Brintnall conducted the paper till the spring of 1884, when he sold to Bert Hamilton, who had been living at Sutherland for some time previously and connected with the paper. Hamilton was an expert printer and newspaper man and wielded a large influence in county politics, proving a forceful writer and active Republican. For many years he has been actively connected with the Republican county organization. In September, 1893, he sold the paper to W. H. Bloom. The latter was a fine writer, a gentleman and profound thinker, but a poor business man. His health failed and he died in 1904. His wife continued the conduct of the paper with marked ability until the end of 1905, when the plant was sold to A. G. Warren. Warren conducted it for three years and it was successively sold to Mort E. Nicol, G.H. Vos, Joe A. Moore and finally, in March, 1910, to Sam S. Sherman. The latter was a man who immediately made his impress on the political complexion of the county. Stubborn and persistent and positive in his opinions, he brooked no deviation from his expressed determinations and many are the newspaper controversies stirred up by him. A bright writer, and finally a true blue "Bull Mooser" in his political affiliations, he retired in November, 1913, leaving a fame that will not soon die.
J. N. Slick, for thirty years a merchant in Sutherland, and his son-inlaw, McFarland, succeeded to the paper and are now publishing a clean sheet, all home print and full of local news.
The Review, and later the Republican, were other Sutherland papers of ephemeral existence. Ray Gleason, Fred Pratt and G. E. Hirleman were connected with these publications.
In 1906 D. H. Murphy established the Calumet Clipper, which was of short life. The Independent, established by Lloyd Harris in 1912, was sold to M. M. Magner in 1913 and is now conducted by M. B. Royer.
The Woman's Standard, published in the interest of the political rights of women, was conducted by Roma W. Woods at Sutherland during the years 1897 and 1898. Mrs. Woods has been a frequent contributor to the
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 301
county papers, active in the organization of woman's clubs and assisting in
the conduct thereof. She is
highly educated, talented, a ready writer and
attractive in her
newspaper style. Under her conduct the Standard attracted
considerable attention and was a
strong force in establishing recognition of
the cause it espoused. The paper was the official organ of the Iowa
On this March 10, 1914, just as this history is ready to go to press. the first number of a daily newspaper named the Daily Sheldon Record is issued and published by the Sheldon Printing and Publishing Company and conducted by Bruce A. Truman as editor. It is Democratic in politics. It is an eight-page seven-column paper, all in ample proportions. This is not, however, the first attempt at a daily paper in the county. B. F. McCormack issued the Sheldon Sun for a short time as a daily. While it had eight pages, it was but a small folder of three columns per page. Mr. McCormack himself humorously referred to it as his "Daily Postage Stamp."