Read a selection of newspaper articles from the past.

Source: reprint of "Clarke County History", Lewis Pub., Chicago, 1886. p 242-244.

In Clarke County, journalism has kept pace in the march of improvement with other professions and industries. The wide circulation of these papers at present published, and the large number of outside papers that are taken here, afford the best possible evidence that the people are intelligent, enterprising and progressive. In Osceola alone 100 copies of outside daily papers are distributed every day by the newsdealer, and many come by mail direct to subscribers.

Osceola Sentinel

The oldest paper published in Clarke County is the Osceola Sentinel. This was established July 30, 1859, the precise date not being ascertainable, by Pike & Oldham. They called it then the Courier. (According to an article in the Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951 G.L. Pike and T. R. Oldham started it on July 30,1859, with an old press they hauled from Chariton with an ox team.)

After they had been in control nearly three years, they sold the office to J.H. Caverly, who published the Courier for a year or two longer, and then, January 1, 1863, changed its name to the Union Sentinel, thereby to accord more fully with the patriotic ideas of the community. The civil war was then in progress, and its influence pervaded the commonest events of daily life. The name, Union Sentinel, was appropriate, for its voice was strong and clear for the Union, and in support of the administration of President Lincoln. Some three years after the close of the war the name was changed to Clarke County Sentinel, and a few years later the present title, Osceola Sentinel, was adopted.

Mr. Caverly sold out in 1867 to J.B. Dague, who soon after received J.C. Stockton in partnership. There have been numerous changes of proprietorship since. Mr. Stockton disposed of his interest to Milo A. Thompson, and he in turn sold to R.A. Dague. The firm of Dague Brothers continued until 1872, and then sold to Hunter Brothers, whose proprietorship was of short duration. The next owner was J.J. Steadman, now of the Council Bluffs Nonpareil. He sold a one-half interest to S.M. Leach, who is now a banker of Adel, Dallas County. When Mr. Steadman retired, R.A. Dague succeeded to his place, and the firm became Leach & Dague. The latter's share was next the property of B.L. Harding, and the paper was issued under the name of S.M. Leach & Co. R.A. Dague's name next appeared in place of that of Mr. Leach, and he afterward sold to Pierce & Lucas. (Jim Pierce became the founder of the Iowa Homestead, now Wallace's Farmer and Iowa Homestead.--Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951, sec. 4, p.1.) Mr Harding sold his interest to Henry Stivers, and in November, 1885, the latter became sole proprietor.

The Sentinel's existence dates back to an early period in the history of the Republican party, to whose interests it has always been true. It has been the official paper of the county ever since its establishment. The paper and its appurtenances were once valued at $1,500, but the last transfer of the paper to Mr. Stivers' hands, was made on a valuation of $7,000. The paper is issued on Thursdays, and is an eight-column folio. Its subscription price if $1.50 per year. The circulation is 1,300, and still increasing.

(Osceola Centennial Issue 1851-1951 adds this further information:

Pierce and Lucas sold to W.G. Agnew and C.W. White who operated the business until February, 1891, when Miss Mary Osmond and F.L. Guches became equal partners. Miss Osmond edited the paper until 1895 when Guches became sole owner. In 1905 H.D. Copeland and Joe L. Long purchased the property from Guches and soon after that Long bought Copeland's interest. Joe is now secretary of the Iowa Tax Payers association in Des Moines, a position he has held for many years. A brother, Dave, who was associated with his brother in the business here, is now a member of the Iowa Commerce commission. The Longs sold to F.M. Abbott and Scott Skinner of Creston in February, 1912. In 1923 F. L. Abbott purchased a third interest in the company and this relationship continued until September, 1929, when J.M. Grimes became the sole owner.)


Osceola Democrat

J.M. Estes established the New Era in 1873, and published it as a Democratic weekly until the spring of 1878, when G.C. Miller took charge and changed the name to that now used. The present proprietors, J.W. & J.H. Sherman, succeeded Mr. Miller in November, 1879. It is at present the only Democratic paper in the county. The Democrat was originally a seven-column folio, but under the present management has been made a five-column quarto. It goes to press on Wednesday, and is distributed and dated Thursday. The subscription price if $1.50 per year. It is due to Sherman Brothers to say that when they undertook the management of the Democrat it was in bad condition financially, and unpopular among the people; but they have made it more than self-sustaining, raised its circulation to 900 in this county alone, and in every way improved its character. Sherman Brothers have been connected with four papers-- Leon Reporter, Newton Independent, Bonaparte Journal and the Osceola Democrat.

The Saturday Mail

was established March 27, 1886, by J.Y. Stier, and is consequently the youngest of the four papers now published in Clarke County. It is in politics independent, and has made a very favorable start, having an increasing subscription list. It is a five-column quarto, and is publsihed on Saturdays, at $1.25 per year.

Murray News

The first paper at Murray was the Record, established by J.E. Wick, and by him run for a short time. This was succeeded by the News, the first number of which was issued about April 1, 1876, by B.L. Harding. He was followed in a year or so, by J.F. Bishop, who lived at Afton, and performed his editorial work at that place. The next proprietors were the Bird Brothers, who in 1879, sold to H.D. Crawford. He afterward received into partnership William Farner. In 1881 Crawford disposed of his interest to J.D. Martindale, and Farner sold his share to E.T. Dufur. The firm of Martindale & Dufur existed one year, and then Mr. Martindale became sole proprietor. The News is politically a Republican paper. It is a seven-column folio, issued onWednesdays, at $1.50 per year.

The Woodburn Argus

was the only attempt at journalism at the village of Woodburn. Stier & Mills were the publshers, and the first number appeared January 15, 1885. It was a six-column folio, issued on Thursdays, at $1 a year, and independent in politics. It was discontinued May 1, 1886, the subscribers whose time had not expired being put on the books of the Saturday Mail, which, as before stated, was started at Osceola in March, 1886, by Mr. Stier.

Other Journals

Several others have been established at Osceola, but none succeeded in winning sufficient support to warrant their permanency. The first of these, and the longest-lived, was the Republican, founded by a stock comany in 1868, and edited by Allen H. Burrows, now deceased, for two years and one month, until suspended. Then the Democrat, founded about 1870, was published two years by G.N. Udell, now of Leon. The Osceola Beacon was afterward established by Ayres & Miller, who published it a year or so. The material was then purchased by Rev. Robbins and George Bumgartner, who started the Iowa Baptist. This was finally removed to Des Moines. The Democrat Advocate was started in 1880, and lived less than a year. Its editor was D.M. Lyons, who had been connected with the Des Moines press.


Osceola Sentinel, April 14, 1909

(This is an abstract of a larger article reviewing the history of the county.)

Osceola Sentinel, Osceola Democrat, Murray News, & Woodburn Record

The first newspaper in Osceola was The Osceola Sentinel, established in 1859 by Pike & Oldham. It espoused the principles of Republicanism and did a loyal work in the war of 1861-65. It has remained a staunch Republican newspaper to this date and has been built into one of the substantial institutions of the county. F. L. Guches is now editor and owner of it. There has been various newspapers established living from three months to three years but only one beside The Sentinel survived--The Osceola Democrat, established by J. M. Estes as the New Era in 1873. It is now owned by Henry Stivers, who is making it a vigorous exponent of Democratic doctrine. The other newspapers in the county are the News at Murray owned by P. E. Smith and the Record at Woodburn, owned by E. B. Stevens.

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