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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Walter H. Beall
By a life consistent in motive and action and because of many commendable personal attributes, Walter H. Beall, publisher of the West Union Argo Gazette, has earned the sincere regard of all who know him, and because of his prominence in the public. business and social life of Fayette county, his name needs no introduction here. He was born in Mt.. Ayr, Iowa October 20, 1871. His father, Ithamer S. Beall, of Pennsylvania parentage and Maryland stock, was born in Ohio. and came to Ringgold county, Iowa, in 1856. His mother, Charlotte Swan. of Massachusetts stock and parentage, was born in Maine and came to Ringgold county, in 1857, They were married in 1858, and became the parents of four children, of whom the eldest daughter died in infancy; Mrs. W. W. Moffatt and R. S. Beall live at Mt. Ayr, Iowa; and the subject of this sketch lived in or near that town practically all his life until he located in West Union in March, 1907. R. S. Beall died in 1876, and his widow still resides at Mt. Ayr.
Walter H. Beall was educated in the country and Mt. Ayr town schools, and spent three years in Simpson College at Indianola, but did not graduate. A year, 1891-2, between two years at college was spent in Des Moines as stenographer, and in June, 1893, he was taken into partnership by his brother in the business of publishing the Mt. Ayr Weekly News, a paper established by T. F. Armstrong a year before, their mother supplying the means for the Venture. Neither of the brothers had previous experience in the business, but Walter H. has never followed any other line of business than that of a local newspaper since he first embarked therein. He was responsible for the organization of the Southwestern Iowa Editorial Association (now the Southern Iowa Editorial Association), proposing the idea and enlisting the co-operation of other editors of that town in inviting the newspaper men of southwestern Iowa to corne to Mt. Ayr and organize, which was done in 1901. In 1894 the News was changed to a semi-weekly and so continued for thirteen years under the name Twice-a-Week News, enjoying fair prosperity, which greatly increased in 1905-6-7, until an advantageous sale was made and the business disposed of March 1, 1907. R. S. Beall had retired from the firm in 1899, the younger brother conducting the business from that time until he sold the paper eight years later.
A business visit to West Union in 1905 impressed Mr. Beall with the merits of the community, and three days after he gave up possession of the News at Mt. Ayr he was in West Union, owning the Argo and engaged in its publication, in which he has since continued. The Argo was founded in 1881 by Hobson Brothers. In April, 1910, he purchased the Gazette, founded in 1867 by Charles H. Talmadge, combining the two under the title Argo-Gazette. He has rendered it a potent factor in shaping public opinion and in fostering such movements as make for the general good of the community.
Mr. Beall is a Republican, with a firm belief in progressive policies, and has taken a more or less active part in the politics ever since 1899. He has never aspired to office, his sole ambition. being to be known as the publisher of a first-class local newspaper. He is chairman of the Fayette county Republican committee.
Mr. Beall was married June 30, 1897, to Maude Talley, also the child of pioneer people of Ringgold county, B. F. and Sarah C. Keller Talley. Mr. Talley died in September, 1907, Mrs. Talley now residing in West Union.
Mr. and Mrs. Beall have an adopted son, Laurence, born in 1899. A previous foster son, Harold, died in 1905. Mrs. Beall's nephew, Tru Talley, also made his home with them during the first six years of their married life. Mr. and Mrs. Beall have both been members of the Methodist church since childhood. Mrs. Beall carries much of the responsibility of the Argo management, being as familiar with the conduct of a country newspaper as is her husband.
By close application to business and judicious management, he has made the Argo-Gazette one of the best papers of its type in eastern Iowa. Its columns teem with the brightest and best news of the day, and its mechanical appearance is all that could be desired. It has been rendered valuable as an advertising medium, and its circulation is rapidly increasing. Mr. Beall is known to be a man of high integrity and honor and is deserving of the high esteem which is freely accorded him by everyone, having the confidence and good will of all.
~transcribed by Cheryl L. Walker for Fayette County IAGenWeb
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