History of Oregon Newspapers/Lincoln County
Newport and Toledo.—The little settlement of Yaquina is not much more than a post office now, but it has its history. For here was launched, back in 1882, the first newspaper in what was to be Lincoln county; and here too was established, five years later, with Yaquina Bay men among the leaders, the Oregon Press Association, which, under a succession of names, has come down to the present as the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association (145).
Coll Van Cleve, well-known old Oregon journalist, was the founder of Lincoln county's first newspaper, the Post, a weekly, issued on Saturdays. Yaquina's population was more in prospect than in actuality, but there was plenty of hope, for not only was Oregon's timber industry beginning to be developed intensively, but the rail road was coming in—and, too, Yaquina was to be a transcontinental terminus, for didn't the promoters say so?
Van Cleve went from the Register at Albany to Yaquina City. There he started the Yaquina Post in 1882. His half-brother, Ed. M. Mack, veteran printer, who now lives in Portland, recalls setting the paper up in 10-point. Van Cleve, partly out of pride for his halfbrother's typesetting speed and partly to attract typographical talent to the office, used to run an ad challenging anyone who thought he could beat Eddie Mack setting type.
Van Cleve, through good times and the great preponderance of bad, kept his little paper going in the same location for 14 years. This, in those days, was something. By 1887 population, business, land office publications, and hope had developed to the extent where he was able to issue a small daily as well as his larger weekly. Other towns in the bay region began to grow, but Yaquina didn't quite get going, and soon the daily stopped, and Van Cleve, in 1889, hooked up the Post with the Scio (Linn County) Press, printing them both at Yaquina.
Yaquina's hopes from the railroad, like those of all the other towns in Benton and Linn counties, proved illusory. The railroad out through Corvallis had been built, and the roundhouse was establish ed at Yaquina. But, with business as light as it was, this didn't mean much. The citizens of Corvallis and Benton county had contributed money, goods, and labor to the extent of $100,000 to the Corvallis & Eastern; and when the promoters had finished, the line, partly constructed, which had become an $18,000,000 project, was sold by receivers for $100,000. The original contributors lost their money (146).
But Van Cleve was not the only hopeful journalist to bet on Yaquina Bay. Samuel Case established the Yaquina Mail, a Saturday weekly, at Newport in 1884, and J. H. Aldrich, experienced newspaper man from Iowa, father of Edwin B. Aldrich, editor of the East Oregonian and member of the State Highway Commission, launched the Newport News in the same town as a Tuesday Democratic paper in 1886. Neither of these papers proved permanent. In 1887 E. C. Phelps was editing the Mail, but it died soon afterward. Aldrich carried on his paper until 1889. Development was not meeting expectations.
C. D. Ullmer entered the picture with another Newport paper, the Yaquina Republican, in 1888, issuing on Thursdays. The paper lived three years.
In the depression year of 1893 came the founding of the two newspapers which have come on down to the present. February 20 saw the official establishment of the new county of Lincoln, and this event no doubt is responsible for the two successful journalistic ventures.
The Yaquina Bay News came first, by a matter of five weeks, for it was launched February 2, at Newport, while the Lincoln County Leader was started in the up-river town of Toledo March 9.
By that time the other Newport papers had faded out, but Van Cleve was conducting the Post at Toledo.
The News, edited by John E. Matthews, was not received with tremendous acclaim in its opening days. Other papers had died, the railroad was in the receiver's hands, and the idea of a local paper in such a small place was regarded as just not good sense. But the paper is st running, in the hands of the same family as started it. The paper was for Republicanism and prohibition; still is. The News started and has been, most of the time, a seven-column, 13-em paper. The early editions had two of the four pages "patent," shipped in from Portland by Palmer & Rey, and later, American Type Founders. Times were dull, and of the 28 columns only 3 were devoted to advertising. The subscription rate of $1.50 was none too easy to get. In 1905 Capt. William Matthews succeeded his father in the editorship. J. E. Matthews died March 23, 1935, after an active connection of 38 years with the News, having been inactive only during the last few years.
The Newport Journal, a Wednesday weekly, was started by Robert E. Davey in 1925. Mr. Davey is assisted by his wife, who is linotype operator.
The Lincoln County Leader, of Toledo, began its 47th year March 9, 1939. J. F. Stewart was running the World at Woodburn in opposition to the Independent, and when the new county was established he saw a chance to get away from his competition and grow into a promising field. He visited Toledo, looked the situation over, and March 9 he was out with volume 1, No. 1 of the Lincoln County Leader. The streets of the young town were mud roads, population was scant, and the place had little but its hopes. Yaquina, the railroad terminal, was still the leading commercial town on the bay; Newport had its developing tourist trade, and even they were not prosperous newspaper towns; Yaquina's papers, in fact, had departed. But Toledo had been awarded the county seat, and this was enough for Stewart; he started the Leader.
The plant was rudimentary; a little old "army" press set on a dry goods box printed one page at a time after the type had been set by hand by the "kid" typesetter (147). Mr. Stewart continued with the Leader until 1898, retiring to become county judge. Later owners have been Wesley L. Davis, Charles and Ada Soule, R. E. Collins and F. N. Hayden, Hall Bros. (G. W. Hall editor), then Howell (R. H.), Cooter (J. E.), and Collins.
The Lincoln County Herald was established by R. E. Collins in 1926, when Hall Brothers were conducting the Leader, with Willoughby (G. W.) Hall editor. In 1927 a stock company took over the two papers and consolidated them as the Lincoln County Leader. J. E. Cooter, speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1935 session, became publisher with R. H. Howell editor and manager. Shortly afterward the Howells, R. H. and his wife (Edith Harrison), bought out the other stockholders. Since the death of her husband in October 1937 Mrs. Howell has been conducting the paper. Mr. Howell was active in civic affairs in Toledo, having been city superintendent of schools for several years and mayor for six years.
In the meantime several other Yaquina Bay papers have come and gone. The Reporter, an independent Republican weekly, was started in Toledo in 1902 by C. E. Hawkins and B. Crosmo, who ran it for three years. They were succeeded by Almon B. Clark, in 1906. The paper was suspended in 1908.
John Fleming Wilson, former member of the Portland Telegram staff and a well-known short-story writer, established the Yaquina Signal at Newport in 1908. The next year he sold it to H. G. Guild, Oregon newspaper veteran, who remained about a year. The paper was gone when the material for Ayer's 1910 directory was gathered.
Waldport.—Waldport journalism goes back to 1917, when the Pacific Herald was established. Among the editors up to 1926 were E. C. and A. H. Wells. A. H. Wells was directing the paper in 1926, when it was merged with the Waldport Tribune, started in 1925 by H. G. Sasse. Mr. Sasse conducted the Tribune until 1934. Present publisher is M. I. Brown.
Delake and Nelscott.—The North Lincoln Coast Guard, one of a good many beach-town papers started in recent years, was launched in 1932 and was successfully maintained for several years as a Thurs day weekly by R. E. Collins, formerly of Waldport, and Mrs. Collins. They installed a linotype in 1935. The latest change (1939) was the purchase of the Guard from Maurice Nelson, latest owner, by G. G. Sittser Jr. and C. D. Hughes, publishers of the Beach Resort News at Delake, a 13-year-old publication. The merged paper, the Coast Guard and News, will be published at the Delake plant.
Yaquina City, ambitious little railroad terminal of the 80's and early 90's, was the scene of the organization of the Oregon Press Association, which has evolved into the present Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. The year was 1887, when the young state was swinging out of pioneer conditions toward the modern and when the number of Oregon publications was, roughly, half of what it is today.
There had been, as told elsewhere in this work, a previous organization, the State Editorial Association, formed in Salem in 1878.
The effort of 1887 appears to have been the first real drive for another organization since that time; and under more favorable conditions, the organization survived and prospered.
Yaquina Bay in 1887 was a popular spot. The railroad activity had combined with the attractions of beach and bay, to bring there in that summer a group of newspaper men on vacation. A call was issued by three of these for an organization meeting for an editorial association. The trio were J. R. N. Bell, editor of the Roseburg Review; Martin L. Pipes, editor of the Benton Leader, Corvallis, and Coll Van Cleve, publisher of the Yaquina Post (148).
Pursuant to the call, the following persons met at Yaquina City August 12, 1887:
J. R. Whitney, Herald, Albany
M. L. Pipes, Benton Leader, Corvallis
J. R. N. Bell, Review, Roseburg
Coll Van Cleve, Post, Yaquina
Charles Nickell, Times, Jacksonville
Will H. Parry, Gazette, Corvallis
J. S. McCain, Sentry, Salem
E. M. Rands, Enterprise, Oregon City
E. C. Phelps, Mail, Yaquina
S. S. Train, Herald, Albany
J. H. Aldrich, News, Newport
J. B. Fithian, World, Portland
Fred P. Nutting, Democrat, Albany
D. T. Stanley, Herald, Monmouth
P. L. Campbell, West Side, Independence
Robert Johnson, Corvallis, (later founder of the Times)
Frank Hodgkin, Salem
W. A. Wash, Dallas, (later editor of the Observer)
I. L. Campbell, Guard, Eugene
Enrolled by letter:
J. M. Shepherd, Sage Brush, Baker City
T. J. Stites, Democrat, Albany
A. Noltner, World, Portland.
Beach & Beach [Frank W. and Seneca C.], Examiner, Lakeview
I. L. Mahieu, Courier, Oregon City
A. C. A. Perkes, Journal of Commerce, Portland
W. F. Benjamin, Plaindealer, Roseburg
J. F. Halloran, Astorian, Astoria
L. Samuel, West Shore, Portland
D. I. Asbury, Grant County News, Canyon City
H. G. Guild, Appeal, Silverton
W. W. Baker, Rural Spirit, Portland
R. J. Hendricks, Statesman, Salem
M. G. Munly, Catholic Sentinel, Portland
Sutherland & Burnett, Sunday Welcome, Portland
D. C. Ireland, Pioneer, Astoria
E. Casey, Pacific Farmer, Portland
Of all this group D. C. Ireland and Charles Nickell were the only ones who had been in attendance on the organization of the 1878 association. Ireland was then on the Astorian, and Nickell at Jacksonville.
Permanent organization was effected, with Martin L. Pipes, president; J. M. Shepherd and R. J. Hendricks, vice-presidents; Charles Nickell, secretary; S. S. Train, treasurer; and J. S. McCain, sergeant-at-arms.
At a special meeting held at Albany October 14 of the same year Edgar B. Piper of the Statesman, Salem; Frank C. Baker, state printer, and representatives of the Willamette Farmer and Rural Spirit, Portland; Asahel Bush, Salem, and James O'Meara, Portland, were elected honorary members.
Presidents of the association have been, successively, since 1888:
J. R. N. Bell, Review, Roseburg; Charles Nickell, Times, Jacksonville; L. Samuel, West Shore, Portland; A. Noltner, World, Portland; James B. Eddy, Tribune, Pendleton; Ira L. Campbell, Guard, Eugene; John R. Beegle, Mist, St. Helens; C. C. Doughty, Observer, Dallas; A. W. Patterson, Gazette, Heppner; George B. Small, Democrat, Baker City; D. M. C. Gault, Independent, Hillsboro; James S. Stewart, Journal, Fossil; Albert N. Fisher, Pacific Christian Advocate, Portland; Frank S. Harding, McMinnville; Arthur Conklin, Mining Journal, Grants Pass; S. L. Moorhead Times, Junction City; R. J. Hendricks, Statesman, Salem; J. C. Hayter, Observer, Dallas; C. L. Ireland, Observer, Moro; E. H. Woodward, Graphic, Newberg; J. S. Dellinger, Astorian; George Putnam, Tribune, Medford; George M. Cornwall, Timberman, Portland; E. Hofer, Capital Journal, Salem (two successive elections); Elbert Bede, Cottage Grove Sentinel; E. E. Brodie, Enterprise, Oregon City (three successive elections); A. E. Voorhies, Courier, Grants Pass; C. E. Ingalls, Gazette-Times, Corvallis (three successive elections); Elbert Bede, Sentinel, Cottage Grove (two successive elections); Hal E. Hoss, Enterprise, Oregon City (two successive elections); A. L. Mallery, Tribune, Oakland (two successive elections); R. W. Sawyer, Bulletin, Bend (two successive elections); George K. Aiken, Argus, Ontario; Ralph R. Cronise, Democrat-Herald, Albany.
Albert Tozier, of Pythias, Portland, was elected secretary 15 successive times, from 1892 to 1906 inclusive.
A local organization, the Willamette Valley Editorial Association, organized in 1916 with Will Hornibrook of the Albany Democrat president, was transformed, in 1919 to the Oregon Newspaper Conference, to meet annually at the University of Oregon School of Journalism. The last two years of the Willamette Valley Association C. E. Ingalls was president; and the presidents of the Conference, name of which was changed in 1928 to the Oregon Press Conference, follow, in order: S. C. Morton, Mist, St. Helens; Carle Abrams, Statesman, Salem; Robert W. Sawyer, Bulletin, Bend; L. D. Drake, Budget, Astoria; George P. Cheney, Record Chieftain, Enterprise; Edgar McDaniel, Harbor, North Bend; George K. Aiken, Argus, Ontario; J. D. Thomison, Glacier, Hood River; Ralph R. Cronise, Democrat-Herald, Albany; Frank B. Appleby, Observer, La Grande; Earle Richardson, Itemizer-Observer, Dallas; Louis D. Felsheim, Western World, Bandon; Ben R. Litfin, Chronicle, The Dalles; Thomas Nelson, Times, Junction City; Merle R. Chessman, Astorian-Budget, Astoria; Frank J. Wheeler, Eagle, Milton; Robert W. Ruhl, Mail Tribune, Medford; Lars E. Bladine, Telephone Register, McMinnville.
Elbert Bede, Sentinel, Cottage Grove, was the first secretary of the conference. The next year and in successive years since, George Turnbull, School of Journalism, has been elected secretary.
Programs of both association and conference, which works in close cooperation with the association, have been recognized as contributing materially to the recognized high standards of the newspapers of Oregon.
The efficiency of the association in promoting the best interests of the membership has been multiplied, in the opinion of the membership, by the work of the field secretaries. Harris Ellsworth, now editor of the Roseburg News-Review, was chosen the first field manager in 1927, succeeded by Arne Rae, editor of the Tillamook Herald, in 1929. In 1939. Mr. Rae, who had moved up to be executive secretary of the National Editorial Association, was succeeded by Harry S. Schenk, who had been advertising manager of the McMinnville Telephone Register.