History of Oregon Newspapers/Sherman County
Moro.-Moro's first newspaper was the Observer, moved from Wasco in July 1891 by J. B. Hosford. Mr. Hosford associated with him E M. Shutt, who was in charge of the paper for several months, and on December i, 1892, Mr. Hosford leased the paper to F. M. Bixby. January 3 of the next year Clyde Williams took over the Observer for Mr. Hosford. Changes had been rapid on the newspaper in the last two or three years; but June 7, 1894, D. C. Ireland, then a veteran of thirty years in Oregon journalism, with his sons, C. L. and F. C., purchased the Observer, and remained with it until his death in 1913. In his salutatory Ireland invited "all men of a progressive and enterprising spirit irrespective of political preference to make the Observer office frequent visits, to the end that we may become well acquainted with one another."
Dissatisfaction with the Observer among some of the business men of Moro resulted in the launching, March 2, 1898, of the weekly Leader, a Republican eight-column folio, with L. H. Hunting editor. M. Fitzmaurice soon succeeded Hunting as editor. Then William Holder purchased the Leader and moved it, in April 1900, to Shaniko, where he launched the Shaniko Leader. For a time, in fact, there were three newspapers in the little town of Moro, for the People's Republic, launched in 1898, seems to have shuttled back and forth between Moro and Wasco that year. W. J. Peddicord, county superintendent, edited the Republic at Wasco. In July, 1898, the Republic was taken back to Moro, and the Observer, the Leader, and the Republic existed side by side in Moro until the Leader moved away.
In December 1900 (170) V. C. Brock of Wasco and G. E. Kellogg of Moro formed a partnership for the publication of the two papers, the Wasco News and the Moro Republic. Both papers were printed at Wasco, but the Republic maintained an office at Moro Land notices explain the existence of so many newspapers in such a small town. But even these could not maintain so many publications, and the Republic soon was merged into the News under the title of the Wasco paper.
The Leader had been moved to Shaniko, but with the departure of the Republic Mr. Holder thought he saw an opportunity and moved the Shaniko plant back to Moro, starting the Moro Bulletin in April 1902 (171) as a four-page six-column paper. He soon raised it to a seven-column, but it failed to thrive in the face of the Observer's competition and suspended November 21, 1902.
This left the Observer, under the direction of the Ireland family, in sole possession of the field. After the death of his father, in 1913, C. L. Ireland continued publication of the paper, his brother F. C. having sold out ten years before. The new publisher, who now conducts the Pioneer at Molalla, has spent more than half a century in Oregon journalism, beginning, when he was 13 years old, with the publication, in his father's Pioneer office in Astoria, of the Early Bird. Starting in 1888, he kept the little publication going more than a year.
The Observer was purchased by Giles L. French of the Grass Valley Journal in 1931 and the papers were combined and published at Moro as the Sherman County Journal. French also took over the Sherman County News, from Asa Richelderfer and changed the name back to the Wasco News-Enterprise. He had both papers set in the Journal office at Moro. The News-Enterprise finally (March 4, 1932) was combined with the Sherman County Journal. The Journal, directed by Mr. and Mrs. French, is now the only newspaper in the county.
Grass Valley.—W. I. Westerfield did not found the Grass Valley Journal, but he conducted it longer than all other persons combined The paper was launched as an Independent Republican sheet November 12, 1897, by the Journal Publishing Company, with C. E. Brown as editor. The next July the Grass Valley Publishing Company was formed with a capitalization of $2,000 by C. E. Brown, George W. Bourhill, and J. H. Smith as incorporators, William Holder, C. W. Moore, and J. D. Wilcox as stockholders. Mr. Westerfield succeeded Mr. Brown as editor before the end of the year, and November 18, 1898, he leased the plant, purchasing the paper four years later (February 24, 1902). He continued to edit and publish the Journal until his death in 1923, and the paper was continued by his widow for several years.
The Westerfields were succeeded at the helm by Giles L. French, who purchased the Journal in 1929, beginning a career which, in five years, was to make him the only publisher in Sherman county and a member of the legislature. He is (1939) a member of the state house of representatives.
Wasco.—Sherman county's first newspaper was the Wasco Observer, still published but now a part of the Sherman County Journal at Moro. Publishers were C. J. Bright and R. B. McMillan, who kept the paper independent in politics. The purpose was to do the printing for the new county to be carved out of Wasco county and to carry the other business incidental to the county seat's development. The proposed county had at the time 1400 population and no news paper within its boundaries until the launching of the Observer.
The first issue of the Observer came off the press November 2, 1888 (172). The next April Mr. Bright retired from the firm, having been elected superintendent of schools in the new county. For a short time the paper was edited by D. C. Ireland, then it was sold by Mr. McMillan to J. B. Hosford in February 1890, and in July 1891 Mr. Hosford moved the plant to Moro.
Meanwhile, in July 1891, J. M. Cummins, formerly of the Goldendale (Wash.) Courier, and Dr. H. E. Beers launched the News at Wasco, taking the place of the Observer. In August of the next year the paper was leased to Frank M. Bixby, and in the following November James W. Armsworthy, who had started his newspaper career on the old Observer and was now a printer in Portland, bought the News. He was an indefatigable newsgatherer, and his work was which said Armsworthy was praised by the Times-Mountaineer, jovial and popular.
V. C. Brock became a partner in October 1897, and the partners made the paper a five-column eight-page publication. In 1899 the paper came into the possession of Lucius Clark and A. H. Kennedy. February 13 of the next year Norman Draper took over the Nevus with Brock as editor. Within the next year and a half the paper had three sets of publishers—A. S. McDonald, Pound & Morris, and G. E. Kellogg. J. W. Allen and M. P. Morgan purchased the paper in the spring of 1904, and that fall Mr. Allen became sole proprietor, continuing for several years. He was followed by Day & Walker (1907) and R. R. Flint (1909).
In the 1910 Ayer's newspaper annual, the News is listed as the News-Enterprise, with S. J. Sims as editor. Apparently there had been a consolidation with another newspaper. Under this new name the paper ran along under successive editors—Roy S. Blodgett, F. E. Pierce, C. M. Snider (1916-1924), Clarence Anderson (to 1928). The next editor and publisher, Charles A. Adsit, changed the name back to the Sherman County News. In 1930 Anderson was back for a year, then Paul Robinson and A. R. McCall bought the paper. It was soon sold to Asa Richelderfer and acquired by Giles French in 1932. Mr. French combined it with the Sherman County Journal under the Journal name at Moro.
In 1905 (173) Sherman county had four newspapers—the Sherman County Observer at Moro, published by D. C. Ireland & Sons; the News, published at Wasco by J. W. Allen; the Journal at Grass Valley, published by W. I. Westerfield, and the Recorder, published in the little village of Kent by E. H. Brown. There was also a Catholic quarterly, the Oregon Messenger and Parishioners' Guide, published by Rev. M. J. Hickey from the office of the Wasco News.