History of Oregon Newspapers/Umatilla County
Umatilla.—Umatilla county journalism started in the little hamlet of Umatilla, at the confluence of the river of that name and the Columbia. This was in April 1865, when Nelson Whitney purchased and shipped the plant of the defunct Portland Times up the river and started the Umatilla Advertiser, an independent newspaper, soon changed to Republican. (86).
In December, 1866, Avery & Dow started the Columbia Press, changing the name soon to the Umatilla Press. This gave the Democrats an organ in competition with the Republican Advertiser. Umatilla was the county seat of the county, organized in 1862, and was the political center of eastern Oregon at that time. Under Judge L. L. McArthur, founder of the Baker Democrat, the name was changed to the Index. The town was too small for the two papers, and the Advertiser and the Index merged under the name Advertiser. When the county seat was moved to Pendleton in 1869, the paper suspended (87).
Pendleton.—Pendleton's first newspaper was the Pendletonian, started in 1871 and running for only a short time that year. The plant was destroyed by fire, and the only relic of this paper is a little old-style jobber still preserved, used as a weight, in the office of the East Oregonian (88).
Just what the new county seat Umatilla county, and the county itself, for that matter, did for an official newspaper between 1869, when the old Umatilla Advertiser is said to have suspended, and 1871, when the Pendletonian was launched, and again from the fiery demise of the Pendletonian until 1873, when M. H. Abbott of Baker started the Eastern Oregon Tribune, neither Gilbert nor William Parsons History of Umatilla County explains.
Two years later Abbott moved his plant to The Dalles, where he launched another Eastern Oregon Tribune.
This was 1875, and in the same year, on October 16, M. P. Bull started the one Umatilla county newspaper which has come right on down to the present without suspension or change of name — the East Oregonian. Bull ran a Democratic paper, but seemed to be in danger of falling into Republican hands. Therefore, October 9, 1877, a group of faithful Tilden followers formed the East Oregonian Publishing Co. and purchased the publication. The corporation was made up of J. H. Turner, S. Rothschild, Henry Bowman, J. M. Bentley, J. W. Bowman, G. W. Webb, and A. Jacobson.
The East Oregonian, which started with a patent ready-printed outside, had a good appearance from the start, according to Parsons (89). Among the advertisers were Lot Livermore and J. H. Raley, both memorable Pendleton names. In an early issue the subscribers were assured that they would not be cheated out of their money and that a bond would be given to guarantee them against any loss. This, no doubt, had reference to the chances sometimes taken in paying a year's subscription in advance for a paper that would fold up and quit at the end of the first few months.
The Republicans had their inning in the establishment of the Pendleton Independent almost immediately afterward—January 3, 1878—by Fred Page-Tustin and I. C. Disoway, with the backing of Lot Livermore, Pendleton business man.
Files of the early Pendleton papers for their first years are incomplete. Here's a brief glimpse at the Independent, which, like the others, was still a weekly, April 24, 1879, when Fred Page-Tustin (the hyphen was there; he dropped it later) & Co. were conducting the paper. It was a four-page seven-column publication, columns 2⅓ inches wide. First page was clear of advertising, but the whole paper contained 12 columns out of the 28. In the whole paper there was not more than two or three columns of local news. So-called telegraph news, probably clipped from Portland daily papers, appeared on the first page, with one-line label heads—"Telegraphic," "Eastern States," "Army Appropriation Bill." One column of editorial appeared on page 2—less than most of the papers were running in those days. One little item told that Maud Miller, daughter of the poet Joaquin, was playing in one of the Portland theatres.
The paper had Republican leanings and soon had gone all the way over. Tustin, an Englishman, was for many years United commissioner at Pendleton and later a lawyer in Seattle. Disoway died soon after the founding of the paper, and Tustin carried on as editor until December, 1879, when E. E. Sharon and Ben S. Burroughs purchased it. Here another personal note enters in, for it happened that both the publishers were interested in the same young woman. Burroughs won, and the partners found it more difficult to get along smoothly thereafter. So Sharon retired. George Reading, an Ohio man new to both Pendleton and journalism, bought his half-interest, and under Reading & Burroughs the name of the paper was changed in 1881 to the Tribune. Mrs Burroughs, the innocent cause of this newspaper upheaval (it isn't her story, by the way, but that of other old-timers) used to help her husband in the office. He taught her to set type. She is still living in Pendleton, surrounded by her books and reputed one of the best-read and most erudite women in the community. One story she does tell, not particularly for publication, is of the time when her husband remained at the office all night handling election returns. Lack of telephone connection made the job more difficult and, incidentally, prevented Burroughs from keeping in close touch with his young bride. Finally, long past midnight, she could stand it no longer, and off she started for the office, having taken the precaution to arm herself against any rough characters, then rather numerous, by slipping the family butcherknife into her coat-pocket.
Burroughs, a new Jersey native who had learned his printing there and in Iowa, bought Reading's interest in 1882, and conducted the paper himself until January, 1887, when James B. Eddy purchased a half-interest. That same year James A. Fee bought the Burroughs interest. Mr. Burroughs later spent a good many years in Alaska, mostly in newspaper work. His last newspaper there was the Katalla Alaskan, published in a place now well-nigh forgotten, though important in the days following the 1897 Alaska gold-rush. He died in 1923.
In 1888, Mr. Eddy obtained full control of the paper.
J. H. Turner followed Bull as publisher of the E. O. Then came B. B. Bishop.
In August, 1880, there came to the paper as editor, publisher and half-owner with Turner, one of several distinguished men con nected with Pendleton journalism—Lewis Berkeley Cox, native of the District of Columbia, graduate of Washington and Lee, then of Columbia Law School at Washington, who handled the paper well despite his lack of journalistic training and experience.
Arriving in Pendleton in 1880, he entered the practice of law but soon purchased the East Oregonian, retaining ownership until February of 1882. One of his first improvements was to discard the ready-print and give his readers an all-home-printed paper. Cox, of course, was a much bigger gun in law than in journalism, in which he remained only a short time.
He ran a newsy, readable paper. News, though, was still form less to a considerable extent. Not much, apparently, was done to copy after it reached the office by way of preparing it for the reader, and the editors didn't worry much about the time element.
In the issue of Saturday, October 9, 1880, while the paper was still a weekly, there appeared, under the head of Local and Other Intelligence, a notice to the readers that there had been a terrible fire in Heppner, full particulars of which would appear next week.
The "terrible fire" was described the next week. It had occurred on the 7th, two days before the paper's mailing-date. Heppner was to about seventy miles distant. The correspondent was allowed tell his story like this:
Nothing comes to hand more punctually than the E. O., and not speaking my sentiments alone, we know it is honestly conducted.
Last Wednesday night, the 7th inst., the dwelling of William McKennon was destroyed by fire from the explosion of a kerosene lamp. Mrs. McKennon was absent at the moment of the explosion, having gone up to attend lodge and had not yet returned. The explosion took place about 10 o'clock. Mrs. McKennon and her three children narrowly escaped perishing in the flames by getting out through the window . . .
Mr. McKennon's house was insured in the Connecticut Insurance Co. for $500; the loss was about $1,000. The company will be watched in this place to see if they come to time.
Another news story which could have been made less poisonous by a little editing appeared on the 9th. Under the headline Murder Will Out the reporter in the course of the story proceeded to convict a suspect before any judge or jury could do anything in the matter, saying, in part:
We think there is no doubt but that this man is guilty of the charge and moreover sufficient has come to light to demonstrate the fact that there is a regularly organized and well drilled band of outlaws operating throughout East ern Oregon and Washington Territory, and our settlers will have to look well to their interests, as neither life nor property will be safe at their hands when want begins to press them this winter . . .
Cox sold his half-interest in the paper to Charles Christie, a young man from Portland, April 2, 1881, and published a veledictory pointing out that his venture into journalism was an experiment.
I had no practical experience in the business (he said) and had not money enough to pay the printer's devil for rolling the first issue; but I undertook to pay for it on the 15th day of November and on the 16th I paid the last dollar of my purchase price. For being able to do this, I am indebted to the kind assistance of my associate, Mr. Turner, and to the support of our patrons.
Mr. Cox explained that his first choice of profession was law and that he was unwilling to give it up, therefore had insufficient time to make the paper what he wanted it to be. . . .
Mr. Cox proceeded to explain that he personally had written whatever had appeared in the editorial columns . . . "be the same good, bad, or indifferent, I claim the authorship of it. Mr. Turner has been more than once unjustly, and without cause, criticised in an unfavorable manner for publications in the paper. He wrote nothing during my association with him and . . . had no connection with the paper editorially for a long time previous thereto."
The new editor said in his salutatory that he had a holy horror of "personal journalism," but that he would not allow anyone to attack him without at least a show of retaliation. Only a few weeks later (May 27, 1881) Christie announced his retirement on account of ill-health. The next week Turner & Cox, in a signed statement, explained that this really was the reason for his early withdrawal.
It is generally known that C. S. Jackson, noted Pendleton and Portland publisher, bought into the paper in 1882; but perhaps it is not so well known that this was after he had made a previous effort to get possession of it the previous year —when he was only 21 years old. The East Oregonian contained a friendly statement by John Hailey Jr. and C. S. Jackson explaining that they were selling the paper back to L. B. Cox, and wishing him well. A statement by will Cox in the same paper said: "Having drawn from my practice, hereafter go it alone." Thus the situation rested, with Cox running the paper, until January 20, 1882, when young Jackson was back in the picture. On page 1 there appeared the firm name Guyer & Jackson as publishers. J. A. Guyer had provided the financial backing that the young son needed. On the editorial page was a 400-word article by Cox saying he was turning the paper over to the new owners February 1.
Thus was introduced into the journalism of Pendleton and of Oregon a character which has been one of the most influential in the history of Oregon journalism—"Sam" Jackson.
C. S. Jackson was born on his father's Virginia plantation September 15, 1860. His bent toward printing was early demonstrated. When he was 16 years old his father gave him $20 to help finance a trip to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. Instead, the young Jackson used the money to buy a small hand printing-press and some type. With this he set up a little printing business, putting back into the "plant" the profits from job printing done for friends and neighbors.
Three years later young Jackson came west —oddly enough going to Pendleton in April, 1880, from Portland, a move he was to retrace later. His father gave him $250 for the trip to Oregon—and this time Sam used the money for the specified purpose. His first job in Pendleton was the agency for a stage line—and one of the best of the many Sam Jackson stories, some of which, with himself as the butt, he told over and over with evident relish, was included in an article written by Samuel G. Blythe for the "Who's Who and Why" department of the Saturday Evening Post, November 2, 1911. After relating that the young Sam thought Oregonians really had web feet, Blythe told of Sam's first job in Pendleton. "Dear Pa," the young man is said to have written, "I've got a good job. I get forty dollars a month and room and board, and I'm doing fine. Your loving son, Sam."
Three weeks later, so the story goes, Sam received this reply:
"Dear Sam: I have your letter saying you are getting forty dollars a month as stage agent. You must not keep that place, Sam. You are not worth it. Your loving father."
Jackson is supposed to have received the job because the employer thought he was as homely as Abraham Lincoln and believed such an unpromising looking youngster must, after all, be good for something.
As a publisher, a framer of editorial policies, a crusader for whatever he thought would benefit the people of Pendleton and of Oregon, there is a unanimity of praise for this son of Virginia.
Judge Norborne Berkeley, early resident, speaks (90) of Jackson's courage, generosity, and boundless energy—all of which contributed to his newspaper success. "He was entirely fearless," said Judge Berkeley. "'Sam, you ought to carry a gun,' I used to say to him; but in those wild days of 55 years ago he never did." This in spite of the fact that his paper was outspoken against the rustlers and it was generally known that a Pendleton newspaper man was head of the Stockmen's Protective Association (vigilance committee). He cared little for hunting or fishing—which made him a conspicuous exception to the general run of the Virginians who had settled around Pendleton, all of whom were outdoor men. Jackson's big-hearted sympathy with those in distress was universally recognized among his old friends at Pendleton.
This was the man, with a taste for printing and a yen for newspaper work but without experience, who now took hold of the East Oregonian, for Mr. Guyer was a silent partner. Like Cox, Turner, Tustin, and others, he was a lawyer (born in Maryland Sept. 9, 1852), and he gave little time to the paper.
Before buying the paper Jackson had done some work for Publisher Cox, who thought well of his writing and had him contribute not only local news but also semi-editorial articles, signed "Sandy Bottom." Fred Lockley, writing of Mr. Jackson, observed that when he sold back the quarter interest he had bought in the paper in 1882, he made $250 profit on the deal—exemplifying another trait of Jackson's, his business ability. The young publisher kept his stage line agency until the railroad reached Pendleton (1884) and the stage line was discontinued.
In acquiring, first, the quarter interest in the paper and later buying all of it, Mr. Jackson followed the simple business method of a small cash payment and a note for the balance.
In the article already quoted, Lockley commented that Jackson prepared himself for the bigger things by familiarizing himself with every detail of his publishing business. "He had no money to hire bookkeepers, editors, circulation managers, or advertising men, so he learned every detail of the publishing business by doing the work himself."
In August J. P. Wager, from Schuyler county, New York (born May 24, 1854) bought a financial interest in the paper and undertook the direction of the East Oregonian's editorial columns, subject to Jackson's general supervision. He was later a news editor on the Portland Telegram.
One of his first moves was to make the paper a semi-weekly, February 3, 1882. It was then a four-page seven-column sheet, issued Tuesdays and Fridays.
Meanwhile the town was growing, the railroad had come in, and Jackson had his heart set on a daily for Pendleton. Finally, March 1, 1888, appeared volume 1, number 1 of the Daily East Oregonian. The semi-weekly, incidentally, has been kept going and is still issued today. For a good many years the paper ran daily, weekly, and semi-weekly, each aimed at a different set of readers.
The salutatory of the new daily ran:
Here We Are.
This first number of a new enterprise in Pendleton whose success will depend chiefly upon the amount of substantial, willing patronage which is accorded to it. The plan of the publishers is to make it as much of a newspaper, as nearly a newspaper, as is possible in a town of this size. . . .
Unlike our new neighbor, the Daily East Oregonian is not started for campaign purposes. It is started as a NEWSPAPER and has come to stay, if possible. Very likely, and quite probably, it will support the Democratic nominees be forehand. Its first business is to furnish the people with a newspaper which shall be a credit to a small inland town like this. Politics it will certainly be interested in; and readers may depend upon it for all political news; but politics is after all a secondary consideration.
What think you of the plan? Your deeds will show.
The people of Pendleton responded, and the Daily East Oregonian has been running ever since, without a miss.
The Daily East Oregonian started out as a six-column, four-page paper. It was neat-appearing. The first page carried one column of advertising down the left. The paper used to run close to 50 per cent advertising—rather heavy in a small-sized paper. Before long, with increased advertising patronage, the paper carried three columns of advertising on the left side of the first page. It has been noted that Mr. Jackson kept his stage job until the line was discontinued, despite his status as a publisher. When the daily was started he was still in the insurance business and the paper carried an ad, full two-columns, for Compton & Jackson, Insurance, E. O. Building, Pendleton. Whether this was an "office plugger" or actual paid advertising is not known.
The paper's local coverage was impressive. Four columns of local news, with the brevities sized from small to big down the column, were a regular feature.
Back to the Tribune:
After the retirement of Mr. Eddy November 1, 1889, changes were frequent on the Tribune for a time. Under the Home Publication Company, Judge William Martin president and Lot Livermore, one of the heaviest stockholders, "Louis Seibold, a young, bold and adventurous newspaper man, was placed in charge" (91) and on November 18, the first daily morning edition of the Tribune appeared. It was really a first-class paper, almost metropolitan in standards, with a telegraph service. Seibold, who appears to have been an earlier edition of Klamath Falls' Sam Evans, knew better how to run a good paper than how to pay for one, and in six months the Tribune was $6,000 in the red. Seibold then went east. He became famous big-story reporter, serving many years on the New York World, but this did not help the finances of the Tribune of 1889.
In 1890 J. B. Eddy was back again as editor but after a month he leased the plant to J. W. Strane and H. W. McComas. April 1, 1891, Stephen A. Lowell and Charles Wilkins were the publishers, keeping control until January 1, 1893, when John C. Leasure, another lawyer (who died in San Francisco in 1901) and A. J. Stillman took charge.
John P. McManus became editor and the Tribune's Republican manager for the group of stockholders January 1, 1894, but proved unsatisfactory to them and November 21, 1896, they removed him, putting in Homer H. Hallock.
This brought additional sharp competition in a rather dull sea son, for July 23, 1897, McManus founded the Pendleton Republican, a weekly newspaper representing the John H. Mitchell faction of the Republican party, while the Tribune supported the Scott-Corbett wing in what was really a bitter political war.
The situation was rushing toward change. Elmer P. Dodd, a young Idaho man just out of college and without knowledge of journalistic practice, came in and bought the Tribune in 1898. What he lacked in experience, however, he made up in energy and intelligence. He had graduated from Indiana University after having had a year in an Iowa academy and one year at Stanford.
Young Mr. Dodd had grown up in the saddle in southern Idaho and knew cattle, wide-open spaces, the rule of the range, livestock, markets, and a lot of such things that made pretty fair background for a Pendleton editor. He found the Tribune, a daily morning paper, in wabbly financial condition. He discontinued the daily immediately and after publishing the paper a year or so as a weekly, added a Sunday morning edition (1900), which was delivered by carrier around Pendleton as well as sent through the mails. This venture proved profitable. In April, 1899, Dodd had bought the McManus paper, the weekly Republican, and combined it with his own under the name Tribune.
Dodd was doing well for a young man without actual journal istic experience. What he did to supply the lack of either journalistic training or experience was interesting: He employed a former San Francisco Examiner man to teach him newswriting. "He blue-pen ciled every item," Mr. Dodd said a short time ago, "but gave me the right ideas." Soon afterward the young publisher employed an adver tising solicitor with big daily newspaper experience, from whom he picked up the advertising end. Somewhat similar was his progress into the commercial printing phase of the business.
The new Tribune publisher, making all these changes and improvements, had gone $7,000 in the red, and he sold a half interest to B. E. Kennedy, who handled the business end of the paper well for a time until failing health compelled his retirement.
Kennedy sold his interest to Charles Sampson, who sold to H. W. Stewart, later of Springfield. Then came Gov. T. T. Geer, who had been defeated for renomination in the convention and took hold as soon as George E. Chamberlain took over the governorship at the beginning of 1903. Geer was a capable journalist, and Dodd moved over to the business side, letting the ex-governor write the editorials and handle the news end. Differences cropped out between the partners as to editorial policies and methods, particularly Mr. Greer's tendency to whack old friends of Mr. Dodd, to whom the former publisher felt grateful for past support. So Dodd and Geer parted company, Dodd selling out, December 6, 1906. The publishers were now Geer and Mitchell.
It was Mr. Dodd's judgment that factionalism in politics was on the way out; that the direct primary law was reducing the im portance of the old political organ, that the tendency was toward fewer newspapers, and that there was something incompatible be tween the effort to have the newspaper serve the whole community and the old super-partisanship in politics. Already, the newspaper under the terrific competition provided by Sam Jackson's East Oregonian, was paying none too well. Mr. Dodd appears to have forecast both the Pendleton and the general situation accurately.
During his conduct of the Tribune Mr. Dodd for a time ran the Baker Herald also for nearly a year. He used to spend three days a week in Pendleton and three in Baker. He finally sold the Herald to his former manager, B. E. Kennedy, who had recovered his health, and Bruce Dennis. Mr. Dodd also started the Freewater Times, in 1901, using the old Pendleton Republican plant.
The tide was now running against the Tribune, and in 1907 Geer & Mitchell gave up. The new owner was George Robbins, proprietor of a variety store, took it over and changed the name to the Live Wire and ran it as a twice-a-week, Sunday and Thursday. He later made the paper a daily, evening except Sunday. At the close of the Robbins regime the name was changed back to the Tribune. In 1916 William E. Lowell and George F. Gilmore were editors and publishers of the Tribune, still running as an evening daily. The paper ran downhill, following the tendencies Publisher Dodd had sensed years before.
C. J. Owen, formerly managing editor of the Portland Telegram, came to the Tribune as manager in 1916, but resigned in April, 1919, after an unsuccessful effort to turn the paper into a money-maker.
Finally the paper was placed under a receivership in 1920. Harry L. Kuck, formerly of the Albany Herald, had come to Pendleton a short time before and taken the managing editorship with the understanding that he was to bid in the paper at the sale. This was carried out, and Kuck, dynamic, aggressive, a hard fighter, took hold as publisher. William E. Lowell, former publisher, remained for a time as city editor. The paper already, in March, had taken one step designed to prolong its life—it had moved out of the East Oregonian's evening field and become a morning paper, and such it remained to the end.
Publisher Kuck's aggressive policy led him into conflict with county and city administrations. Strong opposition was built up against him. In the meantime, with a young and clever staff, he was running an interesting paper even aside from its crusading. The question whether his crusades helped or hurt the paper financially will not be answered here. They did not seem to be dictated by any thing other than a desire to improve conditions. Kuck fought hard, but he lost. The paper was suspended in 1924.
Meanwhile the East Oregonian had gone ahead and prospered. C. S. Jackson had not burned his Pendleton bridges when he bought the Oregon Journal in 1902. Having moved to Portland, he employed Fred Lockley, who had been manager of the Pacific Monthly in Portland, to drive (horses, not a car) through eastern, central, and southern Oregon to enlist support for the Journal. Jackson, far from patting Fred on the back for lining up a lot of subscribers for the Journal in Pendleton, objected that he didn't want so many, since the Journal was not yet what he wanted to make it and it wasn't wise to antagonize so many potential readers. At that time Jackson was running the Northwest Livestock and WoolgrowersJournal as well as the East Oregonian, and he made Mr. Lockley manager. Then about 1904 he sold Lockley a quarter interest in the East Oregonian. Lockley at that time covered much of eastern Oregan for the East Oregonian, traveling by horseback or team. He has kept on traveling, much of the time, ever since, mostly working for the Oregon Journal, for which he produced a daily interview feature for the last 27 years. In that time he has interviewed more than 10,000 persons—"army officers, world travelers, explorers, government officials . . . Indian war veterans, mule-skinners, bull-whackers, scouts, pioneers, saints and sinners, heroes and hobos, and innumerable other human documents bound in broadcloth or buckskin." (92) In the spring of 1939 Fred started contributing only to the Sunday paper.
In 1904, about the same time that Lockley went to the East Oregonian, a young man named Edwin B. Aldrich (son of J. H. Aldrich of the Newport News, who was one of the founders of the Oregon State Press Association in 1887), four years out of the Oregon Agricultural College, came to the staff. In 1908 he became a stockholder, when he and Lee D. Drake, now business manager of the E. O., purchased Fred Lockley's stock; that year he became editor succeeding Bert Huffman, editor since 1902, and has remained at the helm of the paper for 31 years, while the paper has main tained and extended its influence, and he has been drafted for a wide variety of public work, from regent of Oregon State College to member of the state highway commission. Aldrich and associates bought out Jackson's whole remaining interest in the E. O. in 1913.
One day in 1909 a young man dropped into Editor Aldrich's office and asked him for a job. To make a long story short, it was Merle R. Chessman, a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, and he got it. He had had no newspaper experience, but he learned fast and was soon city editor and telegraph editor of the paper—a position he held until he left for his present position in Astoria, in 1919, when Mr. Aldrich, with three of his associates in the East Oregonian—Merle Chessman, Lee D. Drake, Fred W. Lampkin — purchased the Astoria Budget from John E. and William F. Gratke and put Chessman in as editor. Since then the Astoria Budget has been conducted in connection with the East Oregonian.
Since the failure of the Tribune in 1924 the East Oregonian has been without opposition in its field.
Things were different back in 1903 and 1904, when the town had three daily papers. This brings back into the story Oscar W. Dunbar, charter member of the Portland typographical union, co-founder, with John E. Gratke, of the Astoria Budget, adventurous Alaska publisher.
There were already two papers in the town—the morning Tribune, the evening East Oregonian. "Fine," said Dunbar, "I'll start a noon paper." He had been running the weekly Pendletonian, which he had started in 1902. There had been a Pendletonian in 1871, but that didn't worry Mr. Dunbar, who was a short, thickset man with a voice like a bull's when he wanted it to be. He converted this Pendletonian into a daily paper in June, 1903, calling the new publication the Daily Guide. His plant was destroyed by fire, and he rebuilt. He had a lot of courage.
Among Dunbar's employees was young Lee D. Drake, who had just quit the East Oregonian, for financial reasons. Lee was just leaving on the relief train for Heppner after the flood catastrophe of June 15, 1903, when Dunbar got word to him that there was a job waiting for him. He was just starting the little Daily Gazette, a five-column paper, which would come pretty near ranking as a tabloid today in more respects than mere format.
The Guide, as Drake recalls (93), was the luncheon paper, popular with the business men at their noon lunches. The paper was run off on a little press that could handle only one page at a time (some of the time the paper was a four-page six-column size), and the circulation soon ran up to a thousand. Dunbar's daughter, Claire Agnes, was a reporter-compositor; Drake solicited advertising and subscriptions; other employees were Rude Edwards, who fed the press and delivered papers, and his wife, Gertrude, a hand compositor.
The little paper cut a wide swath politically. Dunbar had a genius for picking out the popular side of any controversy. He was a stunter, too. At the end of some particularly sensational yarn, which had the readers gripping their chairs, he would sometimes use the old James Gordon Bennett trick—a weasel phrase, "Of course, this is not so, but it might happen any time."
The weak spot in the Guide's armor was the health of the editor. He became afflicted with dropsy, and for months, though he remained doggedly on the job, the end was obvious. He died in 1904. Drake sold his interest and went to work for E. P. Dodd on the Tribune, later going back to the E. O., on which, together with its allied Astorian-Budget, he has spent more than 30 years.
Pendleton's biggest news-covering job was on something that didn't happen in the town at all. This was the Heppner flood catastrophe of June, 1903. First news of the cloudburst reached Pendleton June 15, and the East Oregonian came out that day with 3 1/2 columns of detail on the disaster, seventy miles away, under a four-column display head. The next ten days the paper carried more than 30 columns of news on the catastrophe, which cost hundreds of lives, and the relief work, with editorials urging help for the sufferers. By-lines were not in style in the newspapers of those days, and some excellent news reporting went to the reader anonymously.
E. P. Dodd, then editor of the Tribune, was among the news men who went to the scene. "About 11 a. m.," he said recently, "I was told of the flood and asked to join a party going to Heppner. We secured an engine and a box-car to Echo. Before leaving Pendleton I telephoned ahead for a saddle horse, and one was ready for me. We sauntered along across the desert during a hot June day, until the sweat was well up on the saddler, and then he took a gallop, and the next 15 miles of the 50 he took on the dead run, reaching Heppner with me at about dusk. I left him in a feed barn and gathered the story. In two hours I had over 200 names of the drowned, all the facts and some of the incidents, a bit to eat and was again astride of the faithful sorrel down the washed-out road way for lone, the nearest telegraph office left operating by the ravages of the torrents. Believe it or not, that animal never broke a gallop through that 18 miles and we reached lone by 2 a. m. The Oregonian staff correspondent was there with piles of interviews and hearsay, and would not give me the wires, until I told him what I had. He cleared the ways and sent the story to the morning paper (Tribune) and the Oregonian and A. P., in time for morning editions. I have forgotten who the Oregonian man was and never saw him afterwards. My paper was advertising by bulletins that would reach the wires by morning—which the horse did. Why they took that chance I never knew, as no one knew anything except that I was on the way. However, the long chance won, and the Tribune was on the street with the names . . ."
Mr. Dodd's early experience on the range stood him in good stead in covering this most difficult story, without doubt the biggest in the history of eastern Oregon.
Second only, perhaps, to the Heppner story, so far as the Pendleton papers were concerned, was the Hickman capture of February, 1928. The reporter who broke that story was Parker E. Branin, son of Charlie Branin, veteran Associated Press wire chief, who after three years in the University of Oregon School of Journalism had gone to the E. O. and was city editor in 1924. He was on the spot when the Pendleton officers, Gurdane and Lieuallen, made the capture a few miles out of town, and he at once inter viewed the slayer (who had kidnaped and killed a grade-school girl in Los Angeles and escaped after throwing her broken body, wrapped in papers, out of an automobile in Los Angeles and escaped up the coast), giving his confession at the same time to his own paper and the Associated Press, for which he was correspondent. Branin, who was killed in an automobile accident in Idaho not long afterward, never believed his story was anything much, but unquestionably it was a remarkable story, and his telling did it justice.
Other Pendleton publications can be given brief mention. There was the weekly Home Press, an independent publication, issued Fridays by J. E. McQuary & Son, which was launched in 1884 and ran for six years.
Lee D. Drake recalls publishing the Skeptic in 1896, when he was a boy of 14. This was a three-column letter-size weekly printed in Thomas Nelson's shop and it ran until the publisher moved to a less eminent position on the staff of the E. O. Blaine Hallock was another Pendleton boy publisher.
Freewater.—The Herald, an independent farmers' journal, published Thursdays, started in 1890 by McComas & Freeman, was Freewater's first paper. The next year the paper was removed to Pendleton, where it became known as the Alliance Herald and was the organ first of the Farmers' Alliance for Umatilla county and later for the People's party (94). Among the editors were William A. Semple and Henry Price.
In 1894 William Parsons, author of the History of Umatilla County, became editor and manager. In 1896 his son, William O. Parsons, became manager and editor of the Herald.
The next year the publication date was changed from Thursday to Sunday, and it became known as the Sunday Herald. The paper ran for a time as a daily, in the interest of Populist activities; but in 1898 it died with the decline of populism.
Years after the Herald's suspension it was followed by the Times, the present occupant of the field. The Times was founded by E. P. Dodd, editor of the Pendleton Tribune, in 1901. He sold the paper to E. R. Fuller the next year. The next publisher was Miles Iverhold, then Charles A. Patterson; finally, about 1908, D. C. Sanderson & Son took hold. On the death of the elder Mr. Sanderson in 1918, his son, E. Y. Sanderson, took charge of the paper. On his death, about two years later, publication was continued by Mrs. E. Y. Sanderson and R. E. Bean, who are the present publishers. Man aging editor (1939) is H. P. McPherson.
Weston.—"Weston—oh, yes," you say, "where Clark Wood gets out the Leader and writes those paragraphs that get quoted all over the country." Well, it is a fact that Colonel Wood, the all-American paragrapher, has put Weston on the map more than any other of its possessions or activities or achievements during recent years.
So here we are writing about Wood first and the Leader second and Weston third. But there's "glory enough for all." Clark Wood, an Iowa native, who came to Oregon when he was 2 years old, has been in journalism, and Oregon journalism at that, for 57 years since, as a youngster of 13 with his eight-grade diploma only a few months old, he got his first newspaper job as a printer's devil on the Leader. He owns the paper now. It isn't a big paper, and his town is not quite a metropolis (paper and town each count something like and has been, Colonel Wood's 400 noses), but the small field deliberate choice.
After a year of inking forms on the old Washington hand-press, sweeping the floor, and setting up and throwing-in an occasional stick of type under the direction of Felix Mitchell, veteran of Oregon printing, young Clark Wood took job as compositor on the East Oregonian at Pendleton, then semi-weekly owned by C. Jackson, later of the Journal. Four years of that, and Jackson made his young printer city editor of the new daily E. O. was a courtesy title, Colonel Wood later explained, since he himself was the entire reporting staff. Four years of that, and two years as city treasurer.
Several months of reporting on the La Grande Daily Chronicle then published by Ed L. Eckley, in 1895-96, amplified his experience, and Clark Wood returned in 1896 to the Weston Leader as publisher—and that gets this story back to that paper. The Leader, Weston's first paper, was launched December 7, 1878, by D. C. Black and Paul d'Heirry. It was six-column folio, with 13-em, 21-inch columns. One of the prominent early members of the staff was Harry L. Bowmer, who founded several newspapers in the Northwest.
At the end of its second year (December, 1880), the paper was purchased by W. T. Williamson and G. P. McColl, who enlarged the paper to a seven-column folio and printed it all at home. After a period of political "independence," they also made the paper Democratic. These two partners were physicians, classmates in medicine at the University of California, and they continued their practice in Weston while getting out the paper. McColl, a Scotchman, was also in the drug business. (95)
Publishers who followed were McColl, himself, in 1883; Felix R. Mitchell, 1886; Baker & Ridenour (Emsley), 1888; M. A. Baker, 1889; Foster & Boyd, 1890; H. L. Bowmer, editor, 1891. The paper appears to have been called the Philistine for a short time following 1893, when M. J. Harvey was editor and publisher. The name Leader was resumed, and Clark Wood came into the picture again in 1896, this time as editor and publisher.
He was tempted away from Weston once to the big show —in 1913, when C. S. Jackson enticed him over to Portland, to write editorial paragraphs and do rewrite on the Oregon Journal. After a year, he returned to the small field and has since remained in Weston. "In the city," Mr. Wood once said in a paragraph, "the average man is a unit, in the country an individual." This he later cited as his reason for going back to the country. (96)
While in Pendleton he served three years as city treasurer (1891-94). He has done about everything one can do in connection with a newspaper. As he once expressed (97) he was "a linotype operator, hand compositor, ad man, job man, unitype operator, pressman, news writer, editorial writer, and to some extent paragrapher." The paragraphing end (editorial-short writing) of his paper has become his main interest. In twenty years or so of para graphing, the Wood quips were quoted in Literary Digest's "Topics in Brief" nearly thousand times—record equalled by few American editorial wisecrackers though coveted by all of them.
The Leader plant was twice destroyed by fire—and the second fire, in 1895, all files prior to that date were destroyed. The newspaper had a good deal to do with the founding of the old Weston state normal school, which Clark Wood, himself, was student, and for the start of the Weston-Elgin highway.
Yes, here's what those shorts that Colonel Wood grinds out are like:
1920 sample—Santa Barbara lady bathers paint polka dots on their bare limbs. If a vote were taken on the propriety of this practice, the eyes would probably have it.
We hope a dark horse wins the next Mexican presidential election will insure stable government.
1934—If the old-age pension scheme becomes law, many a boy and girl over sixty will be a favorite of the in-laws.
Give John Barleycorn an inch, and he raises 'ell. In 1939. —They're still like that.
Milton.—The Milton Eagle, first newspaper published in Milton, spread its wings and soared forth to carry the news of the town on January 14, 1887. The first editor was Charles Besserer, acting for a number of citizens of Milton, who had organized the Milton Publishing Company the previous December. The ten organizers were Nathan Pierce, A. M. Elam, Fred Morie, M. V. Wormington, E. S. Crockett, S. C. Stone, F. G. Hull, W. S. Brown, L. B. Plante, and E. C. Walker.
H. L. Bowmer, founder of many papers, put his name in the masthead as editor Friday the Thirteenth of April 1888, and the new editor who thus defied superstition remained nearly three years as editor and publisher. In 1897 the name Eagle Publishing Company appeared at the masthead and remained there for about 11 years, changing to Brown Bros, in 1908.
In July of the next year Bruce Shangle became editor and publisher, and about a year later C. E. Didion became associate editor and publisher. Mr. Shangle, just after acquiring full control of the paper again, sold it in 1916 to J. Carrick & Sons, who in turn sold the same December to N. J. Van Skike. Mr. Van Skike remained four years, then sold, October 7, 1921, to Bernard Mainwaring, who later became editor and co-publisher of the Baker Evening Herald. The next year Mr. Mainwaring sold to Twiford & Wolverton. Mr. Wolverton was later succeeded by Paul R. Kings ton, and in July, 1926, Frank J. Wheeler purchased the paper. In 1934 Mr. Wheeler was elected president of the Oregon Press Conference at its annual meeting at the University of Oregon.
The Eagle, with the exception of a short time, when it was cut to six columns, has been throughout its career a seven-column, 13-em, four-page paper. It is the oldest business establishment in its city.
Athena.—When one thinks of journalism in Athena, the mind turns at once to F. B. Boyd, who conducted or helped conduct the Press for more than 40 years. Mr. Boyd, a native of Iowa and a graduate of Grinnell, spent virtually his entire journalistic career on one paper. He did not, however, found the paper, which was launched by J. E. McQuary and D. A. Hendricks January 1, 1887, newspaper, published Fridays. as an independent
Nor did the Press always have the field to itself. There was the Inland Republican, started by D. A. Hendricks in 1890 as a partisan in politics. The paper, issued Saturdays, ran about five years. In the meantime Irving McQuary had become editor and publisher of the Press (1891). The next change brought Mr. Boyd to the paper as a part-time owner with J. W. Smith in 1893. From that time until his death, April 22, 1934, Mr. Boyd was editor of the paper, and publisher, too, for almost the whole period. Arthur D. Taylor, who had been associated with Mr. Boyd, succeeded him as editor.
Echo.—W. H. Crary, present publisher of the Echo News, has been owner of the paper for nearly 25 years. He purchased it in 1915 from Al Carden, who had founded the News two years be fore. Before going to Echo, Mr. Crary had been for many years a newspaper editor in Alaska, conducting the Valdez Prospector.
One of his first acts after purchasing the News was to install a linotype, which he operates himself in addition to writing news and editorials, looking after the job work and the other chores which fall to the publisher getting out an eight-page paper in a smaller field.
The News was not the first publication in Echo. Back in 1909 W. M. Castle was getting out the Echoes, an independent eight-page five-column paper, which he continued to publish until 1913, when the News entered the field. Still earlier there was the Register, founded in 1906 by Brown & Cridge. E. H. Brown became editor and publisher two years later. Both of these papers were still going in 1912 (98). The town had a population of 250, and the Register reported a circulation of 900; but notwithstanding this extraordinary statistical showing this eight-page paper and its competition were both succeeded by the News in 1913.
Hermiston.—Horace Greeley Newport is the journalistic name of the man, neither editor nor printer, who founded the Hermiston Herald, in September, 1906. Newport, with William Skinner, was in the townsite business (99) and felt the urge to issue a newspaper in Hermiston. The enterprise was pushed along by fear that E. H. Brown, publisher of the Echo Register, unfriendly to Newport & Skinner, would himself install the paper.
Associated in the publication enterprise were Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Crawford. Mr. Crawford put up $100, and the townsite company the remainder. Mrs. Crawford, a Stanford graduate, helped gather the news and obtain the advertising. C. E. Baker of Pendleton, linotype operator on the Tribune, helped whip the first issue into shape, and Colonel Horace Greeley Newport carried the papers down to the railroad station, to be distributed through the Hermiston postoffice to every citizen of the town. A green penny stamp on each paid the cost. The same set-up was continued for several months, with the Pendleton Tribune doing the printing, until Mr. Baker and his wife took over the ownership from the townsite company and moved to Hermiston. The Bakers carried on the publication, with a Washington hand-press and an outfit of type, until 1910, when they sold to F. R. Reeves.
Mr. Reeves ran the paper for seven years and a half, finally sell ing out to M. D. O'Connell and moving to Santa Rosa, Calif. The next owner was Bernard Mainwaring, now editor of the Baker Democrat-Herald. Successive editor-publishers since Mainwaring were Raymond Crowder, now of the Arlington Bulletin; Athey and Kingsley; J. F. Harvey, and J. M. Biggs, from whom the paper was purchased by Pauline M. Stoop and Alfred Quiring in 1930. It is issued Thursdays at $2 a year. Publishers (1939) are Alfred and Leander Quiring.