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The first newspaper published in Fayetteville was the Fayetteville Witness, in 1840, by C. F. Town. It was short lived, and there was no further attempt at newspaper publication in Washington County until the year 1852. On the 8th of May, 1852, the first number of the Western Pioneer was issued by William E. Smith, who had previously published the Mountaineer, at Huntsville, Ark. This paper was followed two years later by the Southwest Independent, William Quesenbury, editor and publisher. He was a racy and vigorous writer, an accomplished editor, and something of a humorist and poet. He continued the publication until some time in 1856. The town was then again without a newspaper until 1859. In that year J. R. Pettigrew and E. C. Boudinot established the Arkansian, a six-column folio, the first number of which appeared on March 5, 1859. The following were some of the objects for which the publishers stated the paper was established: “To advocate the principles of the Demcratic party, and to stay the onrushing tide of abolitionism, which threatens to overwhelm the South; to advocate the building of a railroad from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and to secure its location on or near the thirty-fifth parallel, and to promote the cause of education.” The paper was conducted with so much ability as to make it one of the most influential papers in the State, outside of Little Rock, and its circulation soon reached two thousand copies weekly. It reputation was supported not only by the well-known ability of its editors, but such writers as Quesenbury and Washbourne were frequent contributors to its columns. It was published until some time in 1861.
In August, 1860, W. W. Moore began the publication of the Fayetteville Democrat, but discontinued it during the war, owing to the destruction of the press and materials by the Confederates when evacuating Fayetteville. Moreover, the publisher joined the army and served until the close of hostilities.
In 1867 one Brown established a radical Republican paper, called the Radical. Soon after R. C. Brown began the publication of a Democratic newspaper, called the Fayetteville Times. The two Browns became involved in a quarrel, and the latter fought and whipped the editor of the Radical. Shortly afterward the name of the Times was changed to the Fayetteville Arkansian, while the Radical was purchased by Bard & Richardson, and became the Mountain Echo. Richardson soon sold to Mr. Lindsay, and in 1870 Daniel Webster became the proprietor of the Echo, but Col. Bard had a claim upon the office and the material. He obtained possession of it, and established the News, which remained under his control until 1874, when it was suspended. Webster obtained new material, and continued the publication of the Mountain Echo until about January 1, 1873.
In 1868 E. B. & W. B. Moore purchased the press and material of the Arkansian, and re-established the Democrat, the first number of which was issued on the 4th of July, 1868. They conducted it until 1884, when it was purchased by S. E. Marrs and J. N. Tillman, the present proprietors. It has since been under the able editorial management of Mr. Marrs.
In the fall of 1879 Revs. Floyd and Shepherd, of the Christian Church, began the publication of a religious weekly, the Fayetteville Witness, which they continued about eighteen months.
On September 2, 1875, the first number of the Arkansas Sentinel appeared. It was established by the Sentinel Publishing Company, with the late Col. J. R. Pettigrew, one of the founders of the old Arkansian, as editor, and it was published under his name until his death. For several years, however, his control of it was only nominal. It is now owned by I. M. Patridge and H. F. Reagan, and is one of the most widely circulated and influential Democratic papers in Northwest Kansas.
Early in 1885 the Fayetteville Republican was established at West Fork. Jacob Yoes furnished the capital, and G. S. White became the editor. In the summer of 1886 it was purchased by W. M. Simpson, who removed the office to Fayetteville. He transferred it to Thomas Wainright, but, at the end of one month, resumed charge of it. In December, 1886, he sold out to Thomas Brooks and Damon Clarke. At that time it was a six-column folio, “patent outside,” and had a subscription list of about 300. Messrs, Brooks & Clarke made it a seven-column folio, printed it all at home, and within a year had increased the circulation to 1,500 copies weekly. On January 10, 1888, Mr. Clarke purchased the interest of his partner, and has since been the editor and proprietor. The Republican is the organ of the Republican party in the Fourth Congressional District, and wields a decided influence in public affairs. For a short time in 1885 a daily paper, named the Evening Call, was published at Fayetteville, by T. P. Price, with Frank J. Price and Albert H. Price as editors.
A “Greenback” organ, called the Blade, was established in 1880 by John Moore, who, after about two years, sold out to F. M. Wolf, now of Springfield, Missouri. Wolf, changing the name and the politics of the paper, published for about six months the Times, a Republican sheet.
Back to: Washington County, Arkansas History
Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.