Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


May 31, 2007

Local newspapers after 1870

Last week I wrote about some of the early newspapers in Centerville from 1856 until 1875. From that time forward into the 20th century there were many paper initiated, several mergers and changes in the names of the publications. I will try to continue the newspaper history by following individual newspapers by time periods between significant changes in their operation. Today’s installment covers the period from 1870 to about 1890.

As we began the 1870’s there were two prominent papers that seemed to exhibit some stability and continuity, the Centerville Citizen and the Centerville Journal. The Citizen was sold by M.M. Walden to W.O. Crosby in November, 1874. Crosby had the ability to run a newspaper but not the disposition to continue and hired D.R. Guernsey to run the paper. In 1886 George W. Needels took over the newspaper and put it on a sound financial footing. The paper was quite successful for a number of years.

In 1876, a third paper entered the scene. The Times was started by D.A. Spooner (Spurge), who purchased the equipment of a defunct newspaper at Corydon and removed it to Centerville. Spurge was a good printer and a competent man, but he had no money and not much health. In 1881 he induced J.C. Barrows to take a half interest in the concern.

J.C. Barrows was a Civil War veteran of the 8th Iowa Cavalry. When he was 88 years of age, still with his old clarity and vigor, he furnished much of the newspaper history contained in these articles. He was highly regarded for his clearness and incisiveness, as well as the fairness and consistency that characterized his newspaper work.

After Barrows joined the Times, Spurge Spooner was to continue to take care of the mechanical department. However, fate and Mollie Spooner decided otherwise. With Spurge’s failing health, Mollie laid down the ultimatum that Spurge had to get out of the office. They made the price so low that Mr. Barrows was forced to buy the other half, albeit on borrowed money. While Barrows claimed not to know an em quad from a shooting stick and had very little experienced help, he survived. Senter Payton continued to help out until he too was lured away by the footlights of the stage for an acting career.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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