Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 14, 2007

Newspaper history

By Bill Heusinkveld - correspondent

For the last several weeks I have been relating the history the newspapers that disseminated the news of the day to the residents of Centerville through the years. Several of the outlying towns also had prominent newspapers, also with their own ups and downs, particularly Moravia, Moulton, Cincinnati, Exline and Mystic.

Apparentlly there were two newspapers started in Moravia in 1870. One was the Weekly Messenger, started by Ephraim Cummins, a son-in law of Joseph Stauber who had led four families of the Moravian Church to come to Centerville to found the town in 1849. Cummins had been Captain of the 8th Iowa Cavalry in the Civil War and was also postmaster and the operator of a dry goods store in Moravia. Cummins was publisher of the Messenger through 1873. Henry Savacool started the Vedette in 1870 and it operated through 1871.

The Moravia Union was started by John H. Allred in 1900 with a heading of “Moravia First – World Afterward”. A partner was taken in 1902, and then Allred split and operated the Moravia Reporter for a short time, H.K. and Wilford Smith took over on the Moravia Union in 1928 and H.K. Smith continued until 1940. Smith took a rural letter carrier position and hired Finley McGrew to operate the Union. In 1945, Smith sold out to Janice Bisby. The Bisbys sold the Union to Raymond and Katherine Dhority in 1949. The Dhoritys operated the Moravia Union from 1949 to 1977 when it was sold to Dinsmore Publications who owned about 15 weekly publications throughout the area. Keith Dinsmore hired Jim Houser and then Doug Dolittle to run the newspaper. In 1978 it was sold to John Brunow and to Vicky Baty in 1983. The Moravia Union became a combined operation with the Moulton Tribune with the printing done at Albia.

The Moulton Independent was founded in 1869 by J.B. King. In about three years he sold to Edwards and Porter and it was known as the Recorder. After many years it was transferred to C.W. Bolster and then to Dr. Atkinson. He moved to Kansas City in 1877 and Moulton was left without a newspaper. A year later Samuel Eby, a lay minister of the Christian Church, and J. Wood started a paper called The Ensign.

In 1884 the Ensign was sold to S.J. Graves of Browing, Mo. and the Tribune was born. In 1885 W. D. Powell bought the paper. In 1903, Rob Wilson of Mina, Mo. bought the Tribune establishing a family ownership that prevailed for many years. In 1898 the Killions started a competing paper, the Semi-Weekly Sun, but after a short while, they moved it to Centerville where it soon went out of business.

The Tribune changed hands in 1922 when Rob Wilson died and his daughter Beatrice took over the paper. In 1924 Beatrice Wilson married Richard (Dick) Eby, who had worked for the Tribune as a printer’s devil in his school days. Dick was an army veteran of World War II. Dick Eby assumed Tribune publishing responsibilities, and together, the Eby’s managed a well-run weekly newspaper. The depression days were trying and bartering was commonplace. Dick’s column “Between You and Me” was widely read and quoted with comments on far-ranging subjects. Dick remained as editor of the paper until illness caused his retirement.

In 1961 Dick and Beatrice Eby’s daughter, Katherine, and her husband, Wayne Bassett assumed editing and publishing responsibilities. The Bassetts launched a secondary business of photography. Wayne was also a commercial pilot and was involved in a wreck in 1977 in which he lost the use of his legs. After further education in education and physics, he returned to work with Katherine with the photography portion of the business.

The Tribune was sold to Keith Dinsmore in 1977 and Katherine remained as office manager with full responsibility for news and photos. Control of the Tribune passed to John Brunow in 1979. Gil O’Gara and his wife, Anita, joined the staff as editor and bookkeeper for both the Tribune and the Moravia Union. The O’Gara’s moved on and Katherine Bassett became the Tribune’s Managing Editor.

In 1983 Vicki Baty of Moravia bought both the Moulton Tribune and the Moravia Union from Brunow. Baty, publisher of both papers used a semi-combined format with page laying being done at Moravia for both papers and the actual printing being done at Albia.

Cincinnati has had three newspapers. The Cincinnati Local was started in 1n 1877 by W.W. Yarham but published only a short time. The Cincinnati Review was started by W.A. Martin and his son D.R. in 1892. They sold to John H. May the following year, and he continued to publish a good paper for many years. Glenn Reed started the Cincinnati X Ray in 1925, a Klux Klan paper designed to expose things. He folded the operation the following year and left for Florida, never to return.

The Exline Messenger was established and printed in Exline by John H. May in 1907 as editor and proprietor until 1918. Publication ceased, but was re-established in 1922 and printed by the Cincinnati Review with Glenn Reed as publisher. It quit with final publication in 1923.

Mystic, though a late blooming city, had marvelous growth through the coal mining era. The Mystic Telegram was founded in 1906 by W.C. Raymond. After six months he sold his enterprise to Roy Godsey. The latter disposed of the plant within three months to R.A. Scott who gave his large clientele a newsy and popular little paper for some years. It was published weekly and had six columns with a progressive political flavor.

It seems that the press, though a laudable occupation, was not especially remunerative for many who had high hopes, often dashed by eventual failure. Others carried forth the banner in commendable fashion.