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The responsibility of the press in any democracy is an important one. Not only is it obligated to report the facts and to mirror the editorial opinion of the people but it must also assume a spiritual and material leadership. In an age when tomorrow's papers are on the street today it is more than ever important that we heed the news of the present and assimilate and digest the news of the past. Only in this way can the press serve the people. And only then can the people serve the community in which they live.

In Columbus, the press has grown from a weekly paper printed between Omaha and Fort Kearney, in 1886, to a metropolitan daily, with full world-wide news coverage.

The following are excerpts from newspapers and files concerning the press in Platte County and Columbus.

From Martha Turner's writings:

The first colonists of the village of Columbus needed reading matter, and so a few months after the Columbus Townsite Company was organized, in January, 1857, the men voted to donate two lots each to the following named papers: The Ohio Statesman, The Columbus Gazette, The City Fact, The Westbote, The Cincinnati Commercial, The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Wahrheitsfreund, and The St. Louis Chronick. They also included the following Nebraska papers: The Nebraskan, at Omaha; The Bellvue Gazette, and The Florence Courier.


The Columbus Golden Age with C. C. Strawn as publisher, was the first newspaper to be printed in the town. The first paper was issued in June, 1866. The paper appeared only for a short time and was discontinued on September 13th of the same year.

During its short existence, Mr. Strawn was joined by J. M. Carothers, whose name appeared as local editor. Mr. Strawn was a lawyer, a partner in the firm of C. A. Speice. This law firm was handling the defense for one of the first murder trials in the county, in which Ransel Grant had shot and killed Robert Wilson, in January of 1867. O. T. B. Williams, also a lawyer, who later published the second paper in the community, was the prosecuting attorney in this trial.

From the G. W. Phillips History of Platte County, 1915.

The Columbus Golden Age, nicknamed The Golden Sausage, was printed by C. C. Strawn on a Washington Hand Press. The forms were put on a cottonwood slab from John Rickly's sawmill nearby. The paper was a six-column folio published every Thursday.

It was the only paper printed between Omaha and Fort Kearney at the time. The rates for advertising for one column for one year, payable quarterly in advance, were three hundred and fifty dollars; one-half column, two hundred dollars per year; one quarter column, one hundred dollars per year; and locals, twenty cents per line. Notices of births, deaths and marriages were one dollar each.

The editor promised his readers the most reliable and the latest news available from all parts of the world. He announced his paper would devote itself especially to local and territorial interests, and give a fair and candid view of all the questions before the people. The columns would be open to discussion of all important questions of public interest.

He claimed his paper to be a lively sheet, having a large circulation. In addition, the editor of The Golden Age advertised himself as an attorney-at-law, an insurance agent, and a lightning rod dealer.

Among those who advertised in the first issue of the paper were: I. M. Cook, blacksmith; the American Hotel; C. H. and C. Whaley; Becker and Wolfel, dealers in dry goods and groceries; H. J. Hudson, groceries, ice cream, and justice of the peace; Jacob Ernst, blacksmith; Stillman and Garwood, druggists, physicians, and surgeons; J. H. Roberts, coffin maker; Moses Welch and Company, blacksmithing; Francis A. Hoffman, dry goods, groceries, and hardware; I. M. Beebe and Guy C. Barnum, meat market; Kummer and Galley, dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes; Barns and Company, lumberyard; John Rickly, exchange store, merchandise, saw logs, lumber, and town lots; Gerrard and Taylor, attorneys and real estate; J. E. Kelly, attorney-at-law; Williams and Speice, solicitors in chancery.

F. G. Becher and J. P. Becker gave notice to the public that a pontoon bridge had been put across the Loup River, thus doing away with the ferry; he announced that there would be no delay on account of sand bars and high winds. Charles Bremer, proprietor of the Cross Keys Brewery, was also an advertiser.

Over seven columns of advertising appeared in the first issue of the paper. About half of it was from Omaha. The fourth issue carried the farewell address of Doctor Adonis, who bade adieu to Columbus and departed for Utah. J. M. Carothers then became the local editor. Among the items of news that appeared subsequently in The Golden Age were the following:

"Some of our enthusiastic young men have formed themselves into a phrenological club. They will examine

The History of Platte County Nebraska

anything from a bump on a log to a mosquito blister, from a political sore head to that of a Pawnee brave or an Omaha editor. Brothers j. E. Kelly, C. C. Strawn, and Gerrard are the shining lights.

"A meeting will be held at the house of Patrick Lynch, at Shell Creek, tomorrow evening, for the purpose of raising funds to build a new school house.

"Reverend Maxfield will preach at the town hall next Sabbath at eleven o'clock A.M. and at seven o'clock in the evening.

"Reverend Erlach will say mass at the usual hours in the Catholic Church.

"Elder Hudson, of the Latter Day Saints Church, will hold services at McAllister's school house, at two o'clock P.M., next Sabbath."

The issue of July 12, 1866, stated: "General John M. Thayer and Thomas W. Tipton were elected United States Senators yesterday by the Nebraska legislature. Both are radical Republicans. O. T. B. Williams and the Honorable E. W. Arnold were in the legislature from Platte County.

"The tide of emigration, checked for a season by the disturbing influences of the war, is again pouring over the western bank of the Missouri.

"The Johnson Democratic Club meets every Saturday evening.

"Our enterprising townsman, Frank G. Becher, is burning the first kiln of brick in Platte County at the bluffs north of Columbus." This brickyard was located on the M. K. Turner land, east of where Jacob Ernst, Sr. lived.

"On Saturday, July 29, 1866, Bishop Clarkson will hold Episcopal services in the Town Hall."

The issue of July 12, 1866, contained the more important passages of Governor Butler's message to the legislature. The issue of September 6, 1866, contained nearly three columns of an address delivered before the Johnson Democratic Club by H. J. Hudson. The editor, although not agreeing with the sentiments, commended it very highly.

Notwithstanding the fact that The Golden Age had weathered the storm that usually overcomes pioneer newspapers, the editor was compelled to make an assignment at the end of three months of publication. The assignees were Charles H. Whaley, John Rickly, J. P. Becker, and Vincent Kummer.

The paper was sold at public auction on September 18, 1866, to the highest bidder. W. B. Dale was the purchaser. He bought the paper for two hundred and seventy-five dollars. The last issue appeared on September 13, 1866.


Moses K. Turner came to Columbus in 1870, from Cadiz, Ohio. In May, he formed a partnership with his father, Judge Allen C. Turner, for the publication of the Platte Journal. The first issue of the paper appeared on May 11, 1870. His brothers, J. A. "Bun," George, and Frank, were associated with him in the publication of the paper. In the early 1870's, the name of the paper was changed to the Columbus Journal. Turner remained editor of the paper until his death in 1902.

From The Platte Valley Democrat; December 5, 1879.

"We should not blame the proprietors of the Journal one bit if they should indulge in a few airs over their new office on Eleventh Street. It extends over the entire second story of the building, and comprises a suite of four rooms, to-wit: reception room, editorial room, stock room, and compositor's press room."


The place of business was Columbus. The nature of the business was to be "the purchasing and operating newspaper and job printing offices and all necessary equipment, publishing newspapers and doing all kinds of printing and work connected with such businesses. Also to purchase grounds, erect, purchase, or lease such building as may be necessary or convenient for such purposes."

Authorized capital stock: ten thousand dollars, at shares of one hundred dollars each.

Incorporators were: Frederick H. Abbott and Stewart J. Kennedy.

The corporation was to commence on April I, 1904, and continue for a period of twenty-five years.

Filed for record March 24, 1904.


(From the files in the Platte County Court House.)

The name of the corporation was to be the JOURNAL PUBLISHING COMPANY. The nature of the business was to be general job printing. The printing of newspapers, books, magazines was also included.

There was provision for the owning of property incident to the printing business, presses, buildings, etc.

The capital stock was to be ten thousand dollars, two thousand of which was to be paid prior to beginning the business. Indebtedness was fifty percent of paid-in stock.

There were to be five directors to run the company.

The term of the company was from December I, 1913, to December i, 1963.

F. R. Galbraith
R. S. Dickinson
C. N. McElfresh.

Filed for record December 11, 1913.



Frank B. Burgess started The Columbus Republican in May, 1875. This was an eight column folio which attained a good local circulation, and the paper continued successfully for over a year. In 1877, Burgess sold the office to Calmer McClune, who moved it to David City, and there started The David City Republican.

From The Platte County Journal, September i, 1875. "We learn from the local columns of this week's Republican that its editor represented this county in

The Press

the Centennial Convention held at Omaha a few days ago. No better man could have been selected for this purpose, and we are assured that what Mr. Taylor said was listened to with deep interest."

From The Columbus Journal, March 29, 1876:

"From The Republican, January 6, 1876: Our daily will be called The Daily Columbus Republican. The first number will appear in a few days."

"From The Columbus Republican, January 13, 1876:

We expect to issue the first number of The Daily Republican on Monday next. We are making arrangements to receive telegraph news."

"From The Columbus Republican, January 13, 1876:

Our Wednesday edition comes out always a week behind time, and is printed on the other side of the track by M. K. Turner and Company. We have but little to do with this concern except to prepare nearly all its locals. We are ashamed of having anything to do with such a slow coach institution, but can't possibly help ourselves."


The first number of The Columbus Gazette was published on March i, 1881, by William Burgess, editor and proprietor. Emerson J. Potts, who managed a well-paying book and job office, started the publication of a six-column folio called The Independent. This office was purchased by the Burgess family, who issued therefrom The Columbus Gazette, when The Independent lost its identity. The Gazette was a Republican paper and took a decided stand in favor of temperance, woman's suffrage, Indian civilization, progressive education, and salutary reform. Mr. Burgess remained in control of The Gazette until 1882, when he went to California, after establishing The Genoa Leader.


On Friday, September 24, 1897, the first number of The Leader appeared in Columbus. It was a Republican paper owned and edited by William M. Hutt. It was a five-column quarto, subscription price one dollar, payable in advance. The editor said that his paper would speak for itself --- must stand or fall on its own merits. The Leader suspended publication after the second issue.


The first number of The Platte County Democrat appeared in Columbus on August 19, 1897. The Democrat was a six-column quarto published every Thursday by B. P. Duffy and Son. The subscription price was one dollar, payable in advance.

"Democratic at all times and under all circumstances" appeared as their motto. In his salutatory, the editor said that he did not issue The Democrat because there was a shortage of newspapers in Platte County. He said that he had no excuse for issuing a Democratic paper as none was required. He believed that the time had come for the publication of such a paper and that he hoped he would be able to conduct the editorial columns in such a manner that all would recognize it as Democratic at all times and under all circumstances.

The editorials of The Democrat were bold and aggressive. The Democrat was moved to Humphrey, Platte County, and the first issue appeared from there on March 17, 1898. From February 10, 1898, George Duffy was the manager of the paper and his father, B. P. Duffy, still remained as editor.

In January, 1901, the paper was sold to the Herbes brothers, of Humphrey. The new editors changed the name to "The Leader."


The Columbus Democrat was established as The Era, in February of 1874, by W. N. Hensley, editor and proprietor. The paper continued until 1880. For a few months there was no publication, but on April 9, 1881, the first number of The Democrat appeared under the management of A. D. and J. K. Coffroth, with the former in editorial control.

The Democrat was a seven column folio, and was politically Democratic, as the name implied. Because of the increasing patronage, the paper was enlarged and the name was changed to The Columbus Telegram.


In the early 1890's, D. Frank Davis published The Columbus Telegram as a daily paper.

In about 1899, Edgar Howard bought The Columbus Telegram from the company owners. In 1901, the Telegram Company was incorporated under the laws of Nebraska. Stock was owned by Edgar Howard, Helen, Mary Findley, and Elizabeth Howard, Will Gregorius, and Lloyd Swain.

At that time, in a notice heading the first editorial column, was published the statement that Lloyd Swain and Edgar Howard were the writers responsible for all unsigned and unaccredited editorial or local opinion expressed in the paper. Zela H. Loomis became a partner and Vice-President in the Columbus Telegram Company in 1912.

In 1919, A. H. Backus bought Lloyd Swain's interest in the Telegram Company, and in 1940, Zela H. Loomis and Robert Kennedy bought the interest of A, H. Backus and Al C. Smith.


(From the files in the Platte County Court House.)

The name of the Company was to be "THE TELEGRAM COMPANY," and the principal place of business was to be Columbus.

The general nature of the business was general printing and all other things incident thereto, and the publishing of THE COLUMBUS TELEGRAM.

The capital stock of the company was sixty-five hundred dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.

The officers were:
Edgar Howard, President
L. A. Ewing, Vice President
Lloyd Swain, Secretary-Treasurer.

The board of directors consisted of the above named officers.

The History of Platte County Nebraska

The term of the incorporation shall continue for twenty-five years from the filing date of these articles. Dated: August 5, 1901

AMENDMENT ... (At a meeting held on January 28, 1903)

The amendment provided for an increase in the capital stock to ten thousand, five hundred dollars, divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.

Signed:Spacer Edgar Howard, President
Attest: SpacerLloyd Swain, Secretary-treasurer.

Filed for record May 5, 1903.

Zela H. Loomis became a partner and vice-president in the Columbus Telegram Company in 1912.

The Telegram was a twelve-page, six-column paper,issued every Friday. In The History of Platte County, 1915, G. W. Phillips stated: "The editor is brainy, fearless, and a ready writer and in The Telegram he has been giving the people of Columbus and a wide area of country, local and foreign news, neatly and beautifully. In 1913, The Telegram moved into a modern two-story brick home, in which was installed the linotype, news and job presses, and all the necessary material for a twentieth century newspaper."


(From the files in the Platte County Court House.)

For the most part, the articles are repeated from the earlier recording.

The name, nature of business and place of business are the same.

The capital stock was set at eighty-five thousand dollars divided into shares of one hundred dollars each.

The term of the corporation was to begin February 28, 1922, and continue thereafter for fifty years.

Dated: February 28, 1922

Signed: SpacerEdgar Howard, President
SpacerA. H. Backus, Secretary-treasurer.

Filed for record March 8, 1922.

From The Columbus Telegram, March 10, 1922.


"Following the general tendency of late years toward consolidation in the newspaper field, an agreement was reached this week between John I. Long, publisher of the Columbus Daily News, and The Telegram Company, publisher of The Columbus Telegram, by the terms of which The Telegram Company will purchase the newspaper and equipment of the Daily News plant, the actual transfer of the property to take place on April I, 1922. After that date, both papers will issue from The Telegram office as The Columbus Daily Telegram.

"For several years past, The Telegram Company has been installing equipment and organizing a force with the view of finally entering the daily newspaper field when conditions seemed ripe for such a venture. An increasing demand among business men and patrons for such a change induced the owners of The Telegram to a decision that the time had arrived. But they also realized that the local field was not large enough to carry two daily newspapers, so negotiations with Mr. Long were initiated, which culminated happily Tuesday, when all persons interested reached an agreement as to the purchase price and other details of the transfer."

From The Daily Telegram, October 18, 1939:

"Thomas Curran bought The Columbus Journal, which he converted into the Columbus Daily News, at that time the only daily newspaper in Columbus, though he continued to reside in York, Nebraska. He later sold the Columbus paper to John I. Long who, in turn, sold it to the Telegram Company, in March, 1922, when it was consolidated with The Columbus Daily Telegram."

Mr. Curran died at York on October 18, 1939.




From The Columbus Journal, December 18, 1878:

"F. W. Ott has issued the first number of his German Advertizer, which he purposes putting forth occasionally, enlarging and improving it as he shall find it profitable to do so."


On May 1, 1914, The Nebraska Biene (Nebraska Bee), commenced its twenty-first year of publication under the above name and its thirty-sixth year as the only German paper in Columbus and Platte County, under its original name, The Columbus Wokenblatt (Columbus Weekly). For this occasion, it published the following statement in its editorial columns:

"With this number, The Nebraska Biene celebrates its twenty-first birthday and anniversary of its weekly appearance. As is seen on the front page, the old annual number of the ex-Columbus Wochenblatt is Number 36. The new number of The Nebraska Biene is twenty-one. So it is the oldest of all the Columbus papers of today, and may justly be called one of the old settlers.

In 1878 a young, educated German Pole, Mr. Robert Lange, founded and established The Columbus Wochenblatt. The first paper consisted of three pages of patent print, which were shipped in, and a fourth page of whatever news he could gather together from the locality and the four directions of the hemisphere. These papers were then addressed by him and mailed to the subscribers.

Mr. Emil Pohl, at that time in business with Mr. Gerrard Schutte, became associated in the editing of The Wochenblatt and frequently wrote political editorials. Although a stern Republican himself, the paper was supposed to be Democratic.

Platte County could already be called a German county, but the paper did not bring riches to its founder, who later sold it to Doctor Schonlau, an elderly doctor and newspaper man, who struggled along with it until his death in 1890.

The Press

After the death of Doctor Schonlau, Major J. N. Killian bought the paper and changed the name with the first issue to The Nebraska Biene, and made it a strictly Republican paper. He was a fiery young attorney, but his vehemence and dash in changing the political policy of the paper in a German Democratic community was a hindrance to the German press. However, upon going to the Philippines as a captain of Company "K," of the First Nebraska Militia Regiment, in the spring of 1898, Mr. Killian sold the paper to his assistant, J. H. Johannes.

Mr. Johannes immediately restored the paper to the Democratic ranks. He was young and intelligent and had been brought up among the German people around Shell Creek. He understood their wants better than any other of his predecessors and gained a large circle of subscribers. An early death on February 12, 1908, unfortunately ended his successful career.

His successor was Henry Wilken, who bought the paper merely as a business investment, and trusted its management to Mr. Otto Kinder, an able newspaper man, later of Omaha. Mr. Wilken sold the paper to E. A. Harms, who likewise left the editorial management to Mr. Kinder, and to his foreman, Mr. Joseph Tagwerker. Under this regime, the printshop was moved from the old wooden building on Twelfth Street to the brick building of Eleventh Street, which is its present home. This building he bought and rebuilt, also installing a press and other machinery, making the paper independent."

On January 11, 1913, The Nebraska Biene was sold to Mr. Leopold Jaeggi, an early resident of Columbus, who had come there from the city of Berne, Switzerland in 1873, and who was a resident of Columbus until his death. He was at one time a partner in the real estate firm of Gus G. Becher and Company, and Becher, Jaeggi and Company. The firm is now known as Becher, Hockenberger and Chambers.

Having received a good education in the oldest republic on the globe, Mr. Jaeggi edited the paper himself. Following his own convictions and respecting the differing political creeds of his readers, Mr. Jaeggi like his predecessor issued a politically independent paper, his aim being to tell the news, at all times to stand for truth and right, and to champion the cause of the German speaking citizen in America.

From The Columbus Daily Telegram August 31, 1936


One of the most abundant sources of early history of Columbus can be found in the newspapers printed in those years. Not only are these files valuable from a historical standpoint, but are extremely quaint as well.

The Platte Journal made its bow to Columbus residents in 1869, under the guiding hand of O. T. B. Williams. The following year, the Turner family arrived from Cadiz, Ohio, where they followed the printers' trade. As the Moses K. Turner Company, the brothers, Moses K., J. A., Frank and George, acquired the property on May 11, 1870, and came forth with their first issue of the Journal. In the edition of the above date, this straightforward introduction appeared:


"We have two objects before us as publishers: First, to conduct a good local, independent newspaper; second, to make money thereby. By a newspaper, we mean a paper that will answer the question, 'What's the news?'

Under the guiding hand of Moses K. Turner, a capable and scholarly man, the Columbus journal, to which name the Platte Journal was soon changed, enjoyed prosperity throughout the remainder of Mr. Turner's career, ended by death, in 1902. The Journal, under different ownership, continued publication for about fifteen years after that date.

While the Journal maintained an independent viewpoint generally, it was Republican in policy. So was the other current publication, the Columbus Republican. A Democratic newspaper was needed at that time in Columbus. Such a paper was founded by W. N. Hensley, destined to a long and honorable career as a Platte County lawyer after his picturesque fling at journalism.

Coming from Kentucky in 1872, after a course in law at Georgetown University, W. N. Hensley found work in. Omaha with Doctor George Miller, publisher of the Omaha Herald.

Doctor Miller was an influential leader in his party, and advised young Hensley to start a Democratic newspaper which Doctor Miller felt was genuinely needed in Columbus.

The result was the birth of the Columbus Era, in February, 1874, with Mr. Hensley as its editor and publisher. Just what the Journal thought about this new venture might be gleaned from the following journal editorials:

From the Platte Journal, February 4, 1874:

"The Democracy of Columbus are singing jubilante. A Democratic newspaper is to be established here. From a personal interview with Mr. Reavis, we ascertain that the new paper, to be called the Columbus Era, and to be conducted by Messrs. J. B. Reavis and W. N. Hensley, will be issued about the first of March next. Mr. Reavis has been conducting the Appeal, in Monroe County, Missouri, for the past four years, and from our short acquaintance with him, we think that Platte County Democrats will be well pleased with him.

"We were expecting all last year the establishment of a Democratic paper here, and knew well that the time could not be long delayed.

"We can, of course, hope that the two papers may fitly and fully represent the varied interests of Columbus and her tributary country, and that the game indulged in on the political checkerboard may be conducted in the spirit which ever characterized reasonable and patriotic men."

The History of Platte County Nebraska

From the Columbus Journal, April I, 1874:

"If the Columbus Era is not a favorite of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, how did it happen to have its press shipped free from Omaha? If the Pawnees are the only favorites of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, and the above is true, our logic would say that the Era is a Pawnee."

Mr. Hensley, schooled in the doctrine of Colonel Henry Watterson of the great newspaper of that time, The Louisville Courier Journal, was a fearless and energetic editor. The Era's subscription rate was two dollars per year and was paid often in firewood, meat and farm produce. Real money was often scarce. Mr. Hensley's daughter, Mrs. Neumarker, recalled that when she was a child, her father often had to provide board for the printers, that the Era might carry on, there being no money for wages.

A very pertinent remark appeared in the Era's issue of September 4, 1875:

"We have been called upon to give our views upon the finances of the country, but until some of our subscribers thresh and we can have a sample bill before us, we feel the task is too much."

Hensley's love for Jeffersonian Democracy was near to worship and the comments from his facile and often caustic pen upon national affairs during the years 1874, 1875, and 1876, were very pertinent. He drastically opposed Grant's desire for a third term, large land grants the railroads, the "carpet-bagging" rule of the South, and permitting white settlers to search for gold in the Black Hills, which at that time had been set aside as an Indian reservation under a government treaty with the Sioux Indians. In an article in the Era, the war that followed and the destruction of Custer's men, were clearly prophesized.

During the first two years of the Era's publication, two important state questions were acted upon. The first was a meeting held in Lincoln in May, 1875, to revise the constitution of Nebraska.

Platte County was entitled to one delegate and the journal and the Era became very bitter in the fight to elect their respective candidates. The Era's man, J. P. Becker, was duly elected and took part in the constitutional convention, much to the satisfaction of the Era's editor.

The other matter was the removal of the state capital from Lincoln to a more central location. Columbus was one of the spots strongly considered. In an article that was straight-forward in its denunciation, the Era claimed that Columbus lost its chance through the lobbying of Joseph H. Millard, an Omaha banker, who was desirous of the capital moving closer to Omaha. Often in his editorials, W. N. Hensley voiced the opinion that: "Bankers have no place in our legislative halls."

Moses K. Turner, unlike Hensley, was not what might be called a vitriolic fighter, but he had very definite ideas, and did not hesitate to put them into print. Sharp words and hard phrases were expected by readers, and, between Turner and Hensley, the people were well served.

Hensley, too, was a great fisherman all his life, and repeatedly his rivals took digs at him on this point. Turner went to the state senate in 1881, and later ran against E. K. Valentine for Congress, and turned out second best. This state campaign was bitterly fought on monopoly grounds and was the first attempt to break away from railroad control.

The rival editors were personal friends, but the tone of their scathing remarks indicated the exact opposite. Hensley's style was more vitriolic and provided amusing as well as sincere reading. Turner's was more studious, but likewise barbed when the occasion called for it.

An example of Turner's pointed remarks was found in an editorial written dealing with the Bryan-McKinley campaign of 1896. This is taken from an 1897 edition of the Journal:

"The chief business of an editor is to keep lies out of his paper said James Parton, and the remark is applicable to the Argus more times than we like to see it. Mr. Galley has reason to complain. It is bad enough to lie in the ordinary way, but to say that a business man had declared or that it 'had been rumored that he declared that if Mr. Bryan were elected president that he, Mr. Galley, would not accept silver in exchange for goods' is putting it on a little too thick. Mr. Galley's goods were bought for sale, and whatever the money of the country is, Mr. Galley will undoubtedly get his share."

It was in local politics that Editor Hensley used most effectively his talent for writing. In answering accusatory articles against the Era, written by Moses K. Turner of the Journal, Hensley referred to them as "Mosaic sayings." Hensley constituted himself guardian of the taxpayers' money and he was impartial in open denunciation of city or county officials.

In May, 1875, when the saloon license in Columbus was one hundred dollars, the county commissioners met and passed a law making the license in the county five hundred dollars. Wrote the editor of the Era:

"The commissioners have made a mistake and if they really have the prosperity of the county at heart, let them rescind this action. A five hundred dollar license is as far on one extreme as a one hundred dollar on the other. Neither is just, but for the present, the latter will do."

Hensley continued to write in this vein at the county commissioners. In April, 1875, he severely reprimanded them for their "needless and ruinous extravagance," as he termed it, for their budgeting of county expenses upon taxes levied rather than amounts actually collected, thus accumulating a debt of forty-five thousand dollars. Another time, he criticized them for making one of their members overseer of the poor, "when the law definitely states who shall superintend this matter."

One more typical Hensley editorial had to do with the expenditures upon building and repairing bridges from 1870 to 1875. Hensley wrote:

"Aside from the Loup and Platte Rivers, which are not included in the above enumerated cost, one thou-

The Press

sand dollars per year is enough to build and keep in repair all the bridges needed in this county.

"There is not a country in the universe so free from quagmire and swamps as ours -- it could not be otherwise from the nature of its soil.

"We have more bridges and fewer places to bridge, more roads to make and fewer stumps and rocks to remove, more taxes and more aristocratic paupers to pay them than in any county known."

Hensley continued the Columbus Era until November, 1880, and from that time until his death in 1929, he devoted himself to his career as an attorney. For a few months after he closed the Era shop, no publication appeared. On April 9, 1881, from the same office emerged the first-edition of the Columbus Democrat, under the management of A. D. and J. K. Coffroth, who later changed the name to the Columbus Telegram.

Columbus had its first daily newspaper when, in the early 1890's, D. Frank Davis published The Telegram as a daily but the town was too small to support a daily newspaper. It lapsed back into a weekly and eventually, in 1900, was purchased by Edgar Howard who, in 1901, incorporated The Telegram Company, with himself, his family, and Lloyd Swain as stockholders.

In 1922, when the Telegram Company bought the physical assets and name of the Columbus Daily News, successor to the Columbus Journal, and consolidated it with the Weekly Telegram, into the Columbus Daily Telegram, the "lineal descendants" of those two pioneer papers, the Journal and the Era, which had been published by those rival pioneer editors, M. K. Turner and W. N. Hensley, were merged into one.

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