The Marceline News


During the lawless days of 1888, Marceline had three newspapers. There was The Marceline Mirror, The Marceline New Deal, and The Marceline Journal.

The Journal is believed to have been the first paper, started early in 1888 by the efforts of Dr. J. A. Smith and William C. Walker. The press equipment was purchased from the old Brookfield Chronicle. Walker subsequently sold his Interest to John W. Northcott, of Linneus, who stayed with Smith 18 months, long enough to mold the paper as an organ of the Republican party.

Other transactions involving the Journal were: 1891, James Smith is editor and a year later yields controlling interest to Hiram Long and A. E. Nell. 1899, S. W. Dodge buys the Journal. 1900, Charles Henry buys the Journal. The same year, however, the former editors of the New Deal, S. W. Birch and Charles B. McDowell, take over the Journal. 1903, William H. Hamby buys the Journal and starts running it as a semi-weekly. 1905, L. P. Wakeman, of Scranton, Kansas, becomes a partner of Hamby and they put out a weekly again. 1906, Alden Lyle arrives on the scene as editor of the Journal and operates it until 1929. During this time, in 1912, Lyle bought out the Mirror and began publishing the Marceline Journal-Mirror.

The Mirror had its beginning August 9, 1888, by Ruede and Dodge, who printed it as a Democratic paper. Dodge then sold his interest to Harry Brodrick, of Osborne, Kansas.

The Mirror had a circulation of 625 in 1888 and in eight years the circulation rose to 1,000. A Macon man, Walter Cash, meanwhile, bought out Ruede’s interest in 1894. The editor who sold the paper to Alden Lyle in 1905 was E. J. Conger.

Marceline’s press “welcomed” the Marceline Daily News in June 1896, started by Dr. J. H. Perrin, editor and publisher. That year the paper supported the Populist Party and it flopped. There are no records of the paper.

Harry Webster established The Marceline Herald in May 1913. Emphasizing local news, which has continued to be the key to success for weekly papers, the Herald prospered. In 1929, Webster sold to George Butts.

The Marceline News is the successor to the Journal-Mirror and Marceline Herald, which two were purchased by Clarence E. Watkins, publisher of the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune and by Mr. and Mrs. George C. Butts, formerly of Kansas City. Butts had been a Kansas City Star staffer and formerly edited the Maryville Democrat Forum and Tribune.

Editor Butts continued to improve the News and it soon gained Blue Ribbon recognition in the State. In 1955, the News became the property of Jan V. Rockwell, who was a journalism and graphic arts instructor at Houston, Texas.

In 1957, the News again achieved the status of a Missouri Blue Ribbon weekly. At this time, Rockwell was recalled to active duty by the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. His wife, Thelma Rockwell edited the paper until 1961, when Joe Belie was retained as managing editor. Subsequently, the Rockwells, after his honorable discharge, purchased the Clay County Courier in Corning, Arkansas. The Rockwells took over active publication of the Courier, but retained their interest in the News.

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