Washington County, Nebraska Newspapers

Newspapers of Blair

From what seems to be reliable sources it is believed that the first newspaper in Blair was the Register, established in May, 1869, by Hilton & Son. January 1, 1870, L. F. Hilton, junior member of the firm, became editor and proprietor, publishing the paper until the following spring, having an actual circulation of 1,200 paying subscribers in Washington, Burt and Douglas counties. At this time the publication was suspended and the material sold under foreclosure of mortgage.

The next paper established in Blair was the Republican, started in June or July, 1870, as the Blair Times, by a stock company consisting of W. H. B. Stout and other citizens of Blair. Its first editor was J. C. Lillie. Gen. John .S. Bowen succeeded Lillie as editor and edited a most excellent paper. After numerous changes in proprietorship the property passed into the hands of C. B. Sprague in August, 1880, he succeeding Vic Lantry and others. Sprague changed the name from Times to Republican, also changed it to a republican organ. In 1904 it was purchased by Theo. T. Osterman and changed to a democratic paper and called the Democrat; it was merged with the Courier in 1907, and absorbed the Tribune in 1917 and the name "Democrat" dropped. The Tribune was founded by W. R. Williams in 1907 and has been in the hands of the present owner, Thomas T. Osterman, since 1917.

Then the Tribune derives its ancestry from the old Times, established in 1870. Politically, it is democratic. Subscription rate $2 in advance. It circulates mostly in Washington County; is a six-column, eight to twenty-page all home print paper. It is published every Thursday. The office from which it issues is equipped with a linotype, drum cylinder press, folder, gordon jobber, etc.

The building is owned by Thomas T. Osterman, and it is a frame structure.

The Blair Pilot

It is believed generally by the newspaper craft of Washington County that the first newspaper published in this county was the one known as the Register, just prior to the Pilot of today. It appears that what is now known as the Pilot was established at Tekamah, Burt County, in 1871, by J. Y. Lambert, but it was removed by him to Blair in 1874. In 1875 George Sutherland purchased it and L. F. Hilton became its editor. In 1879 Mr. Sutherland sold to B. F. Hilton, and son, L. F. Hilton. Finally it became the property of the Pilot Printing Company, with L. A. Williams as its editor. The present owner, Don C. Van Deusen, purchased the paper July 1, 1907. This was at one time a progressive republican journal, but at present does not advertise its politics, but is supposedly "independent." The Pilot circulates mostly in Washington County; is printed each week on Wednesday and its subscription rate is $2 per year in advance. It is well equipped as a modern printing office, with a modern linotype, propelled by an electric motor; a Standard Babcock six-column quarto cylinder press, purchased in the summer of 1919. It also has a folding machine, two jobbers, a paper cutter, a stapler, and everything found in offices in places the size of Blair at this date. Mr. Van Deusen, proprietor, owns the brick building in which his plant is kept; it is a good brick structure.

The Washington Democrat-Defunct

This newspaper was established by Blue and Sampson, September 22, 1881, in Blair, but November 28, that year, it was moved to Bell Creek (now Arlington), where after a five-month struggle it ceased to exist. Politically, this was a democratic organ, but in those times democrats were not very numerous in Washington County!

The Blair Enterprise

This newspaper was established at Kennard in 1896 by E. L. Tiffany, of Kennard, who sold in 1913 to L. F. Hilton, of Kennard, who moved into Blair in August, 1913. Politically, it is an independent republican journal with a circulation in Washington County, mostly. In form and size it is of the eight-page six-column size. It is published each Thursday (originally on Friday). Its yearly subscription rate is $1.50 in advance.

This office is equipped with up-to-date machinery, including a linotype, job presses, paper press, paper cutter, imposing stones and proof press. Local news, of course is the main object of newspapers in this sized towns and cities. This paper a few years ago, published portions of Bell's History of Washington County, written in 1876 and from its columns, containing such historical items, the publishers of this later history are greatly indebted.

The Blair Courier

The Courier was established at Blair the summer of 1889, Vol. 1, No. 18 bears date November 2 of that year. It was established by the Blair Publishing Company with W. H. Eller, associate editor, S. L. Hamilton, secretary and B. C. Maynard, manager. It was a six-column folio, and politically, it was democratic. It was a well-edited paper and had an excellent circulation. It was merged in 1907 with the Democrat.

The Kennard Weekly News

This enterprising local newspaper was established at the Village of Kennard, June 14, 1916, and is an independent local journal with no special political trend. The paper was started by its present owner and editor. Otto F. Olsen. It is an eight-page, six-column paper and circulates within a radius of about six miles of Kennard. Its subscription rate is $1.50 per year in advance. Its publication day is Wednesday of each week.

The equipment of the News office consists of modern appliances including one 10 by 15 Chandler & Price jobber; one Diamond cylinder news press and one 13-horsepower Mogul kerosine engine, with such other fixtures as make up a modern printing office.

The News aims to give the local happenings within the radius of its circulation and to have the same in readable shape such as will be interesting and instructive to the subscribers.

The Herman Record

The Herman Record was established October 14, 1908, and among its publishers and owners have been: F. L. Fassett, Paul E. Hubbell, and present owner, H. L. Swan.

It is non-political; circulates in Washington County mostly; is an eight-page, six-column paper with six pages home print. It is published every Thursday at $1.50 per year in advance.

This newspaper is published in Rooms 1, 2 and 3 in Plateau Bank Building. Its outfit includes a good cylinder press, two jobbers and a modern linotype.

The Record is a well-edited and neatly printed paper and is duly appreciated by the large list of well satisfied patrons who find all the news of the community each week.

Danish Lutheran Publishing House Papers

The Danish Lutheran Publishing House at Blair publish and print the following publications that go broadcast all over the United States and Canada:

Danish Lutheran Kirkeblad is now 50 years old-published in Blair for 30 years.

The Danskeren (a newspaper) was published in Wisconsin until 1899 since which it has been published in Blair, Nebraska. Since 1903 its editor has been Rev. A. M. Andersen. Subscription rate is $2 a year. Our Lutheran Youth, (for young people) a semi-monthly is now 15 years old.

Bornebladet is now in its thirty-first year of publication. This is a Danish Sunday school paper.

The Little Lutheran, (a Sunday School in English) in its eighth year of publication.

Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Blair, Nebraska, are the only two points in America where church papers are published by the Danish Lutheran Church. Their mailing list is immense, their postage bills are more than $800 per year, all told.

Washington County's First Newspapers

The first newspaper published in Washington County, Nebraska, was the De Soto Bugle, established in 1856 at the little pioneer Village of De Soto, by Hon. Isaac Parrish, who in a speech over in Harrison County in 1859 declared that there would be railroads over the Rocky Mountains to the far off Pacific Coast within a score of years. The people called him "daffy," but it was only half that length of time before the Union Pacific Railroad was completed.

The next newspaper started in this county was the De Soto Pilot, established in 1857 by Merrick and Maguire; the third paper was the Washington County Sun, established in 1858 by Potter C. Sullivan, and the fourth paper was the De Soto Enquirer, established in 1858 by Z. Jackson. No other attempt at starting a newspaper in this county was made until 1869, when the Register was established at Blair, by B. F. Hilton and son. In 1870 the publication of the Blair Times was undertaken by a company made up of a number of citizens of the county, as will be seen by reference to the history of that paper elsewhere in this chapter.

The Nebraska Pioneer, a weekly newspaper was started under the management of a Mr. Dimmick, at Cuming City in 1857, and soon was numbered among the dead enterprises of the young "city."

The Cuming City Star flashed out and made the second newspaper attempt in Cuming City, the date of its issue being 1858. It was a good weekly paper edited by L. M. Kline. This paper remained as long as there were any hopes for the town's future greatness.

The Calhoun Chronicle

Fort Calhoun's present local newspaper is the Chronicle, established about 1914 and is now conducted by its owner, Frank C. Adams. It is a six-column folio sheet, published each Thursday at a subscription rate of $1.50 in advance. Further data concerning this publication was not furnished the historians.

Nebraska AHGP

History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, Rev. William H. Buss and Thomas T. Osterman, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, Chicago, 1921.

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