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BY MIKE AVITT
I scanned this week’s photo from page 369 of the book,”Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa (1887).”
This is one of the earliest history books of our county. This building still stands today at 119 N. Taylor in Mount Ayr.
I recently found out the former Mount Ayr Record-News office at 119 N. Taylor was built in 1881.
The brick work was done by a Mr. True of Leon and a Mr. (George?) Smithson. Eugene Vorpe was the carpenter. The original building was 18’ x 36’, two stories high. So we know the rear of the building was added onto at least once.
Mount Ayr briefly had a newspaper in 1860-61 that was dissolved when the editor and publisher went to fight in the Civil War.
The next newspaper, the Ringgold Record, is still with us today under the name Mount Ayr Record-News. An article in the September 30, 1897 Ringgold Record tells of the early history.
George Roby and Warren Turk had purchased a newspaper plant at Corydon in the spring of 1865. In their attempt to move the plant to Maryville, Mo., the partners bogged down in the mud at Mount Ayr.
Roby was then given the opportunity to sell his half of the operation to Ith Sry Beall and he took it. Beall and Turk, with George Roby as an employee, opened up shop in the upstairs of a building at 106 S. Taylor.
The first issue of the Ringgold Record appeared April 7, 1865.
Mt. Ayr’s population was only 250 at this time, but the Civil War ended a month after the Record’s debut and population and commerce were on the way up.
Ith Beall sold his interest in the paper back to George Roby after three months and Roby then bought out his partner, Warren Turk. In 1869, Roby moved the business to a new location.
In 1872, D. D. Pratt bought the paper. Pratt was at one time associated with E. J. Turner and a Mr. Baker.
By the mid-1870s, big changes were taking place in Mt. Ayr.
The town would incorporate in 1875 and the railroad was a certainty, with Bedford, Leon, and Afton already having service.
Mount Ayr was ready for a second newspaper.
C. C. Bartruff published the first issue of the Mount Ayr Journal on January 6, 1874. This paper was directed at members of the Democratic and Greenback political parties.
The Ringgold Record was a Republican newspaper. Yes, it was political.
More changes were coming in the newspaper industry with George Stephens buying the Ringgold Record in August 1876. It was under his ownership the brick building at 119 N. Taylor was built.
New equipment came with the new owner.
In July 1877, the Ringgold Record began publishing,
The Headlight, a newspaper dedicated to the interest of the narrow gauge railroad which ran from St. Joseph, Mo. to Albany. The north bound narrow gauge had stalled at Albany and the south bound CB&Q Railroad had stalled at Leon. Bethany, Mount Ayr, and Grant City, were fit to be tied over their omission, hence the paper. I don’t know who edited this paper.
It would change soon and we’ll look at that next week.