Snapshot of History
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BY MIKE AVITT
We see the Beall brothers in front of Randolph’s real estate office at 105 E. Madison. Randolph was located here from 1921 to 1944.
Newspapers were the only public medium in 1890 and they were full of politics. Nearly every newspaper endorsed political candidates. In August 1890, George Kirby and Randolph Beall began publishing “The Advance” newspaper, a publication dedicated to the interests of the Prohibition Party. The Advance regularly covered the activities of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. The WCTU opposed intoxicating liquors and endorsed the global spread of Christianity. I don’t know how long this paper ran, but it was still going in September 1891.
Thomas F. Armstrong, former editor of the Tingley Vindicator, began publishing The Weekly News in August 1892 in Mt. Ayr. The Mount Ayr Record-News gets half its name from this newspaper.
Randolph Beall bought half interest in this newspaper in December 1892 and the newspaper plant was moved to 115 N. Taylor at this time. In February 1893, Walter Beall bought T. F. Armstrong’s interest in the newspaper.
Walter Hamlin Beall graduated from Mt. Ayr High School in 1889, spent a couple years at Simpson College, and then worked as a stenographer in Des Moines before returning to Mount Ayr. Randolph and Walter’s father, Ithamar Sry Beall, co-founded the Ringgold Record in 1865.
Soon after the brothers took charge of the paper, the name was changed to Twice-A-Week News and was published on Tuesday and Friday. Also, the Twice-A-Week News was now a Prohibitionist Party newspaper.
The paper was a success and the brothers needed to expand. In May 1897, Ed Case was hired to lay the brick for the new, two-story building at 111 E. Madison, the current home of Lefty’s Club Tavern. J. R. Hillhouse would burn the brick at his south yard. Randolph and Walter moved into their new office in October 1897.
The other newspapers were busy, too. Howard Tedford joined his father at the Ringgold Record in January 1893. Howard was an extremely capable man as he later became a book binder for the State of Iowa, and, still later, became secretary for Republican U. S. Representative, Karl LeCompte. LeCompte was once owner of the Corydon Republican-Times newspaper.
In 1895, Sam Spurrier came from Clearfield to manage the mechanical department of the Ringgold Record. His role at the Record would change in the future.
The Mount Ayr Journal was keeping pace, but would slip in the next decade. Were three newspapers too many for Mount Ayr? We’ll find out next week.