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BY MIKE AVITT
Last week we left off in the year 1912 when Mount Ayr went back to having two newspapers. In 1913, the number went back up to three.
In May 1913, Weldon Laughlin published the first issue of The Independent, a newspaper aligned with the Progressive Party. Mr. Laughlin was an attorney, banker, and real estate agent, but his relatives had even greater credentials.
Weldon’s father, Will T.,was a district attorney in the Third District, his father-in-law, George Hass, was a Civil War veteran, and Weldon’s son, Loren, became a Nebraska State Senator in 1924.
Weldon’s father-in-law, George, was aboard the Sultana, April 27, 1865, when the Mississippi River steamboat exploded killing 1,200 passengers. George survived, married, and fathered Bert, Charles, Belle (Weldon’s wife), Curtis, and Eva.
In the November 12, 1914 edition of The Independent, Laughlin announces this is the last issue but he will start another paper soon. I never saw any evidence of another newspaper.
Meanwhile, on February 10, 1914, George Bartow and John Mills bought the Mt. Ayr Journal from J. S. Shepherd & Son. Bartow was an attorney and former Superintendent of the Kellerton and Beaconsfield Schools. He also saved the Mount Ayr Hotel from ruin after he bought the condemned hotel and restored it in 1923 and 1924.
The Mount Ayr Record-News upgraded their equipment again in 1915, putting a model “Y” typecaster into use. In July 1916, the Record-News went back to publishing a single issue each week. Previously, it had been two each week.
The Mount Ayr Journal ceased publication in January 1925. I wonder if the advent of radio had something to do with that.
The content of newspapers had been changing anyway, but now newspapers were in competition with radio, as well as other publications. The Record-News would be the only weekly in Mt. Ayr from this point on.
On March 5, 1936, “From the Early Files” appeared for the first time in the Record-News. I have used this feature for my research on a regular basis. The Record-News office building, at 119 N. Taylor Street, had a new facade of brick and tile constructed in April 1936.
On November 8, 1940, Sam Spurrier passed away and the Mount Ayr Record-News passed into the hands of Sam’s son, Franklin. Sam had been with the Record-News since 1895.
In 1950, a young couple named Jack and Helen Terry bought the Lamoni Chronicle newspaper. Jack and Helen bought the Kellerton Globe from Bert Ballou in 1959 and published that paper until May 25, 1961, when the Kellerton Globe ceased to exist.
Bert had published The Globe since 1909.
Mr. and Mrs. Terry kept ownership of the Lamoni Chronicle during this time and would soon buy another newspaper. More next week.