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Hayti Herald and Missouri Herald
The Hayti Herald began publication in 1909 in Hayti, Missouri. Charles Stuart York, the brother of the Hayti Herald publisher, William York, had dabbled in the newspaper business in the late 1890s as a partner in the Pemiscot Argus. After business disappointments related to the paper, Charles Stuart York sold his share, and the Argus was moved to Caruthersville. In seeking to revive a Hayti-based newspaper, William York wrote in the first issue of the Hayti Herald, “We wanted to take our first love back because we had learned by a sad experience that few countries were equal to Southeast Missouri as a place to live and for a small newspaper no better place than Hayti could be found.” The Herald appeared weekly on Thursdays and advocated for Democratic Party politics throughout its run.
The Herald often harshly criticized competing papers, sometimes engaging in long-running feuds with their editors. As an editorial declared, “About nine times out of ten you can judge a town by its newspaper just as you can judge a man by his horse or his dog” (January 28, 1909). On July 21, 1910, the Herald asserted, “This paper is open, bold, fearless, and while we expect to treat everyone with due consideration and respect, we are not to be cowed or bluffed, and any attempt to sidestep us will result in the discomfort of the parties attempting it.” The line that “we will not be cowed or bluffed” reappeared in editorials throughout the William York’s editorship. During 1912, William York fiercely defended the Herald against accusations relating to bribed endorsements that appeared in the Caruthersville Twice-a-Week Democrat. On July 18 of that year, an editorial wrote, “All candidates are treated alike, and the public is protected in the columns of the Herald. But what assurance has the public against the Democrat, which publishes just any old thing that is paid for?”
In September 1915, William York sold the Herald to Otis Popham, who asserted: “As to politics, the Herald will continue in the democratic ranks, but will not come at you with claws and teeth, but with reason and fact”. However, on November 30, 1916, Popham wrote, “We have been told that the Herald was too radically Democratic. Well you didn’t expect us to cut the corner, did you? The Herald is not built that way; it’s strictly Democratic – that way to the bone.” Under Popham’s leadership, the Herald expanded to eight pages, largely through lengthened advertisement space, women’s fashion and homemaking news and tips, education and society news, and serialized literature.
On March 3, 1922, the Hayti Herald became the Missouri Herald. Popham remained the owner, although he hired Charles Stuart York as editor in late 1922. Regarding the title change, an editorial read, “It will be as much for Hayti as it ever was, and more, for we expect to greatly increase our circulation and gain influence and favor we never had before.”
Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO