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The Pullman Herald
Thomas Neill was a lawyer and Irish immigrant whose ambition led him westward. Neill started his career as a newspaperman in Dawson, North Dakota, where he married Ada Allen. Frustrated with the pace of development in Dawson and lured by a magazine’s promotional piece, he brought his wife and his editor, J. J. Sargent, with him to the tiny town of Pullman in Washington Territory, where together they founded the Pullman Herald in 1888. Neill’s brothers-in-law Wilford, Ira, and Karl Allen, would later serve as editors.
Fire was a prevalent theme in the history of Pullman and is well-documented in the pages of this paper. In 1886 and 1887, fires decimated the city's business district. The civic-minded Herald began a series of editorials arguing for a fire department. In the September 14, 1889, issue the editors wrote, "Moscow [Idaho] had decided to bond the city for $30,000 for water works while Pullman protects itself from fire with talk... [shall we wait] until the fiery demon sweeps us into oblivion, and then blame ourselves for our almost criminal neglect?" A third fire swept through the town in July 1890 before the citizens took action.
Despite these early setbacks, the Pullman grew steadily, and the Herald staff, especially the "fighting editor" Wilford Allen, lobbied aggressively on the town's behalf. The newspaper co-sponsored Pullman’s first oil street lights in 1890, celebrated the town’s water resources (dubbing Pullman "The Artesian City,"), and pushed aggressively for the opening of a branch of the Northern Pacific Railroad. This early mania for self-promotion and development was largely driven by Washington statehood in 1889 and the promise that a new state agricultural school would be built east of the Cascades. Neill, Wilford Allen, and other early residents persistently lobbied the legislature, and in 1890 the Washington Agricultural College (now Washington State University) was located in Pullman, thus ensuring the long-term viability of the community.
At the turn of the century, the prohibition of alcohol became a heated topic in Pullman. The Herald promoted the "dry" side, and in 1907 the Pullman News was launched on behalf of "wet" interests. The fight was quite bitter, but by 1910 Pullman was declared a "dry” community. The following year, the Herald absorbed the News , and in 1919 it took over another local paper the Pullman Tribune.
Extreme farm debt and depressed commodity prices were persistent issues in Whitman County, a center of the Populist movement. A Herald article in February 1918 attributed fires in wheat fields and the burning of farm equipment to activities of the radical Industrial Workers of the World. In 1909, the Pacific Farmer's Union purchased the Herald from Wilford Allen. The paper was edited and eventually acquired by William Goodyear, with Karl Allen serving as co-editor. An index of the newspaper from the 1880s through the 1920s is available at the Washington State University Libraries.
Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA