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Publication of the weekly Iola Register began on January 2, 1875. The town of Iola was elected seat for Allen County in 1865. The first editorial stated that â€œThe Register will be independent in all things, and will be radical in the support of freedom, justice, and equal rights to all.â€� As the official paper of the county, the Iola Register circulated 850 copies in 1880 when the population surpassed 11,250. By 1890, circulation reached 1,500, and the county population reached 13,500. When the last issue was published on August 22, 1902, circulation still hovered at around 1,500, even though the population soared to over 19,500 thanks to the discovery of natural gas in the area. The days of publication and the number of pages per issue varied frequently, as did the editors and publishers.
The history of the Iola Register can be traced to the Allen County Courant, founded in 1867. Its name changed in 1868 to the Neosho Valley Register and changed again in 1870 to the Kansas State Register before being restored to the Neosho Valley Register that same year. Beginning on January 2, 1875, the paper was called the Iola Register. On October 6, 1882, the Register's new publisher, Scott Bros. & E.E. Rohrer, introduced a staunch Republican affiliation with the â€œconfidence to believe that the party that has been on the right side of all questions of principle and policy with wonderful uniformity for the last twenty years, has within itself the power and the will to rectify these abuses and to cleanse its own machinery.â€� Charles F. Scott, an Allen County native, had just graduated from the University of Kansas before joining the Register, and in January 1886, he became the paperâ€™s sole editor and proprietor. Scott went on to serve Kansas in the House of Representatives from 1901 to 1911 and unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 1918 and 1928 before returning to the Iola Register.
The Register absorbed the Democratic Allen County Courant in April 1889, and at the end of 1892, it acquired both the Elsmore Eagle and the Savonburg Progress. The weekly Iola Register changed its title in 1902 and was eventually discontinued. In the meantime, a daily edition, called the Iola Daily Register began in 1897. It went through several name changes before it evolved into the current daily newspaper, the Iola Register. Following Charles F. Scottâ€™s death in 1938, his son Angelo C. Scott succeeded as editor for the Iola Register, which continues under the same family of publishers.
Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS