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Dodge City Times
The first issue of the Dodge City Times was published on May 20, 1876. Subscribers received a copy of the Times every Saturday until February 1881 when it was published every Thursday and then changing to Fridays beginning in May 1890. Readership extended beyond Ford County into the unsettled, frontier regions of southwest Kansas. In the years 1880-85, 720 copies were circulating in a county of fewer than 3,500 people. Although the number of pages in each issue fluctuated somewhere between four and ten, the Times steadily expanded from four to eight columns by November 1888.
The Times experienced a number of editorial as well as format changes. Walter C. Shinn, only 22 years old when he established the Times, worked as proprietor and editor along with his younger brother Otis “Lloyd” Shinn. In December 1877, Walter Shinn left Dodge City to pursue other opportunities, and Nicholas B. Klaine took his place as editor. Klaine had just arrived in Dodge City the previous month from Warrensburg, Missouri, where he had served in the state legislature and established the Warrensburg Standard, a Republican newspaper in a decidedly anti-Union region. Accustomed to “swimming upstream,” Klaine became known in Dodge City for his puritanical beliefs in a town better know for its immoral pursuits. Undermining the Shinn brothers’ attempts to maintain political independence, Klaine used the Times as a Republican organ. In August 1878, Lloyd Shinn sold his interest in the paper to Klaine, making him the sole editor and publisher. Klaine was often referred to as “Old Nick” by his rival, Editor Daniel Frost of the Globe-Republican, of which, ironically, Klaine would assume proprietorship in 1895.
On October 13, 1887, Frank Aikins took over as editor and publisher. In his salutatory, Aikins proclaimed the Times would have “no sympathy whatever with scheming politicians in any party, who buy their nominations and pay money for votes,” thus maintaining an independent affiliation. Aikins also added a column on education to the newspaper. Responsibility for the Times passed without fanfare to D.F. Owens on November 17, 1887, until his retirement from journalism less than a year later. Noel Edwards and E.L. Mendenhall took over as proprietors of the newspaper on September 6, 1888, calling it the Times-Democrat for one issue to acknowledge the merger with the Ford County Democrat and marking another significant shift in the political affiliation of the Times. In January 1890, the Times Publishing Company, “composed of the leading Democrats in the County,” took over production of the Times.
The title changed to the Dodge City Times-Ensign on January 15, 1892, when it merged with the Western Kansas Ensign. Its name changed again to the Dodge City Times on September 23, 1892, before dissolving in 1893 as the “Official organ of the People’s party of Ford County.”
Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS