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Custer County Republican
The Custer County Republican was the first publication to appear in the central Nebraska community of Broken Bow. It was founded by Robert H. Miller on June 29, 1882, around the time of the initial platting of the town. During its 39-year run, the paper was published and edited by a long list of individuals, including Miller (1882-87), D.M. Amsberry (1887-89, 1896-1906, 1908, 1911-13), C.E. Shea (1914-16), and James K. Hewett (1916-20). Under their direction, the Republican served as one of the most influential publications in the county, until it was absorbed by the Custer County Chief on January 20, 1921. Though a daily section did exist for a short time, the paper’s schedule was predominantly weekly, printed on Thursdays. Related editions produced by the publishers, inconsistent in their schedule, included the Broken Bow Daily Republican, the Daily Republican, and the Daily Evening Republican. The paper offered three subscription options: $1.50, $.85, or $.50 for twelve, six, or three months respectively. Focusing the majority of its attention on local affairs, the Republican ran regular reports from Broken Bow, Georgetown, Dry Valley, New Hope, Mason City, and other surrounding communities. The paper started in 1883 with a four-page, seven-column format but would later vary between eight and six columns. The Republican expanded to eight pages per issue on June 25, 1885. Its masthead started in a bold, all caps font and later alternated between a more stylized calligraphic title and simpler bold text fonts.
As its name suggests, the paper supported the Republican Party and regularly gave voice to party campaigns and initiatives through editorials, general event reporting, and, by the early 1900s, even political cartoons. The paper also informed local residents of national Republican Party news.
Aside from promoting the party’s political agendas, the primary reason for the Republican’s existence was to report on and publicize regional agricultural and economic affairs. In particular, writers regularly extolled the virtues of Custer County and pointed to the many reasons why people should settle there. In an editorial entitled “Nebraska Dirt,” the Republican wrote, “[W]e are asked why is it everybody is going to Nebraska. We suppose because it is fashionable, and people wish to be fashionable.” The paper praised the region’s year-round agricultural bounty and noted the reportedly therapeutic effects of the environment on residents’ health. It devoted considerable space as well to local social happenings, community events, and the activities of the Masonic lodge and other county organizations.