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The Owingsville Outlook was a weekly paper serving Bath County from 1879 through 1923. Thomas J. Young, a local politician and journalist, started the central Kentucky publication when many other papers in the area were competing for subscribers. Many of the men involved with the Owingsville Outlook were active politicians. Among the Democratic executive committee members associated with the paper were founding editor Young and a later editor C.W. Honaker--the latter unabashedly advertizing his drug store on the front page of the Outlook at every turn. Edward C. O'Rear, of Versailles, spent two years apprenticing at the paper before becoming a prominent lawyer and chief justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Little wonder, then, that the Owingsville Outlook offered a plethora of state and national political content alongside the regionally flavored articles of a more home-grown nature.
The activity of the Burley Tobacco Society, an organization designed to combat the American Tobacco Company's monopoly, was a hot topic for Outlook readers. After netting huge annual profits, while local farmers were paid only a little more than the cost of production, "The Tobacco Trust" was often the target of Outlook editorials: "Farmers, don't let the Trust do it without the best fight you can put up." The upkeep of roads was another important issue. In the early 20th century, county governments across the Commonwealth lacked ample funds to manage roads, and, as a result, many were owned and maintained by private turnpike companies--Bath County being no exception. Burdened by the heavy tolls, residents turned to the Outlook to advocate for county ownership of the roads, often inundating the editorial pages with claims and criticisms. Although the paper deemed it "impractical and nearly impossible" for the county to properly maintain the roads, tensions escalated and, for a good while, violence against toll gate owners was a regular feature in the news.
The Owingsville Outlook was led by a number of tenacious editors. After seven years at the helm, in 1886 Young sold the paper to H.P. Scruggs. In a few short months, Scruggs sold the Outlook to Will E. Estill, who ran it for nearly a year until he sold it to David S. Estill. J.H. Herron and David Williamson bought the paper in 1891, but the latter Estill remained editor. Honaker, the aforementioned drug store entrepreneur, owned a share in the paper beginning in 1892 and, after his death, his son John W. Honaker became editor. In 1914, O.B. Thompson bought the paper and was succeeded by his brother, E.D. Thompson, in 1920. Three years later, the Outlook was sold to R.W. Kincaid and H.J. Lacy, ironically, owners of the rival weekly, the Bath County News. The merger created the Bath County News Outlook, which is still published in Owingsville more than eight decades later (http://www.bathconewsoutlook.com).
Provided by: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY