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John Wesley Downs established the Waco Daily Examiner in 1873. Each issue was four pages long and included a mixture of advertisements and articles. At first, the yearly subscription rate was $8.00 for daily and $2.50 for weekly service. By the late 1880s, the price was $10.00 for daily and $1.50 for weekly subscriptions. Patrons could also purchase one-, three-, four- or six-month subscription plans. Advertising itself as the “Official Organ of the City,” the Waco Daily Examiner featured an Associated Press service of about eight hundred words as well as offering local, state, national, and international news in “Telegrams from all Parts of the World” and “Markets by Telegraph”.

The origins of the Daily Examiner go back to 1865, when Downs, along with editor Henry Payne and pressman J.M. Conrad began publishing semiweekly issues of the Waco Examiner. As the paper’s popularity grew, Downs added a weekly and then finally a daily edition.

Many of the various Examiner titles were associated with the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. This organization commonly referred to as “The Grange” worked to advance the economic and political interests of American farmers. The Waco Examiner had served as the official organ of the Texas Grange and continued in this role when the paper became the Weekly Examiner and Patron.

Downs’ interest in the Grange spurred his involvement with other newspaper titles. He purchased the Waco Daily Telephone, which was also affiliated with the Grange, and incorporated it with the Daily Examiner. For a brief period after the merger, the Waco Daily Examiner was also known as the Waco Daily Examiner and Telephone.

In September 1884, the firm Bartow, Cravens, and Leachman took over the Waco Daily Examiner. Instead of concerning themselves with the affairs of the Grange, the new owners focused more broadly on local, regional, state, national, and international news. In February 1885, Bartow, Cravens, and Leachman became Bartow and Cravens. On November 24, 1887, the Examiner Publishing Company under the direction of Frank P. Cravens as business manager and John C. Crisp as editor, assumed control over the newspaper. The Examiner Publishing Company was the last to manage the Waco Daily Examiner, which even at the end of its run in 1888 claimed to have the largest circulation of any paper in central Texas.

Provided by: University of North Texas; Denton, TX