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Fergus County Democrat
In 1904, Tom Stout and Harry J. Kelly established one of the state's most progressive weeklies, the Fergus County Democrat, in Lewistown, Montana. Stout's political activism found an avenue for expression in his 1910 election to the state legislature and his 1912 election to the U.S. Congress. The six-column, eight-page weekly covered both state and national politics thoroughly. The Democrat, provided regular news features about unions and labor in Montana. For example, one of the early editions published the following story: "Governor Toole on Labor-A Brilliant & Able Plea for the Cause of Labor." The newspaper paid close attention to the presidential bid of Populist William Jennings Bryan. The editors did not miss an opportunity to berate the competition, the Fergus County Argus.
Before coming to Montana in 1889 to work on the Missoulian, Kelly had worked for newspapers in Omaha; Leadville, Colorado; and Seattle. While in Montana, he also worked on the Butte Miner and the first edition of the Anaconda Standard. After leaving the Fergus County Democrat in 1913, Kelly was appointed the registrar of the U.S. Land Office.
Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT