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Canton daily leader. [volume] : (Canton, South Dakota) 1896-1896
Alternative Titles:
  • Farmers leader
Place of publication:
Canton, South Dakota
Geographic coverage:
  • Canton, Lincoln, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Dates of publication:
  • Began with with volume I, number 1 (October 31, 1896). Ceased with volume I, number 2 (November 2, 1896)?
Daily (except Sunday)
  • English
  • Canton (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • Lincoln County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--Canton.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01223212
  • South Dakota--Lincoln County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215596
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
  • Description based on: Volume I, number 1 (October 31, 1896); title from masthead.
  • Latest issue consulted: Volume I, number 2 (November 2, 1896).
  • Publication coincides with the general election held November 3, 1896.
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Canton daily leader. [volume] October 31, 1896 , Image 1


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Dakota Farmers' Advocate, Dakota Farmers' Leader, The Daily Dakota Farmers' Leader and Canton Daily Leader

The Canton Dakota Farmers’ Leader began publication in August of 1890, serving a primarily agricultural readership connected with South Dakota’s Farmers Alliance movement in Lincoln and Minnehaha counties, including the cities of Canton, Sioux Falls, Brandon, Lennox, and Beresford. Beginning earlier in the year as the Canton / Dakota Farmers’ Advocate, the paper was an eight-page, six-column weekly publication. In addition to the regular weekly Dakota Farmers’ Leader, there were also two known daily editions which had very short runs: the Canton Daily Dakota Farmers' Leader, which published four issues in September 1890 to coincide with the Lincoln County Fair, and the Canton Daily Leader, which published just two issues in October and November of 1896 urging readers to vote for the Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan in the presidential election of that year. The Dakota Farmers’ Leader featured local and national news with a particular focus on agricultural issues, local ads, railroad timetables, and serialized fiction, along with meeting minutes and editorials from the South Dakota Farmers’ Alliance, as well as correspondence from other Farmers’ Alliance groups throughout the region.

The Farmers’ Alliance was a cooperative economic movement that developed in the United States starting in the mid-1870s. In the years immediately following the Civil War, American farmers faced severe setbacks, both in productivity and economic power amplified by increased land prices and real estate speculation brought on by the expansion of railways throughout the country. Additionally, many farmers were forced to purchase equipment and supplies from local merchants on credit who would then hold a lien on the farmers’ crops. Many farmers came to the conclusion that pooling their purchasing power and political influence by forming cooperatives could effectively level the playing field. While there were several regional Alliances, each with slightly differing goals, the broad goals of the movement were to curb the increasing power of the transportation industry, limit speculative real estate profits, and relax the burden of debt brought on by the crop-lien system.

It was with the notion of promoting those goals that a group of “nearly 400 of the most progressive farmers in Lincoln and adjoining counties,” according to the paper’s publisher’s block, established a newspaper that would become the Dakota Farmers’ Leader. Initially, the paper was distributed by the Farmers’ Publishing Company, whose board of directors consisted of A.J. Wimple, Jere Gehon, Edward W. Owens, John Isackson, Henry Bradshaw, Ole Byri, Nels Larson, Ole Hokenstad, and A.T. Sundvold. By 1893, Arthur Linn had purchased the paper and became its sole editor and publisher. A lifelong newspaper man, Linn had previously served as editor and publisher of the Canton Sioux Valley News from 1874 to 1877. Prior to that he had partnered with James Foster as editor and publisher of the Yankton Union and Dakotaian. Arthur Linn ran the Dakota Farmers’ Leader for 20 years until his death in 1912, after which his son-in-law, Kinsey Fobes, took on editorial duties and Linn’s wife, Etta, became proprietor. Fobes and Linn ran the paper until 1915 when it was sold to Earl F. Crawford, formerly the publisher of the Polo Semi-Weekly Visitor in Illinois. Crawford stayed on until 1919, when F.J. Milliman purchased the paper and it became the Canton Farmers Leader. In 1931, the Canton Farmers Leader Corporation purchased the Sioux Valley News and published both papers simultaneously, although as smaller editions.

Provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN