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Barbour County index. [volume] : (Medicine Lodge, Kan.) 1880-current
Alternative Titles:
  • Barber County index
Place of publication:
Medicine Lodge, Kan.
Geographic coverage:
  • Medicine Lodge, Barber, Kansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
[publisher not identified]
Dates of publication:
  • Began with June 10, 1880 issue.
Semiweekly <Nov. 13, 1991->
  • English
  • Barber County (Kan.)--Newspapers.
  • Kansas--Barber County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214709
  • Kansas--Medicine Lodge.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214710
  • Medicine Lodge (Kan.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 28 (Dec. 16, 1880).
  • Editor: M.L. Sherpy, <Dec. 16, 1880->
  • Latest issue consulted: 111th year, 33rd week (Nov. 13, 1991).
  • Oct. 5, 1961 called also Indian peace treaty ed.
  • Published as Barber County index, Apr. 27, 1883-
sn 82015080
Preceding Titles:
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Barbour County index. [volume] December 16, 1880 , Image 1


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Barbour County Index

The Barbour County Index of Medicine Lodge, Kansas, was founded by Michael L. Sherpy in June 1880 as a Democratic paper. Barber County had been organized in 1873 in honor of Thomas Barber, a free-state settler in Douglas County who was killed in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1855 during the Wakarusa War between pro- and antislavery settlers. When the county was established, the name was inadvertently misspelled as "Barbour." The spelling was changed to "Barber" in 1883 when legislation determined that the county should bear the name originally given to it; the paper became the Barber County Index in accordance with the official change. William Cutler called the Index "a shining light in the Democratic press of this region" in his History of the State of Kansas.

In July 1882, just over two years after its founding, Edward "Wiley" Payne purchased the Index. He remained its proprietor until his untimely death in May 1884 during an attempted robbery while serving as President of the Medicine Valley Bank of Medicine Lodge. Editor Edgar P. Caruthers assumed publishing duties and was joined by William G. Musgrove soon after. The newspaper's politics remained Democratic until Henry C. Walker bought Caruthers's shares in August 1890, and the Index became the "The Official Organ of the Farmer's Alliance of the Seventh Congressional District of Kansas. "Charles C. Painter and Uriah Herr purchased the Index in 1894. It remained a Populist paper until 1904 when it reverted back to its Democratic origins. Painter and Herr purchased a long-time rival, the Republican Medicine Lodge Cresset in 1917, making the Index the only newspaper in town at that time. Two years later, on August 13, 1919, the Index was consolidated with a new Republican paper, the Medicine Lodge Republican. Lyman H. Sommer, editor of the Index, and Joe Sims, editor of the Republican, became partners and new publishers of the Barber County Index; they decided that "the policy of the paper will be independent as to politics."

Circulation for the Index peaked in 1917 with 1,148 subscriptions with the total population for the city and county at 1,500 and 9,916, respectively. Published weekly, the Index featured a large amount of legal notices and genealogical information and local news from nearby Barber County towns of Deerhead, Hazelton, Sharon, Mingona, Sun City, and Lasswell. The paper took a special interest in livestock and included the tagline: "Devoted to the upbuilding of the city and county, and the live-stock interests of the Southwest." After remaining in publication for more than a century, the Barber County Index ended its run in January 2009.

Provided by: Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, KS