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Union County courier. [volume] : (Elk Point, Union County, D.T. [S.D.]) 187?-1913
Place of publication:
Elk Point, Union County, D.T. [S.D.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Elk Point, Union, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.F. Mallahan
Dates of publication:
  • -v.42, no. 22 (Mar. 20,1913).
  • English
  • Dakota Territory--Newspapers.
  • Elk Point (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--Elk Point.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01229414
  • South Dakota--Union County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206335
  • Union County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • United States--Dakota Territory.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01228148
  • 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: Vol. 7, no. 1 (Nov. 21, 1877).
  • Merged with: Elk Point leader, to form: The leader-courier.
sn 84022137
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Union County courier. [volume] November 21, 1877 , Image 1


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Union County Courier and The Daily Courier

On November 24, 1871, in Elk Point, South Dakota, L.B. Redpath published the first issue of the Union County Courier. He printed two issues before selling the paper to the Courier Publishing Company of Harrison H. Blair, J.M. Talcott and Charles M. Northup, who in turn sold it to Charles Franklin Mallahan. Mallahan owned and edited the Courier until January 9, 1891, then sold it to Andrew Ring. Ring was the editor until April 29, 1892, when he leased the paper to J.A. Ross, who hired Louis McClarren (also spelled McClaren) and Mallahan as editors. In June 1893, Ross sold the Courier to W.T. Buchanan. His brother joined the paper in 1896, after which "The Buchanan Brothers" was used on the masthead. Charles R. Bruce bought the Courier in April 1897 and ran it until March 1911. Between March 24, 1911, and the last issue in 1913, there were six different editors: T.S. Arnet, Clark S. Thomas, Ora J. Frazine, John E. Prout, R.W. Ellis, and R.P. Willis. The latter published an interesting letter assuring subscribers that the "previous mishandling of the Courier is at an end" ; readers "will be treated with courtesy" and "news features will be given especial attention."

The four-page, eight-column Courier cost $2.00 per year during Mallahan's tenure and was published on Wednesdays. Ring changed the publishing day to Friday and the price to $1.50 per year. On January 17, 1895, Buchanan increased the number of pages to eight, decreased the columns to six, and changed the publishing date to Thursday. The front page of the newspaper was redesigned, dropping the Courier's slogan of 23 years "Independent in all things - Neutral in Nothing", simplifying the masthead, and increasing the type size. For the next year, the front page contained nothing but advertisements. Prout added "Progressive Republican" to the masthead in 1912.

Throughout its 43-year run the Courier consistently published articles favoring temperance and women's suffrage, including news of the "Bloomerite" movement. Market reports, railroad schedules, school news, serialized fiction, legal notices, and obituaries were regular features. Editorials covered a wide range of topics, at one point proposing making the Black Hills its own territory separate from Dakota Territory, as the Black Hills " ... are continually in a muss of some kind..." Other editorials lauded Union County and South Dakota as good places to live, backed statehood, decried endemic "lawlessness in the South," and stated the invention of the telephone "increased the use of obscenities." The Courier ran ads aimed at men for remedies designed for impotency, spermatorrhea, and seminal weakness which were "induced by self-indulgence or extravagance." After 1900, very large ads for Climax chewing tobacco were also published.

During the first half of its existence, the Courier printed mostly news. Topics included foreign and national items, as well as state and local news related to the Great Blizzard of 1888 which killed many children in the surrounding area, budget allotments to the Missouri River Commission for work on the Missouri riverbanks, and reports of the new Indian School in Pierre and Veterans Home in Hot Springs. Sensationalistic stories included the "Man-eating plant of Madagascar," which appeared nation-wide and turned out to be a hoax. Gradually after 1900 the amount of news decreased and the number of ads increased. However, local news items from nearby communities such as Alcester, Spink, Garryowen, Sioux Valley, Beresford, Jefferson, Nora, Burbank, Pleasant Valley, Virginia, and Brule were always carried.

In 1913, R.P. Willis sold the Union County Courier to the Elk Point Leader, managed by the father-son team of Jerry S. and Thomas H. Ryan. The Courier's last issue was March 20, 1913, after which the two papers were consolidated into the Leader-Courier.

Provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives