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Iron County register. [volume] : (Ironton, Iron County, Mo.) 1867-1965
Place of publication:
Ironton, Iron County, Mo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Ironton, Iron, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Essex & Winfield
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 6, 1867)-v. 99, no. 21 (Aug. 19, 1965).
  • English
  • Iron County (Mo.)--Newspapers.
  • Missouri--Iron County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221133
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 84024283
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Iron County register. [volume] January 1, 1880 , Image 1


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Iron County Register

For 94 years the Ake family owned and published the Iron County Register a weekly four-page paper published in Ironton, Missouri. Thomas Essex and William. H. Winfield published the first issue on July 6, 1867. The paper was politically conservative and supported the Republican Party, believing the party of Lincoln “to be just, right, and proper, and calculated to restore our whole Government upon a sure, peaceable, just, and safe basis.” However, the Register also vowed to advocate the truth regardless of party loyalty. It also promised not to “bore our readers with long, dry articles upon politics in every issue of our paper….Our chief object will be the social, moral, and physical development of Southeast Missouri.” News gathering during these early years was difficult. According to one account, “the reporter for the Register used to set out walking, and walk all over town finding out the information that he printed.”

A young Eli Ake found consistent employment with the Register after serving in the Union army and holding various jobs around Ironton. Ake’s newspaper career had begun before the war when he apprenticed as a printer under James Lindsay at the Ironton Furnace, a Free Soil paper that ceased publishing in 1861 due to the Civil War. After serving three years with the First Iowa Battery and participating in the Battle of Pilot Knob, Ake began publishing the Ironton Forge. After a year, he sold the paper and did not work on another until he took over the Iron County Register. Ake became part owner of the Register in May 1869 and sole owner in June 1871 when he was only 29. He continued to serve as editor and proprietor until shortly before his death in 1929 at age 86. At that time, Eli Ake had edited a single paper longer than anyone else in the United States.

After Eli’s death, his son Philip Ake took over ownership of the Register. Before entering the Register’s office in 1889 to assist his father, Philip had attended the University of Missouri for two years. Philip worked continuously at the Register except for one year he spent in St. Louis employed as a reporter at the St. Louis Republic and three years working at various newspapers in Arkansas. Philip passed away in July 1939, and his son Eli “Bill” Ake became the third and final Ake editor of the Iron County Register. Like his father, Bill attended the University of Missouri before joining the paper. He was very active in the Democratic Party and attended three national conventions along with many Democratic state and district conventions. Eli (Bill) also served in the Public Relations Department for U.S. Army during World War II. During the war years, Ake’s mother, assisted by Virgin Rainwater, continued to publish the paper until he returned. The Iron County Register continued until Eli (Bill) retired in 1965 after which  the paper was sold to Richard Armfield of the Mountain Echo, thereby ending the Ake family’s 94-year ownership of the newspaper. According to Past and Present: A History of Iron County, Missouri, “The Register had been the outstanding newspaper in the area. All of the Ake editors were well thought of throughout the area. As the first Eli Ake said, they were known for their outspoken honesty about what they believed...”

Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO