The Library of Congress > Chronicling America > The Nicodemus cyclone.

Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1756-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities external link and the Library of Congress. Learn more

The Nicodemus cyclone. [volume] : (Nicodemus, Graham County, Kan.) 1887-1888
Place of publication:
Nicodemus, Graham County, Kan.
Geographic coverage:
  • Nicodemus, Graham, Kansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Porter & Inlow
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 2, no. 34 (Dec. 30, 1887)-v. 3, no. 16 (Sept. 7, 1888).
  • English
  • African American newspapers--Kansas.
  • African American newspapers.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799278
  • African Americans--Kansas--Nicodemus--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Kansas--Nicodemus.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01237139
  • Kansas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204323
  • Nicodemus (Kan.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm from the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.
sn 84030038
Preceding Titles:
View complete holdings information
First Issue Last Issue

The Nicodemus cyclone. [volume] December 30, 1887 , Image 1


Calendar View

All front pages

First Issue  |  Last Issue

The Nicodemus Cyclone, Western Cyclone, and Nicodemus Enterprise

The Western Cyclone, Nicodemus Enterprise, and Nicodemus Cyclone were Republican, four-page, weeklies that served Nicodemus, KS. Nicodemus was one of the earliest and longest surviving African American communities in the Midwest. It was incorporated in 1876 by a group of newly freed African Americans from the South and a White land speculator. The new town experienced a period of drought and poverty, but, by the 1880s, there were almost 500 African American and White citizens living in the town alongside diverse African American and White-owned businesses.

In May 1886, Arthur G. Tallman founded the Western Cyclone and was the paper's first editor. He sold the paper in July 1886 to H.K. Lightfoot, an attorney and previous editor of the Webster [Kansas] Eagle. Lightfoot remained the editor until he sold the paper in June 1887 to Hill City residents W.R. Hill, Nicodemus's original townsite developer, and George Sanford (also "Sandford"). Two months later in August 1887, Lightfoot founded Nicodemus's second paper, the Nicodemus Enterprise. These newspapers represented a time of anticipation and possibility for Nicodemus. The town's citizens were hopeful that Nicodemus would expand with the new Missouri Union Pacific Railroad and as Graham County's new county seat. These issues often caused tension between neighboring towns and newspapers, especially between Hill and Sanford's Western Cyclone and Lightfoot's Nicodemus Enterprise. Lightfoot's pro-railroad and pro-county seat sentiments began when he was the editor of the Western Cyclone but heightened in the Nicodemus Enterprise. He used the paper to highlight racial violence in competing towns, Millbrook and Hill City. He also accused Hill and Sanford of allegedly using the Western Cyclone to exploit and campaign against Nicodemus.

By the end of 1887, the railroad was not coming, and Hill City became the new county seat. This ended the feud and resulted in the merger between the two papers. In December 1887, M.C. Inlow and J.E. Porter, the papers' only known editor of African descent, merged the Western Cyclone and Nicodemus Enterprise to form the Nicodemus Cyclone.

The Western Cyclone and the Nicodemus Enterprise set the tone for the Nicodemus Cyclone in style and content. The Nicodemus Cyclone also encouraged more settlers to migrate to Nicodemus. Under the motto, "Faithful to our Friends and Generous to our Foes," the newspaper reported about local events and debates that promoted the town's moral, social, and political superiority. The paper also published major local, state, and national elections and political debates. The Nicodemus Cyclone often included small and large advertisements, op-eds, and notices about Nicodemus's history, land, and prosperity. In some issues, the paper would publish editorials against local, state, and national racial violence to promote the town's interracial harmony and the Republican Party. Although Porter and Inlow promoted the town and encouraged current citizens to stay in Nicodemus, the Nicodemus Cyclone ended in the fall of 1888 and the town began to decline soon after.

Note: A portion of the issues digitized for this newspaper were microfilmed as part of the Miscellaneous Negro newspapers microfilm collection, a 12-reel collection containing issues of African American newspapers published in the U.S. throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Creation of the microfilm project was sponsored by the Committee on Negro Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies in 1947. For more information on the microfilm collection, see: Negro Newspapers on Microfilm, a Selected List (Library of Congress), published in 1953. While this collection contains selections from more than 150 U.S. newspapers titles, for further coverage, view a complete list of all digitized African American titles available in the Chronicling America collection.

Provided by: Library of Congress, Washington, DC