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Title:
The Montana courier. [volume] : (Shelby, Mont.) 1922-192?
Place of publication:
Shelby, Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Shelby, Toole, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Publisher:
C.M. Brinton
Dates of publication:
1922-192?
Description:
  • Ceased by 1925.
  • Vol. 1, no. 18 (Aug. 30, 1922)-
Frequency:
Weekly
Language:
  • English
LCCN:
sn 85053342
OCLC:
12861200
Holdings:
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The Montana courier. [volume] August 30, 1922 , Image 1

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The Kevin Courier and The Montana courier

Following the oil and gas success in Montana's Elk Basin, Devil's Basin, Cat Creek, and Soap Creek oil fields, the Kevin-Sunburst oil field saw rapid development in 1922. Although oil had been discovered in the Kevin area in 1909 and the viability of development first explored in 1911-1912, few major oil companies began operating there until the 1920s. The exceptions were Standard Oil Company subsidiaries, one of which leased a local landowner's holdings only a few months after the drilling of the first test well in 1912.

The discovery of oil turned the small railroad town of Kevin into a bustling center for the industry. The excitement drew the attention of C. M. Brinton when he visited in 1922. He concluded that such an environment was ideal for a community-boosting newspaper. Brinton became editor and publisher of the Kevin Courier, releasing the first issue on May 5, 1922. The Sweet Grass Advocate printed the paper in the community of Sweet Grass, more than twenty miles north of Kevin, until the Courier could build its own printing plant. As a result, the first three issues were only four pages long and printed on unusually small sheets of paper.

In the four months of its operation, the Courier grew into an optimistic and news-rich publication. New wells, production statistics, leases, and other industry news dominated the front page. The rest of the publication covered news of nearby communities such as Sunburst and featured a liberal amount of advertisements for local businesses. Editorials cheerfully promoted the area with phrases like "KEVIN — Write it in caps" and titles such as "Bet on Kevin."

A second newspaper, the Kevin Review, also published its first issue in May of 1922. The Review and the Courier were similar in tone and content, but the Review had an advantage: it was printed in Kevin. The Courier welcomed the new paper, pointing out that the opportunity for boosting Kevin had doubled with its arrival. Besides, editor Brinton wrote, "There is room for any man or business if the true richness of the district and the possibilities of the town are realized."

The Cut Bank Pioneer Press was less encouraging, commenting, "It is reported that a second paper will be issued at Kevin, which reminds us of the silly homesteading days when every hamlet had at least two papers, quaint little jokes that did no credit to themselves or the towns in which they were 'launched.' If Kevin is wise a second newspaper venture will be discouraged."

There was discouragement, but not from the Courier. Instead, the Review branded itself the "Only Paper Printed in Kevin" and the "Official Paper of the Town of Kevin," helping to cement its place in the community. The Courier changed course, selecting a new name and a broader focus. The Kevin Courier became The Montana Courier and moved its operations to Shelby by August 1922. Having printed the paper there for some time, the editor reasoned that the paper's "removal to a permanent home in Shelby is but logical in that from here it will serve all those [businessmen of Shelby] and many more in a better way."

The paper continued to serve Shelby and the surrounding area, but perhaps not in the way C. M. Brinton thought it might. On October 1, 1922, veteran newspaperman John Kavanagh and his son, Cecil, purchased the Shelby Promoter and the Montana Courier. The Shelby Promoter absorbed the Courier and for a time was titled as the Shelby Promoter (and Courier). C. M. Brinton retired after the sale, and the Promoter continued to be owned and published by the Kavanagh family into the next century.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT