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The Lamar register. [volume] : (Lamar, Colo.) 1889-1952
Place of publication:
Lamar, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Lamar, Prowers, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
W.R. Davis
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 3, no. 42 (Mar. 30, 1889)-v. 66, no. 41 (Mar. 26, 1952).
  • English
  • Colorado--Lamar.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01217596
  • Lamar (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Colorado Historical Society.
  • Description based on: Vol. 41, no. 44 (Apr. 13, 1927).
  • Publisher: Geo. B. Merrill, <January 3, 1900-October 21, 1903>.
sn 86063147
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The Lamar register. [volume] March 30, 1889 , Image 1


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Bent County register and The Lamar Register

The Bent County Register began as a weekly publication in June 1886 in the fever of the real estate boom precipitated by the founding of Lamar, Colorado. Located in the fertile valley of the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado, and attractive to both cattlemen and farmers looking to move west from Kansas, the town of Lamar sprouted up literally overnight between May 23 and 24, 1886. Real estate investor I.R. Holmes and Santa Fe railroad man Colonel A.S. Johnson secured a deed to land along the Santa Fe line and spread the word that the opening sale of town lots would take place on May 24, 1886. By means of subterfuge, a train depot was taken off its foundations and relocated by rail to the new town site in time to accommodate the "boom train" arriving from Garden City, Kansas. Among the passengers arriving the following day were investors who purchased over $45,000 in town lots, doing business in a tent serving as Lamar's makeshift headquarters. The town was officially established on May 24, 1886, with many of the same investors deciding to immediately take up residence, ordering building materials by telegraph.

One of the early settlers who flocked to Lamar was Judge W.R. Davis, of Dodge City, Kansas, who alit from the train on June 7, 1886, with an antiquated printing outfit. Davis rented space with a floor and walls (no roof) and opened the Bent County Register. The first issue of the newspaper was published on June 12, 1886, during a driving rainstorm. It was so popular that Davis sold copies of the first issue as fast as they came off the press, the news-hungry settlers paying "such fancy prices that not even a sample copy for the files was left when the supply of paper gave out."

W.R. Davis brought with him considerable newspaper experience, having worked for the Dodge City Globe and "stood in the front rank of Kansas journalists," according to the Garden City Daily Sentinel. Colorado's Saguache Democrat described the new Bent County Register as "a sprightly sheet," and the Kinsley (Kansas) Mercury noted that while the "first number was gotten up under is nevertheless a neatly printed paper."

During the 1886-89 boom years, the Bent County Register extolled the virtues of the "Future Great City of Eastern Colorado"--the rich soil, pure water, irrigation systems, available farming lands, and land office. Even after the inevitable economic bust and in the face of a dwindling population, the newspaper continued publication in 1889 as the Lamar Register. Merchants State Bank President B.B. Brown bought the Register in 1890. The following year, Brown sold the paper to E.F. Seeberger and a newspaper man from Granada, Colorado, George B. Merrill. C.D. Ford bought out Seeberger's share in 1892, and by 1895, George Merrill had bought out Ford to become the Register's sole owner. When Merrill died in 1935, his son, John Merrill took over the publication of the paper, until he sold it in March 1952 to the Holly Chieftain.

Provided by: History Colorado