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Plentywood herald. [volume] : (Plentywood, Mont.) 1908-current
Place of publication:
Plentywood, Mont.
Geographic coverage:
  • Plentywood, Sheridan, Montana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.S. Nelson
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1908.
  • English
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 11 (Jan. 1, 1909).
sn 86075293
Preceding Titles:
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Plentywood herald. [volume] January 7, 1927 , Image 1


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Plentywood herald

The Plentywood Herald was first published in Plentywood, Montana on October 28, 1908 by Cornelius Nelson and his wife, Anna. Headlines in the first issue included "Fine Free Homesteads," "Complete List of National, State, and County Candidates," and "Important Facts From Round the World." The paper was successful enough to allow the construction of a new building on Main Street in 1911. Cornelius was a staunch promotor for Plentywood. In a 1913 editorial on competing with rival candidate Culbertson for the position of county seat, he wrote, "With undaunted nerve she [Culbertson] tries to persuade the people of Orville and Scobey to do her homage as of old by traveling 120 miles to get to the county seat, but the sturdy farmers of the north will win this fight for Plentywood, just as their forefathers in the north of Europe returned in triumph with their spears and helmets bedecked with garlands of victory won on land and sea."

Many Montana newspapers had bitter rivalries and feuds with other papers, but none quite like the relationship between the Plentywood Herald and the Producers News. The Producers News, also a Plentywood paper, was an avowedly Communist publication. In contrast, the Herald's politics ranged from neutral to conservative. This led to many arguments between the papers and their readers. As a Plentywood resident wrote in Plentywood Portrait, a community history, "If the Producers News had said, 'Tomorrow the sun will rise!', those persons who were conservative would have disagreed. If the Plentywood Herald would have said, 'Tomorrow the sun will set!', those liberals who read the Herald with complete disdain would have argued the point…" Another contributor wrote, "For those who remember those times…and who are conservative in their thinking…it was a 'black spot in our past'…for those more liberal thinkers, it was the first surge of 'truth' presented to the local readers. There is one thing though, the times lent themselves to the change in pace and during the depression, probably the most fun the 'locals' had was waiting for the publication of each issue of the rival papers…and the weekly discussion of their contents." Plentywood residents were forced to find a new catalyst for argument when the News published its final issue in 1937.

Cornelius Nelson retired in 1927 for health reasons and sold the Herald to Harry Polk, who was then the owner of the Williston North Dakota Williston Herald. Polk oversaw the operation of the Herald until 1952, when his son, J. Stuart Polk, took over his father's duties. After military service and college, Stuart was named editor in 1961. In 1978, Joe Nistler became news editor, and Stuart's fourth son, Tim, joined the paper as advertising salesman in 1985. The 1993 death of J. Stuart Polk marked the beginning of the paper's steep decline. Following his death, ownership of the paper went to Mrs. Marianne Polk. After a bitter dispute between Marianne and a number of Herald employees over management and ownership, the employees resigned. The Plentywood Herald published its final issue on March 22, 1995. Five former Herald employees started the Sheridan County News after their resignation and published their first issue the same day the Herald published its last.

Provided by: Montana Historical Society; Helena, MT