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Belington progressive. [volume] : (Belington, W. Va.) 1912-1927
Alternative Titles:
  • Daily Progressive June 30-July 5, 1915 and July 3-8, 1916
Place of publication:
Belington, W. Va.
Geographic coverage:
  • Belington, Barbour, West Virginia  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Thompson Print. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (May 16, 1912)-v. 15, no. 52 (May 12, 1927).
  • English
  • "Independent, Prohibition, Non-Partisan, Co-operative."
  • Issued as a daily during weeks of special events such as Chautauqua Week (first week in July).
sn 86092333
Succeeding Titles:
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Belington progressive. [volume] May 16, 1912 , Image 1


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Belington Progressive

The Belington Progressive began as a consolidation of the Belington Independent, the Central Republican, and the Belington Observer. While the Progressive would list these papers as defunct in its inaugural issue, May 16, 1912, it would not be until May 6, 1915 that it acknowledged the fact that it was indeed formed out of their merger. The Progressive was published weekly, on Thursdays, except during two specific weeks in its run: June 30 to July 5, 1915 and July 3 to July 7, 1916, respectively, when the paper's name was temporarily changed to the Daily Progressive. The paper became a daily briefly, to celebrate the traveling Chautauqua circuit coming to Belington, reverting back to its normal name and schedule following the festivities.

Belington, Barbour County, West Virginia, counted among its denizens a number of enthusiastic boosters for the newspaper. One such booster was Frederick Earl Thompson (c. 1883-1986), proprietor of the Thompson Publishing Company, the Progressive's publisher. The Progressive was therefore dedicated from its very first issue to "the improvement and development of Belington and Barbour County." In its close to 800 issues, the Progressive's page count ranged from as few as 2 to as many as 12 or more, but typically settled on either 4 or 8. Starting out at a $1/year subscription, this price increased to $1.50 by the end of the paper's run.

In the April 16, 1914 issue, after almost two years of simply listing "Thompson Publishing Co." on the masthead, Thompson referenced in print his family's individual jobs, by name, at the paper. Yet shortly thereafter, on August 13th of that same year, Thompson handed over control of the Progressive to the "former owner and editor of the Randolph Enterprise at Elkins … ", C.L. Weymouth. A Democrat, Weymouth changed the paper's slogan from "Non-partizan" and "Co-operative" to "Democratic in Politics, Progressive in All Things."

However, by April 29, 1915, the Thompsons regained ownership of the paper and ceased its explicit Democratic affiliation. Thus while their endorsement of the GOP's nominee for Governor in 1916 could be interpreted as merely an example of Progressive Era bipartisanship, Thompson's running for (and winning) a seat in the state's House of Delegates as a Republican in 1920 contradicts their continued claims of political independence. In his biography of Thompson in History of West Virginia, Old and New (1923), James Morton Callahan recounted that Thompson was also a city councilman in Belington, where he oversaw infrastructure improvements of the type for which he advocated in his paper.

Throughout its run, the Progressive consistently promoted temperance. Regarding his rejection of a proposed ad for liquor in the paper, in the June 1, 1916 issue, Thompson wrote " … we consider things of that nature out of place, out of date, and out-lawed." Relatedly, the paper was also pro-women's suffrage, believing that if women had the vote they would vote in large numbers for prohibition.

The paper announced its merger into the Grafton Press and the Belington Progressive in its April 28, 1927 issue, writing the following week in its final issue that "The new paper will be Democratic in politics, but independent in political thought, following the independent policy maintained by the Progressive in the past …. " Simply the Grafton Press by 1930 (through 1934), the Progressive was ultimately succeeded by the Grafton News, which ceased operations in 1974.

Provided by: West Virginia University