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Chariton courier. : (Keytesville, Chariton County, Mo.) 1878-current
Place of publication:
Keytesville, Chariton County, Mo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Keytesville, Chariton, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.A. Hudson
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1878.
  • English
  • Chariton County (Mo.)--Newspapers.
  • Keytesville (Mo.)--Newspapers.
  • Missouri--Chariton County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215948
  • Missouri--Keytesville.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01880485
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 13 (June 7, 1878).
  • Issue for June 7, 1878 numbered vol. 1, but constitutes v. 7.
sn 88068010
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Chariton courier. June 7, 1878 , Image 1


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Chariton Courier

The Chariton Courier published its first issue on June 7, 1878. The Democratic paper was published on Friday in Keytesville, Chariton County, Missouri. Starting on January 1, 1892, it expanded to six columns and eight pages. For the previous 14 years, the paper had consistently been four pages long with eight columns.

Its first editor was James Alexander Hudson, who purchased the Keytesville Herald from William E. Jones in 1878 and changed its name to the Chariton Courier. Hudson started working at age 19 at a printing office in Macon, Missouri. He later moved to St. Louis and became a typesetter for the St. Louis Republican. In 1876, Hudson purchased the Macon Times and remained editor and proprietor of that paper for 20 years. Hudson's tenure with the Courier, which he owned and edited at the same time, was shorter. By 1884, he sold the paper to Jesse Collins and Charles P. Vandiver. Hudson was well respected within both the newspaper industry and the Democratic Party. He was president of the Missouri Press Association in 1884-85 and assistant secretary of the national Democratic convention in 1896. Upon his retirement from the newspaper industry, he entered into real estate and later the telephone business. Hudson moved to Columbia, Missouri, in 1898 and organized the Columbia Telephone Company. He became a well-respected member of that city, and when he passed away on July 22, 1922, it was written "perhaps no name is better known to the citizens of Columbia than that of Col. James A. Hudson."

Hudson was succeeded at the Courier by Collins and Vandiver, who jointly ran the paper until June 17, 1892, when Vandiver bought out Collins's interest. Under Vandiver's leadership, the Chariton Courier became well known and widely read. It was written that Vandiver "was fearless and no respecter of individuals; news was news with him and he expected to give full publicity to such and let the chips fall where they would." Vandiver alluded to this practice in his salutatory message "In assuming full control of the Courier," he wrote, "we desire to say that no pains or labor will be spared to make it the best paper in Chariton county, and also to maintain its present high rank among the leading country papers of Missouri." He continued: "To this end we ask the hearty cooperation of our friends. Our enemies are requested to step aside or else take their chances on being run over by the Courier's wagon push and progress."

Vandiver's career with the Courier ended on August 5, 1910, when he was assaulted and badly beaten by 20-year old John W. Cunningham over an article that was published just that day. Young Cunningham took offense over editorial comments Vandiver made about his father John D. Cunningham.  Charley (as he was known to his friends and associates) Vandiver died from his injuries on September 1, 1910. The October 21, 1910 edition of the Courier published a lengthy article on Vandiver’s life as a citizen and newspaper editor in Chariton County.

Vandiver's estate continued to publish the Courier until a new editor and proprietor could be found. Emil E. Rettig ran the paper from March 10 to June 2, 1911. In the March 17, 1911 issue, Chariton County citizen C. Cyrus W. Bowen welcomed Rettig as "a first-class newspaper man, and a gentleman in every respect." Rettig had begun his newspaper career in Seymour, Indiana, where he published the Seymour Democrat. Rettig also published the Platte County Argus in Platte City, Missouri, for many years and owned the Rettig Type Foundry in Leavenworth, Kansas.

On June 9, 1911, Earl Bell Kellogg purchased the Chariton Courier and took over as editor and publisher. A long-time resident of the area, Kellogg came to the newspaper industry late in life. Before running the Chariton Courier, he had worked as a telegrapher and a farmer. Kellogg remained with the paper for a decade.

J. H. Willard started his career as editor of the Courier on July 22, 1921, coming to Keytesville from Vinton, Iowa. Unlike Kellogg, Willard was a seasoned newspaper editor. In his first editorial, Willard wrote, "It is with considerable "fear and trembling" that the new man on the Courier dofs his cap, rolls up his sleeves and assume the title of editor. Being editor of a newspaper - be it a weekly or a daily is some task. You get cussed if you do and cussed if you don't, and the first thing you know the editor hardly knows which way to jump." The Chariton Courier is currently still being published.

Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO