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The courier-index. : (Marianna, Ark.) 1917-current
Place of publication:
Marianna, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Marianna, Lee, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Press Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 49, no. 9 (Mar. 9, 1917)-
  • English
  • Arkansas--Marianna.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01219287
  • Marianna (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Numbering is irregular.
  • Title varies slightly.
sn 89051338
Preceding Titles:
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The courier-index. July 27, 1917 , Image 1


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The courier-index

The Courier-Index, located in Marianna, is a consolidation of two well-established papers in Lee County, the Marianna Index and The Lee County Courier. Located along the L'Anguille River in the delta, the city's economy was based in agriculture, particularly cotton production. Marianna had an early influx of people, many coming from the Carolinas, but the county's population ceased to grow as rapidly with the onset of the Civil War.

L. M. Benham founded the Marianna Index, the older of the two papers, on a Saturday in August 1874. Benham published the paper using hand-set type and a hand-fed press. The debut issue stated, "We intend to have a paper that the people of our county will not be ashamed of, and that all, someday, may feel proud of it." After only a few months of publication, Benham sold the paper to Hutton, Anderson & Co., and H. N. Hutton became the publisher. It was sold several more times before the final transfer in 1917 to H. M Jackson, who purchased both the Marianna Index and the Lee County Courier, combining them two years later to form the Courier-Index.

The Marianna Index covered a wide range of topics on a seven-column layout that included poetry, editorials, and general essays, as well as national news. Subscriptions to the paper were advertised at $2.50/year and the general mission of the paper was to "defend the truth, support what is right…oppose all cliques, clan or leagues, or anything else that tends to corrupt the ballot box." The city of Marianna faced many trials during the time of the Index's print run, including intermittent outbreaks of yellow fever and smallpox and fires that gutted the city. An article covering the first yellow fever scare stated, "till  it could be ascertained whether the rumor was true that there were several cases in that town, guards were posted on all roads leading into Marianna and the City Marshall, John Russell, was allowed $6.00 a day for guard expense. The quarantine cost the town $52.00 for guard duty and $2.39 for telegrams."

While the Civil War impeded the town's growth, the end of the war brought an economic resurgence as the city adjusted to life in peace time. New businesses were established and there was a great deal of new construction. As a result of the town's growth, in 1904, seventeen years after the Marianna Index was founded, Colonel James Wood, a farmer with an interest in politics, starteda rival paper, the Lee County Courier. On September 4, 1897, the Lee County Courier boasted,"public improvements...kept pace with and often outstripped the growth of the town. Its several miles of sidewalks, made of two-inch plank, are kept in perfect repair, make it possible to go all over the town in rainy weather without a lady's slippers being soiled…." Wood and his nephew, T. E. Wood, edited the Lee County Courier for 27 years before selling it to H. M. Jackson in 1917. Jackson continued to publish the two rival papers separately until he combined them in 1919 as the Courier-Index.

In The Courier-Index, A. G Samuel, W. G. Hoyle, and Editor H. M. Jackson wrote front page columns about life in the city. When Jackson died in 1934, his wife and son took over the business until 1937 when they sold the paper to John B. Howse who became publisher, with Howard Hicks as editor from 1937-39. Mrs. Jackson regained the paper in 1939. The paper changed hands in the 1940s, again the 1980s, and most recently in 2016, when it was purchased by Argent Arkansas News Media and incorporated into the existing Times-Herald.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives