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Marble Hill press. : (Marbel [sic] Hill, Mo.) 1881-1923
Place of publication:
Marbel [sic] Hill, Mo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Marble Hill, Bollinger, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
J.G. Finney
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1881? Ceased in May 1923.
  • English
  • Bollinger County (Mo.)--Newspapers.
  • Missouri--Bollinger County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01233555
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 9, no. 12 (July 25, 1889).
sn 89066695
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Marble Hill press. July 25, 1889 , Image 1


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Marble Hill Press

James Green Finney began publishing the Marble Hill Press as a four-page paper each Thursday from Marble Hill, Bollinger County, Missouri. According to an article published in the Press on January 4, 1894, the paper began as the Southeast Reflector under George W. Harrington in 1881. In July of 1882, it was sold to Benjamin Franklin Stevens, who in 1883 in turn sold the paper to Jasper Frymire and James Green Finney. They changed its name to the People's Press. Within several months, Finney became the sole owner, and in the summer of 1889 he changed the name of the paper to the Marble Hill Press. Finney continued to edit the paper until July of 1891 when it again changed hands. In 1896, Finney launched a second paper, the Bollinger County Times, but his journalism career ignominiously ended on October 15, 1901, when in a drunken state he shot and killed Steven H. Allen, a blacksmith from Marble Hill.

The Marble Hill Press survived this incident and the string of editors and owners who ran the paper over the next several years and went on to become one of the longest-running and most respected newspapers in Bollinger County.  John F. Sander and George F. Kurre bought the Press in 1891. In 1892, a young man named Tom Allen acquired Kurre's interest in the paper, and, the following year, Allen bought out Sander's share as well. Allen was a colorful and bombastic editor, who made his presence known through bold headlines such as “The Great and Only Marble Hill Press!" Allen called his printing office the "Palace of News," and in his editorials crowed about his journalistic prowess, while lambasting his competitors from nearby towns. While Allen's style was off-putting to some, his arrogance was not unfounded. Allen was a talented newspaperman and an early leader in promoting journalism in this part of the state. He founded the Southeast Missouri Press Association at the age of 21 and served as its first president. A future editor of the Marble Hill Press, Dean Barnett Hill, would also preside over the state press association, showcasing the respect the paper and its leadership enjoyed throughout its long run. After losing a libel suit to a local doctor in 1894 over an advertisement, Tom Allen sold the Marble Hill Press to John S. Hill and moved to Van Buren, Missouri. Allen later enrolled at Barnes University in St. Louis and in 1901 graduated with a degree Doctor of Medicine.

The Hill family would be involved with the paper for the rest of its nearly three-decade run. John S. Hill took up the editorship of the Marble Hill Press late in life and ran the paper for a short time, with the help of his son, Dean Barnett Hill. In the late 1890s, Dean Hill became owner and editor of the paper with the help of his son-in-law, General Lee Chandler. This partnership would continue for the next two decades, until Dean Hill's retirement in 1917. At that time, Hill sold his interest to his son-in-law and daughter, Mattie Lena, who assumed ownership of the paper. Sadly, the Chandlers' management of the Press was cut short in December 1918, when both General Lee and Mattie Lena died within four days of each other in the great influenza outbreak. With the Marble Hill Press in crisis, Dean Hill came out of retirement to assist his teenage grandson, Dean Chandler, in running the newspaper. The Press limped along over the next several years until Dean Hill's health declined to the point that he could no longer assist with the paper and Dean Chandler found it impossible to manage on his own. Finally, Franklin A. Wiggs, owner of the Lutesville Banner, purchased the Marble Hill Press from the Chandler Estate on February 19, 1923. Wiggs consolidated the two papers into the Banner-Press, which is still published today.

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