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About Batesville guard. [volume] (Batesville, Independence Co., Ark.) 1877-1932
Batesville, Independence Co., Ark. (1877-1932)
- Batesville guard. [volume] : (Batesville, Independence Co., Ark.) 1877-1932
- Alternative Titles:
- Batesville twice-a-week guard <Feb. 16-Aug. 13, 1926>
- Place of publication:
- Batesville, Independence Co., Ark.
- Geographic coverage:
- Frank D. Denton
- Dates of publication:
- Ceased in Apr. 1932.
- Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 11, 1877)-
- Weekly <Mar. 6, 1931-Jan. 29, 1932>
- Batesville (Ark.)--Newspapers.
- Numbering is irregular.
- Suspended between Feb. 19 and Apr. 1, 1880.
- sn 90050272
- Preceding Titles:
- Succeeding Titles:
- Related Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Batesville Guard, The Daily Guard, and Batesville Daily Guard
Batesville is the Independence County seat in northeastern Arkansas. Located on the White River, the town developed from a major mercantile port to the cultural center of the region by the mid-1800s. However, the Civil War devastated the town with several military actions occurring there and occupation changing between sides multiple times. Elisha Baxter, previously Batesville's mayor, became Arkansas's last Republican governor during Reconstruction. In the late 1800s, railroad lines were built through town, largely replacing the river traffic. Batesville had a vibrant newspaper industry, producing many newspapers for every variety of political affiliation, from Know-Nothings to Republicans. Enterprising Batesville newspeople regularly created, combined, and transferred between newspapers in town during their careers.
In 1877, at the end of Reconstruction, Franklin Desha Denton started the Batesville Guard. Denton was a Batesville native who served in the Confederate Army. Postwar, he was elected county sheriff, and after several unsuccessful mercantile ventures, he founded the Guard. This four-page, Democratic paper was published once a week and had a circulation of over 500 people. In 1880, Denton brought on Walter Robert Joblin as associate editor, but Joblin died the next year at 35 years old.
A fire on February 20, 1880, destroyed the Guard's office, along with several other buildings on Main Street in Batesville. The fire was suspected to be arson, with reports that an incendiary under the floor of E. W. Clapp & Co.'s store started the fire. A rival newspaper in town, the North Arkansas Pilot (1879-1888), helped the Guard recover. Denton bought new supplies from New Orleans, Louisiana, and the paper resumed weekly publication on April 1, 1880, missing just five issues.
Denton sold the Guard in 1885 to go work as the Batesville Postmaster. In the 1890s, Denton established the Batesville Weekly Bee (1892-189?), but by 1900 he quit the papers and moved to Memphis, Tennessee.
Milton Y. Todisman took over the Guard in 1885 and ran it for a few years. John L. Tullis bought the paper next and worked as editor until 1890, when Edgar L. Givens purchased the paper. Givens had previously published the Washington Press (1883-1???) in Washington, Arkansas. He then temporarily moved to Washington, D.C. to work as secretary for Arkansas Senator James Kimbrough Jones. In 1893, after working for a few years at the Guard, Givens moved to Little Rock to help publish the Arkansas Gazette (1889-1991) after the editor, Daniel Armod Brower, left due to ill health. Givens returned to Batesville a few years later to resume working at the Guard. In 1905, he added a daily edition of the Guard in addition to the weekly edition. In later years, the Guard printed a twice-a-week version as well.
Under Givens, a stock publishing company for the Guard was formed, the Batesville Printing Company. In 1907, the company brought on George Harris Trevathan to act as the Guard's manager and editor. Trevathan's newspaper career began in his teens when he worked at the North Arkansas Pilot under William Wilson Byers. In 1890, Trevathan married Nellie Hunt of Melbourne. In 1892, Trevathan started the Democrat in Melbourne, which he ran for a few years before moving back to Batesville. In Batesville, he took over the Progress (1889-18??) from Todisman, who had moved to the Progress after working at the Guard previously. Trevathan later moved to Mammoth Springs and combined two papers into the Banner=Nugget (1???-190?), later renaming it the Salem Banner (190?-1924). Trevathan worked as journal clerk for the House of Representatives, secretary of the State Senate, and bookkeeper in the State Treasurer's office. In 1905, he returned to the newspaper business in Batesville, purchasing the Weekly Bee (189?-1905) and renaming it the Independence County News (1905-1907). In 1907, when Trevathan joined the Guard, he consolidated the Independence County News into the Guard. In the 1910s, Trevathan's health took him away from the Guard at various points, leaving the state several times with his family in attempts to recover his health. During these periods, other editors were brought on for short stints at the Guard.
At first Trevathan claimed retirement due to his health, selling his interest in the paper in 1910 to Gainer Owen Duffey, who became editor and business manager. In 1911, however, Trevathan returned to Batesville and bought out Duffey. Dene Hamilton Coleman, former Batesville mayor and state representative, came on as editor from 1911 to 1912.
In 1913, Robert Presley Robbins joined Trevathan and together they bought out Givens's stock. Givens died a few months later. Robbins was active in newspaper publishing, founding and working at newspapers around Arkansas and Tennessee. After editing the Guard for a year, Robbins left in 1914 to run the Arkansawyer (190?-1915) in Stuttgart.
From 1913 to 1914, Trevathan used the Guard to speak against Congressperson William Allan Oldfield's reelection campaign. Oldfield had practiced law in Batesville before his first election to Congress in 1908. Trevathan said he was Oldfield's best friend but had some complaints about how he handled the appointment for the postmaster position. Oldfield published his rebuttal in other newspapers across the state, claiming the Guard was printing falsehoods and slander because Trevathan was upset he was not given the Batesville postmaster position. Despite the back and forth, voters reelected Oldfield to Congress. He remained in Congress until his death in 1928. His wife, Fannie Pearl Peden Oldfield, was elected to take his place, becoming the first Arkansas Congresswoman.
In 1914, Claude Lee Coger bought Trevathan's interest in the Guard. Coger had previously owned and edited the Sharp County Record (1877-1976) for 20 years. Coger hired his nephew, Austin Coger Wilkerson, as associate editor of the Guard. Wilkerson had also worked with his uncle at the Record. Coger ran the Guard until 1915, when Wilkerson took charge as editor. Wilkerson stayed on until 1916, when he left to work at other newspapers, and Trevathan resumed his duties at the Guard.
In 1917, Trevathan's ill health again sent him away. This time he remained in state, going to the Booneville Sanatorium to treat his tuberculosis. However, he died from the disease several months later. His wife, Nellie Trevathan, and son Joseph "Allen" Trevathan stepped up to run the Guard, with Allen working as business manager and Nellie as editor. Allen died the following year at 26 years old from influenza that developed into pneumonia. He left behind two children and a pregnant wife. The Trevathan's other son, Jared Edwin Trevathan, was serving in World War I. He was given an honorable discharge from the American Expeditionary Forces to return home to help his mother. Jared filled his brother's position as the Guard's business manager. By this point, the paper had a circulation of over 2,000, and Jared and Nellie ran the paper together until 1931. While at the Guard, Nellie also wrote articles for papers around the state, including the Arkansas Gazette. She served as poet laureate of the Arkansas Press Association and was active in many civic organizations and charity work. She died in 1942 in Little Rock.
In 1932 Oscar Eve Jones and wife Josephine Phillips Carroll Jones bought out the Trevathans and took over the Guard. The Jones' also owned the Batesville Record (1915-1982). During his time at the Guard, Oscar served as president of the Arkansas Press Association and state senator.
The Guard continues to publish in Batesville today. It is the only newspaper that has maintained its run in Batesville since the 1880s, despite the many other papers printing there over the years.
Provided by: Arkansas State Archives