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The La Jara chronicle. : (La Jara, Conejos County, Colo.) 1896-19??
Place of publication:
La Jara, Conejos County, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • La Jara, Conejos, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.H. Wilder
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1896?
  • English
  • Available on microfilm from the Colorado Historical Society.
  • Description based on: 9th year, no. 32 (Oct. 14, 1904).
sn 90051015
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The La Jara chronicle. October 14, 1904 , Image 1


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The La Jara Chronicle

Located in Conejos County in Southern Colorado, La Jara was an early settlement dating to 1867. By 1880, the town of La Jara was formally established with the organization of its first church. As the Denver and Rio Grande railroad laid tracks into the southern area of the state, it bypassed the town of La Jara and built its own, La Jara Station, in 1884. Old La Jara was abandoned for the new La Jara, which was incorporated in 1895. Soon after, in 1896, Clifton H. Wilder founded the La Jara Tribune. He sold it two years later to M.N. Shaw and moved to Creede, Colorado to assist his brother George in his publishing venture, The Creede Candle. By 1900, Wilder was back in La Jara to begin publication of the La Jara Chronicle.

Joining Wilder at the Chronicle were H.D. Hopkins, formerly a printer in Victor, Colorado, and M.J. Collins. Anna Newburgh rounded out the editorial staff. Previously, Newburgh worked at the The Alamosa Courier and Salida Mail, and in 1906 she joined the Chronicle as an editor. Newburgh stayed with the Chronicle until 1908 and then moved on to The Alamosa Independent-Journal

Wilder was actively involved in politics and served as a representative in the Colorado state legislature. Also known as "Colonel" Wilder, he was head of the old state constabulary and later a Prohibition enforcement officer as well. In 1906, a "political dispute" with a "self-styled reformer" (The Creede Candle, October 6, 1906) led to Wilder's hospitalization. The incident was described in the October 6 issue of the Breckenridge Bulletin: "C.H. Wilder, state representative from Conejos and Archuleta counties and editor of the La Jara Chronicle, was slugged Wednesday by a slung shot in the hands of Jason Cochran, postmaster of La Jara, and is in a Denver hospital with a fractured skull, the postmaster being in jail."

The weekly paper is listed as Democratic in affiliation in N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual, although Wilder's political aspirations were Republican-leaning. The paper boasted the largest circulation of any paper in the San Luis Valley. The Alamosa Independent-Journal on April 15, 1910, described the Chronicle as one of the newsiest papers of the region and enthused that "[s]ince the installation of its typesetting machine it is on par with any papers in towns with six times the population of La Jara. The self-conscious braggart of first class offices would find modification in his exuberancy by inspecting the Chronicle plant."

In 1910, Clifton H. Wilder left the Chronicle to take up the ownership and publication of the Alamosa Courier, leaving the Chronicle under the management of L.E. Bigelow, who had joined the staff in 1908, and the firm, C.H. Wilder & Co.  By 1913, the La Jara Chronicle was appointed the official paper of Conejos County. In 1914, Wilder dissolved the partnership between himself and L.E. Bigelow and in 1915, the La Jara Chronicle moved to Monte Vista in Rio Grande County and merged with The Monte Vista Tribune, which was in publication until 1921.

Provided by: History Colorado