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Pueblo chieftain. : (Pueblo, Colo.) 1889-current
Alternative Titles:
  • Pueblo chieftain and Sunday star-journal <1934>
  • Pueblo daily chieftain
  • Pueblo star-journal and the Sunday chieftain <1935>-<1950>
  • Sunday chieftain and star-journal <Jan. 5, 1997-Jan. 30, 2000>
Place of publication:
Pueblo, Colo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Chieftain Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Sept. 8, 1889-
  • English
  • Colorado--Pueblo.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01206395
  • Pueblo (Colo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from the Colorado Historical Society.
  • Latest issue consulted: Jan. 31, 2000.
sn 90051672
Preceding Titles:
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Pueblo chieftain. January 3, 1921 , Image 1


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Pueblo Chieftain

The Pueblo Chieftain started publication in 1868 as The Colorado Chieftain. The paper was founded by Michael Beshoar, who served in the Civil War as chief surgeon in the Confederate Army. He was captured by Union soldiers, and as a prisoner of war he assisted the U.S. Army with its wounded. Quitting the army in 1867, he moved to Denver, but found it hostile against Southerners. He continued further south to Pueblo, where he established a medical practice and opened the town's first drug store, the only one between Denver and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He soon opened another in Trinidad, Colorado, 84 miles south of Pueblo, and made a weekly commute between Pueblo and Trinidad by stagecoach.

Seeing a need in the community for a newspaper, he started the Chieftain, the first newspaper in Southern Colorado. Beshoar purchased a Washington hand press, printing equipment, and paper stock on credit, secured a printer by the name of Sam McBride, and they published the first issue of the Chieftain on June 1, 1868. While Beshoar was a Democrat, the weekly publication was Independent. Beshoar soon realized that he and McBride could not run the entire operation themselves, particularly with the demands of a medical practice, two drugstores, and McBride's poor health. To assist with the writing of the paper, Beshoar assembled volunteer editorial advisers comprising prominent men from the area. By the end of the year, McBride left the partnership due to health reasons and was replaced by R.M. Stevenson. However, McBride returned to purchase the Chieftain outright from Beshoar in March 1869. Beshoar sold his Pueblo interests, moved to Trinidad, and founded Trinidad's The Daily Advertiser, the monthly Cattlemen's Advertiser, and the Spanish weekly El Anunciador, among other ventures. He died in Trinidad in September 1907.

Meanwhile, back in Pueblo, in 1870, McBride sold the paper to Captain John J. Lambert, whose brother, Nicholas, ran the paper until 1872 when Lambert left the army, joined Nicholas, and changed the name of the paper to The Daily Chieftain. The four-page, now-daily paper printed national and international news that was conveyed by telegram, brought to Pueblo with the Rio Grande railway. The paper changed its name again in 1874 to the Pueblo Daily Chieftain and by 1876 had a daily distribution of 900 to 1,500. Lambert organized the Chieftain Publishing Company in 1883, serving as president and manager. The paper expanded to six columns and eight pages, and described itself as "embracing foreign, domestic, local and miscellaneous topics" and devoting special attention to "railroads, manufacturers, mining, smelting, agriculture and...growing petroleum interests" that were developing in Pueblo.

By 1889, the paper settled on the current iteration of its name, and when the Chieftain celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1893, it employed 80 people. In the June 12, 1893 issue, the printers attributed the Chieftain's longevity and success to "eschewing sensationalism...appealing to and endeavoring to develop the best there is in men, and honest discussion of public questions."

After over 30 years at its helm, in March 1903, Lambert sold the Chieftain to Ike N. Stevens, formerly of the Colorado Springs Gazette, for the reported price of $145,000. With the change in ownership of the Chieftain, the paper added morning carrier services and special correspondents in Denver and Colorado Springs. Stevens left the Chieftain in 1911 and sold the paper to the Chieftain Publishing and Holding Company. The paper was sold again in 1913 to George T. Haubrich, Fred E. Marvin, and Will Wright, and the daily Pueblo Leader was merged in with the Chieftain. Stevens resumed control of the paper and the newly formed Chieftain Printing Company in 1914 with Walter Wilder and Alva A. Swain as editor and associate editor, respectively. Wilder, Swain, and Granville "Gus" Withers, who had started out as a "printer's devil" with the Chieftain as a 15-year-old, purchased an interest in the paper in 1915.

Ownership of the paper changed hands twice more until finally being sold to Frank S. Hoag in 1933, whose family remains the proprietors. In recent years, the Chieftain has been published by Robert H. Rawlings, grandson and nephew to the Hoag publishers, and with Rawling's daughter, Jane Rawlings, acting as assistant publisher and vice president.

Provided by: History Colorado