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The Carlisle independent. : (Carlisle, Ark.) 1905-current
Place of publication:
Carlisle, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Carlisle, Lonoke, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Broadwell Bros.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1905.
  • English
  • Carlisle (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Lonoke County (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 39 (Mar. 1, 1906).
sn 92050006
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The Carlisle independent. March 1, 1906 , Image 1


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The Carlisle independent

Carlisle, in Lonoke County, is slightly east of Little Rock. In the 1870s, fertile soil and plentiful water attracted the first European settlers. A small residential community, it was incorporated in 1878. Carlisle was the first place rice was grown on the Grand Prairie, and rice continues to be a cornerstone of the Carlisle economy. In addition to farming, dairy production was another early industry, with several milk and creamery factories in operation. The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (later the Rock Island Railroad), ran down Main Street to stop at passenger and freight depots and to ship out the farming and dairy products to other parts of the country.

The Carlisle Independent, the first and only newspaper based in Carlisle, began in 1905 under Thomas P. Young. Young worked as publisher and editor, issuing the paper once a week on Thursdays. For the first few years the Independent ran as a non-political paper, printing news about Carlisle and the surrounding communities in Fulton and Sharp Counties. In 1907, Ernest Ellis took over the Independent, changing it to a Democratic paper.

Jewel Lester Matthews, Sr. took over in 1914 and ran the Independent for two years before turning it over to Clifford R. Griffin. Griffin also ran the paper for two years and then sold it to Edward M. Williams in 1918. Williams stayed with the Independent for several years, using his extensive newspaper experience to promote the welfare of Carlisle.

Williams's father, M. R. Williams, was also a newspaper publisher. He ran the Salisbury Press-Spectator (1881-current) in Missouri, where Edward and his brothers C. C. Williams and Thomas Williams learned the newspaper business. After learning the trade, Edward moved to Arkansas City, Arkansas and published the New Enterprise (18??-19??) with John W. Davis. Edward's next paper was in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) at Afton, where he founded the Afton Advance (1896-1???) with C. C. Williams. Edward moved back to Missouri and founded another newspaper before returning to Arkansas. Edward first lived in Stuttgart, where he published the Free Press (1889-192?) with his other brother Thomas Williams. Edward worked on that paper for several years before moving to Carlisle and buying the Independent. Circulation of the Independent increased under Edward, who was a progressive man.

In 1963, Cone Magie and Betty Magie purchased the Independent. The Magie family owned several newspapers in the area, operating under Magie Enterprises, Inc. In 2006 they sold their company, including the Carlisle Independent, to the Stephens Media Group.

In 2017, the Carlisle Independent merged with the Cabot Star-Herald (1956-current) and the Lonoke Democrat (1914-current) to become the Lonoke County Democrat. In 2018 the Lonoke County Democrat ceased publication.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives