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The Black Hills union. [volume] : (Rapid City, Pennington County, Dakota [S.D.]) 1889-1904
Alternative Titles:
  • Black Hills weekly union
  • Union and stock review
Place of publication:
Rapid City, Pennington County, Dakota [S.D.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Rapid City, Pennington, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
F.E. Erdman
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 2, 1889)-v. 16, no. 52 (Feb. 12, 1904).
  • English
  • Pennington County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • Populism--South Dakota--Newspapers.
  • Populism.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01071658
  • Prohibition--South Dakota--Newspapers.
  • Prohibition.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01078761
  • Rapid City (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--Pennington County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215591
  • South Dakota--Rapid City.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01212163
  • South Dakota.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204322
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
  • Began as Republican but evolved into a populist newspaper.
sn 97065832
Preceding Titles:
Succeeding Titles:
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The Black Hills union. [volume] August 2, 1889 , Image 1


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The Black Hills Union and The Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review

The Black Hills Union began publication in Rapid City, South Dakota, on August 2, 1889, and enjoyed decades of success, but was marred somewhat by many changes in ownership and editors. Additionally, its political affiliation was not consistent as the newspaper went from Republican, to Populist, then Democrat, again Republican, and at one point Independent. The Union began under the aegis of the Black Hills Printing Company and the leadership of F. E. Eardman and A. Eardman as owners and publishers. G. W. Barrows, former editor of the Black Hills Weekly Democrat -- the paper from which the Union evolved -- remained on as temporary local editor and general manager. After four months, the Eardmans gave up control of the Union so a "practical farmer" could better run the editorial department.

On December 27, 1889, Edward B. Reed became secretary and manager. The Black Hills Union began as an eight-column, four-page Republican publication with strong ties to the Farmer's Alliance, but under Reed's management evolved into an exclusively Populist newspaper "Largely Devoted to the Live Stock and Farming Industries of the Black Hills." Edward Reed ran the paper until January 25, 1895, when his son John Z. Reed became general manager, stating the Union would "continue to work for the Populist cause, but will devote more space to co-operative principles and to home life under existing conditions." Shelby D. Reed ran the Union from March 22, 1895, until July 31, 1896, when Arthur W. Gird became editor and manager. Gird, a former editor of a Republican newspaper, was drawn in part to the Populist cause due to the controversy over free silver. A month later, Gird leased the Union to John Reed and George L. McManus. By December 1896, however, the two men had dissolved their partnership, and the Union again came under Gird's leadership. Under Gird, the Union became "A Newspaper of Pointed Opinions," and in May of 1897, the subheading, "Fearless Champion of Human Rights" was added to the title of the Union, which by then had also become the official paper of Pennington County.

Briefly in 1901, J. C. Crandall leased and managed the Union under the publisher Crandall Company. During his leadership, the Union became the Union and Stock Review, but Crandall's tenure quickly ended, and Gird again took control on November 8, 1901. With Gird back, the title Black Hills Union and its previous layout returned. By June 1902, the Populists had merged with the Democrat Party, and so did the Black Hills Union, with the new subheading "Leading Democratic Newspaper of the Black Hills Region." Gird also claimed, "The Union is the largest paper in Pennington County, and contains more solid reading than any of its competitors."

On July 10, 1903, Arthur Gird sold the Union to Lannes G. McManus, under whom the paper reverted back to a Republican affiliation. On February 25, 1904, the Union merged with the Western Stock Review to become the Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review, which it remained until publication ceased five years later. McManus maintained his role as editor until April 13, 1906, at which point the Union's leadership began to change more frequently with the following persons in control at various points: J. C. Walker and Edmund Shaw, who ran a "staunch Republican paper"; F.E. Ross; R. B. French; Wallace H. Burden; Louis C. Baber, who made the Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review "strictly independent in politics" ; G. W. Stephenson and C. A. Stephenson, who returned the paper to its Republican affiliation; and George F. Robb. Lastly, the Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review was sold to the Western Publishers Union, which ran the paper until publication ceased on June 30, 1911.

As a Populist newspaper, the Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review promoted the cause of free silver, frequently admonished the railroads for their monopolistic practices, and was originally a strong advocate for Prohibition. Under Reed and Gird, the Black Hills Union and Western Stock Review often published articles written and edited by the Knights of Labor and the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Additionally, the paper covered farming topics as well as providing columns of interest for its female readers.

Provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives