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Hand County press. : (Miller, Dakota [S.D.]) 1882-1893
Alternative Titles:
  • Hand Co. press
Place of publication:
Miller, Dakota [S.D.]
Geographic coverage:
  • Miller, Hand, South Dakota  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Henry Miller
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 4, 1882)-v. 12, no. 45 (Nov. 2, 1893).
  • English
  • Hand County (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • Miller (S.D.)--Newspapers.
  • South Dakota--Hand County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205170
  • South Dakota--Miller.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01887672
  • Available on microfilm from: State Archives, South Dakota State Historical Society.
sn 98062948
Succeeding Titles:
View complete holdings information
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Hand County press. January 4, 1882 , Image 1


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Hand County Press, The Pioneer Press, The Miller Press, and The Miller Sun

In June 1881, Henry Miller came to Hand County, Dakota Territory, to establish a claim on a forty-acre tract of land lying a few miles west of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad siding #4 at St. Lawrence. As the railroad moved west, the roadmaster located the side-track and depot along the southern edge of Miller's property. The railroad named the site Miller after the first settler.

Two of Miller's sons, William H. Miller and Eudell J. Miller, as proprietors and publishers, issued the first edition of the Hand County Press for an annual $2.00 subscription cost. The weekly paper was first published Wednesday, January 4, 1882, using a seven-column by four-page layout. On November 20, 1882, George C. Seward and W. H. Kephart became the new owners of the paper.

The town of Miller was a large commercial center where new settlers and existing residents could purchase all the goods needed to establish and maintain their residences and acreages. Advertisements in the Hand County Press listed a variety of businesses: farming implements, photography, millinery, lumber yard, contractor, bakery, meat market, boot maker, drug store, livery, jeweler, hardware, physician, painter, lawyer, restaurants, furniture, and banks.

By March 28, 1883, W. H. Kephart bought out George Seward's interest in the paper, and on April 24, 1883, John A. Bushfield became Kephart's partner. The paper changed to an eight-column, four-page edition and continued the weekly Wednesday publication schedule through May 21, 1884. The May 29, 1884 issue started a Thursday weekly schedule with a six-column, eight-page layout. By September 1886, the annual subscription rate dropped to $1.50 per year.

The Kephart and Bushfield partnership flourished until Kephart elected to sell his interest in the paper to Bushfield on November 14, 1889. As in the prior years, the Press focused on the positive aspects of living in Miller, Hand County, and South Dakota. Reports were often included from other states, and once cable news became available, more news reports were added from around the world. The paper featured at least one serialized fiction chapter each week, and if space allowed, a second novel was added for readers' enjoyment.

On December 31, 1891, the name of the paper changed to the Hand County Press. The layout and subscription cost remained the same. However, on November 9, 1893, the paper's name was changed to the Pioneer Press. Bushfield noted in the announcement, "This alteration is made for the reason that the Press is not only the pioneer paper of Hand County, but also of a big scope of country west of the Jim river towns in South Dakota." The appearance of the Press also changed to the quarto form, making a slightly larger paper printed in a more convenient style. A new press set with modern, self-spacing type created an updated six-column, eight-page layout.

Even though the Press continued publication each Thursday, other changes sometimes occurred. The December 27, 1894 issue layout was adjusted to a five-column by eight-page setup. In March 1902, Bushfield returned to the six-column, eight-page layout.

On December 6, 1906, a major change occurred at the Press when the paper's name officially became the Miller Press. The paper maintained the same page layout, but the subscription price dropped to $1.00 per year. Bushfield continued as the proprietor/publisher and added his daughter, Anna Bushfield, as the city editor to report local personal happenings from Miller, along with other county town news from Ree Heights, Wessington, St. Lawrence, Polo, and Vayland.

Another local newspaper, the Miller Sun, started publication on July 23, 1902. Thomas Stratton served as editor. It was issued weekly on Wednesdays using a five-column, eight-page layout. The annual subscription rate was $1.00. The paper focused on local community items along with articles from across the state and country. This paper was absorbed into the Press.

The April 1, 1910 issue of the Press notes that Anna Bushfield became editor and William J. Tamblyn joined the Press as lessee to learn the print trade. On January 6, 1916, John Bushfield promoted Tamblyn to the business manager position. At the same time, the annual subscription rate returned to $1.50 annually.

After 36 years as the Press publisher, Bushfield sold the company to the Tamblyn brothers, William J. Tamblyn, the business manager, and his brother, Lloyd P. Tamblyn, on December 2, 1918. Bushfield's change of ownership notice declared on November 25, 1918, "When he came the paper had a circulation of 400 and was printed upon a hand press, with hand set type, in a one-story frame building. Today the Press has nearly 1200 subscribers, is printed upon a power press, on new type cast each week by its standard linotype machine, and uses electricity for power. It is printed in its own two-story brick building."

The Tamblyn brothers' introduction announced, "We hope to continue the Press along somewhat the same lines as heretofore, and to make it useful and interesting to the people of Hand county and its subscribers, wherever located, and respectfully ask the Press patrons for a continuation of their pleasant relations."

The Miller Press continues publication today and holds the distinction of never missing an issue in its long career.

Provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives