The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

FRONTIER JOURNALISM IN WEST TEXAS
W. C. HIOLDEN
"The Coleman Courant has pulled up stakes and moved to Colo-
rado City, the new and growing city on the Colorado River at the
crossing of the Texas and Pacific Railroad." This item appeared
in the Fort Griffin Echo on January 15, 1881, and is typical of
the shifting newspapers of the Texas frontier during the last
thirty years of the nineteenth century. The editor's material
equipment was scant and could be readily moved in a single
wagon. It was not unusual, when an editor's business became
dull, to box up his case of type and his hand press and follow the
drift of westward migration as indicated by the advance of
frontier forts or the new railroad terminals.1
On the Texas frontier the last three decades of the nineteenth
century were a period of adventure, of action and of change, and
nowhere can a more authentic picture be found than in the col-
umns of these isolated frontier newspapers where the price of
buffalo steak appears casually in market advertisements, where
complaints are written in no uncertain terms of the bold, bad
cowboys who "shot up the town" in celebration of pay day, and
where a detailed account of an accident befalling Mrs. Smith's
cow finds room on the front page.
In the 70's the main interest, as reflected in the newspapers, cen-
ters about the Indian raids, General McKenzie's successfully waged
Indian war of 1874-1875, the buffalo slaughter, 1873-1877, and
the development of the cattle industry. In the 80's the cattle
industry is even more important and widespread than in the
previous ten years, but now the all-engrossing topic is the west-
ward movement of the railroads. With the 90's came many
changes. The strife of sheep and cattlemen is stilled in many
1The following items are indicative of a widespread movement:
"Our neighbor and editorial brother, J. C. Son, formerly of the Palo
Pinto Star, late of the Mineral Wells Star, put forth the first issue of
the new venture [Albany Star] Christmas Day. The Star is a neatly
printed, well written five column folio, and is proof of Mr. Son's abil-
ity."--Albany Echo, January 6, 1883.
"The Nutshell, which lately moved from Blanco County to Bertram,
has now moved to Burnet."-Mason News, August 27, 1887.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 32, July 1928 - April, 1929. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101089/. Accessed July 29, 2014.