Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 26 of 58
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26 TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
wilderness, would attract attention and patronage and thus give
us an occupation that would enable us to earn our daily bread. We
found a friend who thought he could take the chances, and he
loaned us the money, and we ordered a Washington hand press and
the necessary type for a small newspaper from New York. After
many delays and mishaps, the plant was finally landed at Cairo on
the bank of the Trinity river by the old steamboat, Jack Hays. In
the spring of 1852 we got out the first issue of the paper. It was
called the "Leon Pioneer." It was, indeed, a pioneer, for it was
located in a section of the country that had never before been
invaded by a newspaper. It was a great novelty and attracted
attention and patronage. The people came from far and near to
see it, and considering the paucity of population it was liberally
patronized. We ran the paper for three and a half years, making
out of it a support, and in addition money enough to pay off what
we had borrowed. We sold the press and type to John Gregg and
Morris Reagan (the latter a brother of Judge John H. Reagan)
who moved them to Fairfield, Freestone county.
In 1851, there were but few newspapers in Texas. The writer
remembers the News and the Civilian at Galveston, the Advocate
at Palestine, the Item at Huntsville, the Ranger at Old Washington,
papers whose names I have forgotten at Austin, LaGrange, and
Nacogdoches,1 and some two or three in the Red River section of
the State. The Pioneer had the legal advertising of the counties
of Houston, Leon, Madison, Brazos, Falls, Hill, Navarro, Robertson,
and Freestone. The publication of the paper was surrounded
with difficulties. Communication with the outside world came
principally through the town of Huntsville, which at that time was
considered the Athens of Texas. There was a weekly mail from
Centreville to Huntsville-that is, the mail came over the line, on
the back of a mule, once a week in dry weather. When the floods
'The paper at Austin referred to was probably the State cGaette, though
there seems to have been another, the Southwestern American, which was
published in the city at that time. The Nacogdoches paper was the
Times, and that at LaGrange was the Texas Monument. See Gray's History
of the Texas Press in A Comprehensive History of Temas, II 381,
387, 391, 392, and Mrs. Sinks's Editors and Newspapers of Fayette County,
QuAwsTwL, I 34-37.-EDIrTO QUATEELY.
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/26/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .