Wood County, 1850-1900 Page: 52
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The Wood County Democrat was established in
1893 with Alfred Padon as editor and publisher, under
lease from the merchants of Quitman who financed the
project. The paper's main objective was to oppose
Populism which was gaining a foothold in the county at
In 1892, Padon was publishing The Monitor when
he was approached by a committee from Quitman
proposing that he move to the county seat and begin
the publication of a newspaper devoted to the prin-
ciples of the Democratc Party. Padon accepted the
challenge and The Democrat was born.
The original plant consisted of a few cases of type,
a couple of case stands, a small paper cutter, a
Vaughan Ideal hand press, and a few other essentials.
The entire plant costing about $800. It was capable of
getting out a weekly issue with two men working long
hours. W. C. Holloway worked as shop boy and printers
devil. Two other young men, Walter Grogan and
Walter Goodwin, also learned to set type.
Alfred Padon resigned as editor and publisher of
The Democrat in 1895, and for a brief time, Grogan and
Goodwin operated the plant for the owners, among
whom were Dr. Leath and Hix Rhodes. In 1896, Perno
Thomas, a man of all trades; painter, carpenter,
chimney builder and sometimes a well-digger, was
asked to serve as editor. Except for an occasional stint
at writing local news for a Wills Point, Texas
newspaper, Thomas had no writing experience.
After a great deal of persuasion, Perno Thomas
accepted the position of editor and publisher of The
Democrat, and assumed ownership. In 1901, he sold
half interest in the plant to Earl Jones but later re-
purchased it. In 1903, Clyde Jordan of Alba bought an
interest, but again Thomas regained ownership.
At one time, Lucius Hart had a third interest in
the paper, and Thomas sold his interest to James L.
Ray and his son Shaw D. Ray. A few years later,
however, Perno Thomas could no longer resist
"printer's ink" and repurchased the entire plant. He
continued as sole owner and editor until his death in
Source: Article written by Judge V. B.
Harris for Wood County
Ona Wood's collections.
The Quitman News was established early in 1872
by James S. Hogg, at the invitation of a concerned
group in Wood County led by Captain W. M. Giles.
This was during the prolonged Reconstruction era, and
Hogg consistently opposed the Republican Governor
Davis through the columns of The News.
During 1873, Editor Hogg published forty-five
editions of The Quitman News. He strongly opposed
subsidies to railroads, the corruption of the U. S. Grant
administration and local lawlessness. Hogg was adept
at writing philosophical articles, poetry and advice on
health matters. In 1868 while working for The Clipper,
he is said to have filled the entire paper with poetry
during the absence of Editor A. P. Shuford.
Source: Old county newspapers
JAMES LEMUEL RAY, known as the first Wood County Historian.
He was a prominent Wood County newspaper editor.
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Wood County, 1850-1900 (Book)
This text gives an overview of Wood County, Texas from roughly 1850 to 1900. It includes historical sketches of various aspects of life in the county as well as anecdotes. Genealogical information and documentation are also included for pioneer families in the area.
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Wood County Historical Society. Wood County, 1850-1900, book, 1976; Quitman, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth91051/m1/60/?q=wood%20county%20democrat: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .