Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Newpapers of Sanpete County

Saga of the Sanpitch  1980
Eleanor P. Madsen
Ephraim, Utah
Professional Division
First Place Historical Essay
“When the last editorial is written
And the ink is smoothly dried;
When the papers have been folded
And addressed and wrapped and tied;
When these two who stood together,
Though days were dull or bright,
Will have closed the office door at last
For the long, eternal night;
May the thoughts and words and phrases
Of the things they dared to say
Be their unquestioned ‘press card’
In that land of endless day.” 1

This poem might well be a eulogy to all the editors of early Sanpete newspapers. We picture two
toiling together with laborious hand methods, the only available tools in those early days before the turn of
the century, when every letter was set separately, all the inking done by hand, and the press operated by hand
or foot power.

The old print shops are now forgotten as newer and faster methods have replaced the archaic one.
Even the Linotype is now becoming obsolete as more modern, electric machinery performs many tasks with
minimum effort for the editor and his staff.
Survey after survey has proven that no other medium is so thoroughly read or listened to as the
hometown paper. Indeed, since April 24, 1885, when the Home Sentinel, the first newspaper published in
Manti by James T. Jakeman, 2
residents have eagerly scanned local publications for personal and social items,
odd bits of national and state happenings, and other copyrighted material. Three items taken from the first
editions have a bit of humor for the reader today.
“Salt Lakers are having strawberries and cream and our Manti, more rain.”
Ft. Green Items: “The stores of this burg are paying 6 cents per dozen for eggs and 42 cents per bushel
for wheat.”

“Wide brimmed hats are very fine as substitutes for umbrellas in the sun’ but people do say they are
out of place on the front seats of the theatre. He (she) whom the coat fits let him put it on.
Within five years two other local papers appeared. In June, 1890-, James T. Jakeman issued the County
Register in Ephraim 4, and in November, 1890, A.B. Williams and J.M. Boyden published the Mt. Pleasant
Pyramid. 1891 the Ephraim plant was purchased by M. F. Murray and Company. The name was changed to the Enterprise 6
by which it was known through the management of ten editors, Ward Stephensen, John
Christiansen, Fred Jorgensen, W.E. Thorpe, Oscar Neilsen, a. E. Britsch, Nephi Christensen, Curtis Mitchelson
and Roscoe C. Cox. 7 Mr. Cox began publication in 1925 and was editor and manager for 35 years, the longest
period for any of the publishers. 8

The plant was located first in a building at 30 East Center Street. It was
later moved to the basement of the Ephraim Bank building and then to 56 North Main (Roscoe Cox Home).
The Mt. Pleasant Pyramid was purchased from Mr. Williams and Mr. Boyden by Burke McArthur in
1911. Mr. McArthur bought the first Linotype machine in Sanpete County, and continued to make
improvements in the plant until it was modernized throughout. About this same time, he also purchased a
permanent home for the paper, the building which it now occupies. 9

“The price of the local paper was combined with the needs of those concerned in Sanpete; it was
printed in kind; in terms of so much hay, so many potatoes or so many cords of firewood.” 10 Rates of
subscription listed in the Mt. Pleasant Pyramid Friday morning December 29, 1912, were: one year - $1.50; six
months - $.75; three months - $.50.
Editorials played an important role in the early newspapers, serving to arouse interest and to motivate
the people to action on local issues. They also helped shape policies and form public opinion on vital matters,
proving that the ‘pen is mightier than the sword.”
Mt. pleasant also had a small newspaper called The Call, which was edited and published by Christian
N. Lund, Jr., in a plant on the south side of the street at about 270 West Main. Mr. Lund operated his plant
first in Salina, then in Mt. Pleasant for a total of about ten years before moving to Salt Lake City, where he
continued in the newspaper business with a paper entitled The Progressive Opinion, which maintained a
circulation in Sanpete County for many years.

The Home Sentinel in Manti with J. T. Jakeman, Manager, and Dan Harrington, Editor, was re-named
The Sentinel in 1890 when H. H. Felt leased it. On October 13, 1893, under lease to Joel Shomaker, the paper
acquired the title of the Manti Messenger, which has continued since that time. 11 Other publishers to the
year 1929 year were J. L. Ewing, Peter A. Poulson, M.A. Boyden and S. Peter Peterson. 12
An item from the January 26, 1894, issue of the Messenger gives an insight into law enforcement in the

“Sleigh riding has been the order of the day for some time. Some of the boys were a little too fast to
be within the limits of the city ordinances last Sunday and as a result were fined on dollar each.”
A rival paper in Manti, the Sanpete Democrat, was first issued in June, 1898, 13 and in 1902 was known
as the Sanpete Free Press with L. A. Lauber, publisher. It sold for $1.00 per year. 14 A local item in the January
7, 1902, edition reads as follows: “The rabbit hunt on Monday between Manti and Ephraim resulted in favor of
Ephraim by a score of 186 to 155….”
In the south end of the county, the Gunnison Valley News recorded this item:
“The great event came when a man named Camp came with a press and started a local weekly, which
he called the Gunnison Gazette. It was housed in a little building that stood on the north side of Center street
next to the school lot. After a short while, in 1909, he sold it to Nephi Gledhill. It was an old Washington hand
press. It took the family to get the paper out. The children would go after school and set type. When the
bank building was finished it was moved into that basement.”1513
In 1919 the paper was transferred to Howard W. Cherry, who modernized its operations and changed
the name to Gunnison Valley News. Subscription rates were $2.00 a year and $1.00 for six months. 16

issues of the paper that year carried items of soldiers returning from World War I. the paper for July 4, 1919,
gave a detailed announcement of a patriotic program followed by foot, auto and horse races, boxing, baseball
and dancing, saluting the soldiers with the greeting: “Welcome, Soldier boys, the town is yours. Let’er bust.”
Prior to the editions of the local papers in the various communities in the County, the readers of early
news were able to obtain the Daily Deseret Evening News, which began as a weekly journal in 1867. “It
contained a variety of material, including speeches, lectures on scientific subjects, messages from church
heads, legal notices, local news, messages from the settlements reporting their progress, etc. It was always
part of the settlement. It gave the people a sense of contact with the world, a basis for comparing their lives
with that of other settlers and made them feel part of a large and important body. Everybody read the
News.”17 In this News, September 22, 1883, there appeared “more than two columns of the full size
newspaper, the names of all the stake presidencies and ward bishops for all the organized stakes of the

The Salt Lake Weekly Herald (Tribune) also found ready circulation in Sanpete County, 18
In listing early day publications, the Snowdrift, with Roscoe C. Cox as its first editor, provided
happenings and literary contributions from students at the College as well as being a media for training and
developing of talents in the news field.

The local papers were a powerful force in uniting the thoughts and actions of the people in the
communities. In giving due credit to the editors and publishers of Sanpete newspapers in the 44 years from
1885 to 1929, we are aware that they put the good of the people before their personal gain. First and
foremost was their love of the work, hearts that felt and understood the pulse of the community, men who
dared crusade for a better world, sometimes unappreciated, sometimes misunderstood, but never ceasing
their efforts for the printed page until that final copy was edited. These hands that set the type, turned the
presses and folded the papers will not be forgotten. Their words will echo and re-echo from the yellowed,
brittle pages, reminding us of conflict, tragedy, of joy and faith and hope, of life, as it was in our Sanpete
towns through these years.
Sources: 1
Christie Lund Coles, “To Mother and Dad”, Newspaper clipping.
These Our Fathers, p. 36
Snow College Film Library, Home Sentinel, 1885.
4 W. H. Lever, History of Sanpete and Emery Counties, p. 287.
These Our Fathers, p. 103.
6 W. H. Lever, p. 287.
These Our Fathers, p. 86.
Armanda Cox, Personal information.
These Our Fathers, p. 103.
10 Albert Antrei, “The Salty Old Press of Sanpete County”, Enterprise, 1979.
11 Mt. Pleasant Pyramid, December 29, 1912.
12 Antrei.
13 Song of a Century, p. 123.
14 W. H. Lever.
15 Sone of a Century, p. 123.
14 W. H. Lever.
15 Snow College Film Library, Sanpete Free Press, January 7, 1902.14
16 These Our Fathers, pp. 156-157.
17 Snow College Film Library, Gunnison Valley News, May 2, 1919.
18 These Our Fathers, pp. 156-157.

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