Speegle, Will N. [1938-45?] "Scattering Remarks of Interest - Past and Present: Dailies and Weeklies." Humboldt Times.


Dailies and Weeklies

by Will Speegle

"There was no lack of newspapers in the early days in Humboldt county and when I came to Eureka you could contact them most anywhere. Weeklies were in their glory, even the Times and the Standard indulging in the publication of weekly editions to augment their daily issues and serve their clientele in distant areas that were only available through arduous stage or horseback travel. The news that had been assembled for the dailies was segregated and the more important items were put into the weekly editions. Both the Times and Standard had sizable circulations lists for their weekly publications. After the Standard put in its linotype [1897] the weekly was changed to a semi-weekly [1898] with no appreciable raise in price. But within a few years with improved transportation facilities throughout the county the dailies junked their weekly and semi-weekly issues and since that time have confined their activities to publishing very good daily newspapers.

Although the dailies dropped their weekly issues most of the weeklies in other parts of the county continued to this day. The Arcata Union, one of the first newspapers issued in this part of the State, is still going at good pace under the direction of Gordon Hadley. When I came here the veteran editor Austin Wiley was the editor and publisher and continued for some years until his demise when the paper passed to his sons, who later sold their interest and others have continued to carry on.

The Blue Lake Advocate, which once gained a state wide reputation and commendation for its excellence, was published for years on end by the late Gustav Perigot, a staunch Democrat who liked the business and devoted no end of time to his property which is now owned and operated under the direction of his sister.

In Eureka the Western Watchman, edited and published by the late William S. Ayers, wielded considerable influence until the death of its director.

G. A. Jasper, who came to Humboldt to take charge of the Congregational church at Fields Landing, left the ministry after a few years and started the Humboldt Beacon at Loleta. Later he moved it to Fortuna and entered into competition with the Fortuna Advance which had had several editors and publishers. When Editor Jasper, who served a term in the state assembly, died, the Beacon passed to control of his son, Paul Jasper, who has continued its publication. A few years ago he purchased the Advance and consolidated the two papers. Steve Scotton, an early day newspaperman, was associated with the Advance for a long period, as was also George Graves, who carried on until the paper was merged with the Beacon and is now operating a small farm near Fortuna and living the life of Riley.

In Eureka at the time of the longshoremen's strike in 1906, which resulted in the death of the Jinks brothers, the Eureka Herald was purchased by large interests and became a husky competitor of the Humboldt Standard for a number of years. Believe you me, I know it was husky for I owned and operated the Standard at the time and had to assemble the payroll funds to keep the boys and girls of the Standard paid off each Monday. As I look back to those strenuous days I wonder how I did it. The owners of the Herald had a pot of gold and didn't need to make money out of the venture. Finally, with some assistance, I managed to buy the Herald and consolidate it with the Standard and then had a nice time publishing the paper. Very foolishly, just before World War One was declared, I sold the Standard and almost immediately conditions changed so that advertising revenues jumped to an all-time high and the new owners reaped the benefits. I went into the "Rag Business" and stayed with that till late in the twenties when the urge to get back into a newspaper office was so great that I took a three weeks job with the Humboldt Times and have been there ever since.

Rod M. Saul's Newsletter was a thorn in the sides of a lot of people here for quite a period. He jabbed right and left and made himself pretty much disliked but finally folded up. At Alton there was a small weekly paper published by Austin Bohall. It bore the name "Our Paper" but didn't last long. Then there was the Home Journal published at Hydesville by Leon F. Stinson and the Herald, published at Rohnerville by Charles E. Gordon. An early day newspaperman [actually father of Charles, David E. Gordon] who knew Trinity and Humboldt counties like a book worked for the Standard in the 'nineties, but he folded his tent at a ripe old age and his career was ended. Yes, Humboldt county has had many newspapers and many newspapermen, and all of them have left their marks."


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