History of Newspapers in
Much of the early information for this page was taken from an article in Beckley USA, volume I,
and a similar article published in the Sunday Register in 1930.
Please send corrections or additional information for this
page to Jeff Miller. This page was last revised on March 9, 2018.
Beckley, West Virginia
Images of some historic front pages of Beckley newspapers are
RALEIGH COUNTY INDEX/RALEIGH REGISTER
Beckley's first newspaper, the Raleigh County Index, was founded during a period
when the town had been renamed Raleigh Court House.
The exact date of the first issue, vol. I, no. 1, is not clear.
One side of the four-page sheet is dated June 15, 1880, and
the other, the "homeprint" side, is dated June 22, 1880.
It is believed that the outside, or front and back pages, were probably
printed in Cincinnati and shipped to the publisher for the date on
which he expected to get out his first issue. Then perhaps the delivery
of his equipment was delayed somewhat and he was not ready on that date.
Rather than lose the shipment of paper for his first number, or perhaps
because the second shipment did not arrive on time, that of the earlier date
was used and the actual date of the issue was printed on the "home print" side of the paper.
The first publisher was Edwin Prince (1822-1891), a pioneer merchant and business man of the area. He had long felt the community
was under a severe handicap without a medium to
disseminate information and opinion.
Prince operated the Index for
a number of years as an independent newspaper, devoted wholly to the interests
of Raleigh county and the nation: "whatever will contribute to the general
prosperity of the country will be earnestly advocated, and
whatever is inimical to her interests will
be as earnestly opposed."
During the years that Prince
owned the pioneer publication, several
well-known newspaper men of that period
served as editors. It was replete with small
town and countryside gossip, and furnished
amusement and entertainment at a time when there was
little color in the life of the community.
The Index dated Jan. 4, 1881, which is vol. 1, no. 30,
shows the proprietor of the newspaper was Ash Mulligan Prince,
who was the fourth son of the founder. The editor is shown as P. P. Garland.
(He was Paulus Powell Garland, 1849-1930.)
The Index dated Apr. 23, 1885, shows Ash. M. Prince as editor.
Mike P. Beasley was editor in April 1889. W. J. Woodyard was editor in 1890.
Apparently in the late 1880s a group of Democratic politicians
acquired the Index. They
operated with only indifferent success.
In 1893 Robert A. Spencer (b. 1867) acquired the newspaper, which he renamed
the Raleigh Register. Spencer added to the equipment the first cylinder
press in Raleigh County, although it was still powered by human strength.
"On publication days it was necessary to bring in a husky
negro to turn the cylinder and run off the edition. Prior to this time
the newspaper had been printed on a Washington hand press, or lever press." [1930 article]
In 1896, with a presidential election campaign in the offing,
Republicans wanted to try their hands at influencing
public opinion. So Spencer sold the paper
to a partnership composed of George W. Cook
and E. Edwin Tucker. They converted it
into an advocate of the gold standard of
coinage and the candidacy of William McKinley for President of the
In October 1896 Charles C. Tucker came to Beckley to become an apprentice printer
for the Raleigh Register. According to a 1975 article, Tucker was 12 years old at the
time, although the same article reports he was born in Mason City, Iowa, in 1879. He died on March 2, 1967.
He later owned Tucker Printing Co., which he sold to Biggs Withrow Co.
In 1899 the paper was sold to John Price Beckley and E. L. Ellison, who returned its political
affiliation to the Democratic party.
Under the firm name of Ellison & Smith, the paper was conducted with marked success
until the fall of 1901, when Ellison chose to retire and enter a dental college, to go
into the profession of his father, M. A. Ellison.
About three months after acquiring an interest
in the paper, Mr. Beckley leased his share in the business to Joe L. Smith (1880-1962), then 19,
who had been employed on the paper for about six years as a printer.
Smith also acquired Ellison's interest in the paper within a few months after Ellison's retirement,
and he became the sole owner.
The Register was enlarged from a seven-column folio sheet to a six-column
quarto, all home print. To make this change a new cylinder press,
together with a folding machine and other equipment, were purchased. A one-cylinder
gasoline engine with a maze of shafting and belts drove the press, the folder,
and a job printing press.
Smith later served two terms on the Beckley City Council,
three terms as Mayor, and was elected to the State Senate in 1908.
He remained in sole control of the Register for ten years.
The Sept. 1, 1910, Raleigh Register shows Joe L. Smith as
editor and owner. It says the newspaper is published every Thursday morning.
In 1911 Smith sold the Register to a group of
prominent Beckley Democrats: M. J. Meadows,
W. W. Hume, George W. Williams, I. C. Prince, W. H.
McGinnis, C. C. Rose, George W. Thompson. The owners incorporated
the business as The Raleigh Register, Inc., under a charter
from the secretary of state dated Jan. 2, 1912.
For fourteen months the paper floundered financially, as it was lacking
capable business management. At this time it was edited by
George W. Williams.
The Dec. 21, 1911, Raleigh Register lists George W. Williams as publisher
and reports “sworn circulation 2,550.”
The July 25, 1912, Raleigh Register shows L(ouis) A. Fraser as editor.
In the latter part of 1912
Charles Hodel returned to Beckley to visit his future wife. He had spent the
year in New Mexico, part of the time as managing editor
of the Roswell Morning News.
Hodel was offered jobs by both weekly newspapers, but
accepted the job of editor of the Register along with management of the
corporation owning it. Hodel, then 23, went to work
on December 15, 1912.
The office and plant were located in a frame structure
on the site of the old Bank of Raleigh building. In
another fifteen months the newspaper was asked to move,
that the bank might build on the lot. But before the
move could be completed, fire wiped out the old building and
the printing plant on the night of April 1, 1914.
Publication was suspended for thirty days, until the second week in May 1914,
when a new plant was assembled in temporary
basement quarters on Heber Street. (A 1930 article has: "It was the only time,
so far as this writer can ascertain, that The Register has missed a scheduled issue of the paper.")
The Oct. 22, 1914, Raleigh Register shows Charles Hodel as editor and manager.
In 1915 the bank moved into its new home
and the newspaper plant was welcomed back to occupy the basement.
On July 29, 1915, the Register reported, “Work on the removal of the printing
plant of The Raleigh Register from the temporary quarters it has
occupied under the Union Cash store for the past sixteen months will
begin Thursday morning. The next issue of the Register will be prnted
in its new home in the basement of the new Bank of Raleigh Building,
corner Main and Fayette streets.”
In 1918 Hodel (by now a substantial holder of
stock in The Raleigh Register. Inc.) and associates, made
a deal to take over the "Davis Lot" on Main Street. On
that lot stood two little log houses, occupied by Grandma
Davis and daughter Alice. The little huts
served as headquarters for a Federal force
that occupied Beckley during the Civil War, with Majors
William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes in command.
In September 1920 the new quarters were occupied.
On Oct. 16, 1919, the image of Sir Walter Raleigh was inserted between the words
Raleigh and Register in the front page title.
In the fall of 1921 the paper changed from
weekly to semi-weekly publication.
Hodel then relinquished the editorship, but continued
as general manager of the corporation.
Albert Sidney Johnston, Jr., the publisher of
the Monroe Watchman in Union, was made news editor.
On June 6, 1923, a regular Sunday morning issue was added.
An edition of 1,500 copies was printed the first Sunday; by mid-afternoon 1,350 had been sold,
many by newsboys on the streets.
The Sunday Register was well received and became a fixture at once.
The Register then appeared
on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sunday mornings.
The competitive situation of Beckley Printing Company
was improved and gave some concern to Hodel and Johnston who had by now
come into full stock control of The
Raleigh Register, Inc. For another two years, however,
they maintained their thrice-weekly pace.
As advertising began finally to gravitate to the daily Post-Herald
thrice-weekly publishers resolved to make
a fight for first place. On June 6, 1928, the
Register was made a daily also.
In the presidential election year of 1900 Republicans of the county
Raleigh Herald. Its first editor was C. E.
Shafer, a Methodist minister. Financial backers were T. K. Scott
and J. A. Ewart.
Prior to the printing of the first edition, the printer, Charles C. Tucker,
rode through the county on horseback to sign up the first 400 subscribers.
The first issue was printed on June 8, 1900, according to a 1950 account.
This arrangement lasted little more than
a year. It gave way to the formation of the
Herald Publishing Company, with Robert
A. Spencer, one of the
early editors of the Register,
as editor and manager. But the company and change
of management were both short-lived.
In less than a year Dr. J. A. Campbell
bought the paper, and within just a few
months, on March 20, 1903, sold to Thomas J.
Honaker. The price was $1700, which
Honaker raised through a loan at the Bank
of Raleigh, endorsed by 19 fellow Republicans of the county. Honaker
became editor, but was never able to pay the note
which he gave for the purchase price.
The next year ownership passed to G. W. Richardson, with Honaker continuing
On July 5, 1906, George C. McIntosh of
Fayetteville bought the Herald from
Richardson, and put R. H. "Chisel Chin" Brown in charge as
editor. At that time the masthead was changed
to "The official organ of the Republican Party of Raleigh county."
The July 5, 1906, Raleigh Herald is vol. 8, no. 12, and shows
G. C. McIntosh as publisher and R. H. Brown as editor. The newspaper was published every Thursday.
In February 1907, J. Jerome Haddox replaced Brown as editor.
Haddox was succeeded by Louis A. "Pap" Fraser. Fraser only stayed for a few
months and was succeeded by E. S. Hatfield.
Fraser subsequently returned.
In editorials, Fraser repeatedly demanded that pig sties be banned
inside the corporate limits and he complained bitterly about
the practice on the part of some individuals of putting bells
on cows quartered on vacant lots in town because the
clanging of the bells was keeping people awake at night.
Another editor after Fraser and Hatfield was Cal F. Young.
In 1909, Samuel Dixon (1855-1934), President of the New River
Company, purchased the Herald. Dixon had previously
acquired an interest in the Charleston Daily Mail
and ownership of the Fayette Journal.
T. G. Williams, an Oxford graduate previously employed
as an auditor for the New River Company,
was made editor.
On May 26, 1910, Charles Hodel met Dixon in Fayetteville, and an
agreement was reached there for him to become
editor and manager of the Herald.
Hodel had not been paid by the Grafton paper,
where he had worked, for the past four weeks.
Hodel's tenure continued for 18 months.
In late November 1911, Miss
E. Winifred Brown, sister of R. H. Brown,
the earlier editor, bought the paper from
Dixon. Hodel left, as he could
not bear the thought of working for a woman, according
to a 1975 article.
Only a few weeks after taking over the paper from Dixon,
Miss Brown died of "galloping consumption."
Ownership of the paper reverted to Dixon and, in turn,
was transferred to W. E. Deegans of Glen Jean, from
whom it was soon acquired by E. L. Ellison.
During this period, Daniel P. Gadd moved over from Hinton and for a
time edited the Herald.
On Nov. 7, 1921, the Raleigh Herald changed ownership. Dr. E. L. Ellison, who had
owned and edited the paper for ten years, sold it to the Raleigh Herald, Inc., with
Ralph G. Hess, formerly with the Raleigh Register, as the new editor and manager.
[The preceding information is from a 1921 news account.
A later history reported, “About 1918 the Herald
was sold to the Winding Gulf Operators Association. Ralph
G. Hess, who had come to Beckley from Washington
Court House, Ohio, by way of Morgantown, was employed
as editor and manager.”]
Hess was succeeded by Leonadas M. Dorsey. In 1922 Dorsey inaugurated
semi-weekly publication, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Between the Register and
was virtually enjoying daily newspaper service.
In the fall of 1909, a third weekly newspaper,
the Beckley Messenger, began publication.
It set up a third newspaper printing plant in the town.
Dr. William H. Sampson, a physician, was the prime mover in its
establishment. L. A. Fraser was editor.
On May 17, 1910, the Messenger reported, “Our patrons are entitled to
an explanation of the failure to issue The Messenger last Friday, and the
delay of a day in the publication of this issue, which was due to the fact that
we have been installing the new cylinder press illustrated above, which has a capacity
for printing 2,000 copies per hour, and the purchase of which was rendered
necessary by our growing circulation, which has reached a total of 4,250
copies each issue—and the first issue of The Messenger as a semi-weekly
was published last January, with a circulation of less than 300 copies.”
The newspaper's plant was
destroyed in the great fire of April 1912, which leveled
much of the town's business district.
After the fire, editor E. L. Ellison placed a notice in the Register saying
that the Messenger expected to resume publishing within 30 days.
He said the subscriber list was lost in the fire, and asked subscribers of
the paper to contact him. The Messenger was
subsequently printed from the plant of the Herald, until Jan. 1, 1918.
According to a history of Beckley newspapers, E. Winifred Brown, owner
of the Herald, took over ownership of the Messenger after the fire.
On April 28, 1914, the Messenger reported on the
Eccles mine disaster, mentioning that among the victims was
E. O. Ellison, brother of E. L. Ellison, editor of the Messenger.
The final issue of the Messenger was dated Jan. 1, 1918. On that date the newspaper stated, “The Beckley Messenger after more than nine
years publication, as a newspaper, will be discontinued with this publication and no further issues will appear. The principal reason for
discontinuing its publication is due to other business interests in which its owner and editor are engaged which require, and have
required for the past twelve months, practically his entire time.”
The microfilm of the Beckley Messenger has issues from
March 18, 1910, to January 1, 1918.
The Evening Post began operations on Feb. 12, 1924. It was Beckley's first daily newspaper.
According to a Beckley USA article, Francis T. Hunter, national
tennis figure and then also head of the Westchester County (N. Y.)
chain of newspapers, was the prime mover. Associated with him was Edgar H. Adsit
of Norfolk. According to a 1975 article, stock in the venture was owned by many prosperous
citizens of Raleigh County, most of them Republicans.
They took over the Beckley Printing company plant
of Charles C. Tucker, which had been doing commercial printing only.
Newspaper printing equipment was added to
that of the Tucker plant, and
publication of the 6-day evening daily was under way.
The masthead of the Evening Post of Thursday, May 29, 1924, shows Francis T. Hunter, editor; E. H. Adsit, Business Manager;
and C. C. Tucker, Superintendent. It has "Published every business day by Beckley Printing Co., Inc."
The paper is volume I, no. 91, and consists of eight pages. A notice on the front
page advises that the paper will not be published tomorrow in observance of Memorial Day.
The photograph taken in front of the Evening Post shows McCartney, C. C. Tucker, superintendent; Williams, foreman;
Francis T. Hunter, President; R. G. Hess, editor; H. E. Adsit, solicitor.
In early 1926 the backers
of the Post bought
the Herald and combined the
two under the name of The Post-Herald.
The Post-Herald was published with the same format as the Evening Post. The
circulation of the first issue of the Post-Herald was 6131.
The newspaper of May 31, 1929, is titled The Post-Herald. It is volume 6, no. 94,
and includes under the title, “A Consolidation of the Evening Post and the Raleigh Herald.” It also has the slogan,
“Raleigh County's Pioneer Daily Newspaper ... In More Homes Every Day.”
BECKLEY POST-HERALD AND RALEIGH REGISTER
Beginning in June 1928 there were two competing daily
newspapers in Beckley. Both
sides spent money pretty freely for circulation and to attract
advertising revenue. In twelve months it became
obvious that the field was simply not large enough for
competing daily newspapers, operated in separate plants,
to survive. In the late spring of 1929 merger talks began.
A deal was worked out by which Hodel took over all assets of Beckley Printing
Company as of September 1, 1929. At once the Beckley
Newspapers Corporation was organized under a West
Virginia charter, and the assets of both the earlier corporations were
assigned to it, and both were dissolved.
Hodel became president and general manager of the
new corporation and publisher of both the Post-Herald
and Raleigh Register. Robert
Moss French was made
first vice president; Dr. Robert Wriston, second vice president; A. S.
Johnston, secretary; C. Marshall Johnston,
The first editor of the Post-Herald under the new corporation
was Edward Sergeant from the Mullens Advocate.
On June 29, 1930, the Sunday Register reported that
Sunday circulation "is now nearly 7,000."
The newspaper reported the heads of departments at the time were:
Charles Hodel, general manager;
A. S. Johnston, Jr., managing editor;
Dorsey E. Biggs, advertising manager;
C. M. Johnston, manager of commercial printing department;
B. F. Stout, circulation manager;
R. L. Sadler, mechanical superintendent.
In the first issue of the Post-Herald under his
direction Hodel, a Democrat, published a signed pledge that he would
never at any time,
under any circumstance, exercise any influence whatever
on the time-honored Republican policies of the paper.
"That pledge came to haunt me now and then," he now
says, "but it was kept to the letter, and has long since
become so firmly embedded as custom and practice that
no question has ever arisen."
In 1930 Ted G. McDowell was brought to
Beckley from the Louisville Courier-Journal to become editor of
McDowell was one of the first editors in the area to fight Roosevelt
and the New Deal in 1933. In 1930 McDowell began promoting a major project
of the Post-Herald, Mac's Toy Fund, using the personal column, Top O' The Morning,
to solicit funds.
Sidney Johnston continued as editor of the Register
until his death in May 1936. He was succeeded by J. Raiford
Watkins, who had previously served
as chief of the Charleston Bureau of The Associated
Press. Watkins in turn was succeeded in 1941 by W.
Randolph Norton, who moved to the Charlotte Observer in December 1946. He was followed
as editor by Thomas F. Stafford of Grafton, who moved to
the Charleston Gazette in Charleston in December 1954.
At that point C. J. ("Needy") McQuade became editor.
As Beckley and the nation began moving out of the
economic depression in 1934, it became manifest that the
Main Street quarters occupied since 1920 would soon be
inadequate. As there was no possibility of enlarging
them and maintaining reasonable efficiency of operation,
Hodel began to cast about for another site.
Because circulations of both the Post-Herald and Register were now rapidly
expanding, and paper consumption was
mounting fast, it seemed necessary to secure a
location so situated that sidetrack delivery of carloads of
paper could be had, yet the plant must have convenient
access to the retail business district of Beckley.
Those requirements took the new plant to its present
Prince Street location in 1936 (or 1934) -- two stories below street
level, one above. The new home was also outgrown by
1950, and the operation was expanded to a second, somewhat larger one
of five stories -- three below street level
and two above -- in 1952.
The 1935 West Virginia Blue Book shows Ted McDowell as
editor of the Post-Herald, with a circulation of 5000,
and A. S. Johnson as editor of the Raleigh Register, with a
circulation of 5,400. Sunday circulation of the combined
newspapers is shown as 11,000. The Post-Herald is shown as
Republican, and the Raleigh Register as Democratic.
Roy Lee Harmon (1900-1981) served as sports editor of the Beckley Post-Herald from 1937 until 1946 and worked for the Raleigh
Register in later years. He held the post of state Poet Laureate for several periods between 1937 and 1979.
In 1946 Beckley Newspapers Corporation opened WCFC, the first
FM radio station in West Virginia. Despite promotion
of the station in the newspapers and high-quality programming, the
station failed to attract a sizable audience,
in part because FM radios were not widely in use during this period. On
November 26, 1950, an AM station, limited
to daytime broadcasting, was added. Both the AM and FM stations ceased
broadcasting on June 30, 1951.
On December 27, 1949, McDowell, still the editor of the Post-Herald,
died when he succumbed to a heart attack
in a Charleston hotel, where he had gone for a brief
rest. Eugene L. Scott succeeded
On Aug. 26, 1950, The Beckley Post-Herald published its
Centennial Edition, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the newspaper
and the hundredth anniversary of the creation of Raleigh County.
The outstanding edition, over 100 pages long, featured
many historical articles.
The 1956 West Virginia Blue Book shows Eugene L. Scott
as editor of the Post-Herald and C. J. McQuade as editor
of the Raleigh Register.
In January 1957 Eugene L. Scott resigned as Post-Herald
editor to join the staff of Sen. Chapman Revercomb,
and Emile Jacob Hodel, son of Charles Hodel, succeeded him as editor.
In April 1962, C. J. McQuade resigned as editor of the Register,
and was replaced by John Charles Hodel, a son of Charles Hodel.
In 1965 George Warren Hodel became president of Beckley
On Feb. 5, 1965, Charles Hodel was incapacitated by a stroke.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Beckley Post-Herald had a
conservative editorial policy and the Raleigh Register
had a liberal editorial policy.
In October 1963 the progressive Raleigh Register recommended voters reject
a bond issue for new schools, which it said would result in the
construction of a new segregated high school. A local minister,
asking voters to approve the levy,
called editor John Hodel “atheistic” on a radio broadcast.
City Editor Roy Lee Harmon wrote on Oct. 23, 1963, “Hatred
had a field day in Beckley yesterday.”
In an editorial on Oct. 22, 1973, the Register
called for the impeachment of
Richard Nixon, saying, "Richard Nixon has finally made one thing crystal
clear: The President of the United States is a mad man.
And, if democracy is to survive in this nation, Richard Nixon must be
removed from office, whatever the cost."
Charles Hodel was instrumental in obtaining for Beckley an airport and
the outdoor drama Honey in the Rock.
An editorial advocated changing the name
of the state of West Virginia to Kanawha or Lincoln, because,
it argued, many people in other states believed that West Virginia was
a part of Virginia, rather than a separate state.
During this period, the Post-Herald enjoyed a larger
circulation than the Register, as was the case
for the morning newspaper in most cities, although the Register
claimed a larger circulation within the city of
In 1967 the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Beckley Newspapers Corporation,
overturning a judgment in favor of a candidate for
Clerk of the Criminal and Circuit Courts of Raleigh County,
who claimed he had been libeled by the newspaper during the election campaign.
The case, known as Beckley Newspapers Corp. vs Hanks, became an important
expansion of First Amendment protection for newspapers.
On June 16, 1973, Charles Hodel died.
In July 1976 Beckley Newspapers Corporation was sold to Clay
Communications of Charleston. In 1997, John Hodel explained,
"After my father died, we offspring were unable to work together harmoniously, and decided to sell the newspapers, and go our separate ways."
R. Sidney Crim was named general manager.
Walter C. Massey was appointed editor of the Beckley Post-Herald and Bob Wills was named
editor of the Raleigh Register.
In 1980, Crim resigned and was succeeded by Charles K. Connor
Jr., executive editor of the Charleston Daily Mail.
In April 1981 Connor became president of Beckley Newspapers,
In May 1981, Wills retired as editor of the Raleigh
Register and was succeeded by Jim Wood.
On June 4, 1982, Beckley Newspapers officially opened
its new building on North Kanawha St. The April 19, 1982, Raleigh Register was
the first edition to run in the new plant.
On December 28, 1984, the Raleigh Register ceased
publication, and on Monday, Dec. 31, 1984,
the morning newspaper was renamed the Register/Herald (later
the Register-Herald). In a column on Dec. 2, 1984, announcing
the end of the Register, publisher Charles Connor wrote that the circulation of the Post-Herald
was more than 24,000, that the Register circulation was 9500, and that Sunday
circulation was more than 35,000.
In 1987 Connor retired and was succeeded by Samuel E. Hindman.
In 1987 Clay Communications sold its four newspapers,
including the Register-Herald, to Lincoln Publishing Co. of Des
Plaines, Iowa, an affiliate of Thomson Newspapers Inc. of Toronto.
In May 1990 Hindman was succeeded by Robert R. Hammond.
About 2000, Thomson Newspapers sold most of its newspapers,
and the Register-Herald was
acquired by Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. of Birmingham.
In April 1997, publisher Hammond named Dawn A. Keys editor of the Register-Herald.
She had served as interim editor since February 1997 and replaced Dan Page, who resigned
after being appointed director of communications for Gov. Cecil Underwood.
Larry E. Martin was editor of the Register-Herald from
the late 1990s until March 11, 2005.
He was succeeded temporarily by Dawn A. Dayton, who was also managing
editor of the paper.
On Aug. 21, 2005, the Register-Herald reported that Carl J. "Butch" Antolini
was named executive editor of Beckley Newspapers Inc. At this time,
Frank Wood was publisher and general manager. Circulation of the
Register-Herald was reported as 28,694 weekdays and 30,071
In 2005, Beckley Newspapers published the Register-Herald, Fayette
Tribune, Montgomery Herald, Post Report, and the Wyoming County
In November 2013 the Register-Herald instituted a pay wall for
its web site register-herald.com.
J. Damon Cain, a news executive at the Denver Post for 13
years, was appointed editor effective Nov. 16, 2015. The newspaper
reported that he would oversee the Register-Herald and its
associated weekly papers, the Montgomery Herald and the
Fayette Tribune in Oak Hill.
In August 2016 Frank D. Wood retired as publisher. He was succeeded by Randy Mooney, publisher of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
The web site of the Register-Herald is at
From 1933 to 1942, the Independent Observer, a
pro-labor Democratic newspaper, published weekly from
offices on McCreery Street. W. A. Stanley was editor and owner. Norman
Stoken was editor in 1938.
BECKLEY DAILY NEWS
In 1946 and 1947, the Beckley Daily News was published
by Biggs-Johnston-Withrow, Inc. Editors included F. D. Walton and
Harold Riffe. (Riffe was a popular Raleigh Register columnist, founder of the "Bug
The Dec. 8, 1946, Beckley Sunday News is vol. I, no. 330. The front page
has "The fastest growing newspaper in the state. It represents the people
of the State of West Virginia." Articles from the United Press are included.
The publisher and editor is Lynnewood Celdon. Managing editor is F. D. Walton.
City Editor is Nolan E. Isom. Advertising Manager is Roy O. Wray. Classified
Manager is Carlos Harmon.
Nigel Maxey contributed information to this section.
In December 1950 composing room employees of Beckley
Newspapers Corp. went on a lengthy strike, seeking recognition of
the International Typographical Union. The ITU sponsored competing
newspapers in Beckley, Charleston, and Huntington.
The Beckley newspaper, the Daily News-Digest, was a
tabloid published mornings, Monday through Friday. The first issue was April 9, 1952.
Charles R. Houston was editor.
The July 11, 1952, issue is Vol. I, No. 68. It is a 16-page tabloid with the motto,
"Your News - Brief, Lively, and Complete." It shows A. M. Barr as publisher. The newspaper
is published by the New Newspaper Publishing Co., 315 Prince St., Beckley. A classified ad says,
"Want boys to deliver the Daily News-Digest. New independent routes are being started every week.
See Mr. Harmon, Circulation Manager."
The Jan. 19, 1953, issue shows Charles R. Houston as publisher, James W. Cockrell as editor,
William Gale Keesee, advertising, and Robert W. Harmon, circulation.
Dave Clower recalls this about the Daily News-Digest:
The newspaper office was located on Prince Street, on
the same side as the state liquor store
and in the same block, just a few storefronts away. The office staff
included the editor, a few writers
(maybe only 3 or 4), advertising sales staff, circulation department
and some clerical workers. Possibly 15-20
total employees. The newspaper was printed in Charleston and shipped to
Beckley for further distribution
to carriers (that is where I came in, I was a District Manager. An
impressive sounding title, but I merely
dropped off bundles of newspapers to carriers for their routes).
The editor and writers were diligent in providing good
local reporting and in many instances, beat the BNC
papers to some stories. I believe the Daily News Digest broke
the story that Robert Byrd had been a member of the
KKK. In any event, I know for sure it was a front page story at the Daily
News Digest. In my opinion the Daily News Digest did not cause a dent in the
BNC newspapers, circulation was thin and
newspaper boys were not interested in covering a big territory with
only a few customers. Advertising was sparse and I
am sure the ITU had to provide significant financial support for the
Sometime in the late 1952 ITU moved the printing to
Indianapolis, IN and from there it was put on the
train and shipped to WV then trucked to Beckley. I could sense to
feeling of defeat at the Daily News Digest
and left in December 1952. It helped with some college expense and gave
me some insight into the workings of a newspaper.
The Daily News-Digest folded in October 1953.
The Fall 1954 Journalism Quarterly has:
"Altogether, I. T. U. since 1951 has lunched nine new dailies in cities where members of the
union have been on strike against existing papers. One, the national Labor's Daily,
is not included here because of its specialized field. Another, the Beckley, W. Va. News-Digest, has suspended."