Fannin County Museum of History

   

‚ÄčOne Main Street, Bonham, Texas

Fannin County's First Daily Paper

Bonham Daily Favorite, December 18, 1994


One other nineteenth century newspaper impacted Bonham and Fannin County if for no other reason than its longevity. Not just in Fannin County but throughout many areas of the United States, most newspaper readers were accustomed to a once a week publication, the exception being some of the larger metropolitan areas with daily journals. One of the first daily papers in north Texas was The Dallas Herald, which like many of its counterparts began publication as a weekly. The first issue was produced in 1858 with a change to a daily not taking place until 1874.

All the attempts, successful and otherwise in the Red River Valley, to publish newspapers in the various towns of the area, were for the issuance of only once a week efforts. It was probably not for lack of news although news gathering sources were somewhat lacking in those early days. It was simply the logistics of issuing a daily paper with the primitive equipment of the day which precluded any other effort.

The meager beginnings of Fannin County's first daily actually evolved in Honey Grove. About 1884, Dr. J.M. Terry, a Kentucky native who found farming more profitable than a full time medical practice, decided to take up a new and considerably different profession. Setting up shop in Honey Grove Dr. Terry produced a small strangely named publication called The Simoon.

Since that first edition or subsequent editions are not known to exist we have no inkling as to the origin of the name or even if it has any meaning. In Arabic simoon means a hot, suffocating, sand laden wind which blows across the African and Middle Eastern deserts. Perhaps Dr. Terry was merely poking fun at his readers suggesting that all newspaper efforts were so much hot wind.

Some other sources also refer to Dr. Terry's Honey Grove effort as The Herald. Whether this was the same paper with a name change or two truly different efforts is not known. Some previous area journalists have suggested that his was an attempt to produce a true county-wide publication rather than one limited to a single town.

For some reason Terry's efforts did not seem successful. In 1888 or early 1889 he came to Bonham and acquired space in a building on south Center street directly across from the present post office. On March 2, 1889 Terry introduced a four column folio called The Fannin Favorite. The first edition is rather skimpy with local news, relying as did earlier publications on items copied from a variety of exchange papers.

Dr. Terry was sole owner and manager of the newspaper for the next several years. One of his major contributions to Fannin County journalism came early in the life of The Fannin Favorite when he hired twin brothers Charles and George Inglish as his editorial staff. Brother Percy joined the enterprise a few years later.

Along with the Evans brothers of Bonham News fame the Inglishes probably produced more effort in keeping the newspaper subscribers of Bonham and Fannin County informed than did any other editors, publishers or investors in the one and half centuries of newspaper history.

Whether the time was exactly right or whether Terry's choice of staff and editorial direction were contributing factors, The Fannin Favorite was an almost instant hit with the local citizenry. Over the next four years it thrived and continued to increase its circulation with the result that Terry made the easy decision to abandon the weekly format in favor of daily publication. In 1893 he established The Bonham Daily Favorite. The Fannin Favorite did continue as a weekly county paper for many years after.

There are at least seven other newspapers which were published in Bonham in the last two and a half decades of the nineteenth century. In most cases there are no known copies, ownership information is tenuous at best, and dates of beginning and ending are questionable. This lack of information suggests that most of these papers were relatively short-lived.

As early as 1876 a publication called Farm and Fireside was being issued in Bonham. R.W. Campbell was editor and publisher. The wearing of both such hats was not an unknown situation in those insecure days of newspapering. W.A. Carter has written that after an 1877 fire destroyed the offices and equipment of The Bonham News, John Piner purchased the Farm and Fireside from Campbell and continued publication of The News.

In early 1880 the Fannin County Commissioners Court was authorizing payment, for publication notices, to a Bonham newspaper called The Fannin County Advocate. That year and for at least part of 1881 this paper was issued by two young Ohioans G.E. Deacon and Robert B. Clair. Later that year T.J. Crooks, who worked for various papers in the area, was editor and H.M. Fletcher was publisher.

In August of 1884 Bonhamites were treated to the newest journal in town, a nine column effort styled after the very much respected old school Democratic press. The Bonham Review was guided through its initial issues by two men named J.H. Lackland and R.Z. Dyer. During Lackland's tenure the paper was reportedly filled with a variety of general news, and spicy editorials. Lackland had the reputation of being one of the premiere journalists in the area. In late 1885 Dyer bought the paper outright and continued for some ti me after.

The Farmer's Review also made its debut in 1884. Self-styled a populist paper, the publication had a healthy tenure although it received continuous criticism for many of the ideas presented by its editors and publishers. Many suggestions advanced at the time have almost the tinge of communist philosophy of today. Among the editors and publishers were Frank Brazleton, who also worked on several area publications, and S.J. Hampton. The Review ceased publication around the turn of the century.

The Bonham Weekly Chronicle and The Daily Pick are also recorded in various county and city records in 1897. W.T. Gass, formerly of The Bonham News was editor of The Chronicle. T.F. Lewis was editor of The Pick.

The last of these nineteenth century publications and the most peculiarly named was The Daily Dinnerhorn which was being published in 1898. H.W. Lyday was editor and publisher. The Fannin County Museum has a copy of one edition and examination of the content of the news items would lead one to suggest that the Dinnerhorn was an early ancestor of today's National Inquirer.

Fannin College for Men, Masonic Female Institute, and Carlton College all produced weekly or semi-weekly school papers which enjoyed popularity with the general public.