After the tragic end of the Frontier Index at Bear Town in
1868 no attempt was made to print a paper in the new county of Uinta until
1871, when a man named W. L. Vaughn opened an office for the publication
of a weekly paper called the Evanston Age. At the end of a few months he
moved away, leaving his little plant behind. Two years later a man named
William Wheeler took over the printing press and supplies, and publication
was resumed. A mutilated copy dated March 17, 1875, is in the hands of the
author. It may cause some surprise to learn that it was published daily
and cost $11o a year. There was also a weekly edition at $3 per year. The
daily was printed in folio with a fourteen-inch column. In a column headed
"News of the Morning from Associated Press Dispatches" is the report of
the extra session of the Senate in which Mr. Ingalls introduced a
resolution requesting the president to transmit to the Senate information
in regard to the Sioux Indians migrating to the Black Hills. The paper is
given over largely to advertisements. Among the locals we find the
announcement of a St. Patrick's Ball at Hilliard, with refreshments at one
dollar a plate. The dissolution notices of the partnership of Booth and
McDonald, and of that of the Blyth, Pixley & Edwards company, are there,
as well as the notice that the Almy stage, of which R. H. Porter was
proprietor, ran three times a day, and the fare was twenty-five cents a
A well-preserved copy of the Evanston Age, dated September 16, 1876, has
come into the possession of the author through the courtesy of Miss Kate
Smith, who recently found it in the back of a picture frame. It is a well
printed paper of four sevencolumn pages, and brings before us the life of
the time. The subscription price was five dollars a year, and it was
published Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Territorial Directory
reads in part as follows : Governor, J. M. Thayer; Auditor, O. North;
Court Justices, J. W. Fisher, E. A. Thomas and J. B. Blair. The Uinta
County officers were : Probate Judge, W. M. Remington; County
Commissioners, C. A. Phipps, N. Beeman, W. K. Sloan ; Sheriff, Will inn.
Hinton ; Assessor, M. C. Hopkins; Surveyor, W. G. Tonn ; Prosecuting
Attorney, H. Garbanati ; Coroner, Thomas Street ; School Commissioner, S.
K. Temple. The paper was the official organ of Sweetwater County as well
as Uinta, and the list of the officers is headed by the name of O. E.
Bradbury, Probate Judge and Treasurer. P. A. McPhee, husband of Mrs.
Bradbury's sister, was sheriff. In the church notices we find F. L.
Arnold, pastor of the Presbyterian Church. The Methodist Church at that
time had no pastor, but held Sunday School at three p. m. The Church of
the Latter Day Saints was in charge of W. G. Burton. It was the year of
the great gold excitement at Deadwood, and there is the report of an
interview with P. H. Tooley, an early hardware merchant of Evanston, who
had just returned from the diggings. It says : "He had no trouble with the
Indians, but saw men who had been murdered just ahead of the train he was
with." Two articles copied from the Cheyenne Sun and Leader are given over
to accounts of lights with the Sioux in the Black Hills. In the
telegraphic news is the account of the day's progress in the trial of John
D. Lee, then being held in Beaver, Utah, for the Mountain Meadow massacre.
There is also a caustic article on the case from the pen of judge C. C.
Goodwin, editor of the Salt Lake Tribune. The Centennial Exposition, then
being held in 'Philadelphia, is mentioned freely in the dispatches and
In the fall of 1876 William T. Shafer arrived in Evanston. He was the
proprietor and publisher of a Green River paper called the Rocky Mountain
Courier and of the Carbon County News of Rawlins. A partnership was formed
with Mr. Wheeler under which these two publications were consolidated with
the Evanston Age. Mr. Wheeler became business manager and Mr. Shaf er
became editor. This arrangement lasted for two years, at the end of which
Mr. Wheeler moved to Idaho, and the days of the Evanston Age were ended.
In March, 1879, Frank Lannon, a young man who came out from New York to
join his brother, George Lannon, an employe in the railroad shop at
Evanston, formed a partnership with Mr. Shafer and the Uinta County
Chieftain was founded. The office was in the story above the Booth &
Crocker meat market, and in the fall was destroyed by fire. This was a
great blow to the young newspaper men, and Frank Lannon decided to engage
with another brother, Charles Lannon, in ranching on upper Bear River, an
enterprise in which both were deservedly successful. Mr. Shafer continued
the publication of the Chieftain for about twelve years, and in 1843 he
founded the Uinta Herald, which was later discontinued.
William T. Shafer was born in Montrose, Pennsylvania, in the year 1838 and
belonged to a fine family. Beginning his newspaper career in his home
town, he became war correspondent in the Civil War, and in 1864 was
employed on a northern publication called the Bulletin, in Memphis,
Tennessee. After a time spent in Fremont, Nebraska, he came to Wyoming. He
held several important positions, was at one time receiver of the land
office, was elected to the office of county treasurer, and had represented
his precinct in the lower house of the legislature, in 1gog. He was a man
of good education and was capable of good writing, but his work varied
greatly in quality. He was of a philosophical turn of mind that sometimes
led him to indulge in verse. His last years were clouded by great physical
suffering, and his death by suicide in December, 1923, was a shock to the
community, where he had lived for nearly half a century.
In 1877 the Evanston Argus was published by Mark Hopkins, who later moved
to Laramie. Another short-lived weekly was the Evanston Examiner, that
first appeared in 1885. The following year the editor, E. Buchanan, took
his plant to Park City, Utah.
In 1887 a paper called the Evanston News was founded by two young men
named Austin Decker and Wilson Dillon. After a few months Decker left and
J. F. Loudin, son-in-law of Major Baldwin, the founder of Lander, Wyoming,
continued the publication until 1893, when he sold to a company that put
J. H. Ryckman in as editor. Mr. Ryckman was educated for the bar, and for
several years he practiced in Evanston, where he is remembered for his
penetrating wit and a certain brilliancy of mind that made for him a place
among criminal lawyers of Los Angeles, where he moved later.
In 18go a young man named Joseph U. Allard began the publication of a
weekly called the Evanston Register. In 1894 he bought the News and the
two papers were combined under the name of the News-Register. Mr. Allard
is of French descent and came to Wyoming with his father's family from the
state of Vermont in 1884. He made his way through the public schools and
persevered in his chosen calling until he is one of the best known
newspaper men in western Wyoming. He is now editor and publisher of the
Rocket, of Rock Springs, Wyoming. He was the founder of the Bridger Valley
Enterprise, now owned by the Rollins brothers, of Lyman.
In 1905 Mr. Allard sold the News-Register to Joseph T. Booth, a printer
who had been in his employ for two years. Though but a boy in years, Mr.
Booth conducted the paper until 19o2, when he sold it to George Ewer, Jr.
In 1896, the year of the free silver issue, the Wyoming Press was formed
by a group of prominent citizens. J. H. Ryckman was its first editor. He
was succeeded in a few months by a young man named Harry Glenn, and he
soon afterward by Austin C. Sloan. In 1902 George Ewer purchased the Press
and for a year and a half it was the only paper in the county, that then
extended from the Utah boundary on the south to the Yellowstone National
Park. Under Mr. Ewer the Press was conducted on Republican principles.
Mr. Ewer was born in Birmingham, England, and in 1877 came to America with
his parents, who are still living at an advanced age. Two sisters also
make their homes in Evanston, Mrs. Mary Shopp and Mrs. Frank Brown. Mr.
Ewer began his journalistic career under Mr. Shaf er in the office of the
Uinta Herald, and has been the first newspaper man to achieve any
considerable degree of financial success. He has put up several buildings,
one of which is occupied by the Wyoming Times, of which he is editor and
proprietor. Mr. Ewer married in 1893 Miss Mary Cain, a native of Indiana,
and to them seven children were born, all of whom, like their father, have
received their education in the public schools of Evanston, where they are
well known. The mother died in the influen7.a, epidemic in 1917. Mr,
Ewer's present wife was the widow of Thomas Johnson, son of Thomas S., and
had resided in Evanston , for many years.
The Wyoming Press was purchased from Mr. Ewer in 1910 by J. T. Booth. Mr.
Booth was born in Coalville, Utah, and received his education in the
public schools and the New West Academy of that place. He married Edna,
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Peterson, who has ably assisted him in his
newspaper work. Mr. Booth confined his activities to journalism until i9m,
when he received from President Harding the appointment to the office of
register of the United States Land Office at Evanston. The Press is now in
charge of Mr. Lee W. Jenkins, a ``native son" of California, an overseas
veteran and a young man of wide experience in newspaper work.
Evanston has had an exceedingly creditable amateur monthly called The
Cottontail, owned, printed and published by the thirteen-year-old son of
Dean and Mrs. Smith. Although the subscription price was only twenty-five
cents a year, the editor made a financial success of his work, and his
paper received recognition as one of the best of its kind.
A great change has come over the journalism of the country as revealed in
comparing the papers of two score years ago and those of today. The
bickering of the editors that was supposed to add spice to life has given
place to a common courtesy more convincing as well as more pleasing to the
general reader. Despite cheap criticism to the contrary it can be
truthfully said that the conduct of the newspapers in Uinta County, both
in times of peace and war, has been such as to merit the praise of all
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