Newpapers And PoliticiansFortunately research and this blog does not have to rely on oral history. Early newspapers in the Territory and State of Montana have provided invaluable resources for the later generations to learn and understand the history. But one must remember that the newspapers were owned and operated by politicians, political parties, labor unions, social organizations and those with self interests from the earliest days.
The first newspaper in Deer Lodge county was the Weekly Independent whose first publication was on October 12, 1867. Originally owned by Frank Kenyon, the paper was bought out by Hugh McQuaid, A.L. Smith, __Kerley and __Hathaway in 1868. McQuaid had been a printer in Virginia City at the Montana Post since 1864.( MHS Contributions Vol.V, 1904)
The New Northwest began publication in Deer Lodge on July 9, 1869, under the helm of James H. Mills. It was a weekly publication until 1870 when it was published daily during the summer of 1870 and 1871. Publications were weekly during the winter due to weather conditions causing poor mail delivery. Daily publications ceased after the summer of 1871.
Being in competition with the Independent was not working out. Fortunately when the Independent's sister paper The Gazette, burned down in Helena, the Independent moved to Helena. At that time L.F. LaCroix purchased the interests of Smith and Hathaway (March 22, 1874.) This move left The New Northwest the only Deer Lodge area publication. Records indicate that H.C. Kessler had an interest in the paper in 1873 and in 1879 John S. Mills had one-half interest. Otherwise Captain Mills was the sole conductor from the papers inception. In 1885 the paper employed five men and served 1,600 people with the company valued at $8,000. There are papers from the New Northwest on microfilm at the Montana Historical Society through April 30, 1897.
The Philipsburg Mail was a Republican newspaper and began publication on January 28, 1887, under the ownership of Lombard and McCoy. Lombard then sold out to Mark Bryan at an unknown date, with Bryan operating as manager and McCoy as editor. Next, McCoy was bought out by Thomas Congdon and the name changed to Bryan Brothers and Congdon. Between the August 31 and September 6, 1894 edition the name changed to "The Mail Publishing Company." During 1897 The Mail carried the comment that M. H. Bryan was Editor and Manager. The next ownership change was June 1898 when the company name was "The Firm of Bryan Brothers and Hauck." Lawrence Hauck (Husband of Dora Kroger Hauck) had purchased an interest in the paper. In 1902 the Mail became the sole property of Hauck and remained under his ownership until his death in 1923. His son Herman Hauck was the business manager of the paper at the time of Lawrence's death and took over the newspaper.
According to family history (Lornie Hauck and Jean Hauck Fullerton), Herman was unable to make payroll in 1930 and Roy Neitz, working for the paper in the Drummond office assured Herman that was alright. Later the issue was taken to court and the end result was Roy Neitz was awarded ownership of The Philipsburg Mail. Listed ownership was under Herman through the July 12, 1929 issue, then that section of the paper was blank until January 9, 1931, when the original letterhead reappeared with the line Roy A. Neitz publisher. Research of all the papers during this time period failed to reveal any news articles about this issue or announcement of the change of ownership. Lornie Hauck stated to me (2008), that it was devastating for his father Herman, who had to pack his lunch box and head off to work at the same mine that had recently claimed the life of his relative Wilford Kroger.
Roy Neitz continued publishing the paper until his death in 1953. His wife and son Dean then took over the paper. When Dean married Trilby Horrigan in 1955 they then took over the paper and operated it until 1992 when they sold to Patricia Broman Kane. Kane sold it a year later to Jim and Lee Tracy. They operated it for six years and sold to Brian Eder in 1999. Eder sold to the current owners "Philipsburg Mail Inc. in 2004. The owner is Ann M. Mullen (Philipsburg Mail, January 4 2007).
The Citizen Call was the Democratic newspaper of the late 1880's and was owned and operated by Lon and Abe Hoss. The first issue was published prior to 1893. The name was legally changed to The Philipsburg Call in 1901 and continued publication through 1905. The paper had been referred to by the local population as The Philipsburg Call as early as 1897. The last news article found about the Hoss family was when Lon Hoss became ill and resigned his position as personal secretary to the Governor on February 2, 1906. He had served in that position for five years.
Another community paper was The Granite Mountain Star which began publication on June 22, 1889 and suspended publication during the 1893 silver crash. They notified subscribers that The Philipsburg Mail would be sent to them during the suspension. The Star was owned by W.J. Swartz who was also a barber in Granite. The last publication was in 1894. In the Montana Historical Research Library there are only a couple of months on microfilm but the records indicate that the original papers are in the University of Montana Library. W. J. Swartz also served as Postmaster of Granite and resigned on May 14, 1897.
A number of newspapers had short and sporadic lives. The Rock Creek Record and Quigley Times were published during the period the town of Quigley was populated in 1896. The Quigley Times was owned by T.C. Congdon and the first issue was published May 17, 1896. The Rock Creek Record was the official paper of the AF of L and first published on Saturday May 16, 1896. (see "Mettle of Granite County" Book Three pages 127-140 for many quotes from these two papers). The Gregorian was published from 1905-1907, by that religious organization. The Philipsburg Press during the years 1913 and 1914.; The Drummond Call during 1905 and 1906; The Granite County News from 1912 through 1916 and the Drummond News in 1918. I also found an article in April 1916 stating that the News in Drummond was being bought by Charles Anderson who had learned the trade at the Mail. The research Library does not have any record of that paper, but articles state that Roy Neitz was the manager of the Drummond News in 1921. The Hauck family believe this was an extension of the Philipsburg Mail.
(This article was adapted from pages 27-29 "Mettle of Granite County" Book One)