Not much known about early editor
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Not much known about early editorBy Tom Watson, historian
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Over the years, The Spencer Magnet has had its share of editors and the present one just may be the best ever. But what I'd like to know is more about Katie Beauchamp and her tenure at the paper.
Who are the other women in the picture? It looks as if a couple are fishing with sticks for poles, or just playing in the water.
It would be fabulous to be able to publish a good picture of
Katie and if any of our readers have one, how about emailing it or sending it in?
From notes I have taken over the years, it appears Katie ran the Magnet from 1926 until 1948 and the story goes that she's the one who changed the name from the Spencer Courier.
Claude Alex Brock told me many years ago that Katie hired him as a linotype operator in 1940 at $7.50 a week. A linotype (LINE-oh-type) was a machine with a typewriter-like keyboard that produced lead type that was set into wooden frames and used to print newspaper pages.
The Magnet was then located in a house on the northeast corner of Drug Avenue and Main Street, next to the former Spencer House Hotel, which is now a funeral home. "Drug Avenue" was that part of Washington Street on which two local druggists lived.
Claude and Dolly left Taylorsville for a few years, but returned in the late 1940s to purchase the Magnet and they operated it for nearly 42 years.
In writing about the history of Spencer County newspapers, it is necessary to begin four years after the end of the Civil War. The first newspaper in Spencer County was the Spencer Journal, which began in May, 1869.
In 1896, the paper was known as the Spencer Courier, and the editor was Lew B. Brown. There is much to write about Lew Brown, but for now, here's the article he published in 1896 that contains so much fabulous history of Taylorsville:
"Through the kindness of Miss Sue Clark, we have a copy of the Spencer Courier (then the Journal) of July 3, 1869, being the eighth copy of the paper printed. It is very interesting to look back over those 27 years and see Taylorsville of that day as in a glass, and in some respects, the town and county seem to have fallen back. In some ways, our businessmen are showing less enterprise than in their younger days.
"Mr. W.T. Burton was in that day the able editor of Spencer County's newspaper. It was a four-page, eight column paper and the subscription price was $3 per year. Now (in 1896) you get the Spencer Courier, nearly double the size, and the Weekly Courier-Journal, both for $1.25. And yet, there are a few people who grumble. Among the advertisements are noticed those of all the physicians, whereas not one advertises now (in 1896), and they include the names of such eminent men as Dr. R.B. Gilbert, now one of the leading doctors of Louisville, Dr. M.K. Allen, also prominent in medical and political circles in the metropolis; Dr. B.F. Owens, T.W. Allen, J. Waverly Smith and J.W. Massie. The lawyers were the late Joe B. Cox, the Reverend Mark E. Huston and Ashton P. Harcourt, now of Louisville.
"The name of W.T. (William Thomas) Froman appears in a rare and healthy looking advertisement of his drug store. Messrs. Stone & Allen also advertise their drug store. Nichols and Torbitt advertise "groceries, notions, stationery, confectionery, sporting apparatus, hardware, cigars and farming implements" at No. 54 Main Street, Taylorsville. Among the other advertisers are John S. Walton, graining; J.W. Owen, boots and shoes; C.W. Rush, dry goods; Black and Dillon, boots and shoes; J.N. Boswell, general merchandise; Harman Johnson, tailor; S.A. Wallace, tinner; J.F. Hammoc, carriage manufacturer and others."
Note: You may notice that many of the names in this article are the same names that appear on tombstones in the Old Taylorsville (or Pioneer) Cemetery at the end of Hardin Street.
Continued next week ...
You may contact Tom Watson by emailing apwriternews@ yahoo.com; write to 5225 Little Union Road, Taylorsville, Ky., 40071 or call before 7 p.m. (502) 252-9991.
©2007 The Spencer Magnet
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