Forestburg’s Newspaper 1950 – In the News

Sam Acheson wrote an article for the Dallas Morning News on 29 Aug 1950 giving a glowing description of the Forestburer, Forestburg’s own newspaper.  The article is filled with some great nuggets:

Forestburg Paper Proves Old Axiom

“Few Texas towns of only a little more than 100 people can boast of having their own weekly newspaper.

Forestburg, in the southeastern part of Montague County, is one of them.  Harlan Bridwell’s Forestburg Forestburger, now in its twelfth volume, is as lively and well-known a paper as might be the envy of a town ten times as big.

Although only half the size of the standard sized newspaper and rarely more than six pages, the Forestburger packs a reader interest wallop that makes it eagerly awaited each Thursday in homes scattered over a wide territory.  Editor Bridwell’s secret is an old one, perhaps the oldest in the newspaper game: ‘Names make news’.  He loads the five columns on his front page and every other column of reading matter in his paper with the goings and comings and the doings of his neighbors, not only in Forestburg but in eight to ten neighboring communities as well.

The Forestburger shares the distinction with the New York Times of never having run a comic strip.  It is as devoid of photographs and other art work as the Merchants Red Book.  It leaves to others to chronicle eruptions in far away places, whether these earth shaking events are found in the United States Senate, a volcano in Hawaii or even a war in Korea.  But if you want to know about the folks in Forestburg and the surrounding communities of New Harp, Rip, Mallard, Scrougey, and Uz, turn to Brother Bridwell’s pages.

The editor would be among the first to admit that his paper owes much of its success to the unusually able and energetic corps of country correspondents that serve it.  They are on the ball, to judge by their constant flow of good, clean, readable copy.  Each correspondent enjoys a by-line, whether it be Lorena True writing from Rip, Callie Sutton from Prairie Point, Myrtle McMillion from Scrougey, and so on.

On the strictly home front, Editor Bridwell studs names as thick as raisins in his news accounts of happenings in Forestburg.  Thus the treasurer’s report on the Hardy Cemetery manages to work in those of seventeen contributors to the upkeep, together with the sums they contributed.

This being an election year, the announcements of candidates threatened to poach on space that would otherwise go to personals.  But the editor has a knack of boiling even these down. Kent Wagonseller, for example, recently came out for county attorney.  All the pertinent facts of this young man’s career to date are kept within a fourth of a column, ending up with a single direct quote, ‘I will work hard and perform the duties of the office in an efficient and diligent manner.’  Who could ask for more?

Prize among Editor Bridwell’s band of willing helpers is his correspondent from Stony Point.  This is a gentleman by the name of Steven Denham.  Steve’s fame by now is more than parochial.  Readers from as far off as Fort Worth and Dallas raise sand if Steve’s column misses an issue.  The Stony Point philosopher must be aware, in part, of his wider public, as this paragraph in a recent issue somewhat hints,

‘Everybody who lives far off will want to know where Jim and Ernest built Red Bird’s new house.  Well, it’s not too close to Aunt Carrie’s house and it’s just ‘twixt Newby Mound and Sugar Loaf.  Kinder west, out on that little glade, toward the big gate that goes to the Charles Cook place.  Edward has four rooms and two porches.’

Steve’s weekly budget rates, rightly enough, prime place in the Forestburger.  It often gets top front-page position.  It always appears, though, under the simple, one-line head: ‘Stony Point News.’  For Steve is an artist whereas the others, as good as they are, are merely artisans by comparison.  That is doubtless why the editor gives Steve more rein; he can write much as he pleases and play hide and seek with both grammar and spelling — sorta with a poet’s license, we reckon.

‘Darwin White has his corn crop under fairly good control,’ Steve reported in the same issue, adding: ‘Wilb Reynolds took his wife to see the Carlsbad Caverns last Sunday.  Mr and Mrs Ernest Fanning have been regular attendants at the Church of Christ meeting, which closed Saturday night.  Ross Little is obliged to buy two loaves of bread since his Ma and them from San San Toni have been visiting him.  Margaret Lander was at home over the weekend.

There is more grass and less cattle in Stony than there ever has been since Willie Mobley left the country.  Stony has had two serious accidents of late, Edward Bailey got tangled up in some ceiling wallpaper and had to be cut free.  And a cow Mark Landers tried to doctor knocked Mark down and trampled to of his ribs loose.  The community otherwise seems reasonably quiet.’

The Forestburger, with its Steve Denham, its Sybil Balthrop, its Lorena True and all the rest, including Editor Bridwell is an ever-new reminder of the strength of journalism’s age-old axiom.  There is a tinge of commercialism in its columns, as the healthy wad of ads from merchants testifies.  But the people of Forestburg and all the folks from Willowalla Creek on the orth to Denton Creek on the south seem to know they have a good thing in their sturdy, newsy paper.  And it must be tops in Stony, otherwise Steve Denham might have left the country long ago.”

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4 responses to “Forestburg’s Newspaper 1950 – In the News

  1. I have a book by Steve Denham called Thes Sage and 3 issues of the Forestburger from 1938-39 that I will bring by on flash drive Thursday

    • Shirley Hampton

      I have several of the Forestburgers, dates from 1948 to 1951. Steve Dunham is a good read, quite a character. He wrote my grandfathers obit. I also have Steve’s obit with a picture of him.

  2. Shirley Hampton

    The paper was a twice weekly publication. The June 10 1948 issue was volumn 10 with numbers 36 thru 42. Volumn 10 has 27 pages. I have volumn 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14 plus a few extra pages.

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