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Weekly 150

The McKenzie Banner: 150 Years of Real News

Posted 12/31/19

It has been a true honor and privilege to work on the history of McKenzie and take part in the City of McKenzie’s sesquicentennial. As 2019 draws to a close, it is time to welcome in a new year and begin another sesquicentennial celebration. Since 1870, The Banner is an intricate part of McKenzie’s heritage and serves as McKenzie’s oldest continuous business.

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Weekly 150

The McKenzie Banner: 150 Years of Real News

Posted

It has been a true honor and privilege to work on the history of McKenzie and take part in the City of McKenzie’s sesquicentennial. As 2019 draws to a close, it is time to welcome in a new year and begin another sesquicentennial celebration. Since 1870, The Banner is an intricate part of McKenzie’s heritage and serves as McKenzie’s oldest continuous business.

As we turn the page into the new year, we have decided to dedicate another year to the Weekly 150. The next portion of this series of articles will focus on the paper’s 150 years of supplying news to the people of McKenzie and the surrounding area.

Dating back to 1870, the newspaper’s original name was the McKenzie Times. The editor was Camillus Hawkins; brother to McKenzie’s first mayor, William H. Hawkins and Tennessee Governor Alvin Hawkins. Camillus served as city recorder for several years and in 1893 served as mayor.

By 1884 the McKenzie Times changed hands and became the Tri-County News with Tri-County Sun. The publishers were Gilbert & Cannon with Hawkins serving as editor.

1888 brought new ownership and a name change, the Weekly Enterprise with Tri-County Sun. The newspaper was owned by News Publishing Company. W.J. Allen was the business manager, editor and publisher.

Four years later, in 1894, the newspaper became the McKenzie Herald with Tri-County Sun. Finnis Garret served as the editor.

1895 was a hectic year at the Herald as B.A. Crofford was named publisher in March. Then in July, the publisher was J.C. McFall, and by the end of the month, publishing was under McFall and Garret.

In 1900, the Tri-County Sun portion of the company name was dropped and the newspaper was solely the McKenzie Herald. C.E. Biles was listed as proprietor.

Dr. J.E. Goldsby purchased the paper in 1901. Goldsby was a local physician and was married to Annie M. Allen. They had one daughter, Georgia Goldsby Felts, who was co-owner of Felts Drug Store in McKenzie.

From 1907 to 1915, the McKenzie Herald took its modern moniker The McKenzie Banner. David A. Burkhalter and W.A. Rurb held the titles of publishers and editors. Burkhalter was elected mayor of McKenzie when he was 21 years old. He was elected Judge of Carroll County in 1926 and held the office until his death in 1932.

In 1924, E.G Ward and B.B. Fowlers were co-publishers with Fowlers as the editor and Ward as the typesetter.

Two years later in 1926, The McKenzie Banner was under the helm of E.E. Kersh.

In 1928 to 1936, Stephen G. Miller held the title of publisher.

In June 1936, Lucian A. Woodson became the publisher. He was employed at the newspaper for 5 years before being named publisher, his lifelong dream. He served as publisher only one week before dying suddenly.

From 1936 to 1941, The Banner was published by Curtis C. Moody with a variety of editors including Roy Adlen Smith, J.A. Gallimore, Clarence R. Graham, William Costen and E.W. Hamm.

The newspaper was taken over by JE. Laney in 1941.

Tup Lucar bought The McKenzie Banner in 1944 only to sell it to Harry Williamson in January 1945. Harry and Vida Williamson served as co-owner and co-publisher until May 1949.

From May 1949 to May 1968, the newspaper was sold to J. Frank Barlow. Under Barlow, the newspaper operation expanded with the purchase of the Dresden Enterprise and growing the commercial print side.

On April 1, 1968, the paper was sold once again, but this sale provided the beginnings of the papers longest run by one family. James L. Washburn partnered with Karl Barlow, son of J. Frank Barlow. The Washburn-Barlow partnership lasted until July 11, 1980.

In July, Washburn purchased Barlow’s shares in the business. Under Washburn’s leadership, the newspaper converted from manual to computer typesetting. He led the development of Associated Publishers, Inc. (API) in Huntingdon. API is a large scale offset newspaper printing plant printing several areas newspapers.

In July 1980, in failing health, Washburn named his son, Joel, managing editor of The McKenzie Banner. James died in February 1985, his shares passed on to his wife Ramona.

Mrs. Washburn remained publisher from 1985 until April 2015 when brothers Joel and Jeff partnered to purchase their mother’s half of the company.

September 2019 saw a shift in ownership as Joel bought his brother’s shares of Tri-County Publishing, Inc. which included The McKenzie Banner, Dresden Enterprise and API.

In recent years with the up-tick in the Internet and web-based news sources, The McKenzie Banner along with numerous small newspapers fight a daily battle to remain profitable. Advertising is the life force that keeps the presses turning. We at The McKenzie Banner thank our readers and advertisers for your continued support, and we hope to be around for another 150 years.

Jason R. Martin

B.S. • M.A.Ed • MLS

Councilman, Ward II

Rotary Dist. 6760, Asst. Governor

WestStar Class of 2019

P: 731.352.3323

E: jmartin@mckenziebanner.com

Jason Martin is a life-long resident of McKenzie. He graduated from McKenzie High School in 2000; earned a Bachelor of Science in History from Bethel College in 2004; a Masters in Education from Bethel University in 2009 and a Masters in History and Humanities from Fort Hays State University in 2011.

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