Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
The local news business has never been an easy, or especially profitable, endeavor. Those who publish papers don’t have any illusions about growing fat off their subscribers and advertisers. But they try their best to meet the needs of the communities they serve, and to keep them well informed of what their city and county government are doing, while earning a meager living. As we enter the New Year, we looked back at the first of Uncle Jack Fultz’s scrapbooks, hoping to find one or more compelling New Years stories from days gone by.
Instead, though, we were struck by just how many papers have come and gone over the years. We knew a little of this from looking through old newspapers in the collection of the former Olive Hill Times and Grayson Journal-Enquirer. The now defunct Grayson paper earned its hyphenated name from the merger of two predecessor papers, the Grayson Journal and the Sandy Valley Enquirer. The Olive Hill Times, meanwhile had a history that stretched back over 100 years, though that wasn’t 100 years of continuous publication.
What Uncle Jack’s scrapbook showed us was that the first press in Olive Hill was the Dispatch, published by H.T. Graham on each Thursday, beginning in February of 1902. Graham bragged “with no little pride” of being the “first press in town,” when he began publication on Thursday, February 20, 1902. Graham hoped to stay in business for some time, writing, “We have set the press in motion at Olive Hill. May its music never cease.”
By 1905, however, the Dispatch was replaced by the Olive Hill Times, which was publishing at least as early as January of that year (W.F. Fultz would later write in the Carter County Herald that the paper – which published continuously under various names – was founded by Len Maddox in 1903), mailing copies on Friday and advising subscribers that, if they “fail(ed) to receive a copy by (the) following Monday,” to contact the office for a replacement.
J.L. Maddix was the editor of this first incarnation of the Times, published by Maddix Printing & Publishing Co. By August of 1906, though, the Olive Hill Times was being published by The Times Publishing Company, with D.M. Maynard serving as editor. The Olive Hill Times published news relevant to Olive Hill and the western end of the county, including regular features from Smoky Valley (such as visitations and fights after church).
Still publishing in 1907 as the Times, by August of that year Maynard had been replaced by Chas. Sanders as editor and publisher. By Christmas Eve 1908 J.L. – or another with his initials – was back at the helm as editor, this time spelling his last name Maddox, though the postal permit, “entered at the Olive Hill Post Office January 20, 1905” indicated it was still a continuously publishing paper through those years.
By 1912, however, the Progressive was publishing in Olive Hill, under the leadership of Geo. B. Terrell as editor, publisher and owner. An October 17, 1912 issue showed Terrell as the sole proprietor, but the January 9, 1913 edition of the Progressive, which showed their mailing permit had been established on September 27, 1912, was under the ownership of editor and publisher J.L. Maddox, the same name we’ve seen associated with the Olive Hill Times under that spelling and the Maddix spelling.
The Progressive continued to publish under Maddox until May 7 of 1914. In the April 30, 1914 issue Maddox wrote that he had sold the paper to “the Republicans… (who) have been threatening to get their feet wet in the newspaper business in Carter.”
W.F. Fultz wrote in the May 7, 1914 edition that he was seeking correspondents from “each post office” and offering “writing paper, stamps and (to) send the paper to you free” for anyone seeking to contribute.
The paper wouldn’t keep the Progressive name though. By the end of the month Fultz, as the editor and business manager, was running his paper as “The Carter County Herald – Successor to Olive Hill Times.”
Fultz would continue to run the paper as the Herald through the first World War and into the 1920s, claiming in the December 29, 1921 issue that, despite the regular name changes, the paper had published continuously for 18 years, beginning publication on December 29 of 1903.
As he entered into the new year, Fultz promised that in 1922 he was determined to “(print) such a good newspaper that it will be sought after by every home in Carter county.”
As we enter the New Year, we too hope to continue in this grand tradition and to print a paper covering content “sought after by every home in Carter County.” While we can’t proclaim the unbroken line from the original Olive Hill Times that Fultz did, nor from the original Grayson Journal, we are proud to do our part to pick up where those two papers left off and keep “the press in motion” for Carter County.
“May its music never cease.”
Editor’s Note: This is the 25th in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings and documents in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times