About The Madisonian (Virginia City, Mont.) 1873-1915
- Dates available on this site:
- Dec. 20, 1873-Feb. 19, 1915
- Dates published:
- Geographic coverage:
- Contributing institution:
- Thompson-Hickman Madison County Library, Virginia City, Montana
Based in Virginia City, the Madisonian is the oldest weekly newspaper in Montana, published continuously since 1873. In that time, it has become an important part of the community and Montana history. The Madisonian was first published in 1873 under the leadership of Thomas Deyarmon. When he left in May 1884, A. B. Kiser who had been working at the paper since the beginning became the new owner. This ownership didn’t last long since that Dec he sold to Thomas Baker, but Kiser returned in 1889. This time he retained ownership until his death in Jan 1894. William W. Cheely bought the paper from Kiser’s estate, and while Cheely made an impact on Montana journalism throughout his career, his time at the Madisonian ended in 1899 at which time Joseph Smith II became the owner. For over 10 years, the paper had stability, but it was sold again in 1910 to Horace D. Elling. In 1915, the Madisonian merged with The Times resulting in the Madisonian Times. In 1920 Elling sold the paper to Thomas E. Castle. By this point the paper had been in existence for 47 years, and he felt that it was important to honor its legacy by going back to the original name: The Madisonian. Thomas Castle was an important figure in the history of The Madisonian. After starting at the paper in 1899, he worked his way up to become owner and editor and then held those positions for over a decade. His daughter Alathea talked about growing up in the Madisonian office. She went to the University of Montana and majored in journalism. Given this background it’s not surprising that in the early 1930s, she and her husband, David (Dave) Andrews, returned to Montana and began working at the newspapers, which allowed Thomas to retire. However, since this was family business, there wasn’t the straightforward sale that demarked other ownership transitions. Alathea worked as editor and Dave as business manager starting in 1933, but Thomas remained the owner until 1938, when he transferred ownership (through sale or gift is unclear) to his three children: Alathea, Edgar and Helen. In 1939, the ownership was Alathea, Dave and Helen. While not having a part in producing the newspaper, Helen would retain part ownership until Alathea sold the newspaper in 1943. In 1942, Dave died. Combined with the difficulties of printing during the war, Alathea felt that she was no longer up to running the newspaper. In Nov 1943, Robert Jordan stepped up. He was the owner of the Madison County Forum, published in Sheridan. He felt strongly The Madisonian should continue, so he bought it. While he shut down the Forum and became publishing The Madisonian from his Sheridan printing office, The Madisonian was mailed from the Virginia City post office and retained the Virginia City publishing location on the front page. This was supposed to be a temporary measure because of the war, but The Madisonian would not return to Virginia City until Feb 1951. Robert Julian renovated the Madisonian offices and there was a massive celebration when the paper came home. Julian would sell out the following April to Warren Reichman and Donald Nordhagen. (Nordhagen would depart in Dec 1952.) At the celebration reopening the Virginia City office, Robert Julian said “Since taking over The Madisonian in November 1943, I have regarded it as a trust rather than a personal possession. Its long history of service and the faithful support of its subscribers and patrons have been a constant inspiration to me.” Sometimes a newspaper is more than a newspaper. The Madisonian has proved itself to be one such case.
- Copyright Information:
- This content is in the public domain.
- sn 86091484
- Catalog Record (MARC)