Posted on 24. Mar, 2011 by Keri Pritchard-Willerton
When I arrived at the Messenger nearly a decade ago, I proposed a series on historical markers around the county. Assistant publisher Skip Nichols tactfully explained that we worked for a newspaper, not a historypaper.
Fast forward to the days of blogs and new media, and I’ve found a venue for sharing historical tidbits.
Also, we’re beginning to pull information together for our annual newcomers/visitors guide that’s published every summer and historical markers have been on my mind.
An entry for each state marker in the county can be found here: http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/shell-county.htm.
Started by William Forster in 1880, the “Messenger” was published in Paradise (10 miles southwest) and Alvord (11 miles northwest) before a permanent move to Decatur in 1885. Early editions included poems, love stories, and lists of strayed animals and mail at the dead letter office. N. W. and H. A. Halcomb became the owners in 1894. Two of their staff members, Marvin Smith and R. E. “Dick” Collins, bought the paper in 1907. A correspondent during the Spanish-American War, Collins worked on the staff for 40 years. Mergers with Decatur papers include the “Post” (1890), “News” (1935), and “News Review” (1940). (1981)