Established in 1849
Since the early days of its history, Anderson County has had newspapers to read.
The Palestine Advocate was established here in 1849. It was followed by the Palestine Journal, 1870; Palestine News, 1878; Palestine Texas News, 1882; and East Texas News, 1884.
There was a Palestine Press, established in 1895, and the Visitor began publication in 1898. The Anderson County
Herald set up shop in 1899, followed by the Palestine Daily Herald in 1903. The Palestine Plaindealer also began publication in 1903.
Another Palestine Press was established in 1925. This paper was consolidated into the present Palestine Herald-Press. All the other papers, and others long forgotten, have disappeared into the mists of history.
Events of 100 Years Ago Recorded
A copy of the Palestine Advocate dated Thursday, May 15, 1890, contains a "Palestine 24 years ago" column which records events here more than 100 years ago.
The first issue of the paper after the Civil War was dated Aug. 8, 1866, following a three-year suspension during and after '.he close of the war. It resumed under the name "Trinity Advocate, "with J. W. Ewing and A. E. McClure as editors and publishers.
Subscriptions were $3 a year in advance. The cotton crop that year was bountiful and brought 15 and 16 cents a pound in gold.
Palestine's population (circa 1866) was between 500 and 600. In that portion of the town west of the ravine and known as New Town there were six residences and a frame college building "on the spot now occupied by our elegant and spacious brick public school building."
Business of the town was all done on the four sides of the public square.
The local items in that issue included the departure of Major T. W. Elson and family for Navasota. Major Elson was one of Palestine's oldest and most successful merchants and a brother of "Aunt Bee Small."
Col. W. H. Tucker arrived from an extended trip to Mexico. Ex-County Judge A. G. Cantley was in town in the interest of two business houses in New Orleans.
The editor exuded a "puff" for Eli Bailey (corner store, south side public square) for a can of fine smoking tobacco for the editor's "old cob pipe."
Law firms advertising were Thos. J. and Jno. J. Word, Thos. J. Johnson and Robert McClure, Stuart & McClure (J. G. Stuart and A. E. McClure), Gideon J. Gooch, E. H. Herrell and Edward Smith.
Howard, Swanson & Langford advertised that they were carrying on the business at "Steamboat Corner" on the public square later continued at the same location by H. C. Swanson. Michael Ash occupied the next door "Commercial Row" business with a large stock of dry goods and wares. Philip Myer as "Opp's Old Store" had a miscellaneous stock at the southwest corner of the square; Link, Hunter & Camp were running a drug store on the west side. The post office was near the middle of th south side of the square. The Rev. Win. V. Tanstall was postmaster.
There were two or three saloons (drinks, 25 cents), but they didn't advertise and their names were forgotten.
County officials were: B. F. Broyles, judge; George Campbell, district clerk; James Conaway, county clerk. C. F. Wright, county treasurer; J. D. C.. Hunter, justice of the peace, and Bob Petty, constable. They were all ousted a few months later by federal officials as "impediments to Reconstruction."
The carpetbaggers who replaced them in turn were kicked out in due course by a resurgent and aroused citizenry.
The 24-years-ago- column of May 15, 1890, was signed "Evergreen." In those days columnists ran to colorful nom de plumes (pen names).
The old paper belongs to Dana Pennybacker.
Palestine City Hall
Palestine City Hall
This was a northside view of the Palestine City Hall and a residence just after the turn of the century. Photo was provided by C. D. Pennybacker of Palestine.
1903 Article Described City
(EDITOR'S NOTE: A detailed description of Palestine, published in 1903, is of interest today. The article, whose writer is unknown, follows.)
Palestine -- the county seat Anderson County -- might be properly termed the child of the International and Great Northern Railroad.
Palestine is a progressive city, with a population of 12,000 persons.
The first thing from a business point of view which attracts the visitor's attention is the stupendous work and machine shops of the International and Great Northern Railway Company. It was our privilege to accompany F. Hufsmith, the superintendent, through the foundries, machine and work shops, where everything from a bolt to a powerful engine, with a capacity to move 800 or 900 tons, is made from start to finish.
They use the best materials for everything. For instance, their cherry lumber costs $110 per 1,000 feet, and their Honduras mahogany cost $190 per 1,000 feet. At Palestine the company employs about 1,200 men per month, with an average monthly payroll of about $70,000.
About six miles west of Palestine are located the salt works of the Palestine Salt and Coal Company. Less than a year ago, where their works are now located, this was a virgin forest with timber of little value. Today an artificial lake with an average depth of about six feet covers many acres.
There is a superb salt manufacturing plant, tenant houses and other valuable improvements. M. R. Wood is manager of the company.
Palestine salt is being sold, in 1903, in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, the Indian Territory, New Mexico and Colorado.
The Dilley Foundry and Machine Shop was established about thirty years ago, or during the early 1870's (counting the time from 1903). George M. Dilley and Son are the proprietors. They make a specialty of manufacturing railway castings in brass and iron, castings for sawmills and tramways. They employ from thirty to fifty men according to the demands for their goods.
The Palestine Packing House plant...is well equipped with good machinery and has a capacity to handle daily about fifty hogs, ten head of sheep and ten beeves. H. W. Deathe is the courteous superintendent. They run an ice plant in connection with this plant. They have a perfect system of fire protection. While the plant, you may say, is only in its infancy, it bids fair to become an important industry for Palestine and East Texas. P. A. Kolstad is the president. They are making and shipping an excellent quality of lard, sausage and bacon. Their products are popular on the market.
The Morris Gin factory is another flourishing home industry where, according to K. J. L. Morris, everything connected with a cotton gin is made and repaired.
William H. Nance is the proprietor of the Palestine Marble Works.
A leading firm, Dick and O'Conner, furnished the following statements: Palestine - four banks; thirty factories, direct pressure waterworks; electric lights; sanitary sewerage; parks; beautiful three-story city hall; magnificent Masonic Hall and Opera House; public library; fine courthouse; a $25,000 YMCA building; paved streets; sixteen churches; graded public schools; eleven buildings; 50,000 bales of cotton received and compressed annually; fruit and truck growing center; lands in the county were worth from $1 to $30 per acre; pure freestone; water; cheap lumber and wood -- a hearty welcome extended to worth people and worthy enterprises.
The churches of the various denominations are well organized. The railroad YMCA building is an elegant structure. It is said to be one of the best equipped west of the Mississippi River.