History of "The Hermes"

 by Evelyn Ford

C.M. Davis
C.M. Davis established the Hermes in 1887 and during the past 100 years it has had its ups and downs. It was first published during the period of fiery American journalism that included many of the early papers that were published during the settling of frontier counties. Especially bitter were papers in towns fighting for the county seat. The editor of these papers played an active and important role in the promoting of his town interests and some of the old editorials were biased and controversial, stirring the people up to a fighting pitch, but always contending their town had the most advantages, the best people and the most fertile soil. Mr. Davis, through the pages of his Hermes, pounded out his editorials, many of them addressed to rival editors in the now, ghost towns of Stevens County. He loudly proclaimed the beauties of Hugoton declaring it "El Dorado".... "The Land of Promise" and the "future great" of the booming west, on the front page of Volume 1, No. 1, August 4, 1887.
The Hermes wasn't much in those days -- an ordinary old time hand-set press, a jobber and some type. The plant was located in the front of a little frame building on main street and Editor Davis printed the paper there and later at his sheep ranch west of Hugoton. He sold to A.W. Lamkin in 1899 and moved to Texas.

A. W. Lamkin
The Hermes had survived the internal strife of the county seat war, epidemics, prairie fires and drought. Hard time had come to Stevens County with only a few people remaining and Hugoton had diminished to less than a dozen houses. The Hermes was a luxury the people could not afford. Subscriptions were traded for cowchips which were used for fuel, and food for the table. Mr. Lamkin struggled to keep the Hermes alive for six years but in 1906 sold to T.W. Hubbard. Mr. Lamkin wrote this farewell:

"The writer of this has been in charge of the Hugoton Hermes, since 1899. He took charge of the paper with as little knowledge of the newspaper work as the merest child. He would hardly have known a Press from a Steamboat at that time, but circumstance seemed to make it imperative that he take hold of the work and he did. For more than six years he has done the best he could with the paper. Through bright days and dark days, when skies were bright and when they were dark and lowering. Through good as well as evil report, he has stood his ground at his post. With how much credit to himself or the paper others must decide. The Editor's bed is not always one of roses. He is damned if he does and damned if he don't, but take it all in all, we have enjoyed the work and it is with a feeling of regret that we lay down the editorial pen and turn to other work. What the years may have in store for us, we do not know, but whatever it may be, we shall always have a warm feeling for the people of Stevens County. T.W. Hubbard has purchased the plant and will at once take charge. We ask you to assist him in his endeavors to make the Hermes the best paper in Southwest Kansas. I bid you farewell." - A. W. Lamkin

T. W. Hubbard
T. W. Hubbard purchased the Hermes in 1906. He was the Clerk of District Court at the time and between his duties at the courthouse and being editor of a weekly paper he soon found the load too demanding and in 1910 sold the Hermes to E.M. Anderson.
E. M. Anderson
Mr. Anderson owned land in southeastern Stevens County and the post office, Ematon, was named after him. He did not stay long as editor, selling in 1912 to F.A. McCoy. Mr. Anderson moved to Hoisington to manage a rooming house.
F. A. McCoy
Mr. McCoy edited the Hermes for two years then sold to E.B. McConnell. In 1914, after selling the paper, Mr. McCoy opened a law office in Hugoton in partnership with A.C. Morehead and practiced law for many years. He printed this farewell on March 27, 1914:

"With this issue we sever our connection with the Hermes. We have been at the Helm for about 2 years and have received a liberal amount of praise and a small portion of blame. In some respects we are sorry to give up the work but we are glad to give up the arduous task of trying to finance a country weekly and trying to produce a paper that will please all of the people all of the time. The path of the editor of a paper such as the Hermes is not strewn with roses and we trust that our successor may receive better support from the people of Stevens County, than we did. Mr. McConnell, who succeeds us has been editor of the Plains Journal for several years and has produced a well edited and newsy paper."

E. B. McConnell
E. B. McConnell came to Hugoton from Plains, Kansas. He moved his family to Hugoton and began editing the Hermes in April of 1914. The subscription price was still one dollar a year. After two years he raised the price to one dollar and fifty cents a year, seventy-five cents for six months and forty cents for three months -- "due to the cost of paper and gasoline." He wrote: "Just after we finished running off the paper last week a cheerful party remarked, 'Well, the paper is out. You can take it easy for a few days, can't you?' 'Yup!' Nothing to do at all! Just ab-sooo-lutely nothing! Once the paper is printed all any editor has to do is sit around watching the little bills come due, and gently shake his money tree, hoping enough little green dollar bills fall off to pay those, them or these bills. Yes sir! On, for the life of an editor!" Mr. McConnell wrote in his paper on February 11, 1916:

"Out in the rear of the print shop of the Hugoton Hermes reposes the massive cylinder of an old Armstrong handpress used in printing some of the earliest papers in Stevens County. It is told that when this press was hauled over-land the sixty miles plus from Lakin and the team had strained all day through the deep sand with the heavy load, the drive noticed a plug in one end of the cylinder and he idly pulled it out, letting out a thin stream of fine foundry sand. No record was made of what the teamster said when he found he had been hauling aid, through sand, when plenty of sand could be found at home."

Mr. McConnell also made this comment:

"Mr. Man, after you got out of your easy chair, and kicked the cat, exclaiming at the same time that 'There's nothing in the measly paper these days,' did you ever stop to think what the absence of news might mean? "
"Now strictly speaking news, is something outside of the ordinary course of events; its absence signifies that everything is running in a smooth, well-ordered course. 'No News' indicates that lightning ha not killed your stock; that storms have not devastated your fields; that the banker has not absconded with your funds; that your automobile has remained right side up in the middle of the road; that fire has not destroyed your property; that the hand of the death angel has not touched your home or the home of your neighbor; that 'God's in His Heaven and all is well.'"
"So the absence of news might be taken, not as a sign that the editor is asleep on the job, but as an indication that the wheels of progress are well oiled and moving smoothly onward and that peace and quiet are the ruling elements in the community's affairs. So, Mr. Man, do you have any news for me to publish?"

The frame building, known as the Quality Grocery, was built in the fall and winter of 1912 and 1913. The lot at that time was owned by E.R. Kimzey and he had a new building erected. It had a full-size basement which was dug by the Phillips brothers (Everett and Earnest), and Charles Coulter. The dirt was removed entirely by hand and horse power. It was spread on Main Street to raise the level of the street. The ground floor of this building has housed many businesses since it was built.
When the City of Hugoton was organized this same lot was sold to Frank R. and W.H. Rogers. A building was erected on it at that time and Charles M. Davis who founded the Hugoton Hermes in 1887 edited it in this building until he went to Texas in 1899.
Through a succession of editors and owners, A.W. Lamkin. T.W. Hubbard, F.A. McCoy and E.M. Anderson, the Hermes was published in this building. Even after the new building was built the Hermes was printed in the basement for several years under the ownership of the McConnells. When the Hermes was sold in 1918 to Donald Joslin and Jesse Reeves it was moved to another building across the street.
PICTURE: Mr. and Mrs. E.B. McConnell stand behind the hitch rail in front of the Rogers building, location of the Hugoton Hermes. This building was used as the Hermes office from 1887 until 1913 when a new building was built. They then published the Hermes in the basement of the new building until they sold it in 1918. The McCoconnells moved to Hasekll, Ok., and published the Haskell News for a while then moved to Humeston, Ia., where they resided for many years.
Donald Joslin and Jesse Reeves
The Hermes building has been purchased by E.W. Joslin and the printing business by Donald Joslin and Jesse Reeves. They will take possession February 22.
In August, 1918 the new editors offered a life subscription for $18 with a money back guarantee! Speed limit on Hugoton street was ten miles on hour!
In September 1918 Jesse Reeves was called to service under the draft law and W.B. Crawford bought his interest in the Hermes. September 20, 1918 the editors of the Hermes were Donald Joslin and W.B. Crawford.
In March 1919 the Hermes was owned by the Cimarron Valley Publishing Company with Donald Joslin as editor. In August he bought the Satanta Chief and the Moscow News. In September Jesse Reeves again became editor with Lemuel Richardson assisting and Donald Joslin returned to Kansas University to continue his studies.
Jesse Reeves left in November 1919 and Lemuel Richards became Editor.
A. E. Kramer
Donald Joslin was killed in a farm accident in July 1920 and Lemuel Richardson kept the Hermes going until December when A.E. Kramer took the position of editor. Mr. Kramer was a classmate of Donald Joslin and he helped close the Joslin estate.
The Hermes was sold to W.F. Hubbard in 1921 and he published the first issue a editor March 4, 1921.
William F. Hubbard
William F. Hubbard, owner and publisher of the Hugoton Hermes from 1921 to 1945, began his newspaper career as an apprentice in the office of the Miller, South Dakota, Gazette in 1897.
He married Charta Jane Roberts, of St. Lawrence, S.D., and she quickly became an important part of the newspaper's operations as well as being a capable homemaker.
The Hubbards sold the Dixon Herald in 1905 and moved to Whiting, Ia., where they owned a newspaper for a while and then sold it. From there they went to Pender, Ne., to join his brother, Charles, in the publication of the Pender Republic. In April of 1907, the Hubbards sold the Republic and left to Liberal. While coming through Omaha, Ne., Charles stopped long enough to buy a complete newspaper plant to be shipped to Liberal, a town they had never seen.
The Hubbards, Charles and William, began the operation of the Liberal Independent in 1907. Jointly with the operation of the paper, they homesteaded land five miles west of Liberal. The brothers sold the Independent after operating it for about a year. They continued with their homesteading but the land was not paying off and William traded his land for a general store in Optima, Ok., and moved there.
After selling the Independent he continued to work in Liberal at $2 per day. At Optima, he worked for the Optima Optimist.
The return to Kansas was made in the spring of 1919 when the family moved to Moscow, and when the opportunity came in the spring of 1921 to buy the Hermes, the Hubbards took advantage of it.
The Hermes at the time was located in the north half of the south building now occupied by the Crane Supply Company. The Hermes was owned by the Donald Joslin estate and was operated by A.E. Kramer and Lemuel Richardson.
Lemuel Richardson remained with the Hermes for several months to get the Hubbards acquainted with the community. R.M. and W.B. Crawford offered helping hands and with their years of background in the county they proved valuable friends in every way to the Hubbards.
Mr. Hubbard bought a linotype machine although he had never set a line of type on one. Lemuel Richardson had done a little of it, so they combined forces and set to work.
The struggle to master the machine was not without its pitfalls, but through the years that followed, Richardson got his experience, Mr. Hubbard, Mrs. Hubbard, Wendell, Byron, Helen, Damon, grandchildren and many young men and some women got their basic linotype work on the machine. It proved a big asset to the Hermes, the town and the community.
Business grew. The plant grew and it became necessary to relocate. In 1926, a move was made to the building on Sixth Street. It appeared to be ample room forever, but it was necessary to move to the present location in 1957.
Mr. Hubbard's activities in Stevens County were not confined to the newspaper. He served as treasurer of the Hugoton Grade School and was Justice of the Peace for Center Township for twelve years. In 1940 he was elected state representative of the 124th District and served the county a total of 14 years. In 1955 he became sergeant-at-arms of the House and held that position through four regular sessions, three budget sessions and one special session.
The demands of public life cut more and more into the time allowed for his newspaper duties and in 1945, ownership and operation of the Hermes was passed to his son, Wendell.
Mr. William (Bill) Hubbard with his family edited the Hermes for a period of 24 years and although the ownership had changed the Hermes was still very much a family project with Wendell at the helm.
PICTURE: Location of the Hermes in 1921. A photo taken by an itinerant photgrapher in early summer. Left to right: Mr. Hubbard holding a copy of The Hermes, Mrs. Hubbard and daughter Rilla May, and Lemuel Richardson, printer. To the right was the Prine and Smith furniture store. P.B. Smith and Carter E. Prine were partners. They also operated a mortuary business. Later the store was known as the Hugoton Furniture, operated by Mrs. C.A. (Myrta) Thompson.

Wendell Hubbard
On January 1, 1945, Wendell and Marguerite Hubbard assumed ownership of The Hugoton Hermes. They edited the paper as a team for a period of 18 years. Wendell's parents had owned the paper from 1921 to December of 1944, a total of 42 years of continuous publishing of the Hermes by the Hubbard family.
Wm. Wendell Hubbard of Hugoton and Marguerite R. Wagner of Hastings, Ne., became acquainted at Palmer Lake., Co., as students at the summer session of the Extension Service of McPherson College, McPherson in 1929.
They were married August 30, 1929 following the summer session and moved to Hugoton to assist Wendell's father at the Hermes.
Soon after her arrival in Hugoton marguerite was employed as a rural school teacher at Faye for two terms and at Echo School. She accepted a teaching position in Liberal and taught there six years. She was an active substitute teacher in Hugoton for many years.
Wendell worked with his father operating the Hermes until 1945 when he and Marguerite assumed ownership. They sold the paper in 1963, having spent a total of 18 years behind the pages of the Hugoton Hermes.
LaFaun, their oldest child, did proofing and some bookwork and during high school and college periods she also did some writing and special research for the paper. After her marriage she taught in Wichita.
Dennis, their son, and his wife Eleanor, joined the Peace Corps and taught English in the Philippines for several years, then returned to Boulder, Co., for graduate study where Dennis chose to teach German in the Boulder School System.
The family publishing operation of the Hubbard's brought the Hermes through 42 years or progress for Stevens County.
East Sixth Street.

PICTURE: The Hugoton Hermes was published in 1926 in this building located at 105 East Sixth Street.
Gary D. Hale
September 1963 Wendell Hubbard sold the Hermes to the Hale Publishing Company. The first issue under the new ownership was published October 3, 1963. Gary D. Hale, who for four years was associate editor of the St. Francis Herald and Bird City Times in Cheyenne County, assumed duties as editor of the Hermes October 1, 1963.
Mr. Hale and his wife, Kay, represent he fourth generation of the Hale family in Kansas journalism. His great-grandfather, J.F. Hale, and his granddaughter, Glenn B. Hale, started in the newspaper business in North Central Kansas in 1900.
Gary received his newspaper training in the office of the Citizen Patriot in Atwood where his father and uncle were the publishers. The Hale Publishing Company consisted of John F., editor of the Clyde Republican in Clyde; Fred and Arden, editors of the Citizen-Patriot in Atwood; Richard L. editor of the St. Francis Herald and Bird City Times; and Gary, editor of the Hugoton Hermes.
In 1968 Gary Hale sold the Hermes to Don Haxton and returned to Lawrence to enter the University of Kansas to study for a degree in law.
Don Haxton
Don Haxton assumed the duties of editor of the Hermes in July of 1968. Mr. Haxton has been in the printing and publishing business over 21 years. He was publisher of the Glasco Sun for six years before moving to Hugoton. A native Kansan, Don began his printing career at Hanover which is his home town. He also worked for the Centralia Journal and Oakley Graphic before he entered the service in 1951. After serving two years in the army, one year in Korea with the 74th Engineer Combat Battalion, he worked for a newspaper in North Platte, Ne., and five years in a commercial shop in that city. He then went to Colorado where he worked one year for the Eaton Herald before buying the Glasco paper and moving back to Kansas.
Mr. Haxton and his wife Buela with their three children, Rodney, David and Jonie, lived in Hugoton only a short time before selling the Hermes to the Miller Publishing Company of Topeka with Larry Miller as publisher.
Larry Miller
The Miller Publishing Company from Topeka, Ks., purchased the Hugoton Hermes during May of 1968. Larry E. Miller was named editor. Miller moved to Hugoton from West Point, Ne., where he had edited the West Point Republican. Before that he had served as editor at the LaCrosse News in LaCrosse. Miller's wife, Sandra, joined him in Hugoton after completing a teaching contract in Wet Point.
Miller converted the Hermes from a letterpress publication to offset. The newspaper was made camera-ready at the Hugoton office and taken to Ulysses for printing on and then new web offset press at the Ulysses News. At that time most Kansas newspapers were being printed by the offset process.
During March of 1971 Ardith Stones became editor and Joan Randle was named business manager. Mindy Milburn began serving as editor during July of 1973.
Donald S. Goering
Don Goering was named publisher by Miller Publishing Co., Inc. in the May 8, 1975 edition of Hugoton Hermes.
Goering Publishing, Inc., a Kansas corporation owned by Donald S. Goering and Sherrill A. Goering, purchased the outstanding stock in the Hugoton Hermes from Miller Publishing Co., Inc., on September 1, 1979.
Four editors have served the Hermes since May 8, 1975. Mindy Milburn was named editor by Miller Publishing during July of 1973. She continued to serve in that capacity until May of 1976. In the May 27, 1976 issue of the Hermes Susan Pickler was named editor. Deloris Bryant assumed the duties of editor on September 23, 1976. Sherry Goering has served as editor of the Hermes since May 31, 1979. Don, his wife Sherry, and their daughters Katrina and Crystal moved to Hugoton from Colby where Don had been employed with the Colby Prairie Drummer (a twice weekly newspaper). Don had served as advertising manager of the Drummer for five years. Sherry was employed as secretary of the USDA Soil Conservation Service in Colby but had also worked with the production at the newspaper. Moving to Colby from Ft. Carson, Co., Goering had served in the Army for two years. He had been in the Kansas National Guard's 69th Infantry Brigade. The 69th was put on active duty during 1967 by then president Lyndon Baines Johnson. While at Ft. Carson Sherry was employed as a type setter and paste-up technician at the Fountain, Co., weekly newspaper.
Before moving to Ft. Carson the Goerings managed the Emporia Times in Emporia. They were in Emporia for about one year. Both Don and Sherry were actively involved in the production of the weekly. The couple lived in Denison, Ia. for three years before moving to Emporia. At Denison, Don was an advertising account executive for the Denison Bulletin and Review. Sherry was a retail sales person for the Montgomery Ward store in Denison. During his career Goering has led in the change of technology from hot lead to offset printing at three newspapers where he was employed. Both served on the Daily Collegian staff at KSU. Sherry also contributed to the Royal Purple, the KSU yearbook. Don is from Pretty Prairie and Sherry is from Lebo. The couple was married in 1965.

Faith Publishing LLC

Faith Publishing LLC - RoGlenda Coulter, Kay McDaniels and Ruthie Winget purchased the Hugoton Hermes from Don and Sherry Goering May 16, 2007. RoGlenda and Kay had both worked for the Hermes for about 13 years and Ruthie 3 years.

RoGlenda and Ruthie are native Hugotonites and Kay moved to Hugoton in September of 1988.

 The Hermes is owned and operated by

522 South Main - Hugoton, Ks. 67951
Ph: 620-544-4321 - FAX 620-544-7321
email: hermes10@pld.com and hermesro@pld.com


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