The Monroe County Appeal sold Friday, according to Editor and Publisher David Eales.
Eales, who has served as the editor for six years, will continue at the helm of the newspaper as publisher and editor.
After approximately 20 years of ownership publisher Richard (Dick) Fredrick sold the newspaper to Lewis County Press, LLC effective June 1.
Lewis County Press, LLC was founded in 2010 by two Chicago entrepreneurs, Philip Calian and Robert Moulton-Ely.
The Monroe County Appeal will now join its sister papers – Lewis County Press News Journal at Canton, Macon County Home Press (South Edition, Bevier) and the Macon County Home Press (North Edition, LaPlata) under the Lewis County, LLC ownership umbrella.
The Monroe County Appeal and its predecessors, have served the county since 1837 when the Missouri Sentinel was printed by pioneer publisher Lucien J. Eastin in a log cabin. In 1843, James M. Bean and John Adams purchased the paper and renamed it the Paris Mercury.
In 1939, owner Paul Alexander made the news by publishing the Mercury twice a week, one edition being a tabloid. On Jan. 20, 1942, Alexander ceased publication of the Mercury and sold the 105-year old newspaper-the oldest paper west of the Mississippi under a continuous name-to the Monroe County Appeal.
Madison’s first paper, the Watchman, started publication in 1885 but closed two years later. The Madison Times started in 1888 when J.E. Krebs published The Advance. Guy O. Leftwich changed the name in 1894 to Madison Times.
Clyde G. Eubank, Madison postmaster, published the Time with his brother, Waller, from 1917 to 1937. Waller continued editing the paper until 1947.
Appeal publisher Jack Blanton purchased half interest in Madison Times in 1943 and acquired the William M. Nolen’s other half interest in 1954. The Times was printed for 84 years until it ceased publication in 1972, and merged into The Appeal.M.C. Brown and H.A. Buchannan first published the Appeal in Monroe City on Oct. 8, 1865. The paper was destroyed in a fire on May 6, 1872. J.B. Reavis purchased Buchanan’s interest and he and Brown re-established the paper three weeks later. Benjamin Franklin “Pappy” Blanton and E.M. Anderson purchased the Monroe Appeal in August 1873, changed its name to Monroe County Appeal and moved the business to a second-floor rented office on Main Street. Blanton wrote years later he had to rent the second floor space because he couldn’t afford a higher-priced ground floor workplace. Anderson sold his interest to Tyree T. Rodes, who was bought out by Blanton in 1881. Pappy died in 1923, and his son, Jack “The Horse Editor” or “Country Editor” took over. In 1947, Jack and the Appeal received national recognition which contines today when the Saturday Evening Post magazine featured a two-page painting by Norman Rockwell of the Appeal and its staff. The series of four paintings hang in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Jack died in 1955.
His son, Edgar, served as the paper’s publisher with R.I. “Si” Colborn as the editor. Colborn joined the Appeal as a youngster and purchased one-third of the interest in the paper in 1941 and managed it until 1979. Blair Hansen, who worked at The Appeal for three years, succeeded Colborn but served only four months.
Carter V. Blanton, Edgar’s son, took control of the Appeal in 1979. Denny Hollingsworth was editor until 1985 and then Chuck Herron followed. A series of other editors followed until Carter (June) Blanton sold the Appeal to Fredrick in 1992, ending four generations and 119 years of ownership by the Blanton family. Fredrick, a lawyer originally from St. Louis, moved to Paris from Jefferson City in 1986. David Eales is the current editor.
The Appeal is located at 230 N. Main St., the former Paris Savings Bank building.
The county’s other legal newspaper, The Lake Gazette, was sold nearly a year ago by founder Linda Geist to Lakeway Publishers of Morristown, Tenn.
Information for this story came, in part, from Monroe County Then and Now, 1836-2006, written by Nancy Stone.
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