The Stamford American: A New Beginning

 

Since the early days of development, Stamford has had a long and complicated history. The history of its newspapers is no exception.

Only a few months after the first lots were sold in Stamford, Mr. Rhea and Mr. Lacy started Stamford’s first newspaper, the Stamford News. The first issue was published on approximately March 2, 1900. According to the Western Enterprise, now the Western Observer, on August 24, 1933, Rhea and Lacy were in such a rush to start the paper that the first issue was “printed in a building while it was under construction. Even a stove was not available.” Assisting the set up of the paper was Mr. McKie Myers, a printer from the Anson paper.

The News was then sold to Reverend Sam Gay, a Methodist minister. In the week of May 10, 1907, the News was sold to A.N. Evans. Evans was owner of the paper for almost a year. For a few months of this time, he partnered with J.M. Webb, who was the publisher. Evans then created the Stamford Publishing Company, of which he was the sole owner.

In the first few months of 1908, Evans sold the paper to J.S. Daley, who in turn rented it to C.E. Gilbert, and later Jim Fore.

During this time, the first major competition to the News had sprouted up. In October of 1905, Mr. Sayles started the Stamford Tribune. In 1906, just shortly after he had started the paper, he sold to J.A. Greer, who sold it to Judge Greenwood in 1910. That same year, Greenwood and Daley of the Stamford News chose to consolidate the two competitors, creating the Stamford News-Tribune. In 1913, Greenwood sold his interest in the paper to G.L. Inglish, who changed the name of the paper to the Stamford Leader.

Much as the Tribune had done, other competitors started their own newspapers. The Stamford American Daily (no relation to the current Stamford American) was started in 1921 by Wilson Kilgore. The Western Enterprise said that Kilgore came to Stamford “carrying with him a small plant on a freight car.” Kilgore soon had his fill of the newspaper business and the last issue of his Stamford American was published in 1922. The Dearing brothers also made an attempt in the newspaper industry with their Stamford Observer, but it also soon closed.

On April 25, 1924, the Stamford American was opened by R.C. Thomas. Thomas was the publisher of the American until September of 1925, when he sold it to Cleburne Huston. Huston, a praised journalist with a degree from the University of Texas, published the Stamford American for twenty years, helping it become the dominant paper in Stamford. However, he was not a printer and he ran short of help when World War II made printers scarce. He decided to sell in 1945, to a partnership of W.S. Foster, Fred Shaver, and Roy M. Craig. Shaver remained a partner for only a month.

Eventually, Foster and Craig bought out the Stamford Leader. For a time they printed both, with the Leader being printed at the first of the week, and the American at the end of the week. This however was not economical and finally they consolidated under the name Stamford American. They printed for the first time together on December 26, 1950. Craig bought out Foster in October of 1950, and became the sole owner of the Stamford American.

The Stamford American under Roy and Dorothy Craig was printed on the south side of the square. According to an article in the November 13, 1975 issue of the American, it was “one of the most modern weekly newspaper plants in the country.” Their newspaper plant, in addition to printing the American, was responsible for printing the papers for Anson, Clyde, Baird, Haskell, Rochester, Albany, Hamlin, Aspermont, Knox City, and Throckmorton, and the paper for Abilene Christian College. The Stamford American also printed the programs for the Texas Cowboy Reunion from 1949 to 1985. While the Craigs owned the Stamford American, the paper had a circulation of about 2700. In the forty years they owned it, they never missed an issue.

Craig helped re-organize the West Texas Press Association in 1946, of which he was president in 1968. In 1978, he received the Golden 50 Award from the Texas Press Association, which recognizes journalists who have shown outstanding service and contributions to journalism for fifty years or more. When Roy Craig passed away a few months later, in February of 1979, his wife Dorothy took over publishing the paper until she sold it in 1985 to John Mooney.

John Mooney and his wife Rita were the first to bring computers into the process of printing the Stamford American, about three years after they bought the paper. They eventually sold the printing part of the business to Jerry Wallace, but retained the newspaper until May 1, 1993, when they sold the American to Lewis and Becky Alambar.

The Alambars published the Stamford American for a number of years, and their last issue of the Stamford American was printed June 5, 2008.

The New Stamford American is now run by Callie Metler, publisher. Callie is a hometown girl who planted roots in Stamford in 1983 at the tender age of 3. Most people around here remember her as the "Quail Girl" when she was associated with a program called the Bobwhite Brigade. She graduated from Stamford High in 1999 and earned a degree in Communication from Angelo State University in 2002. She has two children, Logan (9) and Benjamin (7).

Brenna Troncoso serves as the Editor of the newspaper and Casey Locke-Sells is the Ad Manager.

 

Gayle Lovvorn, office manager, is a retired teacher having taught 28 years, the last 18 in Stamford at Reynolds Elementary. She and her husband Bob, a farmer, are Callie's parents.

The new staff has based their vision for the paper on three simple words: Character, Tradition, and Quality. These are three qualities that we want you to come to expect from us. They are qualities we intend to deliver in a paper that will represent Stamford and promote the town to readers in other places. So with this, our inaugural issue, we welcome you to your newspaper. From the Staff of the American: Hello, Stamford!