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Contributed by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records: State Library of Arizona
The Williams News appeared on the periodical landscape in Arizona in July 1891. It was the recognized newspaper of the town of Williams and surrounding Coconino County J.F. Michael, editor and publisher, oversaw its publication in 1892-93, according to Estelle Lutrell's Newspapers and Periodicals of Arizona 1859-1911. Local and national stories were topics of the publication and local advertisements helped support the News's efforts. A.R. Kilgore, a well-known sheep man of the area, is listed as one of the founders of the Williams News and is thought to have influenced the content of the paper by incorporating more range and livestock news. The weekly publication continued to switch editorial hands throughout its lifespan, including a period of unknown guardianship during the years 1894-96.
George U. Young and Charles A. Neal presided over the Williams News in 1901. During this time, a fire devastated the town, which brought the people to seek support from the paper. On July 6, 1901, they ran the following commentary, "A gentleman remarked to the NEWS Editor Thursday, 'Will the NEWS suspend publication?' When answered most emphatically in the negative, he further remarked, 'Well, then, the town will build up again. I have never known a case where a town would rebuild after a disastrous fire like this if its newspapers suspended.' More wisdom than flattery in such remarks." The Williams News was steadfast in its loyalty to the residents, and with support from neighboring towns and establishments, both city and newspaper would survive.
The editor since 1906, Frank L. Moore purchased the News a year later for $3,000 and sold it (including equipment, building, and property) in 1913 for only $2,500. In his book, Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona, 1859-1912, William H. Lyon compares the low selling price to those of newspapers during the 1860s.
Most newspapers in the region operated with just a few workers, and alcoholism among them was common. Frank Evarts Wells, who was editor of the Williams News from 1913 until his son F. Evarts Wells, Jr. took control, experienced the difficulties of managing a paper quite early. In an anecdote from Those Old Yellow Dog Days: Frontier Journalism in Arizona 1859-1912, Lyon describes how drinking was rampant and working conditions not always satisfactory. The story asserts that, "A liquored-up worker at the Williams News confronted owner Frank Wells with a .45-caliber pistol and demanded his wages. Wells promptly handed over the cash, where-upon the employee tried to sell him the gun."
Water issues and civic improvement appeared as popular topics in the paper during F.E. Wells's administration; and although mostly written in English, Spanish sections were added to the News from April 1, 1927, and February 3, 1928, including: "Nuevas en Espanol," "Pagina en Espanol," "Glosario de la semana,", and "Seccion en Espanol.
Doug Wells, grandson to F.E. Wells, became the editor of the Williams News in 1978. The publication continued through 1989, at which time it was succeeded by the still published Williams-Grand Canyon-News [LCCN: sn95060761], with Doug Wells remaining as editor.
The Williams News Titles Available on AMP
The Williams News
Years of publication: 1891-1989, Years digitized: 1901-1922