Mesa Free Press
The Mesa Free Press began as a weekly newspaper in 1892, published by W. D. Morton in Mesa, Arizona, also referred to by its prosperous name, “Gem City.” In describing the first issue of the Free Press, The Arizona Sentinel [LCCN: sn84021912] commented that Morton, previously an editor at the Sentinel, presented a “racy, spicy, ably edited journal, devoted to the best interests of Mesa City.” The paper’s spiciness could be attributed to its critiques and satire. One writer responded satirically to how it costs money to run a newspaper: “It takes wind to run a newspaper. It takes a scintillating, acrobatic imagination, a half dozen white ties and a railroad pass to run a newspaper.” By 1894, Albert P. Shewman joined Morton as publisher. Morton and Shewman were also attorneys, and the newspaper included an advertisement for their law practice on the front page. The paper also contained railroad timetables, mining news, and a regular column of local news.
The Border Vidette [LCCN: sn 96060796] reported of Shewman, “As territorial superintendent of public schools, regent of the university, counselor in a law office, manager of a stock ranch, owner of two mines and editor of a newspaper, Mr. Shewman can truly be said to be a busy man.” When Morton left the Free Press in May 1899, Shewman became the sole publisher until he passed away from pneumonia in January 1901 at age thirty-two. Frank T. Pomeroy and Harry D. Haines then took over the Free Press, declaring they would continue publishing as a weekly, with the slogan “Mesa and its interests,” and in addition would publish the Evening Free Press [LCCN: sn95060637] daily except on Sunday. The new publishers wrote of the paper that it would include “news of both a local and general nature” and “will be designed to supply current matters of interest, in all lines of life and to all classes of people.” The Free Press discussed produce, livestock, and feuds, as well as opinions about the railroad. Articles on local businesses, copper updates, and court hearings appeared in the paper, along with information about Republican meetings and rallies and assertions about women gaining the right to vote.
In 1909, the Arizona Republican [LCCN: sn 84020558] reported the Free Press’s technological improvement: “The office of the Mesa Free Press is being wired for electricity, as the new Cranston press, which has just been installed, will be run by electric power.” A Cranston press is about the size of a baby grand piano, but a little taller, and weighs about 9,000 pounds. A few years later, in July 1913, father and son John O. Dunbar and Mark A. Dunbar, experienced newspapermen from the Arizona Democrat [LCCN: sn 96064393], took over the Free Press, but only remained until December 1913, when Joseph L. Dunn became editor, and the Mesa Free Press was renamed the Mesa Daily Tribune [LCCN: sn 85032932].
Essay provided by University of Arizona Libraries.Dates of Publication1892-1901Frequency of PublicationWeeklyPlace of PublicationMesa, ArizonaLanguageEnglishPermissions and ReuseThe contents of the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program (ADNP) are available to the public by our partners for using in research, teaching, and private study. Please note that U.S. Copyright and intellectual property laws apply to the digital resources made available through this site.