The Benson Signal
Founded in 1880 as a hub for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Benson, Arizona, is located in Cochise County in the San Pedro Valley in Southeastern Arizona. The Benson Breeze first appeared in 1899 as a weekly independent newspaper published by M.K. Sipe. A year later, Allen T. Bird, publisher of The Oasis [LCCN: sn 85032933] in Nogales, Arizona, took over, making it a Republican paper under the name the Benson Press. The paper changed hands several times over the next fifteen years – from Bird to W.H. Schardin to W.P. White and back to Sipe – before becoming the independent Benson Signal in 1915. Perry A. Burke was editor and publisher, and until early 1916, the masthead of the Signal reminded readers that it was “Formerly the Benson Press.”
In March 1915, the Tombstone Epitaph [LCCN: sn95060905] commented that “the Signal has been greatly improved of late by Editor Burke, and it can be truthfully said that the Signal is a credit to Benson and vicinity.” Under Burke, the paper largely covered local news of Benson and surrounding communities such as St. David, mining and agricultural news such as livestock prices, and news from around Arizona supplied by the Western Newspaper Union News Service. The paper also carried news from around the world, covering the developing war in Europe, and occasionally included a literary column with serialized fiction and poems.
By early 1916, Burke had left the paper, and his successor C.L. Rucker, was described by the Bisbee Daily Review [LCCN: sn84024827] as being “a new man to the newspaper business.” Rucker introduced a redesigned masthead and a new slogan: “An Independent Weekly Devoted to the Interests of Benson and the San Pedro Valley.” The Signal saw the installation of a new press and an expansion to eight pages with more advertisements. In January 1920, J. LeRoy Lancaster purchased the Signal, and in his first issue said he could be helpful in promoting the agricultural interests of Benson, but only published the paper for a year before it was purchased by E.L. Pratt, a former editor of a Nebraska newspaper, who changed the paper’s name to the Benson News [LCCN: sn94050515].
The newspaper then had a string of various editors and publishers, including the return of LeRoy Lancaster as editor, with his wife Buena as publisher. By 1929, they changed the paper’s name to the San Pedro Valley News. The Arizona Republic [LCCN: sn 83045137] reported in 1954, when the Benson paper was sold again, that it had twenty-two owners since it had been founded and had “once changed hands for a saddle, a sixshooter, diamond stickpin, and $60 cash.”
In 1958, the paper merged with the Valley Sun [LCCN: sn 84021941] as the San Pedro Valley News and Valley Sun [LCCN: sn 94050517], then the San Pedro Valley News-Sun [LCCN sn 94050518], the News-Sun [LCCN: sn 94050519], and finally the San Pedro Valley News-Sun [LCCN: sn 94050520] as it is published today.
Essay provided by University of Arizona Libraries.Dates of Publication1915-1921Frequency of PublicationWeeklyPlace of PublicationBenson, 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.