Marshall County Newspapers

Submitted by Phyllis Slater.

When one thinks of all that is involved in printing and publishing a newspaper, it is amazing that as far back as 1831 there was a newspaper in what is now Moundsville. Since then there have been at least ten different papers published, under more than that number of owners. But the Echo's 75 years of continuous publication, not having missed any scheduled publication, far outranks any of the others.

James Davis Shaw and family had been publishing the West Virginia Echo in Middlebourne, Tyler County in the 1880's. When word came of the prospects at Moundsville. The Fostoria Glass Company was moving in, the MM&M Co. had laid out in lots an area that would double the size of the existing town---and the Moundsville Sun had suspended publication, leaving a newspaper opportunity.

They moved here with a hand press similar in arrangement to the one Gutenberg did his 1st. printing on 500 years ago, and some cases of hand-set-type. On October 30, 1881 appeared the first issue of the Moundsville Echo, a weekly, and it carried an editorial of greeting, "Here we are, and we've come to stay."

The Echo began on the second floor of what is now (1966) the Jozabeth (Feris) Shop on Seveneth St. (still there). The late Col. J.D. Burley claimed he was the first person to receive his paper airmail, since it was tossed down to him next door when he lived in the old Mathews house now gone. This was a weekly paper as all had been before.

The first reguarly issued daily was the Daily Echo which began on St. Patrick's Day of 1896. Down through the years companies began publishing papers with the purpose of driving out the Echo, even to printing lies about it and selling their papers for 25 cents a year, and even letting out free ads. But, the Echo hung in there and often with only family funding, but they had the determination to stick it out. They continued to install improved printing methods as they came out and when the whole state was being set up to set Associated Press news simultaneously off one AP Teletypset wire, only the Echo and the Charleston papers were ready with the right type sizes to make it work. Soon after that an electronic picture engraver was installed which has transferred the newspaper business from the old hand-type days.

It is interesting to note that in 1831 Dennis Parriott brought out here a paper he prophetically called the West Virginian -- even though there was not to be a state of West Virginia for another twenty-two years. But it did not last long. In 1835 David McLain started the Marshall Sentinel. Next came the Marshall Beacon established by Archibald McLain. In 1893 he claimed to have mailed 145 copies outside of Elizabethtown, Va. (now Moundsville). It seems to have began about 1836 and sold out in 1840, to M.M. Blakemore. Then in 1850 R.C. Holiday purchased the Beacon and changed the size of the pages and changed the name to the Herald. He later sold it to Wallace and Company who changed the name to the Reporter. During the Civil War there were no papers published in Moundsville.

This is but part of the list of newspapers published since 1831 and most of them are now long gone and nearly forgotten. However, Marshall County couldn't get along without the Echo which is a typical small town newspaper giving all the "gossip" of the various sections of the county. Sam Shaw and his sister, Alexandra are still hard at work in the Echo office and Sam can be seen at all the local functions to get a first hand accounty for the next edition. I might add here that all the papers haven't been named, and many of these past issues are on film in the Moundsville library. Most of the past issues of the Echo are also on film there.

Note: Both Sam Shaw and his sister have passed away since this was written but the paper still is being published.

Source: Tri-County Researcher, 1982.

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