Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Crusading El Paso newspaper folds

January 12th, 1886

On this day in 1886, pugnacious editor Simeon Newman folded the El Paso Lone Star. Newman, born in Kentucky in 1846, went to New Mexico as a schoolteacher in 1866. In 1871 he became an apprentice newspaperman at the Las Vegas (New Mexico) Weekly Mail and bought the paper only six weeks later. Newman, as a twenty-five-year-old editor-in-chief, had to learn the trade by himself. He spent ten turbulent years in New Mexico fighting against the "Santa Fe Ring." In 1881 several El Paso businessmen paid him $1,000 to move his paper and rename it the Lone Star. El Paso already had two other newspapers, the Times and the Herald, but Newman, a staunch Methodist and Democrat, was a reformer, strong-willed, irascible, acerbic, and libel-prone, and he chose "Hew to the line, let the chips fall where they may" for the Lone Star's motto. In his editorials he attacked the tinhorn gamblers, saloon keepers, gunmen, and other undesirables who had flocked to El Paso with the arrival of the Southern Pacific railroad; the editors of the rival newspapers and some of the businessmen who had formerly helped him also suffered attacks from his pen when he discovered their corruption. Many withdrew their support for the Lone Star, forcing him to close the paper six days after his fortieth birthday.

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