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Monday, January 11, 2016

A rare newspaper shows up

One of the benefits of "being a certain age" is my memory, or the lack thereof. Coupled with the large collection of Kerrville and Kerr County historical items I have, this can provide repeated fresh discoveries.
This week, while cleaning up my desk, I found the facsimile of an old Kerrville newspaper.  Because of my poor memory I had forgotten I had the copy -- and so finding it this week offered the opportunity to find it again as if for the very first time.
It's the only copy I've ever seen of "Day's Doings," and the issue I have was published Thursday, August 8, 1895.  The newspaper was small in size, and only four pages in length (although other of its pages may have been lost in the roughly 120 years since it was published).
I have a feeling I was allowed to make the copy of the old newspaper by the Leinweber family in Mountain Home, but my notes are a little jumbled.
There were earlier newspapers in Kerrville, of course.  The "Frontiersman" was likely the first newspaper here, starting publication in 1876, and continuing through 1880.  The "Kerrville Eye" began publication in 1884.  Later, the name was changed to the "Kerrville Paper," and later still, to the "Kerrville Mountain Sun," which still exists, sort of.  
The year before the publication of the "Day's Doings" in my collection, Kerrville had two newspapers: the "Kerrville News," which was an "Independent" newspaper, and the "Kerrville Paper," which was a "Democrat" newspaper.  Center Point had a "Populist" paper, the "People's Day."
There were later newspapers on the Kerrville scene, too.  The "Kerrville Times" began publication in 1926, but had its roots in Center Point as the "Center Point News," was moved to Kerrville and renamed the "Latest," and then the "Hill View Times," before finally being named the "Kerrville Times." When the newspaper began publishing weekday issues, in 1949, it was renamed the "Kerrville Daily Times."
In all this history of local newspaper publishing, I have never seen any mention of "Day's Doings," nor have I heard of its publisher, J. M. Bourland, or its editor, Leone Rankin.
Although I have not found information about Leone Rankin, Bourland was here as late as 1900, when his name appears in the U. S. Census taken that year. His occupation is listed as "publisher."  I also found he was (at least briefly) the publisher of the "Kerrville News," in 1897.  He was born in Arkansas in 1850, and was buried in Llano County in 1917.
The copy I have of the "Day's Doings" was from Volume 1, No. 17, so publication probably began on April 11, 1895.  
Many of the names in the "Day's Doings" are familiar: Charles Schreiner has several advertisements, as do the Tivy Hotel, Bert Parsons' livery stable, the Ranch Saloon, the Favorite Saloon.
But there are also a lot of names I don't recognize: Daniel Cruz, the painter; Albert Glock, the photographer; a saloon called Two Brothers Saloon (run by Gus Weston); Nicholas Pfeufter, city baker; S. J. Durnett, the "water man."
The big editorial push in the issue was for the construction of an ice plant.  "This most important subject should be constantly before the people," the editor of the "Day's Doings" wrote, "and that is that our city has a very notable reputation as a health resort for pulmonary trouble, and these invalids require ice and cannot get along without it.  If they can't get it here they will go to some other place where they can and the result is that our merchants and businessmen are the losers."
I love old newspapers.  They're like a time capsule -- a quick portrait of the events of that week in our little town.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native.  If you'd like to download a copy of the August 8, 1895 issue of "Day's Doings," please visit http://bit.ly/daysdoings

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