The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 11, 2014

Program highlights newspaper's impact

By Barb Mask Special to the Herald
The Clinton Herald

---- — FULTON, Ill. — A presentation Sunday will focus on the historical aspect of a Fulton newspaper.

The program about the Fulton Journal will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Fulton Museum, 707 10th Ave. Refreshments will be served.

The Fulton (Martin House) Museum has been the recipient of most of the Fulton Journals that have been donated to the Fulton Historical Society. The original issue was Feb. 25, 1854. The number one and two are not available, but beginning with the third issue, March 15, 1854, all the way up to the current issues with few exceptions, the Fulton Journals are on now microfilm.

This resource has derived from a variety of donors; namely, Doris and Henry Kramer and the Wayne Bastian Estate. In addition to the microfilm resources, bound copies of the paper from 1941 up to the current year provide a source for reading.

The Fulton Journal adopted a variety of mottos throughout its long tenure. Editor Gifford J. Booth’s pledge was, “Devoted to Home Interests, Politics, Education, Literature and General Intelligence.” When Dr. W. C. Snyder owned the paper, his slogan was, “Independent in All Things — Neutral in Nothing.”

The original newspaper’s Editor Alfred McFadden claimed, “To Be an Influence for Good.” One of the proprietors, Octave Laighton, who was in business the shortest amount of time, stated his paper would be, “Devoted to Literature, Morality, Agriculture, General News and Home Interests.”

The powerpoint presentation will include the six locations, owners, publishers, editors and featured columnists that played a role in the 160-year-old business; the oldest in Fulton and in Whiteside County. Of the many contributors to its longevity and success, there is a name that dominates the history — Bastian.

Many are familiar with Wayne Bastian, a well-known writer, who wrote for the Fulton Journal for more than 40 years. He authored the book, “A History of Whiteside County,” in 1968 during Illinois’ Sesquicentennial. Wayne’s father, Reuben, was the printer for the Fulton Journal and the printing business that accompanied the newspaper publication for more than 30 years.

He was a part owner at one time, although, briefly. Wayne’s uncles, Anthony and Frederick, were owners and publishers for a 40-year span in a variety of partnerships and sole ownerships (1881-1923). Fred’s wife, Nellie (Barton) Bastian, wrote a history of Fulton in 20 installments published in the Fulton Journal in 1923. Her eye-witness reporting of events, such as the Modern Woodmen of America riots in Fulton, provide insight to the personal and emotional upheaval in the river city as that situation unfolded. She had a college degree in journalism and was active in community affairs.

An exhibit also has been prepared for viewing preceding and following the program. The Civil War newspapers, preserved by the Gifford Booth family for more than a century, were donated to the Fulton Museum several years ago. One object is the “very old black Royal manual typewriter,” owned by Don Murray and donated by Henry Kramer.

It arrived in Fulton with Donald in 1945 and had already been used by him for many years and continued to be his constant tool. He could type out obituaries and his column, “Of Cabbages…and Kings,” faster with his two forefingers than anyone else on an electric typewriter.

Barb Mask is the President of the Fulton Historical Society.