SEARCH WEBSITE
               
SEARCH ARCHIVES - click here

Public Sale of Morning Times


By W.A. Kelsoe
The evening Dispatch of June 14 [1875] contained an announcement, written probably by Stilson Hutchins, the editor and proprietor of the paper, that he had been removed from the position of general manager of the morning Times, run in connection with the Dispatch, and Col. Celus Price put in his place. This action was taken, it was stated, by the board of directors of the Times, President Charles Mantz and Vice-President Estill McHenry (telegraph editor of the paper and son-in-law of James B. Eads) having voted for, and Secretary John Hodnett, against the change. Accompanying this announcement in the Dispatch was a statement giving Mr. Hutchins’ side of the controversy. He had paid off a floating indebtedness in December, when he took charge of the Times, with a new issue of bonds in which he, himself, had invested between $40,000 and $50,000, and in six months had changed a weekly loss of $1,000 in the paper’s business to a profit of $500. It was also claimed that Mr. Hutchins owned 400 shares of Times stock and that he and Mr. Hodnett together owned a majority of the stock. This article in the Dispatch was reprinted by the Globe-Democrat the next day, and both of the morning papers announced that Co. E.H. Jameson had been appointed managing editor of the paper. The Times was advertised to be sold June 30 to satisfy the holders of the paper’s first mortgage bonds, Quintus Price, Col. Price’s brother, being named as one of the bondholders. In the Times of June 18 was a statement by Col. Price on the financial condition of the paper, and calling a meeting of the creditors for June 21 at the office of Hill and Bowman (Frank J. Bowman and Britton A. Hill). June 20 the Times said editorially: “Mr. Stilson Hutchings is no longer connected in any manner with the St. Louis Times.”
The St. Louis Times was sold at public auction, June 30, to Col. John T. Crisp of Independence, Mo. (and later of Kansas City), a Democratic leader in Missouri politics. There were several bidders, one being ex-governor B. Gratz Brown (vice-presidential candidate on the Greeley ticket in 1872 and many years before editorial head of the old Missouri Democrat). The purchase price was $131,250. Col. Crisp paid $1,000 down and the balance at a bank a few hours later. He bought the paper for Mr. Hutchins, and the next morning the Times was issued by the latter as of old, Col. Price and Col. Jameson having disappeared the evening before. The fight for control made little difference to most of the employees. W.B. Stevens continued as city editor of both the morning Times and the Evening Dispatch, if I am not mistaken, and his reporters kept at work on the two papers, as usual. Frank J. Bowman, the attorney, seemed to be running things on the Times as he did on two or three later occasions when he had temporary control of the paper. During one of these newspaper fights, I have forgotten which, some of us were a little uneasy as to the payment of salaries, and Mr. Bowman assured us that, no matter what the outcome was, the “ghost would walk” for the reporters. Some said that Mr. Bowman would never pay us, but he did, and after the trouble was over we got him a silver medal inscribed with these words: “He kept his word,” which so pleased the fighting attorney that he always carried it with him and frequently showed it to his friends. In one of its articles during this June fight the Globe-Democrat gave something of the history of the Times, established in 1866 by Stilson Hutchins, John Hodnett and D.A. Mahoney, who had come here from Dubuque, Ia. Their entire capital, said the article, was $4,500. Their business office was on the north side of Pine west of Third street and their composing room on the other side of Pine street, on an upper floor of a building fronting on Fourth street. Five years later, according to the Globe-Democrat story, Mr. Hutchins sold his third interest for $66,000 to Henry Ewing, the paper then being located on Third street. Charley Mantz bought a third interest in the fall of 1872, when the paper was moved to the old Times building, on the site of the present [1927] Times building, northeast corner of Broadway and Chestnut street, erected for the evening Times, the English daily started in April, 1907, by the owners of the Westliche Post and the Anzeiger des Westens, the oldest German daily papers in St. Louis. (The publication of the Anzeiger was discontinued a few years later.)
(Originally published in the St. Louis Reference Record in 1927).