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The Newton Record marks its first 100 years

By Staff
Dec. 9, 2001
Despite the good-natured ribbing he takes from some of his friends, J.E. Strange was not on the scene when the first issue of The Newton Record was published on Dec. 5, 1901.
But as publisher of The Record, J.E. has seen milestones come and go for any number of Newton County businesses. Last Thursday, it was The Record's turn to celebrate.
With pages from its past issues posted in conspicuous places around the building on S. Main Street in downtown Newton, J.E. and his wife, Frances, served as an unofficial welcoming committee for well-wishers from all over the area as The Newton Record recognized its first 100 years.
The occasion was marked by friendly chat, good food and refreshments. It was a time to visit with friends and colleagues and a wealth of Newton businesspeople who have read and advertised in The Record for years.
It was also a good time to realize anew the value of a good weekly newspaper to its community as a source of news and information, and as a successful business operation.
The Record has performed all of these roles and more. The newspaper has a tradition of printing an attractive Christmas card-type front page for the Christmas season that some readers and their families have collected over the years.
The first issue
Billed as the Neatest and Newsiest Paper in the County" and the "Only All-Home Print Paper in the County" when its first issue hit the streets a hundred years ago, The Record is still a mainstay of Newton County life.
Its readers include farmers, bankers and insurance agents; store owners and managers; retired folks and housewives; lawyers and doctors; teachers, ministers and politicians. And many of them dropped by to share in the celebration.
One item of interest was a reprint of the newspaper's first edition which carried the slogan, "The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword."
It reported that a new Newton High School building had just been completed "one of the most desirable school houses to be found anywhere in a town" of Newton's size.
Situated on a 12-acre campus covered with "magnificent shade trees" and "springs of fine water," the school house was located "just near enough to the business portion of the town to be convenient and easy of access, and at the same time a sufficient distance to avoid the noise and hubbub of the town, and not to entice the pupils away from their school duties."
Rich with meaning
And there was this paragraph of the story that is as rich with meaning today as when written a century ago:
The town of Newton raised the $5,000 cost of the new school house by issuing bonds and the completion of the building was the story of the week.
In keeping with the finest tradition of weekly newspapers, The Newton Record published the names of all 136 students, principal W.V. Fant and the five teachers who taught, studied and learned in "one of the most desirable school houses to be found anywhere."
Congratulations to J.E. and his staff on The Newton Record's first century, and thanks for letting an editor from Meridian share in the occasion.
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at bbynum@themeridianstar.com.

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