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Country: United States
City: Burns, Harney County, Or.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 667
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 3,279
Earliest Date: 6 January 1906
Latest Date: 25 December 1920
The mostly female proprietors of the current Burns Times-Herald pride themselves on the fact that their “founding mother” was a gutsy pioneer who continued working through her ninth decade. Nellie R. Grace had helped her husband, David Louis Grace, start one of the Times-Herald’s predecessors, the East Oregon Herald, in 1887. On her own initiative, Nellie Grace launched another newspaper, the Harney County News, in 1894. But the Times-Herald’s full history is even more complicated, borne out of the consolidation of about half a dozen papers over several decades.
The paper’s oldest ancestor, the Harney Valley Items, was the first journal in Harney County in southeastern Oregon, established in September 1885. The first iteration of the Times-Herald appeared in Burns in 1896. Brothers Julian and Charles A. Byrd had in 1891 purchased the East Oregon Herald from the Graces, and they now merged that title with a couple of bought-out competitors, the Harney Times and the Burns Tribune, to launch the Times-Herald. Meanwhile, the Burns News had absorbed the old Harney Valley Items. The News and the Times-Herald remained competitors until 1930, when they were consolidated to form the Times-Herald that is still active as of 2010.
The wide-open, high desert country in this part of Oregon has long produced a people proud of their Old Western heritage and geographic isolation. For many decades, the motto of the Times-Herald masthead was: "Covers Harney County Like the Sagebrush." In its early days under the direction of the Graces, the Herald was a seven-column, four-page paper featuring two pages of ready print per issue and two pages hand-composed by Nellie Grace and printed at the local office. It catered to an agricultural readership. Headlines were ripped from nearby Oregon and Idaho papers and featured reports on land barons, the Japanese preparing for war by acquiring 10,000 horses from Burns, and a strange disease that killed cattle. There appeared the usual medicinal advertisements on which rural newspapers routinely depended, but also featured were ads for hens that would lay eggs in winter and cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of horse thieves. Only after 1910 did the paper began printing local news outside the realm of husbandry.
The Graces, who owned the Times-Herald through 1923, were central figures in the civic life of the town. Nellie Grace was a librarian; her husband was a teacher and then school superintendent. Julian Byrd, the paper’s manager for 40 years, put pressure on the railroad companies to build tracks into the county. He was also credited with bringing motion pictures, the telephone, and electricity to Burns. After the Burns News and the Times-Herald were consolidated in 1930, the paper changed hands quite frequently. Tired of being volleyed between publishing companies and out-of-town owners, members of the editorial and business staffs decided in 2006 to purchase and manage the paper themselves. This marked the first staff buyout of a newspaper in Oregon.
Provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR