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The Frederick Leader. The public press of Oklahoma has no more conspicuous example of what a newspaper should be, both as to its contents and business management, than the Frederick Leader, published at Frederick, and owned and edited by the firm of Martin & Newland, composed of Walter D. Martin and John L. Newland. The Leader is distinctively individual, is clean and absolutely fearless in the publication of news and the advancement of the policies for which it stands, and in no town of the state of similar size do the business men and public generally give a local paper such generous support. The Leader has a large circulation both in Tillman and surrounding counties, and it has gained the one thing above all others a newspaper should possess–influence, based on confidence in the integrity of the newspaper’s management.
Perhaps only those familiar by experience in the management of a country newspaper understand the significance of some of the figures and statements which from time to time have been made concerning the Frederick Leader. The publishers do not claim that the Leader is a metropolitan newspaper, and though it is read and generously quoted in all parts of the state, it has been developed with one particular purpose in view, to serve the people and interests of its home county and district. To those acquainted with the average circulation and influence of such a paper, the sworn circulation statement for 1915, which shows that the weekly issues of the Leader sent to paid subscribers averages 3,111, is particularly impressive.
Not long ago the Inland Printer, a journal devoted to the printing art and the most authoritative magazine of the kind in America, reproduced an entire page from the Leader, and had this editorial comment to make: “Some publishers may question whether it pays to devote space to the little personal items from every township in a county–whether it pays to devote the time and energy necessary to keep up an interested corps of correspondents. the circulation statement of the Frederick Leader indicates that it does, as it is now printing and circulating 3,100 copies every week, maintaining and gradually increasing its circulation all through the year. The Leader has over a hundred correspondents, nearly every one inside the home county, and sometimes publishes as high as seventy letters in a single issue.”
One of the best known publishers in Oklahoma, and editor of the Cherokee Republican, Walter Ferguson, recently voiced an opinion which also deserves quotation: “Perhaps it would be well to make some mention of the Frederick Leader and what it is. For its field, it is perhaps the most successful newspaper in the United States. Located in an average sized county, with the cotton drawback and a considerable tenant system, the Leader has a net circulation of 3,100. It carries about forty columns of country correspondence and as a country newspaper, covering its field with minute accuracy, it is perhaps the most successful example of country newspaper publishing in the United States. Last year the class in journalism of Oklahoma University made a half year’s study of the Oklahoma weekly newspapers with a view of awarding the distinction to the one they considered the best in Oklahoma. It does not matter what paper was given second place in the competition, the decision of the class was a correct one, and the decision was reached that the Frederick Leader was the best weekly paper in Oklahoma.”
A few sentences that appeared in an editorial in the Sunday Oklahoman are also pertinent: “A local paper like the Leader helps to put on the map the town where it is published. Other weekly newspapers throughout the state should try printing more local news to discover whether such a policy will not attract more advertising patronage. Publication of news causes a paper to be read and the paper that is read has little trouble in securing a good advertising patronage, unless it is published in a cemetery. There are some of these cemeteries in Oklahoma, and they are recognizable from the class of newspapers published in them.”
Now that something has been said, based on expert outside testimony, concerning the Frederick Leader, some reference should be made to the life and work of its enterprising publishers.
Walter D. Martin was born at Martinsburg, Keokuk County, Iowa, August 24, 1871, a son of R. S. and Martha (Hampton) Martin. The Martins have been long established in America, are of Scotch-Irish origin, and they first settled on the Atlantic coast and subsequently moved to Ohio. R. S. Martin was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1836, went as a pioneer to Martinsburg, Iowa, where he became a farmer, and in 1887 engaged in the printing business, purchasing a half interest in the Martinsburg Journal and later succeeding to the sole ownership. This paper he later consolidated with the Hedrick Enterprise, changing the name to the Hedrick Journal, and he continues his active interest in that paper and resides at Hedrick. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and has been an active worker in its various movements. Educational affairs also make a strong appeal to his public spirit, and for a long period of years he was a member of the Hedrick Board of Education. In 1861 he enlisted in the Thirteenth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was with that regiment during four years, the greater part of the time under the command of General Grant. With a record of participation in many hard-fought engagements, he was wounded both at Shiloh and Vicksburg. He is now a member of J. M. Hedrick Post, Grand Army of the Republic. His wife, who was born in Kentucky in 1839, died at Hedrick, Iowa, in 1912. Their three children are: Walter D.; Charles J., who is with the Hedrick Journal, and a resident of that town; and Anna, wife of A. A. Buck, a plumber of Hedrick.
Educated in the public schools of Martinsburg, reared on his father’s farm until sixteen years of age, at that time Walter D. Martin began working for his father in the printing business in the office of the Martinsburg Journal, which later became the Hedrick Journal. From Martinsburg he moved to Hedrick in 1889, and conducted the Journal twenty years, and is still half owner in that paper. In 1909 he moved to Frederick, Oklahoma, buying a half interest in the Frederick Leader, which had been originally established in the winter of 1905 by Colonel Bayne, and afterward edited and published by Mayhall & Phillips. Mr. Mayhall sold his interest to Mr. Martin. The firm of Phillips & Martin continued eleven months, when John L. Newland bought the former’s interest, making the firm Martin & Newland, as at present. The Leader is a democratic paper, being the official organ of the democratic party in Tillman County. Its modern plant, equipped with the latest improved machinery and appliances, including fine presses for job work, is situated at 304 West Grand Avenue.
Mr. Martin is a democrat in his political views, and while a resident of Hedrick, Iowa, served as clerk of the board of education, and also as city clerk. He is widely known in fraternal circles, being a member of Lodge No. 1217, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Frederick Lodge No. 349, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Woodmen of the World and the Praetorians. An enthusiastic booster of his adopted city and.county, he is active in the Frederick Business Men’s Association, and all progressive and public-spirited movements have his hearty support and co-operation, both individually and through the columns of his newspaper.
He married Miss Stella Fleener of Abingdon, Iowa, daughter of W. J. Fleener, who for a number of years has been a dealer in horses at Abingdon. Mr. and Mrs. Martin have no children.
John L. Newland, the junior member of the firm of Martin & Newland, and editor and half owner of the Frederick Leader, was born at Chillicothe, Missouri, October 16, 1874, son of John O. and Mary (Lankford) Newland. Through the paternal line he is of Dutch stock and is Irish on his mother’s side. His grandfather, Rev. William N. Newland, was for many years a minister of the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church, holding various charges in Missouri and for a number of years being stationed at Chillicothe. John G. Newland, who was born in Pike County, Missouri, in 1848, as a young man was attracted to the mercantile business, in which he was engaged for many years at Chillicothe, Missouri, and at Guthrie, Oklahoma. In 1910 he removed to Frederick, where he has since been engaged in reporting for the Leader. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and of the Masonic fraternity. Mrs. J. G. Newland, who is a native of Kentucky, is also living and has been the mother of four children: William C., who is traveling for George Borgfeldt Company, importers, of New York City; John L.; Daisy, who died at the age of fifteen; and Gcorgo B., dramatic and sporting editor of the Cincinnati Post, at Cincinnati, Ohio.
While he attended as a boy the public schools of Chillicothe, John L. Newland did not pursue his advantages in this direction long, leaving school at the age of fifteen and thereafter pursuing the courses of instruction maintained by the university of experience and also by individual study and observation. While still in school he did his first newspaper work as carrier over a small route, and at the age of fifteen began working in the circulation department of the Chillicothe paper. Thus he learned every department of the business. In 1897 he acquired one-half interest in the Chillicothe Mail and Star, a daily and weekly, and this he and his partner subsequently consolidated with the Chillicothe Times. Taking a third partner, they bought the Chillicothe Constitution, a paper which had been founded in 1860, and was the oldest democratic newspaper in that section of the state. The consolidated papers adopted the veteran newspaper’s name, and Mr. Newland continued to be connected with this publication until 1910, when he sold his interest to his partner, William L. Watkins, and came to Frederick, Oklahoma. Here he bought George H. Phillips’ interest in the Frederick Leader, and has been closely associated with its management ever since.
Like his partner, Mr. Newland is a man of progressive views and enterprising spirit, willing at all times to give of his abilities, his time or his means in the promotionof movements for the civic and public welfare, and taking an active part in the activities of the Frederick Business Men’s Association, of which he is a member. He is a stalwart democrat in politics, and was reared in the faith of the Christian Church, but recently has been an attendant of the Christian Science Church. His fraternal connections include membership in the Praetorians, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Woodmen of the World, and the Brotherhood of American Yeomen.
On September 2, 1897, Mr. Newland was married in Chillicothe, Missouri, to Miss Temperance Broaddus, daughter of Judge E. J. Broaddus, who is now a resident of Kansas City Missouri. Judge Broaddus has served several years as circuit judge of Chillicothe circuit, and in 1900 was elected a member of the Kansas City Court of Appeals, serving for twelve years in that capacity. He is now engaged in the private practice of law at Kansas City. Two children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Newland: Maryann and Elbridge John, both of whom are attending the public schools of Frederick.