The Fairfax Forum and the Tarkio Avalanche will be combined with the Atchison County Mail on January 1, 2017. Subscribers and readers will be able to read news of the entire county in one publication.
In 1992, when the Fairfax Forum was getting ready to observe its centennial, Nancy Gaines researched files for information on the paper’s history. The following information is from the December 10, 1992, issue of the Forum:
Fairfax had several newspapers, each with its own politics: The Chief, 1883-1885; The Cornet, 1885; Independent, 1882; Independent-Chief, 1883; Star, 1889; The Fairfax Forum., 1892; and the Tribune, 1930-33. (Note the period behind Forum, which was included in the paper’s name until 1906.)
The first issue of the Fairfax Forum was printed and distributed on Saturday, December 10, 1892. W.H. Hambaugh was the first editor and publisher of the paper, which had four pages and was $1 per year. C.C. Blevins ran a two-column by 10-inch ad and paid $5 for it. He testified that he was rewarded with handsome returns from the patronage.
The paper was sold to J.A. Yowell of Nebraska City, Nebraska, on May 1, 1909, and in June Mr. Yowell sold the paper back to W.H. Hambaugh. The Forum changed hands many times over the next several years. J.B. Johnson bought the paper August 2, 1909. It was sold to H.T. Speer in 1913, and by December of that year he had obtained a partner, Philpott. By October 1914 Speer was again the sole owner of the Fairfax Forum. In October 1916 The Fairfax Forum was sold to Nelson R. Crow and Harry Curry. Crow moved on to other things and he sold his interest in 1918 to LeRoy D. Locke.
In 1922 the subscription rate was raised to $2 per year, and by December of that year the newspaper had been sold again, this time to Howard G. Thompson.
Harry Curry joined Mr. Thompson as publisher February 8, 1924, and on October 10, 1924, the masthead carried the names of Roy Hulse and Curry, as Howard G. Thompson had sold out to Hulse.
May 1, 1925, Harry Curry sold his interest in the newspaper to Roy L. Hulse and he operated the paper until it was sold to the Atchison County Printing and Publishing Co. of Rock Port July 13, 1926.
L. Roy Sims purchased the newspaper June 4, 1934, and brought with him his own printing plant. The Sims family made it a family affair, with Mrs. Sims, and sons Earle and Roy, Jr. being involved in its publication. When L.R. retired, Earle and Roy became partners. The brothers purchased the Mound City newspaper in 1959 and were partners in both operations for the next 10 years. The partnership dissolved, with each becoming his own boss – Earle in Fairfax, and Roy in Mound City. When retirement for Earle and Mary Louise drew near, Doug Crews was hired as editor and began his duties January 1, 1976.
The newspaper was sold to Keith Dinsmore on February 23, 1978. He sold the paper to Bob and Nancy Gaines in March 1979. Nancy had joined the Forum crew in August 1951. Today, Nancy is a contributing writer and still gathers news for the Forum.
Bob and Nancy sold the paper to Will and Joy Johnson in 1998. Farmer Publishing, LLC purchased the Fairfax Forum and Tarkio Avalanche in 2010.
In 1992 it was noted, “The Forum has come these 100 years from hand set type for the news, then linotypes, then compugraphic typesetters, and finally the computer.”
The newspaper industry continues to change. Today’s Fairfax Forum is composed entirely on the computer, with much of the news and pictures arriving via e-mail. It is transmitted electronically to Holt County Publishing in Mound City, Missouri, and is usually back in Atchison County ready for its readers within a few hours. Farmer Publishing also offers a website (, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account.