The press of Sioux City has been an important factor in the upbuilding of the city, and no other single agency has contributed more to make the city what it is. It has ever been said, that the character of its newspapers may judge a town. If this be true, Sioux City can make an excellent showing, as no city in the State of its size has as many or as good newspapers as are published here. Today, it has one morning, two evening and three weekly journals, all well supported.
The pioneer newspaper of Sioux City, as well as of Woodbury County, was called the Sioux City Eagle, and the first number was issued July 4th, 1857, with S.W. Swiggett as editor and proprietor. It was independent in politics, and for those days, a sprightly, well-conducted sheet. Its publication was continued for nearly three years, when it passed out of existence.
The next newspaper venture was made by F.M. Ziebach. The August previous, he, in conjunction with J.N. Cummings, under the firm name of Cummings & Ziebach, began the publication of the Western Independent-independent in politics at Sergeant’s Bluffs, eight miles south of Sioux City. It was regularly published until the following July, when Mr. Ziebach purchased his partner’s interest in the paper, and removed the material to Sioux City, which, even then, gave promise of being the metropolis of the Northwest; and on July 22d, 1858, gave to Sioux City its second weekly newspaper, the Sioux City Register. With the change of name also came a change in politics, the Register being the first to champion Democracy in Northwestern Iowa.
In 1859 William Freney purchased an interest in the paper, and the year following it was consolidated with the Eagle. The Register was continued under the management of Ziebach & Freney until 1862, when Mr. Ziebach withdrew, leaving Mr. Freney to continue it alone, which he did until 1871, when its publication was suspended.
Shortly after the consolidation of the Register and Eagle, in 1860, Pendleton & Swiggett started the Sioux City Times-Republican in politics. It survived only a few months.
Three years later, J.C. Stillman made another attempt, to establish a Republican paper, The Sioux City Journal but it ceased to exist before the publication of a dozen numbers. August 29th, 1864, it was resuscitated, under the editorial management of J.V. Baugh, and its publication has been continued uninterruptedly ever since, though it has passed through many trying ordeals, with several changes in its management.
In October of the same year, S.T. Davis, the Register of the Land Office, succeed Mr. Baugh as editor, but only remained in charge until the close of the Presidential campaign in 1864, when the paper passed into the hands of Mahlon Gore, a brilliant writer and an accomplished journalist. In 1868, B.L. Northrup purchased an interest in the paper, but retired in a short time, leaving Mr. Gore to continue it alone, which he did until May 1st, 1869, when he disposed of it to George D. Perkins, who has been its editor ever since.
The following January, H.A. Perkins bought an interest in the paper, and the firm of Perkins Brothers was formed, and continued until July, 1875, when H.A. Perkins retired; but after an absence of nearly two years, he returned; the firm name of Perkins Brothers was restored, and continues to the present time.
In 1870 a morning edition was issued from the office, and has appeared regularly ever since. The Daily Journal has grown and strengthened with its years, until today it ranks with the foremost papers of the State. It is a handsome, nine-column folio, printed on a press of the latest pattern, and has a large and increasing circulation. The mechanical execution is in the highest style of the art. Its editor, George D. Perkins, is a polished, conscientious and able writer, and a gentleman who has a high ideal of journalism.
The Journal building is a fine establishment, and the whole enterprise is an illustration of what may be accomplished by talent and energy, directed by sound financial ability and good management. Few papers have achieved a more decided and permanent success, than The Sioux City Journal, in the hands of its present proprietors, and, it may be added, none are more deserving of the grand success they have won, as they have built up an institution of which Sioux City may well feel proud.
In May 1869, a stock company began the publication of the Daily and Weekly Times, a journal neutral in politics, with Charles Collins as the editor. In a short time Mr. Collins became sole proprietor, changing the publication from a morning to an evening paper. In 1872, the daily edition was discontinued, but the weekly was maintained until 1874, when it was purchased by Warner & made Democratic in politics, and the name changed to the Sioux City Tribune, under which name it has been continued until the present time, though many changes have occurred in its management. At the close of the Presidential campaign, in 1876, Mr. Warner retired, being succeeded by C.R. Smead, the style of the firm becoming Gore & Smead. August 1877, Mr. Gore left the paper, because of ill health, Mr. Smead continuing its publication until December 6th of the same year, when Albert Watkins continued the publication until December 6th of the same year, when Albert Watkins purchased an interest, and assumed editorial management. May 1st, 1879, Mr. Watkins bought his partner’s interest, and continued the publication of the paper alone until July 1st, 1880, when he disposed of it to John C. Kelley, its present editor and proprietor. The Tribune is a six-column quarto, well printed, ably edited, and is on a solid financial footing, with a rapidly increasing business. It is an unfaltering advocate of Democracy, and the recognized organ of the party in the Northwest.
There is also issued from the Tribune office the Anpao, a monthly journal, in the Sioux dialect, in the interests of the Niobrara Mission. It is edited by Rev. Joseph W. Cook, and Rev. J.W. Cleveland, and published under the management of James R. Fraser.
The only German paper ever published here is the Sioux City Weekly Courier, which made its first appearance in 1870, under the management of Wetter & Danquard. After a short time, Mr. Wetter purchased his partner’s interest and continued it alone for a few months, when he disposed of it to Dr. C.J. Krejci. Subsequently the paper passed into the hands of Chas. F. Schroeder, who, however, sold it to Herman Schorning. Mr. Schorning continued it until it became the property of its present publisher, Frederick Barth, in November, 1877. The Courier is Democratic in politics, under its present management, is well conducted, the only German paper in this section, and has a wide circulation.
The Cosmopolite, a sixteen page monthly, was established by D.H. Talbot July 1st, 1879, and continued for two years. It was issued mainly in the interest of private enterprises, but contained much matter of general interest.
In August 1881, Charles Collins commenced the Sioux City Daily Times, an evening sheet, and independent in politics. The Times is a sprightly six column folio, devoted to local news, and rapidly establishing itself on a firm footing. Its editor and proprietor, Mr. Charles Collins, is a veteran journalist and a ready and forcible writer.
Two weeks after the first issue of the Daily Times, another candidate for public favor made its appearance, the Sioux City Daily News, published by Watkins & Jay. Like its contemporary, The Times, it is a six column folio, independent in politics, but with Democratic tendencies.
The Sioux City Grocer, established in 1881, is a handsome monthly, published by E.C. Palmer & Co., and issued in the interest of the grocery trade.
In August 1877, Alex Macready began the publication of the Industrial Press, a weekly newspaper, advocating the Greenback doctrine. It was continued about a year, when it ceased to exist.
The Sioux City Gazette was commenced by R. Goldie & Son., December 1st, 1877, but after a few issues suspended publication.
Source: Woodbury County Iowa, History of Western Iowa, 1882