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The following article was in the Hooker County Tribune on March 20, 2003.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Mrs. Lola Boyer found this article, which her late husband, Clifford, had written to be published in the Hooker County Tribune. She enclosed it for our enjoyment.

We must first start at "square-one" on this story, and tell what we have best to relate about. In the recent city of Mullen Directory, the history of Mullen gave the name of F.M. Cudebec, as the first publisher of the Hooker County Tribune. Where the information came from might be a little mis-giving. This person F.M. Cudebec was a great-uncle of Clifford G. Boyer, now a resident of Montclair, California, will be writing this story. Cudebec was an early day merchant of Mullen when the railroad built through the town back in the mid-eighties. So let us go on and relate what this newspaper story is all about. In May 1957, Estella N. Boyer sold her dwelling in southwest Mullen, to Walter Lange. Lange chose to tear the dwelling down, and in so doing he ran across a newspaper tucked away in the studdings in the walls. He gave the newspaper to Cliff Boyer who had lived in the house with his parents for many years. Cliff then at tempted to piece-meal the fragments of the paper back into a reasonable resemblance of a newspaper, and in due time gave the paper to the Hooker County Historical Group, for safe keeping. Just recently Cliff wrote to the Mullen Historical group con cerning the paper in question, and a prompt reply came back that gave pertinent information. The paper was headed with the title MULLEN ENQUIRER, dated September 15, 1888, with M.A. Hammill as the publisher.

M.A. Hammil published the paper from that date onward for a few years, and sold it to F.L. Mary who kept it operating until 1895, when our first mentioned Fred M. Cudebec took over the weekly sheet, and put out the publication until 1897. As to what year the change of the name Mullen Enquirer over to the Hooker County Tribune is not really known. Cudebec then turned the weekly paper to Edgar Phillips, who kept it In progress until 1898. Charles Schillings printed the paper in 1898, a party named Everett took his turn at it 1899 to 1901.

John H. Welton and his family came on the scene in 1901 and acquired the publication. Welton formerly of O'Neill, NE, had two sons Ross and Ed, who were a bit too young to help their father in the newspaper work, so it was Welton found himself pretty much to himself to put ting out the paper, with the hand-set type then used. Welton kept at the Tribune routine of getting the news out to his readers each week, and for a time he not only printed a paper down at Thedford, one at Seneca and also the Whitman Sun. Most of these publications on the side came to their demise when the towns could not support any newspaper. One thing about John Welton, is that he was a devout 'banjo player', and he taught. Ross learned how to play one too. It was said that Welton and young Ross would tire out working on the paper from time to time, and they would pick up their banjos and a chair and take off for the main entrance of the Tribune, and be seated and play a duet that could be heard from the Tribune clear up to the intersection of mainstreet a block away.

John Welton's earthly journey came to an end in 1931, and Ross took over the reins. Ross was not satisfied with the Tribune's equipment condition at that time, and he strived to update with a lot of new items: a Lee Craftsman cylinder press, a Merthenthaler linotype and a Chandler-Price job press. He progressed the inside of the Tri bune with an appearance of varnished floors and the like that made it one of the most immaculate looking printshop anywhere along the Burlington line from Alliance to Broken Bow.

Ross sold his Tribune to Orien B. Winter of Thedford, NE in 1938. Then it was when Ross Welton family bid Mullen adieu for other parts. Orien Winter along with aspiring to long hours in his print shop, published other weeklies at Thedford, Dunning, Merna and Litchfield. In 1959 Winter negotiated an exchange of paperswith the publisher at Hyannis. Orten took his equipment to Hyannis to further the printing of the Grant County Tribune, and J.C. Crosland brought his equipment to Mullen, to con tinue the Hooker County Tribune.

From Crosland's sojourn of years at Mullen, there has been many changes in the publishers which the writer is not familiar with, so it will be necessary to check out the Tribune flies, to get the proper identification of publishers down to the present time. This story is an attempt to getting the 105th longevity of years all hinged together from 'way back then' and up to the present generation of Tribune readers. Other than that, if there might be something that we could of added to or detracted from---only the Good LORD knows for sure---and he won't tell.

Hooker County Tribune 1911

New Cigarette Law

After the first day of July next any boy under the age of 18 years who smokes cigarettes, cigars or pipe on the streets or in any public place is liable to arrest and punishment by the law. This law was passed by the last legislature at the instance of the members of the W. C. T. U., who have pledged themselves to see that it is enforced.

It will be interesting to watch the outcome of the latest effort to stop the smoking of cigarettes by the youths of this state. Heretofore, the principal difficulty has been to secure proof of violation of the law. The average boy is of the opinion that a “snitch” is about the meanest person conceivable, and that to tell on the man who supplies them with tobacco places one beyond the pale of society. The new law seeks to bring force to bear upon the boy himself to tell it. It makes his use of the cigarettes an offense, and the only way open to him to secure immunity, under the new law, is to inform on the person who sold to him. Then the punishment falls on the seller. Not all the boys will tell, but a certain portion will do so. This will have a tendency to make dealers wary, and if they do sell they are open to exposure and punishment. There are men, because of the profit of the business, who will sell the boys what is no less than poison to them, but it is probable they will fight any of the notoriety arrest will bring them under the new law.

June 30, 1916

Modern Rooming House For Mullen a Sure Go

A modern rooming house for Mullen is now a certainty. Steve Ham, who purchased the Cudebec block last fall, has come to the conclusion, after giving the matter thorough study during the past few months, that an investment of this kind in Mullen would be a paying one. The work of excavating for the new building was commenced Wednesday morning, and by the 4th of July will offer a big showing to the hundreds of visitors that will be with us that day. The structure will be a lasting one, modern in every respect and made of brick. The building will be 35x70, two stories high and a full basement. Mr. Ham has been a resident in the Hills for many years, during which time he has been numbered among the heaviest stock raisers in this section of the great cattle country. For years past there has been a demand for an up-to-date rooming house in Mullen, and to Mr. Ham credit must be given for the part he is taking in helping to build up the city to this extent. We are all glad to see the good work continue along this line in our city, and while it will be several weeks before the building will be completed, we lift our headgear to the new investor, and when the building is ready for opening to the public it will be with due and proper ceremony.

September 1916

Distinguished Indian Calls

White Eagle, a highly educated Sioux Indian residing in Wyoming, was in Mullen a couple of days early in the week disposing of little booklets containing matter and facts concerning the Custer battle. The distinguished young gentleman called at this office, and while it is difficult for him to speak the English tongue, he carries with him some of the highest tributes of praise and recommendation from the governor and other leading citizens of Wyoming. He is a western story writer and frequently his writings appear in the New York magazines. He is an apt scholar and in a few minutes produced on our typewriter the following:

“The story which I am selling was taken from the lips of Two Moons, who led the Cheyenne against Custer. There was a big celebration at the Custer battlefield June 25th, this year. About 3000 Indians were present. The Cheyennes had their camp on the Little Big Horn river, where they camped 40 years ago when Custer rode to his death.

Much has been written about the battle that was written only from imagination. There were too many Indians against Custer. He and his command did all they could and the best they could, but it availed nothing. The white men fought bravely as long as they lasted, and each man fell in his place, which is shown by the regular order in which the stone markers are placed on the battlefield.

Three of Custer’s Crow scouts are still living: Curly, White-Man-Runs-Him, and Goes a Head. They were present at the June celebration; also Two Moons, whose speech, made in front of the Custer monument, I have printed on the front cover of my little book. He is almost blind now, but does not so much show his 77 years.

I expect to travel farther east selling my booklet, so as to see more of the white people and what they have done. I have traveled with wild west shows but did not go much outside the show. So far I have been treated most kindly by every white person. They seem peaceable and hard-working people and deserve respect for what they have done in making the country what it is.

I am a Sioux. I have some white blood. The trouble that led to the Custer massacre was the rush into the Black Hills for gold. The white man has always loved gold more than the rights of an Indian. The Sioux became dissatisfied when the government would not stop the rush into their reservation and went on the war path.

Custer and others were sent in to conquer them. I was not in the battle—too young, but I heard Rain-In-The-Face, who killed Tom Custer, General George’s brother, tell about it; also other Indians.

The Indians said the soldier’s guns would not work, and when they saw the soldiers could not shoot them, they saved their bullets and killed them with knives and war clubs. It was like killing sheep. Some of the soldiers got down and begged. General Custer was shot two times in the head and side. He was not scalped. The other soldiers were scalped and cut up by the squaws and old men after the fighting was over. One Indian said Custer, when he was shot, fell, then got to his knees, snapped his pistol, laughed, then fell dead. There was a quarrel in the Indian camp that night after the fight. It was between Sitting Bull and chief Gall. Sitting Bull was a medicine man; he did not fight much in the battle, but worked charms for the success of his people. Gall led the Sioux and Two Moons and Crazy Horse the Cheyennes. In their quarrel Sitting Bull claimed his charms made the success of the battle. Gall said it would have been the same if Sitting Bull had not been there. Part of the Indians took sides with Gall and part with Sitting Bull.

Reno’s command would have been killed also had it not been for the quarrel between Sitting Bull and Gall. The two were never good friends after that.

October 1916

Have you taken notice to the fact that the erection of our new public school stands responsible for the up-building of our city the past few months? In fact it was Steve Ham’s reason for erecting the new brick rooming house, nearly completed now, and the building of a great many new homes. With good churches and excellent schools as we now enjoy, a steady growth of Mullen is assured.

The Ham brick rooming house is making rapid enclosure and will be ready for the plasterers within a few days. It certainly takes on a nobby appearance and will be a credit to a town many times larger than Mullen. Let this kind of improvement continue – it pleases us all to see it.

November 16, 1916

Let the Tribune print your return card on 100 envelopes for $.50.

You can’t afford to risk a letter through the maile without your name on it when the expense is so small.

Write or phone us about it. If you want them mailed to you, enclose five cents extra for postage.

February 16, 1917

The doors of the magnificent new Ham rooming house were opened to the public this week, a bit of news our readers will be glad to note. The equipment of the new building is modern in every detail, and certainly it will fill a long-standing need for just such an improvement for the accommodation of the public. Mr. Ham has been a resident of the hills for many years and has many friends who will be glad to greet him as the head of so important an addition to the business circle of Mullen, and that the citizens of the town and surrounding country are proud of it, goes without saying.

February 20, 1917

September 14, 1917

Mullen Light Plant Has Changed Hands

The most important business deal in Mullen in the past several weeks was consummated Friday when G. L. Boyer, one of our prominent young men who has grown up in this part of the country, took over the electric plant. Glen had been the helper at the plant the last few weeks and conceived the wise idea that the lighting system is destined to become one of our most important business institutions, and at once decided to buy it. He has the city franchise for a period of 25 years.

Before the plant had operated a year it was necessary to install new machinery to supply the current demanded by the patrons, and the fact that many of the homes even in the outlying parts of the city, are being wired for electric lighting is double assurance that the zenith of its possibilities have not yet been reached.

R. C. Franke, promoter of the enterprise, has not made public his plans for the future, though we hope to see him remain among us.

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This page was last updated on May 14, 2006
Hooker County Nebraska History & Genealogy
By Sandhills Roots Digger, Nina (Scott) Clark