The Arthur Graphic published its first issue in October 1887 after Thomas Haney bought the enterprise and renamed the paper that had been known as The Signal the two years prior. J.H. Bassett and Myron Bigelow managed The Graphic in the early years of the twentieth century. But in 1905, competition arose in the form of the Clarion and rival editor Hugh M Ringer.
It quickly became clear to both entrepreneurs that there was simply not a large enough readership for two newspapers so they formed a partnership creating The Arthur Graphic-Clarion and in October of 1905 the combined efforts published the first issue of the paper that maintains that same name as of today.
Bigelow sold out to Rigney after a few years and the Rigney family continued as editors of the paper spanning the next three decades publishing all the news fit to print and then some! The early paper was not a repository for local news but also state, national and world events was covered in the weekly. The editor was a big booster for the community of Arthur. The businesses, as they do today, supported the paper with advertising for the growing town.
The Graphic-Clarion was quite partisan during the Rigney family era as they were very involved with the Democratic Party. Hugh M. Rigney even served in the Illinois Legislature as well as the United States House of Representatives. Alma Parrott Rigney, wife of Hugh P., took over the papers editor job in 1935. Thus starting a long tradition of husband and wife teams involved in the publication.
After World War II, the pages of The Graphic-Clarion became devoted to local news almost exclusively. Columns such as Zion News, Society News, Bourbon News and Amish News have appeared for years in the paper giving many residents a chance to contribute to the weekly news of the paper serving Eastern Moultrie, Western Douglas, and Southern Piatt Counties. At times, students of the local high school also have contributed to their hometown paper.
As mentioned, husband and wife teams were very common in running the paper. George and Borgie Dickman, Don and Linda Rankin, Alan and Freeda Mann and W.C and Dorothy Hayes to name a few. Norm Ledgin is another editor that comes to mind.
From Our Early Files and Town Talk are two other columns that have been entertaining readers for the past 30 years. Who can leave out the Courthouse News Section!
Today, Editor Roger Bonham writes his column as The Bonham Line. This clever title follows the tradition of past editors such as George Dickman and his Let s See with George C. and Don Rankin with his The Rankin Files.