Tales from the Grubby End: The fascinating history of the purveyors of news that once graced this town

Our first newspaper was not The Newberg Graphic but the Newberg Banner.

It was sponsored by the Newberg Debating Society, with the first issue appearing Nov. 23, 1878. William Noah Parrish was the GARY ALLEN - Old news - Denise Reilly, reference librarian at the Newberg Public Library, holds a copy of the Newberg Scribe, which began publishing in 1931 under the direction of Editor John D. Burt, formerly of the Carleton Sentinel. He was later joined by Associated Editor Don Woodman, formerly    of the Yamhill Spokesman. When the Scribe was first introduced, it was actually called the Newberg Scribe and Carleton Sentinel.

The NDS was formed in December 1877 by prominent pioneer families in the small community of East Chehalem, which today (roughly) would be everything starting at Hess Creek and going east to where Portland Road becomes Highway 99W and ascends Rex Hill.

The late historian Doris Huffman states in her delightful study of the Everest family (10 members participated) that the group’s roster numbered 60, dues were 25 cents (charged to the men only), and meetings were held on Saturday nights at the Brutscher schoolhouse, located today out in the vicinity of the Fred Meyer store and Providence-Newberg Medical Center.

Huffman said the purpose of the NDS was to “promote intellectual, social and moral advancement, and familiarization with parliamentary usage.”

The Banner also served another purpose, it boosted membership in the society. Contents of the paper would be discussed at meetings and people who couldn’t read would show up just to hear what was going on.

One dollar was levied against any member who wrote something insulting about another; it was 50 cents additional if it made the paper.

Huffman added: Among the society’s favorable deliberations: “women have more influence over men than money; a dog is of more benefit to a man than a gun.”

The Banner continued until 1885, when it ceased for reasons still not exactly clear.

Undaunted, the society launched another newspaper, the Evening Star. It was handwritten and edited by local teacher and Newbergian of many talents, Joseph S. Everest.

It disappeared in 1889.According to the Newberg Graphic’s 1989 publication “Century to Remember,” the reason was that, “it couldn’t compete with the Graphic, which was produced on a printing press.”

The Newberg Graphic’s first issue rolled off the press on Dec. 1, 1888. On Feb. 21, 1889, the town of Newberg was incorporated. So the Graphic is 83 days older than the city that has been its home for 125 years and holds the distinction of being Newberg’s oldest business.

The Graphic was started by a Californian named John C. Hiatt of Whittier, Calif., publisher for many years of the Whittier Graphic.

Hiatt never moved to Newberg. Instead, he gave the paper to his son, Will. In thinking about his future, it didn’t take long for the young man to realize journalism was a bad fit.

The elder Hiatt immediately put the paper up for sale. Local resident Samuel Hobson bought it and turned it over to his son, Frank, and a family friend named O.V. Allen.

By December 1889, the Graphic would change hands again and again until ownership finally stabilized under the direction of Quaker E. H. Woodward, who kept the paper until 1921. This 30-year period was the Graphic’s “golden age,” when its influence over local public opinion was at its greatest.

In 1894, The Yamhill Independent emerged in the community with Newberg Mayor Orm C. Emery as editor. It was owned by the Newberg Printing Company.

Unlike the Graphic, which ran national news on the front page and local news inside, the Independent offered just the opposite. A one-year subscription cost $1.50. Like the Banner, there is no record of when it ceased to print.

Local publisher G.A. Graves introduced his Newberg Enterprise in February 1901. The paper stayed in business until June 13, 1918, when a fire destroyed its First Street office. In the final edition, Graves thanked the Graphic for use of its printing press to produce his paper.

The Newberg Scribe, a Thursday weekly, began publishing in late 1931, under the direction of Editor John D. Burt, formerly of the Carleton Sentinel. He was later joined by Associate Editor Don Woodman, formerly of the Yamhill Spokesman.

In fact, when the Scribe was first introduced, it used Newberg Scribe and Carleton Sentinel as its official name. On Sept. 3, 1936, the Scribe was under the direction of new owners Bob Harper and Dick Dent.

In 1939, Harper sold his interest in the paper to Dent. On April 4, 1940, Dent helped merge the Scribe with the Graphic.

Thus, the Scribe became little more than a memory, except for the name, which appeared for several years during World War II on the Newberg Graphic masthead.

After the war, the Chehalem Valley Times appeared, owned and edited by George Graves and housed in a building on the southeast corner of First and Main streets.

In more recent times, Newberg has enjoyed the Chehalem Valley News, 1949-1952; the Newberg Times, 1983-1984; and the Chehalem News, 1995.

Newberg resident George Edmonston Jr. is the retired editor of OSU’s alumni magazine, the Oregon Stater, and is a frequent contributor of history features to this newspaper. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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