Local newspaper should keep on rolling

By Don McAlavy: Curry historian

The first newspaper in Clovis was the Clovis News, a weekly, published by Arthur E. Curren, who was born in New Mexico and whose father, James E. Curren, probably started more newspapers in New Mexico than any other person.

Among those publications pioneered by Mr. Curren were the Raton Range, the Socorro Chieftain, the Kingston Shaft, Deming Headlight, to mention some of them.

The first issue of the Clovis News was in 1907, and was published just across the alley west of Phil Lyons’ Antlers Hotel. Arno Rodes, of Rodes Mens’ Store, owns the property now, along with a lot of other property in Clovis and Curry County.

Harry Armstrong published the first daily newspaper in Clovis. It was a give-away paper. He called it the Clovis Post, and his slogan was “Get down and hitch.”

The paper didn’t last long, and Armstrong didn’t either.

The Clovis Journal was started by Thomas J. Mabry, who came here to from Kentucky. He filed on a claim near St. Vrain.

He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and has the distinction of being the only citizen to serve New Mexico in all three branches of government. He was a member of the first State Legislature, as Senator from Curry County.

Later, he served as a member and chief justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico, and then served two terms as Governor of the Sunshine State. For a matter of 20 years or so, we rocked along with two good weekly newspapers.

Ed Manson, our genial, courteous present postmaster, had the Clovis News, and Jack Hull and his father, E. E. Hull, had the Journal.

In 1929, Mack Stanton, father of Mrs. Bill Bomar, brought both weeklies and came out with the daily, Clovis News Journal and, under the direction of Charles Fischer, publisher, we have a daily paper that we are proud of.

One weekly is published in Curry County.

Earlier this month, September of this year, 2009, I heard that Sharna Johnson, a CNJ staff writer, wrote a story telling about the Freedom Communications, parent company of Freedom New Mexico, that had filed petition for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but said operations aren’t expected to change.

Freedom, founded by the Hoiles family of Santa Ana, California, in 1935, owns 33 dailies, 70 weeklies and other publications, and eight television stations. Sounds like the Freedom owners have made efforts to restructure the company’s 770 million debt.

I sure hope the Clovis News Journal continues to operate, as I for one love this newspaper! Keep it rolling.

Being an old-timer, I haven’t the time to do columns for newspapers here in Florida! Editor David Stevens, you have always been a good friend!