By Chuck Lanehart | Lubbock Avalance-Journal
Editor’s Note: Jack Becker is the editor of Caprock Chronicles and is a librarian at Texas Tech University Libraries. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s article about early South Plains newspapers is the first of a two-part series by Chuck Lanehart, Lubbock attorney and historian.
When Old Lubbock and Monterey merged to form the village of Lubbock in early 1891, there was no local newspaper to chronicle the event. Soon, young lawyer Robert E. Lee Rogers left the fading community of Estacado and scrambled to establish a weekly newspaper, the Lubbock Leader.
Rogers probably knew the value of a good local periodical, as Estacado was the home of the original South Plains newspaper, the Crosby County News, first published in November of 1886. John Watts Murray, a 44-year-old Confederate Civil War veteran, moved a small printing plant from Ford County to establish the venture.
In a county of less than 800 souls, the News was dependent on advertising support from Colorado City and Amarillo, towns more than 100 miles away. The News became the pioneer booster of the Plains. Several hundred copies of the News were mailed each week to all parts of the country. Cattlemen objected to the newspaper’s glowing promotion of agricultural opportunity, hoping to slow South Plains settlement and the end of the range. The News moved to the new county seat at Emma in about 1891.