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The Press Argus-Courier is a twice-weekly newspaper in Van Buren, Ark., serving Crawford County in western Arkansas. Stephens Media owns the Press Argus-Courier. We are located at 100 N. 11th St. in Van Buren. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Press Argus-Courier history
The Press Argus-Courier, Arkansas’ oldest weekly newspaper, can trace its roots to 1858. From the time the Van Buren Press was established until J. S. Dunham's death in August 1912, no other name appeared as editor, proprietor or publisher, a record very few papers can claim.
The equipment from the Van Buren Press was destroyed by fire in December 1892 but only missed two issues.
The editor of the Press was fearless in his writing. He was not easily swayed for what he thought was right, regardless of the influences brought upon him or what the outcome would be.
The political ideas of the paper were characterized by conservatism. It did however mold the public opinion during the unsettled affairs of the state. During the Brooks and Baxter war, this paper was the only one in Northwest Arkansas to champion the Baxter cause, according to the History of Crawford County.
When Dunham was in Washington his son, Starr Dunham and Mr. Carl Schuppe had charge of the publication of the paper. After the death of Starr, Mr. Schuppe had entire charge.
After Mr. Dunham's death, Mr. R. S. Knott published the paper for a time until his retirement. His son, Clifford Knott ran the paper until 1914 when Frank Anderson purchased it.
In 1875, George Thayer and his brother-in-law, John Cass started the Van Buren Argus. "The Van Buren Argus was a child of the Brooks and Baxter Wars," according to the History of Crawford County. This paper was formed to oppose the position taken by the Van Buren Press. It was the organ standing for the Brooks position. Granville Wilcox was the editor. It made its first issue, a seven-column folio, on Christmas day of 1875. As the times were changing so were the formats of the newspapers. This paper became a "news"-paper and an exponent of the new development of the county.
Mr. Wilcox's connection with the Argus was severed in 1885, a few months previous to his death, and the Thayer Bothers assumed control of all departments. The publishers and proprietors following Thayer and Cass, were G. C. Thayer, in 1879; John A. Thayer, 1880; and Thayer and Ibbotson, in 1882.
The Daily Argus, a consolidation of the Van Buren Press and the Van Buren Argus then appeared in 1897. Frank Anderson was the editor.
In 1909 the Thayer Brothers gave control of the Weekly and the Daily Argus to Mr. Frank Anderson, who had been editor of the paper for twelve years. The Daily sold in 1913 to Mr. R. B. Holbrook who discontinued the Daily as it was a losing proposition. In June 1913 Mr. Anderson bought back the plant and resumed the publication of the Daily Argus. Again, in January 1917 the daily was discontinued but opened again in May of the same year and continued until April 1918. On Nov. 30, 1919, Phillips and Scudder revived the Daily-Press Argus. In 1920, Anderson again became editor of the paper until June 1921 when the paper was forced to suspend publication.
In 1924, Carl Schuppe and Mr. Anderson became associated in the publication of the Press-Argus. Anderson sold the paper to Hugh and J. C. Park on Nov. 1, 1927. According to the History of Crawford County, "the paper became one of the most widely read and well known weekly newspaper of America."
Iverson Riggs founded the Van Buren Shopping News with Edgar R. Ramey in 1954. Riggs was the publisher of the Van Buren Shopping News for 31 years.
In 1957 Riggs became the sole owner of the paper and changed the name to the Crawford County Courier. He started buying offset equipment at this time. The paper was being printed by the Rogers Daily although it was composed in Van Buren.
Riggs was a community oriented man. While he was editor of the Courier he was also a city councilman and a school board member.
In 1968, Paul Brant joined the Courier after 13 years of experience with Donrey Publishing in Fort Smith.
In 1969, the Courier plant was opened and the publication was a bi-weekly.
Riggs sold the Courier Publishing Co. to Gene Fields. Before the paper consolidated with the Press Argus, it had a circulation of over 16,000, more than any other newspaper in the county.
In 1985 the Press Argus and Courier merged and became the Press Argus-Courier.
In 1988, the Press Argus-Courier sold to Westward Communication, which sold to Donrey in 1996 and finally to Stephens Media, the current owners, in 2001. Publisher is Gene Kincy and editor is Kenneth Fry. The paper is annually judged one of the best in the state in the Arkansas Press Association competition.