In an era when the industry was growing exponentially in Russellville with businesses such as a lumber yard, roller mill, general stores and a bank serving the community, the need for a point of sale to sharing stories of local events has grown.
In 1895, Fulton Wilson chose to continue this great business by establishing the first newspaper in Russellville, which will know several owners and survive for over 50 years.
“(Fulton Wilson) informs us that he is making arrangements to begin publishing a newspaper in Russellville… which will be called Russellville Rustler,” the Miller County Autogram-Sentinel reported on May 30, 1895. The newspaper boasted that Wilson, then a resident of Eldon, “… has the capacity to produce a paper which will bring honor to the city.”
Wilson, who was also a pastor in local Christian churches, hired George W. Tremain to fill the role of editor of Russellville Rustler. Recognized as a gifted musician, Tremain was a strong advocate for the community and became a founding member of the Russellville Band, providing musical entertainment at several local events.
Tremain quickly bought the newspaper and took on the roles of owner and editor. In the late summer of 1899, Marcus T. Tremain of Brussells, Illinois took over the publication after his brother decided to become a practicing physician and moved to St. Louis.
According to the 1988 Russellville 150th Anniversary Souvenir Book Printer, after Marcus Tremain bought the Rustler from his brother, he “installed a steam press and a working press.” Also, when he took matters into his own hands, he changed the paper to a four-page homemade print. “
While working to publish a quality journal, Marcus Tremain also taught at the Russellville school and was active in the Modern Woodmen of America (MWA) – a fraternal charitable society. He sold the newspaper in 1903 to take a full-time managerial position with the MWA.
“Editor-in-Chief LL Sullins, of the Russellville Rustler, was in Eldon on Saturday and gave this office a fraternal call,” the Miller County Autogram-Sentinel printed in its November 19, 1903 edition. Rustler in the few months he was in control.
By 1907 B. Ray Franklin had purchased the newspaper, changing the name to Russellville Weekly Rustler and seeking to maintain the quality of local reporting that had been his hallmark over the years. Not only was the Rustler known for sharing local news, but he published stories of national and international significance.
“To the great satisfaction of the present management, the Rustler is no longer seen by the smart people in this section of the state as just a campaign newspaper, but as a county newspaper that gives county events in a fair and impartial manner, ”Franklin printed in the June 7, 1912 edition.
“It is no longer seen as a charity but as a real necessity, and many of its readers say they would forgo all other newspapers coming to their address before they let their favorite newspaper expire.”
Franklin edited and operated the newspaper until 1917 when he moved to Jefferson City and became business director of the Daily Capital News and also secretary of the Missouri Press Association. He later retired from the journalistic profession and built a resort hotel on the Lake of the Ozarks.
The newspaper operated for the next decade as the Central Missouri Leader, encouraging readers to subscribe to the bargain price of $ 1 per year in its print edition on September 26, 1924.
“Some time after 1927 and until 1933, the name Rustler appears to have been used again,” noted the Russellville 150th story. “In 1934, the newspaper had become the Central Missourian with WE Martin as editor-in-chief …”
Martin, who has long been associated with the newspaper industry in addition to being involved in several commercial ventures, ran the Central Missourian for about 15 years, shutting it down in the late 1940s, thus ending the legacy of a newspaper in Russellville.
The building that housed the original Russellville Rustler, located at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Brown Lane, was later demolished and a garage erected on the site by the late Ernie Glover. The garage burned down several years later and a newer shop was built for use by a backhoe service.
There have been attempts to resuscitate a newspaper in the community, including the short-lived Russellville News in the late 1970s and a more recent newsletter called Russellville Rebel.
Famous American comedian Will Rogers once said, “All I know is what I read in the papers.
Presses no longer flow freely with ink in the community of Russellville. But for more than five decades, subscribers to the various iterations of the local newspaper have received their knowledge of activities at the local, state, national and international level through this descending format.
George W. Tremain may have become the second owner of the Russellville Rustler, but as described in the “Illustrated Sketchbook and Directory of Jefferson City and Cole County”, printed in 1900, his imagination and talents in managing such company have helped raise public perception of the community.
“To Mr. Tremain’s four-year residency and his enterprising and well-directed efforts, greatly aided by his publication, Russellville owes much of its current importance and unusual advantages to a village of its size and surroundings.
Jeremy P. Ämick writes on behalf of the Silver Star Families of America.