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Buchanan County's Family Newspaper Since 1922

Thursday, August 24,  2006




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Below is a reproduction of an article on the front page of The Virginia Mountaineer's 75th Anniversary Edition, detailing the facts about our establishment.

The Mountaineer . . . 75 and Counting!

by Cathy St. Clair
News Editor

Keeping County Residents
Informed Since 1922


   It's been 75 years since The Virginia Mountaineer published the first edition of what was billed then -- and is still billed now -- as "Buchanan County's Family Newspaper."
    What started out then as a small four-page weekly newspaper to keep Buchanan County residents aware of the local goings on of the community and as a vehicle for the publication of various legal notices, has grown into an average 24-page weekly newspaper which in 75 years has chronicled the ups, the downs and the inbetweens of Buchanan County and her residents.
    Through floods, fires progress and scandals,
The Virginia Mountaineer has been there to record the events for the now and for future generations to see as well.
    The Mountaineer actually began publication 75 years ago today on May 22, 1922 when Hannibal A Compton combined forces with Cecil C. Waldron to establish the newspaper.

    Since that time, only five editors beginning with Hannibal Compton, have served the Mountaineer. Compton left as editor shortly after the paper was started and Waldron took over. Waldron remained in the post until his death in 1945 at which time W.R. Waldron, Cecil's son, took over and operated the paper until 1951 when the Waldron family sold the paper.
T.J. Holland was the next editor when ownership changed and he remained in that position until his death in 1971. Lodge Compton, son of founding editor Hannibal Compton, took over the paper in 1972 and continues as its publisher and editor today.
    The Mountaineer had at least two forerunners in Buchanan County -- The Sandy Valley News, which was still in existence at the time the paper started and The Messenger, which published before the turn of the century and went out of publication around the year 1900. The Sandy Valley News quit publishing in the late 1920's and the Mountaineer ended

 up purchasing most of that newspaper's equipment.
    "Most weekly newspapers of that day were affiliated with one or the other of the two political parties," Lodge Compton says as he recalls early newspaper history.
    When the Mountaineer first started in 1922, the offices were on the upstairs floor of the old bank building on Main Street, which later was the home of Grundy Drug Co. for many years. It later moved to the Waldron building, near the Slate Creek bridge. At that time, it was where the old Morgan Theater building is now located.
    The newspaper's third home was on lower Main in the vicinity of Thomas Furniture. the newspaper remained there until 1957 after the flood of that year at which time the office was relocated to its current home on East Main Street, next to Rife Chevrolet.
    The Mountaineer has had little in the way of competition from a rival newspaper during its 75-year existence.
    In the late 1930's, The Buchanan Progress came into

being and stayed until shortly after World War II ended.
    Just after World War II, The Grundy Star came into being when Robert Blake, a West Virginia newspaperman set up the paper in Grundy with local partners. The paper later merged with the Mountaineer and the Mountaineer name carried on.
    In the early days, the newspaper was a four-page broadsheet and featured predominantly legal notices, some limited news and personal information as well as obituaries. By the late 1940's it was an eight-page paper and that growth continued until today's average 24-page, two section weekly paper.
    Compton's affiliation with the newspaper began when he was a young boy.
    At that time, the newspaper was in the old Thomas Furniture building. The year was 1944.
    "I started working there in the summer of 1944 at about the age of 11,"Compton recalls. "I was a printer's

story continues here....

The Virginia Mountaineer Stand's In Service to the Local Community


Glimpses of the Past . . .  (From Early Newspaper Files)

August 18, 1900
    The Yellow Popular Lumber Company has    The Yellow Popular Lumber Company has put new life into the town of Grundy. It almost makes one feel like we were located on a railroad.

August 17,1917

The School Boards of Rock Lick District, Buchanan County and Wilis District, Dickenson County, will receive bids until noon, August 27th, 1917, for the erection and completion of a three-room schoolhouse at Jane post office on Grassey Creek. Said building to be erected according to plans and specifications on file in the office of Jas. G. Belcher, clerk of Rock Lick District School Board, Big Rock, Va.

March 14, 1929

The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Big Sandy & Cumberland Railroad Company will be held at the office of the company in Hurley April 8, 1929 at 10 a.m. for the election of directors for the ensuing year. Included will be discussion of the proposed conveyance and assignment to Norfolk and Western Railway Company all of the railroad, property and franchises of the BS&C Company, according to Secretary James L. Hamill.

May 25, 1901
From Davenport, VA. - News is scares this week. Hog and bread is still scarer. FAmers are not all done planting corn yet. There are about eight black-smith shops on Russell's Fork but there is neither anil, tongs, nor hammers in the lot, boys, buy you a set of tools and don't try to sharpen the farmer's plow by holding the plow in your hands and drawing it with an old grub-ax.

December 25, 1924
How would you like to "listen in" at your home every evening from 5 p.m. and on until midnight and hear the latest music , and entertainment from all over the world? This is now possible by the wireless telephone known as the Radio. This discovery has been in use over two years, coming to us as a war invention.

November 13, 1930

    Very little electric energy is now consumed in Buchanan County due to the absence of large communities and industrial concerns. The source of power is at hand, however, for the transmission lines of the Appalachian Power Company traverse the county. This company offers an unlimited and uninterrupted supply of electric current for domestic and industrial uses and stands ready and willing to aid in sponsoring industrial development in the area.

October 10, 1903

Hurley- -- A child of Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Bailery died last week from the effects of the Croup. Three cases of smallpox are reported on Knox. The victims are Willis Blankenship, wife and son. George Charle's family are afflicted with the whooping cough. A Guesses' Fork was postponed for some unknown reason.

December 25, 1924

Jas. S. Mullins, prohibition inspector, and posseman Butler Fleming captured a 50-gallon still and arrested two "Preachers" who were operating it on Mutchinson Hill, Just across the border line in Wise County. The names of the two moonshining "divines" were Floyd Cantrell and Medford Lane. One of them had a Bible, possibly studying his text, as he remarked that it was a shame to have to be put under arrest and prevent them from holding religious services that evening as they had an appointment at a nearby church. The violators of the revenue law were taken to Wise, where they executed bond for their appearance at court to answer the charge.