A week or two has passed since the Medicine Lodge Cresset celebrated the completion of its twenty-first year by getting out a souvenir number. It was filled with pictures of homes and ranch scenes and men who have made a success out in that country. It had well written articles showing the development, wealth and resources of the county and altogether was a paper that the people of Medicine Lodge and Barber County ought to be proud of. No better special editions have been gotten up anywhere than this special edition of the Medicine Cresset.
The writer feels proud of it because the Cresset is the paper on which he got his first newspaper training.
The Cresset was born out of trouble. It was the successor to the Barber County Mail, which had a brief but stormy existence of ten months. It might have lasted longer, but the editor was accused of loving another man's wife not wisely but too well. There were several parties about the town who were filled with virtuous indignation on account of the conduct of the editor. They had never been suspected of having virtuous indignation before, but for some reason and another they did not like the editor any too well on account of things he printed in his paper and this seemed like an opportune time to show virtuous indignation. They accordingly took the editor out on the prairie and spent a couple of hours in demonstrating to him that the laws of propriety could not be violated with impunity in that town. They had no tar, but there was an abundance of thick, ropy sorghum which they used as a substitute. They were also short on feathers, but there was the curly buffalo grass which answered the purpose. They mixed the sorghum and buffalo grass and smeared it over the person of the moulder of thought and then they placed him astride of a cedar rail and carried him around in the soft night air.
When they got tired they sat him down and told him that it would be better for him to go away. The editor agreed with them that it would and sold his office and good will. His good will just then would not have been quoted high in the market reports, but he let it go with the rest of the stock.
Out of the ruins of the Barber County Mail arose the Cresset. At first nobody in Kansas seemed to have heard of the name Cresset. The exchanges persisted in calling it the Crescent. The Kansas editors seemed to be laboring under the impression that the paper was being published by a couple of Turks. If they had read Milton carefully they would have seen the significance of the name. They would have found that cressets were used by Satan to light up his palace after he had organized his rebellion, had been chucked out of heaven, and organized a kingdom of his own.
The inference might be drawn from this that the Cresset was a hades of a paper, but this would be a mistake. It has always been run on a high moral plane, and it may also be said that it has always been fairly prosperous. We hope that it may continue to grow and prosper for a century to come.
Thomas Allen McNeal
When Kansas Was Young by Thomas Allen McNeal.
Search results for references to Cresset on the Barber County, Kansas: History and Genealogy website. It is mentioned on 106 pages as of 18 March 2007.
Thomas Allen McNeal published most of the early poems of Scott Cummins, and renamed him "The Pilgrim Bard" in place of "The Bone Pilgrim" as Cummins (who was a former buffalo hunter who had been working as a buffalo bone collector) called himself.
Musings of the Pilgrim Bard: A Book of Poems by Scott Cummins. The entire book may be read online or downloaded as a pdf file for printing.
Thanks to Phyllis Scherich for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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