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Edited by Charles Edwin "C. E." Gilbert


The first issue of The Matagorda News made its first appearance in Matagorda on August 15, 1912. The paper was published on Thursdays and the subscription rate was $1/year. The editor, C. E. Gilbert, made the following announcement in that first issue.



The town of Matagorda, one of the oldest in Texas, has been for sometime without a newspaper. The older settlers being satisfied with their comfortable homes and delightful surroundings, not desiring to sell and caring little for the hustle, bustle and progress which characterizes the growth of new towns, have been content in the enjoyment of their good business and happy surroundings. So, while railroads developed country to the north and other towns grew up mid progress and prosperity they looked good to the younger Matagordans, who are now up and doing. They have organized a Board of Trade and secured the establishment of a newspaper to carry to the outside world her announcement of the advantage of our town and section and the opportunities for the investor, and to convey her invitation to others to come and join in the development of our rich resources and enjoy a home in the most delightful section of our great State.

The MATAGORDA NEWS greets you with no extravagant promises, preferring to let each issue speak for itself, but will endeavor to at all times be a fair reflex of the social and business life of the town and a faithful chronicler of the week's news. Being Democratic, it will at all times earnestly strive to contribute to those measures for the benefit of the public, respecting and supporting the will of the people expressed in our laws; and work for the development of the town's varied resources and to the welfare and happiness of her people. To that end we hope for and are confident of the cooperation of the people of Matagorda and the country adjacent."


Gilbert published the paper under that name until June 27, 1913. On July 4, 1913, the name was changed to The Matagorda News and Midcoast Farmer. Friday became the publishing day and the subscription rate was increased to $1.50/year.

Shortly after the farming portion of the paper was added, Mr. Gilbert began visiting farmers in the area and began his column, "Among the Farmers." Although he appeared to be on a mission to gather more subscribers, he included valuable details in his column of genealogical significance. Many references included the farmer's previous residence and when he moved to Matagorda County. Most of his farming columns for 1913 and 1914 are included in this issue of Oak Leaves.


Gilbert's base of operation was moved from Matagorda to Bay City at the beginning of 1914 and his first issue of The Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer was published on January 16, 1914. This article was included in that first issue.


The NEWS AND MIDCOAST FARMER published the last year and a half at Matagorda, makes it appearance this week from Bay City. To the good people of Matagorda and the Southern half of the county the editor feels grateful for a fair advertising and good circulation. That year and a half with those genial people on the delightful shore of Matagorda Bay will ne'er be forgot.


The one object in moving the publication to the county set was to secure the large field. Here at the commercial, official and population centre of the county, are many advantages which can be utilized to the increased value of the paper and consequently the benefit s well as interest of the subscriber. To this end we propose to make a full and complete county newspaper, one which will find a welcome each week in every home in the county.


We come on our own volition--a knowledge of the newspaper business, and that EVERY LIVE TOWN of over 4,000 people NEEDS and has room for two good newspapers. We expect to be one of them,--notwithstanding discouragements at the start.


We realize fully that it is between seasons, the merchant is busy taking stock, and the town is drying out from the recent damp spell. But in due season when they are ready and the management of the NEWS-FARMER has more time to see them, we are confident that this paper will be used by them and its advertising columns be fully representative of the live progressive town it really is.


In the meantime we shall send out several hundred extras as sample copies, and invite every citizen who likes the paper to call and subscribe for it."


Gilbert began publishing the paper as a semi-weekly on January 4, 1915 and continued at least until June 29, 1917. The microfilm holdings at the Bay City Public Library end with that issue.


One other interesting note is the change of editors and most likely owners when the first issue of the Matagorda County News and New Era, Consolidated appeared on July 18, 1918. C. C. McDaniel was the new editor and manager and McDaniel Printing Company was the publisher. The subscription rate was $1/year and the paper boasted that it had the "Largest Circulation of any paper in Matagorda County."


All of the issues mentioned above are available on microfilm at the Bay City Public Library and the Center For American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Charles Edwin Gilbert Family

Among the Farmers Columns


Copyright 2005 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Feb. 8, 2005
Feb. 9, 2007