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Front Page » April 15, 2010 » Carbon County News » News still continued throughout the Great Depression
Published 1,649 days ago

News still continued throughout the Great Depression


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

If there was big news during the 1930s it was the depression. Everywhere anyone went it was a huge topic of conversation.

It started with the stock market fall of October 1929, and reached into the depths of despair in the mid-30s as the (drought-caused) dust bowl in the southwest added to the downturn of a nation trying to fight off the worst financial situation in its history.

Against this background, the Sun Advocate became what it was in little Price, Utah, a town of 6,000 at the time.

Mergers and buyouts over the years had led to the final consolidation of the towns newspapers at the end of 1932 when Joseph Ashbury took the two remaining papers in town, knocked their heads together and created one.

So, for a few months into 1933 the owner of the paper was a man who lived in Richfield and also owned the Richfield Reaper; a forshadowing of today's situation where the Reaper and Sun Advocate would fall under the same ownership along with the Emery County Progress, Uintah Basin Standard and Vernal Express.

In those early days, while Ashbury mostly worked in other places, Val Cowles acted as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

His stories, along with his reporters continued to reflect life in eastern Utah, some of it a direct result of a poor economy, other incidents that reflected life in any town at almost any time.

.In those days deaths from such things as pneumonia and other diseases were often reported on the front page.

More often though death would come from accidents - industrial and civic. Almost weekly someone died in some kind of accident in the county. In the first six months of 1933 a number of people died on roads in the area.

One, a local man drove a delivery truck off what was to become Highway 10, killing him. Another young man was riding on the running boards of a Model "A" Ford heading north from Green River when the young lady driving the car veered into the other lane and he was scrapped off the car and thrown to the pavement by another vehicle causing almost instant death.

In June, a lumber yard in Helper burned to the ground, although fire crews were able to contain the fire to the lumber yard itself and not the merchantile building itself.

The business, a subsidiary of Smoot Lumber of Provo, was largely saved because crews from surrounding communities were able to lend support to the Helper fire fighters.

A garage nearby was damaged heavily. There was no report on how it started.

Crime was a problem too. In mid-June a rancher named Kanakis Gianoulakis turned himself in to Sheriff S.M. Bliss after in incident involving an attack on another man named William Endrews. Charged with assault with intent to commit murder his bail was set at $2,500.

Endrews, who leased a ranch from Gianoulakis, claimed that he had been accused by his landlord of killing five of the owner's sheep.

An argument ensued and Gianoulakis attempted to hit Endrews with a sheep's hook. Endrews rushed Gianoulakis and knocked him down. Gianoulakis "then offered to make peace" and Endrews began to walk away.

After a short distance he turned around and Gianoulakis had a gun pointed at him, which he fired and then attacked him with the sheep's hook - again.

The sheriff's office got involved when Endrews showed up at the Price Hospital and he told them his story. Somehow Endrews had survived a shot to the groin and through both his legs, as well as a sheep's hook to the head.

The Depression added more news to the area when it was reported that 14 camps for the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal recovery program for unemployed men, would be located in Utah, and at least two of them would be coming to the eastern Utah area.

One of the first projects that discussions began to dwell on about what the inhabitants of these camps could work on was flood control.

Sites where there had been problems in Willow Creek were being looked over for work because overgrazing had reportedly occurred there.

By July of 1933, 118 local men were participating in CCC projects in Uintah County and Joe's Valley in Emery County. The crews were doing various improvements such as building roads, culverts and other kinds of projects.

It was a dark time in American history as more and more people were thrown out of work. And the worst had not come yet.

Still, the Sun Advocate held on even with advertising revenues down and subscriptions being cancelled because people couldn't afford them any longer.

Newspapers were often purchased than passed around a neighborhood or even on the street corner where people gathered to talk.

Ashbury held onto the paper for a little over two years before he finally had to let go of it in a sale to Cowles and Hal MacKnight.

It was the worst of the Depression, yet somehow the pair managed for the next few years to get it through the financial morass and stories of ongoing tragedy not only across the nation, but in the local area as well.

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