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Splits, controversies color early history of Carbon's newspapers

Sun Advocate publisher

When J. Dexter Smith came to the Eastern Utah Advocate in 1895 along with S. H. Brownlee, few Carbon County residents could have known how the whole thing would end.

After the arrests of the editor and publisher, Brownlee's escape from justice, a court battle and several physical altercations between the two, the Eastern Utah Advocate was taken over by Clarence Marsh and Smith became an editor looking for a job by 1898.

That is about the time the Carbon County News appeared on the scene, indicate some history analysts.

Stories about how the paths diverged varies depending on the historians who have researched and reported the subject.

In Utah Press Association, A Century Later, book author Jim Cornwell maintains that the Carbon County News did not appear in the area until more than 10 years later in May 1907.

Yet in a 1962 master's thesis titled A History of the Price Sun Advocate, Edith Allred indicated the Salina Sun reported on July 21, 1898 that "The Carbon County News is a new paper which has just been been born at Price. J.D. Smith is the new sire - dam unknown."

That last piece of news, published in The Sun, was written by a person who should have known what was going on with Dexter Smith since the editor of the newspaper at the time was his brother, Howard Smith.

However, records and archives don't support Howard Smith's claim.

The archives at colleges in the area and on the Utah Digital Newspaper site from the University of Utah show no published issues earlier than 1907 of the Carbon County News.

Regardless, there was other competition in the market during all the rigmarole with the Advocate.

Prior to the demise of Smith, another small paper had cropped up that was called the Castle Valley News.

The publication had a run of nearly three years from July 1895 until it was finished by 1898. The publisher was John V. Long. No known existing copies of the newspaper remain for examination.

March was running the Advocate, but his history with the paper was short lived.

In August 1898, Robert and John Crockett took over the paper. At the time, they seemed like two members of a long line of short lived publishers.

But in the end, the Crocketts would have more effect on publishing in eastern Utah than another other individuals in the first 40 years of newspapers in the area.

For the nine years, they commanded the area's news market with the Advocate and the launch of the Emery County Progress' in 1900.

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