Willow Creek Journal (NE, 1873)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Willow Creek Farm, Waverly, Nebraska

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, n.d.; author apparently intended to publish more:  No. 1 ends a serialized story with “to be continued”

Size and Format:  Ledger paper, 7.5 x 12 inches; pen and ink; 2 cols., 2 pp.

Editor/Publisher:  Charles A. Pierce, “Editor and Proprietor”

Title Changes and Continuations:  Immediate continuation of the March 1873 (Vol. 1, No. 4) issue of The Experiment

General Description and Notes:

The Willow Creek Journal is an immediate continuation of The Experiment, which was published March 1873.

The Journal contains Chapters 7 and 8 of “Johnny’s Adventures or the life of a boy among the Indians,” a serial story whose first six chapters appeared in The Experiment.  Unlike The Experiment, The Journal‘s first number contains only this story.  A headline for an “Editorial” appears over a single seven inch blank column, but no other news, advertisements or stories appear in the issue.  Only the “Terms” are published on page one:  “One contribution for each number of the paper.”

The motto of the Journal is the same as The Experiment’s, “Progress and Perseverance.”  Both newspapers are self-described as “A family paper, devoted to Literature, Agriculture, News, Family affairs, and General Improvement.”

One of the student editors, Charles A. Pierce, was the son of Charles W. Pierce, a civil war veteran, who was transferred to Demopolis, Alabama in 1866 as a major with the Freedman’s Bureau and District commander of western Alabama.  The senior Pierce served one term in the 41st Congress from Alabama’s fourth district in 1867.  I was during this time that his son, Charles A., began his first handwritten newspaper, The Experiment, at Oakland Hall, Chunchula, Alabama.  In 1872 the family moved to Waverly, Nebraska, where The Experiment, and its successor, Willow Creek Journal were published by Charles A. in 1873.  The Casket appeared in Nebraska in 1875 as a school effort, no doubt with the help of Charles A.

Information Sources:

Bibliography: None

Locations: Charles W. Pierce Papers, Ms. 554, Nebraska State Historical Society, State Archives, Lincoln, NB,

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The Pioneer (NE, 1872)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication: Norfolk, Nebraska

Frequency:  Issued “semi-occasionally”

Volume and Issue Data: Jan. 17, 1872

Size and Format:  Two columns

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown?

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

According to the Federal Writers’ Project guide to Nebraska, The Pioneer was not sold for money, but traded for wheat, potatoes, minkskins, and eggs.  The front page carried Norfolk business “card” advertisements and poetry, with at least one titled, “Women Rights.”

Information Sources:                              

Bibliography:  Federal Writers’ Project, compilers, Nebraska:  A Guide to the Cornhusker State (New York:  The Viking Press, 1939), 134-135; Robert F. Karolevitz, Newspapering in the Old West:  A Pictorial History of Journalism and Printing on the Frontier (New York:  Bonanza Books, 1969), 111

Locations:  NB?; Reprint:  Federal Writers’ Project, compilers, Nebraska:  A Guide to the Cornhusker State (New York:  The Viking Press, 1939),135.

The Experiment (AL, 1870; NE, 1873)

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Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Oakland Hall, Chunchula, Alabama, and Willow Creek Farm, Waverly, Nebraska

Volume and Issue Data:  Monthly; Vol. 1, No. 1, Sept. 30, 1870, Vol. 1, No. 2, Oct. 15, 1870, Oakland Hall, Chunchula, AL; Vol. 1, No. 3 has very similar content and is dated the same as Vol. 1, No. 4, March 1, 1873, Willow Creek Farm, Waverly, NB

Size and Format:  Vol. 1, No. 1:  ledger paper, 22 x 24 in.; Vol. 1, Nos. 2 and 4:  ledger paper, 14 x. 22;  Vol. 1, No. 3:  ledger paper, 7.5 x 12

Editor/Publisher:  Vol. 1, Nos. 1 and 2 (in Alabama):  Chas. A. Pierce, editor, C.A. Caldwell, publisher; Vol. 1, Nos. 3 and 4 (Nebraska):  Charles A. Pierce, editor and proprietor

Title Changes and Continuations:  WILLOW CREEK JOURNAL

General Description & Notes:

The Experiment’s four extant numbers contain a variety of news stories, poems and essays.  Numbers three and four have very similar content, such that the third issue may have been a “draft” or early version of the fourth issue.

Numbers three and four contain an “editorial” which gives some history of the publication:

Two years ago at Oakland Hall, Ala., a paper was published, called ‘The Experiment.’  A few numbers had been issued, when suddenly the Editor was taken sick with a fever, caused by his Editorial labors.

Then, the Publisher went into other business [deserted him].  When the Editor recovered, and inquired for another Publisher, none could be had [found][And so] The publication of the Experiment was therefore suspended for a time.  [And] Now our intent is to continue publishing this paper through the [winter] year of 1873, if not longer.  The motto [is] will be the same as before; “Progress and Perseverence [sic].”  See Prospectus for Winter of 1872-1873 in [on third Page] another column.  Will all of the inhabitants of Willow Creek Farm give us their assistance?  [Note:  Boldface text appears only in No. 3; italic text appears only in No. 4; all other text is common to both issues]

The prospectus referred to in the editorials in both numbers notes that because spring work is coming, “we cannot publish regular issues all along during the Spring and Summer, but will try and publish one by the end of February, and once in a while one, until Fall” (Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 3, col. 1).

A serialized story about “Johnny’s Wanderings” (also titled “Johnny’s Adventures, or the life of a boy among the Indians” in Nos. 3 and 4) appears in all the numbers.  A “Synopsis” of the story appears in No. 3 (but not No. 4, although the Prospectus promises one) “so as the old readers of the story (who may have forgotten the part of it published in the No’s. 1&2 in 1870) as well as the new, may understand what follows” (Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 3, col. 1).  A note in small script appears above the title for the “Johnny” story in No. 3:  “All the articles of this paper are entirely original except those of this department.”

The first number identifies the “Rules” for reading and writing for the paper:

1st–No one except the Editor, Proof Reader and Publisher shall look at ‘The Experiment’ without writing an article for the same for every number.

2d–All articles for ‘The Experiment’ must be written in a plain hand, whi8ch can be easily read by the Editor.

3d–Articles for publication must be handed in before noon of the day previous to that on which the paper is issued.

4th–No one allowed to peep in the Editor’s drawer, or endeavor to read articles before they are published.  –Ed.

The editor, Charles A. Pierce, was the son of Charles W. Pierce, a civil war veteran, who was transferred to Demopolis, Alabama in 1866 as a major with the Freedman’s Bureau and District commander of western Alabama.  The senior Pierce served one term in the 41st Congress from Alabama’s fourth district in 1867.  It was during this time that his son, Charles A., began his first handwritten newspaper, THE EXPERIMENT, at Oakland Hall, Chunchula, Alabama.  In 1872 the family moved to Waverly, Nebraska, where THE EXPERIMENT, and its successor, WILLOW CREEK JOURNAL were published by Charles A in 1873.  THE CASKET appeared in Nebraska in 1875 as a school effort, no doubt with the help of Charles A.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Nebraska State Historical Society, State Archives, Lincoln, NB, Charles W. Pierce papers, Ms. 554

The Casket (NE, 1875)

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The Casket (NE, 1875)

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Prospect Hill School (District 75), Waverly, Lancaster County, Nebraska

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol.1, No. 1, Jan. 22, 1875

Vol. 1, No. 2, Feb. 19, 1875

Vol. 1, No. 3, March 19, 1875

Size and Format:  Ledger paper, 7.75 x 12 inches; pen and ink; 2 cols.

Editor/Publisher:  Students, including Charles A. Pierce

Title Changes and Continuations:  See THE EXPERIMENT and WILLOW CREEK JOURNAL may have been precursors to The Casket

General Description & Notes:

The Casket contains short news items, editorials anecdotes and student “compositions.”  The weather apparently was of concern in all three extant numbers because of a bitter cold spell.

The editorial in the first number explains the circumstances of the new publication:

We come into your presence this afternoon, to make our first bow, in the editorial line, and hope that you will take our paper.  When it was announced, a couple of weeks ago, that “our school” was to have a paper, many were the disheartening exclamations, and hints that it would be a second rate sort of thing, if it did come out.

The Casket (NE, 1875)

We were not discouraged, however, for we had confidence in our contributors; but we were surprised by the number of articles which came pouring in.  Instead of our first number being a four or eight page paper, as we expected; we are enabled to issue a first class sixteen-page one, which we know exceeds the expectations of any of us.  Our motto is “Excelisor,” as you may see, and we will try to improve with every number, instead of retrograding, as some papers do.  As a last word, we ask you to keep on supporting use, as you did have this time, and we will soon be able to challenge any paper of this kind in the state, to excel us.

One of the student editors, Charles A. Pierce, was the son of Charles W. Pierce, a civil war veteran, who was transferred to Demopolis, Alabama in 1866 as a major with the Freedman’s Bureau and District commander of western Alabama.  The senior Pierce served one term in the 41st Congress from Alabama’s fourth district in 1867.  I was during this time that his son, Charles A., began his first handwritten newspaper, THE EXPERIMENT, at Oakland Hall, Chunchula, Alabama.  In 1872 the family moved to Waverly, Nebraska, where THE EXPERIMENT, and its successor, WILLOW CREEK JOURNAL were published by Charles A in 1873.  THE CASKET appeared in Nebraska in 1875 as a school effort, no doubt with the help of Charles A.

The Casket (NE, 1875)

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Nebraska State Historical Society, State Archives, Lincoln, NB, Charles Pierce papers, Ms. 554

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