History of The Van Buren Democrat Newspaper

On January 19, 1870, the first issue of the Van Buren Democrat was published at Bonaparte, Iowa, by George F. Smith, who had just graduated from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, and had previous experience as a printer. In 1877 the Van Buren Democrat was moved from Bonaparte to Keosauqua, and later the title of the paper was changed to State Line Democrat. Smith continued as owner until his death in 1921. His widow managed the paper for a year, and after her death it was taken over by A. G. Roberts of Bonaparte who changed its name to the Van Buren Barometer. In 1928 it was absorbed by the Van Buren Record. After the Van Buren Democrat was moved to Keosauqua, John Sterling started the Bonaparte Journal at Bonaparte, which he abandoned a few years later when he moved to Corydon, Wayne County, Iowa, where he started publication of the Wayne County Democrat. In 1890 Roland Shermann and his family established the Record at Bonaparte. Later publishers were H. C. Cook and Bert Smith. A. G. Roberts, the present publisher of the Van Buren Record, bought the paper in 1900. About 1905, the Sherman brothers, Roland and Sidney, returned to Bonaparte and established the Bee, which was later moved to Keosauqua, where it became the Independent. [Transcriber's Note: George F. Smith's wife was Clarissa Jane Johnson (my 1st cousin, twice removed), daughter of William James and Mary Jane Christy Johnson, Jr.] Source: Van Buren County Compiled by workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Iowa [Published, 1940]
Transcribed by Rich Lowe for the Van Buren County IAGenWeb Project - copyright 2007