Courier-Index (Marianna)

The Courier-Index, a newspaper based in Marianna (Lee County), is the oldest continuous business operation in Lee County.

Its roots date back to about 1872 when L. M. Benham is believed to have founded the Marianna Index. J. M. Thomas was the first editor. The Lee County Courier, founded in 1890 by Colonel James Wood, gave the area two newspapers for more than twenty-five years. Herbert M. Jackson purchased the Index and the Courier in 1917 and merged them into the Courier-Index. Jackson published the newspaper until his death in 1934, when his wife, Cordie Jackson, became publisher. She continued to publish the paper until 1937, when she sold it to John B. Howse. Approximately two years later, she resumed ownership of the paper.

Roy H. Caldwell purchased a half interest in the Courier-Index in 1944. In 1949, Caldwell’s son, Marvin B. Caldwell, purchased the remaining half. Roy Caldwell died in 1957, at which time Marvin Caldwell became editor and publisher. When Marvin Caldwell died in 1983, his wife, Dorothy Caldwell, became the newspaper’s publisher.

In September 1985, the Caldwell family sold the newspaper and its office supply business to General Media, Inc., which at the time also owned the Jacksonville Daily News, the McCrory Leader, and the Augusta Advocate. F. D. “Doug” Oliver, executive vice president of General Media, was named publisher of the Courier-Index. Times-Herald Publishing in Forrest City (St. Francis County) purchased the Courier-Index in May 1986. In late 2016, Argent Arkansas News Media purchased the Times-Herald and the Courier-Index.

The Courier-Index is printed each Wednesday at the Times-Herald facility in Forrest City, but it has a business office at 31 S. Poplar Street in Marianna.

Notable writers who contributed to the Courier-Index include lawyer-turned-novelist Grif Stockley and former Arkansas Democrat managing editor Gene Herrington.

For additional information:
“About the Courier-Index (Marianna, Ark.) 1917–Current.” Chronicling America. Library of Congress. (accessed September 8, 2020).

“Argent Media Buys Two State Newspapers.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, December 2, 2016.

“General Media Purchases The Courier-Index.” Courier-Index, September 12, 1985, p. 1.

Meriwether, Robert, W. A Chronicle of Arkansas Newspapers Published Since 1922 and the Arkansas Press Association, 1930–1972. Little Rock: Arkansas Press Association, 1974.

“Times-Herald Purchases Courier-Index.” Courier-Index, May 1, 1986, p. 1.

Stephen Caldwell
WordBuilders, Inc.

Last Updated: 09/08/2020