Forrest City Times

Among the early businesses in Forrest City (St. Francis County) was the Forrest City Times (1871–1919), established by Thomas Fleming Oury Sr. the year the town was incorporated. Oury sold the weekly newspaper to Thomas J. Hicks in 1885 and left Forrest City to work in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1886, T. J. Hicks sold it to Edward Lincoln Vadakin. Vadakin’s father-in-law, Colonel Edwin Landvoigt, soon joined Vadakin as a co-proprietor/publisher and senior editor. During their tenure, the Times absorbed a competing newspaper, the Forrest City Democrat (1877–1887) and, in 1891, switched the day of publication from Saturday to Friday. A few years after Vadakin’s death in 1915, the newspaper consolidated with the Forrest City Herald (1917–1919) and became the Forrest City Times and Herald (1919–193?). A stock company was assembled to run the newspaper in 1918, with John T. Durst as president and general manager and Landvoigt as vice president. Throughout twenty-seven years of publication, the Times varied in size between four and twelve pages, with advertisements for December holiday shopping occasionally bringing its page count to eighteen.

Typically, content included local, state, and national news, plus a fictional story. Select international news was included, and by the start of World War I in 1914, that conflict became a prominent subject of the newspaper. The railroad was important to the economy of Forrest City, and alleged freight discrimination in the form of inequitable freight rates became a problem in the late nineteenth century. In November 1894, a public remonstrance meeting was held against the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad Company, and a committee, with Vadakin as secretary, pushed for legal protection against unjust freight rates, which led to the formation of the Arkansas Railroad Commission in 1899. Politically, the newspaper was Democratic, and the October 8, 1887, issue stated, “The Times is, and has always been, and hopes ever to be, thoroughly Democratic. It has ever supported the Democratic nominees, and has always been sought after by the leading politicians.”

In 1919, the stock company under Durst and Landvoigt consolidated the Forrest City Times with the Forrest City Herald to create the Forrest City Times-Herald. The paper was a bi-weekly paper until 1931, when it began to be published as a daily edition. In 1943, Fred N. McCollum purchased the paper from Durst. McCollum published the paper until his death in 1963, when his son Trent Bonner McCollum took ownership. In 2016, McCollum sold the paper to Argent Arkansas News Media and retained the role of publisher emeritus. The paper continued to publish a daily edition, becoming one of the few daily print newspapers left in the state. In 2024, it began printing twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Beginning in 2017, the Arkansas Digital Newspaper Project (ADNP) team at the Arkansas State Archives partnered with the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), to digitize historic Arkansas newspapers, including the Forrest City Times.

For additional information:
Allsopp, Frederick W. History of the Arkansas Press for a Hundred Years and More. Little Rock: Parke-Harper Publishing Co., 1922.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1890.

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

Times-Herald.” Chronicling America, Library of Congress. (accessed May 8, 2024).

Times-Herald. (accessed May 8, 2024).

Staff of the Arkansas Digital Newspaper Project
Arkansas State Archives

 A version of this entry was initially published on both the website of the Arkansas State Archives and the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America project and is used here with permission.


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