Green Forest Tribune

In 1889, Herbert Spencer Holden purchased the Arkansas Tomahawk (1888–1889) newspaper plant in Green Forest (Carroll County) and used the equipment to establish the Green Forest Tribune in 1890. Holden published the eight-page paper on Thursdays with no stated political affiliation. In 1891, it came under the ownership of Bertie B. Eslinger and George Camp, who labeled the paper as politically independent. Later that year, Willis Caswell Russell and son Jesse Lewis Russell took over the paper, beginning the Russell family’s long tenure at the Tribune.

The Russells continued the Tribune as a paper with an independent political stance, but they changed it to four-page issues. In 1895, Andrew Jackson Russell, brother of Jesse Russell, took over as editor for their father. Though the Tribune was listed in the newspaper directory as an independent publication, other Arkansas newspapers called the Tribune the leading Republican paper. From 1899 to 1900, Martin Butler Russell, brother of Andrew and Jesse Russell, wrote letters back to his brothers about his service in the Philippine-American War, which they published in the Tribune.

In 1905, the Russells sold the paper to Edward Clarence Cooper, who began publishing the Tribune on Saturdays with a Democratic slant. In 1907, Cooper sold the Tribune back to Jesse Russell, who returned the paper to being politically non-partisan. In 1911, Martin Russell took charge of the paper while Jesse was away temporarily. In a newspaper interview, Martin reminisced about the old newspaper days when there were prolific crimes to write about, such as stagecoach robberies, shootouts, and moonshiners coming to town with barrels of “shine.” While in charge of the paper, Martin changed the publication day to Fridays.

Jesse Russell returned to the paper and continued as editor until 1914. When he retired, the Arkansas Democrat wrote that he was regarded as one of the best newspapermen in the state and the oldest Republican editor.

In 1914, the Tribune was consolidated with the Green Forest Sentinel (1914–1914), after Sentinel owner Charles C. Reed bought the Tribune. The paper continued to publish under the Tribune title, since the Sentinel was just a few months old and did not have a following like the Tribune. The next year, Reed sold the Tribune to Lee Hewitt Smith and Margaret Elizabeth (Margie) Russell Smith, sister of the Russell brothers. Margie Smith continued the family tradition of running the Tribune.

In 1919, the Smiths sold the paper to Ertie Otis Allred, who had J. C. Pinkerton act as editor. This ended the Russell family’s reign over the Green Forest Tribune. Allred held the paper for over ten years, then sold it in 1933 to William King Wharton, who continued to publish the paper until 1947 when he sold it to T. E. and Margaret Larimer. In 1972, Larimer changed the name of the paper to the Carroll County Tribune. In 1988, the Larimer family sold the paper to the Berryville Star Progress, which discontinued the Tribune.

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 Green Forest Tribune.

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

Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Northwest Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.

Green Forest Tribune.” Chronicling, America, Library of Congress. (accessed December 15, 2023).

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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