Home News (McCrory)
Walter Wilson Raney, an enterprising newspaper publisher, is credited with helping shape McCrory (Woodruff County) into a business center. Raney founded the Home News in McCrory in 1915, establishing the News as a Democratic paper published on Fridays. Raney printed on the masthead that the paper was “edited in the interest of McCrory and Woodruff County” and wrote in the first issue that citizens had solicited him to “give us a home paper.” In 1918, for printing the News, Raney installed the first and only typesetting machine in the county.
Raney had begun his newspaper career in the printing office of the Woodruff County News (1901–1910), run by Gustave W. Kramer. After working for the Woodruff County News for two years, Raney left to be assistant postmaster. He later purchased interest in the Woodruff County News, which Charles M. James was running at the time. In 1909, he sold his interest and moved to Corning (Clay County). Raney returned to McCrory just three months later to run the Woodruff County News. Finally, Raney started his own paper, the McCrory Enterprise, in 1911, working as the publisher and editor. After Raney discontinued the Enterprise, there were no other newspapers in McCrory until Raney created the Home News.
In addition to his newspaper publications, Raney served as mayor of McCrory, county judge, state representative, and state senator. Dallas Tabor Herndon, first director of the Arkansas History Commission (now the Arkansas State Archives) and author of the three-volume Centennial History of Arkansas, wrote that Raney was “a most stalwart champion of the Democratic principles.” Raney inherited his father’s undertaking business, which he ran as the only licensed embalmer in Woodruff County. He was the first person to have a motor hearse in the county. Raney also owned and managed the Jewel Theatre, a motion-picture house, and the only billiard hall in town. These businesses, along with Raney’s newspapers, contributed to the development of McCrory and its establishment as a business center.
Raney ended the Home News in 1922. The next year, he started the Arkansas Central Leader (1923–1960), which became his longest-running paper.
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 Home News.
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. Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Eastern Arkansas. Chicago, St. Louis: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1890.
“Home News.” Chronicling America, Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90050115/ (accessed November 1, 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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