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August 12, 1921-- Front Page

Early Day Newspaper in

Little Lost Hand Written

    Little Lost River valley was one of the few communities in Idaho that boasted a weekly newspaper in the early days.  George Walker was reminiscent the other day and recounted the trial and tribulations of the first newspaper adventure at     Howe. The paper was called as near as he can remember, "The Rag of Freedom", and was edited by  Marsh Orr. The publication had a short but hectic career during the fall and winter months of 1887.

    Mr. Orr, the editor, came to Little Lost River valley from Missouri. His father was a district judge in the "Show me" state, and according to the father's plans, young Marsh was to be a lawyer. Two years in college convince the young man that studying law was not to his liking, so he "pulled out" for the west.

    He took a job as foreman on the Ed Hawley ranch. He punched cattle and made himself generally useful. He like the west and its environs and decided to stay. Being ambitious and having a literary mind, he conceived the idea of publishing a weekly paper in this frontier settlement. It made its appearance during the winter of '87. Circulation was limited to two copies weekly and to overcome the expense of type and machinery, the issues were written in longhand.

    Every Friday night the natives gathered at Howe store to hear the week's chronology of important events. Usually someone with a stentorian voice was called upon to read the paper to the assembled cowboys and ranchers and it contained items and editorial comment all the way from social affairs to politics. Orr was a a Populist,-- one of the old timers referred to him, as a "Howling Populist", and he never overlooked the opportunity to expound the theories advocated by this party.

   The editor was also a cartoonist of no mean ability and brightened  the pages of is publication by illustrating the more important articles with pen sketches. Although the paper was limited to two issues per week, its readers numbered a couple of hundred, as after it had been read by the assembled cowpunchers and ranchmen at the store, it was sent from house to house throughout the valley.

    The paper was destined to play no little part in the affairs of the valley. Soon after he quit his job at the Hawley ranch the editor wrote an article about water troubles along Little Lost river and later when the case was tried in court at Blackfoot, " The Ray of Freedom", was used as evidence against Hawley.  The paper may be in the musty files of early day law suits of Bingham county, even at this date.

    Ed Sands, who lived on what is now Knollin ranch, shipped in a carload of pure bred Shorthorn bulls in the fall of '87. Sands, so the story goes, did not fully realize the value of the pure breeds and during the winter months economized on their hay bill, by practically starving them to death. In the spring half of them had died and Orr devoted much of one issue (one of the last) to depicting in cartoon the large stacks of hay still standing while around the stack yards were carcasses of cattle. Their Pedigrees caused considerable amusement, much to the embarrassment of Sands.

    Orr became embroiled in a love affair at Blackfoot, and to emphasize his demand that a rival quit paying attention to a certain girl, brought into play a six- shooter and a buggy whip. The "hated rival" was kept at bay one night while Orr proceeded to give him a beating with a buggy whip.

    Later, Orr went to Muldoon where he engaged in partnership with his father in the sheep business. He was a typical frontiersman and had certain characteristics by which he was kept constantly in the public eye. One time a stranger asked him what his business was. He replied, "A one- horse horseman, a one- horse sheepman and a one- horse howling Populist."  He met a tragic and unexpected death. While opening a can of tomatoes he cut his hand. Blood poison developed and he was taken to  Blackfoot. Death claimed him in a few days.

 

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