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Editor avoids the ‘armed assassin’

By Staff | May 26, 2019

“Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us. Happy birthday dear Faribault County Register, happy birthday to us!”

That is right. The Faribault County Register is having a birthday this coming Wednesday, May 29. And, it is a big one. The big 1-5-0.

But then, maybe you already knew that.

A story in our Community Focus magazine last month detailed the history of the FCR, and how we trace our roots back through the years of various ownerships and newspaper names to when W.W. Williams and M.H. Stevens started the Blue Earth City Post on May 29, 1869. And here we are 150 years later, still publishing a newspaper every week.

As that story in the Community Focus magazine revealed, the Blue Earth City Post was not the first newspaper here. That was the Blue Earth City News which started eight years earlier, in 1861, but did not survive.

It was not unusual for small towns in those days to have several newspapers come and go. Publishers hauled their presses and printing materials to a town and started a newspaper. If it didn’t take, they packed everything up and moved to a neighboring town and started a new newspaper there.

A paragraph in the Community Focus story tells about one of those publishers. It reads “One of those early newspapers was the Blue Earth City Advocate, started on March 29, 1864, by Carr Huntington. Two years later its name was changed to Minnesota Southwest.”

Copies of that newspaper still exist in the Blue Earth Community Library. But, I have since found out a lot more about publisher/editor Carr Huntington, thanks to an alert reader.

It seems I have a lot in common with Carr Huntington. We both spent all of our adult lives in the newspaper and/or printing business.

Huntington was born Sept. 29, 1815, in Addison County, Vermont. He was a descendent of the Revolutionary War Huntingtons, which included a general and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Huntington learned the printing trade and worked as a journeyman printer at newspaper print shops in most of the states which were in existence at that time.

At various times in his life, Huntington published newspapers in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and of course Minnesota. Some were even dailies of considerable prominence.

He worked in the office of a newspaper in Kentucky for some time. When the owner, a Mr. Gibbon, was murdered, Mrs. Gibbon asked Huntington to take over the publication of the newspaper.

In 1846, Carr Huntington and his boss, the widow Sarah Gibbon, were married.

The couple came to Faribault County in 1863, from Portage, Wisconsin, when Carr Huntington was 48 years old. They settled in Winnebago City and started the first newspaper in that town, called the Whig of ’76.

A year later, 1864, they moved to Blue Earth and started the Blue Earth City Advocate. They continued to publish a newspaper in Blue Earth, with various names including the Minnesota Southwest, until 1871.

Then in 1872, probably tired of competing with other Blue Earth newspapers at the time, Huntington moved his press to Delavan and started the first newspaper in that city in June of 1872. It was called the?Delavan Bee.

That newspaper continued until December of 1874 when he moved the press back to Blue Earth and continued to publish his newspaper, only he shortened the name to just The Bee.

I am not sure how long he continued to publish a newspaper in Blue Earth, but in 1879 both the Bee and the Blue Earth City Post, then owned by C. H. Slocum who had purchased it in May of 1874, were competing against each other. Obviously, at some point, the Post won out over the Bee and eventually became the Register.

I like to think it is possible that Carr Huntington continued to publish a newspaper up until his death on Jan. 6, 1889. If so, he not only was in competition with the Blue Earth City Post, but also the upstart Faribault County Register which was started just two years before his death, in 1887.

Carr Huntington was buried in the Blue Earth City Cemetery. When he died, at the age of 74, he was considered one of the oldest editors in the county, and even in the whole state.

Before he died he wrote that he kept publishing newspapers “despite all the scenes, opposition, and hardships of this life, without ever taking down our sign, or quailing before the fierce blasts that have sometimes crossed our path. One of the best printing offices we ever owned, lies, like John Brown, mouldering at the You can always learn something new about your community, which can then be used to impress your visitors! Don’t forget to pick up one of the Giant Attractions brochures while you’re there. A prominent feature of the brochure is the complete list of all 16 of the Sprouts and their locations throughout the city. Of course, locals and visitors alike would enjoy touring the Giant Memorabilia Museum to learn all about the history of the canning plant and its impact on the area.

With graduation coming up on June 2, there are lots of great last-minute gift ideas in the souvenir shop at the GWC. T-shirts, caps and mugs are available in a variety of designs and colors for that special grad on your list. Whether graduates are planning to stay in the area or the state or go further afield, a little reminder of their hometown is always appreciated. Remember that area merchants also have wonderful gift ideas and would love to help you select the perfect gifts for all of the 2019 graduates on your list.

Visitors from everywhere continue to stop and sign the book at the GWC. Last week a couple from Minden, Ontario, Canada, stopped by on a very special road trip, as they were recreating their honeymoon trip from Ontario to British Columbia 25 years ago. In addition to signatures in the Visitor Book, souvenir sales at the GWC continue to surpass expectations, with May sales at almost $6,000 prior to the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the summer travel season.

Community Service is alive and well as the BE Sertoma Club conducted their annual Sand Box Fill on Monday, May 20. Thank you to this dedicated group for all that they do to make Blue Earth a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

Two events which will be of interest to many are coming up in the next week. On May 30 CEDA will be sponsoring a ‘Marketing in the Morning’ event at the GWC from 7-8 a.m. during which Sunny Prabhakar and Patrick McNally of CWS, Inc., will be sharing useful information on how businesses, communities and professionals can generate great content for social media.

Then on Saturday, June 1, the Faribault County Humane Society will host a ‘Dog Walk” at the Faribault County Fairgrounds; registration is at 10:30 a.m., with the walk set to begin at 11 a.m.