Let’s Talk Clovis: The Clovis Independent, June 6, 1929

Spurgeon and May Case. (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

The printed word enriched and preserved of our rich history. The Clovis Tribune was founded in 1905 by H. W. McCormick. It was purchased by H.E. Armstrong in 1911 and he remained the Editor/Publisher until his death in 1938.

In 1919, S.A. and May Case founded the Clovis Independent (Editor, Owner and Publishers). Two newspapers served Clovis! The 1929 newspaper that we are sharing lists O.I. Russell as Associate Editor. In 1939 the Independent/Tribune was purchased by M.A. Hinkley.

We compare The Fresno Bee of today with the Clovis Independent of 1929. The Independent was weekly, $2 per year. The Bee daily, $1,330 per year. The Independent had six columns per page, the Bee has five. The Independent was printed in Clovis by reporters that lived in Clovis.

The Bee is printed in Sacramento, minimal local staff and is owned (prints 31 daily newspapers) by the Sacramento based McClatchy publishers. McClatchy purchased the Clovis Independent in 1979 and ended publication in 2008.

May Case was nationally honored in 1964 for her 75 years as a newspaper woman (world record). She continued to write until her death in 1967.

O. L. Russell was a Clovis Methodist Church (founded in 1893) Minister from 1909-1913 and again from 1918-1922. His front page article, “Sample Thinks” reflect his ministerial values: “When a man sings his own praises he is very apt to get off the tune,” and “Whether you stain your fingers with ink or oil, remember that all work is honorable if honorably done.”

“Most everybody is pleased over the fact that Lindy (Charles Lindberg first to fly from New York to Paris nonstop) and Anne gave them the slip (after their marriage). By “them” we mean these meddlers who, to satisfy the eager public seek all the sensations of the day in spite of the fact that they are breaking into private affairs of other people.”

Articles on the front page: McMurtry Hospital (located at the present Credit Union on Pollasky, Old Town), the birth of twin boys (Wesley & Leslie) to Mr. and Mrs. A Gust Johnson. Levic Zenith of the Eitel Granite Works had his hand smashed between two blocks of granite.

“Wins Another Game” reported the Clovis baseball team defeated the Economic team of Fresno earned runs in a free hitting contest (11-4). Clovis Batteries: McMurtry (Clovis Doctor from 1904-1961), Rossi and Rossi.

Rex Theater published their movies (admission 30 cents and 10 cents): “Zane Grey’s Open Range” (cowboys, cattle rustlers and adventure). “Milton Sills in Love and the Devil,” with Marie Corda, love starved from years in the wilds of Africa he is willed a beautiful star.”

At the Clovis Union High School graduation, the glee club sang “Land of Mine” and “We’ll Never Let the Old Flag Fall.” The Junior-Senior banquet was held in the halls of the High School building. Other headlines: “Enjoyable Picnic,” “Family Reunion” and “Soldier Grave at Tollhouse Decorated.”

Two large ads: H.B. Owens Chevrolet Sales & Service (SW corner of Third and Clovis Ave) and the First National Bank (SW corner of Fifth and Pollasky), Smaller ads: “Flit, Mosquitoes Die, or Money Back,” “Who Wants to be Bald?,” (for sale at drug stores).

There was a full page of comics, a full page of California Ranch News and California News Briefs. Local news of family activities and social life.

Local merchant ad and prices: John Good Store (NW corner of Fifth and Clovis Ave). Groceries: can of lima beans, 15 cents; 1 pound of Wellman coffee, 54 cents; 1 pound can of chocolate, 31 cents and Tea Garden Syrup, 1 pound can 54 cents.

Clothing: straw hats $1.50; felt hats $2.50 to $5.00; $1.15 to $5.00 for dress shirts; pajamas; $1.25, $1.50, $2.50 and suspenders 50 cents and 75 cents.

The 1929 Clovis Independent documented the lifestyle of our community. It preserved an important part of our rich heritage.

Peg Bos
Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.