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Letter To The Editor: “Tell Me A Good Story”

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Dear Editor,
In response to Mr. Dennis Richardson’s recent article in the Chester County Independent:
I hired out to the Appeal Publishing Company in Adamsville on Thanksgiving weekend of 1953. I was trained on a 1930 Intertype machine. I soon learned about “squirts” and a shortage of fonts, the little brass type, melting down linotype metal in charcoal buckets and how to clean spacers. For 13 years this was my life. In addition, I got my pants leg caught in an old job press in 1954, the very night a newcomer came to Stantonville High School. I missed the Johnny Cash show due to an open wound.
As you know the era of the hot type lasted only until the mid-1960s. I knew most of the area linotype operators. Bill and Kate Craddock came from Kentucky to purchase the Savannah Courier. A young typesetter named Jim Thompson learned as a type setter and remained there for the next 50-60 years.
I knew Scott Whaley, meeting him only once. Wilbur Wright owned the McNairy County Independent. He was an older typesetter. He trained a young man out of high school as a typesetter. His name was Kenneth Sheffield. Harold Jones was the last typesetter at the Daily Corinthian in Corinth, Miss. By the 1980-90s the, New York Times owned the Dyersburg Daily Corinthian and Florence, Ala. News. George M. Hamilton, Bruce Hurt and Bill Rail followed up Wilbur Wright at the McNairy County Independent. Janet Rail now owns it.
In 2010 Tom Evans founded the McNairy County News in Selmer. It is now owned by Melanie King. In 1960, Jack McConnico had established the Adamsville News. It gave way to Everhard Baker and the Tennessee River News for a few years.
My wife Bobbye and I operated the Community News in Adamsville from Feb. 1968 until May 2007. Our customers were always very kind, considerate and helpful to us. It was very hard to give it up. We made a lot of friends all along the way.
When we established our newspaper business, it was on Friedman punch press machines released by A. W. Frederick out of Memphis. We had survived the hot metal revolution, the off set era and the computer age not to mention the compugraphic era. It was enough so we closed the doors and went home on a nice spring day!
P.S. You can find me weather permitting as I set on the front porch of the house where I was born and watch the world go by!
Bill & Bobbye Wagoner

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