De Leon Messenger Newspaper
The Messenger has had two incarnations in De Leon. The first incarnation was the De Leon Messenger, a weekly newspaper started in 1886 when Rev. Hall, pastor of the Baptist Church (now First Baptist) and his oldest son J.L. Hall began a weekly publication. The Messenger is mentioned in the Comanche Town and Country newspaper of August 12, 1886 and in the Fort Worth Gazette of December 17, 1886 when it reprinted an article from the Messenger. The De Leon Messenger was the second newspaper in De Leon having been preceded by the De Leon Examiner in 1882 or 1883.
In 1940 Rev. Hall’s middle son Dr. R.W. Hall, wrote of his memories of his family’s stay in De Leon. Dr. Hall was a boy of about 10 years of age when living in De Leon and in his letter, he is quick to point out that his memories are that of a young boy not then particularly interested in business matters and that in preparing the account, he had consulted with his siblings who at that time were living in Clinton, Mississippi.* Dr. Hall never indicated his father’s given name.
Dr. Hall believed that his father and older siblings were the organizers of the paper with his father acting as chief editor and his older brother J.L. Hall acting as business manager. Dr. Hall wrote ”…my part was merely to do a little type sticking the old-fashioned way. We had simply a small hand press, a few type stands, and one job press, but from whom this equipment was bought or sold I do not remember. Neither do I recall what disposition was made of this property. The plant was first located over what was called the McAdams store…but was moved later to a building just south of the Higginbotham store….”. At the time, Higginbothams occupied a frame building on the southwest corner of Texas and Gonzales. The Bob McAdams’ store building which still stands, is the second building south of Reynosa on the east side of Texas Avenue. The second location was apparently in a building about where Dabney’s Hardware (164 N. Texas) operated for many years.
The Hall family moved to De Leon from Mississippi in hopes of improving Rev. Hall’s health in a dryer climate but perhaps more because his brother Wyatt A. Hall was living in what would become Gorman. Rev. Hall apparently did not benefit much health wise from his stay in De Leon. Texas entered a severe drought that spanned the 1885-1887 time period. As Dr. R.W. Hall stated, “I add just here that the family are (sic) particulary together on the statement that for two years that we remained in De Leon it did not rain one single time, in other words we had to return to Mississippi to enjoy a good shower to which we were so accustomed in our young days. Also, sand storms were common and we recall definitely that fine sand would creep though the window and doors and literally cover all the household equipment with thin coatings of sand dust.” Also during the stay, several members of the family came down with typhoid fever at one time and were attended by Dr. Walker.
The family consisted of Rev. and Mrs. Hall, three sons, J.L., R.W. and Wayne H., the latter two later becoming doctors. There were three sisters, Alice who taught at De Leon’s three teacher school, and two sisters whose married names were Mrs. J.A. Rowen and Mrs. Burris.
The Messenger lasted less than two years, folding apparently because of continuing health of Rev. Hall. The family stayed in De Leon two years and then moved to Duffau for a year before returning to Mississippi.
More than a century later, the McAdam’s building also housed the more recent De Leon Messenger magazine and De Leon’s Monitor office.
*Dr. Hall was very accurate in recounting the businesses that were located at various points along main street but had his directions turned around. He based his directions on his memory of the railroad running north and south instead of east and west.