In 1887 Dr. J. M. Gerry, who gave up medicine for journalism, established the "Weekly Fannin Favorite". He expended in 1892 by starting this newspaper, the oldest daily publication in Fannin County. For 45 years its offices were in the 500 block of North main before moving here in 1953. Although ownership has changed many time, the award-winning newspaper has maintained high standards of news coverage. The "Daily Favorite" recorded the public career of Sam Rayburn 91882-1961), Congressman from this district and longtime speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Location: 314 N. Center Street, Bonham
The Bonham Daily Favorite
By Miss Juanita Spencer and Mrs. Joe Welch
The Bonham Daily Favorite was established in 1892, being the outgrowth of the Weekly Fannin Favorite, which was established in 1887 when Dr. J. M. Terry moved to Bonham from nearby Honey Grove. He converted the weekly paper to a daily paper in order to better report the news of the day to the people of the area.
Dr. Terry was a native of Clarksville and had published the Simoon at Honey Grove before moving to Bonham to go into the newspaper business. Dr. Terry was the business manager and editor. He was a medical doctor but decided to switch from his profession and was successful. He passed away in Oklahoma, but we have no birth or death dates.
Soon after the Weekly Fannin Favorite was established, Colonel J. Chenoweth purchased a half interest in the Weekly Fannin Favorite and became its editor; being recognized as one of the top editors of that day and time. he was a native of Kentucky and one of John Morgan's men during the Civil War and loved to recall the thrilling incidents of that conflict. Many of his editorials were so good that they were copied by the Dallas News and other papers.
George and Charlie Inglish also purchased an interest in the Bonham Daily favorite, but the exact date is not known. They were twins and were active in Bonham newspaper work for many years. George later moved to Stanford where he owned and operated a newspaper, while Charlie, after a stint in the land office at Austin, returned to Bonham and continued to work for the Bonham Daily Favorite until his death.
We do not know the exact date that The Bonham Daily Favorite was purchased by a stock company headed by W. S. Spotts, who had been working for another newspaper in Bonham called the Bonham News. In an article by Percy Inglish, writer for the Bonham Daily Favorite, he states, "Mr. Spotts liked to call the paper the "Favorite Daily." He was affiable, friendly, always ready to assist an employee in any honorable endeavor." When he left Bonham he moved to Richardson where he died, date unknown.
One of the stockholders in the company headed by Mr. Spotts was John W. Russell, one of the most civic-minded men ever in Bonham, also one of the best liked men.
In 1926 H. A. McDougald bought The Bonham Favorite. He was from Tyler. He kept the paper twelve years before selling it and going back to Tyler where he died, date unknown.
Frank Svoboda and Wes Reid bought The Bonham Daily Favorite in October of 1938. Within a few months Reid sold out. Mr. Svoboda had been engaged in newspaper work at mony points in Texas. He was born May 21, 1895 at Ellinger, Fayette Co. Texas and died Jan. 1976. He had three children and is wife still lives in Bonham. He was owner and published for twelve years when he sold the Bonham Daily Favorite on February 1, 1951 to a Durant, Oklahoma Company headed by Clark Bass with T. Frank Stewart as publisher. Mr. Stewart was formerly associated with The Durant Daily Democrat. Mr. Stewart was publisher from 1951 to 1953. He moved out of state and we have no history on him.
Mr. Aubrey McAlister purchased the Bonham Daily Favorite in 1954 and continued as publisher until he sold the paper in December, 1976. Mr. McAlister still lives in Bonham. He was very active in community affairs when he owned the newspaper.
Mr. R. M. Cantrell went to work for The Bonham Daily Favorite in Oct. of 1939. He was managing editor while Mr. McAlister owned the paper and continued in this capacity until his semi-retirement in October of 1976. He continues to write a daily personal column for The Favorite known as "Odds and Ends" and occasionally covers local sports.
Mr. Jim Head of Liberal, Kansas, purchased The Bonham Daily Favorite in December, 1976, from Mr. Aubrey McAlister and Mr. terry Hoggatt was named publisher at this time. Mr. Haggatt has been in the newspaper business since 1959. At that time he was serving as mail clerk in Oklahoma. He began his newspaper work as a sports writer in Cushing Okla. in 1966, and later he was promoted to city editor. He was then promoted to managing editor for a newspaper in Liberal, Kansas, before coming to Bonham. He now serves as Editor-Publisher of The Bonham Daily Favorite. His service in the Vietnamese War provided him with much knowledge and experience toward his newspaper business. Since coming to Bonham, Mr. Hoggatt has brought a new format to the Bonham Daily Favorite which makes excellent reading for the reading public.
Mr. Keith Worsham was named managing editor of The Bonham Daily Favorite in January, 1977. He had formerly worked for the Sherman Democrat since 1969. Mr. Worsham has a B. S. degree in journalism from East Texas State University, Commerce. He is 33 years of age, is married and has one child.
The Bonham Daily Favorite was first housed upstairs in a building back of J. W. Peeler's Drug Store in the 300 block of N. Main Street. We do not know the name of the owner of the building. Sometime later the paper moved to the old Frank Wright building near the present fire station on W. 5th street and then moved to the 500 block of N. Main where it stayed for 45 years. The Bonham Daily Favorite's last move was to its present location at 314 N. Center in July of 1953. Clark Bass, head of the company that owned the paper then, bought this building, remodeled it, and moved The Favorite to it. Mr. Bass still owns the building at the present time.
The printing facilities of the Bonham Daily Favorite had always been kept up to date with the times. We quote R. M. Cantrell, long time editor, as follows, "Former employees of the Favorite in its early years, all of whom are deceased, told of the installation of power presses and linotypes in the "teens" but could not remember the exact date". A large duplex press was added in 918 which speeded up production. Of course, they have the U.P. wire bringing news from all over the world. Mr. McAlister tells the writers that in 1972 they converted from cylinder type cold presses to the off-set photo press and The Favorite was one of the first papers in the area to do so.
In an article taken from The Bonham Daily Favorite when they had open house in 1953, they describe the facilities as follows: "The new plant provided far more room for the editorial, advertising and bookkeeping department and giving storage room for newsprint stocks". The publisher, Mr. Stewart, goes on to say, "We feel that we have one of the finest plants in any city of comparable size in the southwest". The building has 8000 square feet of floor space. The building front is finished in Arizona pink stone and redwood trim.
During the years, The Bonham Daily Favorite has shown a steady growth and improvement in size, circulation, makeup, news content and read-ability. The Favorite has a long and impressive reputation for backing community affairs and programs and have always taken a very active part in all community happenings. Al the editors and publishers have taken a leadership position in all community and civic organizations.
The Bonham Daily Favorite and its staff have at one time or another received just about every news award offered for a paper of its size, a few specifics are, First Place Award State Wide for news writing, editorial and R. M. Cantrell's column, "Odds and Ends", as well as community writing.
The Bonham Daily Favorite is especially unique in that it is the home town newspaper of Sam Rayburn and has naturally fallen into the grove of having the most complete record covering the career of Mr. Rayburn. They have followed him from the time he was first elected to a public office right on up to the present, for although he has been dead several years, he is still very much in the Fannin County news with the Sam Rayburn Library and Sam Rayburn House having activities constantly to keep his memory alive. The Bonham Daily Favorite has on record all the important people who ever came to Bonham to call on Mr. Rayburn even before his last illness. They told the complete story of his funeral and of the four past and future presidents who sat side by side that day. This above everything else, has contributed to Texas as well as national history.
We have had countless famous people who were born and reared in this county since it was established in 1838. Their stories are recorded between the pages of The Bonham Daily Favorite. To name only a few: Bailey Inglish and Judge J. P. Simpson, founders of Bonham; Dan Rowlett, first settler of Fannin County; Tom Bean, early day surveyor; Civil War Veterans; men who fought at the Alamo; and more recently, Dr. Tom Spies, who found a cure for Pellegra; his brother, Dr. Wm. Spies, dean of the Galveston Medical School; and Dean T. U. Taylor, long time dean of The University of Texas. Much Texas and national history has come from the area served by the Bonham Daily Favorite.
All owners of The Bonham Daily Favorite have done job printing beside printing the paper itself. They now print four other newspapers but do none of the writing for them; however, they both print and write the materials for the Bonham Herald, which is a weekly companion paper to the Bonham Daily Favorite. The same staff write both The Herald and The Favorite. Mr. McAlister bought the Bonham Herald from G. R. Hewby in 1956. Before that time the Bonham News had been published by Mr. McAlister as the weekly companion paper to The Bonham Daily Favorite, but when he bought the Herald he discontinued the News.
To give a brief history of the Bonham News, it was established in 1866 by B. Ober, first called the Texas News, and several people owned it before N. O. Carter bought it in about 1915. Soon afterwards, he sold the plant facilities to the Farm Labor Union, at the same time selling the subscription llist and good will of the Bonham News to the owners of the Bonham Daily Favorite. which continued to publish the News until Mr. McAlister discontinued it in 1956.
The Western Argus was the first paper published in Bonham in 1846. It was published by Colonel John Shaffeer and Mr. A. J. Clark, but only one issue was printed.
During the year of 1849 a second newspaper, known as the Bonham Advertiser, was published by Colonel DeMorse and Mr. H. W. Hunt. No record has been found as to what became of the establishment. Only three copies of this paper are in existence.
The Fannin Co. Historical Commission wishes to commemorate The Bonham Daily Favorite as a business institution that is the oldest continuing daily newspaper in Bonham and Fannin Co; one that helps to mold opinion and serve the public in cultural and educational ways.
The Favorite is not the oldest business in Bonham still in existence today, as the First National Bank was originated in 1883 and the Bradford Watson Insurance Co. was begunn 1890; however, it is the third oldest business still in existence and might be the second oldest if you care to count the beginning of the Bonham Daily Favorite from the time of its beginning as a weekly in 1887.