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De Queen Bee

The De Queen Bee was established by printer Walter A. Boyd and lawyer J. W. Bishop of Nashville (Howard County). The newspaper has been serving De Queen (Sevier County) and the surrounding areas since June 4, 1897.

Some sources report that the partnership began when Boyd and Bishop were sitting on the courthouse steps in Nashville discussing the future of the developing railroad town of De Queen. Seeing the new town as an opportunity, they decided to start a newspaper, naming it the De Queen Bee. A subscription was one dollar a year, with the paper being published every Friday.

The partnership lasted for only three issues before the paper was sold to E. C. Winford. Leadership of the paper changed several times in coming years. James L. Cannon and O. T. Graves published the paper until October 1899. At that time, fire destroyed the entire business portion of the town, which included the De Queen Bee office. It was reported that the day after the fire, a sign appeared on the lot where the office had once stood with this message: “The Bee will appear this week as usual.”

A new printing plant was secured in 1899. In 1903, the plant and publishing office were moved to the second floor of a new building on the corner of Fourth Street and De Queen Avenue.

L. A. Pearre became Cannon’s partner shortly after the fire; Graves left to join the Lockesburg Enterprise. Pearre became the sole owner in 1915 when Cannon became postmaster. For over twenty-seven years, Pearre served as editor and publisher before selling the paper in April 1926. The company that purchased the paper included V. W. and E. W. St. John of the Mena Star; D. D. Clement; and E. B. Smith, who became the Bee’s editor and manager.

Ray and A. L. Kimball purchased the weekly De Queen Bee on May 10, 1933, and combined it with the Sevier County Citizen. The paper struggled through the Great Depression. During World War II, many Bee staff members joined the armed services. However, the Bee continued its weekly publication with Ray Kimball becoming the publisher in 1946. In 1952, J. R. McKinley joined the paper staff as editor.

The De Queen Bee added a three-unit Cottrell off-set press in 1969, eliminating the need for Linotype machines, which used molten lead to form single lines of type. In the 1980s, computers appeared in the newsroom, facilitating many of the paper’s day-to-day jobs.

The Kimball heirs sold the De Queen Bee Company to Lancaster Corporation of Gadsden, Alabama, owners of six other newspapers in Arkansas, on March 12, 2007. The Bee continues to be the main source for local news in the Sevier County region in the twenty-first century.

For additional information:
De Queen Bee. http://www.dequeenbee.com/ (accessed November 14, 2017).

Meriwether, Robert W. A Chronicle of Arkansas Newspapers Published since 1922 and of the Arkansas Press Association, 1930–1970. Little Rock: Pioneer Press, 1974.

Debra Polston
Cabot, Arkansas

Last Updated 11/14/2017

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