The Booneville Democrat turned 120 years old Sunday.
The longest operating business in the city of Booneville, the Democrat published its first edition on Feb. 10, 1899 and today’s edition is the final of Volume 120.
According to story published in 1970, “H.T. Hampton, the founder and original publisher had slogged across Booneville Creek in a wagon loaded with family and belongings a short time before that first publication of the paper.
“A few weeks later the first trains ran through the area on what became the Rock Island Railroad and the little village was located south of the railroad.”
Hampton remained as publisher of the paper until he was unable to do so in 1909 but the paper remained in the Hampton family as Max Hampton took over and built the paper.
Max Hampton, however, was later called into the service for World War I and left the operation in the hands of his wife, Louise Hampton who kept the paper alive during her husband’s absence and would be with the Democrat for 40 years.
Max Hampton, upon returning from World War I, would remain with the paper through retirement in 1954.
Max and Louise Hampton’s son, Buddy, upon returning from World War II, worked at the family business as well and took over after his parents retired but died unexpectedly just two years later.
That brought Max Hampton out of retirement until the paper was sold, still within the family, to Mr. and Mrs. Val Zachariah, the later a daughter of Max Hampton.
The Zachariah’s kept the paper from 1960 through 1968 when it was sold to Donrey Media.
The paper later became part of the Stephens Media Group and in 2015 was sold to Gatehouse Media.
The Democrat called several locations in the city home. Most recently it was operated out of a building on Second Street, which had to be reconstructed after a fire in 1976.
In 1999, the paper produced an 80-page edition commemmorating its 100th anniversary.
At the end of 2017, all administrative and clerical aspects of the business were moved to the Southwest Times Record offices in Fort Smith, currently located within Central Mall, and is reachable via a toll free number, 1-833-675-4455.
The paper’s current editor is Glenn M. Parrish. He has been in the position since 1998.
The current publisher is Kristyn Sims.