The Saline Courier, Saline County’s local newspaper since 1876, is published everyday, and covers all of Saline County with local news, sports, entertainment, coupons each week, TV guide and more.
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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 207, Benton, AR 72018
Physical Address: 321 North Market Street, Benton, AR 72015
Phone: (501) 315-8228
Editorial & Advertising Department FAX: (501) 315-1920
Circulation & Administration Department FAX: (501) 315-1230
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Eleven years after the Civil War ended in Union victory, a Vermont Yankee made what must have been a pretty daring business decision. At a time when Confederate fever still ran cotton plant high and old times in Dixie were not about to be forgotten, W.A. Webber boldly moved here and began publishing Saline County's first newspaper in 1876.
Printed in Benton, The Digest was a weekly publication with a paid circulation of around 1,000 copies reaching some 8,000 county residents inhabiting 17 different early day townships. Obviously a keen businessman with his finger firmly on the public's pulse, Webber wisely presented the printed word with politically Democratic leanings. He may, in fact, have been Saline County's first-ever politically correct resident of record.
For whatever reasons, whether he actually was pseudo-political or truly had a good nose for news, Webber and The Digest prospered for six consecutive years. Then, in November 1882, Webber sold the one-page, seven-column paper to B.B. Beavers.
He changed the name to The Saline County Review and served as both publisher and editor.
A year to the month after Beavers bought the paper, he sold out to Col. S.H. Whitthorne, who changed the name to The Saline Courier. He also expanded the size of the one-page folio to nine columns.
In August 1883, the colonel sold the paper to Jim Tom Story, who moved it to Malvern.
Then, at the behest of a majority of local and area residents, Whitthorne got back into the newspaper business by purchasing The Review property and resumed publication of The Saline Courier. But a month later, the office was destroyed by fire. However, just 15 days later, Whitthorne was back in the business a third time with the purchase of all new equipment.
In April 1885, a T.K. Whitthorne bought the paper. Then just seven months later, in November, he sold it to H.D. Layman. Col. Whitthorne may have been out of the picture again at that time, but he wasn't too far out. He assumed control again in August 1886. Whitthorne sold out once more, however, this time to A.F. Gardner in October 1887. Gardner ran the operation until Oct. 10, 1888, when he sold it to Col. T.C. Mays.
Then, in 1890, Mays sold it to a J.J. Beavers.
The year 1893 found The Saline Courier being published by Mehaffy & Beavers.
Three years later, W.J. Whitthorne became the third member of the family to buy into the business.
In 1897, a paper known as The Times, which was published by the Henry Brothers, and The Courier were consolidated. The Henrys continued publishing the paper as The Times-Courier with C.M. Cloud subsequently becoming publisher.
On Nov. 12, 1906, L.B. White became owner. He dropped the Times from the masthead and added the word Benton to give it the name the Benton Courier. The offices for the paper at the time were at 134 N. Market St., which was also headquarters for the L.B. White Printing Co., Inc.
Sam Hodges owned the paper for many years before he sold it in 1996 to American Publishing.
Horizon Publications Inc., also of Marion, bought the Benton Courier and sister paper - the Malvern Daily Record. Today, the paper has gone back to their roots and publishes as The Saline Courier. The name better reflects the newspaper’s county wide coverage. The Saline Courier has about 30 full- and part-time employees. More than 50 carriers, who serve as independent contractors, deliver the paper seven days a week.