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Stanley Huntley, Bismarck Tribune Editor


In October 1878, Stanley Huntley and Marshall H. Jewell became owners of the Bismarck Tribune. They had arrived in Bismarck that fall, stopping on their way to the Black Hills. So excited were they about the business potential in Bismarck that they decided to stay.

Born in 1845, Huntley originally was a lawyer, like his father, but he was far more interested in writing. He became a newspaper reporter, first for the New York Tribune and then the New York Times.

He was known for being very hard on those he interviewed. He also would become obsessed with getting at the real story, something other reporters would not do.

Huntley moved west to St. Louis and, by 1876, was at the Chicago Times and Chicago Tribune. A year later, he was with the Chicago Telegraph where he worked with Marshall Jewell.

The two were traveling to the Black Hills with hopes of starting a newspaper. At the suggestion of Alanson Edwards, who had moved to Fargo from Chicago, the two stopped in Bismarck to check out the newspaper market there and stayed.

Bismarck Tribune editor Clement Lounsberry thought they should buy his newspaper instead. Huntley and Jewell, in partnership with five other Bismarckers, purchased the paper. In October 1878, Huntley was listed as the editor and Jewell as the publisher.

The Tribune soon became a daily newspaper, the third in North Dakota. Huntley revamped the paper, adding a new look and more sensationalism. Some of Huntley’s tactics caused reader dissatisfaction, and even Jewell became unhappy with him.

In the late 1870s, Huntley introduced a fictional couple to the Tribune readers–the Spoopendykes. It wasn’t until the 1880s that it became a popular feature.

In 1879, he married Florence Chance, daughter of a local temperance minister. However, he didn’t change much because his new wife’s behavior was also a little outrageous.

By May 1879, Huntley realized that his journalism style did not fit in Bismarck, and he sold his share of the Tribune. One of his last works while in Bismarck was an interview with Sitting Bull for the Chicago Tribune.

After that, he and Florence moved to Brooklyn, New York, his home town, where he wrote a column for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. When Huntley became ill, his wife helped with the columns.

Huntley died on July 30, 1885, of kidney complications and perhaps also the results of many years of heavy drinking. Florence went on to become a well-known writer and editor.

by Cathy A. Langemo, WritePlus Inc.