Journalist Merris Barrow arrived in Douglas, Wyo., in 1886 to treat readers to a newspaper “written to be read”—Bill Barlow’s Budget. It needled the powerful and tickled its readers, all while boosting the town. Barrow’s monthly Sagebrush Philosophy circulated nationwide. He died in 1910, just 53 years old.
Throughout his journalism career, Thermopolis newspaperman E. T. Payton’s episodes of mental illness landed him in the state’s mental hospital, where he and other patients suffered sometimes brutal treatment. He died there in 1933, but his whistleblowing helped change laws and improve conditions and care.
Frontier newspaperman Asa Mercer began the controversial Northwestern Live Stock Journal in Cheyenne in the 1880s, backing stockmen’s interests. But when prominent cattlemen-vigilantes invaded Johnson County in 1892, he attacked them stridently in his paper and later in The Banditti of the Plains, the book for which he’s best remembered.
Bill Nye, first-rank humorist and 1880s editor of the Laramie Boomerang, tickled the funny bones of readers for decades and for a time became as well known, thanks to national speaking tours, as his contemporary Mark Twain.
Sisters Gertrude and Laura Huntington, the first women newspaper owners in Wyoming, bought the Platte Valley Lyre in Saratoga, Wyo., in 1890 and ran it for 12 years, competing all the while with the Saratoga Sun to inform and entertain their readers. Both women later led long professional careers in Carbon County.