- Category: Our Newspaper
A century, a century, what a difference 100 years in business makes in the county.
Founded on the 4th of July, 1910, five generations of the Beckwith family have kept the Millard County Chronicle presses running without missing a weekly edition for 100 years. “It is something different all the time. We are the processing center of all of the information of all of the communities. We do our best to print all of the news that is fit to print,” said Sue Dutson when asked about the significance of the Chronicle chronicling a century’s worth of happenings.
Three previous owners got the newspaper up and running, but the third owner ended up leaving the business in the control of a local Delta bank. In 1919, Frank A. Beckwith managed the newspaper while managing the bank as the newspaper’s financial future was being decided. Beckwith made up his mind he would rather be a publisher than a banker; so he bought the newspaper. Frank A. and his son, Frank S., bought up all of the stock and formed a partnership as owners of the paper in 1927. The Beckwith newspaper tradition continues under Sue Beckwith Dutson’s skillful guidance with her partner and daughter-in-law Shellie Morris Dutson. Frank Beckwith’s descendants are now into the fifth generation in the business.
The paper was located in the basement of the Lincoln Theatre (Droubay’s show lot) at the time the Beckwiths bought it, but in 1920-21, surface water became such a problem a new building was built at 40 North 300 West. Ninety years later subscribers and non-subscribers alike can walk into Millard County’s time capsule and step back into the past viewing the curios collected by Frank Beckwith Sr. Along side the antiques, fossils and awards can be found state-of the-art computers used to manufacture a quality paper every seven days.
Technical advances have seen the paper advance from a two-sided sheet to the Internet online edition of the newspaper at www.millardccp.com. The foldable, holdable paper edition still hits the racks on Tuesday afternoons and appears in the mailbox on Wednesdays. Printing is no longer done on site, but that doesn’t mean every service is not still available. Drop in and pay a visit if you have a spare moment. The Cub Scout tour is available to all should they want it.
The newspaper has seen just about everything unfold on its pages. Shortly after it started the major dam in the area broke nearly wiping out the community both physically and financially. Some 80 years later the same flooding occurred in the valley. In 1949 snowdrifts reached the power lines. Fires have ravaged the mountainsides, canyons and valley floor. Dust storms give credence to the “windy” stories told about early settlement.
Championships and losses, new businesses, new ideas and old time memories make their way into print. Deaths and births are recorded each week, as are marriages and missions. Battles are fought over water and weapons placement on the desert lands to the west. The major battles of wars starting with the War to end all Wars to the conflicts in the Middle East have found their way into the paper. Water notices, taxes, politics, court cases, want ads, elections and campaigns, crimes—solved and unsolved, fairs, rodeos, you name it—the newspaper has printed it.
“We are a record of Millard County. We’re writing the county’s diary,” said Shellie Dutson, managing editor.
A short version of the paper’s transition from the Millard County Chronicle to the Chronicle Progress follows.
Frank S. Beckwith took over the paper after Frank A.’s death in 1951. Frank S. married Wanda Peterson in 1939. Their four children, Susan, Jane, Deb, and Collins all grew up working at various tasks at the paper. The ink stayed in Sue’s veins—providing a transfusion to her future daughter-in-law Shellie who escaped high school class time to find herself still at the newspaper over three decades later.
The Millard County Blade of Deseret and the Clear Lake Review spawned the Millard County Progress in 1894 with J.P. Jacobson as editor. Jacobson had worked for the Millard County Blade in Deseret prior to going to Fillmore to open the Millard County Progress on Jan. 25, 1894. The Progress combined in 1900 or 1901 with the Clear Lake Review to become the Progress Review. In 1925, the paper—having changed hands a few times—was published by E.Vance Wilson and, his wife Jane, as the Millard County Progress.
After Frank S. died in 1956, his wife, Wanda Beckwith managed the paper for a year before selling it to Bob and Inez Riding on Jan. 1, 1958. In 1970, the Ridings sold the paper to Frank S.’s daughter Sue Beckwith Dutson and Bill Wilson—Vance and Jane’s son. DuWil Publishing formed as result of this venture. In 1985, the Chronicle and the Progress merged into the Millard County Chronicle Progress. The resulting newspaper has a history dating back to 1894 publishing the news of Millard County for 116 years.
The current staff of the Chronicle Progress comprised of Sue Dutson, Shellie Dutson, Jean Smith, Dean Draper, and Debbie Coles echo the sentiments of Frank A. and Frank S. published in 1949:
“Although Millard County does have a few shortcomings, it still remains the best community we know of, containing the finest people in the world, and all we want to do is try and operate a paper here worthy of Millard County.”
The future lies before the whole county. The Chronicle Progress looks forward to recording and disseminating it throughout the county, state and world via the Internet.