Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Unterrified Democrat

by Pa Rock
News Hound

Early Friday morning as Gail and I were driving toward Jefferson City, we stopped at a convenience store just south of Missouri's capital city to pick up a few things (munchies and such) to take on the long train ride.  While we were in the little store, I happened to notice a stack of the area's local weekly newspapers.  The title of the small town paper was "Unterrified Democrat," and I immediately relieved myself of seventy-five cents so that I could have a copy to take along on the train ride to Chicago.

After a bit of basic internet research I learned that the Unterrified Democrat has been published weekly in to town of Linn since 1866.  It was founded by Missouri State Senator Lebbeus Zevely.  Senator Zevely, even though he was a Democrat, had supported the Union during the Civil War, but after the war when some legislators proposed that all should sign a loyalty oath to the Union, Zevely refused.  Later during a debate in the Senate Chamber, a colleague referred to Senator Zevely as an "unterrified Democrat."  Lebbeus Zevely wore that moniker as a mark of honor and proudly used it as the title of his newspaper.

The Unterrified Democrat refers to itself as the UD.

Last week's edition (November 18th) of the UD had twenty-two pages of area news, sports, hunting updates, and school activities.  The front page featured a story on the arrest of two meth dealers along with their photos, three non-complimentary articles on the local sheriff, the tale of a fuss-up as a local school tried to get another school's trailer removed from its property, and some local city council action where aldermen passed an ordinance making landlords responsible for unpaid utility bills at their rental properties.  There was also a photo of some area bikers who were on a trip to the far west.

One thing of interest inside of the newspaper were a couple of pages of youth hunters posing with deer they had killed.  One of the hunters was only six-years-old.  Although I am not a fan of children lugging around loaded (or even unloaded) weapons for any reason, Missouri seems to have more than enough deer to satisfy the needs of hunters of any age.

It wasn't always that way.

In its "Remember When" column, the Unterrified Democrat printed this snipped from a century earlier.  According to the issue printed on Thursday, November 18th, 1915:

"Five deer have been killed in Osage County in the vicinity for Folk, Koeltztown and Babbtown since Nov. 1, which demonstrates big game in that section of the state has not disappeared.  Two were killed near Folk, two at Koeltztown, and one at Babbtown."

Just five deer were killed in a big section of Osage County, a very rural area, in seventeen days.  I have hosted that many in my back yard on multiple occasions.  Conservation efforts work - though some might argue that when it comes to deer, they work to a fault.

Democrats and Republicans have basically switched descriptions over the past hundred and fifty years, but regardless of whatever Senator Zevely's core beliefs were, I do admire his belligerence - and his newspaper must be fairly belligerent because it has certainly stood the test of time!

UD - you rock!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

Our friend, Jeff Schaeperkoetter, served the area just east of Linn, Mo in the General Assembly and State Senate from Gasconade County. This part of Missouri is, like many other areas of the state, known for its natural beauty.

Missouri's conservation efforts took a turn for the better with the landslide election of FDR. Democrat Guy Park replaced Republican Henry Caulfield as governor. Park replace the Commissioner of Game and Fish. That was 1932, by 1935 a statewide coalition of business and sporting interests had drafted a Constitutional Amendment to establish what is now known as the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The group advanced their position not by criticising the current Commissioner but by lamenting the lack of permanent authority to professionally accomplish the mission he was appointed to oversee. Once ensconced in the state constitution the Department was free from the vagaries of politics as meted out by the state legislature.

One aspect of this independence drew the ire of Claire McCaskill when she was State Auditor. The revenue for the Department of Conservation is earmarked directly to the Department. The legislature cannot get their hands on it. McCaskill thought this independent pot of cash was an abuse. She completely failed to comprehend the wisdom of those who sought to free Missouri's conservation efforts from politics.