(Editorial Note: Part 242 (news #2) of a series of further development in the early days that impacted Franklin County. Sources: Cache Valley Newsletter, compiled and edited by Newell Hart; Franklin County Citizen, 1916; Preston Standard, 1901-1902; Hometown Album, compiled by Newll Hart. Life history of Watkin Lewis Roe.)
The Preston Standard published by the Standard Printing and Publishing Company put out a weekly paper each Friday, around the turn of the century, 1901-1902. One of the publishers was Professor Arthur Porter of the Oneida Stake Academy. The academy leaders recommended it as a creditable and valuable newspaper. Subscribers were offered a year’s subscription by paying $2 in advance and would receive both the Standard and the Gem State Rural, an agricultural weekly published in Boise. The academy published class catalogs. Later the school published The Oneida and The Blue and White, featuring activities and things such as clubs, gossip, athletics, etc. pertaining to the youth attending the academy.
The efforts of putting out a newspaper featuring the local news of the time were up and down over several years, with a number of men giving it a try. There were national newspapers and those from the more populated Salt Lake City available, but these didn’t include the happenings of the people who lived in remote southeast Idaho. The city’s leading citizens did what they could to attract those with the skill and know-how, but it seemed like a downhill slide.
J David Larson of Salt Lake was one of these men and “gave the people as fair a sheet as could have been done under the circumstances.” The Hometown Album says that the Cache Valley News operated from 1903 to 1908 and was printed by Tom Carter, who was associated with various papers in this area for many years. In 1907 Larson was joined by Watkin L. Roe, who had been working in Salt Lake as advertising foreman on the Salt Lake Herald newspaper. He had been contacted by George C. Parkinson, a civic leader in the Preston area. Even though the printing plant as a workroom and the situation as a whole was chaotic, Roe stayed on, with encouragement from Parkinson.
The name of the publication was The Cache Valley News, and Roe became the editor. “ In 1909 a reorganization was effected and the paper became placed in charge of an incorporated company, of which Mr. Roe was business manager and was one of the largest stockholders. At that time it became the “Preston News.” In the fall of 1910 he severed his connections with the paper and accepted the position of editorial writer for the “Logan Republican” at Logan, Utah.”
In the meantime the local paper was run by the stockholders, and the printing road was rocky. It was operating at a loss and editors only lasted a short time before moving on. The Preston News folded and was bought at auction by the Idaho State and Savings Bank. This presented an opportunity for Roe to return to newspaper work in the Preston area. “In February 1912, at the request of prominent business men of Preston, Idaho, he returned there” and made an arrangement with Thomas G. Carter, a local printer, and they became owners of the printing plant for the news, changing its name this time, to the Preston Booster.
One of their goals was to feature information and encouragement to the local readers to boost the image of the growing community of Preston, to help it become a city of note in the state of Idaho. They printed, “Boosting does not necessarily mean wind and superfluous verbiage – it really means to be everlastingly hammering it into intending locators the good qualities of this city as a residence town.“
Watkin Roe had been born in England in 1866, and “served his apprenticeship and journeyman’s experience as a printer in England” and was employed in the plants of several prominent newspapers and magazines. “His preparation for his profession was made as an employee in the largest newspaper establishments of the cities of Derby and Manchester, England.” After his clergyman father had passed away, he had emigrated to the United States with his widowed mother and siblings. The year 1887, found him at Salt Lake City and “employed as a printer in the plant of the Juvenile Instructor, one of the Mormon publications. He also worked with the Deseret Evening News and for 18 years was connected with the Salt Lake Herald.”