The Kersey Surprise Weekly Newspaper, 1912-1915

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Artifact Is: Document
Located at: Kersey History Museum

Artifact Significant To: Kersey and Colorado


Artifact Description:

The Kersey Surprise, a weekly newspaper published in Kersey, Weld County Colorado from 1912-1915, is the only known surviving issue. Another newspaper published in Kersey after the “Surprise, ceased publication during the depression and it was 46 years before Kersey again had a newspaper. On the front page of this issue of the Kersey Surprise is an article titled, “Railroads will Help the Farmer.” It explains how market bureaus will be established along the lines to take farm products to market. There is also a review of the upward trend in the price of sheep and lambs. Most articles relate to the agricultural endeavors of the area.

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

As a rural newspaper, the articles and notices in the Kersey Surprise reflect the interests and life-style during an early period of history in northern Colorado's agricultural communities. Additionally, it was founded in 1914 by Marshall E. DeWolfe who came to Colorado after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Marshall was the stepson of President Warren G. Harding, the 29th President of the United States who, on occasion, came to visit Marshall in Kersey. Marshall published the Kersey Surprise for only two years. Newspapers in larger urban areas are often generously preserved, but copies of rural newspapers are rare, and therefore significant to their communities.

How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?

Kersey, located in northern Colorado along the South Platte River, was for a time a livestock station for the Union Pacific Railroad. In the early twentieth century, dry land farming techniques took shape across Colorado as unprecedented markets for farm grown commodities created an agricultural boom. Articles in the Kersey Surprise reflect the growth and change within Colorado rural agricultural communities, specifically the northern plains. This was a time when ditches for irrigation were being constructed, raising sheep and cattle was a life style and families existed on their agricultural endeavors. The Kersey Surprise reflects these topics in the pages of this single issue. 

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