Sam Konkel was the editor of one of the two Boston Colorado Newspapers, The Boston World (1886-1889) and later the Springfield Herald /Springfield Democrat Herald (1913-1930). It was in 1918 -1919 during this time in Springfield where he relived and wrote during the stories of his time in Boston, which we used as the foundation for our book “Old Boston”. When he wrote, he often signed the column with the moniker, “The Writer.”
We have used Konkel’s content in many ways the past few years, even adapting his salutatory address from when he purchased the Springfield Herald in 1913 to our Salutatory when we purchased the Herald in 2019.
In the years following Boston, Sam and his brother Joe moved on to Lyons, Kansas and ran the Lyons Democrat for a couple years. It was was after the Lyons years that
Konkel was a very prolific writer, but during the decade of the 1890s you do not find much of his work in the various newspaper databases. It was during this time he was back east, found his bride and for a time was teaching school.
However, when he moved back to Eagle Ranch in Southeast Colorado he began to write again. From about 1906 until 1913 when he bought the Springfield Herald, Sam Konkel wrote extensively about farming in the west.
There is an interesting reference to a December 1913 article Sam wrote for Farm & Fireside magazine. Farm & Fireside was a semi-monthly national farming magazine that was established in 1877 and was published until 1939. It was based in Springfield, Ohio. Again this is a reference to the article. I have searched eBay, Amazon and a few other sources for a copy of the original 1913 issue, but have not been able to obtain it thus far.
It was the original magazine for what eventually became the Crowell-Collier Publishing Company. From 1918 to 1923 several of the covers of this magazine were illustrated by Norman Rockwell.
In February 1930, it was renamed The Country Home in an attempt to compete with Better Homes and Gardens.
Much of Konkel’s writing 1906 – 1913 is dedicated to observing farming endeavors in Southeast Colorado, asking questions about growing certain types of plants/crops as well as tips and tricks for the farm. Much of the work was originally published in either the Kansas Farmer and Mail and Breeze or the Missouri Valley Farmer. It was then republished elsewhere, usually smaller papers in Kansas, however, some of the articles were printed far and wide across the country. There is even one instance where he was quoted in the Chicago Tribune.
Over time we have continued to collect Konkel’s work. His writing provides unique insight to the people, nature, climate, crops, and farming methods in early Baca County. It indeed tells the story of pre-county and early day Baca County. Some of our upcoming research and stories will utilize some of this content and will be presented in the pages of the print Herald and behind the paywall of the online PlainsmanHerald.com, while other pieces will be pushed out via Baca County History.com and our social media platforms.
Check out this announcement on PlainsmanHerald.com to learn more of our 2022 history projects.
To the right is an example of Konkel’s work during this time. There is much much more like this.
Since we are writing about Sam, we might as well use one of his closings… Right at this point we find we have “overdrawn” on our space account, so we will squirt some embalming fluid into the rest of the yarn to keep it from spoiling, and will give it to you the next time.