Excerpt from The Heritage of Blue Earth County by Julie Schrader, Topic 34, available in the Research & Genealogy Center.

“Before the days of radio and television, people relied on newspapers to keep them informed on global to local events. “Ample newspaper reading is necessary in the family circle” advised an editorial in the Amboy Herald if December 2, 1891, “No matter how much schooling or textbook study, no individual is educated who fails to read newspapers.”

“Other Blue Earth County publishers must have been of the same mind, for about forty newspapers emerged to inform, educate and influence county residents during the last half of the 1800s. Although most survived only a few months or a few years, some are still published today.

“The earliest newspaper in the county was the Mankato Independent, first issued on June 13, 1857. With an inducement of $800 in printing subscribed and paid for by Mankato merchants, Clinton Hensley and Frank Gunning brought their printing press from Kokomo, Indiana. Thomas Hughes in The History of Blue Earth County, described Hensley as an ‘able writer’ and his paper as a ‘valuable acquisition to the county.’ Although Hensley intended to be politically independent, he became swept up in the political currents of the Civil War and wrote forceful Republic editorials.”