The Independence Tribune is one of the oldest papers in Kansas, with a record of continuous issue in one locality for forty-six years, and it is even older than that since the same plant had been used for publishing a paper in Missouri for several years before its removal to Independence, when that town was located on the frontier and at the very beginning of its growth and development. The Tribune ever since its establishment has been under the control of two veteran newspaper men, both brothers, W. T. Yoe, who is editor, and Charles Yoe, who is president of The Tribune Printing Company. The manager of the publication is Charles Albert Connelly, who grew up in the Tribune establishment and has himself been identified with that journal for more than thirty years.
The record of the Yoe brothers in connection with The Tribune is one of special interest to Kansans. W. T. Yoe was born at Port Republic, Calvert County, Maryland, March 26, 1845. The Yoes were an old Maryland family, having come from England with Lord Baltimore and most of the descendants of the first emigrants still live in Maryland. Walter Yoe, father of the Yoe brothers, was born in Maryland in 1800 and died at Rushville, Illinois, in 1867. He was reared and married in Maryland, and in 1848 moved to Rushville, Illinois. He followed his trade as carpenter and builder, was a republican in politics, served a time as a member of the Illinois militia. His wife was Elizabeth William Harris, who was born in Virginia in 1818 and died at Rushville, Illinois, in 1859. Her family came from the North of Ireland, and her brother, Rev. William Harris, was a Baptist minister, served as a colonel in the Confederate army, and died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in 1870. Walter Yoe and wife had three sons: W. T., Charles and Franklin F. Franklin is a druggist at Independence, Kansas, and thus all three of the brothers are identified with that city.
W. T. Yoe grew up in Rushville, Illinois, and most of his schooling came before he was thirteen years of age, having attended only six months after that time. His real education was acquired in a printing office, and a better university for training young men does not exist. At the age of thirteen he was at the office of the Citizen at Rushville, and later in the office of the Times, and made himself useful while accepting such opportunities as were presented to learn the printing trade and all there was to know about the newspaper business as conducted in a small town. Later for a time he clerked in a dry goods store, but in 1864, at the age of nineteen enlisted in Company K of the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Illinois Regiment of Infantry and served nine months until the close of the war. After getting his honorable discharge, he returned to Rushville, but in 1866 moved to Shelbyville, Missouri, and was in the hardware business for a time.
The real beginning of the Independence Tribune came in 1868, when he and his brother Charles, having located at Shelbina, Shelby County, Missouri, and together with A. M. York and John W. Shaffer, became owners of the Shelby County Herald. Three years later, in 1871, the Yoe brothers and L. U. Humphrey and A. M. York moved the plant from Missouri to Independence, Kansas, which was then just starting as a more or less promising village of Montgomery County. When the plant was in readiness it began issuing the South Kansas Tribune, and in 1874 the Yoe brothers purchased all other interests and controlled the paper entirely until Mr. Connelly was made a partner in 1898.
The Tribune Printing Company now has as its proprietors W. T. and Charles Yoe and C. A. Connelly. It is a remarkable record, when the vicissitudes of newspaper experience are considered, that the Tribune has never missed an issue since it was established, although the office was destroyed by fire in 1883. The Tribune is a stanch old line standpat republican paper, is issued weekly, circulating in Montgomery and surrounding counties, and its prestige and influence are second to none among the papers in that section of the state. The company owns the building and plant at 109 South Penn Avenue. This is the pioneer paper of Montgomery County, and only two other papers in Kansas are older, considered from the standpoint of continuous existence and surviving to the present time. For forty-five years W. T. Yoe has directed the editorial management of the paper, while Charles Yoe has been president and business executive, with Mr. Connelly now as business manager.
W. T. Yoe is a republican of the old school, a member of the Methodist Church, and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Knights and Ladies of Security and the Sons and Daughters of Justice. A number of years ago he was appointed postmaster at Independence by President Chester A. Arthur, and served three years, resigning before the expiration of his term. Governor Humphrey also appointed him a member of the state board of charities and for a time he was one of the board of regents of the State Agricultural College at Manhattan. He married Jennie E. Weatherby, a daughter of Warren W. and Harriet Weatherby, both of whom are now deceased. Her father was at one time postmaster at Shelbina, Missouri. Their children are seven: Harriet, living at home with her parents; Roy, on a farm in Southern Montgomery County; Edna May, wife of A. L. Bryan, who lives near Los Angeles, California, and is in the automobile supply business; Earl, foreman in the Tribune printing office at Independence; Ruth, wife of Guy Arey of Independence, Mr. Arey being in the oil business; Warren W., with the Petroleum Products Company; and George, in the engineering department for the Kansas Natural Gas Company, employed in the Oklahoma fields.