One of the five oldest family newspapers in Missouri, the Canton Press was established by J.W. Barrett in 1862 as a Democratic sheet whose motto was “Pledged but to truth, to liberty and law, no favor sways us, and no fear shall awe.” In the first issue, Barrett claimed that “while giving due attention to National affairs, we shall deem our special province to promote our State and local interests,” and the Press will “grapple with becoming boldness the great questions of the age.” Barrett went on to be the first president of the Missouri Press Association.
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