Mower County Transcript

Mower County transcript (Lansing, Minn.) 1868-1915 Browse the title

The Mower County Transcript was a weekly Republican-affiliated newspaper published on Thursdays from 1868 to 1915, first in Lansing (April-December 1868) then in Austin, Minnesota (December 1868- May 1915). When it began, the Transcript was four pages with nine columns and had a circulation of 700. By 1887, the paper had changed to an eight-page, six- column format, and circulation had grown to 1,000. The Transcript covered news from across Mower County, including the county seat of Austin, as well as in the towns in nearby Dodge and Steele counties. It also featured stories from Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.

Mower County lies on Minnesota’s southern border and is the home of the headwaters of the Upper Iowa River, which is a tributary of the Mississippi. A dam was built in the late 1800s, creating Lake Louise, which served the farmers of the area. By the 1890s, agriculture was the primary industry of Mower County, with wheat and hog farming being the most common. Agricultural news and tips were featured in every issue of the Transcript, with "Farmer Ben’s" column appearing on the front page each week. In 1891, the meat packing and processing firm of Geo. A. Hormel & Co. was founded in Austin. Advertisements listing low prices on beef products and classifieds soliciting farmers’ pigs for processing started appearing in the Transcript in the late 1890s. By 1918, Hormel’s distribution was growing nationally, and the company established offices in Minneapolis, Duluth, Chicago, Dallas, and Atlanta.

Local political items also held a prominent place in the Transcript, which unabashedly favored the Republican platform and candidates. For example, the editors wrote on October 29, 1902, "In national affairs the Republicans stand for protection to American industries and labor, for the control of the trusts, for prosperity. The Democratic Party is for free trade, the menace of good times, for an unsafe and speculative financial system. These are real issues. Take your choice."

The Mower County Transcript had many editors and owners over the years. It was first published by the Colwell Brothers and edited by A.J. Burbank. In 1871, Avery A. Harwood purchased the paper. Harwood was elected Secretary of the Minnesota Senate the following year, as described in the January 4, 1872 issue: "Our editor is absent at St. Paul, which is all right. He was elected Secretary of the Senate, which served him right. He left us to manage things, which is also right." Harwood maintained ownership of the Transcript until 1878, when it was bought by Charles H. Davidson and J. N. Wheeler.

The final issue of the Mower County Transcript was published May 26, 1915. It then merged with another Austin publication, the Mower County Republican, to become the Mower County Transcript-Republican. The former editors of the Mower County Republican, J. H. Frazier and Anna Roble, edited the new title, which was published until October 7, 1920.


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"In national affairs…," Mower County Transcript, October 29, 1902.

Press Printing Company. Fifteenth Legistlature of Minnesota – Biographical Sketches. St. Paul, MN: 1873.

"The republicans of this county…," Mower County Transcript, October 22, 1902.

"Transcript and Republican Consolidate." Mower County Transcript-Republican, June 2, 1915.

Wikipedia. "Upper Iowa River," last modified March 23, 2013,

Wikipedia, "Mower County, Minnesota," last modified May 25, 2013,,_Minnesota

Wikipedia, "Austin, Minnesota," last modified July 27, 2013,,_Minnesota