Started by William Forster in 1880, the "Messenger" was published in Paradise (10 mi. SW) and Alvord (11 mi. NW) before a permanent move to Decatur in 1885. Early editions included poems, love stories, and lists of strayed animals and mail at the dead letter office. N.W. and H.A. Halcomb became the owners in 1894. Two of their staff members, Marvin Smith and R.E. "Dick" Collins, bought the paper in 1907. A correspondent during the Spanish-American War, Collins worked on the staff for 40 years. Mergers with Decatur papers include the "Post" (1890), "News" (1935), and "News Review" (1940).