The Newspaper Publisher

The Newspaper Publisher

In 1876, recognizing a need to provide current news to the citizens of the Mesilla Valley, Fountain and two local merchants, John Crouch and Thomas Casad, founded the Mesilla Valley Publishing Company. After months of collecting supplies and putting equipment in working order, the first issue of the Mesilla Valley Independent was published on June 23rd, 1877. Feeling an obligation to the Mexican population which comprised nearly 90% of the Valley’s population, the Publishing Company published a separate weekly Spanish edition called the El Independiente del Valle de La Mesilla. Fountain’s lead article in his first issue addressed the objective of his journal which was to , “advocate what will best advance the interests of Southern New Mexico….endeavor to stimulate new industries……seek to aid so far as our ability extends, in eradicating whatever shall operate to obstruct a healthful public sentiment….. hold it to be our highest duty to oppose and defeat dishonest schemes….shall at all times oppose maladministration public affairs and uphold good government ….shall contribute our share toward elevating the morals, purifying the politics, and improving the business of the Mesilla Valley……distinctly deny that this paper is published for the purpose of either advancing or retarding the political aspirations of any man or set of men….whatever views it shall give utterance to will be in the interest of no political party, faction or clique…..we shall wear no party shackles, seek no selfish rewards….we intend to be independent in the true higher sense of the word”. The Independent would successfully operate for the next year and a half until a series of incidents surrounding Fountain authored editorials regarding the Jesuit Order of New Mexico and the Lincoln County War, in which two of his oldest sons, Albert and Thomas, escaped gunfire associated with the paper’s reporting, caused Fountain to reluctantly liquidate his publishing interest.(2)