About Lee's Summit Journal
History: Established in July 1881, the Lee’s Summit Journal has been serving the community continuously for more than 125 years — more than a century of providing its readers with the news of Lee’s Summit and surrounding communities.
One of the oldest businesses in Lee’s Summit, the Journal has been published longer than any other newspaper in Jackson County, except the Kansas City Star, which began just one year prior to the Journal.
Through world wars, the Great Depression, paper shortages and changes of ownership, the Lee’s Summit Journal has never missed a week of publication.
Beginning as the Prairie Banner in the early 1870s, the paper was edited and published by the Joseph Mount Co. The Prairie Banner was published for only a few months.
It then became The Ledger and was published by M.G. Doty; and L.D. Connelly followed Doty as publisher. Later, a stock company purchased the paper and the name was again changed, this time to the Home Journal, and it was edited by a man named Brown.
The Lee’s Summit Journal was finally “born” in July 1881 and for six years was edited by men named Houghwough, A.O. Sampson, O.G. Dingley, James A Jones, Henry and J.W. Nichols, and Professor F.D. Miller.
On Jan. 1, 1887, Lewis Lamkin Sr. became the owner and editor. In years to come, son Lewis Jr. and grandson Fred also owned the Journal. The family owned the Journal for 35 years.
On April 29, 1922, it was announced by the Lamkins that the paper had been sold to J.H. Miller and son from Trenton. And more than 11 years later, J.H. Miller’s son, Dwight, was publishing the Lee’s Summit Journal. That came after the death of his father in 1926. John T. Cooper, by then an employee of the newspaper for 36 years, was about to become the owner. Lois Lail Cooper Shawgo, Cooper’s daughter, served as associate editor of the Journal during the period her father ran the newspaper.
On Jan. 1, 1949, after being a part of the Lee’s Summit Journal for more than half a decade, Cooper sold the newspaper. The Lee’s Summit Journal was purchased by Stanley R. Fike of Maryland, Don Eck of Illinois, and Paul M. Gould of Lee’s Summit. Gould served as editor, and his wife, Irene, served as associate editor.
On Aug. 20, 1965, veteran Missouri newspaper publisher J.W. Brown Jr. and his wife, Wanda, of Harrisonville, Mo., purchased the Lee’s Summit Journal, becoming only the fifth owners of the newspaper in 84 years.
In May 1985, the Journal again changed hands, this time being sold to Clark O. Murray of Kansas City, whose family owns Inland Newspaper Machinery Corp., which currently focuses on newspaper machinery.
Inland later sold the Journal to then Knight Ridder-owned The Kansas City Star in 2000, along with the Journal’s sister paper the Cass County Democrat Missourian and the Belton Star Herald.
Knight Ridder was later sold to the McClatchy Company in 2006.