Despite its promise to publish half its items in Choctaw, only some short articles and letters appeared in that language. Local news, along with weather and river reports, was a staple offering. Agricultural news and features were also an important part of the subject matter. As with most of the newspapers of the period, the Telegraph received and printed a large volume of correspondence from readers, most of which concerned local politics. News of political activities was important in the Choctaw Nation, so the Telegraph printed stories on the proceedings of the Choctaw National Councils, published the chief's messages to the people, and printed the nation's laws as they were ratified.
True to the pledge in its prospectus to advocate morality and education, the Telegraph contained news from educational institutions and religious and temperance groups. News, especially that of a religious nature, from Spencer Academy, the Choctaw boys' school near Doaksville, was given close attention, probably because Folsom was on the Board of Directors for the Bible Society of the Choctaw Nation, which met at the school. News from other schools in the Choctaw Nation was carried as well. Articles against liquor and tobacco were prominently placed in the paper, especially news of the Choctaw Division of the Order of the Sons of Temperance. Both Ball and Folsom were members of this group. The newspaper also routinely ran news and announcements from churches and religious groups.
As was true of most newspapers of the era, the Choctaw Telegraph reprinted a variety of fiction and verse from various sources. Humorous stories and "news" items relating unusual facts were a part of the paper's popular appeal. Page four consisted almost entirely of local advertising.
The Choctaw Telegraph was on precarious financial footing from the beginning. An editorial on December 6, 1849, complained that the enterprise had taken in only two hundred dollars in its first year. Two weeks later, on December 20, the newspaper issued its last number. The property was later sold to L. D. Alsabrook, who began publishing The Choctaw Intelligencer* on June 6, 1850.
Bibliography: Carolyn Thomas Foreman, Oklahoma Imprints, 1835-1907 ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936); James D. Morrison, "'News for the Choctaws,'" Chronicles of Oklahoma, 27 (Summer, 1949), 207-222; Grace Ernestine Ray , Early Oklahoma Newspapers ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1928)
Index Sources: None
Location Sources: Gregory; OkHi