The Martin Messenger was a weekly newspaper established at Martin, South Dakota, on February 25, 1911. Because of a lack of extant copies, the early history of the publication is obscure. It was owned in 1914 by William Healey, who at that time sold a half interest in the paper to William G. Pugh. Pugh, who was about twenty-two at the time, was three eighths Sioux and had graduated from Sherman Institute in Riverside, California, where he had gained journalistic experience as student editor of the paper, The Sherman Bulletin.* In 1917, The Martin Messenger absorbed the Bennett County Booster, established at Martin in 1911. 1
By 1922, The Martin Messenger was published by the Messenger Publishing Company, owned by William and L. Fern Pugh. The Pughs edited the paper and styled the eight-page, five-column weekly the "legal and official" newspaper of Bennett County and independent in politics. It was in most ways a typical small-town paper, containing local news of the week, farm news, some national news, and a large amount of filler. It also contained legal notices, notices of land sales, and tax lists. Besides the news items relating to the local Indian population, the Pughs published news of Indian affairs, legislation, and other matters concerning Indians. In some respects, the Messenger was a booster paper, supporting the economic growth of Bennett County.
In early 1927, a merger was apparently attempted with the Hot Springs Star. Francis H. Case became the publisher and L. Fern Pugh the editor, William G. Pugh announcing that he was leaving the newspaper business after sixteen years to enter the "electrical business." By that summer, however, the Messenger Publishing Company was once more the owner, and the Pughs were editors. By