apparently dropped out of the business in 1872, but Murrow edited the "Religious Department." With Murrow's influence, the paper took a different direction. While Moore promised to continue "to vindicate the rights of the Choctaws and Chickasaws, upon the true principles of a progressive policy," Murrow had become associated with the newspaper to advance his work among the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles through a "Religious and Family Department," which he managed. Religious and family matters appeared on the front page, and there were occasional articles in Choctaw.
In the spring of 1873, Thornton Buckner Heiston became owner and editor of The Vindicator. Born in Campbellville, Kentucky, on July 27, 1841, Heiston had served as aide-de-camp to General Douglas H. Cooper, commander of Confederate troops in the Indian Territory. He remained in the Choctaw Nation after the war and was reported to have spoken the native language. 2 After Heiston became editor, each issue contained several columns in the Choctaw language, apparently through the efforts of Edward Dwight, a fullblood Choctaw translator and manager of the "Choctaw Deparment." 3 Heiston edited the paper at New Boggy from May 17, 1873, until the following fall, when The Vindicator was suspended.
The paper was revived on March 27, 1875, at Atoka, and its numbering began again with Volume 1. Its former format was maintained until the following summer, when it again expanded to eight pages. This time the owners and editors were J. L. Caldwell, who had taught a day school at Old Boggy Depot, and J. H. Moore, the former owner. Caldwell and Moore promised "to aid in the missionary cause irrespective of denominational views" and to publish in the languages that would allow them to reach the entire population of the Indian Territory. It would be a "true exponent" of the Indians' "upward struggle for progressive civilization" and would stand on their side of the "great issues." It would urge the Indians to develop the resources of the territory as a way to preserve their tribal governments. True to their word, the editors devoted most of their space for local and territorial news to religious, church, and missionary news. More columns were printed in Choctaw than before. For several months, nearly every issue contained translations of parts of the Bible into Choctaw with study questions for analysis. Parts of a Choctaw dictionary appeared irregularly. After the size was expanded to eight pages in the summer of 1875, the paper had more filler material and advertising, less religious matter, and little Choctaw print.
The partnership of Caldwell and Moore lasted until mid-1876, when Moore alone became editor and publisher. In January, 1877, Moore sold The Vindicator to J. S. Murrow. Murrow immediately merged the paper with the Oklahoma Star, published by Granville McPherson, to form The Star-Vindicator,* which first appeared at McAlester, Choctaw Nation, on January 13.