History of the Cherokeean Herald

Text: T T

Emmett H. Whitehead and wife, Marie, purchased The Rusk Cherokeean June 1, 1950. The couple moved to Cherokee County the last week of May, 1950 and immediately proceeded to put down tap roots. They purchased the Cherokeean from the late Frank and Marie Main. 

Other business ventures for the couple included the publication of a second newspaper, The Cushing Citizen. This later became a monthly publication, a precursor to the later total market coverage (TMC), and lasted for five years. In August, 1978 they purchased The Alto Herald maintaining its autonomy until 1989. At that time The Herald was merged with The Cherokeean becoming the Cherokeean Herald, as it continues today.

A historical marker recognizes the newspaper's 150 years of service as Texas' oldest, continuously published weekly newspaper.

In 1955 Marie and Emmett Whitehead established radio station KTLU-AM and added KWRW-FM in 1981. It is now a 25,000 watt station. In 1962, their business expanded with a one-half interest in the pioneer E-Z Vision Cable Company, one of the earliest cable ventures in East Texas. By 1964, the fledgling cable company was purchased outright by the Whiteheads. It was subsequently sold in 1988.

Other businesses owned include a registered Hereford cattle ranch near Rusk. Marie returned to school at Stephen F. Austin State University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1971 and a master's degree in 1974. Her second degree was marked by a 4.0 GPA. Her thesis was a 300-page history of the Cherokeean/Herald newspaper. Emmett served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1973-81, returned home to serve as county judge and mayor of Rusk.

Emmett Whitehead received his 50-year plaque from the Texas Press Association on June 21, 1996. Prior to purchasing The Rusk Cherokeean in 1950, he began his journalism career in Livingston at the Polk County Enterprise. He died Aug. 13, 2002.

Marie Whitehead was recognized June 23, 2000, by the Texas Press Association for 50 years of service in Journalism. She remains active in the business and serves as editor.


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