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Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame

Barney Hubbs

Barney Hubbs
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Barney Hubbs

The Pecos Enterprise

Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Born in 1897 on a ranch about 40 miles north of San Angelo, Barney Hubbs moved with his family about 160 miles southwest, to Pecos, in 1907.

When the family arrived in Pecos after the 16-day trip, they stayed in the town's wagon yard until Hubbs' father acquired homestead acreage in the county.

Hubbs found employment in Pecos when he was about 13 years old in 1910, working before and after school as a printer's devil in the backshop of the Reeves County Record, a newspaper owned by Billy Leeman and John Hibdon. By 1916, Hubbs was working on a ranch near Dalhart. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1917 and spent part of World War I building fuel storage tanks for a naval air station at Pauillac, France. While there, Hubbs helped publish a newspaper, the Pauillac Pilot, for Allied soldiers and sailors. "We printed 10,000 copies each issue and sold them for 10 cents each. All the proceeds went to aid 300 Belgian orphans living in a camp outside of Pauillac," Hubbs told Pecos Enterprise reporter John Pitts in a 1975 interview published in the newspaper's Veterans Day edition.

After the war he returned to West Texas in 1920. Jobs were scarce. That year, he took out a small bank loan and started the Hubbs and Moran printing company with a partner, Pat Moran. In 1921 the two founded The Pecos Gusher, a newspaper to compete with the Pecos Enterprise. Hubbs bought out Moran's interest in 1923.

Hubbs purchased the Enterprise in 1925 and merged it with the Gusher. In 1926, at the request of the mayor of Odessa, Hubbs founded the Ector County News "” a forerunner of the Odessa American "” and reportedly sold and bought back the newspaper several times before finally selling in 1936. It was one of many transactions between Hubbs and other investors looking for stability in the newspaper business.

Hubbs also founded or at one time published many newspapers in the 1940s and '50s. Those included the Crane County News, the Pyote Signal which later was moved to Monahans, the Mentone Monitor in Loving County, the Wink Broadcaster, the Artesia (New Mexico) Advocate, the Madera Valley News in Toyah, the Winkler County News and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. He eventually sold all of his newspapers. The Pecos Enterprise was the last newspaper Hubbs owned. He sold the publication 1960, due to health problems, but retained ownership of the newspaper's commercial print shop, the Pecos Printing Company.

In 1935, Hubbs entered the radio business when he and Jack Hawkins of El Paso started Radio Station KIUN in Pecos. It was the first of a string of radio stations owned by Hubbs and Hawkins that included Cortez, Colorado; Carlsbad, New Mexico; and stations in Alpine, McCamey, Monahans and Odessa.

In April 1961, Hubbs was approached by local business tycoon Billie Sol Estes, who offered to buy the company so he could print business forms needed for his expanding enterprises. An Aug. 13, 1967, Odessa American story by Bob Horn tells that Hubbs and Estes "made the deal." But a feud between the established newspaper and Estes escalated. Estes started his own newspaper, the Pecos Daily News.

The Independent published investigative reporting by 29-year-old editor Oscar Griffin Jr. about Estes' dealings, which led to the federal indictment, trial and conviction of Estes in a false-assets scheme to defraud banks and investors, and a 1963 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished local reporting.

Hubbs married Luella Hart at Toyah on July 2, 1924. Barney Hubbs died in 1993 at age 95 and Luella Hubbs died in 1979 at age 73. Two infant sons preceded them in death. Their son, Billy Hart Hubbs, died in 2006.