Fullingim called his front-page column in the Kountz News "The
Printer Fires Both Barrels," and in most issues this backwoods printer/publisher/writer/environmental
activist/philosopher/etc., did just that.
Fullingim was born May 31, 1902, near Decatur,
Texas, into a farm family. His father later moved to another farm
and young Archer worked there until he enrolled in Decatur Baptist
College in 1919. Fullingim taught in a rural school for two years,
then became a student at the University of Oklahoma, where he was
awarded a degree in 1925.
Over the next three decades Fullingim worked for or owned a number
of newspapers, among them The Eagle, in Wichita, Kansas; The
Progress, in Bakersfield, California; the Galveston News;
Panhandle Herald; the Daily News in Pampa,
Texas; and the Normangee Star. Fullingim spent the greatest
part of this time, thirteen years, in Pampa,
and he also spent two years as a merchant seaman and four years in
the Navy during World
War II in the Pacific Theatre.
Fullingim purchased a printing plant located in Paris,
Texas, in 1950, and moved its machinery to Kountz,
in Hardin County, and founded the Kountz News. He printed the
first issue on September 12, 1950, and operated there until he sold
the paper in 1974. Along the way, the curmudgeonly Fullingim became
a national figure. His was the kind of personal-style journalism about
which Hollywood once made movies.
Fullingim was personally involved in all phases of producing his newspaper
from gathering the news, writing it and printing it, distributing
the product, and editorial comment to direct the reader what to think
about it. Circulation never exceeded approximately 2,000 per issue,
but Fullingim's influence stretched far beyond the distribution base
of Hardin County, all the way to Austin,
where Ronnie Dugger reprinted some of Fullingim's editorials in The
Texas Observer, and to the White House, where even President Lyndon
B. Johnson received a copy along with the Washington Post and
New York Times. Like William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator
and William Allen White's Emporia Gazette, Fullingim's
Kountz News had a mighty voice.
Fullingim's editorial stands, such as his advocacy of civil rights
and opposition to the Klan often were at odds with his home-base community,
and this was especially true of his advocacy of national protection
for the Big Thicket. Fullingim and other advocates of creating a national
park in the Big Thicket area
seemed to jeopardize the jobs of many Hardin County residents employed
in the timber or petroleum industries. True Believers all, Fullingim
and the other advocates thought primarily of ecological preservation—and
tourism—but preservation first.
Fullingim sold the Kountz News in 1974 but continued to live
in the area, a free spirit until the end on November 26, 1984. He
is buried in the Old Hardin County Cemetery.