William M. and H.V. Hamilton Jr. had lived their lives in newspapers prior to establishing the Palestine Daily Herald in 1902. Their father, H.V. Hamilton, Sr., wrote for and edited The Tyler Reporter . Soon after the Civil War, he helped establish The Tyler Democrat and later went on to publish and edit the newly merged Tyler Democrat and Reporter. Consequently, the Hamilton brothers grew up around printing offices, thoroughly learning the newspaper trade. They first attempted newspaper publishing on their own in 1898, leaving Tyler but remaining in East Texas to publish The Palestine Daily Press . They soon sold this paper, and ventured south to Monterrey, Mexico, with plans to establish a newspaper there.
By 1902, however, the Hamiltons had returned to Texas where they inaugurated the Palestine Daily Herald and set to work creating the city’s leading paper. The Daily Herald was a Democratic paper, issued every afternoon except Sunday. Each edition featured eight pages measuring 15 x 22 inches; a weekly subscription cost ten cents, while an annual subscription cost five dollars. The Daily Herald had 900 subscribers in 1903 and 1,200 in 1910, when the population of Palestine stood at 9,773. The paper also covered news in the nearby communities of Nacogdoches and Tyler.
The editorial masthead attributed the paper to “The Hamilton Boys, You Know,” and the front-page nameplate invariably employed, just beneath the dateline, an eye-catching phrase meant to woo citizens and advertisers alike to its pages. Primarily, this line carried circulation boasts, quoting numbers and nicknaming itself “The Growing Paper.” In 1903, such boasts led to a public dispute with the editors of The Daily Visitor, in which the Hamiltons, in a series of editorials, chided The Visitor as a little child and invited their rivals to prove claims that the Herald perpetrated boastful lies about its circulation. The line at the bottom of the Herald’s nameplate not only promoted the paper’s prowess, but also announced community events, such as the 1903 East Texas Carnival and Fruit Show. The Palestine Daily Herald fashioned itself as a serious news outlet, mixing local stories and information (reported by the Herald staff) with national and international items from the wire.
Many local stories ran under various column names and featured headlines such as “Personal Notes,” “Personal Mention” (later re-cast as a “Society” column by Mrs. Caddie Winston Herrington), “Court House Notes,” “Heard at Random,” and “Dissolution Notices.” “Special Correspondents” from throughout Anderson County (and signing off with such monikers as Boll Weevil, Ripples, Pickle, Sweet Roxy, Goo-Goo, and P.P. Funderburk) would report rural happenings in the editorial section. In addition, the paper never neglected to report the results in the new Texas League baseball circuit.
Beside the Palestine Daily Herald, the Hamilton brothers concurrently published the weekly Anderson County Herald. After H.V. Hamilton, Jr., retired in 1935, the sons of William Hamilton kept the Palestine Daily Herald operational until 1949.