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Amon G Carter

A Brief Biography
Nephew of Clara DeVoe Kersh Ream

Amon G. Carter, Sr.
Born December 11, 1879,died, June 23, 1955 was the creator and publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and a nationally known civic booster for Fort Worth, Texas. A legacy in his will was used to create Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum.

Carter was born in Crafton, Texas. After his mother died in 1892, he moved away from his remaining family, to Bowie, Texas, where he supported himself with a variety of odd jobs. At those jobs, he learned salesmanship, and became a traveling salesman as a young man.

In May 1905, Carter accepted a job as an advertising space salesman in Fort Worth. A few months later, he agreed to help finance and run a new newspaper in town. The Fort Worth Star printed its first newspaper on February 1, 1906, with Carter as the advertising manager.

The Star lost money, and was in danger of going bankrupt when Carter had an audacious idea: raise additional money and purchase his newspaper's main competition, the Fort Worth Telegram. In November 1908, the Star purchased the Telegram for $100,000, and the two newspapers combined on January 1, 1909 into the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

From 1923 until after World War II, the Star-Telegram had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the South, serving not just Fort Worth but also West Texas, New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. The newspaper created WBAP, the first radio station in Fort Worth, in 1922; and followed it with Texas' first television station, WBAP-TV, in 1948. This near-monopoly on news in such a large service area gave Carter, the Star-Telegram publisher and two-thirds owner, the money and power to become a major political force in both Fort Worth and Texas.

Carter parlayed this money and power into celebrity as a national spokesman for Fort Worth and West Texas (Carter popularized the description of Fort Worth as "Where the West Begins"). During the 1920s and 1930s, Carter personified the image of the Texas cowboy in the national mind: an uninhibited story-teller, gambler, and drinker, generous with his money and quick to draw his six-shooters. Major magazines such as Time and the Saturday Evening Post ran profiles of Carter, and he counted Will Rogers and Walter Winchell among his friends. The well-publicized hospitality of his Shady Oak Farm near Lake Worth was open to any major celebrity or businessman passing through Fort Worth.

Carter used his national stage to drum up business and government spending for his home region. From the Texas state legislature, he got a four-year college (now Texas Tech University) for Lubbock. He persuaded Southern Air Transport (now American Airlines) to move its headquarters from Dallas to Fort Worth. Several oil companies moved or kept their headquarters in Fort Worth after personal interventions by Carter.

Carter's disdain for Dallas, Fort Worth's larger and richer neighbor, was legendary in Texas. One of the best-known stories about Carter is that he would take a sack lunch whenever he traveled to Dallas so he wouldn't have to spend any money there.

After World War II, age and weariness led Carter to stop his barnstorming on behalf of Fort Worth. In 1953, he suffered the first of several heart attacks; the final one, two years later, was fatal. He is buried in Greenwood Memorial Cemetery in Fort Worth.

Linked toCARTER Amon Giles

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