Origin of a historic name

The U.D. has a long and proud history, being published in Linn since 1866.

The Unterrified Democrat has one of the greatest names in the newspaper business. How the paper got its name is an interesting story.

Lebbeus Zevely, the founder of the Unterrified Democrat, was a Democratic member of the Missouri State Senate. He had moved to Missouri from North Carolina and had many southern friends from North Carolina and southern sympathizer friends from Missouri. Zevely himself was unquestionably very loyal to the union.

On April 8, 1865, the Missouri legislature approved what was called the Drake Constitution and submitted it to the voters for ratification. The measure was intended to penalize southern sympathizers by requiring them to take a loyalty oath before being able to vote, teach, preach or sit on a jury. In that oath they had to swear they had not sympathized with the cause of the South.

Zevely, during debate in the senate, argued vehemently against the measure.

Zevely’s argument was that his constituents were honorable people who would not lie under oath and would therefore lose the right to vote, teach, preach or sit on a jury. One of his fellow senators, as a result, described him as an “unterrified Democrat.”

Fifteen months later when he started his newspaper, he named it the “Unterrified Democrat.”

Lebbeus Zevely’s son, E.M. Zevely, was also to become a state senator and owner of the paper. E.M. Zevely’s son, William Zevely, owned and ran the paper until 1969. For most of the 103 years between 1866 and 1969 the paper was owned and operated by members of the Zevely family.

In 1969 Bill Zevely, the grandson of Lebbeus Zevely, founder of the U.D., sold the paper to Norman and Jane Troesser. Ten years later the Troessers sold to the investor group of Brad Lockenvitz, Don Keough and Jack Lafferty. Twenty months after that – Sept. 1, 1980 – the paper was sold to the Vosses. On Aug. 1 2018, the U.D. was purchased by Warden Publishing.

The Voss family provides this account.