years, newspapers in Three Rivers have come
and gone sporadically as many have attempted
the difficult task of meeting an ongoing weekly
deadline while earning a viable living in a
small community. John and Sarah Elliott recognized
the potential and necessity of a weekly newspaper
in Three Rivers and purchased the Sequoia Sentinel.
Prior to the first issue on March 1, 1995, John
and Sarah changed the name of the newspaper
to The Kaweah Commonwealth in honor
of the first newspaper published in area and
as a salute to the rich history of the region.
early 1995, we were searching through an index
of hundreds of 19th-century newspapers trying
to come across something that might make a historical
connection with Three Rivers," recalled
John Elliott, TKC co-owner/publisher with his
wife, Sarah. "Then, just a few weeks before
we were scheduled to officially take the reins
of the Sequoia Sentinel, there it was among
copies of the original Commonwealth that had
been compiled by our friend, Jay O'Connell,
for research of what would eventually become
a local history book."
Since then, the couple has combined their talents of writing,
photography, editing, sales and marketing, and graphic layout and design
to develop an original, provocative, and graphically-pleasing newspaper
for the community. Their teamwork has led to a successful venture in independent
publishing. They enjoy having the opportunity to be creative with their
stories, photos, page design, features, and issues.
newspaper's masthead and its straightforward
black-and-white style still have appeal for
a discriminating reader looking for something
stimulating in a weekly newspaper of today.
The masthead, based on the original Commonwealth's,
communicates on the front page of every issue
the Sherman Tree or what the colonists called
the "Karl Marx Tree," and a stunning
view of Alta Peak from Lake Kaweah. The latter
scene reflects the heart of the modern newspaper's
coverage area: Kaweah Country. The first panel
is carried over from the original Kaweah Commonwealth
and is a sketch of Burnette G. Haskell, the
Colony's founder, in
front of his North Fork cabin.
JOHN ELLIOTT was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended
college in Miami, Fla. After graduating from Florida International University
in 1978 with a B.A. in history, he moved west to Southern California.
He discovered Kaweah Country in 1986 while working for the Mineral King
Preservation Society, preparing a National Register of Historic Places
application for the cabins, road, and mines in that area of Sequoia National
Following more than
two decades in public history projects working
primarily in cultural resource management, Elliott
now devotes his career to documenting the people,
places, and events of Kaweah Country.
SARAH BARTON ELLIOTT is a fifth-generation Three Rivers
resident. She has had a love affair with writing and the English language
her entire life. Her ancestors, who settled in Three Rivers in the 1870s,
include several writers and a newspaper publisher, as well as cattlemen,
citrus ranchers, miners, and lumbermen. Place names in the area recognize
the contributions of the Barton family (Barton Mountain, Stephen Barton
Point, Barton Peak, Barton Creek). It is with pride that she carries on
the legacy of her family in Three Rivers while raising the sixth generation
of Bartons in that community.