03-31-08 | Printable Version

Betty Weldon - Legendary Missouri Publisher and Horse Breeder

Betty Weldon finished college at Mount Holyoke early so she could return to her family's newspaper in Jefferson City, Missouri as the mostly male newsroom staffers left for World War II.

She later found herself covering the 1944 Democratic National Convention where she scooped the nation with the news that Missourian Harry Truman would be Roosevelt’s running mate.

It wasn’t long before Mrs. Weldon was running the newspaper following the death of her father in 1953, establishing one of the longest and most distinguished publishing careers in the newspaper industry. She died in 2007.

Mrs. Weldon was a pioneer at a time when media was dominated by men. In 1955 she became the first woman to start a television station.

She also founded Callaway Hills Stables, located just north of Jefferson City, which she built into the largest privately owned American Saddlebred Horse breeding operation in the world.

One of the operation’s horses, Will Shriver, was an undefeated champion show horse for four consecutive years in the 1970s and later sired new generations of champions for the stables.

As a newspaper publisher, Mrs. Weldon wielded considerable influence both locally and throughout Missouri.

Community issues didn’t get very far without her blessing; politicians running for statewide office usually came to see her first.

Mrs. Weldon acquired the neighboring Fulton Sun daily, serving communities north of the Missouri River, in 1995. In 1998 she added a weekly in California, Missouri, just to the west.

The company opened a new production facility in 2006, about a year before her death.