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According to his memoirs, Miller Freeman had only $3.00 and a bicycle when he decided to start his own newspaper, the Ranche and Range, in North Yakima in 1897. At the age of 21, Miller was the last of his siblings to leave the shadow of his father, Legh Freeman, who had published numerous small papers while moving west with his family. Miller had learned printing while working on the Frontier Index (also known as the "Press on Wheels," which was published in various locations throughout the West) and most recently on the Washington Farmer in Yakima. When Legh refused to pay his son for his work, Miller decided to leave the family enterprise and start his own newspaper.
Though the Washington Farmer was ostensibly an agricultural journal, Legh Freeman had employed it as a political organ supporting William Jennings Bryan. Young Miller, who had witnessed the struggle to found the state agricultural college, saw the need for a publication devoted exclusively to the scientific advancement of agricultural practice. He also decided to keep the new Ranche and Range apolitical. Miller arranged to print the paper on the press of the Yakima Republic when it was idle. The Ranche and Range made a profit, and Miller promptly moved its editorial office from North Yakima to Seattle and opened a business office in Spokane.
In 1902, Miller Freeman changed the name of the Ranche and Range to the Ranch, which he published in Seattle. The following year, he also founded another paper in Seattle called the Pacific Fisherman. Freeman sold the Ranch to Leonard Fowler of Wenatchee in 1908, and it was subsequently sold to J. D. Dean of Kent, Washington. However, a discussion with a business colleague led Freeman to reconsider this decision and to launch a regional agricultural paper franchise. Consequently, he bought back the Ranch in 1914 and renamed it the Washington Farmer. Freeman also purchased the Oregon Agriculturalist and the Gem State Rural, renaming them the Oregon Farmer and the Idaho Farmer respectively. Managing three agricultural papers proved onerous, and Freeman soon decided to concentrate on his industrial papers. In 1915, Freeman sold the Washington Farmer and the other two agricultural papers to the Spokane publisher of the Spokesman Review. The Washington Farmer remained in publication until 1971.