THE FIRST PRINTERS—HERALD OF THE TIMES—GRADUAL GROWTH OF PRINTING—LONG LIST OF PAPERS AND MANY ABLE NEWSPAPER MEN—PAPERS NOW PUBLISHED IN THE COUNTY—ETC.
THE old style country newspaper was one of the most marked institutions—the product of America. The modern onslaught upon it by the metropolitan press, a part of that general trend to centralization or gathering in one what had been many, is, to the writer, one of the keenly regretable things of our most modern civilization. The marked evolution in the general newspaper business the past third of a century, both in city and country publications, makes, perhaps, the strongest landmarks of the past generation.
The press, in general terms, signifying the art of printing, is, after all, the supremest thing genius has given to the world. As we have it in its present nearly perfected form, it is simply the one little idea that started some centuries ago, of making a movable type, rudely carved in wood; but the immeasurable idea was in making each type by itself, and therefore movable. Simple, was it not, but sublime? The supremacy of this gift to the human race is manifest more in the fact that since the invention came it has been possible to subvert it to so much and to such hurtful evils. In the hands of ignorance—above all, of learned ignorance— what an engine of evil it could be, and, indeed, it has been made. It is equally the pack-horse of vice as of virtue, ignorance and wisdom.
In 1795 Charles Miner, son of Seth Miner, who had been sent to the new country to look after his land claim in the Connecticut Land Company, wrote back to his brother to come on, and though himself without money, would set him up as a printer. His brother, Asher, brought to Wilkes-Barre a small printing press, a few pounds of type which they had obtained in Philadelphia. In a short time they issued the Herald of the Times, the first printing office and the first newspaper ever published in Luzerne county. A copy of this first paper would now be a rare and valuable relic. They issued the small paper, about the size of a sheet of foolscap paper, a short time, doing all the work with their curious way of inking the forms and their more curious press, and then transferred it to Thomas Wright. Asher Miner had served a seven years' apprenticeship at the trade in the office of the Gazette and Commercial Intelligencer, New London, Conn., and had worked for some time as journeyman in New York.
The Wrights changed the name of the paper to the Wilkes-Barre Gazette and Luzerne Advertiser, the first number dated November 28, 1797. In l801 it was discontinued.
Asher Miner, who had worked in the Gazette office, started the Luzerne County Federalist, the initial number bearing date of January 5, 1801. In April, 1802, he associated as a partner his brother, Charles Miner, and in this style published the paper until May, 1804, when Asher relinquished his interest to Charles. The Federalist was printed on a press brought from Norwich on a sled.
Mr. Miner went afterward to where is now Doylestown—it was there then for that matter, but was nothing more than a cross-roads hamlet, containing a dozen dwellings, clustered at the crossing of the Easton and the road from Swede's ford [p.398] to Coryell's ferry. July 7, 1804, he issued the first of the Pennsylvania Correspondent and Farmer's Advertiser, which afterward became the Bucks County Intelligencer. It proved a success, and Mr. Miner was publisher of it twenty-one years.
September 22, 1806, the Federalist had succeeded so well that the proprietor announced the enlargement of his paper from a "medium to a royal sheet," and also issued a prospectus for "a monthly magazine—literary, moral and agricultural." There are no records showing this was ever carried out.
The Historical Record of 1888 gives a notice of two issues of the Susquehanna Democrat, published in Wilkes-Barre, March 15, 1811, and February 15, 1811. The possessor of these papers was in San Francisco, and wanted to sell them.
The late William Penn Miner, by far the best authority on the subject of newspapers in Luzerne county of the olden times, contributed a short article to the Historical Record, being impelled thereto by a paper that had appeared in another county on the subject, and that contained some errors that Mr. Miner corrected. The substance of his article is that Asher Miner established the Luzerne County Federalist on the first Monday in January, 1801. In October following the word "County" was omitted, and April 26, 1802, it was announced that "this paper will hereafter be published by A. & C. Miner." May 1, 1804, the partnership was dissolved and Asher Miner removed to Doylestown and established The Correspondent for twenty years, and to this day the Bucks County Intelligencer retains at the head of its column: "Established by Asher Miner in 1804."
The Federalist succeeded the Wilkes-Barre Gazette, owned by Thomas Wright, and published by his second son, Josiah, who announced December 8, 1800, that "a false report had stated that the paper was suspended and was given up in favor of the Federalist." The Wrights and Miners were rival publishers, but evidently adjusted matters in a most satisfactory way as well as sensible, Asher Miner married Mary, the only daughter of Thomas Wright, and Charles Miner married Letitia, only daughter of Josiah Wright. Charles Miner remained sole proprietor of the Federalist until May 12, 1809, when it passed to Sidney Tracy and Steuben Butler. Mr. Miner giving the young men a good "send off" in his valedictory. Mr. Tracy retired September 2, 1810, and Mr. Butler remained a few weeks longer.
The inference is that the Federalist then ceased to be, as December 28, 1810, appeared a prospectus by Miner & Butler of a new paper, The Gleaner and Luzerne Advertiser. The office now consisted of Charles Miner, editor, and Sidney and Steuben Butler, printers; the boys had been apprentices in the Federalist office, where they had learned their trades. January 29, 1813, Butler retired and Mr. Miner continued the publication until June 14, 1816, when Isaac A. Chapman, uncle of Charles Miner, became proprietor. Charles Miner in his last issue stated that he was going to Philadelphia to aid in the publication of the True American, etc. June 6, 1817, Patrick Hepburn joined Mr. Chapman in the publication and in September following became sole proprietor. Charles Miner, after a successful newspaper career elsewhere, returned to his old home in 1832, and two years later came Asher Miner.
Charles Miner was born in Connecticut February 1, 1780, and came to Wilkes- Barre in 1795, where his brother Asher (great-grandfather of the present Asher Miner) established the Luzerne County Federalist. In 1807 Charles Miner was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature, and was re-elected the following year. Charles returned to Wyoming valley in 1832, Asher following in 1834, and they ended their lives on adjoining farms near Wilkes-Barre, now Plains township. His History of Wyoming was published in 1845, and is the standard work on that subject. His death occurred October 26, 1865, at the ripe age of eighty-five. Asher,who was the grandfather of Hon. Charles A. Miner, died March l3, 1841. No stronger or more virile race of men came in the early day to the Wyoming than the Miners. Their descendants are here—worthy sons and daughters of worthy ancestors. [p.399] There is the evidence of the strong family pride and faith in themselves in the history and present existence of Miner's Mills borough. Here is where Archer and Charles retired and settled down on adjoining farms after their long active political and newspaporial careers. They were identified with the place through their kinsman by marriage. Thomas Wright, the first prominent settler in the place, and who, in 1795, built the gristmill that is to-day "Miner's mill," and is one of the largest in the county.
Wilkes-Barre Gazette and Luzerne Advertiser was started by Josiah Wright, November 28, 1797. A long three-column folio. The second issue of the paper is extant, and but three of the pages are printed; the fourth was a blank. It had but three ads. "Lost," by Nathan Beach; "Take notice," by Philip Jackson, of the firm of Nelson & Jackson, blacksmiths; the last one is by Clark Beebe, notifying that he will "during the winter keep sleighs and horses and carry passengers to and from Easton; leaving Wilkes-Barre every Wednesday."
The Gazette had some encouragement it seems, for December 18, 1798, it had twelve ads. James Morgan advertises John Rodrock as a runaway "an indentured curse, in shape something like a man," etc., and offers one cent reward for the curse." Amos Fell gives "notice to those indebted;" Jacob Hart is also after debtors;" William Miller "has spring wheels;" Archibald White, "Ashes wanted;" Thomas Wright, "Saw-mill saws;" Elisha Harding to "debtors;" Thomas Wright, Lumber business;" "Bridge lottery," by Jacob Early, John Barnett, Edward Mott, John Mulholland, Valentine Beidleman and James Hyndshaw.
November 10, 1800, the name of the paper was changed to Wilkes-Barre Gazette and Republican Centinel, by Joseph Wright. May 20, l800, Thomas Wright retired and Joseph Wright succeeded him.
The Wilkes-Barre Leader.—In what is generally referred to as the "Leader Office," a handsome three-story building, are published the Daily Evening Leader, the Sunday Morning Leader and the Weekly Union Leader, founded by Joseph K. Bogert and now under the proprietorship and editorship of E. G. Bogert. The Leader is the oldest and one of the best local papers published in the county and the leading and official democratic journal of Luzerne; it is, in fact, one of the leading newspapers of the State. It traces an ancestry directly back to 1828, and indirectly to 1810, in which latter year the first democratic newspaper in Luzerne county was established under the title of the Susquehanna Democrat, by Samuel Maffet, one of the leading citizens of that day, an excellent writer and an energetic man. It was but llxl7 inches in size, but its earnestness in advocacy of the political principles espoused by its editor was not in the least abated by this diminutiveness of proportions. For fourteen years Mr. Maffet continued the publication but in 1824 he sold to Sharp D. Lewis and Chester A. Colt. in 1831 Mr. Lewis transferred his interest to Mr Luther Kidder. The next year Mr. Colt sold to Mr. Robert A. Conrad, afterward mayor of Philadelphia, playwright and distinguished Mason. Changes were frequent now, for within a year Conrad had sold to Kidder, which made the latter sole proprietor, Kidder had sold to James Rafferty and C. Edwards and the latter had sold to Dr. Christel & Co., in whose hands it shortly expired, the material etc. passing to the other then existing democratic organ.
In the meantime (1818) the Wyoming Herald had been established by Steuben Butler; the Republican Farmer (1828), by Mr. Henry Pettebone and Henry Hold, and the Wyoming Republican in Kingston, in 1832. In 1835 the Herald, having meanwhile been owned and edited respectively by Butler and Worthington, Butler and Asher Miner and Eleazer Carey and Robert Turner, was merged with the Wyoming Republican. The Republican in turn, after having been owned by its founder, Mr. Lewis, until 1837, and from then on by Dr. Thomas W. Miner and Miner S. Blackman, was consolidated in 1839 with the Farmer under the proprietorship of Mr. S. P. Collings. Mr. Collings had purchased the Farmer from Messrs. [p.400] B. A. Bidlack & Atherholt in 1835, they having bought it of the founders two years previously.
There are many changes here recorded, but it must be remembered that they cover a period of more than a quarter of a century. Mr. Collings, who was a man of brilliant, parts continued in control of the Farmer until 1852. In 1845 the Luzerne Democrat had been founded by Col. Levi L. Tate. The democracy of Luzerne was at that time split into factions, one of which was under the leadership of Hon. Andrew Beaumont, while the other followed the direction and fortunes of Hendrick B. Wright. The Democrat was the organ of the latter and the Farmer of the former, and right merrily or rather bitterly, their battles were waged. In 1852 Franklin Pierce was elected president by the democrats and Col. Wright was elected to congress. Wright had Cullings, who was Beaumont's son-in-law appointed consul to Tanger, in Africa, whereupon the Democrat, which was now owned by Chester Tuttle, and the Farmer were purchased by S. S. Benedict and consolidated under the name of the Luzerne Union. The late Stewart Pearce, in his Annals of Luzerne County, speaks of the Farmer as having been "a thorough democratic paper and, besides the talents of its able editors, it was sustained by the literary and political contributions of several distinguished gentlemen. In its columns may be found articles from the pens of Hon. Andrew Beaumont, Judge Scott, Dr. T. W. Miner and others. Two, of its editors became representatives of the United States government in foreign lands and died in the service of their country. Bidlack lies buried in South America, and the bones of Collings are beneath the sands of Africa."
In the consolidated paper, Judges Conyngham and Ross and G. M. Hollenback had an interest and J. M. Alexander and J. P. Barger were for a time connected with the paper. In the ensuing year (1853), however, it passed into the hands of Gen. S. S. Winchester, who had been for some time previously publishing the Wyoming Democrat at Tunkhannock. Dr. Thomas W. Miner, who had, as above stated, been with the vigorous Jacksonian sheet, the Wyoming Republican, at Kingston, helped Gen. Winchester to get control of the Union. For two years this proprietorship continued, when Winchester was nominated and elected district attorney of the county, defeating Henry M. Hoyt, who had both the whig and know-nothing nominations. Hoyt was governor of the State from 1878 to 1882. Upon assuming the duties of his office Winchester sold to a Mr. Bosee, who came from Chester county. Bosee sold to Edward S. Niebel, of Honesdale, who had been running the Gazette at Pittston, and who associated with himself Jacob Woelder. Bosee died shortly afterward of consumption. Judge Stanley Woodward, then a young man fresh from college was a liberal contributor to the paper, and our older Democrats remember with much pleasure the attractiveness of his style and appealing force of his logic. Then E. B. Chase, afterward district attorney, became the presiding genius in its sanctum, the proprietorship going in 1858 to E. S. Goodrich and in 1859 to Mifflin Hannum. Goodrich afterward became deputy secretary of the commonwealth, Hannum came from Allentown, where he had edited the Democrat of that town. He moved the paper from the small wooden building it had occupied on West Market street to the brick on the corner of Butler alley and North Main, which he built and owned, for some years occupied by the Record until 1890, and since by Kern's tailoring establishment, Rosenbluth's wholesale liquor store and the "Jolly Ten Social Club." Hannum had had this building erected for this purpose. He lived on the upper floor with his family and did the business of the publication on the ground floor. Hannum's control covered the period of the war, and the excited passions of that time made his position often an unenviable one. He was, however, a man of fixed and strong convictions and undaunted courage and held up bravely against every storm. In 1869 he sold to Walter H. Hibbs, who came from Philadelphia. In 1869 the paper was removed to the building on the east side of the public square adjoining the Exchange hotel. In 1871 Hibbs took as a partner H. B. Beardslee, of Honesdale. Hibbs shortly after retiring.
[p.401] In 1878 Mr. Beardslee, whose control for several years had been a checkered one, was sold out at the suit of Payne Pettebone and others, and from these, about a year later, or in 1879, the property was purchased by the Leader Publishing company (Messrs. Joseph K. Bogert and George B. Kulp). In July, 1876, the Luzerne Leader had been established at Pittston by E. A. Niven and C. H. Chamberlin. In February, 1877, the stock and good-will of the paper was sold to Messrs. Bogert and Kulp, who organized the Leader Publishing company as above, and removed it to Wilkes-Barre, the office being in the Corn Exchange building, corner South Main and public square. Here and under these auspices it became a prosperous weekly newspaper. When the company bought Mr. Beardslee's plant, the two papers were merged, and on January 17, 1879, the first number of the Union Leader was issued from the old Luzerne Union office on the public square.
October 1, 1879, the first issue of the daily was emitted from the old Public Square building. It was a four page paper, 18x25 inches, five columns to a page, and from the start became popular with the people generally and especially with those of the democratic faith. Several succeeding enlargements were effected, to meet the increasing pressure of advertisers upon its space, the last one made by the present management on May 1, 1888, making its size 26x40 inches, eight columns to the page. In January, 1880, T. K. Bogert purchased Mr. Kulp's interest and became sole proprietor of both daily and weekly. April 1, 1884, the plant was removed to the present building, No. 7 North Main street, which he had designed and constructed with all the necessary belongings of a modern publication office. In July, 1885, J. K. Bogert was appointed postmaster of Wilkes-Barre, and took possession of the office on August 1, following, though he continued in charge of the Daily and Weekly Leader properties as editor and sole proprietor until his death on February 3, 1887.
Joseph Kirkendall Bogert was born at New Columbus, Luzerne county, July 16, 1845, and was educated at the New Columbus academy and at the university at Lewisburg, now named Bucknell, of which he was a graduate. He enlisted and served during the war in the signal corps. His first newspaper work was done on the Scranton Times, of which he was the regular Wilkes-Barre representative, and he built up for that paper a considerable circulation in that city. He was a correspondent for the Associated Press, for the Philadelphia Times and other papers and was a clerk in the office of the quartersessions court and reading law at the same time. In 1874 he was elected register of wills and clerk of the orpbans' court of Luzerne county by a majority of nearly 1,600. He was afterward chairman of the democratic county committee for several terms, chairman of the democratic state committee in 1881, and a delegate to the democratic convention of 1880 at Chicago, which nominated Gen. Hancock, and also in 1884 at that which nominated Mr. Cleveland. In 1886 he was honored with the presidency of the State Editorial association. He was a prominent member of Conyngham Post 97, G. A. R., Lodge 61 F. & A. M. of Wilkes-Barre and other organizations. He was but forty-two years of age when he died. Mr. Bogert was one of the projectors of the Wilkes- Barre board of trade, and was one of its presidents and most active workers.
The Sunday Leader made its initial appearance in November, 1885, and although bearing the name of Leader and issued from the same office and press was a separate publication, with E. F. Bogert and John S. MoGroarty as editors and proprietors. The latter, after a few months, retired from the partnership. The daily and weekly publications were under the control of the estate from the death of Joseph K. Bogert until April 1, 1888, when they were purchased with all the appurtenances, including the building and real estate, by Edward Freas Bogert, brother of the deceased and present editor and proprietor of all three. Each has a stronghold upon the affections of the people, and has from the beginning enjoyed a career of uninterrupted prosperity. Since 1876 there have been on the staffs of [p.402] these publications, among others the following well-known writers: C. H. Chamberlin, Hon. C. Ben Johnson, E. A. Niven, Emanuel K. Bogert, W. H. Zeller, the late Col. W. W. Shore, Theron G. Osborne, John S. McGroarty, Wesley E. Woodruff and A. W. Betterly.
The Wyoming Republican was established in Kingston, in 1832, by S. D. Lewis, and was edited with ability by that gentleman until 1837, when the press and materials were sold to Dr. Thomas W. Miner and removed to Wilkes-Barre. Dr. Miner, in conjunction with Miner S. Blackman, edited and published the Republican until 1839, at which period it was purchased by S. P. Collings, and united with The Republican Farmer. We feel that we hazard nothing in saying, that the Republican, from its birth until its death, was one of the best and most ably conducted papers in the country, and no one can peruse its old files without lively interest and admiration.
The Republican Farmer was established in Wilkes-Barre by Henry Pettibone and Henry Heald in 1828 and in 1831 Mr. Pettibone sold his interest to J. J. Adam. In 1833 the materials were purchased by B. A. D. Bidlack and Mr. Atherholt, and, in 1835 it became the property of S. P. Collings, who remained its editor and proprietor until 1852, when the establishment passed into the hands of S. S. Benedict, and was merged in The Luzerne Union.
The Farmer was a thorough democratic paper, and, besides the talents of its able editors, it was sustained by the literary and political contributions of several distinguished gentlemen. In its columns may be found articles from the pens of Andrew Beaumont, Judge Scott, Dr. T. W. Miner, and others. Two of its editors became representatives of the United States government in foreign lands, and died in the service of their country. Bidlack lies buried in South America, and the bones of Collings are beneath the sands of Africa.
The Luzerne Democrat was published in Wilkes-Barre, in 1845, by L. L. Tate, and was afterward sold to Chester Tuttle. In 1852 it became the property of S. S. Benedict, who changed its name to The Luzerne Union. In 1854 it passed into the possession of S. S. Winchester. In 1855 Mr. Winchester sold to Mr. Bosea, who shortly after transferred it to Waelder & Neibel. They, in 1858, sold to E. S. Goodrich, who sold, in 1859, to Mifflin Hannum, and he sold, in 1865, to W. H. Hibbs.
The Daily Telegraph, the first daily newspaper in the county, was commenced at Wilkes-Barre, in 1852, by E. Collings and H. Brower. It survived eight weeks and was then sold to M. B. Barnum and W. H. Beaumont, who started The True Democrat in opposition to The Luzerne Union. In 1853 the name was changed to The Democratic Expositor, edited by James Raferty. In 1855 the materials were removed to Scranton, and the Spirit of the Valley was issued by Messrs. Alleger & Adams.
In 1840 The Northern Pennsylvanian was issued at Wilkes-Barre, by W. Bolton, and after one year was removed to Tunkhannock.
The Anti-Masonic Advocate was established in Wilkes-Barre by Elijah Worthington in 1832. In 1835 the press was sold to Eliphalet Worthington, who published the paper one year, and sold to J. Foster. In 1838 Mr. Foster sold to Amos Sisty, who changed the name to The Wilkes-Barre Advocate, and for several years edited and published it with distinguished ability, often furnishing its columns with genuine and beautiful poetry from his own pen. "Liberty and union, one and inseparable, now and forever," was his motto; and he adhered to the principle therein expressed with peculiar tenacity until his death. In 1843 the paper passed into the hands of S. D. Lewis, and in 1853 Mr. L. sold to W. P. Miner, who changed the name to The Record of the Times, under which title Mr. M. published one of the best papers in the country.
The Democratic Watchman, a German paper, was established in Wilkes-Barre, [p.403] in 1841, by J. Waelder, and in 1851 it was sold to R. Baur, who is still the editor and proprietor.
The Truth was first issued in Wilkes-Barre, in 1840, by B. C. Denison, and in a few weeks was enlarged to super-royal size and called The Democratic Truth.
The Literary Visitor, royal octavo size, was established in Wilkes-Barre, by Steuben Butler in 1813, and was continued until July, 1815. It was an able literary paper.
The Wasp, a small Paul Pry sheet, was published in Wilkes-Barre, in 1840, by Burdock & Boneset, and edited by Nicholas Nettle.
The People's Grubbing Hoe, a Harrison campaign paper, was issued in 1840 at Wilkes-Barre by A. Sisty, with the following words explanatory of its character: "It digs up the political stumps, the squalid roots, the rotten trees, and will lend its aid in cleaning out all nuisances encumbering the great political farm of the people." It was evanescent, having grubbed the road to the "White House" for Harrison, it was content to say, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace."
The first attempt at issuing a daily paper in Wilkes-Barre was made in 1852, by E. B. Collings and Halsey Brower. A small paper called the Daily Telegraph, was started, but survived only a short time, and died for want of patronage. In 1869 Messrs, Hibbs & Linn issued a daily edition of the Luzerne Union, called the Daily Union, but the enterprise did not prove remunerative, and after a few months it was discontinued.
The Anti-Masonic Advocate was established by Elijah Worthington in 1832. In 1838 it was purchased by Amos Sisty, who dropped the anti-masonic title, and it appeared as the Wilkes-Barre Advocate, the organ of the old whig party. Mr. Sisty was a pleasant writer, and its columns were enriched by some choice gems of poetry from his pen. After his death, in 1843, the Advocate passed into the hands of Sharp D. Lewis, and he in 1853 sold it to William P. Miner, a son of Charles Miner. It was published a few years and then ceased.
Mr. Miner started the Record of the Times, and soon sold a half interest to his cousin Joseph W. Miner, a son of Asher Miner, who died a year or two afterward, and William P. Miner became the sole editor and proprietor. The Record of the Times has always been a faithful chronicler of passing events, and has shown itself to be just what its name imports—a newsy and lively paper. In 1866 the Record was published in one of a row of wooden buildings on West Market street, on the southwest side, below Franklin street, and the entire concern was totally destroyed by the big fire that laid waste both sides of the street on April 16, of that year; but with characteristic energy Mr. Miner obtained new material at once, including a steam-power press, the first in Wilkes-Barre, and the publication of the paper was not materially interrupted. The Record had heretofore been a weekly paper, but in 1870 Mr. Miner, feeling that the time had arrived when Wilkes-Barre could sustain a daily, commenced the publication of a morning edition in connection with the weekly. The morning daily was soon changed to an evening paper, on which plan it was continued till the paper was sold to the Record of the Times Publishing company, Dr. W. H. Bradly managing editor, March, 1877, and by him continued as such until in the summer of 1879 the paper was enlarged and issued in the morning.
A daily paper in the interest of the national greenback party was published during a portion of 1879.
News Dealer was first issued in Pittston in June, 1878, a folio, and called the Sunday Plain Dealer. The cost of the outfit was $700, housed in the printing office of L. Gordon. Here was the main office with branches at Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. It was located at Pittston, because this was the most central point between the two cities. The Plain Dealer was the first Sunday paper published in northern Pennsylvania; it soon gained a large circulation and a liberal advertising list. J. C. Coon was the editor and principal stockholder. When Lackawanna [p.404] county was struck from Luzerne in 1879, the paper was moved to Wilkes-Barre soon after the division in 1880. A disagreement arose among the stockholders and Editor Coon retired; and in a short time founded the News Dealer, another Sunday paper, and of this he was sole proprietor and editor, which soon sprang into a wide popular favor, which it is said compelled the Plain Dealer to suspend publication, and Mr. Coon purchased its material. In 1880 he commenced to issue also a weekly, called the Dollar Weekly News Dealer. In 1881 S. B. Coleman purchased an interest in the paper.
November, 1884, a daily edition was issued, folio, 21x30; J. C. Coon, chief editor, assisted by C. Ben Johnson; D. N. Daley, city editor, assisted by Owen W. Keenly. October 17, 1881, J. C. Coon sold the controlling interest in the paper to Sam W. Boyd, at that time filling the office of register of wills in the county, John J. Maloney and Ernest S. Hanson; the latter two were members of the Record staff. In 1886 Mr. Coleman sold his interest to Boyd & Maloney, and a year later Mr. Hanson disposed of his interest to the same parties, and the firm was now constituted of these two only. The Daily News Dealer has been enlarged several times since 1887, and is now recognized generally as one of the county's leading, enterprising publications and one of the strong organs of the democratic party in northern Pennsylvania, able, fearless and outspoken. S. N. Boyd, editor- in-chief; John J. Malony, assistant; P. S. Redsdale, city editor.
The paper has branch offices in Pittston, Ashley, Plymouth, Kingston, Nanticoke and Miner's Mills. Owen R. Keenly is manager of the Pittston office. A special edition of the Sunday News Dealer is issued for that town. M. F. Dougher is in charge of the Plymouth and Kingston offices. A special edition is issued for those towns. M. F. Doyle has charge of the Ashley branch, and R. A. Ward at Miner's Mills.
Robert Baur & Son, printers, publishers, stationers and binders. This has grown from a small country printing office in 1842, to be one of the oldest and leading establishments of the kind in this section of the country. Robert Baur commenced a small bindery here when Wilkes-Barre had less than 3,000 people; and his concern, extending itself into a printing office also, has grown with the growth of the city. He is now one of the oldest publishers in the city.
In 1842 Maj. Jacob Waelder started the Democratic Wachter, a four-column folio and always democratic. In 1851 he sold the paper to Robert Baur, who has published it regularly since. Six months after he took possession it was enlarged to a seven-column paper; in 1856 again enlarged to an eight-column paper, and in 1865 was changed to a seven-column quarto. This has always been one of the strong democratic German papers, and has had much to do in shaping the politics of Luzerne county.
Every paper since Mr. Baur took hold, except a short trip to Europe, a little excursion in helping drive Lee from Gettysburg, and three weeks in a sick bed, has been personally edited, supervised, mailed, and every detail attended to by this gentleman in person. This constitutes of itself certainly quite a record.
Saturday Evening was established by R. Baur in 1886, the same size as the Democratic Wachter, and is edited and published by the same firm—Robert Baur & Son; the son being G. A. Baur.
Council Chat, is published by a joint stock company whose officers are D. H. McCarty, president; I. V. Robbins, secretary; Henry Brown, treasurer. It is published from the office of R. Baur & Son.
Saenger Zeitung (monthly) was established in July, 1892; is a four-colurun quarto and is the organ of the Penniylvania Union Singing society. Robert Baur and Hugo Bauman, editors. It is published in the printing house of Robert Baur & Son.
Wilkes-Barre-Record.—From this office is issued three publications: The Daily [p.407] Record, the weekly Record of the Times, and Dr. F. C. Johnson's Historical Record. This is, in a newspaper sense, the leading publication office in the county, though not the oldest. The morning Daily Record ranks one of the foremost among the morning dailies of northeastern Pennsylvania. It is par excellence the republican party organ, advisor and mentor. Is able and cleanly in its editorials, and while partisan to the full extent, is just and conservative in its intentions at least.
William Penn Miner was the founder of this paper. He was a man who inherited strong instincts toward that line of life. Born in Wilkes-Barre in 1816, he spent his life here and died in 1892, in his seventy-seventh year; a son of Charles Miner, the first newspaper man in Luzerne county, as well as its ablest historian of the early days of Wyoming Valley. William Penn Miner was trained for the law, admitted to the bar in 1841, and in 1846 elected as a whig, prothonotary and clerk of the courts of Luzerne county. But his inherited tendencies led him to journalism, and August 19, 1853, he issued the first copy of the Record, in connection with his brother, Joseph W. Miner. A prosperous weekly from the start, and October 5, 1873, commenced the Daily (morning) Record. His paper in every issue testified to his ability as a journalist. At that time this was the only daily in the county. The daily was commenced at the urgent solicitation of his friends, at an earlier date than his judgment would have dictated and he informed his most intimate friends that he spent much money before it could stand alone.
In 1876 Mr. Miner sold the plant to a stock company; he retained a large part of the stock, but retired from the active management and editorial staff. The other stockholders were Hon. L. D. Shoemaker, Hon. Charles A. -'diner, Daniel Edwards, Hon. Henry M. Hoyt, Edward H. Chase, William L. Conyngham, J. W. Holleaback, Hon. E. C. Wadhams, Douglass Smith and William B. Miner.
This reorganization furnished ample capital, and the paper was now firmly on its feet.
In 1883 Dr. W. H. Bradley, who had in 1879 acquired an interest and became general manager, sold his interest to C. B. Snyder, F. C. Johnson and J. C. Powell, who at first leased the plant and in the course of a short time held the stock.
In 1888 Mr. Snyder disposed of his interest to his partners, who subsequently purchased all outstanding stock, together with the commodious three-story building —the present and permanent home of the Record.
In 1891 the Record printing office added a $9,000 lightning press that prints from a roll, cuts and folds, with a capacity of 12,000 per hour. This may be noted as an era in journalism in the county. All forms for this press are stereotyped in the office.
Legal Publications.—The first legal publication of Luzerne county was the Luzerne Legal Observer, of Wilkes-Barre, E. S. M. Hill, editor and proprietor. The first number was issued October 31, 1860, and the last number in July, 1864; it was discontinued at that date on account of Mr. Hill's failing health. The next legal publication was the Public Code. The first number was issued July 7, 1871. It was published for a few months only. James Albert Clark was the editor and publisher. The Luzerne Law Journal, of which one number only was issued, was the successor of the Public Code. The date was November 17, 1871. Aretus H. Winton was its editor. The Luzerne Legal Register was first issued January 25, 1872, and has continued from that time to the present. It is the only legal publication in the county. George B. Kulp is editor and proprietor.
The Daily Times.—Mr. A. A. Holbrook, under date July 29, 1891, in reply to a request from Dr. F. C. Johnson for the facts regarding the history of his paper for this chapter, wrote:
"The Times, as a weekly, was originated by B. F. Dilley, R. P. Robinson and M. E. Sanders, in December, 1885. Afterward B. F. Dilley and Martin Poaley became the owners. In December, 1888, the business was sold to A. A. Holbrook, [p.408] who continued the weekly till August, 1889, when it was changed to a semi-weekly. The following December 4 the first issue of The Daily Times appeared, and in July, 1890, the Times Printing company assumed control, with A. A. Holbrook and G. M. Wilner editors.
"The concern was then sold to C. B. Snyder and removed to Wilkes-Barre, and is a daily afternoon paper. October 25, 1892, the paper was enlarged to a seven- column folio, and with this change the Times changed from 'independent' to a republican paper. Simultaneous with this change appeared as editor, E. H. Chase."
Pittston Newspapers.—This town has done its fair share in starting a newspaper graveyard, where, one by one, the venturesome barks have been swallowed up. While there have been many ventures and failures, yet it is a pertinent fact that of them all but one survives, and that is the present Pittston Gazette, the first paper started here—an admirable illustration of the theory of the survival of the fittest in this supreme struggle for existence that goes on forever. It was established in August, 1850, by G. M. Richart and H. S. Phillips, printers; a seven-column folio weekly, and was whig in politics, and, like most of the northern whigs, became republican in 1856, the first national campaign of that party. Mr. Richart bought out his partner in 1853, and alone published it until 1857, when he sold to Dr. John Henry Puleston, who, in time, returned to Wales and became a member of parliament. He was a great political power here in the Fremont campaign, it is said. In 1860 Puleston sold to G. M. Richart, Benjamin D. Beyea and Abel C. Thompson, and this firm so continued until 1863, when the second time Mr. Richart became sole proprietor. In June, 1869, he leased, for one year, the plant to J. W. Freeman, and at the end of the lease again was in control. In 1870 a half interest was purchased by Theo. Hart, Jr., when the firm became Richart & Hart, and thus continued to May 1, 1878, when the firm was dissolved and Mr. Hart, the present editor and proprietor, became the sole proprietor.
The Daily Evening Gazette was launched in 1882 by Mr. Hart, and from that time to this the daily and the weekly have appeared in their regular issues. The daily started a six-column folio, also republican, and it was enlarged to a seven- column sheet and then in 1890 to an eight-column paper. Mr. Hart is the right man in the right place, as is abundantly testified every working day in the week by his bright, breezy and newsy paper. Tallie Evans is the ever ubiquitous reporter of the Gazette. A fair idea of the way Mr. Hart has built up his paper is given in the increased facilities the demands of his patrons have made necessary to the mechanical department. Within the past three years he has added to the old Taylor press, a Babcock, and in April, 1892, a Hoe cylinder, with Dexter folder. In addition to these is a Universal Gordon, and these are all run by steam power. The capacity of his presses is 4,000 papers per hour.
The writer is so accustomed in writing of the newspapers of a town, to commence and give the details of the many efforts and failures before reaching the living papers, that it sounds odd to change this form and conclude the account of the only paper now published in Pittston, with the brief obituary notices of the departed.
Pittston Herald, democratic, started in 1855, by Edward S. Neibell. Soon after some miscreant at night broke into the office and "pied" the type. Not long after this a fire made more trouble, and he sold what was left to Mr. Richart, of the Gazette and departed.
The Pittston Free Press, seven-column weekly, independent, was published a few months in 1859, by Lieut. Arnold C. Lewis.
The Wyoming Valley Journal started in 1871, by J. M. Armstrong, B. F. Hughes and George D. Leisenring. The office was well equipped with material and proprietors. Mr. Armstrong soon after bought out his partners. He employed as editors at different times, Col. D. C. Kitchen, W. J. Bruce, Col. W. W. Share and [p.409] others. For a short time he issued the Daily Journal in connection with his weekly. Both papers independent in politics. About two years after starting it was leased to J. W. Freeman, who consolidated this paper with the Pittston Comet, and the new paper became the Pittston Comet and Woming Valley Journal, and even with all that name to carry was a very vigorous and lively journal and gathered subscribers and soon had fame throughout the State. However, it ceased to live in 1877 and the material was purchased by Lewis Gordon.
The Evening Press was first issued in 1877 by W. B. Keller, set up and printed in Lewis Gordon's job office. Mr. Keller was succeeded in a short time by Yost & Sutton, and they by Tinker & Russell, and in the spring of 1880 Lewis Gordon was in charge. It lived about five years then ceased to exist.
The Sunday Plain Dealer commenced life in 1878, by J. C. Coon. Bright and breezy, it attracted so much favorable attention that it was induced to move to Wilkes-Barre and became the Sunday News Dealer. [See Wilkes-Barre Leader.]
The Pittston Express, an evening paper, was commenced in 1878, by J. T. Sutton and W. H. Rutledge. It did not long survive; died aged three months.
The Daily Watchman, evening paper, local in its makeup, began May 26, 1880, by Charles Tinker and S. J. Richards. Its existence was brilliant, but too brief, being only a little more than a month old.
Sunday Herald was started in 1890; lived three months.
Pittston Times started in 1890, and after one year ceased.
White Haven could boast of its first newspaper in 1877. The Standard was started at that time by Levi Miner. It was a small weekly, and after a precarious existence of about one year, ceased to be, and was "distritbuted" by a cruel-hearted officer of the law. The material brought here by Mr. Miner was sold and the most of it purchased by William A. Feist, and was the nucleus of the present flourishing weekly, The White Haven Journal, that Mr. Feist, proprietor, issued the first number of December 6, 1872. A seven-column folio, weekly, and independent in politics, is bright, newsy and full of enterprise in the way of pushing its own business and never forgetting a good word for White Haven. It is very prosperous under Mr. Feist, and in some of its lines of specialties in the jobbing line, is a wonderful success. Its patronage has been built up until it required seven power-presses to turn out the work that comes to it. Mr. Feist is a born newspaper man and has built up a job office in connection with his paper that is the pride and boast of all good White Haveners.
Freeland Newspapers.—The thrift and enterprise of this borough is well exemplified in the character and ability of its two newspapers and their two editors and proprietors. It is a fact that the early growth of towns in this country is always heralded by their local publications, and it is also true that in hundreds of instances, when the historian comes to record the fact of the growth and glory of one place and the slow decay and desertion of a rival place—where all else was so nearly equal, yet one prospered while the other perished—he can only conclude that the secret lay in the fact that chance sent to one and not the other a corps of newspaper men, who blew the mighty blasts that were heard and heeded of all men, and the waste place grew and blossomed in a night. An old printer can glance at the columns of a local paper and tell exactly the outlook of the place—know its promises to new settlers thoroughly.
The Freeland Tribune was started June 28, 1888, by Thomas A. Buckley, assisted by his son, D. S. Buckley, a practical printer and expert reporter, who had filled the latter place on the Philadelphia Record staff and was on several other metropolitan newspapers. Mr. Buckley had for some time conducted a job office in the place, and it did not require much to start a seven-column folio weekly. It commenced and continues democratic. It so prospered as a weekly that, in June, 1892, it became a semi-weekly, with a steam-power press, job presses and all the latest wants of a complete country office.
[p.410] Mr. Buckley owns his own office building on Main street, has worked his way from the first round of the ladder, and richly deserves the unusual success that has crowned his struggles in life.
Semi-Weekly Progress, Owen Fowler publisher and editor. The paper comenced its career simply as the Freeland Progress, a weekly, five-column folio, independent in politics. The first issue was in 1885, and in July it was enlarged to a six-column folio. From May 1 to September, 1887, a daily was also issued in connection with the weekly. This was probably a little in advance of the demands of the public, but might have survived to a green old age, barring the "strike" of that year that disarranged many well-laid schemes. April 1, 1888, started the first of the Semi-Weekly Progress, as it is now conducted. As stated, the paper commenced life as an "independent," but in 1886 it flung out the republican flag and has battled bravely for the principles of that party since. Mr. Fowler is a young man, but is bright and enthusiastic, and he runs his paper and the Freeland postoffice, where he is also postmaster, to the entire satisfaction of his many friends and patrons.
The Hazleton Sentinel.—The history of the Hazleton Sentinel is virtually the history of Hazleton. It was the first newspaper issued in the city.
It was founded by John C. Stokes, January 18, 1866. Its first appearance was as a seven-column folio. Mr. Stokes was a soldier—a brave one, too—and when the Civil war ended he came back to Hazleton and founded the Sentinel, which has since stood guard over the material interests of the place. Its career has been that of the average newspaper. As the successful man in public life is invariably one who has been born of poor but honest parents, and fitted for life with only a common-school education, so it is with the successful newspaper. You find that it started in life with a handpress and a meager outfit. It was the case with the Sentinel. Mr. Stokes was editor and everything else. For two years he carried on the business and then it passed into the hands of Pardee, Markle & Grier, bankers. Then Henry Wilson became editor. He followed the soul-wearing business a brief period and went the way of all editors. The paper was then sold to Moore & Sanders. Mr. J. S. Sanders became first editor and then bought the interest of Mr. Moore. He consolidated with it the Daily News, a paper printed by John C. Fincher. This was in 1875. The paper became a daily in 1870 and was known as the Anthracite Hazleton Sentinel. When the consolidation with the Daily News was effected it became the Hazleton Sentinel, which name it now bears. It passed from the hands of Mr. Sanders into those of C. B. Snyder, who published it several years, when it was purchased by a local syndicate known as the Sentinel Publishing company. John P. Dowling, became the editor. Upon his death it passed into the control of Messrs. Maue, Wallace & McCloskey, who carried on the publication for a short time, when George Maue became the proprietor. In June, 1892, the Sentinel Printing company was organized and John McCarthy was made editor, C. F. Paul business manager and George Maue superintendent of printing. Mr. McCarthy had been connected with the paper for three years previous to this change, and Mr. Maue had been identified with it for years.
The concern now occupies a building on north Wyoming street, but plans are being made for the erection of a magnificent building on Broad street. The, present management has, more than any other, sent the paper to the front. It is the most widely-quoted paper in eastern Pennsylvania, and receives the full Associated Press reports. Its politics have been and are unflinchingly republican.
The Middle Coal Field Advertiser (weekly) (Hazleton) issued its first number September 19, 1874, by George Mancy. It kept the even tenor of its way until 1878, when it was changed to the Daily Bulletin, with Mr. Mancy as business manager, under the name of the Bulletin Publishing company; is no longer published.
The Mountain Beacon was established by John C. Stokes, October 25, 1877; [p.411] six-column folio; enlarged May 30, 1878, to an eight-column folio; non-partisan. In 1879 Alfred F. Stokes became publisher and editor, and in a short time it ceased to exist.
The Daily Standard was started as a semi-weekly, five-column paper, March 25, 1885; by the Standard company, and was independent in its politics. The proprietors were H. A. Buchenau and L. G. Lubrecht. In this style it continued three months and Mr. Buchenau retired on his suddenly acquired fame and fortune. His interest passed to W. C. Lubrecht and these brothers have continued in the control and possession. At No. 2 of the second volume the paper was enlarged a column to each page. The Standard gave unmistakable signs of success from the first. It was continued as a semi-weekly seven years and March 23, 1892, it shed its twice-a-week suit and bloomed daily and more than that, it became not only a daily but a stanch democratic organ. The Lubrecht brothers are safe and successful newspaper publishers and make their six-column daily a bright and breezy sheet that meets an extensive and richly deserved patronage from the general public.
The Plain Speaker was founded February 6, 1882, with Dershuck & Lewis as editors and proprietors, and Dominic F. Sweeney as business manager. It made its first appearance as an afternoon paper and continued as such until the "American Press association" was formed and the plate service was formally introduced. The Plain Speaker was the first daily paper to make use of the service which very materially assisted the paper in finding a foothold and great favor among the people of this region. In July, 1882, Mr. Lewis severed his connection with the paper and John Dershuck became sole proprietor. In the following January Mr. Sweeny resigned and was succeeded by Claude G. Whetstone. Many well-known journalists were identified with The Plain Speaker during a period of five years following. Mr. John Dershuck continued to hold the exclusive management of the paper until 1886, when he associated with him his brother William C. Dershuck, and the firm name was changed to Dershuck Bros., which lasted until September 1, 1887, when D. F. Sweeney purchased William C. Dershuck's interest, changing the firm name to Dershuck & Sweeney. This co-partnership existed until March 9, 1889, when Mr. Dershuck, owing to continued ill health, was obliged to retire. His interest was acquired by James L. Morris, and a new firm was created under the title of Dominic F. Sweeney, editor and proprietor, although Mr. Morris was half-owner of the property. April 20, 1889, the founder of the paper, John Dershuck, died, aged thirty-three years. He had labored long and hard to establish The Plain Speaker, and in spite of many difficulties he succeeded, but his effort cost him his life. He was of a quick, nervous and emphatic disposition with an intense feeling of kindness for his friends, and no mercy for his enemies. With him, once an enemy, always an enemy. It is to be regretted that his many acts of kindness were not fully appreciated until after he had gone to the great Unknown; then was it that those whose interests had been subserved by the powerful influence of The Plain Speaker at some previous time missed the aid and assistance of an ally who was ever ready to do battle for his friends regardless of consequences. Few men ever experienced a more turbulent and trying existence for a period of eighteen years, from tender youth until his death than John Dershuck. To him solely belongs the credit of establishing the paper of the people. Through many days of trial and adversity of warfare and of peace, did he direct the course of the paper from its inception until almost the day of his death, and when he relinquished his hold the companion of his youth, Mr. Dominic F. Sweeney, imbued with the same spirit, continued to direct the fortunes of the paper in the same fearless, aggressive and belligerent manner characteristic of the paper from the time it was first issued up to the present time, with the exception of a short period during the absence of Mr. Sweeney, when Mr. Morris displayed the same capability of directing the course of the paper. Thus it was that but three persons have been directing the paper, and each succeeding day brings it closer to the hearts [p.412] of the people. It is now thoroughly established and firmly founded. The owners of the paper, Messrs. Morris and Sweeney, organized a stock company August 31, 1891, with James L. Morris as president, Dominic F. Sweeney secretary and treasurer, and M. W. Morris, J. W. Morris, Susan Brislin and Ella M. Sweeney as directors and sole owners of the stock.
The history of The Plain Speaker would be very imperfect indeed with no mention of the Hon. James A. Sweeney in connection therewith. The only thing in the world to parallel Col. Jim's dry wit is his modesty. He is the present all-around editor—the general shake-hands-know-everybody factotum of the paper. A man that never made a real enemy in his life, yet a positive one in his opinions, and at times has raised "the dander" of the Republicans till the very air was murky, but while they might gather in the alley to mob the colonel, they would end in going up shaking his hand and "set 'em up on the other alley" in fine style. He was the mainspring, the foster-father of the idea that gave us The Plain Speaker. He argued and wrestled with the first proprietors until he induced them to embrace the opportunity of their lives. It has had many editors and staff correspondents in its time, but Sweeney from first to last has been its standby. The genial "Jim" of the facile pen—esto perpetua!
The Hazleton Journal (German) was established as a weekly, eight-column folio, in 1875, independent in its politics, by Rudolph Stutzbach, and has pursued the even tenor of its successful way without change or variation to the present. Mr. Stutzbach knows all the secrets of success in a country newspaper office and has always commanded a full share of public patronage.
The Hazleton Folksblatt (German) was first issued April 16, 1872, by Moore & Sanders, who continued its publication till October 29, 1872, when Mr. Moore retired from the firm. Mr. Sanders continued its publication till April 1, 1873, when P. Dershuck and R. F. Stutzbach became publishers and editors. In 1874 Mr. Stutzbach retired from the firm, when Mr. Dershuck enlarged the paper to eight columns. In 1875 R. F. Stutzbach became publisher and editor, and April 1, 1876, was succeeded by P. Dershuck. October 1, 1878, it was again changed to a weekly, and July 1, 1879, again enlarged to an eight-column paper. In 1882 Anton Schneider purchased the Volksblatt; this separated it from the Independent Democrat, that finally was discontinued and became the office of the present Plain Speaker. In July, 1891, Anton Schneider sold the Volksblatt to the present proprietor, Peter Schneider. It is one of the prominent and successful German papers in the county, and is Democratic.
The Daily Bulletin was first issued December 10, 1878, under the title of the Evening Bulletin, and February 25, 1879, the name was changed to Daily Bulletin. S. B. Macquade, editor; G. Maue, business manager; W. Sebretch, foreman. It has ceased publication.
Onallas (Hazleton) is Hungarian, which translated is "Independence." Is a weekly paper in the Hungarian language, started in October, 1891, by Arcade Mogyorosi. It has just shed its "independence" and is an out-and-outer Republican. Its office is in Diamond addition on Laurel street.
Jednota (Hazleton) is a Schwabish weekly newspaper, by Frank Pucher. The office was removed from Cleveland, Ohio, to this place in the fall of 1891.
Langcliff Monthly is a three-column folio church paper, published every month at Avoca, by Rev. G. N. Makely. It is devoted wholly to church or congregational matters and is much prized by the members. The December number, 1891, was Vol. I, No. 9., indicating its publication was commenced that year.
The Wyoming Magazine, Samuel R. Smith, artist painter and literary man, in 1880, proposed issuing in Wilkes-Barre a monthly literary magazine, confined to home talent. The advisory board selected being B. H. Pratt, C. Ben Johnson, E. A. Niven, D. M. Jones, Will S. Monroe, W. George Powell, James W. Coughlin, John S. McGroaty, [p.413] F. C. Johnson, J. Ellsworth Kern, E. M. Marshall, Prof. W. H. Putnam, Andrew Boyd, T. G. Osborn and J. C. Colborn.
Mountain Echo, Shickshinny, commenced its life in 1873 by M. E. Walker, a seven-column folio, independent on political questions. In the course of a few months he associated with himself as proprietor, C. A. Boone, and thus it continued two years, having the usual youthful periods of all country papers; experiences paralleling that of the boy with croup, measles, whooping cough and stone bruises on his heels, but coming out of it all to smoke cigarettes, be a dude and finally get married and make a prominent citizen of himself. In 1875 Walker & Boone sold to R. M. Tubbs and H. H. Rutter and after one year Mr. Tubbs purchased Mr. Rutter's interests and became and has continued sole proprietor and editor, made it a Republican paper and enlarged it to an eight-column quarto. He has constantly met the public demands in enlarging and adding facilities to the office and now has steam power and presses, with every modern newspaper convenience. It is one of the most complete offices in the county and the Echo reverberates along the hills.
The Shickshinny Democrat is ably edited and outspoken in its views, as its name indicates—thoroughly Democratic. It is a six-column quarto, by Deemer Beidleman. The first number was issued April 7, 1892, in its present form and size, and was started with a purpose—to be democratic. It is meeting a well-merited success, well printed and ably and fearlessly edited.
Nanticoke Newspapers—The Nanticoke Daily Evening News (also weekly), J. C. Coon, publisher and proprietor; J. J. Burke, city editor. The initial number was a weekly, dated August 8, 1890, as a six-column folio, and now is a six-column quarto. October 31, 1890, the daily was first issued, a six-column folio and now eight columns, the increase of size came June 1, 1892. The paper is independent in politics, brilliant in editorials, and in all things possesses the courage of its convictions. "Senator" Burke, of its staff, is regarded as a feature, and he has most successfully advertised the many advantages of the place and is responsible, at least so all say, for much of the boom—the notable prosperity of Nanticoke. The office and fixtures are all new and of the best improved kind. A six-horse water motor furnishes the driving power for its three presses.
Nanticoke Sun, a weekly democratic paper; L. D. Ferrell, manager and editor, by the Nanticoke Sun Publishing company. The paper was established in 1879 by Michael Sanders and was called the Nanticoke Chronicle, a republican organ. In 1884 it passed under the control of N. M. Hartman, who conducted it until 1888; then G. W. Lacock took control, and in a few months he associated with himself Horatio Moore, firm name Lacock & Moore. It went to the wall at this time and was sold at sheriff's sale and purchased by the present company, composed of John Smoulter, S. W. Search, Thomas McGroarty and John S. McGroarty, the latter being in charge of the general business affairs of the office. Under the company the first editor was John M. Carr; then Edward Fowler, and then Charles Fowler. Then the present office manager and editor, L. D. Ferrell. It commenced life and buffeted the uncertain sea of journalism until it went under a high wave of financial distress as a republican paper, but the present firm when they purchased the office their first move was to make the paper democratic, and so it has continued and votes straight from the shoulder every time.
Plymouth.—The first attempt at a home newspaper was a daring venture by James Murrill Denn in 1856—the Plymouth Register; he got out twenty-one issues. The marked thing about it was that it was printed on basswood paper, that was made by W. L. Lance, one of the foremost of coal operators of Plymouth. His paper mill was at Rupert's station, Columbia county.
Barthe's Weekly Star.—The Plymouth Star was launched upon the sea of journalism (so often a treacherous sea), in December, 1869, by F. M. Wagner, a seven- column folio, republican in its political bearings. For six weeks it had a meteoric [p.414] and brilliant life and then experienced a prolonged attack of "innocuous desuetude." The boys would occasionly open it, (but no well-bred tramp printer ever swept an office except under compulsion), and they would take in a passing spring job and get perhaps ready money enough to "go to the show." Thus it fitfully slumbered until 1870, when E. D. Barthe resurrected it, retaining the old name, size and style of paper when it was started. From the hour Mr. Barthe took hold its future was assured. It in fact flourished. In 1861, in obedience to the demand upon its columns, he enlarged and greatly improved it, making it a handsome six-column quarto. He guided its life successfully and proved to be an able newspaper publisher. He made it independent in politics in 1876. In June, 1891, the name was changed to Barthe's Weekly Star and continued independent on all political subjects, and improved its literary merits, rendering it in all ways a valuable home and fireside companion.
Mr. Barthe died June 4, 1892, and the plant passed into the hands of his widow, Mrs. E. D. Barthe, and daughter, Miss Katie Barthe, both of whom, especially the daughter, had been his ablest assistants in printing and publishing the paper. The young lady had long been the master in the composition room and is now, not only the one female job printer in the county, but is one of the best. The mechanical work and the literary merits of the paper distinctly mark it as one of the prominent county publications; its circulation is large and eminently respectable.
The Plymouth Tribune is Republican from the shoulder, and its proprietor and editor, William H. Capwell, has no hesitation in proclaiming his political faith on all proper occasions, but never offensively. He is something like the boy when his daddy would seriously propose to thrash him, he would suggest to the old man "lets argy the case"—business first. This is not a bad rule for a rural paper— business first and then politics, but when jumped on, then "argy" with a plump from long taw." The Tribune first peeped out at daylight from an old hand press at Luzerne borough, by M. C. Andreas, in 1884. After sizing up that place it was taken to Nanticoke and became the Nanticoke Tribune. While there in 1885, the present proprietor purchased the office and continued its publication in that place until July 1891, when he brought it to its present home in Plymouth. When it was removed it was changed from a seven-column folio to an eight-page, six- column paper—neat in workmanship and sprightly in editorials; it is proper to say that previous to coming to Plymouth it had been neutral in politics. As an item in its history it may be stated that it was started with "Brick" Pomeroy's old hand-press, which is still in the office. It now has steam power, a Cottrell cylinder press and two jobbers, and is every way a well-equipped printing office, and, as it deserves, is flourishing.
The Plymouth "Vienybe Lietuvniku" by Joseph Pauksztis, "The only Lithuanian newspaper in Plymouth, represents the interest of more than 200,000 Lithuanians in the United States;" is a sixteen page weekly, independent politically; was first issued February 10, 1886; has an extensive plant and is a flourishing institution. Its editor kindly gave us a late copy to read at our leisure, no particular trouble was found in reading the letters, but the words required frequent reference to the dictionary. If you attempt to pronounce the nationality of these people you will find they understand you better if you try about the following, "Litawanians." The writer got all his knowledge of the language in a few minutes interview with the clever editor, Joseph Pauksztis, which you can pronounce at your leisure.
Ashley Bulletin was first issued by J. A. Wood & Co., (H. W. Oberrender), September 25, 1891; a seven-column folio, and called the Business Record; independent and devoted to business generally and public improvements especially. In November, 1891, the publishers assumed the firm name of Oberrender & Wood, and the name was changed to its present—Ashley Bulletin—in July, 1892. It continues independent politically, but gives much attention to news and the general [p.417] prosperity of the community. It is more than keeping pace with the rapid growth of the borough of Ashley.
Ashley Observer, by J. A. Schwab and D. H. Cruser, commenced publication March 15, 1888, a seven-column folio, independent politically, and therefore breezy and full of interesting news. When it was started some of its best friends feared for its future as there was little in outside appearances about Ashley to warrant the venture. But the borough has sprung up like a mushroom, and the most flattering prosperity has come to the Observer.
The Evolutionist.—Such a name for a little obscure village, patent inside and out paper was, to say the least, novel, and some of the good pious dames of the household, if they understood the common current import of the word must have shuddered when they looked at the headline.
It was a venture at New Columbus, by I. J. Jamison in 1891. It lived about a year and joined the "silent multitude." In a note the ex-editor says: "As the name implies it was conceived in the hope of proving an auxilliary to moral and political evolution at a time in our history when we deemed the effort most worthy." Whether this venture and name was a century more or less in advance of the age or behind it, is left to each reader's own solution. It should have been mentioned that Mr. Jamison is postmaster at New Columbus.
Luzerne County Express (German) is published on the public square in Wilkes-Barre. It was started in September, 1882, by August Stutzbach, and successfully run by him until his death in 1891; became well established and received a liberal patronage. After his death the work was taken up by his widow, Helena Stutzbach, and has continued to the present on its highway of prosperity. In October, 1892, Peter Raeder took charge of the Express. He is recognized as one of the able writers of Wilkes-Barre.
Avoca Argus was started December 12, 1890, by Harry W. Dony. It was the sudden filling of a long-felt want and bloomed into an immiediate success. It is independent in politics and started with a well-equipped office. Mr. Dony soon found that the demands of the people must be met, and he therefore started The Plains Argus and The Dunmore Pioneer and the publishers of the three papers are Dony & Bailey.
Telephone (Wilkes-Barre), first number was printed October 23, 1880—a monthly seven-column folio, by Charles D.Linskill. It started with 4,000 subscribers and this soon rose to 6,000, printing however 10,000 and giving away the extras. In March, 1884, J. S. Sanders became a partner in the paper, and April 5, 1884, the first Weekly Telephone was printed—eight-column folio; the weekly taking the place of the monthly, retaining about half of its subscribers and to the present has grown and prospered remarkably well.
Charles D. Linskill was born in Lehman township, April 10, 1840; reared on the farm until aged sixteen, and then clerked in a store till 1873, when he began reporting for the Record where he remained until September, 1880.
Mr. Sanders was born near Danville, August 10, 1834; learned the printer's art in Danville and published the Danville Intelligencer. Before taking hold of the Telephone, he had published the Berwick Gazette, Houghton Sentinel and Plymouth Record.