History of the Press in Darke County Ohio
From: History of Darke County, Ohio
From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time
By: Frazer E. Wilson
The Hibart Publishing Company
Milford, Ohio 1914


It used to be a common saying that the three greatest institutions of society were the home, the church and the school. In recent years another important institution has arisen which exerts a formative influence on public morals and public opinion scarcely less potent than these. I refer to the public press. If a man have but the rudiments of an education and will thoughtfully and habitually peruse the daily newspaper he may eventually attain a fair education and a comprehensive grasp of public affairs. The railway, telegraph and telephone have stimulated intercourse and contributed immeasurably toward the unification of society wherever they have been installed. The newspaper has been quick to utilize these important factors in collecting and distributing the news of the world for the benefit of the masses of civilized men. The growth of the newspaper industry is a fair gauge of the development of popular education, and the fact that there were but thirty seven newspapers in the United States in 1775, while there are more than a dozen in Darke county today is significant of the wonderful change that has taken place in the short history of our country. As before noted the agricultural and general development of Darke county was comparatively slow and gave little encouragement to the establishment of enterprises having a promise of profit.

The pioneers represented the average Americans of their class in those days when illiteracy was much more prevalent than it is today. Many families did not take any paper and the more prosperous ones subscribed for the papers published at Dayton, Piqua, Eaton and the older established towns.

The Journal.

However, a printer by the name of E. Donnelley, had the temerity to start a weekly sheet entitled the "Western Statesman and Greenville Courier" on June 25, 1832. The subscription price was $2.00 per year if paid in advance, $2.50 if paid within the year, or $3.00 if payment was deferred. News items of general interest were extracted from such publications as the Detroit Journal, New Hampshire Gazette, National Intelligencer and the Boston Patriot, while the local items and advertisements, no doubt, figured inconspicuously. This paper seems to have been continued under various names and proprietors and survives today as the Journal.

About March 1, 1844, Edward B. Taylor, whose biography appears elsewhere in this volume, took over this paper with a list of 150 subscribers. In April, 1850, J. G. Reece was associated with Taylor. The latter retired for a while on June 1, 1851. On April 29, 1852, M. B. Reece became a copartner with J. G. Reece as editor and proprietor. Later the paper again passed into the hands of Taylor, who published it until early in 1860, when it passed into the hands of Messrs. E. W. Otwell and James Craig. The latter retired in 1869. In 1873 this paper was enlarged from a seven column to a nine column folio making it the largest paper published in the county at that time. In 1879 E. W. Otwell turned over the publication to his son Curtis, who continues its publication at this time, over eighty years after its establishment. In 1846 the paper appeared under the title "The Greenville Patriot," was published every Wednesday at original subscription prices. It contained the announcement that country produce would be received on subscription at cash prices. In the issue of June 10, 1846, the advertisements were set in nonpareil type with small headlines and were only one column in width.

News from Europe then came to Greenville in from four to eight weeks late. Among the names attached to advertisements, legal and otherwise, were Wm. Wilson, R. R. Sherwood, T. J. McDowell, D. R. Davis, Thos. Vantilburgh, W. J. Birely, S. S. Arnold, D. K. Swisher, David Beers, Jacob Wood, Chas. Morris, Taylor & Schlenker, John Hufnagle, Henry Drinkwater, Wm. Arnold, Leah Vananker, David Stamm, A. Scribner, J. Vanmater, H. Arnold, Sawyer & Davis, Aaron Fleming, I. N. Beedle, James Boyd, W. B. Beall. F. Waring, Elisha Dawes, Wm. C. Deem, R. Kilpatrick, C. Jaqua, Sarah E. Osborn, Carey & Tomlinson, Wm. R. Crozier, L R Sample, B. Powell, R. Evans, J. B. Underwood, Haines & Monfort, M. L. Harter, M. Spayd, A. C. Brown, Wm. Vantilburgh, L. A. LaMott & Co.

In politics the Patriot strongly advocated the Whig policies and struck a strong patriotic note. In those days the Whigs and the Democrats divided the vote of some three thousand nearly equally between them. Much space was devoted to the currency and slavery questions and a strong current of feeling was manifested in the columns. After the formation of the Republican party the Journal became a staunch party organ advocating the candidacy of Lincoln. It continued steadfast in the advocacy of Republican principles throughout the trying times of the Civil War and is today aligned with those principles.

The Democrat.

The Democrat is the second oldest newspaper in Darke county with practically a continuous history. The demand for a local paper advocating Democratic principles caused the launching of the "Democratic Herald" in April, 1847. This paper was published by Mehaffey and Adams, and advocated popular sovereignty, state rights and a simple government. Mehaffey soon sold his interest to Wm. Allen, then county prosecuting attorney, who with Thomas Adams, both well known and highly esteerned Democrats, continued the paper under the title of "The Greenville Telegraph." Dr. J. L. Sorber bought out Adam's interest in June, 1851, and conducted the paper until the fall of 1852, when Rufus Putnam became the proprietor. The name was soon changed to "Mad Anthony," and it appeared as an independent newspaper edited and published by R. and J. H. Putnam, with an office over Beedle & Devor's tin shop. In the summer of 1854, the press was removed to Union City to start a paper in the interest of the "American Party." Nothing daunted a few active Democrats raised a small fund in the fall of 1854, purchased a new press and type, and made Thomas Perry publisher of a new paper under the title of the "Greenville Eagle." After a few months Perry became tired of the unpleasant treatment accorded him by the "Know Nothings," who were quite active and persistent at that period, and the paper was again discontinued for a short time In the spring of 1855 the "Darke County Democrat" was launched by A. G. Clark, of Hamilton, Ohio, who sold it in July, 1856, to Henry Muller. The office was then located over Weston & Allergy's hardware store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Third streets, and Muller continued to edit and publish the paper in a very satisfactory manner until March 20, 1851, when he was succeeded by J. B. Price and George D. Farrar.

The political upheaval just prior to the Civil War threw Darke county from the Whig to the Democratic column and in 1857, the entire county ticket was elected, giving the party organ increased prestige. In the winter of 1863-64 the office was sacked by a party of soldiers at home on a furlough and the type was thrown into the street. The proprietorship of the paper changed twice in the next two years until in 1866, Mr. Chas. Roland removed from Lancaster, Ohio, and took over the property. From that time until 1910 the Democrat was retained by the Roland family, being ably edited by Chas. Roland, Jr., and Edward until July 11, 1910, when the property was purchased by Martin B. Trainor, a prominent attorney and real estate man of Greenville, who is the able and progressive editor and publisher today.

The Democrats prospered and became highly influential among the members of that party, being the sole official organ of said party, fearlessly, ably and entirely advocating its principles until the establishment of the "Advocate" in 1883, since which time the patronage has been divided. Mr. Roland proved himself to be a trenchant writer and a successful proprietor, and the present editor and proprietor is establishing for himself a large reputation for virile editorials, broad news treatment, and aggressive policies.

At first the Democrat appeared as a four page publication in blanket sheet size, but under the proprietorship of the Roland Bros. was changed to a paper of twelve pages 15x22 inches in size. A daily eight page morning paper known as the "Morning News" was started by the Roland Brothers in 1908, and published in a very creditable manner, but proved unsuccessful from a financial standpoint and was discontinued May 25, 1910. The office was located in the Roland building on the west side of Broadway between Third and Fourth streets from the time of its erection until March, 1914, when it was moved to the new Trainor building on South Broadway, just north of Fifth street. Under its present management it promises to grow in power and influence and increase in prestige as the years go by.

The Courier.

The Courier was started May 22, 1875, by George W. Calderwood tinder the title of the "Greenville Sunday Courier." On December 10, 1876, the ownership was transferred to Calderwood and Studabaker with A. R. Calderwood as editor. Later it passed to the proprietorship of his son, John Calderwood, who publishes it at this time. Mr. Calderwood, besides continually giving much space to the discussion of party measures and party principles, has published an exceptionally large amount of local historical material, including probably two thousand columns of personal reminiscences and interesting letters from the "Darke County Boy," copious extracts from which appear in this volume. Besides this, Mr. Calderwood has been a fearless and persistent advocate of temperance and prohibitory legislation, following the motto of his paper - "Hew true to the line, let the chips fall where they may." Regardless of patronage he has continued this policy throughout many years and has become a clear, strong and convincing writer on these topics. From 1880 to 1883 the Courier was published in the new Wilson and Hart block on Broadway just south of Third street. For several years it was located in the Huddle block on West Fourth street, and is now in the Westerfield building on South Broadway.

The Daily Tribune.

The first daily newspaper started in Darke county was "The Greenville Daily Graphic," published in 1879 by Edward Hamilton, now city editor of the Daily Advocate, and William Collins, late dramatic editor on the Sacramento Daily Bee. Shortly after the starting of this daily venture Mr. Collins moved with his father's family to Chico, Cal., and after some six months publication, the paper was discontinued. George W. Calderwood published a daily paper during the exciting times of the Roberson trial and execution in the summer of 1880. This was a short lived venture as was also the "Daily News" published by Wm. Linn about 1886, and the "Morning Sun" published by Dow Bell during the exciting school board contest of 1892.

The Daily Tribune was started by Samuel R. Kemble in 1890, and is the oldest daily having a continuous history since its establishment. Mr. Kemble came to Greenville from Arcanum, where he had published the Weekly Tribune since 1880 and opened up an office in the Huddle block where the Daily Tribune made its debut in 1890. Later he purchased a room on West Fourth street adjoining the Huddle block and established his office there where he issued the paper until 1913, when it was removed to its present location in the Thomas building on South Broadway. Mr. Kemble had had a varied experience in life as a soldier and a typo, having seen service in the Civil war as well as on the plains of the west, and having set type on some of the leading city papers of the country. When he returned to Greenville he was well qualified for his task and by industry, tenacity and shrewd financial management succeeded in establishing the first permanent daily paper. In 1892 he resumed the publication of the Weekly Tribune, which has appeared regularly ever since, increasing in pretige and circulation. It now has eight pages 18x24 inches in size.

Mr. Kumble was a clear, concise, able and forceful writer, and a keen newspaper man. He died on January 25, 1913, and the Tribune property passed into the hands of George Grosshans, an experienced newspaper man and estimable citizen. Mr. Grosshans is stanchly Republican, liberal in policy in the publication of news items, broad in sympathy, aggressive in public affairs and friendly to advance moral causes. The daily is published with from four to six pages, size 17x24 inches. The office is equipped with a linotype machine and a good rotary press. In June, 1914, as the result of foreclosure proceedings, the Tribune was restored to the Kemble heirs, who now publish it at the new office on South Broadway.

The Advocate.

The Democratic Advocate was established by Wm. A. Brown; Sr., formerly of Covington, Ohio, and Wm. Linn, of Versailles, as a weekly Democratic paper in 1883, the first issue appearing on May 23, of that year. The county had been strongly Democratic since 1857, with majorities mostly varying from 1,200 to 1,500, but a faction had arisen in the party on the question of the election of Chas. M. Anderson to congress. The Democrat refused to favor the election of Mr. Anderson, and as he represented a strong following it was decided to establish a new paper with the result that the Advocate was started as above stated. From its appearance it became a formidable rival of the older paper and continued so to this day. Mr. Linn retired from the partnership in about two years, since which time the paper has continued in the Browne family. The Daily Advocate was started January 3, 1893, as a four page daily and soon grew in favor and prestige, proving the advantage of publishing a daily and weekly paper from the same office. It is especially noted for the large number of local news items, featured articles and aggressive policy on local questions. The office is one of the best equipped in Darke county, containing two modern linotype machines and a large duplex fiat bed perfecting press with a capacity of 6,500 per hour. Each machine is run by an individual electric motor. The daily now has eight pages 18x24 inches in size, and the weekly is of the same size. The latter appears each Thursday. Mr. Browne has been associated with newspapers since he was twelve years of age, and knows the business like a book. His sons, William and Walter E., have likewise had extended experience in the business, and are able assistants in editing and publishing both papers. The office was first located on the upper floor of the Matchett room on the corner of Broadway and Third street. Later the paper was issued for several years from the Meeker building on East Third street near Walnut. In 1909 Mr. Browne purchased the two story brick room at 307 Broadway in order to get proper accommodations for his large presses and increasing equipment and the papers are now issued from this excellent office.

A German newspaper was established in Greenville about 1886, under the title "The Deutsche Umschau," and continued to be issued for some twenty years. It was published for some time by a Mr. Feichtinger and later by A. T. Knorr and Wm. Triehold. The paper contained eight pages size 15x22 inches and was put forth in a creditable manner. On account of the rapidly decreasing number of citizens who read German only, the paper was finally discontinued and the office and equipment moved to Toledo, where there was a larger German constituency.

Temperance Papers.

Papers advocating the cause of temperance and prohibitition have been published in the county at different times. Probably the first of these was the "Crystal Fountain," a semi weekly publication of eight pages about 8x12 inches in size, started in May, 1857, by Joseph G. Jones, at 50 cents per year, with the motto "Moral suasion for the drunkard legal suasion for the drunkard maker." The "Sons of Temperance" flourished and great changes were effected in public sentiment on the drink question. The temperance movement of 1877, resulted in the enlistment of many new advocates for the cause, probably the most prominent of whom was George Caldervvood, who, in the fall of 1879, started the "Daily Gazette" in behalf of the cause with beneficial effect on the following spring election.

"The American Prohibitionist" was also issued for a few months from Calderwood's office, but was later removed to Columbus, O. "The Transcript," a weekly paper advocating the principles of the Prohibition party, was established by Frank H. Jobes in February, 1891. It was published in the Jobes room, South Broadway. The paper was ably edited and neatly printed, but the limited field of circulation made the venture unprofitable and it was discontinued after two years.

"The Ohio Populist," edited by W. B. Cline and P. J. Fishback; was issued from this office for a while beginning in May, 1896. It championed the free coinage of silver and the Populistic propaganda of the Omaha platform.

Newspapers Published Outside of Greenville.

"The Versailles Policy" - The oldest and largest weekly paper published in Darke county outside of Greenville is the Versailles Policy, which was founded in 1875 by Cook and Wade under the name of "Versailles Independent." Later its proprietors were Hathaway, then Bidlack and Linn, who changed the name to 'The Versailles Policy." About 1883 Wm. Linn came to Greenville and entered into a partnership with W. A. Browne, Sr., to publish the new "Democratic Advocate," and the Policy passed into the hands of W. J. Swisher, who published it until August 1, 1889, when it came into the ownership of D. W. K. Martin, the present publisher. At the time Mr. Martin became owner of the Policy it was a five column quarto, but under his ownership it has been enlarged from time to time to meet the requirements of a growing community so that now it is an eight page 18x24 inch, seven column paper built on modern lines and having a large subscription list. In almost a quarter of a century ownership Mr. Martin has proved himself an exceptionally good editor and proprietor, and his paper has proven a valuable factor in promoting the business, social and general interests of the thriving village of Versailles and vicinity as well as the interests of the Democratic party.

"The Versailles Leader" was established in 1903 as an independent newspaper by Nathan F. Fahnestock. It is an cigth page 15x22 inch paper, and is published on Tuesday and Friday of each week at $1.00 per year. Mr. Fahnestock is a virile writer and aggressive publisher and his paper has attracted considerable attention and won praise from patrons who desire an independent and public spirited advocate. The fact that such a paper has been published for more than ten years in a strongly Democratic community indicates that the editor is aggressive, persevering and determined to serve the public needs.

Arcanum has had the benefit of a local press for over thirty years. The Arcanum Visitor, an independent weekly, was printed about 1876 to 1878 by a man named Wasson and in 1880 Samuel R. Kemble founded the Tribune which he published for nearly ten years. In 1888, the "Arcanum Enterprise" was launched and has been issued for over a quarter of a century. It is a staunch Democratic sheet and is owned and edited by C. R. Musson, an experienced newspaper man. It contains eight pages 13x20 inches in size and is issued every Thursday for $1.00 per year.

The Arcanum Times is an independent eight page paper of standard size, and appears regularly on Thursday. It was established in 1899 and is owned and edited by Smith and Heeter.

Like Arcanum, Ansonia has had a newspaper since 1880. About that time John S. Royer, a prominent educator and writer, founded the Ansonia Mirror. The ownership of this paper passed to Frank H. Jobes, who continued to publish it from September 1, 1884 to the end of 1890. It was a well edited and newsy sheet with high ethical ideals and was very acceptable to the people of Brown township and vicinity. This paper was discontinued, however, in 1891, when Mr. Jobes moved the plant to Greenville, where he established The Transcript, following which the "Ansonia Herald" appeared. This paper was published for a while by S. H. Light and Son, who sold it to Collett and Ailbaugh. It then appeared for two or three years as "The Climax," but was finally discontinued. In 1899 the Herald was reestablished by the Lights, who continued to publish it for some ten years when it passed to the ownership of the Herald Printing Company, under the editorship of Hiltor R. Millett, whose biography appears in Vol. II. This sheet contains eight pages, size 16x22 and is published every Thursday as an independent newspaper at $1.00 per year, giving Ansonia the benefit of a progressive local press at a cheap price.

The eastern section of the county is ably served with news twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday, by the Bradford Morning Sentinel, an independent Republican paper of eight pages published by A. F. Little. This sheet was also founded in 1880 and has proved to be a force in Bradford and vicinity. It contains a large amount of local items and advertisements and is well edited.

The New Madison Herald is an eight page independent paper published every Friday by O. G. Murray. It was established in 1894 by Smith and Davis, and was purchased in July 1895 by C. E. Wenger, who published it for some time. An examination of its columns reveals the fact that local enterprise and public spirit are valuable assets in a community, doing much to build up its best interests. Several newspaper men were of prominence, notably John Hathaway, for many years foreman of the composing room of the

The Hollandsburg News was established in 1907, and is now entering on the eighth year of its history. It is a standard size eight page weekly, and is published every Thursday at $1.00 per year by the Williams Company, under the editorship of Dale C. Williams. Harrison and Irelan were the former proprietors. This paper is served by the Western Newspaper Union and is a remarkable illustration of what grit and enterprise can do in a small town to promote its best interests.

Besides these papers the Union City Eagle and Times, published just across the state line, have some circulation in the county, and help to foster that healthy local pride which tends to strengthen and build up a community. It is doubtful if any other county in Ohio of similar population and condition has as many local papers as Darke county. This indicates an intelligent and progressive citizenship and augurs well for the future of the county.

Return to [ Ohio History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Ohio Biographies ]

Ohio Counties at this web site - Ashland - Auglaize - Champaign - Columbiana - Cuyahoga - Darke - Erie - Franklin - Fulton - Madison - Mercer - Ross - Seneca - Shelby

Also see the local histories for [ CA ] [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ MA ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ MN ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

[ Much more Ohio History may be found at Linkpendium ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy