HISTORY OF PERRY COUNTY

CHAPTER X.

THE NEWSPAPER PRESS.

     Tradition and authorities are a little conflicting as to the first newspaper 
published in the county. John M. Laird, yet living, at an advanced 
age, and still engaged in the newspaper business, was one of
the early printers and publishers of Perry county. In a letter published
in the New Lexington Tribune, of May 14th, 1874, he speaks of the
“Scorpion” and “Rattlesnake” as early newspapers published in Somerset 
previous to his advent there in the spring of 1822. But, at the most
these papers must have but fitful and irregular publications, issued by
contending factions and cliques, as electioneering or defamatory documents, 
and hardly entitled to the name of newspapers.
     It appears pretty well settled, by tradition and otherwise, that the
first regular newspaper ever published in Perry county was established
by John Lidey and E. P. Alford, at Somerset, the first issue thereof
being made March 28th, 1821, and was called “The Western World
and Political Tickler.” Evidently the pioneer journal did not lack for
a name. The “Tickler” was published about a year, and was a most
violent and scurrilous journal, and the virulent and petty contests that
had begun in the “Scorpion” and “Rattlesnake” were transferred to
the ever ready columns of the “Tickler,” and served to keep the whole
reading community in a state of constant uproar. Such were the temper 
and spirit of the times.
     In the spring of 1822, the “Tickler” was discontinued, and was succeeded 
by the Perry Record, printed and published by John M. Laird,
though the names of John Lidey and James Patterson were, at one
time or another, used in connection with the proprietorship of the paper
and it is probable that they furnished most of the printing materials,
which, it is scarcely necessary to state, were neither extensive nor
costly.
     The Perry Record was continued about three years, when Mr.
Laird, who was the practical printer, returned to the east. The Record,
was succeeded by the People's Advocate, published by John Miller,
probably with the names of Henry Filler and Henry Crumrine as proprietors. 
The Advocate was purchased in May, 1831, by William F.,
and Louis J. Moeller who changed the name to Western Post and
Perry Advertiser. They published the paper jointly a few months
when Wm. F. Moeller assumed entire control and took off the “And
Perry Advertiser,” from the name, leaving it simply “The Western
Post.” In January, 1835, Louis J. Moeller purchased the entire office,
and changed the title to Western Post and Perry Democratic Advertiser.
In April, 1831, Mr. Moeller sold the office to Samuel McAfee and
Jonathan W. Ream, both young men who had served their apprenticeship

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in the office. The partnership of McAfee & Ream was discontinued 
in September, 1839, and the paper went in the name of S. H.
McAfee, though John H. Shearer had a half interest in the establishment. 
In August, 1840, Wm. F. Moeller bought the interest of McAfee 
for a younger brother, Alexander Moeller, who, not liking the
profession, gave it up in a few weeks, and his interest was purchased
by A. T. M. Filler. In September, 1840, the firm name was changed
to J. H. Shearer & Co., and afterward to Shearer & Filler. This
partnership continued until the first of February, 1845, when Mr.
Shearer purchased the interest of Filler and became sole proprietor.
The paper from 1835 to 1845, was published under the name of Western 
Post and Perry Democratic Advertiser; but, on the 1st of November, 
l845, Mr. Shearer having purchased a new outfit, changed the
title to Western Post. The Post from the time of its first establishment
until 1840, was a neutral paper, after which time it espoused the cause
of the Whig party. In February, 1847, Mr. Shearer leased the newspaper 
and office to James W. Shirley and John W. Bugh, for the
period of two years. Mr. Bugh retired in November, 1848, whereupon
Mr. Shirley filled out the unexpired term of the lease, which closed in
February, 1849, at the expiration of which time, J. H. Shearer again
assumed control of the office and continued the paper until 1855, when
he sold the establishment to E. S. Colborn, who merged the paper in
the Perry County American, under the title of the Perry County American 
and Somerset Post.
     This was the last of the Post as a distinctive newspaper, though it
had lived for more than a quarter of a century, a long existence for a
country newspaper, in a small interior county, in those days.
     In August, 1836, E.J. Ellis, who had been publishing a small sheet
at New Baltimore, Fairfield County, Ohio, moved his printing office to
Somerset and began the publication of the Perry Democrat. This was
the first Democratic paper published in the county, and the first time
that a second paper of any kind had been ventured. In 1837, when
Samuel Medary bought the Western Hemisphere office, in Columbus,
and began his noted career with the Ohio Statesman, he sold to E. J. Ellis
a Peter Smith press and some other materials, and the consequence was
an enlargement of Ellis’ paper and a partial change in name. It now
became the Ohio Courier and Perry Democrat. In 1838 Mr. Ellis sold
his printing office to John W. Davis and his brother, Henry M. Davis;
John W. had just been elected Clerk of the county, but Henry was the
principal editor. Neither of them had any practical knowledge of the
printing business. They had not been publishing the Democrat many
months when along came a practical printer, Isaac Pepper, who first
went into the office as foreman, and in less time than a year the whole
concern passed into his control. In 1839 Mr. Pepper modified the title
of the paper, and it became the Somerset (Ohio) Advocate and Perry
Democrat. Thus the Courier was dropped finally and forever. About
the first of April, 1841, Henry M. Davis became sole proprietor of the
Democrat and Advertiser (as named by Pepper) until September, 1842,
when Robert F. Hickman, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, bought the office
and changed the name of the paper to the Flag of Seventy-Six. This
paper was published by Mr. Hickman about two years, when he sold

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the office to Daniel Kelley. Mr. Kelley had control of the paper about
a year, when it passed into the hands of Hiram Shaw, who run it a year
or so, when he disposed of the concern to James Sheward, who had
charge of the paper for two or three years, when, in 1849, he sold the
establishment to E. J. Ellis, who ten years before had been editor and
proprietor, and, as before stated, the founder of the first Democratic
paper in the county. Ellis now bought new type and some other materials, 
enlarged the paper slightly, and gave it a very good appearance. 
He also changed the title to Perry County Democrat. Mr.
Ellis was a good practical printer and successful business man, but he
was not much of an editor, and made no pretentious to being a writer.
But, at this time. Walter C. Hood, a talented and marvelously well informed 
young man, was much about the office, ostensibly as a compositor 
or foreman, but also in the capacity of editor and writer. Hood
had abundant resources just where Ellis lacked, and the latter was
shrewd enough to avail himself of the splendid talents of the former.
Ellis was printing a good and fine looking paper, and making money,
too, just as the mutterings of the county seat removal thunder developed
into a fearful storm and threatened political parties and newspapers, and
seriously disturbed for a time many of the industries and enterprises of
the county.
     Early in June, 1851, E. J. Ellis sold the Perry County Democrat
office to Vanatta, Forquer & Co., of New Lexington, with E. S. Colborn 
as editor and business manager. The first issue was made by the
new firm June 12th, 1851. The paper was continued by Vanatta,
Forquer & Co. for something over a year, when the office was sold to
E. S. Colborn and W. C. Hickman; the latter continued only a few
months, and then E. S. Colborn became sole proprietor. Mr. Colborn
continued the publication of the Democrat until November, 1853, when
the paper was discontinued.
     During all these years, since the establishment of the paper in 1836,
it and its legitimate successors, down to the last issue of the Democrat
in 1853, were the Democratic organs (so called) of the county, except
for a few months in 1853, when the Perry County True Democrat disputed 
the claims of the Democrat to be so considered. In fact, the
founding of the True Democrat, and party divisions and disaffections
from various causes, were the principal reasons for the discontinuance
of the Democrat.
     In the foregoing, a history is given of the original Neutral, then the
old Whig, and of the old Democratic paper of the county. Attention 
will now be given to newspapers of a less extended character, confining 
what is said, for the sake of convenience, and classification, to
Journals published in Somerset. Those published in New Lexington,
will be considered in a body by themselves, as they are principally of a
later date, and will naturally come in after the account of those in Somerset 
is completed. Later yet those of other towns will receive attention.
     In December, 1854, the old Perry County Democrat office, was set
up by E. S. Colborn, in a new building, in the town of Somerset, and
the first issue of the Perry County American was made January 3rd.
1855, and the paper was published by Colborn for precisely two years

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when, the 1st of January, 1857, the American was discontinued, and
the office materials removed to New Lexington. E. S. Colborn, who
had been a Democrat, united, in 1854, with the new Republican party,
and the Perry County American newspaper, was consequently Republican 
in politics, and supported Salmon P. Chase for Governor, in
1855, and John C. Fremont for President, in 1856.
     The Perry County True Democrat was established May, 1853, printed 
on a new press, and with new type. A. McElwee & Co., appeared
as proprietors, and John H. O’Neill and Walter C. Hood as editors.
The True Democrat was bought and started in the Somerset interest,
was intensely Democratic and claimed to be the true organ the of party
in the county. It flourished for one campaign; but as soon as the election 
was over, there was a great reaction, and the paper sickened and
dwindled. It was, for a few months run by Dr. Martin Adams, but,
early in 1854, the Perry County True Democrat died, quickly following
its old antagonist, The Perry County Democrat, to the grave of newspapers.
     In 1855, the materials of the old True Democrat office came into the
possession of James Sheward, and he commenced publishing a paper
under the title of Democratic Union. A few months afterwards, he
became associated with Dr. Martin Kagay, in the publication of the
same paper, which partnership continued until the close of the Presidential 
campaign of 1856. The Democratic Union was continued with
slight intermissions, during the years 1857 and 1858. Soon after the
October elections of 1858, George M. Dittoe purchased the office. Mr.
Dittoe published the Democratic Union regularly, until the spring of
1864, when he sold it to Charles E. Magruder. Mr. Magruder run
the paper about a year, and then sold it to Charles D. Elder, who continued 
its publication in Somerset, until May, 1866, when he removed
the office and paper to New Lexington.
     About the 1st of January, 1857, John H. Shearer repurchased from
E. S. Colborn, the materials of the Somerset Post office, with the exception 
of the news type. Mr. Shearer purchased new news type for
his office, and began the publication of the Somerset Review, a neutral
paper, in 1858, Shearer sold the Review office, to W. C. Hickman,
who run the paper a few months, and then discontinued it.
     The Semi-Weekly Flag, a War Democratic paper, so termed, was
published in Somerset, for a few months, during the summer of 1861,
by Martin Kagay.
     The Somerset Advocate, a neutral paper, was established in the fall
of 1866, and was published about two years, by Martin Kagay. The
Advocate was specially devoted to the development of mineral and
railroad interests.
     The Somerset Tribune was founded by J. F. McMahon, in the fall
of 1871. It was the first nine column paper in the county. It continued
to be published in Somerset, until March, 1873, when it was removed to
New Lexington, and became a Republican paper.
     The Somerset Press, purchased by an incorporated company, with M.
J. Mains as editor and publisher, was established in the spring of the
year 1873. In the spring of 1879, the ownership passed into the hands
of W. P. Magruder, as editor and proprietor, under which arrangement

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the Press is still running. For the last few years, the Press has 
advocated the principles of the Greenback National party.
     In 1848, James Taylor bought an office in New Lexington, and 
commenced the publication of the New Lexington Visitor. The press 
was an old Ramage, and the materials much worn. The Visitor was 
published a year, and then discontinued. The later numbers were 
printed at the office of the Somerset Post. The Visitor was an independent 
Journal.
     The Democratic Organ was established in New Lexington, December, 
1853, by M. A. Boling. It was democratic in politics, as indicated 
by its name. The Organ was published about one year, and then discontinued.
     The New Lexington Locomotive, with P. Bastian, proprietor, and 
James Taylor, editor, succeeded the Democratic Organ. The Locomotive 
was independent, with an undisguised preference for the Republican 
side. The paper had an existence of about two years.
     The Democratic Sentinel began its existence in May, 1859, and was 
published, with some slight interruptions, about eighteen months. P. 
J. Ankeny, John R. Meloy, Robert G. Mossgrove, at different times 
proprietors. The Sentinel was a Democratic paper.
     The New Lexington Ambrotype, by E. S. Colborn, began publication, 
early in 1857. It was continued two years, when the office passed 
into the hands of P.J. Ankeny, who started the Democratic Sentinel.
In October, l859, E. S. Colborn came into possession of the old Ambrotype 
office, and, having purchased a new outfit of news type, started the 
Perry County Weekly. This paper was published by E.. S. Colborn, 
under the above name. about ten years. It had one or two short suspensions, 
and, for a few months in the summer of 1868, was leased to 
and run by Dr. Jerome Oatley. In the spring of 1870, the name of the 
paper was changed to Mineral Region News. E. S. Colborn continued 
to publish the paper under this name until August, 1872, when he sold 
the office to the New Lexington Publishing Company. The Perry 
County Weekly, Mineral Region News, and Ambrotype, were Republican 
in politics. The Mineral Region News, for a few months previous 
to its sale, advocated the election of Horace Greely, founder of the N.Y. 
Tribune, to the Presidency.
     The company who purchased the office, at once began the publication 
of the Perry County Republican, with Robert F. Hickman as 
editor and business manager. The Perry County Republican was 
printed seven months and then discontinued, or merged in the New 
Lexington Tribune.
     The Democratic Union was brought from Somerset to New Lexington, 
by Charles D. Elder, in May, 1866, and continued by him until 
December, 1867, when he sold the office to Butler, Duffy & Meloy, 
who changed the name to Democratic Herald. Butler sold his interest 
in a few weeks, to Lewis Green, and the paper was published by Duffy, 
Green and Meloy, until the spring of 1870, when the establishment 
was sold to George Henricks. After a few months, Henricks sold 
to the old firm, Duffy, Green & Meloy. The Herald was continued 
by this firm until in 1872, Duffy purchased Green's interest. The 
paper was then published by Duffy & Meloy, until December 1st,

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1876, when Lewis Green and J. R. Meloy bought out Duffy. Since
that time the Herald has been published by Green & Meloy. The
Herald is Democratic in politics, and, with the exception of a year or
two has been the only Democratic paper in the county.
     The New Lexington Tribune, by J. F. McMahon, commenced in
March, 1873, having at that time united with the Perry County Republican, 
and become the Republican organ of the county. It has been
continued from that time until the present, without change of name or
proprietor.
     The Perry County Democrat was commenced on September 11th,
1879, by John H. Marlow & Co. It was published by this company ten
weeks, and then sold to E. S. Colborn & Co., being E. S. Colborn &
Sons. E. S. Colborn had been the editor from the commencement.
The Democrat was published by E. S. Colborn & Co., and E. S. Colborn, 
until March, 1881, when it was discontinued.
     A number of campaign and otherwise transient sheets, were published 
at different periods. The Plain Dealer, in Somerset, by John
Donavan, about the time of the war with Mexico; the Perry County
Republican, by Taylor, McMahan & Co., in New Lexington, in 1857;
and the Democratic Union, by Martin Kagay, in New Lexington, in
the winter of 1857, are among the most notable of these, and were, for
the time being, influential Journals.
     The Morning Call, by Otto Colborn, at New Lexington, was a
sprightly little daily, published during the Perry County Teachers’ Institute, 
in August, 1877. Also the Daily Tribune, by J. F. McMahon,
during week of county fair, in 1878.
     The Perry County Vidette was commenced in Junction City in 1880,
by James Haynes, published about one year, then discontinued.
     The Shawnee Journal was commenced in 1878, by Cook & Davy,
was published about one year, and then discontinued.
     The Shawnee Banner was commenced early in 1880, and is still
published.
     The Thornville News was commenced in 1881, by George Kalb,
and is still published.
     The Somerset Visitor was commenced in 1881, by William Mains,
published about six months, and then discontinued.
     The Independent was commenced in New Lexington in 1881, by
Duzenberry & Moore. After a few months Moore sold out to Duzenberry, 
who still publishes the paper.
     The Corning Times has been published about one year by Sopher &
Weaver.
     A weekly newspaper, printed in another place, has been for a short
time published in Junction City.
     A Mr. Cullinan, of Zanesville, bought Lewis Green's interest in the
New Lexington Herald in 1881, and the paper has since that time been
published by Cullinan & Meloy.
     It is believed the foregoing includes all the Journals which may be
fairly classed as newspapers.
     The Collegian, a monthly periodical, was, for a year or two, about 
1854 and ‘55, published at St. Joseph's College. The Collegian was not

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devoted to politics or news. but discussed, chiefly, educational and 
religious topics.
     Perry county was not a very promising field for newspapers, and
but little money was made in the business, until within the last few years.
In the first place, the county was small, and only the northern and
central portions partially settled. Yet later, for various causes, the
newspaper business was not prosperous. But within the last ten years,
some of the papers have been very well sustained.
     Every person who is conversant with all the facts will readily admit
that no county is more indebted to newspapers for improvement and
advancement than is the county of Perry. The newspapers, as a class,
have labored for her interests, in season and out of season, with an
assiduity and faithfulness well deserving mention, and not without a
high degree of success.
     The early papers were small, contained little or nothing of local
news, and had no mail facilities to amount to anything. They were delivered 
by carriers, commonly called “post-boys,” who rode through
the country on horseback and blew loud blasts from a bugle to announce
their coming. Foreign news was considered a greater feature than
local news, and they were usually much devoted to political literature.
The first page matter did not differ much from the first page of the
county paper of to-day. There was the inevitable story and poem, and
short miscellaneous articles; the fair sex and small boys had to be
placated, and there was a suspicion among old-time editors that even
men sometimes read those things behind the door or in a corner. The
“New Year's Carrier's Address” was a feature of the early newspapers.
The office “Devil” negotiated with the “home poet” to furnish the
material, and the address was printed and sold for the benefit of his
Satanic Majesty aforesaid, who was ever an accommodating little chap,
and would cheerfully sell for either a dime or a dollar.
     The first newspaper (The Western World and Political Tickler)
was very much of a curiosity. It was a dingy sheet, bitterly personal,
and a part of the reading matter was set in large poster type. After a
year or two there was a new outfit, in part, and the paper presented a
more artistic appearance, and the overwhelming, pretentious title was
dispensed with.
     One of the most remarkable things connected with the newspapers
of Perry is the fact that John M. Laird, one of the early printers, who
published a paper in Somerset in 1822, is still living (or was a short
time since), and is editor and proprietor of the Greensburg Argus, at
Greensburg, Pa. Alford, the original printer of 1821, was in Somerset
a few years ago and searched diligently for a few old friends that he
knew and loved so long ago.
     The history of the newspaper press of a county is in many ways a
fair index to the county itself. The newspaper history of Perry is an
eventful one, as any person will concede who gives it anything like a
careful perusal. The newspaper world may be likened to a stage, and
the various journals have their entrances and their exits, like the characters 
in a play; and all---good, bad, or indifferent---strut their brief
hour, and sooner or later bow and retire. Very few of all the newspapers 
named are in the play or battle of life to-day; and what is a

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more serious thought, many of those who wielded the pen or scissors
have passed on to the unseen land, and know newspaper wars no more.
     The newspapers which hold the stage to-day are, indeed, few in
number compared with the many which have been, but are not, and
only appear as spectres or shadows behind the scenes, while the real
play or fight of newspapers goes on. The time will come of course,
however remote, when the journals so active on the stage now will
make their several exits, and, “gathering their drapery about them, lie
down to pleasant dreams,” or join the spectral column of worthies marshaled 
by the senior---Western World and Political Tickler---and, unknown 
and unseen, flit through the halls and corridors of the active
newspaper stage, gazing in silence upon the ways and works of editors
and newspapers’ to the present era unnamed and unborn.

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