A History of Publishing in Montgomery County, Indiana, 1831–1940

Herman Fred Shermer


Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 401-412

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A History of Publishing in Montgomery County, Indiana, 1831–1940

Herman Fred Shermer*

Printing in Montgomery County began at the county seat, as was the case with most counties in the Middle West. The first newspaper was christened the CrawfordsvilleRecord. The type and presses for the Record plant were brought by freight wagons from Cincinnati, Ohio, about the end of August or the first of September in 1831. Isaac F. Wade, who owned the equipment, was the first publisher of the paper. He planned to issue the first copy about the first or second week of September, but when the cases of type, which had been sent directly from the foundry, were opened, it was discovered that there was no capital "D" in the long primer type. Wade was a Whig in politics and said that he would have too many occasions to speak of the "Democrats and the Devil" to be without the missing letter. He, therefore, mounted his horse almost immediately and rode to Cincinnati to obtain the missing type.1

The first issue of the CrawfordsvilleRecord came off the press on October 18, 1831, at an approximate cost to the publishers of four hundred dollars. The paper was a five-column, four-page, 13 by 181/2 inch folio sheet. At first the paper was published in a twenty foot square building, but later it was moved to the second story of a brick business house which stood at what is now the intersection of Green and Main streets. It was a well known and much visited place on "press day."2 The terms of the paper as stated in the first issue were as follows: "The CrawfordsvilleRecord will be issued weekly on a handsome Superroyal sheet, with entirely new type, at $2.00 per annum, in advance; $2.50 if paid within six month; or $3.00 after the year. No subscription received for less than one year, unless payment be made in advance. No paper discontinued, unless at our discretion, without special notice, and payment of all arrearages.

  • * This paper was written by Herman Fred Shermer as an undergraduate student at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana.
  • 1History of Montgomery County, Indiana (2 vols., A. W. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, n.d.), I, 355–357.
  • 2Ibid., 357.
All persons remitting $12.00 in advance, or becoming responsible for six copies shall receive the seventh gratis."3

The initial issue of the CrawfordsvilleRecord was made up with "Terms" and "Advertisements," four and one-half inches in length, at the beginning of the first column on page one followed by the "Editor's Address." After the address was an article reprinted from the Lockport, New York, Balance, entitled "The Hermit of Niagara Falls." Foreign news articles began in the second column of page two. A reprint of a letter to General LaFayette concluded the second page.

The third page began with more than a column of "Selected Poetry" which was followed by a number of short articles on a variety of subjects. An article entitled "Arrivals and Departures of the Mail" began the fifth column and then came "A List of Letters Remaining at the Post Office in Crawfordsville, which if not claimed will be sent to the dead letter office." There was then an advertisement by Lewis Morrison offering two stray mules for sale.

Page four began with a summary of the weather for the past season, followed by a number of short articles interspersed with local and national news items. Starting about the middle of the fifth column there was a "Card" of thanks for those who helped the editors in the preparation and production of the first issue. Following that came a notice of the opening of the new school term and three advertisements, "Collector's Sale," "Notice of Public Sale," and "A Journeyman Printer" wanted by the CrawfordsvilleRecord.4

Charles F. Bryant, an itinerant printer, helped Wade with the production of the paper until 1836, when the latter sold out to George W. Snyder, another itinerant printer from Maryland.

Like most pioneer papers, the Record was not always published on time because the paper stock had to come from the mills, either at Hamilton, Ohio, or Madison, Indiana,

  • 3Crawfordsville, Indiana, Record, October 18, 1831. Foster Fudge, the editor of the CrawfordsvilleJournal and Review, has copies of the Record from Volume I, Number 1, October 18, 1831, to Volume II, Number 51, January 1, 1834, and Volume V, June 11, 1836 to June 17, 1837. These are now kept in fireproof storage and will be turned over to the Montgomery County Historical Society when fireproof storage is provided there.
  • 4Ibid., October 18, 1831.
and was frequently delayed in bad weather. Then, too, press breakdowns occasioned long waits for the parts to arrive from Eastern manufacturers.5

According to the file of the Record, George W. Snyder and W. H. Holmes were in charge of publication on June 11, 1836. The issue of June 25, 1836, shows a change in publishers when Ambrose Harland bought Snyder's part of the business. This change did not remain in effect very long, for the issue of June 17, 1837, shows that Snyder was back at his old job and Harland's name does not appear in that issue. Jere Keeney in his article on early printing in Crawfordsville stated that the Record was discontinued during 1837 after the death of Holmes.6 It is probable that the Record was discontinued with the issue of June 17, 1837, or soon after that date.

In another article entitled "The Whig and the Republican Press," Keeney stated that the Record was revived in 1840, first by William H. Webb, with the editorial assistance of Colonel Henry S. Lane and James B. Johnson, and later by Peter J. Bartholomew. Neither of these revivals lasted very long because of a lack of patronage.7

The next newspaper published in Crawfordsville was the Examiner. It was a weekly Democratic paper published by George W. Snyder and edited by Phillip E. Engle of the land office. This paper began publication in 1837 and continued until 1841 when Joseph D. Masterson and Bennett W. Engle purchased the equipment and began the publication of the CrawfordsvilleReview.8

Sometime before 1853, Engle left the Review and Masterson continued alone. On July 15, 1854, the latter sold the paper to Charles H. Bowen, who was assisted at various times while he was in charge by B. F. Stover. In 1872, E. C. Voris and T. B. Collins purchased the paper, and the first issue to bear their names was published on September 7, 1872. A new firm composed of John L. Miller, T. B. Collins,

  • 5History of Montgomery County, Indiana, I, 357.
  • 6Crawfordsville, Indiana, Journal and Review, October 21, 1931.
  • 7Ibid. See also History of Montgomery County, Indiana, I, 356, 357. "Newspapers in the Library of Congress, Published in Indiana," Bulletin of the Indiana State Library, XI, Number 4, p. 28, listed the Indiana Record, and it is probable that this was the same paper which Jere Keeney called the revived CrawfordsvilleRecord.
  • 8Crawfordsville, Indiana, Journal and Review, October 21, 1931.
and C. W. Voris took over with the issue of September 13, 1873. By August 7, 1875, John L. Miller had become the sole owner of the paper. He was assisted by W. H. Faust with the mechanical help necessary in the printing of the paper. By October 22, 1881, the paper had changed hands again with James B. Seller, John E. Hanna, and E. M. Henkel in charge. Henkel retired in April of the following year, and Seller sold his part of the business to Hanna by September 23, 1882.

Hanna and Company began publication on July 14, 1883. Bayless W. Hanna, now owner of the paper, was the editor. Two years later on February 28, T. B. Collins and John E. Hanna were the publishers. On October 17, 1885, Hanna and Company sold the business to Fleming T. Luse, who became the editor; and Clarence E. Galey, who became the business manager. W. E. Henkel became the new business manager on February 15, 1890, and was followed by W. D. Harlow on August 15, 1893. On October 23, 1897, Henkel again became the business manager of the paper.

W. H. Eltzroth became the local editor of the paper on October 13, 1894. Luse left the newspaper business in January of 1899, and Henkel and the Cunningham Brothers published the paper until March, 1900, when they sold the office to S. M. Coffman, who was the editor of the Craw-fordsville Argus-News, the rival Democratic paper. Coffman changed the name of the paper to News-Review, and a few years later dropped the first part of the name. In October of 1929, the Review combined with the Crawfords-ville Journal to form the CrawfordsvilleJournal and Review which is still being published.9

Another early newspaper was the CrawfordsvilleIris published by A. Rogers and N. P. Coltrin. The first issue appeared on January 10, 1843. Since there are only copies of the first two issues in the Archives Room of the Wabash College Library, and there is no record of other issues, it is difficult to say how much longer the publication of this paper continued.

In 1844, the members of the Whig party in Montgomery

  • 9Ibid. There is a file of the CrawfordsvilleReview in the Recorder's Office at the Montgomery County Courthouse, Crawfordsville, and another at the office of the CrawfordsvilleJournal and Review.
County decided that they would like to have a newspaper.10 The answer was found in the People's Press, the first issue of which was printed on May 11, 1844. They sent for William H. Bausman of GreensburgPennsylvania, to fill the post of editor. He was assisted in the mechanical section by Jere Keeney. The paper was published with apparent financial success until 1848 when because of bad editorial management, the publishers were forced to change the paper.

The result of this change was the Tomahawk. It was a small eight by ten inch sheet which was published for six weeks. Later, in the summer of 1848, the equipment from the Press and the Tomahawk was sold to T. W. Fry and Jere Keeney for use in the publication of the Journal.11

The CrawfordsvilleJournal was first published on Thursday, July 27, 1848, by T. W. Fry and Jere Keeney. In August, 1856, they sold the paper to J. A. Gilkey and D. N. Cantrill. The next publisher, W. H. Faust, with J. A. Gilkey as editor and proprietor, obtained the paper in October of the same year. Sometime after Fry and Keeney sold the paper to Gilkey and Cantrill, the name was changed to Montgomery Journal.

In 1857, Jere Keeney again took over the publication of the paper, which he now changed to the CrawfordsvilleJournal. This change in publishers was caused by financial troubles in Gilkey and Company. Keeney continued its publication until 1866, when George W. Snyder took over for sixteen months. About the middle of April, 1868, T.H.B. McCain and J. H. Hendricks purchased the newspaper. On November 5, 1868, Hendricks sold his interest in the business to John T. Talbot. McCain and Talbot published the paper until April 9, 1874. Two weeks later, however, they printed a new paper under the caption of Saturday Evening Journal. Talbot left the firm, and in 1888, the Saturday Evening Journal was changed to the CrawfordsvilleWeekly Journal. The preceding year the daily Journal had succeeded the Despatch, which had had a brief career.12 There is no information available about the latter paper. The Journal

  • 10 The ruling members of the Whig party at that time were Henry S. Lane, James Wilson, Samuel Binford, Alexander Thompson, and Ben T. Ristine.
  • 11Crawfordsville, Indiana, Journal and Review, October 21, 1931.
  • 12 The files of the Journal at the Montgomery County Courthouse; at the CrawfordsvilleJournal and Review office; and at the Carnegie Public Library, Crawfordsville, Indiana, were used.
was always Republican (or Whig) in politics and when the daily began publication, the weekly became nothing more than a party organ for the Republicans. Some time after 1900 the weekly suspended publication, and the daily combined with the CrawfordsvilleReview in 1929. T. H. B. McCain published the paper alone until 1892 when the Journal Company was formed. The officers were T. H. B. McCain, president; J. A. Greene, secretary; and A. A. McCain, treasurer.

Another paper of the forties was the Indiana Christian Herald which appeared on February 20, 1849. It was published by Fry and Keeney of the Journal office with James H. Johnson as the first editor. There is no record of how long it continued.13

During the year 1852, a new newspaper appeared in Crawfordsville, the Locomotive. It was published by Thomas T. Scott & Co., a firm of printers. The first editors of the paper were Ted D. Brown and L. Dunn Ingersoll, who began the publication with the purpose of breaking the Journal. Publishers changed frequently, which was true of many other papers. Keeney, Scott, and Ingersoll were in charge on June 25, 1853, but this arrangement did not last long, for on January 21, 1854, Keeney and Faust were in control. Five months later, however, William B. Keeney was the sole owner.14

Jeremiah Keeney introduced the CrawfordsvilleSunday Star on February 6, 1872. It was published for sixteen years. In 1888, the newspaper went into the hands of Jere M. Keeney, Jr., and Willard Harlow. A short time later Harlow sold his part to Keeney. Samuel D. Symmes then bought the paper from Keeney and published it until the end of 1904 when he sold out to the CrawfordsvilleJournal. The Star was one of the few non-political papers in the county. In addition to the Sunday paper, there was also a Monday edition.15

The CrawfordsvilleSaturday Mercury was first issued

  • 13 The file of this paper at the Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, Indiana, was consulted.
  • 14 Copies of the Locomotive are on file in the Montgomery County Courthouse.
  • 15 There is a complete file of the Star in the Montgomery County Courthouse.
on September 18, 1875, by Charles H. Bowen. It continued publication for about two years.16

T. C. Purcel and Robert B. Wilson launched the CrawfordsvilleArgus, a daily, on March 13, 1882. Wilson became the publisher of the paper on August 14, 1882. He was followed by J. R. Bryant and U. M. Scott, who later sold to W. E. Rosebro.17

The following year in August, S. M. Coffman and C. S. Galey began publishing the CrawfordsvilleDaily News. In 1885, Galey relinquished his holdings, and Coffman with the aid of Rosebro consolidated the News and the Argus. This combination was known as the Argus-News. The following year Rosebro retired from the firm but helped in the office at various times after that. In 1889, Coffman began the publication of a weekly along with the daily, and in 1894 he made the two papers Democratic in politics.18

There were several other newspapers in Crawfordsville about which there is very little available information. Some of these were the Western Reporter which George W. Snyder began in 1841; the Prohibitionist begun in 1886 by J. R. Etter and published for over a year; the Norths-Western Pioneer edited by C. S. Bryant; the CrawfordsvilleTempest published by A. B. Cunningham; and possibly the CrawfordsvilleMonitor.

The Botanical Gazette was first issued at Hanover, Indiana, in November, 1875. The first volume was known as the Botanical Bulletin. For the first few years M. Stanley Coulter was coeditor with his brother, John M. Coulter. In 1883, the Gazette was enlarged and Charles R. Barnes and J. C. Arthur became joint editors with John M. Coulter. For the first twenty years of publication the home of the Gazette changed with the abode of one of the editors; at first it was issued from Hanover, Indiana, then from Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Bloomington, Indiana, the successive homes of John M. Coulter. From Bloomington it went to Madison, Wisconsin, at that time the residence of Barnes. In 1896,

  • 16 There is a file of the Saturday Mercury in the Montgomery County Courthouse.
  • 17 There is a good file of the Argus in the Carnegie Public Library, Crawfordsville, Indiana.
  • 18 The best file of the Argus-News in Crawfordsville is in the Carnegie Public Library.
it was taken over by the University of Chicago Press, under whose auspices it has since been published.19

There were many publications sponsored directly by Wabash College or indirectly through the different societies and classes, which were published before 1900. Some of these publications contain imprints which reveal that at least some of the copies were printed outside of Montgomery County and some issues contain Crawfordsville imprints, but the majority of the extant copies show no imprint whatever. The following are the publications of which there are copies in the Yandes Library, Wabash College. The Wabash College Catalogue first published in 1836 was found to contain both local and outside imprints. It is still published by Wabash College. First recorded Wabash student publication was The Morion, edited and published briefly sometime between 1838–1841 by Overton Johnson, later to explore the West with William Winter and to write the famous Route Across the Rocky Mountains. Next came the Wabash Weekly Magazine which shortly became the Wabash Monthly. A fifty-six page, seven by ten-inch magazine, it began publication sometime in 1857. The Geyser, another student weekly, was first issued on February 5, 1873, but suspended publication the early part of 1874. The Freshman Clipper was a class paper which started on December 13, 1873. It probably ended with the end of that school year. The Commencement Herald was issued by the graduating class of Wabash College on June 14, 1876. A student monthly magazine, the Raven, started in 1876, but it ceased publication with the fourth issue. The Uabach was the yearbook of the junior class of 1879. The Lariet, a student weekly publication, was first issued on September 16, 1880, but suspended publication on April 27, 1885. Between 1890 and 1910 the junior class published the Wabash College yearbook under the caption of the Ouiatenon. There were also many programs, catalogues, etc., which were printed for Wabash College and contain no imprints. Some of these are enough like other publications that were printed in Crawfordsville to leave no doubt but that they were printed here; others have no distinguishing characteristics.

  • 19 Henry C. Cowles, "John Merle Coulter," in the Botanical Gazette, LXXXVII (1929), 211–217. Coulter was on the faculty of Wabash College from 1879 to 1891.

A short sketch of other newspapers in the county may be of interest. The first newspaper published in Darlington, Indiana, of which there is any record was the Dispatch, established in April, 1886, under the management of Charles W. Powell. In 1887 it was sold to Thomas V. Maxedon. After two years it ceased publication but was resumed about 1891 when it was purchased by William Pittman. At that time the name was changed to The Echo. It continued under this title until 1916. Several years after Pittman had obtained the paper, he left Darlington, and it was published by E. K. Burkett of Kansas. Other owners since that time were O. H. Greist, first principal of the Darlington High School; A. R. Peterson; Ernest Leachman; A. H. Shawber; Gertrude Cook; and Charles A. Marshall. When Marshall bought the paper he changed the name to the Herald.

A group of Darlington businessmen launched the News in 1907, and the first year it was published by Homer and Rua Miller. Miller and his sister sold the paper to Charles and Edith Marshall, who later sold it to Walter Honecker. R. F. Mix of Elnora purchased the News in 1911 and changed its name to the Record. He published the paper for four years and then moved back to Elnora.20

The LadogaRuralist was the first newspaper issued in that town on April 20, 1860, with D. A. Burton as the editor and publisher. In 1872 William Boswell established the LadogaJournal. It was purchased by T. B. Bell and Milton Scott, who conducted it for about a year and sold it to John Harney. C. Kinder then took over and, in 1878, changed the name of the paper to the LadogaLeader. The next three publishers were W. D. Harlow, LeRoy Armstrong, and C. M. Lemon, respectively. In 1900, Lemon sold it to J. F. Warfel, who was the city superintendent of schools at the time he began publishing the paper.21 The paper is still

  • 20Darlington, Yesterday and Today, 1836–1936, is a paper-bound volume issued to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Darlington. It was published by the Darlington Herald office. There is a very small possibility that a file of early Darlington newspapers was preserved by the Darlington Herald, but if this was the case, it was destroyed by the fire which occurred in that place in 1941. The information in Bowen's History of Montgomery County, Indiana, on small town Montgomery County newspapers does not agree with either tradition or other published information about the early Darlington publications.
  • 21History of Montgomery County, Indiana, I, 365. The Carnegie Public Library, Crawfordsville, Indiana, has eleven copies of the Ruralist. The Ladoga Public Library has a fairly complete file of the Leader from volume XI on.
published and printed in Ladoga as a weekly. W. H. Boswell began the LadogaWeekly Herald in 1864. It was a single folio sheet printed on one side. The paper was published for about eleven years. There are two copies of the paper, August 29, 1867, and February 27, 1873, in the Indiana State Library. The LadogaNormal Herald was first published in 1884 by the students and faculty of the Central Indiana Normal School. No file of this paper is known to exist.

There were two papers, the Leader and the Reporter, both weekly, in Linden before 1900. The Leader was published by C. M. Lemon in the office of the LadogaLeader for about three years, 1884–1887. Between 1894 and 1903 Mrs. Claude Works was the editor of the Leader. There are no available copies of either of these papers. Two other Linden papers were the Advocate first published on November 12, 1912, and the Linden and CrawfordsvilleCo-operative News established in 1928.

Many attempts were made to publish a newspaper at New Richmond, but for one reason or another all have been discontinued, and there still is no newspaper published there. The first paper was the New RichmondWeekly Times which was established on March 6, 1891, by George F. Long and continued at various times by Ed. Zook and the Long brothers. In all it survived less than a year. The next paper, which was published for only a few months, was the New RichmondNews. It was a weekly paper begun in 1892. One of the owners was Joseph Smith. Robert S. Osborn made another attempt in June of the same year and published the New RichmondEnterprise. It was a weekly paper and had a little longer period of publication. The last issue appeared in November, 1899.22 On July 16, 1896, Edgar Walts established the New RichmondWeekly Record. It continued publication for several years. There was also a job department connected with it. The New Richmond Weekly Farmers' Review was established in 1896. Its last proprietor was Harry W. Campbell and Richard W. Campbell was in charge of the job department.

The first paper published at Waveland was the News. It was a weekly paper edited by a Mr. Boswell of Ladoga

  • 22History of Montgomery County, Indiana, I, 365.
(probably William H. Boswell who established the LadogaJournal in 1872) with Monroe McCormick as corresponding editor in Waveland. It was printed at Ladoga, and its life extended through about three years. The second paper and the first one printed in Waveland was the Item. This was a small paper edited and published by Harry M. Talbert and Frank M. Foley, who, at that time, were young lads. In 1881, they transferred their paper to Messrs. C. F. Crowder and Zell Tracy of Crawfordsville, who changed the paper to a folio size and the name to the WavelandWeekly Call. The first number of the Call was issued on February 11, 1881. Sometime in 1851, the WavelandTrue American was established. It was printed at Terre Haute and only one issue was printed. About two other newspapers, the WavelandPress established in 1882 and the WavelandBanner in 1884, there is little information available. The WavelandWeekly News was established in 1884 by John Q. Russell. He continued its publication until the spring of 1886, when Talbert and Scott purchased the paper. They published it until January, 1900. The first copy of the Temperance Messenger published by P. B. Rose was issued in the spring of 1873. C. A. Talbert and Charles Scott began publishing the WavelandWeekly Independent in April, 1887, but before October of that year Charles Scott was the sole owner of the paper. He published it until 1901. It is still being published at Waveland.23

The WaynetownDemocrat was the first newspaper published in that town. It began the first part of 1879, and after a few months suspended publication. In September of that year Riley T. Runyan began publishing it again, but it continued for only a few months. In 1881, Runyan bought the WaynetownClipper from C. F. Crowder, who had only been publishing it a few months, and changed its name to the WaynetownBanner. It was published under this name for a few months. Another newspaper, the WaynetownPress, was established in 1881. There is little information about this paper except that it was published for three or four years. The Despatch was founded by Charles M. Berry who sold it to Edward Copner of the WaynetownDemocrat in

  • 23Ibid., 362–365. The Carnegie Public Library, Waveland, Indiana, has copies of the Temperance Messenger, Call, and a fairly complete file of the Independent.
1885, but he bought it back a few months later and then sold it again in 1886 to John W. Brant who in turn sold it to Osborn in 1892. The latter sold it to the partnership of Small and Brant, who began publishing it on May 27, 1893. By September of that year, John W. Small was the sole owner. This paper was continued by him until some time after 1900 and is still published at Waynetown. The Wayne-town Hornet was published in Waynetown by Robert S. Osborn, who at another time published the New RichmondEnterprise. There is no further information available on this paper.

On October 10, 1891, Henry Starnes began the first newspaper, the Graphic, in Wingate. He moved to Waynetown with his press in August of the following year. On October 10, 1892, he founded a paper at Waynetown.24 The next paper published at Wingate was the Weekly News. It was founded in 1900 by George Schutz and A. J. Royalty. Schutz soon dropped the partnership and Royalty's sons John F. and Frederick W. were associated with him at times between 1902 and 1906, at which time his son John F. took over the paper. He was killed on June 6, 1910, and his wife assumed editorship. It is still being published, although it is printed by the WaynetownDespatch.

  • 24 This information was obtained from Mrs. Henry Starnes, Hillsboro, Indiana.

Published by the Indiana University Department of History.