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Early Newspapers

News Journal 1893

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Source: News Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Edition

News-Journal Observes 100 Years In Community

From hand-set type on a screw-down press to offset printing over a span of 100 years is the story of the News-Journal, as it celebrates its centennial year.

It was exactly 100 years ago this year (1973) the Journal was established in North Manchester by a joint stock company under the editorship of J.H. Keyes.

But before the founding of the Journal, part of which has endured today in the name News-Journal, Inc. several less successful attempts were made.

The first North Manchester newspaper made its debut in 1865. Publisher John J. Martin called it The Advertiser. It was destined to change names five times in as many years.

Martin worked at his new venture in printing for two years before selling it to Joseph Singer. Eighteen months later what was then the Union Banner became the Exchange, once again under the care of Martin.

But Martin didn't stick with his protege and sold out to William T. Cutshall, 1869. Cutshall soon sold The Globe to M.E. Pleas and it became the North Manchester Republican.

Starting as a Democratic organ according to the principles of the original stock company, it became and remained a dominantly Republican paper as November saw A.G. Beauchamp and D.W. Krisher as managers, then Matthews and Kist, who added the Republican. N.W. Beauchamp entered the newspaper business by taking over Matthews' interest. Beauchamp eventually became sole editor and remained so until 1882 despite the coming and going of other associates.

The Journal, in 1882, was published every Thursday by 18-year owner Samuel V. Hopkins in the east basement of the First National Bank Building. The charge was $1.50 a year for each of its 1,000 subscribers, 75¢ payable in advance for six months and 40¢ for three months. Advertising rates were 50¢ per column inch in the eight column newspaper. The numerous legal advertisements which made up a great part of the advertising were printed for a charge of $1 per 250 ems (ten lines). Anyone wishing to put their own little bit in the editorial column paid 15¢ per line for the privilege.

The front page--and most of the paper--was made up of clippings from other, larger papers. Those used to today's newspapers, the end results of endless research into the psychology of the readers, would find themselves devoting much more time to reading for the copy ran down the full length of each column and headlines were one line in length and not much larger than the story type itself.

A typical front page would include Fashion Notes from New York telling if beads should be worn, feathers or flowers, fur gauntlets, or which shades of red, blue or yellow were the mark of the fashionable.

This period was marked by a style of writing calculated to tug at your heartstrings or shock your every sense. Two or three full columns would likely be taken with a murder trial or other crime, and undoubtedly a short store could fill the rest of the front page.

The following excerpt may almost make you laugh rather than cry but it is typical of a late 19th century newspaper.

ONLY A SHOESHINE BOY

"Here's where you get your shoes shined!"
Over the head of the little one whose sweet, sad, tremulous tones uttered that sentence, scarce ten years had passed, yet, brief as they were, fearful were the traces left of their presence...
Out on the quiet air went a wail in which was concentrated a whole spirit's agony, a wail in which was but one word "Mother!"
Upon the stony street, his heaven-like beauty annihilated by the horses' feet, his wild, floating locks wearing "redder stains than the poppies knew," lay "the bright young being."
"Look here!" exclaimed a person to a friend who sat near him. "I saw that large boy push the other over." "Did you?" was the reply. "Well, don't mention it, he was only a shoeshine boy, and our valuable time might be broken into."

This story generally took two full columns, with only a poem by Riley or Whittier to make a break in the imposing solid line of copy.

Quite often, before being able to get to the heart of a story, a reader would wade through an explanatory lead: "For general information and to show the import of guarding against destruction of timber in the U.S., the following item has been clipped from a Philadelphia paper."

The rest of the paper was filled with "Personals," having little editorialized comments tacked on. Everybody knew everyone else and anything anybody did was fair game for the newspaper and too bad if they didn't like it--"All right, Ollie, we won't put your name in the paper again," or "Dr. Long was in Wabash Wednesday looking after his pension. Dave was a good soldier and we hope he may be successful," or "B.T. has sold his interest in the butcher shop to Frank Reed. Bash don't like to get up so early."

Reports of speakers or happenings would express the qualities of those involved, good and bad, according to the writer's judgment.

The publication of horror, crime, and ugly death was in its heyday and there was nearly always to be found rewrites of trial or notices such as "There was a sad scene in New York City last Saturday morning when Louis Hamer staggered into his bedroom wounded by a burglar's bullet and fell dying to the floor, while his wife and seven children, suddenly roused from sleep, gathered around him."

The prevailing advertisements were testimonies from users advocating wonder drugs, particularly Mrs. Lydia E. Pinkham's cure-alls: "Vegetable Compound is a positive cure for all those Painful Complaints and Weaknesses so common to our vast female population. Price $1 or six bottles for $5, pills or lozenges. Also her liver pills which cure constipation, biliousness and torpidity of the liver, 25¢ per box." And down at the bottom of the ad in fine print, "they also dissolve and expel tumors, headaches, depression, kidney complaints of either sex and permanently cure indigestion."

It wasn't until 1900 that advertising began to use much space in the newspapers. New inventions -- "New Hot Blast Airtight Florence, the only absolute smoke consuming stove on earth"; electric clocks, Jell-O--were coming into the market fast and furiously and the public must be informed. New, fancy borders were used and pictures showed what the new products were like.

Lydia E. Pinkham's Medicine Co. resorted to a $5,000 reward for anyone that could prove falsehood in the testimonial letters telling of renewed youth from using Pinkham products.

The Helm, Snorf and Co., North Manchester, was only one example of gimmicks used when they advertised they would "give away absolutely free a good all wool horse blanket 84 x 90 inches to the person who brings in the most people in one rig and unloads them in front of our store Friday Sept. 27, 1901."

At this time also, W.E. Billings got his toe in North Manchester's thriving newspaper business by starting The Rays of Light, a weekly publication. He changed its name to The Tribune and added the name Hopkins to the front page along with the dateline that same year.

With him, the papers began to change in tone to more original and localized. Although the front page still had long black blocks of type and small, centered, one line headlines, deaths of well-known persons of the community, new officials, social events and local trivia (like a letter from a son overseas in the army) filled it.

Billings revived the News in 1913 (News was started by William T. Cutshall in 1876 and from 1904 until its suspension in 1912 was under the management of J.C. Martin, Archie Gunn, Homer Clark and H.J. Bartoo) and combined The News and Journal in 1920.

The first consolidated News-Journals reflected the prosperity and progressive feelings of the times. Front page stories noted new houses being built and warned there was no excuse for anyone being lazy as there were two jobs available for every man.

The usual eight column newspaper was published on Thursday and a six column Monday Extra was added by Billings in 1914, continuing thus until today.

Giving his newspapers a more modern look and style than had his predecessors, Billings wroted and pritned the News-Journal until 1936 when Elwood Dunlavy bought it. Roland Schmedel took over management with Dunlavy's widow after Dunlavy died, 1955. At Mrs. Dunlavy's death, 1960, the owners became Schmedel, Thom Dunlavy and Martha Jane Dunlavy Mitchell, until Schmedel became sole owner, 1965.

Schmedel died October, 1966 after a long illness and the present owner, publisher, editor moved into North Manchester Oct. 15, 1966.

In late 1966 and 1967, the News-Journal developed a new format with larger headlines, more pictures and more white space to facility reading.

The new look resulted in second place awards in the state \for page one excellence in state newspaper association contests in 1967 and 1968.

Fifty year reporter Harry Leffel retired in December of 1967.

Early in 1971 a complete darkroom was added to the plant thus enabling the News-Journal to be more selective with use of art work. All photos are presently taken on 35mm film and processed in the News-Journal plant.

In February of 1972, the News-Journal management announced a change from letterpress to offset printing, offering readers and advertisers a much sharper, clearer and easier-to-read product in addition to use of color if requested.

In 1973, editor and publisher Ernest Eschbach was presented the top political editorial award in the state by the Indiana Republican Editorial Association.

Present management and employees are Mr. and Mrs. Eschbach; James Leuck, associate editor; Doug Frantz, news editor; Joe Custer, advertising director; Mrs. James Reiff, and Mrs. Bee Brooks.

Mrs. Herb Coble, Carolyn Bowling and Mrs. Charles French: type-setters and make-up department.

Summer employees include Cynthia Eschbach, a journalism student at Indiana University and A. Gary Nordmann.


 “Early Newspapers”, “North Manchester Journal” and “North Manchester News” in Weesner, History of Wabash County, 393-4:

NEWSPAPERS

The first newspaper in North Manchester was published in 1865 by John J. Martin, who called it the Advertiser. Within two years he sold it to Joseph Singer, who changed the name to the Union Banner and issued it thus for eighteen months. It then reverted to Mr. Martin, who published it as the Exchange until 1869, when he sold to W.T. Cutshall. The latter published the paper as the Globe for awhile, and finally disposed of the establishment to M.E. Pleas, who founded the North Manchester Republican.

Now, however, we are to record the founding of a newspaper which has endured to the present day—the North Manchester Journal, first issued in 1873 by a joint-stock company under the editorship of J.H. Keyes. In the following November it went under the management of A.G. Beauchamp and D.W. Krisher, but was subsequently sold by the company to Matthews & Kist, who had already bought the Republican. Within the year Mr. Matthews sold his interest to N.W. Beauchamp, and at a somewhat later date Mr. Kist disposed of his interest to William T. Cutshall. Eventually Mr. Cutshall sold to Mr. Beauchamp, who thus became sole proprietor. In 1877 G.H. Edgworth, of Iowa, purchased an interest in the Journal and became associate editor, but about a year thereafter sold his interest to Mr. Beauchamp, who remained sole editor and proprietor until 1882.

In January of the latter year Samuel V. Hopkins bought the establishment and conducted it until his death in 1900. His son Lloyd succeeded him, and in 1902 a consolidation was effected with the Tribune under the firm name of Hopkins & Billings (William E.).  Lloyd Hopkins died in March, 1913, when Ada Hopkins, sister of the deceased, assumed an interest in the Journal as an heir of the estate. The partnership with Mr. Billings was dissolved and in December, 1913, the Journal Publishing Company was incorporated to conduct the newspaper and printing business. Of that corporation Miss Hopkins is president and Rex L. Hidy is secretary and treasurer.

The North Manchester News, of which William E. Billings is editor and proprietor, was founded in 1876 by William T. Cutshall, who remained editor and proprietor of it for many years. From 1904 until its suspension in 1912, it was under the successive management of J.C. Martin, Archie Gunn, Homer Clark and H.J. Bartoo. In May, 1913, the News was revived by Mr. Billings, who had retired from the Journal the preceding month.