Aldrich History Project

Chapter XVII

The Press of Clearfield County

As no history of Clearfield county that fails to furnish a full and accurate account of its newpapers-their planting and growth-can be complete, the author of this chapter has made special effort to be, not only perfectly accurate as to dates and names, but full and complete as to material facts.

The press in Clearfield county had a beginning quite as humble as that of any other of its institutions, and whether or not it has kept even pace with them in this age of human progress the reader must judge. It will not be questioned that, in very many respects, as a community, the people of Clearfield county have kept even step with the spirit of advancement in human progress that has so signally distinguished the past and present generations. Our churches and our schools will compare favorable with those of any other of the several counties of the State; and as for the general characteristics of her people, whether as to enterprise, industry, morality, or intelligence, it is claimed-and with much show of reason-that she occupies and advanced position among the counties similarily situated. This may not be the case at this time. We speak rather of the situation forty and fifty years ago. Since the introduction of railroads and mammoth coal-mining corporations, an entirely new element of population and industry has been introduced. Years ago when our annual shopment of the products of the forest, in the shape of square timber, spars, sawed lumber, etc., would reach two millions of dollars, the profits were well distributed among the people; verry rich men were few and far between in those days; but the indigent poor were much farther apart. And as for the general intelligence of the people there exists many indubitable proofs that their standard in this respect was much above that of their neighbors.

The late eminent jurists, George W. Woodward and John C. Knox who both filled the office of president judge of the district of which Clearfield county formed part, and both of whom afterwards filled seats on the Supreme Bench of the State-the latter as chief justice-and who had thus had the bes opporunities to judge of the facts, were frequently heard to remark that there were fewer really ignorant men in Clearfield county in proportion to the population than in any other part of the State of which they had any knowledge. Similar remarks were frequently made by other strangers having intercourse with the masses of our people. This was not because schools and educational opportunities were convenient. By no means. School-houses were far apart in those days, and only open for two or three of the winter months. But at that time there were few able-bodied men or boys in any part of the county who failed to make at least one or two trips down the river every season-mostly to Marietta, but frequently to tide-water-no one of whom was known to return home without having learned something he didn't know before. They were a hardy healthy wide awake race of people, and if there was anything to be heard or seen on such expeditions they were sure to be treasured up.

But there was still another good reason for the more than average general information and good common sense of the people, and which, to the credit of the press, must not be omitted. At that time there were very few families in the county that were without one or the other of the county papers. They may not have been all subscribers, but like the school-master of ancient days, the newpaper "boarded around" from house to house until it was literally read through and through. An here, as an illustration of the of the result of newspaper reading at that time, we cannot resist the temptation to repeat the observation frequently made some forty years ago by a worthy old citizen long since gathered to his fathers. There was a family of six or seven sons born and raised in the vicinity of the mouth of Trout Run, or what is now known as the village of Shawsville, of the name of Bomgardner. William Leonard, one of the three brothers, who were among the first settlers of the county, then resided on his farm about a mile distant, now occupied by a Mr. Wood, in Goshen township. The Bomgardner boys were industrious, hard-working citizens mostly employed in the woods, and on the river, and by no means void of intelligence, although neither of them, according to Mr. Leonard, had ever been inside of a school-house, and yet, when in a convivial spirit, Mr. Leonard would say they could argue politics, preach Democracy, and blackguard us Whigs equal to any congressman, and only the opportunity they ever had of learning anything was furnished them by Billy Moore's Banner.

But this was not the only family of which quite as much might be said; there were many similar instances. Now-a-days the newspaper is simply looked into to see who is married and who has died, and what, if any, local events have occurred with in the week that is past. Then all that the columns of the weekly papers contained was not only read but carefully pondered over and not infrequently made the subject of the family discussion for the ensuing week.

These were, of course, the primitive days of newspaper history in Clearfield county. Up to 1854, with but two brief intervals, there was but one newspaper in the county, and that for most part of the time, less than half the size of several of the journals now published. Now there are ten regular publications within the county, each of them having, with perhaps three or four exceptions, as large a circulation and general patronage as the single one could boast of at that day. Is there any other business or industry, private or public, having a beginning at that time, that can show anything like a similar degree of advancement?

We shall now proceed to give chronologically as to dates, the history of each newspaper that now exist, or ever did exist within the limits of Clearfield county, together with the names of the founders and those connected with them either as editors, proprietors or publishers, with such additional facts as may seem to be of public interest.

The Pennsylvania Banner. -This paper first made its appearance during the latter part of the year 1827. Christopher Kratzer and George S. Irvin were its founders. Mr. Kratzer still lives in the enjoyment of good health for a man of some eighty-five or eighty-six winters, and is one of the most honored and respected citizens of Clearfield. Mr. Irvin died a few years ago in the western part of the State. That the Banner was not specially attractive, in fact was not much of an improvement on John Guttenberg's first venture of the kind in Germany, some four-hundred years previously, is readily conceded. Irvin was a practical printer-Kratzer an ingenious worker in wood as a cabinet-maker, both then living in Philipsburg. Kratzer proposed to his partner, that if he would find the type he would build the press, and proceeded to Huntingdon, where he took the dimensions of a Ramage press then in the Journal office of that place, returned to Philipsburg where a screw of the proper dimensions was procured, and in a few days a press was completed that did the press-work in the Banner office until 1844, when it was replaced by an iron press of the Washington style. Mr. Irving was on time with his type, and the first newspaper in Clearfield county soon made its appearance. This was before the era of composition rollers for inking the type. That indispensable process was then, and for several years thereafter, performed by two large "balls" say ten inches in diameter-two sacks of leather (sheepskin generally) stuffed with wool and nailed to handles. Mr. Kratzer's career as a publisher was of short duration, and he sold his interest to his partner. How long Mr. Irvin continued the paper by himself is not clearly ascertained. It is certain that either in 1829 or 1830, it was in the possession of Samuel Townsend Shugart and Thomas Moore. Mr. Moore was a school teacher from Half Moon, Centre county. Mr. Shugart was also from Centre county, a mere boy, but a practical printer, and with another boy of about the same age, did all the work. Mr. Shugart is still living, after spending many years in the newspaper business in Bellefonte as editor of the old Centre Democrat, and also many years at Washington as Chief clerk of the patent office, and frequently as acting commissioner of patents, and latterly as State senator, and is now enjoying the comforts of a well-spent life at his home in Bellefonte. Mr. Moore soon tired of the business, and sold his interest to Joseph M. Martin, an attorney-at-law, and the paper was conducted under the firm name of Shugart & Martin until some time in the year 1831, when Shugart sold his interest to his partner. It is well verified that is was in that year (1831) that William C. Moore came to Clearfield from Bellefonte as a practical printer to conduct the paper in the pay of Mr. Martin, the then proprietor. Mr. Martin is represented as being an able lawyer, and as a citizen held in the highest esteem. He died a few years after the period of which we speak. Up to this time is not known that the Banner had any political bias; but Martin was a Whig, and under him the paper was recognized as a whig organ. It is not certain that Martine and Moore had a joint interest in the paper as partners, but is certain that in 1833, it was the property of Matthew Brown and William L. Moore as the successors of Martin. Brown was engaged in the mercantile business at the time and an active Whig, while Moore was quite as strenuous a Democrat, and each had his separate portion of the paper to advocate and defend his party. As might be expected this double-barrelled enterprise did not prosper, and in 1834 Mr. Brown sold his interest to Levi L. Tate, a graduate of the Banner office, and for about two years it was conducted by Moore and Tate and changed to the name of Pioneer and Banner.

About the beginning of 1836, Mr. Tate sold his interest to his partner, and soon afterwards established a paper at Berwick, Pa., and after spending more than half a century in the newspaper business recently died as the proprietor of the Sun and Banner at Williamsport, Pa. The name was then (1836), changed to Clearfield Banner, and, in January, 1838, W. L. Moore sold half the establishment to his brother D. W. Moore, and in January 1839, the latter purchased the other half-W. L. Moore retiring to engage in he mercantile and lumbering business, and lumbering business, and has now been dead some twenty odd years. The name of the paper was then, (1839), changed to Democratic Banner under which title it was known until June 21, 1849, when Banner was dropped not again to be restored, and for the years 1849 and 1850-or from June 21, 1849, to February 15, 1851, it was called The Country Dollar, dropping its partisan character. Up to this time, from the retirement of Matthew Brown in 1834, the Banner had always been recognized as an advocate of democratic principles. On the 15th February, 1851, its political character as an exponent of democratic principles was restored under the name of Clearfield Republican, which name it still retains. During this long period of more than twenty-seven years-from January, 1838 to July, 1865-D. W. Moore was either sole or part owner. His first partner was the late Dr. Hardman P. Thompson, of Curwensville, who was a graduate of the office. His partnership commenced November, ----, 1845, and expired November, 1847. His next partner was A. J. Hemphill, another native of the place and practical printer, and extended from November 1847, to sometime in the fall of 1849. Clark Wilson, present proprietor of the McKean Democrat, became part owner in the spring of 1852, continuing for a little more than two years, when his partner (Moore) became sole owner for the fourth time. In the fall of 1856 the establishment was leased to Major J. Harvey Larrimer and R. F. Ward, the former the attorney-at-law from Bellefonte, who was killed in the late war, and over whose remains a handsome monument now adorns the cemetery at Clearfield; while the latter (Mr. Ward) was a graduate of the office, and recently died in New York. As showing what the newspaper business was in Clearfield county at that time as a financial investment, the terms of the lease to Larrimer & Ward secured to the lessor one-third of the net profits. Mr. More now says he has the documents to show that, without ever having received a single dollar on the lease, he paid out for stock, material, etc., during the three years, nears one thousand dollars. In the spring of 1860, Moore sold half the establishment to George B. Goodlander, which firm continued until July, 1864, when Goodlander re-sold his interest to Moore, who thus became sole owner for the fifth time, and after running it for another year, until the close of the war in July, 1865-which he claims was the only year it ever fully paid expenses during his connection with it-he sold the whole establishment to his late partner, Mr. Goodlander, who has continued either sole or part owner ever since, having in the mean time as partners, at least nominally, first, George W. Snyder, a practical printer from Bedford county, and now a respected citizen of We Clearfield; and second, George Hagerty, a graduate of the office, a young man of much promise, whole health failing, sought relief in Colorado, but there died. We thus find that in all the Republican has had seventeen owners or part owners, including two lessees, as follows: Christopher Kratzer, George S. Irvin, Thomas Moore, S. Townsend Shugart, Joseph M. Martin, William L. Moore, Matthew Brown, Levi L. Tate, D. W. Moore, H. P. Thompson, A. J. Hemphill, Clark Wilson, J. Harvey Larrimer, R. G. Ward, Geo. W. Snyder, George Hagerty and George B. Goodlander. Of these twelve were practical printers, to wit: Irvin, Shugart, the three Moores, Tate, Thompson, Hemphill, Wilson, Ward, Snyder and Hagerty, and of the whole seventeen only six are now living, to wit: Kratzer, Shugart, D. W. Moore, Wilson, Goodlander and Snyder. The Republican, being the oldest paper in the county, and recognized as democratic in its political sentiment-the county being largely democratic-has always been a leading, well patronized and influential journal in the county, and is now one of the best equipped, both as to presses and type, among country newspaper establishments.

The Clearfield Democrat. ---The second newspaper that appeared in the county was established in 1834, by ex-Governor Bigler, now deceased. Mr. Bigler was a practical printer, having learned the art with his brother, John, in Bellefonte. It was, as its name indicated, a democratic in its political bias, and ably edited. After some two years or more its proprietor, entering into the more lucrative business of lumbering soon to become the famous "raftsman of the West Branch," --and afterwards State senator, then governor, and lastly United States senator-allowed his paper to die a natural death, and most of the material was sold to William L. Moore.

The Clearfield Whig. -The third newspaper venture in Clearfield made its first appearance about the time the Democrat ceased to exist. John R. Edie, at the time in charge of the Clearfield Academy, and still living, a distinguished member of the bar in Somerset, was its founder. He was followed by Samuel H. Tyson, an attorney at law, now deceased, and brother of the then distinguished Job R. Tyson, of Philadelphia. Tyson was succeeded by Samuel T. Williams, a practical printer of Bellefonte, who had charge of the paper for a few months. As indicated by the name, it was an organ of the Whig party, and soon after the election of Governor Porter, in 1838, it suspended, and most of the material was transferred to W. L. and D. W. Moore, Mr. Williams, some years after, migrating to California, where he died. The Whig was a fairly well equipped office for the time, was well printed, and its general appearance much superior to its neighbors, the Banner.

The Raftsman's Journal.-The Journal first appeared on the 15th of June, 1854, with the late Hon. H. Bucher Swoope, a young and talented lawyer, then recently from Huntingdon, as editor and proprietor. The paper made a good appearance, was well printed and ably edited, making a reputation that has well been sustained ever since. The Journal commenced its career just at the period of the dissolution of the old Whig party, and the organization of the American, or Know-Nothing party, and from its first appearance until Mr. Swoope retired from its control, it was edited with marked ability and gained a high rank as a party organ. But Mr. Swoope was nothing if not radical in whatever position he filled; so that, with all his energy and talents and untiring industry, he failed to make any strong impression on the public mind, for the people of Clearfield-after the Know-Nothing craze of 1854-continued to vote as they had been doing in former years. Mr. Swoope was succeeded January 2, 1856, by S. B. Row, esq., a practical printer, and latterly proprietor of the Lloyd House in Philipsburg. This being about the period of the organization of the Republican party, the Journal became at once one of its most active advocates, as it has been ever since. Mr. Row was a complete printer himself, and by giving his personal attention to his business, he published one of the most creditable of the country newspapers in the State. Indeed the Journal, so far as concerns its mechanical execution, always did, and dies now, surpass any of its competitors in the county. On the 27th of March, 1861, S. B. Row, having been appointed special agent of the post-office department as successor to D. W. Moore, sold the establishment to his brother, S. J. Row, also a practical printer, who still resides in Clearfield. He conducted the establishment until February 17, 1875, when he sold a half-interest to his son, A. M. Row, a graduate of the office, and from that time until the present it has been the property, and under the management of S. J. Row & Son. As a printing-office, the Journal is very complete, both as to presses and type, the latter having been selected with much judgment and taste, and capable of turning out a superior style of job and fancy work.

As far as regards the journals of Clearfield heretofore noticed, all of them printed their editions on clean white paper-that is, neither of them practiced the modern style of procuring their supply of paper already printed on one side, but did their own selection and composition of matter to fill their columns. Recently, however, we believe they have adopted a system of procuring stereotyped matter on blocks at so much per foot, or yard.

The Clearfield Citizen (now) Democrat.-This paper was established in 1878, by John Ray Bixler, now on the editorial staff of the Sun and Banner, at Williamsport, Pa. It vigorously advocated the doctrine of the Greenback party. Within the next year or two the editor, seeing his party growing "small by degrees and beautifully less," and with the hope of finding better pasture in the Democratic camp, severed his connection with the Greenbackers, and ever since the paper has been recognized as an advocate of democratic principles. Mr. Bixler was an excellent practical printer, and a capable editor, though not a success on questions affecting partisan politics. In 1884, J. F. McKenrick, then district attorney, and still practicing law at the Clearfield bar, purchased a half-interest in the establishment. His career as an editor was brief, and he retired. In 1885, the name was changed to that of Democrat, which it still retains, and Allison O. Smith, an attorney at law, secured an interest therein. The partnership existed until March, 1886, when the establishment was purchased by John F. and W. A. Short, and published under the firm name of Short Brothers. In the following June W. A. Short retired, selling his interest to his brother, who, about the 1st of February of the present year (1887), in turn, sold it to his brother, W. A. Short, who is now the owner. The Democrat is an eight-page paper, with patent inside, and is well patronized.

The Multum in Parvo.-The last venture in the newspaper business at the county seat was that of the eccentric Dr. Sweeney, with his little patent-sided Multum in Parvo. It's first appearance was some time in 1883, but it did not live very long, long enough, however, to become quite distinguished, and to get its worthy founder into the Quarter Sessions on the charge of libel, convincing him that it was really permultum in parvo, and soon thereafter it ceased to appear.

This completes the history of the newspapers in the county so far as the county seat is concerned. Those published elsewhere in the county are of comparatively recent origin. Curwensville, however, being the next oldest village in the county, very appropriately had the honor of leading the way with the third newspaper then in the county with

The Clearfield County Times.-During the summer of 1872, a stock company was formed in the borough of Curwensville consisting of W. and Z. McNaul, E. A. Irvin, Samuel Arnold, A. H. Irvin, W. C. Arnold, Faust & Goodwin, John P. Irvin, John Patton, T. W. Flemming, N. E. Arnold, J. R. Jenkins, Edward Livingston, J. F. Irvin, John Irvin, and L. B. V. Soper, for the purpose of establishing a weekly newspaper and doing job work. The paper was named the Clearfield County Times, a seven-column folio, all home work, and published by Tolbert J. Robinson. The editorial committee consisted of Daniel Faust, W. C. Arnold, J. P. Irvin, John Patton, jr., and Edward Livingston. The outfit was entirely new, and the first number of the paper appeared the 10th of September, 1872, and during the memorable Grant-Greely campaign of that year the Times vigorously supported the Republican National and State tickets. On July 15, 1873, R. W. Brainard became editor, proprietor, and publisher, and in December, 1875, adopted a patent side, John H. Patton and L. J. Laporte, employees under Brainard assisting him part of this time as publishers and local editors. On June 19, 1882, W. F. Whittaker and John R. Fee, under the name of Whittaker and Fee, became publishers, and as Mr. Fee was a Democrat, and Mr. Whittaker a Republican, the Times became an independent or rather a neutral paper. They don't appear to have tried to follow the example of Brown and Moore with the old Banner, at Clearfield, some fifty years previously, and try to sustain both parties in a single paper. A few months later R. R. Stevenson became the purchaser, and soon after G. M. Bilger became associated with him. In a few weeks thereafter Mr. Bilger dropped out, and Stevenson again became the sole publisher. During this period, that is to say, from June, 1882, the Times kept up its claim to independence, or neutrality, and saving its patent outsides, kept up its high standing among the country newspapers of the State. On, or about January 1, 1885, John P. Bard purchased the paper, added considerable to the stock, made it an all home-work, enlarged it to an eight-column folio, and christened it The Curwensville Herald. Mr. Bard, as editor and proprietor, issued a handsomely printed, wide-a-wake Republican paper; the circulation rapidly increased, and the Herald seemed to be firmly established, and on the high road to prosperity, when on January 12, 1886, Mr. Bard retired, and R. R. Stevenson took charge as lessee. On March 4, following, the Herald stopped-like grandfather's clock, never to go again. The material was all sold and removed from the county.

When the Times was started, Edward Livingston and T. J. Robinson were the only practical printers. Brainard, John H. Patton, Laporte, Whittaker, and Stevenson were also practical printers. All of these gentlemen are still residing in Curwensville, except Mr. Patton and Mr. Whittaker. Mr. Patton is now residing in Iowa, and Mr. Whittaker resides somewhere in the eastern part of the State.

The County Review. It was independent in politics, and devoted to industrial interests, historical and biographical sketches of prominent families, societies and orders. It was handsomely printed, and a very creditable production. In November, 1883, it was changed to a quarto and issued weekly, and in January, 4, 1884, R. H. Brainard succeeded Mr. McDonald as editor and publisher, and in whose hands it has continued without any change up to this time, other than the adoption of a patent side. Although not a practical printer, McDonald was an experienced newspaper man, and is now understood to be connected with the Associated Press, and resides in Buffalo, N.Y.

The next newspaper started in the county was in the next year following the establishment of the Times at Curwensville, at the flourishing town of Osceola.

The Osceola Reveille.-This paper was established January 1, 1873, by George M. Brisbin and his two brothers, the former of whom is still living and in active life at Osceola. The Reveille was a very complete printing office of its class, the presses and type all new and selected with excellent taste, and the proprietors being practical printers and complete masters of the art, enabled them to present to the public one of the cleanest and neatest newspapers then in the county-a reputation it has well sustained through all its vicissitudes up to this date. The Reveille claimed to be strictly independent in politics, and was really, or as nearly so as could be reasonably expected under three rampant democratic editors in an era of hot political warfare. On January 1, 1876 at the end of three years from the establishment of the paper, the Brisbins retired, and the Reveille was supplanted by the Independent World, under the management of O. E. M'Fadden and in 9 months thereafter it was changed to Campaign World, and after three issues preceding the November election of 1876, under this title, its original name of Reveille was restored by J. B. M'Fadden, J. W. Scott, editor, and published for five years, or until the beginning of 1882, when, Mr. Scott retiring, it was continued by Mr. M'Fadden for three years, say January 1, 1885, when R. A. Kinsloe, a good, practical printer, came into possession and still continues it as an independent democratic journal, "giving special attention to the coal interests of the Clearfield region."

The Houtzdale Squib.-This paper was started in August, 1878, by L. A. Frazer, on a sheet nine by twelve inches. In November of the same year it was enlarged to a four column quarto sheet with patent inside, and called the Houtzdale News, W. R. and L. A. Frazer publishers, continuing until January 13, 1880, when it expired.

The Houtzdale Observer made its first appearance December 15, 1881, as a five-column quarto, by the "Observer Publishing Company," and published until April, 1882, when W. R. Frazer took charge, enlarging it to a six-column quarto, running it until December, 1882, when L. A. Frazer again stepped in and published it until March, 1883, then transferring it to B. W. Hess. At the end of two weeks he was succeeded by B. F. Difibough, who shortly afterwards turned it over to White Nixon, who is now its publisher and part owner. The Observer has always been a well conducted and well printed sheet, with patent outside.

The Houtzdale Mining Record was commenced in April, 1886, by Kinsloe and Kinsloe, as publishers, and D. St. George Frazier, a mining engineer, as editor. The Record is a six-column folio, all "home work," and specially devoted to the mining interests of the Houtzdale region. It started and was published for about three months as a weekly paper, when it was changed to a semi-weekly, and still continues as such.

The Du Bois Courier.---This paper made its first appearance January 15, 1879, Butler & Horton editors and proprietors. The paper, a seven-column folio, with patent side, was well printed on good type, and independent in political sentiment. In June, 1882, J. A. Johnston succeeded Butler & Horton, and the following spring dispensed with its patent attachment, and in one year thereafter enlarge it to an eight-column quarto, thus placing it among the foremost papers of the county. In October, 1884, E. W. Gray purchased a half interest of Mr. Johnston, and under the firm of Johnston & Gray the Courier was published for about two years, or until October, 1886, when it was sold to R. L. Earle, who changed it to a full-fledged and radical Republican organ, and it is now recognized and valued as such.

The Du Bois Express.-The Express was established October 12 1883, as an independent paper, by H. C. Wilson, B. S. Hoag, and Frank M'Michael, a four page, eight-column folio, on good clean type, and with patent outside. The Express, like the Courier, seems to have been well patronized locally, and has always presented a creditable appearance. Mr. Hoag retired January 14 of the present year, transferring his interest to the present firm of John P. Wilson, C. A. Read, H. C. Wilson, and Frank M'Michael, and to be known as the "Express Publishing Company." All the members of this firm are active, intelligent, and enterprising practical printers, and promise to give the Express a prominent place among the country newspapers of Pennsylvania, and with this hope in view have recently put in new presses and material preparatory to enlarging it to a six-column quarto, and to make it all home work, or at least to dispense with their patent outside; and as all the members of the firm are Democrats, and the Courier has been recognized as a Republican paper, and the population of that section of the county pretty equally divided between the two great political parties, the preponderance being slightly in favor of the Democrats, the proprietors of the Express seriously contemplate the propriety of dropping its neutral or independent character, and making it an advocate of democratic principles, not an "organ," but a free and independent democratic newspaper. Judging by their columns, the Du Bois papers are the best patronized of any in the county, and where advertising is extensively followed, job work will flourish also.

The Enterprise though scarcely entitled to be ranked among newspapers, as understood at this day, it would be unfair to fail to notice the publication of the Enterprise, a monthly sheet of four columns to the page, printed at Du Bois by P. S. Weber, editor and proprietor. It claimed to issue 2,000 copies, which will surprise no one when it is told that its subscription price was, "The only compensation asked is-read it carefully." Its columns were crowded with advertisements, and in fact its character was more that of an advertising experiment than a newspaper; and after appearing consecutively for four months, June, July, August, and September, 1876, the proprietor issued proposals to enlarge and change it to a weekly journal, and give it all the characteristics of a first class country newspaper, and had made many of the necessary arrangements to do so when he was tempted to embark in the mercantile business, and his Enterprise was abandoned.

The Coalport Standard.-This paper was originally started in the spring of 1885, by G. P. Pennebacker, on a small sheet, under the name of Coalport Siftings, as an experiment, or test, and at the end of three months the proprietor felt so much encouraged that he opened up in good style, and the Coalport Standard, as a seven-column folio, made its appearance, and is still published. It is well printed, with a patent side, and well patronized. Coalport is a village of recent growth and full of enterprise, and in a section that is well supplied with railroad facilities, and the population rapidly increasing, all of which should give the Standard a good chance to make its mark in the world.

This, we believe, embraces all the newspapers now published within the limits of Clearfield county, including those that lived for a time and then passed away, with the single exception of a weekly journal that was published at Ansonville for a short time in the summer of 1886, by a Mr. Dillon. It will thus be seen that there are now published within the county ten weekly newspapers, including one semi-weekly, as against only two of fifteen years ago, and thus verifying what was said at the commencement of this chapter, that the progress of the newspaper interests has been fully equal to that of any other enterprise outside of railroad and coal-mining operations.

In compiling this history of the origin and progress of the press in Clearfield county, it has been our chief aim to embrace the names of all the gentlemen at any time connected with any of the journals, either as editors, proprietors, or publishers, rather than to be scrupulously exact as to the dates or length of time of such connections. Possibly there may be omissions, but we think not. There were preserved tolerable complete files of the old Banner from its origin in 1827, up to 1839, which were sent to W. O. Hickok, at Harrisburg, about 1840, to be bound, but a few days after their receipt the bindery with its contents was totally destroyed by fire, hence it is impossible to be perfectly accurate as to the dates of the several changes in that paper that took place during this period.

We have taken no account of the terms or price of subscription at which the several journals were published, or their cost to the publisher. The Banner, in 1839, was published at "$2 per year, or $1.75 if paid in advance." By the annexed statement of the terms of the several papers now published in the county it will be seen that the price has varied but little. It is true that the sheets are larger now than they were then, and that where patent sides are used more reading matter is furnished; and it should be also considered that dollars were not so plenty then as they are now, that millionaires were very scarce, perhaps not a half a dozen in the State, whereas now there is scarcely a county in the State that cannot furnish one or more while Philadelphia and Pittsburgh can each furnish scores of them; and further, that the price of the white paper now, which is from five to seven cents per pound, as compared with ten and twelve cents then, goes far towards accounting for the apparent cheapness of the country newspaper of to-day as compared with what they were forty or fifty years ago.

Ayers & Sons' "Newspaper Register" for 1886, furnishes the following list of newspapers in Clearfield county, with the number of copies issued by each, to which we have added their terms of subscription as found in their latest issues:



Number of Copies

Subscription Price

Clearfield Republican,


$2.00 per year

Raftsman's Journal (at Clearfield)


$1.50 per year

Clearfield Democrat


$1.50 per year

County Review at Curwensville


$0.05 per copy

Osceola Revielle


Not given

Du Bois Express


$1.50 per year

Du Bois Courier


$1.50 per year

Houtzdale Observer


$1.50 per year

Mining Record at Houtzdale

Not given

$1.00 per year

Coalsport Standard

Not given

$1.50 per year




Source: Pages 267-278, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.

Transcribed May 1999 by Carol E. Holliday for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Contributed for use by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project (

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