Early Somerset County Newspapers

Created: Monday, 14 September 2015 Last Updated: Monday, 14 September 2015 Written by Administrator Print Email

As early as 1806, a German newspaper, known as the Somerset Gazette, was published in the town of Somerset, but by whom published, when established, or when its publication ceased, are unknown.

According to a brief paragraph which appeared in the columns of the Bedford Gazette early in 1806, Gen. Alexander Ogle, of Somerset, proposed to commence the publication of the Somerset Hornet on June 1 of that year. It is probable, however, that the Hornet never appeared, for the \"oldest inhabitant \' has no recollection of the Hornet\'s appearance.

This paper was first issued about October 1, 1812, by John Patton who continued at the head of the paper for nineteen years, or until 1829, when he sold out to John Y. and Jacob M. Glessner. The Messrs. Glessner published the Whig from 1829 until 1833 or 1834, when they disposed of it to Daniel Weyand, Esq. He continued its publication until 1840, after the election of Gen. Harrison, the whig candidate for president, when it suspended.

Until 1842 there was no democratic paper published in the county, but in that year William P. Ankeny leased or bought the material of Mr. Weyand and started up the paper again under the name of the People\'s Guard. This paper continued until the fall of 1844 when its publication was suspended.

In February 1846, the office material (of the above) came into the possession of Hon. A. H. Coffroth, who started up the paper again under the name of the Somerset Visitor. Mr. Coffroth continued the publication of the Visitor until 1851, when he disposed of it to Robert R. Roddy, Esq. The publication of the journal was continued by R. R. Roddy, Esq., until 1853.

In 1853, Mr. C. F. Mitchell purchased the office of the Somerset Visitor, and came out in July with the Somerset Democrat in a new type and much enlarged and improved over the old Visitor. That was the founding of the present journal published under the same name and published continuously for thirty years. After publishing the Democrat for seven years, in July, 1861, Mr. Mitchell sold it to H. G. and G. F. Baer. The Messrs. Baer remained in the newspaper business two years. In 1863, they sold the Democrat to Valentine Hay, Esq., who published it four years, or until 1867. In 1867 Mr. Hay sold the office to Mr. John J. Hoffman, who in three years afterward, or in 1870, bought an entire new outfit for the paper and published it in an enlarged form. Under the management of Mr. Hoffman the Democrat was published eight and one-half years, or until December, l875, when he sold it to Hon. A. H. Coffroth, The same day Mr. Coffroth sold it to A. H. Coffroth, Jr., and J. K. Coffroth, who published it under the firm name of A. H. & J. K. Coffroth. On January 1, 1880, Mr. J. K. Coffroth retired, having previously disposed of his interest in the paper to his partner, its present proprietor. The Democrat attained its thirtieth birthday on July 4, 1883.

SOMERSET HERALD (Somerset Herald & Whig)
Number 1 of the first volume of the Somerset Herald bears the date Tuesday, September 16, 1828. It was edited and published by George Mowry, who also issued a German edition of the Herald. How long he continued in control we have not been able to ascertain. It was, however, for a number of years.
No. 28 of Vol. I of the Somerset Herald, Samuel D. Witt, publisher, bears the date of April 17, 1838. The same number refers to bills due the firm of Moorhead & Witt (publishers of the Herald and Republican) for the year ending in September, 1837. Thus it would seem that Moorhead & Witt were the successors of Mowry, and began with a new series of numbers when the term Republican was added to the title. The same word was dropped before the expiration of two years, when the old name, the Somerset Herald, was again adopted. The Herald was an advocate of Whig principles. Subsequently Joseph J. Stutzman became its editor and proprietor.
Edward Scull, Esq., became a resident of Somerset in 1846 and a few months later established the Somerset Whig, chiefly for the purpose of assisting his brother-in-law, A. J. Ogle, to a seat in the national house of representatives. Soon after the establishment of the Whig, it was consolidated with the Somerset Herald, published by Joseph J. Stutzman. The title of the paper was then changed to that of the Herald and Whig, a name which was adhered to until 1870, when the word Whig was dropped and the present name, Somerset Herald, adopted. Mr. Stutzman retired from the firm about the year 1853.
In July, 1871, Mr. Scull purchased the Somerset Standard and merged its subscription list into that of the Herald. He has continued publication until the present time and since 1878 his sons, Edward B. and George R., have been associated with him.

The Somerset Standard was established by E. M. & W. M. Schrock, January 15, 1870. They continued the publication\' of the Standard until July 1871, when the office, fixtures and a subscription list of fifteen hundred subscribers were sold to Edward Scull, Esq., of the Somerset Herald.
The first and only paper ever published in Salisbury was the Salisbury Independent, established on February 1, 1872 by George H. Suhrie and Luther A. Smith. It was published for a year and a half and was then merged into the Valley Independent and printed at Meyersdale by the same firm.

The first paper published in Meyersdale was the Dale City Record, started in 1872 by Henry R. Holsinger, who continued its publication until August, 1873. Mr. Holsinger also published a religious newspaper called the Chrristian Family Companion, which attained a circulation of about six thousand copies. At the date given, Suhrie & Smith purchased the Record for one thousand dollars and combined it with the Salisbury Independent. The journal thenceforth appeared under the name of the Valley Independent. At that time there was a bitter factional fight as to what the town should be called. The Independent espoused the name Meyersdale, which was finally adopted. In 1874 Suhrie & Smith made an assignment to J. 0. Meyers, who published the paper until January 1,1875, when the stock was sold to the Independent Printing Company, consisting of Col. M. D. Miller, J. 0. Meyers, Dr. W. H. Meyers, G. D. and E. M. Lichty. Under this management L. A. Smith was editor and business manager. The paper was enlarged and its name changed to the Meyersdale Independent. In May, 1877, Mr. Smith retired from the editoria1 management and was succeeded by George H. Suhrie, who continued in charge until the following September. The establishment was then sold to Tillman Hawes, and the publication was discontinued until February, 1878. It was then revived and continued until the following May. Mr. Hawes then went to Connellsville to establish the Connellsville Chronicle, and the Independent ceased to exist.

In January, 1878, shortly after Mr. Hawes\' purchase of the Independent, a few business men of Meyersdale met and the question of starting a new paper was discussed. The next evening they met again and established the Commercial. The stock-holders leased it to Lou A. Smith for a term of three years, after which he was to purchase the stock.
The Commercial made its appearance March 15, 1878, without a solitary subscriber. About six hundred copies were printed and distributed. The week following it had one hundred paid-up subscriptions, and at the close of the year its list had increased to nearly four hundred, all paid up. At the close of the third volume, the entire concern passed into the hands of Mr. Smith by purchase. Geo. H. Suhrie was the associate editor. Having outgrown its quarters above the post office, in 1883, a lot of ground was purchased on Center Street and that summer the new Commercial building was erected. Mr. Smith removed the Commercial material into its new home September 27 of this year.

In 1846 the Berlin Republikaner, a German newspaper, was established in Berlin. Its publisher and editor was Samuel J. Row, now of Indiana, Pennsylvania. It had a circulation of about eight hundred, but its publication was continued only three or four years.

The Berlin Bulletin was published by H. R. Holsinger during the political campaign of 1878. Afterward the material was merged into another paper published by Mr. Holsinger.

The first number of the Times, with central office at Rockwood, was issued October 20, 1883. It is published every Saturday and furnished to subscribers at the rate of one dollar per year, under the editorial management of Edward H. Werner, with a subscription list approximating one thousand names.

(Source: Extracted from History of Bedford, Somerset & Fulton Counties, PA; 1884)