Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI
October 22, 1997, Page 32
Transcribed by Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon.
Index of "Oldies" Articles
Good Old Days
Compiled by Dee Zimmerman
First 60 Years of Journalism in Clark County
The Clark County Advocate, the first newspaper in Clark County, was first issued March 7, 1857. The editor was William C. Thompkins, who had been persuaded by Beriah Brown, chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee, to move to Neillsville from Weyauwega, where he had started the Weyauwegan, in July of 1855. After publishing the Advocate for a while Thompkins, through the efforts of B. F. French, agreed to sell the paper to J. S. Dore and S. N. Dickinson. However, Andrew J. Manley, who had been connected with the paper, and had a claim for services, took possession, refusing to turn the office and equipment over to the prospective purchasers. Manley continued the publication with Thompkins still editor. In the spring of 1863, Tompkins was succeeded as editor by C. W. Carpenter, Manley still continuing as owner. After an existence of ten years the paper was discontinued.
The Union and Flag, the second newspaper in Clark County, was established at Neillsville in 1861, by John S. Dore and S. N. Dickinson. Dore and Dickinson, being disappointed in their attempt of securing the Advocate, turned their attention to Trempealeau. Charles and Francis A. Utter had some printing equipment at Trempealeau. In the spring of 1858, they purchased a printing press and type at Elkhorn, Wis., and had issued four numbers of the Trempealeau Times for the purpose of publishing the Buffalo County tax list. In the fall of that year, J. Ketchum Averill purchased the same equipment, publishing the Trempealeau Banner. The unsuccessful attempt prompted Averill to move to Tomah where he established the Tomah Chief. The Trempealeau Banner plant remained idle for a while and in 1860 Utters foreclosed and the equipment was sold at an auction. Part of the equipment was taken by George S. Luce to Galesville where, on March 16, 1860, he established the Galesville Transcript. The other items of equipment were “brought in” by the Utters, who, a few months later sold to Dore & Dickinson. Dore and Dickinson’s purchase enabled them to publish the Union and Flag paper. Clark County had two newspapers, from 1861 until its discontinuation in February 1864.
The Clark County Journal, the third paper in Clark County, started in Neillsville, Jan. 31, 1867, by John S. Dore, formerly of the Union Flag. Dore published the paper, acting as one of the editors, with Edward E. Merritt as his associate editor. There was a warm rivalry between the Advocate and the Journal, and soon afterward the Advocate was discontinued. Merritt severed his connection with the Journal and moved to St. Louis, being succeeded by Joseph Benedict, a brilliant writer. Benedict died in 1870, leaving Dore the publication and editorship of the Journal. In the fall of 1867, Merritt returned to Neillsville and started the Clark County Republican paper. The Journal succumbed after rivalry with the Journal, finalizing publication after the 1872 fall election. The Journal type was moved and used in starting a news-paper at Reedsburg in Sauk County.
The Clark County Republican, the fourth paper of Clark County, predecessor of the Republican and Press, was established at Neillsville, Oct. 25, 1867, by E. E. Merritt, formerly of the Clark County Journal. The first six weeks, H. H. Hand was associated with Merritt in editing the Republican, after which Merritt continued the editing alone. A spirited rivalry ensued between the two papers and after the death of Benedict, Hand returned to the editorial Chair of the Republican and Press. Friends of the Republican were successful in the election, and the Journal was suspended, leaving the Republican alone in the field. In March 1874, Merritt sold to Charles J. Cooper, with D. T. Lindley as foreman. It came into the possession of James Hewett and Jones Thompkins in March 1875. Thompkins sold to H. J. Hoffman of the Clark County Press in Apr. 1876, and the two papers were united. From March 1874 through May 1876, a succession of editors was Cooper; W. L. Abbott; D. T. Lindley; W. W. LaFlesh and W. C. Allen.
The Clark County Press, the fifth newspaper of Clark County, was started at Neillsville in June 1873, by H. J. Hoffman, who, in April 1876, bought the Clark County Republican and consolidated the two into the Republican and Press.
The Langlade Enterprise, the sixth newspaper of Clark County, was established at Colby, in Feb. 1876, by Parkhurst & Griffin. Griffin retired after three months with Parkhurst continuing it alone until March 1878. After the first year, he changed the name to the Colby Enterprise. T. J. Cleaver, who succeeded Parkhurst move the paper to Neillsville. In May 1878, the Enterprise was merged into the Republican and Press.
The Republican and Press, was a consolidation of the fourth, firth and sixth papers published in Neillsville, dating from the Clark County Republican established in 1867, the Clark County Press, 1873, and the Colby Langlade Enterprise, in 1876 and later moved to Neillsville. H. J. Hoffman continued the Republican and Press publication for eight years with E. L. Hoffman as a partner until June 1883, and then with J. K. Hoffman. In November 1884, the paper was sold to I. T. Carr. J. H. Tifft and M. F. Satterlee bought out Carr in April 1889. S. M. Marsh succeeded Satterlee as a partner in March 1891. Tifft became a sole owner in May 1892. George E. Crothers became editor and partner in March 1900. Under Hoffman the paper was independent Republican, under Carr it was Democratic, and under Tifft again Republican.
The Colby Phonograph, established in September 1878, about five years after the coming of the railroad, when the village was a very small settlement. The Shafer Brothers – Samuel J. and Joel F. started the Democratic sheet, which they called the Colby Phonograph, the seventh paper in Clark County. It was published by the two brothers until 1902, when Samuel J. Shafer died. Joel F. Shafer continued its publication until October 1916, when he sold the paper to the Harvey Bros., October 1916. In 1918, Gessert & Buchholz purchased the paper from the Harvey Bros.
The True Republican, the eighth paper published in Clark County, was started in July 1879, by L. B. Ring who conducted it until December 1887, when it merged in it and became the Neillsville Times.
Der Deutsch – Amerikaner was first published at Neillsville on Oct. 7, 1880, by H. J. Hoffman, of the Republican and Press. In 1885 he sold to Herman Schuster, who, in 1889, sold to Carl Rabenstein. The paper was printed in the German language and was the ninth paper of Clark County.
The Neillsville Times, the tenth paper in Clark County, and fourth oldest, dating back to the True Republican, in 1879, and was merged with the Times in 1887. The Times was founded by a number of citizens and members of the Republican Party, among them N. H. Withee, James O’Neill, J. W. Ferguson, L. A. Doolittle and other leaders of the Republican Party. L. A. Doolittle was the editor. In August 1885, the paper was sold to M. F. Satterlee and W. W. Wells. In February 1886, George A Ure bought out Wells. J. D. Brothers became a partner when the two papers merged in December 1887, becoming sole owner in April 1888. L. B. Ring acquired it in April 1889, under the title of The Times Publishing Co. and conducted it until, November 1905. V. A. McGillivray owned the paper for one year and sold it to Levy Williamson.
The Neillsville Courier was published for only a short time in 1880 by M. W. Parker & Co.
The Blade, was established at Neillsville in 1890 by Albert Calway and had a short existence.
The Neillsville News started in 1902, but suspended publication after a year or so.
The Searchlight was published a few days before the November election in 1902, by George A. Austin, in the interests of the Democratic Party. It was a red hot, sizzling issue, devoted entirely to politics, and mainly county politics. It had no subscribers but distributed more circulation than all other papers, stamped as “sample copies.” But, as none who received the copies ever subscribed to the new paper, it died a speedy death after twenty-four hours.
The Thorp Courier started at Thorp, Nov. 23, 1883, by Shafer Bros. & Wagner. A year later, William Wagner purchased the paper, and continued its publication.
The Loyal Tribune was founded in 1894 by the Loyal Publishing Company and was edited by B. M. Fullmer. D. V. Richardson issued the paper from 1895 to 1903; J. E. Noyes, 1903 to October 1905; H. V. Ross, October 1905 to April 1906; Mrs. D. V. Richardson April to October 1906 (Ray G. Taylor, editor), after which Roessler Bros. became the publishers. William F. Neuenfeldt was owner and editor from February 1914 to May 1916. The paper was then independent in politics.
The Clark County Chronicle was published at Loyal for a few years by George W. Meacham, starting about 1899.
The Abbotsford Clarion was published every Friday by William Manners, editor and publisher, its politics being Republican, established in 1900.
The Greenwood Gleaner was initiated in January 1891, by J. E. Noyes. He was succeeded by H. H. Hartson, with various editors serving through the years. July 1, 1916, Hartson, sold the paper to William F. Neuenfeldt, editor, publisher and owner. Neuenfeldt had started as a printer’s “devil” on the Marshfield Demokrat, December 1916.
The Clark County Journal was established as the Withee Sentinel at Withee in 1901 by Mrs. A. L. Barager and assisted by her sons. In 1914 it was sold to A. K. Staunig, who changed the name to the Clark County Journal. In 1915, it was sold to Peter Lang.
The Granton News was issued every Friday by F. J. Baer, editor and publisher. Established in 1904, it was Republican in politics.
The Humbird Enterprise was started Oct. 15, 1904 by G. Horrell and sold in 1909 to E. T. Hale.
The Dorchester Herald was an independent newspaper, established in 1904 by A. P. Gessert.
The Owen Enterprise was started in 1906 by George W. Devel, and sold to Mrs. A. L. and V. P. Borager. The office was equipped with standard linotype, doing trade work for publishers and a complete job printing department.
The Badger Workman, a monthly magazine, was published at Neillsville by Carl Rabenstein from 1900 to 1906. It was the official state publication of the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
The Good Citizen was a paper published for six months in 1909, at Neillsville, by L. B. Ring. It was a small quarto paper containing no advertisements, printed on a fine stock of paper. It was devoted to the cause of temperance and good citizenship, advocated county option. The subscription list was turned over to a newspaper in Beloit when it suspended publication here.
The Owl the most unusual paper every published in the county was edited and published by Milton Satterlee, at one time associated with J. H. Tifft as publishers of the Republican and Press. Satterlee was known by everybody as “Old Sat.” The Owl was a small sheet of four pages, printed on yellow paper. It was devoted to whatever “Sat’ had on his mind, witty sayings and items of local color. The paper had a wide circulation during its existence.
The Unity Register, was published by E. L. Messer & Son was located over the line in Marathon County.
The early county newspapers were many in number.
As of 1918, the journalistic field in Clark County was covered by thirteen weekly newspapers – twelve American and one German. They were: The Abbotsford Clarion, of Abbotsford; the Dorchester Herald of Dorchester; The Granton News of Granton; the Greenwood Gleaner of Greenwood; the Loyal Tribune of Loyal; the Humbird Enterprise of Humbird; the Colby Phonograph of Colby; the Deutsch-Amerikaner, the Neillsville Times and the Republican Press of Neillsville; the Owen Enterprise, of Owen; The Thorp Courier of Thorp; and the Clark County Journal of Withee. The Unity Register of Unity was over the line in Marathon County.
H. N. Withee a resident of Clark
County was one of the founders of the
Neillsville Times newspaper in 1887
Geo. E. Crothers former Clark County
Superintendent of Schools became editor
and co-partner of the Republican and
Press in March 1900
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