The Reverend Mr. David Craft
THE PRESS, AUTHORS, AND BOOKS.
THE weekly press has been numerously represented in Bradford County since the first venture in journalism, in 1813, there having been at least 40 journals of different names during the period from that time to the present. We give a sketch of them as far as we have been able to get the data.
In 1813, Mr. Simpson, from Lycoming county, established a printing-office in Towanda, and issued a paper, which was discontinued at the end of the first year. Wm. Brindle then published a prospectus for another paper, but did not meet with sufficient encouragement to go on with it. At that time there was a small village on the Chemung, called Newtown, and Brindle sold his printing-press to a young man of the name of Edson Harkness, to take there, they having come to the conclusion that the country around it would support a newspaper. In this, however, they were mistaken, and the experiment was a total failure. Soon after, however, several enterprising gentlemen of high standing in their several professions, among whom we could mention Christopher North, Dr. Hart and John Arnott became residents of the place, gave it a new impulse, and it has since become the respectable city of Elmira.
The Bradford Gazette
was founded in 1814-15, by Burr Ridgeway, Gen. Samuel McKean, Gen. Henry Welles, George Scott, and others, and was Democratic in politics, as the parties were then divided—Democratic or Republican, and Federalist. In 1818 the name was changed to the
and published by James P. Bull, in the interest of a company representing the McKean interest in politics, being Democratic, however, in a general way. In 1822, George Scott was the editor and owned the press, but subsequently Mr. Bull succeeded to the sole control of the paper, and became a noted journalist of the times. In 1830, Bull sold the Settler to Hamlet A. Kerr, who edited it for a short time. In 1832, Dr. Hiram Rice succeeded to the office and material, and changed the name of the paper again to the
the politics remaining unchanged, being ardently Jacksonian. In 1835, Elisha S. Goodrich became the proprietor of the Banner, and continued its publication for two years, when he disposed of his interest to other parties, who merged it with the Democrat, under the title of the Banner and Democrat.
was published in Towanda in 1815, by Lewis B. Franc, and was Federalist in politics, and opposed the dominant party violently for two years, when it ceased its issue. Its motto was, “I claim as large a charter as the winds, to blow on whom I please.”
The Towanda Republican
was published in 1826-27, by Warren Jenkins, as an opposition paper to the Jacksonian Democracy. In 1828-29, Burr Ridgeway succeeded to it, and continued it for two or three years, when it ceased to appear.
The Bradford Argus
is the oldest paper in the county, and dates its foundation in the Anti-Masonic Democrat, started at Troy in or about 1830, by O. P. Ballard. E. R. Utter bought the Democrat in 1832-33 and removed it to Towanda, and changed its name to the Bradford Argus and its politics to that of the Whig party.
Mr. Utter conducted the Argus until 1834, when he associated George Wayne Kinney and Dummer Lilley, both practical printers, in the publication of the paper, the firm being known as Utter, Kinney & Lilley. This arrangement was short-lived, Mr. Utter regaining sole control again. In 1836 he sold the concern to Dummer Lilley, who conducted the paper until November, 1839, when he sold it to Col. Elhanan Smith, Frank Powell, and Elijah A. Parsons, who, under the name of Smith, Powell & Parsons, continued the publication until 1842, when Col. Smith, who had been the editor, sold his interest to his partners, and they continued the publication until June, 1852. At this date Mr. Parsons succeeded to the sole ownership of the Argus. In November of the same year the entire establishment was burned to the ground, it being a total loss, but was re-established by Mr. Parsons in the short space of five weeks. All this while it remained the Whig organ of the county, and until 1856, when the Whig party broke up; it then advocated the cause of the Republicans until 1862, when it bolted the regular Republican organization of the county and supported the “People’s party” ticket until 1864, when it was sold by Mr. Parsons to the Democratic party. It was then edited by Jacob De Witt, and published by J. F. Means and C. S. Russell. In 1866, Mr. E. Ashman Parsons, son of the former proprietor, took charge of it and enlarged and improved it, putting in steam-power and power-presses. It is still Democratic in politics, and is the organ of the party in Bradford County. Its size is 27 by 41, thirty-two columns. An excellent jobbing department is attached, with all kinds of the latest style of type and power-presses.
The present senior co-proprietor of the Argus, Mr. Elijah A. Parsons, was born in Columbia, Bradford Co., Pa., July 12, 1820, and in 1834 entered the office of the Northern Banner, where Mr. Parsons served two years as an apprentice to the “art preservative.” In 1836, when Dummer Lilley succeeded to the Argus, Mr. Parsons accompanied him to the office of the latter, where he completed his apprenticeship, and from that day to the present has been continuously connected with the paper, in the capacity of apprentice, printer, proprietor, manager, or editor—a period of forty-two years—and, what is still more remarkable, has never thrown off the harness of his calling a single day in the whole time by reason of illness. Another pleasing incident to Mr. Parsons is the fact that his subscription list contains many names of residents of Bradford who made the old county their home in the early history of the Argus, but are now living in the far west, south, and north of the United States, and across the sea.
The Bradford Democrat
was established as the organ of the McKean wing of the Democratic party in 1836-37, the Banner having ceased to support that wing. It was published by Cantine & Hogan for a time. Mr. Cantine was succeeded by H. A. Beebe, now of the Owego Gazette, who published it till 1841, when it was discontinued. On the sale of the Banner by Mr. Goodrich to Cantine and others, the paper was issued as the Banner and Democrat.
In June, 1840, Mr. E. S. Goodrich issued the first number of the
in the interest of Governor Porter, of Pennsylvania, and continued to do so for a time; but the governor’s policy becoming distasteful to the editor he added a prefix to the name in December, 1843, and christened it the Bradford Reporter,
|which has remained unchanged to the present time. At this last date Mr. Goodrich associated his son, E. O’Meara Goodrich, in the publication of the paper. In 1841, on the demise of the Democrat, it became again the organ of the Democratic party in the county, and so remained until the free-soil controversy arose, when it espoused the cause of “Free soil, free speech, and free men,” and battled vigorously against the extension of the peculiar institution, being a zealous supporter of Hon. David Wilmot, and an efficient advocate of his measures to prevent the spread of slavery. In 1845, Mr. Goodrich retired from the paper, and, for a short time, E. O. and H. P. Goodrich conducted it; but in 1846 the former became the sole proprietor, and published the paper until 1863. He then surrendered it to Stephen W. Alvord for one year, and again assumed control and continued to edit and publish it until 1869, at which date Mr. Alvord succeeded to its control and management, and has so continued to the present time. Mr. Goodrich is nominally a co-editor of the Reporter, but has done little or no service on it since 1869. In 1861, R. W. Sturrock was associated for a short time with Mr. Goodrich in the Reporter, but enlisted among the first volunteers in Towanda, and was killed in battle. Mr. Goodrich was appointed surveyor of customs in the port of Philadelphia in 1869, which position he still holds.|
The Reporter is a sheet of 28 by 44½ inches, 36 columns, having been enlarged twice, the last time in December, 1864, from 24 by 36 inches and 28 columns. It is fully supplied with improved power-presses and material for a first-class news, job, and book office, and has a well-appointed book-bindery in connection with the establishment. It is devoted to politics, current news, local happenings throughout the county, the cause of education, having an educational department under the charge of competent teachers, and is an aggressive advocate of all matters for the public good. Its circulation is about 3000 copies weekly. The respect the Republican national administrations have had from the coming into power of that party in 1861, for the Reporter, is most clearly evidenced by the positions of trust its conductors have been appointed to since that date continuously almost to the present.
Elisha Sheldon Goodrich, the founder of the Reporter, was born in Walton, Delaware Co., N. Y., Aug. 15, 1801, and, with his father and his family, removed to Bradford County the same year, the family settling in Columbia township, where the babe grew to man’s estate. In 1829, he was appointed postmaster at Columbia Cross-Roads, by President Jackson. In 1831, he was appointed by Governor Wolf, of Pennsylvania, register and recorder of Bradford County, and removed to Towanda. He was reappointed in 1833, serving five years under both appointments. He was at the same time justice of the peace of the borough of Towanda. In 1835, he bought the Northern Banner of Dr. Rice, and continued its publication for two years, when he sold his interest, and engaged in mercantile pursuits.
In 1840, he started the Bradford Porter, subsequently changing its name to the Reporter, and admitting his son, E. O’Meara Goodrich, into the establishment as a partner on equal terms. In 1844, he was elected transcribing clerk of the State senate. In 1845, he was chosen chief clerk, and re-elected in 1846. He retired from the Reporter in 1845, and removed to Harrisburg. In 1852, he was appointed deputy secretary of the commonwealth by Governor Bigler, and held the position till 1855. In 1859, he purchased the Luzerne Union, and continued to edit it until his health failed, when he came back to Towanda, March, 1860, and died in June, 1862.
E. O’Meara Goodrich is a native of Columbia township, Bradford County, and was born about the year 1824, and came to Towanda with his father, Elisha S. Goodrich, in 1831. He learned the printer’s art in the Northern Banner office, and in 1843 became associated with his father in the publication of the Reporter, and in 1846 succeeded, by purchase, to the sole control of the establishment, the ownership of which he still retains. With the exception of one year (1864), he conducted the Reporter from 1844 to 1869 solely. In 1860, he was elected prothonotary of Bradford County, and was re-elected in 1863, holding the office two terms. In April, 1869, he was appointed surveyor of the port of Philadelphia by President Grant, which position he is still occupying. Mr. Goodrich received his schooling at the common schools and academy of Towanda, but his practical education has been wrought out in the printing-office.
His influence with the party whose policy the Reporter has ever advocated, is shown by his appointment to the responsible and honorable position he has held under three administrations, which the Reporter has ably aided to place in power.
Stephen W. Alvord, the present editor and publisher of the Reporter, was born in Troy, Bradford County, Pa., in 1837. At the age of fourteen years he entered the Trojan publishing-office at Troy as an apprentice to the printing art. While here, when young Alvord had been but six months at the case, the editor of the Trojan suddenly departed, and was gone for three months, no one knowing aught of his whereabouts, and the apprentice, in the mean time, “ran” the publication—buying paper, collecting matter, and issuing the journal regularly—on his own responsibility, to the entire satisfaction of the proprietor when he returned. In 1853, Mr. Alvord came to Towanda and entered the Argus office, then, as now, published by Elisha A. Parsons, where he completed his apprenticeship, and in 1857 was local editor of the Argus, establishing the first separate local department in a newspaper in northern Pennsylvania. In 1860 he purchased a half-interest in the Argus, but owing to political disagreements with his associate—Mr. Parsons—he retired from the connection in October, 1862. In March, 1861, he was appointed postmaster of Towanda by President Lincoln, and held the position until Mr. Johnson’s accession to the presidency, when he was removed, but remained in the office, as deputy under Mr. Parsons, until General Grant’s inauguration, when he was reappointed, and has held the position uninterruptedly to the present time, receiving his reappointment from President Hayes in 1877.
Mr. Alvord has been elected school director of the borough of Towanda for several successive terms, and also one of the trustees of the Collegiate Institute of Towanda.
In 1876 he was appointed aid to General Beaver, of the State militia, with the rank of major, and as such served at Altoona during the labor troubles of 1877.
The North Branch Democrat
was published a short time in 1850 as an anti-Wilmot organ, Wien Forney, a brother of Hon. John W. Forney, of Philadelphia, being nominally the editor and publisher.
In 1845-46, Messrs. Henry Booth and C. L. Ward issued a literary periodical, for a few months only.
The Towanda Business Item
was established in 1871, the first number being issued Aug. 5, by O.
D. Goodenough and E. J. Clauson, and was a live, spicy, independent local
paper, though a small one. It was enlarged, with the commencement of the
second volume, to a twenty-four-column paper.
Mr. Goodenough retired from the Item Jan. 1, 1873, and Mr. Clauson continued to publish it alone until his death, which occurred Dec. 19, 1874. The paper then went into the hands of Gen. H. J. Madill, of whom Judson Holcomb and T. G. Angus purchased the stock and material, and June 1, 1875, founded
|The Bradford Republican,
merging the Item in the new publication. The same gentlemen continue
the publication of the Republican at the present time, Mr. Holcomb being
the editor-in-chief. The Republican is a thirty-six column paper, independently
Republican in politics, devoted to politics, current news, the cause of
education, literature, and miscellany. It discusses questions of public
economy without regard to party affiliation, and is aggressive in its advocacy
of measures for the public good.
He is of English descent, his father’s (Hugh Holcomb) ancestor emigrating from Devonshire, in 1635, to Connecticut, his father being a native of Granby, in that State, and coming from thence to Bradford County, among the pioneer settlers on Towanda creek (now LeRoy), in his boyhood.
The Towanda Journal
was established by D. M. Turner, editor and proprietor, in May, 1873, the first number appearing on the 14th day of that month. Its rapid growth in circulation exhibits the best evidence of the appreciation of the public of its worth, and satisfaction of a want sensibly felt in the section where it is published. Since the first six months its circulation has steadily increased, until it is much larger than many of its veteran contemporaries. The distinguishing features of the Journal are the particular attention it gives to the collection and publication of local news, its weekly summary of current county events being especially complete; its independence, aiming to be independent in all things, neutral in nothing, publishing all of the news and the truth about it. It aims not so much to convince its readers as to enlighten them; to furnish the material for their independent judgment rather than to lead the way to their partisan action. It does not ignore the necessity or usefulness of parties, but it would put principles above them, and favor a party and support a candidate only as they could vindicate their right to be the best means to the desired ends.
The one great purpose of the Journal is to fulfill all the offices of a family newspaper—business for the merchant, politics for the citizen, news, literature, art, instruction, and entertainment for everybody.
The Journal is a sheet 26 by 42 inches, 32 columns, and its office is well supplied for its wants.
D. M. Turner, the editor and proprietor of the Journal, is a native of Tompkins Co., N. Y., and removed from thence to Bradford County twenty years or more ago. He is yet a young man, scarcely thirty years old, but has the energy and vim necessary to the successful publisher of an interior paper. By his own unaided efforts he has made the Journal what it is, pushing its circulation from zero to a handsome list of paying subscribers in the five years of its publication, in territory well supplied by old established newspapers. He deserves success.
The Anti-Masonic Democrat was published by O. P. Ballard, from 1830 to 1832, in the interest of the Anti-Masonic party then in existence. It was succeeded by the Troy Argus, published by E. R. Utter and Dummer Lilley, who removed it to Towanda, where it was published as the Argus, and still is issued as such.
was published in 1840 for a year, by Francis Smith, as a Democratic sheet.
The New Star
shone out in the firmament of journalism, under Mr. Ballard’s guidance and control, in 1846, Julius Sherwood and Frank Smith lending their aid as editors. It was neutral in politics, devoted to local interests, and “went out,” to shine no more, in its infancy.
The Troy Banner
was flung to the breeze in 1847-48 by Wm. C. Webb. It continued to float for a brief period at Troy, when Mr. Webb transferred it to Wellsboro, and published it as the Tioga Banner. It is now known as the Agitator.
appeared to do battle for the interests of Troy in 1850, Barclay & Messenger standing sponsors for the venture. After two years Barclay left the responsibility on his partner, who continued his care until 1854, when the Trojan surrendered to adverse fortune, as did its ancient namesakes.
The Independent Journal
appeared in 1854, published by Dr. Johnson. Its aims were local, and after one or two years of indifferent existence it died from an excess of libel suits, not, however, until it had absorbed a little sheet, edited and printed by Moses Gustin, the Temperance Banner.
The Troy Times
was founded by A. C. Lumbard, in 1856. It was independent in politics, and continued for a few years and suspended. In 1863, W. H. Baldwin resuscitated the Times, and published it as a Republican paper, and was succeeded in 1865 by Shepard & Landon, who in turn were succeeded, in or about 1866, by A. S. Hooker, who changed the name of the paper to the
Northern Tier Gazette,
and still edits and publishes it as a Republican journal. It has 28 columns, and is devoted to local news, literature, and general miscellany chiefly. It is well conducted, and is a good, spicy local paper.
The first press here was that of the Athens Scribe, an advocate of New York and Pennsylvania improvements. No. 1, issued Aug. 5, 1841, prophesied the railway connection since accomplished. The paper was printed in a building of Chester Stephens, on the north side of the Academy Square; was published by O. N. Worden, from Montrose; was Whig in politics, but sustained by both parties. There was no Waverly then, and the Tioga Point valley furnished three hundred patrons from both sides of the State line.
President Tyler’s course had partly discouraged the Whig party, and the Scribe was suspended at the close of 1842.
In 1841, Mr. Worden printed the Athenian (No. 1). It was a small monthly paper, of which six numbers were edited by Wm. F. Warner, Edwin C. Marvin, James H. Forbes, and Ezra O. Long. In 1842, Mr. Worden printed a campaign paper for the “Workingmen’s Party.” March 3, 1843, appeared the Democratic Laborer’s Advocate, conducted by Mr. Worden, Whig, assisted by Capt. Jason K. Wright, Democrat; thus representing both national parties. The paper gained the largest circulation of any in the county, but it had no official patronage, and the suspension of work on the canal and the bankruptcies following caused such unprecedented hard times in this region that money could not be raised to procure printing-paper, and the printer removed to the county of Wyoming. Eight years passed, and the New York and Erie railroad was built up to Waverly. In August, 1852, Charles T. Huston, from Lewisburg, started the Athenian (No. 2), which continued two years. About 1855, Mark M. (“Brick”) Pomeroy, from Waverly, issued the Athens Gazette (No. 1) for about two years. His subsequent career is well known. It is said a Democratic campaign paper was here issued about 1855, by Francis S. Smith.
Eight years again passed without a press in Athens. The near completion of the Lehigh valley railroad aroused enterprise, and in 1866, S. Frank Lathrop, from Le Raysville, commenced the Athens Republican.
Early in 1868 the paper was changed by Walter K. Green into the Athens Democrat, and after six months was removed to Waverly.
In 1868, D. V. Stedge issued a Weekly News, but in 1869 the office was removed to Rome.
Business enlarging in the district, Charles T. Huston, from Williamsport, started the Athens Gleaner, March 16, 1870, an independent sheet, with home history as a specialty, receiving contributions from Dr. D. Bullock, Sidney Hayden, L. H. Elliott, Rev. D. Craft, Edward Herrick, Jr., O. N. Worden, and others. It called out many local records and traditions, giving an impetus to historical pursuits, and gaining a circulation of over fifteen hundred. It had little official aid, and the repeated prostration of the printer by sickness compelled him to discontinue the Gleaner with No. 196, Oct. 30, 1874.
In April, 1870, Mr. Charles Hinton, from Horseheads, N. Y., issued the Gazette (No. 2), independent at the outset, but for some years past a Republican organ. In 1876 it appeared on a double sheet, under control of a company, but was soon after destroyed by a fire. It was revived April 6, 1877, and is now in the name of S. C. Klisbe, Mr. Hinton making job-printing a specialty, for which he is well prepared. In 1875 Our Pet had a short life. In September, 1875, Cannon Brothers issued the Bradford Democrat, but six months afterwards it was removed to Rome. In 1876, Julius Corbin issued a few Athenians (No. 3). The same year, Mr. Huston, for a committee, issued the Democrat, for the campaign.
The Canton Sentinel was established in 1871 by its present proprietors, Messrs. C. H. Butt & Son. It is a 20-column sheet, Republican in politics, and devoted chiefly to local news, which its managers place before its readers promptly and acceptably.
In 1857-58 The Good Samaritan was published by Dr. Sweeney, in the interest of religion and medical science, as Dr. Sweeney understood those subjects. It existed a little more than a year.
The Rome Register was published in 1875-76, for a short time, by Cannon Brothers, as the organ of the “Greenback” party.
A paper, with a high-sounding name, was published for a short time in Le Raysville, by S. Frank Lathrop, who removed it to Athens, and changed its name to the Athens Republican, in 1866.
BOOKS AND AUTHORS.
The literary fame of Bradford is by no means confined to the newspaper press, able as that department may be; but her citizens have carried the name of the old county into the high places of song and science by their contributions to the literature of those departments of intelligence, as well as into the arena of history.
Mrs. Marguerite St. Leon Loud, a daughter of Dr. Barstow, of Wysox, in which town she was born, has won an enviable reputation as a poetess by contributions to various periodicals. See “Poe’s Autobiography,” Griswold’s “Female Poets of America,” Read’s “Female Poets of America,” Nay’s “American Female Poets,” Allibone’s “Dictionary of Authors.”
She was married in 1824 to Mr. Loud, of Philadelphia, where she has since passed the principal part of her time.
Mrs. Julia A. Scott, a daughter of George Kinney, of Sheshequin, born in 1809, married in 1835 to David L. Scott, of Towanda, where she died in 1842, was a poetical contributor of merit to the periodicals of her time. In 1843 a collective edition, 12mo, of her poems, with a memoir of the author, by Mrs. Sarah C. Edgerton, was published in Boston. In 1854 a new 12mo edition, with a memoir of the poetess, by Mrs. Caroline M. Sawyer, was issued. In Griswold’s “Female Poets of America” selections of her poems appear, and a notice of herself.
James Macfarlane, A. M., has given to the world one of the most exhaustive treatises on the coal regions of America that has as yet been issued from the press. Professor Macfarlane is a native of Gettysburg,* Adams county, Pa., but removed to Towanda, Bradford County, about 1845, and was employed in the capacity of a civil engineer on the North Branch canal.
* The family mansion of the Macfarlanes, a large brick house, stands at the foot of Cemetery hill, and was riddled with bullets during the progress of the sanguinary battle on that historic point.
He subsequently pursued the studies of the legal profession in Perry county, and was admitted to the practice of the law before the courts of Bradford County in May, 1851, and was elected district attorney of the county, in October, 1853, for a term of three years. In 1855 he was appointed general superintendent of the Barclay coal and railroad company, and held the position twelve years. In 1867 he received the appointment of general sales agent of all the bituminous coal companies of Tioga county, which position he still holds, with headquarters at Syracuse. In 1873 he was appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania one of the commissioners of the geological survey of the State, a work still in progress, and to which Professor Macfarlane gives much attention. He has a son who is superintendent of the bituminous coal mines at Bradford, McKean county, Pa.
In 1873 Professor Macfarlane wrote his exhaustive and able work, “The Coal Regions of America, their Topography, Geology, and Development.” His publishers were D. Appleton & Co., of New York. It is an octavo of 674 pages and a copious index, and illustrated somewhat profusely with sections, diagrams, and cuts of the coal fields and manner of mining, and has several very fine maps of the mining regions showing the extent of the fields and their location. It is a most valuable addition to the economic geological literature of the world, and has had an extensive sale for a scientific work, running through several editions. Professor Macfarlane is also the author of the article on geology in “Appleton’s New American Cyclopedia,” the latest edition. He also contributed the chapter on geology, topography, etc., for this work—the history of Bradford County.
Mrs. Julia A. Perkins, daughter of John Shepard, Esq., of Athens, where she was born and still resides, has, besides contributing various articles of historical value to the weekly press, published (1870) a neat 12mo, of about 300 pages, entitled “Early Times on the Susquehanna.” This work is replete with valuable information, and is the first work compiled and published, by a local historian, on the history of any part of Bradford County. Her husband is George A. Perkins, of Athens.
Sidney Hayden, author of “Washington and his Masonic Compeers,” and other contributions to Masonic literature, is a resident of Sayre. Mr. Hayden’s writings evince careful and exhaustive research, and painstaking preparation. His motto has ever been, “Dates are the bones of history, and accuracy is its life.” In treating of whatever relates to Masonry as a speculative science, to its history, or to the biography of its leading exemplars, Mr. Hayden has no superior, probably, in the United States.
Elder Thomas S. Sheardown, born Nov. 4, 1791, in the county of Lincoln, England, was converted, and united with a Baptist church in England, when he was twenty-one years of age. In 1820, emigrated to the United States; soon commenced preaching for the Baptists of southern New York and northern Pennsylvania; settled with the Baptist church of Troy, where he recently died at an advanced age. In 1865 he dictated his autobiography, a 12mo of nearly 400 pages, which was published by O. N. Worden and E. B. Case, Lewisburg, Pa., 1866. The book is one of thrilling interest, and incidentally of much historical value. It has passed through two or more editions. The book bears the following title: “Life and Times of Sheardown.”
Dr. George F. Horton published (Philadelphia, 1876) the “Horton Genealogy,”
a work involving a vast amount of labor in its compilation, which, in addition
to its genealogical records, contains sketches of individuals representing
different branches of the family, and illustrated with the Horton coat
of arms, a view of the old homestead, which is claimed to be the oldest
house in New England, and portraits. As Dr. Horton has a biographical sketch
in another part of this work, nothing more need be said here.