Hannibal L. Rann, one of the pioneer editors of
Delaware county and proprietor of The Manchester Press for a period of more than
a quarter of a century, was born in Alexander, New York, January 24, 1824, and
died at his home in Manchester, May 1, 1897, at the age of seventy-three years.
He passed his early life in acquiring the rudiments of an education, studying by
the light of a log fire and reading everything that he could find at a period
when books were few and the few difficult of access. He learned the printing
trade as an apprentice in the office of the Fredonia (N. Y.) Censor, and in 1853
was called to the editorship of a daily paper at Buffalo, that state.
Mr. Rann's first newspaper venture was in 1855, when he
purchased the Dansville (N. Y.) Herald. In 1857 he removed to Whitewater,
Wisconsin, and established the Register, retaining the ownership of the paper
for ten years and entering actively into the politics of the state, holding the
office of postmaster for six years. In 1871 he came to Manchester and started
The Press, which he owned until his death, with the exception of the years 1873
and 1874, when he was engaged in the job printing business in the city of St.
On the 5th of May, 1851, Mr. Rann was married to Mary
A. Leffingwell, at her home in Westfield, New York. His widow survives him,
together with three children-Edith V. Rann, of Chicago; Mrs. Milly Clark of
Webster City, Iowa; and Howard L., now in charge of The Press.
Mr. Rann was one of the fast vanishing class of pioneer
newspaper men who, though deprived of modern educational advantages, made up a
lack of college training by profound industry, a discriminating taste in
literature and devotion to the best in the world of letters. In his earlier days
he enjoyed the friendship of such men as William Cullen Bryant and N. P. Willis,
and had he chosen to follow a purely literary career there is every reason to
believe that he would have established himself as a writer of the first class.
This is shown by the vigor, dignity and splendid command of compact English
which made the editorial page of his paper a model of its kind. But he was, in
addition, a trained and skillful craftsman, familiar with every branch of his
profession, and his paper was ideally perfect in typography and make up. He had
a memory of almost marvelous retentiveness and an acquaintance with the best
authors which made him a delightful companion and an inspiring
conversationalist. His life was pure, his ideals high, his motives transparent,
and he served his day and generation with a fidelity, a courage and an unselfish
zeal that left its impress upon the community and upon the state. No man of
higher character ever occupied the humble sanctum of a country newspaper office,
and none regarded the dignity and usefulness of his profession more
circumspectly than he.