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Delaware County, Iowa  


History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People

History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I.

Captain John F. Merry Supervising Editor. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914 page 163-169


Chapter XII

The Press


Not many years were permitted to pass, after Delaware County got out of her swaddling clothes, before the newspaper man made his appearance "to supply a long felt want."  He came in the year 1853, in the person of Datus E. Coon, who founded the Delhi Argus at the then county seat. Editor Coon published the Argus about one years and then sold the paper to G. W. Field. At the outbreak of hostilities between the northern and southern states, Coon entered the army and rose to the rank of brigadier-general. J. L. Noble, who handled the roller and applied the ink to the forms of the Argus, under Coon's regime, also went into the volunteer service and gained the rank of captain. Field continued the editorship of the Argus until the fall of 1856, when he gave way to Charles F. Hobbs, who soon sustained a loss of part of his plant by fire.  Hobbs continued the paper under its old name until 1858, when he changed it to the Delhi Democrat. Enlarging the forms for a seven-column paper, Mr. Hobbs gave his patrons the local and foreign news and prospered in his endeavors to "make good." Finally Hobbs sold out to C. L. Hayes, and later the firm name became Hayes & Corbett, who sold to Rev. L. S. Ashbaugh. Then came Dr. James Wright, county clerk, as part proprietor and later J. L. McCreery purchased an interest.


On January 1, 1859, James L. Noble secured the interests of L. S. Ashbaugh in the Democrat and later transferred them to J. L. McCreery who, now being sole owner, changed the name to the Delaware County Journal, and continued the publication until January, 1864, when he removed the plant to Dubuque. In the following month of March the material was sold to Edward Burnside, who moved it to Manchester and it became a part of the Delaware County Union outfit.


The Iowa News came into existence at Delhi in 1860 and lived about one year. The founder and owner, Charles L. Hayes, sold the material, which was taken to Anamosa.


This paper was established March 24, 1871, by J. A. Cole, as the Earlville Sun, at Earlville. C. Sanborn purchased it in June following, removed the plant to Delhi and named it the Delaware County Recorder. In August, 1872, J. B. Swinburne became its owner and brought it out as the Delhi Monitor. He continued its publication until some time in the '80s, when it was suspended.


The Journal, at Delhi, suspended publication in the winter of 1863-64. The material was purchased by Edward Burnside, $300 of the purchased money having been subscribed by Manchester people, who greatly desired a newspaper. The plant was removed to Manchester and with it the first issue of the Delaware County Union appeared March 25, 1864. Mr. Burnside died in 1866 and in January, 1867, the paper passed into the hands of L. L. Ayer, who enlarged the sheet to a seven-column folio. The Union became the official organ of the republican party, but that did not save it from starving to death. On December 3, 1872, the Delaware County Union gave up the ghost and the body, being dismembered, was divided between H. L. Rann, of the Press, and J. B. Swinburne, of the Delhi Monitor.  


The Nottingham Observer was started at Earlville in the spring of 1859, by Ed Stanton, and ceased to exist six months later.

The Earlville Sun already has been mentioned. Two other papers later were published in Earlville and finally submitted to force of circumstances. The Gazette was established by W. A. Hutton, December 31, 1875, who soon sold to N. Rose & Son. The latter changed the name to The Commercial, the first number of which appeared May 26, 1876. In April, 1877, the last paper was published. The Earlville Record was another unfortunate that was born on December 19, 1877, J. V. and J. A. Matthews being its sponsors. The Record long since has passed away.


C. Starr Barre founded the Earlville Graphic in 1882 and this publication flourished under Barre's efficient editorial and mechanical management up to 1887, when the Graphic plant was destroyed by the fire that devastated the entire business section of the town. It was but a few months, however, before there was another printing office ready and equipped for newspaper work and the new publication was appropriately named the Earlville Phoenix. Mr. Barre later sold the plant to Albert Knowles, who was succeeded by a company that published the paper under the firm name of the Phoenix Publishing Company. In 1889 the plant was purchased of Charles E. McCannon, who was succeeded in 1890 by Miss Christie Scroggie. After two years Miss Scroggie sold the plant to Charles A. Durne. In November, 1894, J. B. Swinburne became the owner of the plant and The Phoenix under his management became a newspaper of wide circulation and for a few years five papers were printed each week at the Phoenix plant. The extra editions were named The Colesburg Clipper, The Delhi Monitor, The Greeley Graphic and The Worthington Watchman. In September, 1901, R. V. Lucas, of Bradford, Iowa, purchased the plant and successfully conducted the paper until 1905, when he sold the business to P. M. Cloud and James Rogers. Mr. Lucas resigned from his position as postmaster at Earlville after disposing of the newspaper property, and P. M. Cloud succeeded him in that position. Cloud & Rogers secured the services of Albert Voit as Manager and editor of The Phoenix. Mr. Rogers severed his interests in the paper in 1907, and in 1909 Mr. Cloud sold the plant to Albert Voit and he conducted the paper until January 1, 1914, when a partnership was formed with Arthur J. Rogers. The plant has been refurnished, new machinery and material added and the paper increased in size. It is well edited, has a large circulation and is well patronized by the advertising public.      


A quite newsey, neatly printed local paper is the Home Press, published at Greeley. It was established March 5, 1897, by Victor E. Dow, present owner and publisher, and is a six-column quarto, with four pages home print.


E. E. Coakley, a Delaware County boy, is editor and proprietor o the Ryan Reporter, a well edited and readable weekly paper, that gives its large list of subscribers the local and foreign news. Mr. Coakley established his paper in one of the best trading points in Delaware County and issued its first number January 19, 1899.  It is a six-column quarto, with two pages home print.


The Leader, one of the best edited and printed newspapers in Delaware County, was established at Hopkinton in 1888. The Leader reflects the opinions of the neighborhood, has a good patronage, and its editor and publisher, W. S. Beels, has made a splendid success in the journalistic field of the college town.


The Manchester Press, the oldest paper in the county, in point of continuous publication, was established in June, 1871, by the late H. L. Rann, father of the present publisher. Mr. Rann got the paper well on its feet and in 1874 sold it to the late C. Sanborn, going to St. Louis to engage in the job printing business. Finding the St. Louis enterprise of doubtful value, Mr. Rann returned to Manchester after an absence of two years and bought out Mr. Sanborn. He continued the publication of The Press until his death in May, 1897, when the paper came under the management of his son.   

The Press was started as an eight-column paper of four pages and later increased to eight pages, four of which consisted of what was known as the Kellogg "patent insides" service, later taken over and developed by the Western Newspaper Union. As time went on, the demands of the business made necessary reduction of the ready-print pages to two, and in June, 1914, the paper converted into a twelve-page edition of six columns to the page, printed entirely at home.

The Press has always endeavored to keep abreast of the times with respect to the modernity of its equipment. It boasted the first power press in the country, the first type-setting machine (the Simplex), and the first linotype (the Junior). In January, 1913, the paper moved into a handsome designed home on the corner of Main and Madison streets, a brick building designed with especial reference to its needs and equipped with every convenience and utility. The plant now consists of a Model 8 linotype, a Cottrell drum cylinder, two jobbers, Omaha folder, power cutter, and other equipment in keeping with modern ideas. The machinery is operated by individual motors, and the building has its own steam plant.

With a view to further modernizing the business The Press is one of the few weekly newspapers of the state maintaining a thorough and accurate cost system and a cash-in-advance system of subscription settlements. There is not a delinquent subscriber on its list, which is well toward the three thousand mark.

The Press has educated or employed nearly all of the pioneer printers of the county, such as Frank B. Gregg, "Joe" Thompson, "Lute" Fisk, "Wood" Jewell, Edward Andrews, and others. For a time, in its earliest days, it was published in quarters on the the third floor of what is now the Globe Hotel, later removed to offices over the A. C. Phillip pharmacy, then to the first floor and basement of the Thorpe Building on the corner of Main and Madison, from which location it was definitely removed to its present location.

The Press has always been a staunch and uncompromising republican newspaper, and particularly under the management of the late H. L. Rann, its founder, established a high standing for the clarity and strength of its editorial page. It has sought to serve its people faithfully and well, to what effect can best be judged by those who have long given it their support and confidence.


The Manchester Democrat was established and its first number was issued January 13, 1875, by F. B. Gregg, proprietor and publisher. L. L. Ayers was editor. Politically the paper was democrat and has so remained ever since. After a few months Mr. Gregg retired and the paper passed into the hands of the Democrat Publishing Company, a corporation, of which the late Nixon Denton was president, and E. M. Carr, secretary. This company continued the publication of the paper until the 3d day of July, 1878. L. L. Ayers continued as editor until the 17th of April, 1878, from which date until the 3d of the following July it was edited and published by the Democrat Publishing Company. The late Charles E. Bronson and E. M. Carr became sole owners of the newspaper and dissolved the corporation, and the firm of Bronson & Carr commenced the publication of the Manchester Democrat on July 10, 1878, and continued to publish and edit the paper until March 22, 1905, when the partnership was enlarged by Hubert Carr and Henry Bronson becoming members of the firm, and thereafter and until the death of the senior member, which took place on the 18th day of November, 1908, the newspaper was published and edited by the firm of Bronson, Carr & Sons.

After Mr. Bronson's death the newspaper was published and edited by the firm of Carr, Bronson & Carr, a co-partnership of E. M. Carr, Henry Bronson and Hubert Carr, until the 24th day of October, 1912, when Henry Bronson sold his interest in the paper to Wade E. Long and Fred W. Herman*, and since that date the newspaper has been published and edited by the firm of Carr, Carr, Long & Herman, a co-partnership consisting of W. M. Carr, Hubert Carr, Wade E. Long and Fred W. Herman*.

The publishers of the Democrat during all the years of its existence have strived to make it a clean, reliable newspaper; a paper that would not contain anything that could not with propriety be read in any company; a paper that would not contain anything that any man would not willing for his wife and children to read. The paper has at all times enjoyed a good patronage and it has been a financial success. It is now one of the best country newspapers in the state.


With her many ups and downs, Delhi, first seat of justice of Delaware County, still glories in that intangible treasure, Fame. Lost to her is the erstwhile proud eminence as a county seat and no longer remains to her the prized privilege of entertaining judges, lawyers and disputatious litigants. Her capital building remains standing, silent and alone, in its beautiful park; but its walls echo no longer forensic speech of jurist or counselor. The days for all such have passed away and now the historic pile is headquarters for a fast dwindling remnant of the Union's defenders in the Civil war. But, Delhi is proud of her past and still retains an illustrious position in history, for in her younger days a poet was given to the place, whose one sweet song preserved, will live down in the ages. The writer of the poem which follows, the late J. L. McCreery, was a resident of Delhi from 1861 to 1865 and edited the Journal during that period of time. He then went to Dubuque and attached himself to the Times of that city. McCreery was a man of more than ordinary accomplishments and was rather versatile in natural abilities. The poem "There Is No Death," was written while he was doing newspaper work in Delhi in an humble way.  It received instant attention and was generously copied by publications in this country and in Europe. The authorship was given to many, among whom was the great classic, Lord Lytton of England. It might be here, among whom was parenthesis, that Mr. McCreery was also superintendent of schools when he gave to the world the beautiful words preserved in the lines below. He is the author, and the compiler of this history only renders him due credit by preserving the poem for future generations to this volume:



There is no death! the stars go down

       To rise upon some other shore,

And bright in heaven's jeweled crown

       They shine for evermore.             


There is no death! the forest leaves   

       Convert to life the viewless air

The rocks disorganize to feed               

       The hungry moss they bear.     


There is no death! the dust we tread   

       Shall change, beneath the summer showers

To golden grain, or mellow fruit,          

       Or rain tinted flowers.                  


There is no death! the leaves may fall

        The flowers may fade and pass away--

They only wait, through wintry hours,

        The warm, sweet breath of May.


There is no death! the choicest gifts

        That heaven hath kindly lent to earth

Are ever first to seek again

        The country of their birth


And all things that for growth or joy

        Are worthy of our love or care,

Whose loss has left us desolate,

        Are safely garnered there.


Though life become a dreary waste,

        We know its fairest, sweetest flowers,

Transplanted into paradise,

        Adorn immortal bowers.


There is no death! although we grieve

        When beautiful familiar forms

That we have learned to love are torn

        From our embracing arms.


Although with bowed and breaking heart,

        With sable garb and silent thread,

We bear their senseless dust to rest,

        And say that they are "dead."


They are not dead! they have but passed

        Beyond the mists that blind us here

Into the new and larger life

        Of that serener sphere.


They have but dropped their robe of clay

        To put their shining raiment on;

They have not wandered far away--

        They are not "lost" or "gone."


Though disenthralled and glorified,

       They still are here and love us yet;

The dear ones they have left behind

        They never can forget.


And sometimes when our hearts grow faint,

        Amid temptations fierce and deep,

Or when the wildly raging waves

        Of grief or passion sweep,


We feel upon our fevered brow

        Their gentle touch, their breath of balm:

Their arms enfold us and our hearts

        Grow comforted and calm.


And ever near us, though unseen,

        The dear, immortal spirits tread;

For all the boundless universe

         Is life ------ "there are no dead."

* NOTE: The correct spelling of Fred. W. Herman's surname is HERMANN. Correction given by his grandson Larry Hermann


~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Pages 163 -169.   Call Number 977.7385 H1m

~ transcribed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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