The first newspaper in Henry was the Henry Courier, commenced
by Robert H. RUGGLES, December 23, 1852. The material he brought
up by steamboat from Edwardsville, Madison County, in this
State. Its size was a five column folio. Afterward it was
enlarged to an eight column paper, and again reduced to a six
column. July 1, 1862, the material and good will was sold to
Jonas D. WOODWARD, as proprietor, and until June, 1866, was
edited by C. S. & J. D. WOODWARD.
The Marshall County Democrat was commenced April 11, 1863, by Charles R. FISK; in July or August, 1864, F. M. MILLS became purchaser, continuing the paper but a few months. The material of this office was purchased by Spencer S. BURDICK, in April, 1865, who commenced the publication of the Marshall County Telegraph, a seven column folio. In September, same year, George BURT, Jr., purchased an interest, the firm name being Burdick & Burt.
In June, 1866, a consolidation of the Henry Courier and the Marshall County Telegraph was effected and the paper changed to the Marshall County Republican, with S. S. BURDICK, Geo. BURT, Jr., and J. D. WOODWARD as proprietors, under the firm name of Burdick, Burt & Woodward (the interest of C. S. Woodward being purchased by the new firm.) Three months later the interest of S. S. Burdick was purchased by the other partners, Burt & Woodward continuing the Republican until January, 1869, when Geo. Burt, Jr., became sole owner, who is still its publisher. At one time the paper was run as the Marshall County Republican and Putman County Register. The name was finally changed to the Henry Republican. It has an engraved head, giving an accurate view of the Illinois River, the bridge, and lock and dam at this place. It is a six column quarto, and furnishes more reading matter than any of its county cotemporaries.
The Republican is equipped with a Campbell Cylinder press and other material necessary to the outfit of a first class job and newspaper office. As a local newspaper it is unsurpassed, and in circulation, business and influence it leads most country papers in the State.
The Henry Bulletin, a small paper, was published here several years.
The Reformed Missionary, edited by Rev. C. COIT, was printed at the Republican office for some time; it was afterward moved away, and is now defunct.
The Coming Woman, an eight page paper, was printed at the Republican office for a couple of years; editress, Mrs. M. E. DeGEER. It was afterward moved to Chicago, and is discontinued.
The Normal Institute, an educational paper, is now being printed at the Republican office, Prof. J. A. HOLMES, editor. It is an eight page journal, and devoted to the interests of school teachers.
The newspaper history of Lacon dates back to the year 1837,
when Allen N. FORD, an enterprising young printer of Hartford,
Connecticut, entered into a contract with the proprietors of the
then town of Columbia to transfer himself, family and material
for issuing a weekly paper to the new town. The proprietors of
Columbia possessed both enterprise and intelligence, and were
quick to discover that printer’s ink was the talismanic “open
sesame” leading to success. So early as 1836 an effort was made
to start a paper in the new town, which fell through, and
negotiations were then began, through the Rev. Augustus POMEROY,
with Mr. FORD, and carried to a termination satisfactory to all
parties. The conditions were that he accept a bonus of $2,000,
subscribed by the citizens, and publish for them a paper at
least two year. As men of all shades of opinion, religious and
political, contributed to the purpose, it was necessarily
Mr. FORD having accepted the conditions, early made preparations to depart. An office outfit was purchased, exceptionally good for the time, and shipped via New Orleans, while the proprietor and his family, consisting of himself, wife, and two little boys (one of whom is now an influential political writer and the other a practical printer), set out for the West, making the long journey by railroad, steamboat and canal.
At Alton he engaged two printers to assist on his paper, one of them a brother of the martyr LOVEJOY.
The village of Wenona has supported a newspaper since
February 23, 1865, at which time GRABLE & CROSBY, two young
printers, established the News Index. Mr. GRABLE had experience
in newspaper management for a time during the war, at Hennepin,
while Mr. CROSBY was in the service, coming here upon the close
of the war. The News Index was a seven column folio, creditable
alike to its publishers and the village, and was well patronized
by the community.
August 17, 1865, Mr. CROSBY sold out to his partner, but the next week bought out GRABLE and became sole publisher and proprietor, continuing control until February 15, 1867, when he sold to William PARKER. He had long been a sufferer from consumption, and died in the June following at Clinton, Iowa. He was a noble young man and a spicy writer.
Mr. PARKER continued alone in the management until June 26, 1868, when Cadet TAYLOR bought a half interest, the partnership lasting until June 2, 1870, when Mr. TAYLOR bought the whole establishment.
Mr. PARKER was a genial gentleman, with whom it was a pleasure to have dealings, and during the continuance of this partnership both the Index and its proprietors prospered.
After the accession of Mr. TAYLOR to the sole management he invested the proceeds of his business from time to time in new material and dropped the word "News" from the name of his paper. In politics the Index is independent within Republican limits. From the time it was established it has deserved and received a very liberal support.
During the last year of the war Mr. L. B. BARNES, a telegraph operator, printed a small sheet, entitled the Sentinel, which was well received as an amateur publication.
In 1875 a Mr. BURROUGHS started the Wenona Tribune, but suspended after a three month's struggle.
Extracted from Records of the Olden Time, authored by Spencer Ellsworth, 1880