Since the QUAD RIVER NEWS is the new kid on
the block, I thought it would be appropriate for this column to
be about old newspapers.
I am indebted to Austine Simons Penney for the pictures we are running. I recalled that some months ago I was looking through the old editions of the Worth Tribune which are on microfilm at the State Historical Library and I had noted a picture of her father, Delph, sitting in his newspaper office in Worth. I called Austine and asked if she knew anything about that picture and I ended up with a veritable gold mine of old pictures.
These two, really three pictures were taken in Worth sometime during 1914 by a photographer from Grant City by the name of Shipley. I think I am correct that shortly after the picture was taken Shipley sold his business to N.A. Combs, and the studio was located above what is now the Art Shop.
If you look closely you will note that the longer picture is really two pictures which Shipley cleverly spliced together. The individuals are the parents of Austine Penney: Delph Simons and his wife Elsye Willhite Simons. Delph and Elsye were married in March, 1913, which would have been near to the time he established his paper in Worth.
Delph Simons was raised in the Sheridan community. A 1910 copy of the Sheridan Advance lists D.C. Simons as editor of the paper. A 1911 copy of the same paper lists an R.A. Stark as editor. Whether Delph was involved in the newspaper business between 1911 and 1913 I don't know, but he seemed to have disappeared from the ranks of Worth County editors for that short period of time, surfacing again as an editor in 1913 with a brand new paper in Worth.
Delph (In using the name Delph, I am not implying that I was that well acquainted with the man. It is just that he and my father were close friends and I never heard him called anything other than Delph) published in Worth during 1913 and 1914 and, beginning in 1915, he moved his publishing business to Grant City, and the paper was published as the Worth County Tribune. He continued to publish the Tribune until 1929 when he sold it to the owners of the Times. Out of that union came the Times-Tribune.
If you study the pictures closely, you can see what printing was like in the early days. The print was set by hand, an individual letter at a time. Behind Mr. Simons are the trays which held the letters. Not only was the paper put together painstakingly, one letter at a time, but after it was printed it had to be taken apart and each letter returned to its proper compartment in the letter trays. That would have been bad enough, but each letter had to be recognized as a mirror image.
The Worth Tribune was an eight page paper. The paper was purchased in sheets instead of rolls. The sheets were already printed on one side when they came to the local printer. There would be a serialized story, some advertising of a national nature and some other than local news. The local publisher would make up four pages of news and local advertising, printing two pages at a time. Usually pages one, four, five and eight would be the pages that the local publisher supplied.
The smaller picture shows the presses that were used in printing the Worth Tribune. Power for the presses was supplied by the small internal combustion engine in the center of the picture. It looks as if it were a one cylinder engine. You can see the exhaust system running up and to the outside of the building. The power was transferred to the presses by the belts and pulleys.
The man standing on the press fed the sheets into the cylinder one sheet at a time.
The small press at the lift of the picture was used to print hand bills, etc. It too was hand fed, one piece at a time.
The first paper published in Worth County was the Enterprise, which began publication in Grant City in 1867. In 1869 the name of the Enterprise was changed to The Grant City Star, and it was published under that name until the 1920s. In 1873 The Worth County Time began publication in Grant City. In 1915 these two papers were joined by the Worth County Tribune when Delph Simons moved his facilities from Worth to Grant City.
In 1881 The Denver New Era began publication. I haven't been able to determine how long that publication lasted. 'Pick' Jones tells me that following the New Era in Denver was another publication called the Denver Bee which was printed in a shop on the south side of the square.
In 1881 Allendale was served by the Mineral Springs Chronicle. The Sheridan paper went through several name changes between its establishment in 1887 as the Sheridan Advance and the demise of the Northwest Missourian in the early 1940s. By 1914 the Sheridan paper was called the Northwest Missourian. It carried that title until about 1923 when it became the Sheridan Press. In 1931 it was back to the Sheridan Advance for a couple of years and then back to the Northwest Missourian in 1933. That seems to be the final name change.
After Delph move his Tribune to Grant City from Worth a man by the name of Katlett published a paper for just a short time in Worth. It was called the Worth Journal.
So, for the first time in some 70 years a new newspaper, the QUAD RIVER NEWS, is on the scene. To get some idea of how far things have come along in that 70 years, compare the difference between the systems shown in these pictures with the system Lori Constant is shown using in last month's issue of the QRN.
Hunting for the information for these columns is a most interesting hobby. I had no idea that the Sheridan paper had been called anything but the Sheridan Advance. I called John Bainum to find out when it started publication and how long it had been in print.