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HISTORY OF NEWSPAPER PUBLICATIONS IN WASHINGTON COUNTY PA
AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE OBSERVER PUBLISHING COMPANY.
August 17, 1795 - On the 17th of August, 1795...a newspaper called The
Washington Telegraphe and Washington Advertiser was established by Colerick,
Hunter and Beaumont and from its columns are obtained many of the earlier
notices of the earlier notices of business establishments. The first which
appeared was that of Hugh Wilson, dated August 13, 1795, in which he says he
"has a large and general assortment of Dry Goods." [The write-up
continues with a list of other advertisers and dates of ads through Dec. 10,
1796 [ad of James McCluney] - Source: History of Washington County,
Pennsylvania: with biographical sketches of many of its pioneers and prominent
men. Edited by Boyd Crumrine. Illustrated. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts and Co.,
1882. p. 490
OBSERVER PUBLISHING COMPANY: A HISTORY
The following is a summary of a three-page history of The Observer
newspaper and acquisitions made by the Observer Publishing Company. Source: The
Observer-Reporter’s Employee Handbook, Park Burroughs, Editor. Observer
Publishing Company; no date. This gives a framework for general history of
the newspaper. More information was added by research done by Judith
Through the years, not only the name of the newspaper changed
but also whether the publication was a monthly, a weekly, a daily, or a
twice-daily edition. Different names appeared on the headline banner [mast-head]
at different times; there may have been times when a promotional banner was used
to draw attention to a change from being a monthly, to weekly, to daily, as
examples. Therefore, the reader will see various combinations of names which may
be different even over the span of a few years. This website has many variations
of the Washington newspaper names (not all of which appear in the list below
that was provided by the Observer Publishing Company). The names used in
this website were taken directly from the microfilmed newspapers.
||Owners and Details
|Friday, Aug. 15, 1808
||The Reporter was first published in Washington Co.,
Pa. It was a weekly publication.
Population of the village of Washington, Pa. at the time was about
1,000. Almost all subscribers would have lived in the city (no
rural delivery). Other parties could have stopped at the office
for a copy. The process of single-sheet printing was so time
consuming, that it is unlikely that the Editor could have produced more
than several hundred copies a week. Original subscription price was
$2.00 per year.
Three owners between 1808 and 1833 - see next entries below.
|1808 to 1810
||William Sample and William B. Brown.
|Feb. 1810 to June 1833
||William Sample only.
|from July 1833
||B. S. Stewart and George E. Acheson.
|between 1833 and 1873
||Several unnamed owners. John Grayson was one owner until
1850 or so - see write up below. His partner was James Kennedy, but it
was unclear if this partnership involved the newspaper. The
Reporter was a daily afternoon paper.
|Aug 4, 1876
||Bought by Major Enos L. Christman
|1850 - 1851
||"WHITE - Judge WHITE, who died Monday morning, was a
good man. He was a native of this county. In the years 1850 and 1851 he
was owner and editor of the Washington Reporter. His father was an M. E.
minister who came to Washington, Pa., in the early days from Southern
Virginia. - Source: The PAWASHIN Mailing List. Subj: [WASH] WHITE,
MAIZE Nov. 10, 1900 McDonald PA Outlook Date:4/17/2004 Transcribed by
Victoria Hospodar Valentine for the PAWASHIN-L@rootsweb.com mailing
|no date / before 1864
based on death date
given as 30 yrs. ago
|Mrs. Sarah BAUSMAN, widow of John BAUSMAN, one time editor
of the Washington Reporter, died at the home of her son, Rev.
Joseph BAUSMAN, at Rochester, Pa., last Saturday. John BAUSMAN was well
known as an able man to all Washington county people. He died about 30
years ago in Pittsburgh. - From PAWASHIN Mailing List. Subj:[WASH]
SUTHERLAND, BAUSMAN, FELL Aug. 18, 1894 McDonald Outlook
Date:2/13/2004. Transcribed by Victoria Hospodar Valentine for the
PAWASHIN-L@rootsweb.com mailing list.
||Competing newspaper by Horace B. Durant of Claysville
called The Monthly Advance which within months became The Weekly Advance.
|from ? to 1875
||"...Mr. Hart was engaged at different occupations. In
that year he became connected with the now defunct Review and
Examiner, at that time owned and edited by Swan and Ecker.
Mr. Swan died in 1876 and Mr. Hart remained with the paper until it
was sold by A. H. Ecker, as surviving partner, to the late Andrew
Hopkins, in 1877.
In April, 1878, Mr. Ecker founded the Washington Weekly Democrat,
with which Mr. Hart connected himself as associate editor. He continued
in that position until February 29, 1881, when Mr. Ecker died. Mr. Hart
conducted the paper for the estate for several months, when he and John
T. Charlton, who had been foreman of the composing department from the
paper's founding, purchased the plant and good will. The firm published
the Democrat until 1895, when Mr. Charlton retired and John
Foster, Mr. Hart's present partner, bought a half interest in the
establishment. ..." Source: Hart Obituary
||The Monthly Advance became The Weekly
The Weekly Advance was renamed The Washington Observer.
It changed hands over the years and became a daily on Oct. 21, 1889;
owned by E. F. Acheson and Winfield McIlvaine; Acheson was sole owner
from Oct. 1890 to 1892;
1892 -A. E. Acheson and Clark T. Bartlet, partners.
In July 24, 1902 it was bought by John L. Stewart; The Observer
Publishing Co. formed by Stewart and Acheson.
|August 4, 1876
||The Daily Reporter
|Editor, Robert F. STEAN
no date known
|"Robert F. STEAN, aged 76 years, once editor of the
Washington Reporter, died at Washington last
week." Subj: [WASH] STEAN, SEIBEL, ANTILL
(2), RUSSELL, MCMINN, KLECKNER Jan. 25, 1908 McDonald PA Outlook Date:
Transcribed by Victoria Hospodar Valentine for the PAWASHIN-L@rootsweb.com
|Article from The Washington, Pa. Daily Reporter newspaper,
Washington Co., Pa., Oct. 19, 1903, p. 2:
"The Death of Editor Hart - [See full Obituary of Editor Hart.]
The Saturday Evening Supper Table, an illustrated weekly. (Not
known if this weekly was absorbed into the Observer.)
|"James H. Allen, editor and publisher of The
Saturday Evening Supper Table, an interesting illustrated weekly
published at the office No. 61 N. Main street, Washington, Penn., was
born in that town, July 21, 1857. His grandfather Allen came with his
family from England to this country, and to Washington county in
1829." - Text taken from page 127 of Commemorative Biographical
Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania. by J. H. Beers (Chicago: J.
H. Beers & Co., 1893). Transcribed April 1997 by Neil and
Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project. Published
April 1997 on the Washington County, PA website http://www.chartiers.com/.
|from ? to Mar. 1880?
The Examiner, Washington PA, in partnership with T. W. Grayson
Had become The Review and Examiner
||Owners and Details
|Jan. 1, 1903
||The Washington Observer, morning paper.
The Washington Reporter, afternoon paper.
||Operated by Congressman Acheson, as seen in the Charleroi
Mail newspaper. Under the Observer Publishing Co., Mr. Acheson
retired in 1912.
|1912 to 1940
||Mr. Stewart was the sole owner
||Widow, Margaretta D. Stewart, President, Observer
Publishing Co., took over May 1940.
||The Waynesburg Republican was purchased by the
Observer-Reporter Publishing Company.
|May 2, 1966
||Grandsons, John L. S. and William B. Northrop became
co-owners on May 2, 1966 when Mrs. Stewart died.
|May 1, 1967
||The Reporter and The Observer merged into The Observer-Reporter
The morning paper was called the “Home” edition; The afternoon paper was called the “Final” edition.
||The controlling interest was acquired in The Advertiser
and The Almanac. Cornerstone Publishing Company was formed.
||The Burgettstown Enterprise was purchased.
From 4-12-1984 McDonald PA Record-Outlook newspaper.
|The McDonald Record-Outlook (almost 100 years old in
1986) became part of The Observer.
Publishing Co. [The co-editors of "The Record-Outlook" -- Andrew T. EILER and William B.
BURNS -- are editing this issue of the newspaper and will turn the operations of the McDonald-based weekly over to the Observer staff later
|From 4-12-1984 McDonald PA Record-Outlook newspaper.
||"John and William NORTHROP, principal stockholders in the Observer Publishing
Co., are veteran newspapermen. The publish "The Observer-Reporter", a Washington County daily newspaper; "The Enterprise", a Burgettstown area
weekly; "The Waynesburg Republican", a Greene County weekly; and "The Advertiser" and "The Almanac", free-circulation shoppers."
||The Democrat Messenger in Waynesburg PA, was purchased.
The Monongahela Daily Herald in Monongahela PA was purchased.
|April 1986 Sunday Edition
||A Sunday Edition was launched of The Observer-Reporter.
||The original website for The Observer-Reporter was
launched in 1997.
|To present - -
2006 statistics about circulation
|The Observer-Reporter continues its print
operation. The approximate circulation of the print newspaper
now is about 33,800 daily and about 35,250 Sunday.
|2006 Stats about their website
Detailed information about online activity is kept. In
January 2006, their website had 105,986 unique visitors. That's an
average of 3,419 people using the site per day.
If you are curious, I found a stats website which details
readership and circulation of the Observer-Reporter for 2005.
The dates and ownership of the primary newspapers of Washington
County PA were researched and compiled by Judith Florian using the microfilmed
newspapers. Additional information was
included from the official Observer-Reporter pamphlet (mentioned above) and
from transcripts made by Victoria Hospodar Valentine from the McDonald PA
Please email additions and corrections, with dates and sources.
If anyone finds biographies or obituaries for owners, editors, or anyone
associated with these newspapers, please send the items to me.
Description and Important Details about
the newspapers used on this website.
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Map - Main Categories only
in Washington, PA
and other Families of "Washpa"
All newspaper items posted with permission of
the Observer-Reporter Oct. 13, 2005.
(c) Judith Ann Florian
159 E. Main St.
Girard, Ohio 44420
Copyright Notice - Data / info. for individuals and surnames
may be reproduced for personal family histories only, but not for any
commercial use or sale. Please give credit to Judith Florian and Catherine L.
Caldwell for locating newspaper items and original documents. You may use J.
Florian's research conclusions if credit is given. No other data or images may
be reproduced without permission. © August 2005-present, Judith Florian,
Copyright All rights reserved.
Dates of Site updates and new content added: Dec 2005;
Jan to Dec 2006; Jan to Dec 2007; Jan to Dec. 2008; July 2009; April 2010; Jan
2011; June 2012; Jan 1, 2013