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HISTORY OF NEWSPAPER PUBLICATIONS

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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 Florian.

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.

1800s

Dates 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.
1817-1818 The Examiner, with John Grayson and James McDermott "In the latter part of 1817 or the early part of 1818, he [James McDermott] came to Washington, Penna, and entered the office of John Grayson on the EXAMINER [The Examiner newspaper] where he remained six or seven months. In the latter part of 1818 he entered the office of the REPORTER [The Reporter newspaper] and remained with that paper through all its various changes for thirty two years up to 1850."
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 list.
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.
1871 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

March 1876 The Monthly Advance became The Weekly Advance. 

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: 8/27/2004 
Transcribed by Victoria Hospodar Valentine for the PAWASHIN-L@rootsweb.com mailing list.
Editor Hart

1878 

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.]
1880s 

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 

1897 The Washington Reporter, "Major Christian of The Washington Reporter" caption under his photo, found in The McDonald Outlook, McDonald, PA

1900s

Dates Owners and Details
Jan. 1, 1903 The Washington Observer, morning paper. 

The Washington Reporter, afternoon paper.

1908  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
May 1940 Widow, Margaretta D. Stewart, President, Observer Publishing Co., took over May 1940.
1963  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.

1981  The controlling interest was acquired in The Advertiser and The Almanac.  Cornerstone Publishing Company was formed.
1982  The Burgettstown Enterprise was purchased.
1984 

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 this week.]
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."
1986  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.
1997 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

http://www.observer-reporter.com/

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 newspapers.  

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.


 

 

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