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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History
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The Pioneer, a monthly supplement to the Sheboygan Press


Sheboygan Press - October 16, 1930

Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement

Sheboygan's One-Time Tempestuous Journalistic Sea


The rocky shore of the sea of Sheboygan journalism is strewn with wreckage, much of which went on the rocks during the earlier years following the vain attempt of the brothers J. M. and G. W. Gillett (one of them the father of King Gillette, of safety razor fame) to establish the first newspaper in Sheboygan, the Mercury, in 1847. It was published weekly by the Gillett's until 1852, when they sold it to Enos Eastman, who in 1854 changed the name to Weekly Chronicle, and soon afterward sold it to H. N. Ross, who again changed the name, this time to Evergreen City Times. Later the rather cumbersome title was simplified to Sheboygan Times, as which this so often renamed journalistic craft was "skippered" for many years by Mr. Ross, but went ashore soon after its skippers death, never to be salvaged, and thus ended the career of Sheboygan's first newspaper, after many changes in its name and the long voyages between the shipyard and the marine graveyard.

By the way, while Mr. Eastman was publishing the Weekly Chronicle he issued a daily addition of it during the summer of 1852, giving our embryo city its first daily newspaper.

Next, in chronological order, came the Spirit of the Times, launched by F. L. Goodrich in 1848, but this spirit seems to have been too timid to survive long, for it died the next year and was succeeded by the Sheboygan Democrat, published by A. D. and J. LaDue until 1851, when it was merged with the Sheboygan Lake Democrat, published by Mills & Hobart.

Next came, in 1849, the weekly Dutch newspaper, the Niewsbode, published and edited by Jacob Quintus - the first newspaper in that language in the United States. Mr. Quintus later left for Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he continued the publication of his newspaper, and it is said to be the leader among its kind in the United States to the present day.

In 1851 Alfred Marschner, Sr., launched the weekly German-language Wisconsin Republicaner (a copy is preserved under front and back glass in the Sheboygan Public Library). In 1857 he sold it to Carl Zillier, his apprentice-graduate, who changed the name to Sheboygan Democrat and later to National Democrat, later incorporating it, together with Frank Gottsacker and Nic. Ewerhardt. Only recently was the Democrat's subscription list assumed by the Sheboygan Publishing company. to increase the circulation of its semi-weekly German language publication.

The weekly Freeman was started in Sheboygan Falls in 1851, but it was soon taken over by the Fond du Lac Commonwealth, which several years ago was in turn consolidated with the Reporter of that city.

In 1853 Jacob Quintus started publication of the weekly Democratic Secretary, but this secretary discharged itself after just one year of public service.

The Lake Democrat, later changed to Lake Journal, was intermittently published by F. J. Mills until 1856, when it was suspended, but it was soon revived by Ed E. Sharpe and continued publication by him, until 1868, when its suspension followed.

The Lake Shore Advocate was started and for half a year, in 1859, published by Carl Zillier, who was then only twenty years of age, having been born in Halberstadt, Germany, in 1839, and having come to America and to Sheboygan with his parents ten years later. He apprenticed in the Wisconsin Republicaner printing office at an early age, and later, in 1857, bought that German language newspaper of Alfred Marschner, Sr., who then assumed the office of postmaster under President Buchanan and after the Civil war under President Lincoln. The Advocate was a live enough youngster, but adequate support of it by the public seems to have denied it, and young Zillier must have had his hands full with his German language newspaper, and later he was to serve the people as, successively, city clerk, comptroller, state legislator (two terms), member of county board of supervisors (chairman a number of times). He also compiled a comprehensive history of Sheboygan county, published in 1912.

The weekly Northwestern Record was started by Littlefield, Stroub & Connor in Sheboygan Falls in 1867, but after only five weeks' publication it was suspended and the printing material bought and removed to Sheboygan by Noyes & Marsh, who then here established the weekly Sheboygan Herald, which in 1870 was taken over by J. L. Marsh & Son (George), who in 1881 sold it to Augusta Marschner & Son, and they, two years later, sold it to L. Howe, then publisher of the weekly Plymouth Sun, merging it with the Herald and continuing publication of the latter paper here with marked success until his demise, when it was acquired by Otto Gaffron and went back to Plymouth, where it is now published in combination with the other two English-language newspapers there, the Review and the Reporter.

The weekly Sheboygan County News was started by F. J. Mills in 1876 in Sheboygan. It was printed at the office of the Sheboygan Tribun, and two years later it was acquired by John E. Thomas of Sheboygan Falls, after whose death his son, William, continued publication with marked success until the latter's death. It is now published by Perry & Perry.

The Sheboygan Tribun (German-language weekly) was started in 1874 by Alfred Marschner Sr., who resided there from 1869 to 1875, when he returned in the spring to his beloved Sheboygan and here continued publication of the Tribun until he died, not quite six months later. The business was carried on by his widow, Augusta Marschner, and son Alfred Jr., until 1883, when the Tribun was merged with the Sheboygan Zeitung. The Sheboygan Herald, which the Marschners had bought of the Marshes in 1881, was sold to L. K. Howe. By the way, the Tribun printing office was the first in Sheboygan operated by steam power.

The Sheboygan Telegram (daily) was started in 1887 by R. W. Billett and later sold to Burk & Bornefeld in 1891, to W. E. Tallmadge the following year, and then to the Telegram Printing company, Frank Zufelt, editor. In 1920 this company sold out to a socialist organization, and the Telegram became its organ under the able editorship of George C. Hille, but after running a few months the newspaper was sold to the Press Publishing company, and was for a time hyphenated with the Sheboygan Press, but later its name was omitted from the title, and the Telegram remains but a memory.

The weekly Sheboygan Journal, later daily, was started the same year as was the daily Sheboygan Telegram - 1887, and the many kaleidoscopic changes of ownership it experienced during its long storm-and-stress career are unmatched in Sheboygan journalism, as the following sequential record will reveal. It was launched the year last above named by Bolens & Lynch. In 1888 it was incorporated as the Journal Printing company and T. J. Lynch was editor. In 1890 it was sold to Stokes & Heyn. In 1895 it was sold to Wilbur M. Root, who the same year sold half interest to L. E. Reed. In 1897 Mr. Root sold his remaining half interest to Veech & Hotchin and withdrew from the newspaper business, to which he was not very well adapted lacking previous experience. In 1909 Mesdames L. E. Reed and S. W. Reed bought the half interest of E. R. Veech, and the Sheboygan Journal was re-incorporated by the Reeds, who thus became sole owners of the stock. Later they sold out to the Sheboygan Press Publishing company, and the Sheboygan Journal id now also only a memory.

The Independent, a daily publication conducted under a "clubbing" arrangement in connection with the Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin, was for several months in 1890 issued here.

The Sheboygan Amerika, German-language daily, was established in 1905 and is published by the Sheboygan Publishing company, which also publishes the semi-weekly German-language Sheboygan Zeitung.

The Volksblatt, German-language weekly Labor organ, was published here for ten years from 1895 by the Volksblatt Publishing company, when it, too, joined the wreckage strewn along Sheboygan's journalistic seacoast, and leaving the entire coast clear for two German-language publications and for the daily Sheboygan Press, now Sheboygan's only and real English-language newspaper.

The Sheboygan Press was started in 1906 by A. H. Friese, who later sold it to Charles Weisse of Sheboygan Falls, and Mr. Weisse soon thereafter caused the Press Publishing company to be incorporated which organization has, under the efficient management and editorship of Mr. C. E. Broughton, lifted the standard of the Sheboygan Press well up into the metropolitan class, and if the skippers of the journalistic craft of Sheboygan's past could be served by the Press, they might behold it in the realization of ambition such as they themselves failed to experience.

The earlier newspapers were really so-called by courtesy only, for they printed very little news, even of a local character, for their publishers, who usually also acted as editors, were kept pretty busy collecting enough cash to pay their help and print paper and "patent insides" bills and other overhead expenses, and to support their usually large families respectably. They has no news service like the modern Associated Press and the United Press and syndicate service available, and even if available, the cost would have been prohibitive to most early-day small-town publishers of so-called newspapers. However, most of them admirably served their purpose of putting the towns on the map, attracting newcomers, and by more or less eloquent presentation of the business and professional openings offered persuading them to become permanent residents. All honor to our journalistic pioneers.


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