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A Look Back: The old village newspapers

01-25-look-back

By Jolene Hawkins

Looking back to when you might have heard, “Extra! Extra, Read all about it!” Back to the days where there was no radios, no TV and no Internet to find out what was happening or to advertise, you had the local newspapers.

There were people living in this area as early as 1807, the first child was born in 1809 and the first paper was created by E.H. Hough in 1844. Called the Springville Express, it ran until 1849.  You can view these papers online at the Lucy Bensley Center.
On May 4, 1850, the Springville Herald was started, ardently advocating the principles of the Whigs and Republican parties. E.D. Webster & Company was the founders, but after the second week, Mr. Webster assumed the sole proprietorship until 1856, when J.B. Saxe bought it from him.
Mr. Saxe ran the paper with all the ads and news that most of the folks were looking forward to reading each week. He published the paper until 1863 when, due to the Civil War, the cost became too excessive and Mr. Saxe devoted his time to ministry and agriculture and the newspaper was discontinued.
For one year, during the time frame of the Springville Herald, The American Citizen (1855- 1856) was published during the presidential campaign by L C Saunders.
In January of 1864, Augustine W. Ferrin, who formerly had assisted Mr. Saxe in editing the Herald, returned after being discharged from the Army due to injuries that were disabling. He began to lease the old offices where Mr. Saxe had been, gathered new material and started the Chronicle, which was published until March 1865, when he left here to fill the office of city editor of the Express in Buffalo.
From March 1865 to January of 1866, N.H. Thurber published the Tribune here in our town until Mr. Ferrin bought it and took it to Ellicottville and formed the Cattaraugus Republican.
In 1867, W.W. Blakely started the Springville Journal. He received the old files from Mr. Saxe from when he ran the Herald and resolved to perpetuate the name of the respected predecessor and changed the name of the newspaper to the Journal and Herald.

Mr. Blakely gained a partner, J.H. Melvin, and together they published the paper weekly until March of 1873 when he sold his interest to his partner.
The Griffith Institute published their own newspaper for several months calling it the Students’ Repository, with the guidance of W.R. DePuy and J.H. Melvin.
August of 1881 ,we find that the printing the newspaper was moving forward with the purchased of a power printing press by the Journal and Herald. Not to be outdone, the Local News purchased one in 1883.
J.H. Melven and F.G. Meyers started a second newspaper that was called the Local News. Now you could get two different views on big events that happened around the town and the world.

n 1921, Springville got a new Firetruck.  It is interesting to read in each of the papers regarding this new truck as it is from two different points of views, both made the front page, and the articles ran the same week.
As you read through all the years of the newspapers, you will find everything in the paper, not only ads for different stores and products — which of course, they never actually tell you where most of them are, because, well, heck, everyone knew where they were — but also a personal column which each town had. If you submitted info for your area, you got a newspaper for free.

It is in these columns that we discover who came to town, or went on a trip, got new farm equipment, built a house, sold a house or grew a prize-winning pumpkin. Death notices and birth notices were always mixed somewhere in the paper.

The Griffith Institute also had a weekly column, where not only students names were in it, but their grades as well. Most social organizations, such as the I.O.O.F. or Masons, Knights of the Maccabees, Church groups, book clubs, GAR, Legion, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts all had a column once a week.

We see where they all meet and who attended and when the next meeting would be as well. It is through all of these that we learn what they did not only in 1844 but 1867, 1900, the 1920s, 1940s, 1980s and up to 2000! We can find out what was popular, what entertainment there was, books and music that they listen too.
Come down to the Lucy Bensley Center located at 23 N. Buffalo St. on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday or on the 2nd and 4th Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and you can enjoy reading these old newspapers as well. You can also email us at lucybenselycenter@gmail.com or call us at 592-0094.

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