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The Perrysburg Journal and The Weekly Perrysburg Journal
The Perrysburg Journal, a weekly paper, started in 1844, as the Fort Meigs Reveille. S.T. Hosmer, the first editor, filled his newspaper with advertisements and general news from the local, state, and national levels. The paper was renamed in 1851 as the Perrysburg Star because so many people had trouble pronouncing “reveille.” In 1853, the paper was renamed again, this time as the Perrysburg Journal.The paper was then known as the Weekly Perrysburg Journal starting in 1861. It dropped the “weekly” and returned to its former title, the Perrysburg Journal, in 1868. The paper supported Whig interests until 1854 when it switched to support the newly-formed Republican Party. Starting in 1920, the newspaper took on the Independent point of view.
As with many local, weekly papers, ownership changed hands several times over the course of only a few years. James Timmons, whose term as editor from 1868 until 1889 was considered “aggressive,” ran few advertisements and included few, if any, images on the front page. Stories covered a diverse range of topics, such as national news, international events, and developments in science and industry. Many of these short articles, however, focused on the current local, national, and international political and economic climate. Coverage of the Civil War was prominent from 1861 to 1865, when the Journal’s pages were filled with news and letters from the front as well as political speeches and reports on local involvement in the conflict. Starting in 1890, just after the beginning of Ed L. Blue’s reign as editor, the paper began to include more advertisements, more pictures, and more pages. Though the paper still reported national news, its focus became increasingly local. The publication maintained a decent subscription list and announced its own technological advancements when, in 1902, it began to use an electric cylinder press instead of a hand press.
During the World War I years of 1917 to 1919, the newspaper urged its readers to support their countrymen by purchasing war bonds and printed several letters from local soldiers writing back home, giving readers eyewitness accounts of the war. The regular column “On the Spur of the Moment” by Roy K. Moulton contained these letters in addition to short poems and commentary on the war, from the battlefield to the home front, and on American life in general. The writer’s remarks were often sarcastic, reflecting his unfavorable opinions of World War I and other current issues. The July 7th, 1918 issue, for example, had this to say: “One of the post-war problems will be to stop the knitters. Some of them have acquired a terrific momentum.” At the same time, the paper increased its focus on local news and matters. The paper began to print works of serialized fiction and regular columns such as “Household Hints” and “Fireside Talks with Rev. Allen,” content that is reminiscent of the articles that fill the Life or Entertainment sections of newspapers today. The Perrysburg Journal ceased publication in 1965 when it became the Perrysburg Messenger Journal, which is still being published.
Provided by: Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, OH