About Danville intelligencer. (Danville, Pa.) 1859-1907
Danville, Pa. (1859-1907)
- Danville intelligencer. : (Danville, Pa.) 1859-1907
- Place of publication:
- Danville, Pa.
- Geographic coverage:
- J.P. Sanders
- Dates of publication:
- Vol. 31, no. 28 (Jan. 7, 1859)-v. 78, no.  (Mar. 15, 1907).
- Danville (Pa.)--Newspapers.
- Montour County (Pa.)--Newspapers.
- Democratic. Cf. Rowell, 1869.
- Editor: Thomas Chalfant, <1876>.
- Published every Friday morning.
- Publisher: Thomas Chalfant, <Jan. 7, 1876>.
- sn 86053369
- Preceding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
Danville, named after Daniel Montgomery, who designed the town in 1792, was the seat of Columbia County, Pennsylvania, but lost that role to Bloomsburg in 1845. Irate citizens elected Valentine Best, founder in 1850 of the Democratic Danville Intelligencer, and Montour County Advertiser, to the state legislature on a platform demanding a new county. Montour, the smallest Pennsylvania county (132 square miles), was created on May 3, 1850, with Danville as county seat. It was named for Montour Ridge, an iron-rich local geologic formation called after a somewhat mythic figure, Madame Montour, a French-Canadian interpreter in 18th-century Pennsylvania. Danville prospered from iron and insanity. Using plentiful local ore, in October 1845, Danville's immigrant workmen forged America's first iron "T" railroad rail at the Montour Iron Works.
Renamed the Danville Intelligencer in 1859, Thomas B. Chalfant served as editor of the newspaper from 1861 until his death in November 1899. Chalfant was a state senator in 1863 when a site was being chosen for Pennsylvania's third public hospital for the mentally ill. Chalfant lobbied successfully and the huge new institution opened in 1872 as the "State Hospital for the Insane at Danville." The Intelligencer's articles about the hospital are interesting, albeit horrifying to modern readers; e.g., matter-of-fact news items appear about patients (fully identified) arriving in straitjackets. One unfortunate young man was described becoming insane, "as is so often the case," after being spurned romantically.
Chalfant was succeeded as editor by his son Charles, followed by D.I. Sollenberger, and then in 1902 by Daniel Austin Lutz, called "D. Aust Lutz" on the masthead. A native of Liverpool, Perry County, Lutz had been editor of the Danville National Record. Lutz took over the Intelligencer with a circulation of only 408 (N.W. Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual, 1902); Danville's population at that time was 8,042. By the 1906 Ayer's, circulation had increased to 1,400. The Intelligencer's four pages every Friday were packed with national, state, and local news from Danville and environs, and though doing its Democratic duty, the newspaper avoided the bombastic editorials of many political newspapers.
Lutz was a thoughtful, engagingly witty writer. On July 8, 1904, he reported comments (oddly self-defeating) by Dr. G. Stanley Hall, the President of Clark University, about a study showing that the frequency of marriage and the number of offspring decline for males and females with higher education. Hall called it "race suicide." Lutz wrote, "It can hardly be seriously argued that we should promote general ignorance to encourage large families." On September 9, 1904, noting county Republicans' failure to determine a slate of candidates, Lutz wrote, "It's all over now. No war. No blood shed. No boodling. No nothing . . . We would not have it understood that there are no Republicans in Montour county, for there are a few that are just as good as some of the worst Democrats."
The March 15, 1907 issue was the Intelligencer's last: "After a determined effort and an experiment covering several years, the publisher of the paper sees no other alternative but to discontinue its publication . . . The weekly newspaper is no longer in demand. It has served its day and generation and it now steps down and out and delivers the field over to its more modern rival, the daily newspaper" (apparently the Danville Morning News ).
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