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The Penn's Grove record. [volume] : (Penn's Grove, Salem Co., N.J.) 1878-????
Alternative Titles:
  • Pennsville record
  • Record
  • Salem County record
Place of publication:
Penn's Grove, Salem Co., N.J.
Geographic coverage:
  • Penns Grove, Salem, New Jersey  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
James W. Laughlin
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1878.
  • English
  • New Jersey--Penns Grove.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01220252
  • New Jersey--Salem County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01211881
  • Penns Grove (N.J.)--Newspapers.
  • Salem County (N.J.)--Newspapers.
  • Also issued on microfilm by Micro-Graphic Corp., Garfield, N.J.
  • Description based on: Vol. 4, no. 22 (Jan. 7, 1882).
  • Publishers: Joseph D. Whitaker, <Apr. 21, 1883-Apr. 5, 1884>; Compton & Bright, <May 3>-May 24, 1884; W.H. Compton, May 31-Sept. 20, 1884; William A. Summerhill, Sept. 27, 1884-Oct. 2, 1937; Thomas C. Summerhill, Oct. 9, 1937-<Mar. 20, 1947>.
sn 85035524
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The Penn's Grove record. [volume] January 7, 1882 , Image 1


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The Penn’s Grove Record

For over a hundred years, the Penn's Grove Record provided entertainment and reporting on local, national, and international news for the citizens of Penn's Grove, New Jersey. Located in Salem County, Penn's Grove was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 8, 1894, from portions of Upper Penn's Neck Township (now Carneys Point Township), based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier. Prior to its incorporation, Penn's Grove was the only village in Upper Penn's Neck. The borough is less than one square mile in area and is bordered by the Delaware River to the west.

Named for William Penn, the village of Penn's Grove was sparsely populated until the 1850s when the formation of the Wilmington and New Jersey Steamboat Company allowed people from more urban areas, such as Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to visit on summer excursions, with pleasure boats making several trips per day to Penn's Grove. In addition to leisure excursions, Penn's Grove also had freight boats taking agricultural produce from the surrounding area to Philadelphia. A railroad was built from Woodbury to Penn's Grove in 1876. Fishing employed many; the fish were prepared and frozen in Penn's Grove and then transported to Philadelphia and New York. Agriculture was primarily sweet potatoes, melons, tomatoes, rye, corn, and wheat. Due to an abundance of tomatoes, canning was also an important industry. Penn's Grove was ideally situated, surrounded by fertile land, populous enough to provide workers for industries and connected to the larger markets by boat and train. In the 1890s, the borough was transformed by industrialization. DuPont, who had a chemical factory across the river in Wilmington, Delaware built an explosives factory in Carneys Point, just south of Penn's Grove. The factory led to rapid population growth, from 1,497 residents in 1895 to 4,416 in 1915.

The Penn's Grove Record was a weekly paper first published by Reverend James W. Laughlin, member of the New Jersey Methodist Protestant Conference, in November of 1878. In February of 1883, the Record was sold to Joseph D. Whitaker who sold it to Summerill & Summerill in 1884. William Austin Summerill was born in 1862 to a well-established family in Salem county and the Upper Penn's Neck area. After completing his schooling, he attended Pennington Seminary and then returned to Upper Penn's Neck to work on the home farm. In September of 1884, he and his cousin Daniel V. Summerill formed a business partnership, and they published the Penn's Grove Record, a weekly newspaper published on Saturday. Daniel V. Summerill resigned from the newspaper in October 1887, leaving William as the owner and editor, a position he held for 53 years. Summerill changed the paper from a six to eight-column paper, and in 1892, built a new printing office and furnished it with the latest machinery. In addition to his newspaper work, Summerill was also the local land surveyor and a commissioner of deeds for Penn's Grove. To accommodate the newly industrialized and prosperous borough, a new press room was built with new presses, an intertype machine and new type in 1917.

William S. Summerill, a son, became an editor of the Record in the 1920s when the publishers again became Summerill & Summerill. In 1937, William Austin Summerill retired from the Record. The Penn's Grove Record then passed to another son, Thomas C. Summerill who published the paper until 1968 when it was sold to William O. Frey. Frey published the paper until 1981 when it was purchased by Thomas H. Bowen and the Sunbeam Publishing Company. Sunbeam continued to publish the paper as a weekly until the mid-1980s.

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