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Republican news item. [volume] : (Laport, Pa.) 1896-19??
Place of publication:
Laport, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Laporte, Sullivan, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Sullivan Pub. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Began in May 1896.
  • English
  • Laporte (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • Pennsylvania--Laporte.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01246899
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 31 (Dec. 11, 1896).
  • Published every Friday.
sn 86081854
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Republican news item. [volume] January 6, 1898 , Image 1


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Sullivan Republican and Republican News Item

Created out of Lycoming County on March 15, 1847, the small (452 square miles) county of Sullivan lies in the wild and rugged hills and valleys of the Endless Mountains of north-central Pennsylvania, between the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River. These lands were part of the Province of Pennsylvania's 1768 purchase from the Iroquois. The county always has been entirely rural, with no settlements of great size. It was named in honor of state senator Charles Craven Sullivan, of Butler County, who greatly aided the passage of the enabling legislation for the new county. Its historic industries include lumbering, leather tanning, and glassmaking, with tourism growing in importance beginning in the late 1800s.

State officials charged with choosing a county seat for Sullivan trekked on foot and horseback into the geographical center of the wilderness in 1847 and drove a stake marking the site of the future courthouse. The town was laid out in 1850 and named Laporte, in honor of John Laporte, the last surveyor-general (1845-51) of Pennsylvania. Laporte was described in 1925 as the smallest county seat (population 175) in Pennsylvania by historian A. Howry Espenshade; at the time of the 1860 federal census, it had grown to 208.

The Sullivan Republican was launched by Samuel F. Colt, Jr., in February 1883, using the press that had belonged to the Sullivan County Democrat. Colt sold the newspaper in 1884 to William M. Cheney (1859-1921), a native of Laporte. Cheney owned and edited the Republican until March 1896, when Victor C. Hugo, formerly of the Dushore Review, bought the paper, which had about 5,000 subscribers. The Sullivan Publishing Co. established the Republican News Item on May 1, 1896, with a new press and editor, Charles Loren Wing, the county Republican chairman. Wing had worked for the old Republican beginning at age 13, to learn the printing trade. Under Wing, the News Item focused on "local and personal events tersely told" (births, weddings, deaths, social events in the regional communities) and presented a Republican political viewpoint without the fiery editorializing of some of the contemporary press. Cheney wrote on January 6, 1898, that, "The News Item fights fair. It is a patriotic home newspaper."

In November 1909, Wing retired and Freeman L. Taylor and Benjamin M. Vandyke took charge, followed by John B. English in August 1910, calling News Item "The only newspaper published at the county seat of Sullivan County." English left town in April 1912, and Charles S. Dauberman (1882-1922) took over the recently enlarged newspaper (eight pages instead of the longtime four). Both the Sullivan Republican and theRepublican News Item kept a profoundly local focus and maintained an attitude of "boosterism" for regional prosperity. As Eagles Mere, a lakeside community five miles west of Laporte, grew in the late 1800s as a vacation resort, more newspaper coverage was devoted to that town and its visitors. Eagles Mere hotels helped to fund an extension of the Williamsport & North Branch Railroad, offering a bonus for completion by July 1, 1892. The first train arrived in Eagles Mere just before midnight on that date.

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