Genealogy and History
Part of the Genealogy Trails History Group
The Kent Observer
The Kent Observer, a weekly newspaper, printed at Pearl City on Thursdays, is the official organ of the villagers at Kent. It forms a part of the sheet published by the Pearl City News, and comprises half of the edition of that paper, or space equivalent to a seven column quarto. While the paper is issued at Pearl City, it is devoted to the interests of the people at Kent, and contains news items, and other material of interest to the people of the town. The Observer was originated by Mr. Freas, a former editor of the Pearl City News, and has since appeared with unfailing regularity on Thursday of every week. The paper is a great boon to Kent people and is widely patronized both in the village itself and in the surrounding rural districts. Dr. M. W. Hooker is editor.
The Lena Star
The Lena Star was founded in 1866. In that year, John W. Gishwiller, a photographer of Lena, and Samuel J. Dodds, postmaster, formed a partnership to secure material to start a newspaper and job office. They expended about one thousand four hundred dollars for a Washington Hand Press and other necessary equipment. The firm secured the services of John M. Shannon, who was then in Lena on a visit to his brother, the station agent. They also secured Robert Shannon of Chicago, then one of the fastest typists of the west, and Captain S. C. Harris, another printer. The complement of men was completed by Charles Weaver, the printer's "Devil." After considerable work by the "Devil" and others in blacking the faces of the new type, the first paper of Vol. I, No. i, of the Lena Star went to press. S. J. Dodds was editor.
March 21, 1867, Mr. Dodds withdrew from the firm. May 3, same year, Mr. John M. Shannon secured control of the paper. February 12, 1869, Mr. James S. McCall, of Freeport, Illinois, purchased the Star outfit and secured James W. Newcomer, of Freeport, as manager and editor. 1878, April 5, W. W. Lowis purchased the paper.
1892, A. O. Rupp bought the plant. 1893, July 24 Irving S. Crotzer, one of the "Devils" who had risen to be foreman, bought the plant. In 1900, T. Francis Gaffney, one of the Star's "Devils," assisted a stock company in starting a newspaper and a job office. It was called the "Lena Independent," and Gaffney became manager and editor.
December 21, 1902, Miss Rosalie Taylor, of Lena, was employed as manager and editor. She was assisted by Charles Weaver, who had just returned from a twenty years' sojourn at Fort Scott, Kansas. Miss Taylor and Weaver conducted the paper till the equipment was bought by Charles O. Piper, December 17, 1903. It was evident that one good newspaper would satisfy the crying demands for a weekly paper at Lena, and March 24, 1905, Mr. Piper bought the old Star office and moved the "Independent" plant to the Star office, thus combining the two in the name of the Lena Star Printing Company.
August 27, 1908, Professor Howard C. Auman purchased the Star and directed its destiny till October, 1909, when the Star passed into the hands of the present proprietor, D. W. Gahagan. Mr. Gahagan is a newspaper man of experience, having been in that business seven years at Seneca, Newton County, Missouri. Miss Rosalie Taylor is again employed on the Star as local editor. The Star is now a four-page, six column paper, typographically a model of excellence, full of news and advertising. Almost a complete file, both of the Star and the Independent, are kept in the Star office.
This account is taken from the Lena Star, October 14, 1909: Mr. Gahagan is putting out an excellent paper, which in general appearance is a credit to Lena and the community. The large number of space ads shows that the services of the Star as an advertising medium are highly appreciated by the business interests of the county.
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