Return to Media Index
Return to Milestones Vol. 5, No. 3
Throughout the history of, Beaver County there have been approximately 122 different newspapers, many of them short-lived, which have been published in the towns of Aliquippa, (formerly known as Woodlawn), Ambridge, Baden, Beaver, Beaver Falls, Fallston, Freedom, Hookstown, Midland, Monaca, New Brighton, New Galilee, and Rochester.
The earliest known publication was the Minerva of Beavertown, issued every Saturday by John Berry. It was a four-page sheet first published November 4, 1807, and sold at two dollars per year. The motto of the paper was: "This folio of four pages; happy work! What is it but a map of busy life, its fluctuations and its vast concerns." In the center of the headline was a crude representation of the goddess whose name it bears.
The first two pages were taken up with European news. The other two pages carried various items such as property notices, criminals wanted, and political attachments.
It is believed that the Minerva was continued in 1812 under the name of the Western Cabinet because both papers were the same in size, type, and general make-up.
The Western Cabinet was also printed in Beaver by Joseph W. White. Its motto was: "The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter the constitution of Government -- Washington."
No record exists of how long it was published, however, it was succeeded by the Crisis, which bore the same features as its predecessor.
Three papers were started in Beaver between May and June, 1813. They were the Crisis, the Beaver Gazette, and the Crisis and Beaver Gazette.
The Crisis was started on May 22, 1813, by J. and A. Logan. The last issue known was dated April 30, 1814.
The Beaver Gazette was begun by A. Logan on June 8, 1813 until March 15, 1817. Its motto was'. "Free but not Licentious."
The Crisis and Beaver Gazette, began June 10, 1813, was published also by A. Logan.
On September 1, 1818, James Logan, brother of A. Logan, began publication of the Western Argus. Over the years until 1878, the Western Argus went through five name changes and approximately 16 different owners.
The journalism of this time showed an increase of local or home-town news, greater emphasis on crime and sex news, and the appearance of human-interest stories. Politics still played an important role in these early-day newspapers.
One article published in 1845 on the front page of the Beaver Argus read, "New Remedy for Toothache."
It went on to state that India Rubber melted by candle on a piece of wire, should be placed while warm into the hollow tooth. This keeps air from the exposed nerve and kills the pain.
In 1874, a nine-column folio titled the Beaver Times was established as a Republican weekly by Michael Weyand. A daily edition, the Beaver Daily Times, was started in 1911. In October, 1902, a Mergenthaler Linotype was installed in the Times' office. This was the second in the county to be installed and it eased the tedious work of setting type by hand.
Meanwhile, a whole slew of Democratic papers came into existence, starting with the Beaver Republican in 1826. This paper was started by Andrew Logan and soon fell into the hands of his brother, James Logan, the same prominent gentleman who began publication of the Western Argus.
Other Democratic papers include the Democratic Watchman (1835), the Aurora (1836), the Beaver River Gazette (1834), and the Western Star (1843). Over the years the Western Star changed owners who in turn changed the name. Among some of the name changes were The Local (1865), the Conservative (1871), the Democrat (1874, the Beaver County Post (1876), the Commoner (1877), and the Star (1879).
In 1887, John A. Mellon, at that time editor and publisher of the Beaver Falls Globe, bought the Star and consolidated the two papers under the name of the Globe-Star which continued until 1891.
Other towns in Beaver County were also establishing papers during this time. New Brighton and Fallston had the Fallston and Brighton Gazette (1835-1838) and the Beaver Falls Union and Beaver County Advocate (1838-1839).
Other papers include the New Brighton Record (1854), the New Brighton Times (1857), the New Brighton Herald (1869), the Beaver County Press (1871), and the Beaver Valley News (1874).
The Beaver Valley News was established in 1874 by Major David Critchlow and Francis Smith Reader. In 1877, F. S. Reader, editor of the paper, bought out the Major's interest and by 1883, the Beaver Valley News became the first daily paper in Beaver County.
In January, 1901, the Beaver Valley News installed the first Mergenthaler Linotype in the county. The News was a Republican paper having both a daily and weekly edition printed in a six-column quarto.
Its editor, F. S. Reader, was at that time the longest in both active service and continuous work as editor in the county.
Rochester housed two publications in the 1800's. The first was the Commoner (1897), edited by R. W. Stiffey. The other Rochester paper was the Beaver Falls Chronicle (1839), edited by J. Washington White. The motto was: "Our country, right or wrong." The reading material of this four-page paper would be comparable to many of today's weeklies. In 1840 the paper was moved to Beaver Falls where its name was changed to the Beaver County Palladium. It was the first paper published in Beaver Falls and the editorship now belonged to E. Burke Fisher. The paper was discontinued in the fall of 1841, soon after John B. Early took over as editor after a financial matter concerning the paper.
There is no other record of a newspaper in Beaver Falls until 1875, when John T. Porter started the Beaver Falls Courier. Eventually, after several ownerships and name changes, it became the Beaver Falls Tribune with John H. Telford as editor. The paper continued publication until 1928, merging with the News to form the Beaver Falls News-Tribune. It was bought out by the Beaver County Times in 1979.
At the present time, the Beaver County Times is the immediate area's largest and most widely read newspaper. Its predecessor, the Beaver Daily Times, was published from 1911 to 1946, as mentioned earlier.
In 1946, the Daily Times was sold to S. W. Calkins of Uniontown. Calkins previously edited the Evening Times in Aliquippa (1943-1946).
The name of the paper was changed on October 16, 1946, to the Beaver Valley Times. Later in 1957, the name was again changed to the Beaver County Times.
In 1959, the Times expanded following the acquisition of the Ambridge Daily Citizen and the Ambridge News-Herald from the McNees family of Ambridge.
Technology has changed so much since the primitive Beaver Times of 1874. The old flatbed press is now a high-speed, full-color rotary press. Instead of setting type by hand it improved by being cast by machine from hot metal, which in turn has been replaced by computer-set cold type.
Today the news is quickly reported, both local and national, and it is illustrated with pictures. On April 2, 1978, the Beaver County Times expanded its daily edition to include a weekly Sunday edition to continue to serve its readers and advertisers.
Today the Times is Beaver County's only daily newspaper. Weekly and monthly publications include the News in Aliquippa, the Midland News in Midland, and the Western Advertiser in Beaver Falls, as well as the many publications sent out by the local businesses and industries.
The changes that journalism has gone through over the years would be quite obvious to anyone who could take the time to read some of the county's early newspapers. Early editions beginning with the Western Argus are available on microfilm for viewing at either the Penn State Beaver Campus Library in Monaca or the B. F. Jones Memorial Library in Aliquippa.
There is no limit to the wealth of historical information found in newspapers of 'the past. We must continue to preserve the past so that we may aid in the knowledge of the future.
Bausman, Rev. Joseph H. History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Vol. 1. Buffalo: Knickerbocker Press, 1904. pp. 450-473.
Rossell, Glenora E. Pennsylvania Newspapers, A Bibliography and Union List. Pennsylvania Library Associ6tion, 1969.
Mott, Frank Luther. American Journalism, A History: 1690-1960. New York: The MacMillan Company. 1962. pp. 215-326.
Beaver Falls Area Centennial, Historical Salute to the Centuries. . . 1868-1968. The Tribune Printing Company, 1968. p. 156.
Beaver County Times. First Sunday Paper A Birthday Edition. April 2, 1978. p. A-10.