Vassar Newspapers

Taken from The History of Tuscola County, Biographical Sketches and Illustrations, H. R. Page Co., Chicago, 1883. Transcribed by Bonnie Petee.

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The Tuscola County Pioneer

The Pioneer is the oldest newspaper in the Saginaw Valley, and is justly deserving of the name it has so faithfully and honorable borne for a quarter of a century. Its history, should it be given in all the fullness of incident and struggle, would fill a volume of interesting contents. Its career has noteworthy features which are highly creditable to the men who have stood at is helm. Its beginning was a stroke of journalistic enterprise which attests the nerve of its founder, and the strength of his faith in the prosperous future of Tuscola County. It is further noticeable that during this entire period of twenty-five years it has changed owners but three times, and its career as a business institution has been one of growth and increasing permanency.

On Tuesday, November 24, 1857, the first number of the Tuscola County Pioneer was issued by W. R. Bartlett. The population of the entire county was less than 4000. Vassar Township contained less than 200 permanent residents, and the village was but a ragged speck on Cass River. Caro was a tangled slashing, and even Tuscola, though past is majority, numbered but seven or eight hundred souls. There were four postoffices in the county, and the mail for all, when bunched, would scarcely have made sufficient ballast for a toy balloon. Mr. Bartlett, however, possessed the two requisite qualities necessary to carry forward his undertaking; they were energy and faith. He settled in Watrousville in the spring of 1854, and two years later was elected by the Republican party to the legislature, and served two years. In the spring of 1857 he removed to Vassar and the following November began a journalistic career.

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In 1859 he was again nominated for representative by the Republicans, but was defeated at the polls by a majority of five. He held several local offices and was appointed postmaster at Vassar by President Lincoln, which position he held three years, and then resigned in favor of Issac Jameson, a wounded soldier. In 1863 he sold the Pioneer office to William Lake, Jr., and engaged in other business. In 1866 he removed from the county, and is now a resident of Minneapolis, Minn.

Mr. Lake published the paper about six years, during which time he increased the size of the paper from six to eight columns. A portion of the time J. D. Lewis was associated with Mr. Lake in the business and editorial management of the paper.

In August, 1869, Mr. Lake sold the establishment to Rev. Alexander Trotter, who still remains at its head.

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In 1875 Mr. Trotter took his two sons into partnership, and from that time the firm has been A. Trotter & Sons. In 1878 steam power was added, and in February, 1881, the form of the paper was changed to a six column quarto. The present season the firm is erecting a substantial brick building on Pine Street, to be fitted with all the necessary modern conveniences for the printing business. The Pioneer has always been Republican in politics, and has maintained an elevated standard of journalism. A fine view of their new building is given in this work.

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The Vassar "Times"

The Times is a six-column quarto newspaper, cut and pasted in book form, and printed entirely at home. It is issued weekly, and Horace A. Miller is editor and proprietor. The career of the Times has been of short duration, but of more consequence than longevity is the fact that it has been thus far characterized by prosperity and growing importance.

For some time previous to the winter of 1880-81 it had appeared manifest to some of the business men of Vassar that another newspaper could render valuable aid in stimulating the progress of material interests, and its establishment as a business venture be warranted by the advanced stage of development to which the village and county had already attained.

In February, 1881, the Vassar Times Printing Company was incorporated under the laws of the State, and Robert S. Toland, a well known journalist, was engaged as editor and manager of the new journal. The initial number of the Vassar Times was issued March 17th following. The success of the enterprise from the start was gratifying beyond expectation, and it immediately occupied a prominent place among the local newspapers of the State. September 3, 1881, the Times was purchased from the stock company by Robert S. Toland and Horace A. Miller. A few months later the failure of Mr. Toland’s health obliged him to retire from the business, and in April, 1882, his interest was purchased by Mr. Miller, who continues the editor and proprietor of the paper. The Times is independent but not neutral in politics, and is mainly devoted to the local interests of Vassar village and Tuscola County. Its space is filled principally with news from various local points. One page is devoted to the village and town of Millington, another to Mayville, and a third to Clifford. Its market reports are also a feature receiving careful attention. The appearances of the Times denotes a liberal patronage and a prosperous business. The proprietor, Mr. Miller, is a native of Geauga County, Ohio, and is a young man of energy and enterprise. He came to Vassar in the spring of 1881, having previously attended Hillsdale College, and subsequently had spent some time in a law office at Bay City.

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May 1998

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