News: Spencer History – Newspaper


Surnames: Stevens, Barney, Norton, Messer, Vandercook, Richardson, Conry, Soles, Boock, Picus, Conway, Harvey, Jensen, Hartson, Bates, LaBelle, Quimby, Spiker, Neuenfeldt, Berglund

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

The first newspaper in Spencer was started in 1879 by the Rev. E. W. Stevens who was pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church. The paper was called the Spencer Advance. His sons, Elbert and Albert, worked on the paper.

Item from Marshfield Times of Saturday, January 22, 1881:
"Vol. 1, No. 1 of the Spencer Advance comes to us this week. It is a bright, newsy sheet and presents a remarkably fine appearance for so young a paper. E. W. Stevens is editor and publisher, and A. C. Stevens, local editor. Both are first class newspaper men and it will be no fault of theirs if the Advance is not a

By the fall of 1881 A. B. Barney, a lawyer from Mayville, Wisconsin, had become proprietor of the paper and changed the name to The Spencer Tribune. The price of the paper was $1.50 per year payable in advance.

The newspaper of 1882 had eight pages, 14 inches wide and 21 1/2 inches long. The news was varied and interesting, covering stories across the United States and abroad as well as local news items and items from neighboring towns.

In the September 22, 1882 edition of the paper this fashion note appeared:

"The bustle is about to assume proportions again, but man alive! You mustn't call it a bustle. This new-fangled idea is a "tournure." P.S. It is made of newspapers, same as the old style. Send in your subscription now."

In late 1882 the Tribune was sold to Thomas S. Norton who edited it for several years. While Mr. Norton owned the paper, a new printing office was built on the corner of Wisconsin and Main Streets. Ernest and Ansel Messer learned the printers’ trade there.

Ad in an 1882 issue of the Spencer Tribune:
"Tribune hereafter will be $1.50 per year only when paid strictly in advance, and $2.00 if paid through the year."

Note from Tribune:
Grey haired clerk was asked why his hair was so white. His answer: "At one time I worked in a store that didn't advertise and solitary confinement turned my hair white."

Spencer Tribune - August 1, 1884:
"Notice - We sell Emigrant Steamship and Railroad tickets, Hamburg or Bremen to Spencer for $39.50. Purchasers can take any line of Steamers they choose. Tickets for emigrants from any part of Europe to Spencer, or any point in Northern Wisconsin, at the very lowest rates."

Edward and Gilbert Vandercook of Colby purchased the Tribune in 1885 and were the publishers at the time of the big fire in 1886.

The next owner was Victor Richardson, who moved the print shop to Loyal and named it the Loyal Tribune. For a long time Spencer had no paper and depended on the Marshfield paper and the Loyal Tribune for news.

Edgar E. Conry and Helen D. Conry were proprietors in 1914 and 1915.
Ad - Spencer Record, September 25, 1914:
"Wanted - Wood will be accepted on subscription at this office."

By late 1915 the Spencer Record was owned by Dr. F. A. Soles and Oscar Boock. Mrs. Elizabeth Soles served as reporter. The paper boomed during World War 1 printing letters of interest from local soldiers and sailors. Printers were employed to edit the paper. Two names will be remembered – Harry Conway and Robert Harvey. At this time the newspaper office was over the Picus Store.

A later office was in the small building west of Jensen's Garage on the north side of Clark Street.
Other proprietors and editors of the paper were Robert Harvey of Colby in the early 20's; Jerry Bates; Henry Hartson of Greenwood; Lloyd Messer of Unity; the Labelles; L. L. Quimby, publisher in the early 30's. Mr. Spiker published it for four years, having purchased it from Mr. Quimby.

Charles Neuenfeldt purchased the Spencer Record in March 1946 upon his return from military service and published the newspaper until July 1963 when it was sold to the Loyal Tribune. They published a paper for Spencer for a few months and then combined it with the Loyal Tribune. It was published as the Tribune-Record for a year or so until Mr. Berglund purchased it and then purchased the Greenwood Gleaner and changed it it to the T. R. G. (Tribune-Record-Gleaner].



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