F o r t y Y e a r s

Northern Indianian Editorial
Reub Williams, Editor

The Northern Indianian with its issue today begins its forty-first year. Excepting the war period, and a short time besides, the present editor has been connected with it in some form all these years, and even during the war he was part owner and correspondent. What a wonderful change has come over this country in these forty years! When the first number of The Indianian was issued Warsaw was a rural village, with no outside connection with the great world, except the stage coach, although the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad was well under way and the same year reached Fort Wayne from the East. What would the people of Warsaw think were they now compelled to get their mails from the East via Logansport? In those early days it not only came that way, but mail-matter from the entire Eastern States, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, etc., came by canal from Toledo to Logansport and thence via stage line two trips a week between that place and Goshen, with Warsaw as an intermediate station. No business was then done with Chicago whatever until after the completion of the railroad referred to from Pittsburgh to that place. This was done in the late fall of 1856, and immediately following there was a business change into new channels, on different lines, and we might also add, on different principles, as well.

Warsaw immediately felt the opening up of this great artery of commerce. Indeed, the prospect of securing this through line of traffic had a very beneficial effect for two years preceding its completion, and we have often remarked that from 1855 to 1865 the "little city by the lakes" was the liveliest town in northern Indiana. We feel confident that there are people who now hear us and others expatiate about those busy years that do not believe it when the remark is made that two hundred and eighty wagons have been in town at a single hour freighted with wheat and dressed hogs, yet such was the fact. For several years wheat was marketed here from every one of the contiguous counties, and it was claimed to be the largest market for that grain between Chicago and Pittsburgh. At that period hogs were sold altogether in dressed form and not, as now, at live weight. This much as to the business features of those very busy days--the days that were the real starting point of the now handsome little city.

Politically speaking, the great Whig party went to its doom by the defeat of General Scott in 1852. It was followed by the Know Nothing party that in 1854 swept the state, only to sink out of sight, where it has ever since remained, making room for the organization of the young, vigorous, business-like party which afterwards came to be known as the "Republican Party"-- a name that history says was given it by the late Zachariah Chandler, of Michigan. The party originated in 1854 and made its first race for the Presidency in 1856, under the leadership of the gallant John C. Fremont, the "Pathfinder" to the Pacific, and a son-in-law of the late Senator Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri.

Here in Kosciusko county the Republican party was organized in 1855, but not thoroughly so until the Presidential campaign of 1856, when the race was between Fremont and Buchanan. This necessitated an organ for the new party, and the people being "at outs" with John Rogers, then in control of the Kosciusko Republican--the office that was removed from Monoquet to this place in 1847--which had ceased to be issued owing to the order of Odd Fellows withdrawing their support in a body. The writer was then employed as a compositor on the Pella (Iowa) Gazette, and was surprised to receive a note from his old friend and school-master, Joseph A. Funk, to the effect that the new party would need an organ, that Rogers would not do, and urged us to come at once and purchase that concern, or, failing to do that, to project a new journal in this place.

We arrived here in November, 1855, and together with G. W. Fairbrother, under the firm-name of Williams & Fairbrother, The Northern Indianian made it's appearance, printed from new material, we having failed to conclude terms with Mr. Rogers and he yielding the field and removing his establishment to Sigourney, Iowa. Before the end of the first year Mr. Fairbrother sold his interest in The Indianian to us and we published it for several years alone. In 1860 we sold the office to C. G. Mugg, but within a short time, we repurchased the paper conducted it until 1861, when the tocsin of war sounded.

President Lincoln called for troops on the 15th of April, 1861. The dispatch reached this city at about 11 o'clock in the forenoon. Within an hour thereafter the late Marsh H. Parks, Capt. A. C. Milice, now in California, and ourself headed the list for the first company from Kosciusko county to enter the service, and in order to permit us to go the establishment was transferred to the late James H. Carpenter and Joseph A. Funk, still living in this city, who issued the paper for a couple of years, disposing of it to F. T. Luse and he to the late H. O. Rippey, of whom after the war we again purchased his interest and resumed our old position. On our being elected Clerk of the Kosciusko Circuit Court, the late Q. A. Hossler was taken into partnership, and with the exception of the brief separation that occurred when the writer was appointed Deputy Second Comptroller at Washington, it was again renewed after Mr. Hossler had projected the Republican in this place by a consolidation of the two journals, and then continued up to his death, now a little over two years since.

What a history-making period it has been since The Indianian was first issued a glance at the forty years, even through a brief one, will convince any intelligent reading person, and we are proud of the fact that in all this time The Indianian has at all times did its duty--weakly it may have been, but at all times with good intentions and doing its best for the right. There are three persons still in this city who worked all night in printing the first number of The Indianian. These are John H. Rousseau, who acted as roller-boy; Nelson W. Richhart, who labored at the crank of the roller apparatus, and ourself (Reub Williams) doing the press-work. In the early years of the paper, it was a desperate struggle to keep it going in a financial way. There were times when we knew not which way to look, and very often we were on the point of giving up and retiring from a field in which the remuneration was so meager as to make it uncertain whence the next meal for ourself and family was to come from.

In the first five years we labored on an average fifteen hours a day, and on press days it was the usual thing to work all night long. During the years 1858, '59 and '60 this office did not know when Sunday came. Work went on just the same on that day as on any other in the week, and we want to say in this connection that, looking back to that period now in light of experience and observation, it does not pay to work on Sunday. Besides, it breaks down the moral obligation upon man so emphatically set forth in God's word to observe the Sabbath day.

The return of the anniversary of the beginning of this paper led us into a reminiscent mood, one that grows more and more, we have observed, in men as they advance in years, and we have had hard work to keep ourself from running clear away so thickly do past scenes rush in upon us, and even now we are compelled to cut everything short and close by wishing every friend of this paper especially, and everybody else generally, A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The Warsaw Daily Times, January 1, 1896

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