Clifton Swenk Hunsicker.

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania ; a history (Volume 1) online

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Tariffite, 1842, Cottage Visitor. At present (1923) Pottstown has three
newspapers — the Ledger, News, and Blade.

The Pottstown Ledger represents the second oldest newspaper pub-
lication in Montgomery county. It is the only afternoon daily news-
paper in Pottstown, its service extending through the upper end of
Montgomery, northern Chester and lower Berks counties. In its present
status it is making rapid advancement. Being aggressive, Republican in
politics, and aiming to give all the news which is news, gains the publi-
cation many friends. The Pottstown Ledger Company is officered : P.
Quinn Roth, president, treasurer and manager ; H. E. Roth, vice-presi-
dent ; Earl R. Roth, secretary and editor. These three also comprise the
board of directors, and are the sole owners of the publication and printing
plant, the latter being located at High and Charlotte streets, Pottstown.

P. Quinn Roth, as a member of a widely known family of newspaper
workers of AUentown, Pennsylvania, was one of the small group who
became identified with the AUentown Item when it was founded as one of
the first daily papers in that city in 1881. Mr. Roth became identified in
1896 with the Norristown Times, and with his practical experience as
a printer, writer, circulation builder, and his executive ability, aided in
bringing The Times to the front rank, where it was leading all others
in Montgomery county, when he retired therefrom in October, 1921, to
assume the management of the Pottstown Ledger. He finally acquired
the Ledger in September, 1922. Mr. Roth and his sons have long been
identified with the Bucks-Montgomery Press League.


Earl R. Roth, one of the three sons of the president of the Pottstown
Ledger, is directing the editorial work of the Ledger as one of the young-
est men in editorial charge of a daily newspaper. He is a protege of the
Norristown Times, having gained his early experience under the tutor-
ship of his father. He was selected to place the Bristol (Pennsylvania)
Courier on the progressive road, and in three years established it in a
new and ideal printing home. Later he was selected to place the affairs
of the Ridgelield Park (New Jersey) Review on the road to success.
Assuming the editorship of the Ledger in November, 1921, he has gained
a host of friends for himself and the Ledger by his aggressive writings
and splendid newspaper work. He is an active Rotarian and Elk, and
regarded as an authority on music, and a critic of marked ability.

Raymond W. Roth, editor and publisher of The Call, of New Cum-
berland, Pennsylvania, was also a protege of the Norristown Times under
his father's tutorship. Upon his discharge from the United States army
service he became identified with the Bristol Courier and in 1921 he
acquired The Call. In due time he, too, will be actively identified with
the Ledger.

The first newspaper in Pottstown was started in 1819 by John Royer,
under the name of the Pottstown Times. The first issue bears date July
I, 1819, a four-page paper, four columns to the page, and these copies
are in a good state of preservation. February 5, 1825, Daniel Glackens
and Joshua Keeley established the Lafayette Aurora, a twenty-column
weekly. In 1826 Jacob S. Yost purchased Mr. Keeley's interest in the
Aurora. The political proclivities of both newspapers were Democratic.
Later, John Royer started a German paper, called The Advocate, and
Mr. Yost another German paper which he named The Friend of the
People. For a period there were four newspapers in Pottstown. When
J. C. Slemmer finally purchased the Pottstown Times, he changed the
name to the Pottstown Journal. Finally, on November 10, 1843, Mr.
Slemmer merged the publication with the Montgomery Ledger, a publi-
cation that for many years thereafter was the only newspaper published
in Pottstown. On April 16, 1845, Andrew H. Gififen and Jacob D.
Streeper became the editors and publishers. In 1849 ^^- Streeper became
the sole editor and publisher. On April i, 1854, Lewis H. Davis became
associated in the editorship, and a year later (April i, 1855), he became
one of the owners. Colonel W. L. Williamson, on April i, 1857, acquired
Mr. Streeper's one-half interest, and William J. Binder, on April i, 1866,
purchased Colonel Williamson's interest in The Ledger. On October i,
1873, Messrs. Davis and Binder established the Daily Ledger. In 1879
L. H. Davis sold his interest in both the Montgomery Ledger and the
Daily Ledger and printing plant to Mr. William J. Binder, the latter
becoming sole owner and publisher. In 1890 Hilton S. Binder, oldest son
of the publisher, became associate editor, a post he held for thirty-one


years. On April 5, 1920, William J. Binder sold The Pottstown Ledger
to Paul L. Diefenderfer, Mr. Binder retiring after an uninterrupted
period of over fifty-four years. The Pottstown Ledger Company then
became incorporated with these officers : President, James H. Morris ;
vice-president, William M. Bunting; Paul L. Diefenderfer, secretary,
treasurer and manager. On October 10, 1921, Mr. Diefenderfer's inter-
ests were acquired by P. Quinn Roth, who became the treasurer and
manager. On September 8, 1922, P. Quinn Roth, H. E. Roth and Earl
Roth, acquired all the interests in the Ledger, and became the owners
and publishers.

The Pottstown News really had its birth in the establishing of the
Pottstown Advertiser, by David A. Geiger, in October, 1873. Mr. Geiger
died in 1877, and the plant passed to A. R. Saylor in June, 1879. He
changed the name of the paper to The Chronicle, which it was called
until it became the Pottstown Daily News, by P. Elmwood Baum. This
change was made in October, 1887, when Baum took the paper and con-
tinued to conduct it five months, when he was found dead in his office,
with pen in hand and close to his unfinished editorial ; he was in the
prime of his manhood. He it was who changed the name of The Chron-
icle to the Pottstown Daily News. Thomas Taylor conducted the paper
then until 1902, after which it was the Pottstown Daily News Publishing
Company. In 1913 the word "Daily" was dropped from its head, making
it simply the Pottstown News. Great changes in this newspaper since
A. R. Saylor and his "tramp printer" used to run on a Washington hand-
press five hundred papers and then take them out and deliver the most
of them around town, and these days when it takes a troop of seventeen
boys and men to deliver the 3,900 papers in Pottstown and Stowe every
morning. It now has a regular circulation of 7,230 copies daily. It was
started as a four-page four-column paper, and now appears as a twelve-
page seven-column daily paper. It circulates in a territory covering one
hundred square miles, including five rural routes, with almost 1,700 papers
daily. This modern plant is housed in a three-story brick building 20 by
60 feet, all used for the extensive printing business carried on. Polit-
ically, it is independent. As to its equipment, all that needs to be said is
that all is modern and up-to-date machinery, including five linotypes,
casting machines, trimmers, paper-cutters, job presses and a duplex flat-
bed press for a twelve-page paper. Anything demanded from a modern
printery can here be obtained.

The Pottstown Blade was established on December 13, 1890, by L. R.
Saylor, and was conducted later in the following names : L. R. .Saylor
Estate, L. R. Saylor Sons, L. R. Saylor Sons, Incorporated. The presi-
dent of the company is George H. Saylor, who is also the editor. It is
published every Saturday morning; is a six-column per page (sometimes
seven), four or more pages ; it is all printed at home, and has a good local


circulation. The company owns its own building at iii High street, a
three-story brick structure. Politically, The Blade is independent. It is
well equipped with modern printing machinery, including one linotype,
four jobbers, two cylinder presses, power cutter, two steel make-up
tables, power punch and perforating machine, power wire stitcher, job
folder, with other useful, up-to-date appliances for executing the best of
printer's work, even up to that high up in art. As a clean, news-full
local newspaper. The Blade stands for all that is good in the community.

The Souderton Independent, in the borough of Souderton, was estab-
lished in 1878 by W. F. Goettler, and has been conducted by this gentle-
man together with his son. In size and form this newspaper is an eight-
to twelve-page paper, with seven columns to the page. It is an all-
home print, and issues on Friday each week, though really printed on
Thursday afternoons. Its subscription rate is $1.50 per year. The Inde-
pendent circulates mostly at Souderton, Telford, Hatfield borough and
Franconia township, Montgomery county, and in Hilltown township and
Silverdale in Bucks county. The proprietors own their own office build-
ing, which is a one-story brick structure with a deep basement 35 by 72
feet in size. The paper is a live local organ, with modern equipment,
including job printing machinery — three cylinder presses, three rotaries,
two linotype machines, a stitcher, folder, cutter and all that makes up a
first class office to-day.

The Ardmore Record, of Ardmore, Lower Merion township, was
established in 1892, and is published every Thursday and has a circula-
tion of 1,500. It was founded by James Dougherty, Haverford, and
taken over by Senator Algernon B. Roberts. Its present owner is Fanny
M. Hawkins, who has conducted it as a live, clean local newspaper for
the last seven years. It has eight pages of seven columns to the page;
is Republican in politics, and is equipped with a cylinder press, five job-
bers, paper cutter, folder, stitcher, and near three hundred fonts of
Moser faced type.

Bucks-Montgomery Press League — No history of the newspapers of
Montgomery county would be complete without the story of the organ-
ization and the past of the Press League of Bucks and Montgomery
Counties, these counties constituting the Eighth Congressional District
of Pennsylvania, for in a sense the history of the League is a history of
the newspapers and their editors and publishers. The organization is
now twenty-six years old, and throughout its existence has been most
valuable in promoting the business and social interests of the publica-
tions, and their managers and writers.

The following brief sketch of the League was written by one of its
veteran members, E. S. Moser, of the Collegeville Independent, and
printed in the souvenir menu card on the occasion of the twenty-fifth
anniversary dinner at the Bellevue-Stratford :


In approaching the task of formulating historical data relating to the
Press League of Bucks and Montgomery Counties, I am conscious of a
defective memory. This deficiency excludes the presentation of numer-
ous notable incidents that contributed no small measure of gratifying
interest to all who participated in the winter and summer meetings of
our League. Therefore, my effort in large part must comprehend only
facts of record found among the official notations of the secretary.

It was the "housewarming" of the Ambler Gazette that occasioned
the inspiration that materialized in the organization of an association of
editors and publishers. On March 22, 1897, representatives of a number
of newspapers of Bucks and Montgomery counties met at Ambler to
inspect the new home of the Gazette — an imposing building reared at the
instigation of Arthur K. Thomas, owner, publisher and editor of that
newspaper. Editor Thomas, then full of energy and enterprise, was
foremost in effecting preliminary arrangements at the "housewarming"
for the organization of what subsequently came to be known as the
Press League of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. It was upon his
motion that a temporary organization was there formed by electing B.
Witman Dambly temporary president, and C. D. Hotchkiss secretary.
After discussion, concerning the desirability of efifectuating the purpose
of the temporary organization, a committee of five editors and publish-
ers from each county was appointed to take further action. This com-
mittee, composed of Morgan R. Wills, E. S. Moser, J. W. Harvey, I. H.
Bardman, B. Witman Dambly, of Montgomery county, and Fred Con-
stantine, W. P. Church, C. D. Hotchkiss, George MacReynoIds and S. R.
Kramer, of Bucks county, met on Monday, April 26, 1897, at 3 p. m., at
the Tremont House, Lansdale. Following the expression of unanimous
sentiment in favor of the object of the meeting of the committee, upon
motion of E. S. Moser a resolution was passed, extending to the editors
and publishers of Bucks and Montgomery counties an invitation to
attend a meeting at the Tremont House, Lansdale, on Monday, May 10,
1897, 3 p. m., to permanently organize an editorial association.

In response to this invitation a number of editors and publishers of
the two counties gathered at the appointed time and place. Upon motion
of H. M. W^oodmansee, seconded by E. S. Moser, it was decided to effect
a permanent organization, and the following officers were elected :
President, A. K. Thomas ; vice-president, Watson P. Church ; secretary,
Clarence D. Hotchkiss; treasurer, B. Witman Dambly. The members
of the first executive committee were : J. Clinton Sellers, Wilmer H.
Johnson, E. S. Moser, George Harrison, William L. Clayton, George
Fetterolf and A. K. Thomas. Upon motion of J. C. Sellers, it was
decided to call the association "The Press League of Bucks and Mont-
gomery Counties." A committee consisting of C. D. Hotchkiss, H. M.
Woodmansee, Wilmer H. Johnson, A. K. Thomas and George MacRey-
noIds, drafted the constitution and by-laws, which were adopted. The
following members signed the constitution: A. K. Thomas, Ambler;
C. D. Hotchkiss, Doylestown ; J. W. Harvey, Lansdale ; Elwood Harvey,
Lansdale; E. S. Moser, Collegeville ; Wilmer H. Johnson, North Wales;
William L. Clayton. Jenkintown ; H. M. Woodmansee, Lansdale ;
George Harrison, Hulmeville; Jesse Thomas, Bristol; Jesse Thomas, Jr.,
Bristol ; J. Clinton Sellers, Doylestown ; Fred Constantine, Doylestown ;
B. Witman Dambly, Skippack : E. E. Althouse, Sellersville.

Of the first signers, as named, of the constitution of the League, five


have passed away, namely : Wilmer H. Johnson, J. Wilmot Harvey, H.
M. Woodmansee, C. D. Hotchkiss and William L. Clayton. They are
all remembered as having been loyal and helpful contributors to the uni-
formly successful existence of the League. To A. K. Thomas, a most
active member in former years, and who, because of impaired health, is
no longer engaged in newspaper work, is here extended the sympathetic
consideration of all who well remember his service and good will, as one
of the founders and enthusiastic supporters of the League.

On Monday, May 24, another meeting was held, when arrangements
were made to hold the first summer meeting and outing of the League at
Ringing Rocks Park, near Pottstown, on July 14, 1897. The dates and
places of all the annual meetings and summer outings of the League
will hereinafter appear.

^ :^ ^ :^ ^

In glancing backward over the quarter of a century which marks the
25th anniversary of the Press League of Bucks and Montgomery Coun-
ties, recollections of its activities and its helpfulness may well serve as
impelling incentives to the present membership, and to those who in
coming years will take our places, and continue its existence. But few
relatively unimportant incidents during all the annual meetings and
outings of the League provoked displeasure or aroused resentment, thus
indicating a remarkable unanimity of purpose and sentiment, and gener-
ous considerateness, one for the other, on the part of the League's

In reaching a final estimate, however imperfect, of the value of the
life of an individual, it is necessary to determine the extent and char-
acter of the influences exerted by the individual. A similar procedure
must be applied to an association of individual units in their combined
activities of whatsoever kind. Following this method the conclusion
is unmistakable that our League has been of advantage to, and has
frequently cheered and brightened the life of, everyone of its active
members, as well as of all who participated in the meetings and outings
of the League, characterized as they have been by happy greetings and
by multifarious influences which are always in evidence along the
brighter paths of human existence. Therefore, the conclusion is clearly
admissable that thus far the life of the Press League of Bucks and Mont-
gomery Counties has not been lived in vain : because it has made worth
while contributions to the rational enjoyment and intellectual help that
have intercepted its members on life's journey.

Taking a restrospective view of our League, it is in place to note that
sadness — the antithesis of joy — did not fail to now and then impose its
overshadowing gloom upon its membership. We miss the touch of van-
ished hands, and departed are the cheering smiles and kindnesses of
those who have gone upon that journey from which no traveler has
returned. It is for us who yet tarry amid the joys and sorrows of life
to cherish memories of those who have passed on, and to emulate their
virtues and their good deeds.

In marking the passing of the twenty-fifth year of the life history of
our beloved League, may we all indulge the sincere hope that it will
exist during many years to come ; that it will continue to be the source
of real pleasure and help to all who will from time to time represent its
membership and participate in its activities.


The annual meeting's of the Press League have been as follows :

May 10, 1897, Lansdale — President, A. K. Thomas ; vice-president, Watson P. Church;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 22, 1898, Norristown — President, A. K. Thomas ; vice-president, Watson P.
Church ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 21, 1899, Doylestown — President, A. Kneule ; vice-president, Wm. L. Qayton;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 20, 1900, Philadelphia — President, E. S. Moser ; vice-president, Wm. L. Qay-
ton ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 19, 1901, Doylestown — President, Wilmer Johnson; vice-president, J. Wilmer
Harvey ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 25, 1902, Lansdale — President, Jos. S. Thomas ; vice-president, I. H. Bardman ;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 17, 1903, Perkasie — President, W. F. Goettler; vice-president, Elwood Har-
vey ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 22, 1904, Pottstown — President, H. M. Woodmansee; vice-president, Watson
P. Church ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 21, 1905, Bristol — President, C. M. Meredith; vice-president, Eugene Dambly;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 20, 1906, Sellersville — President, I. H. Bardman ; vice-president, E. E. Alt-
house; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 19, 1907, Collegeville — President, E. E. Althouse; vice-president, Wm. L. Clay-
ton ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 18, 1908, Pennsburg — President, J. Crawford Johnson ; vice-president, C. Q.
Hillegas ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 16, 1909, Newtown — President, Watson P. Church; vice-president, J. W. Har-
vey ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 29, 1910, Souderton — President, J. Wilmot Harvey; vice-president, L. R. Say-
lor ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 21, 191 1, Dioylestown — President, Ryan Rapp; vice-president, Webster Grim;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 20, 1 91 2, Norristown — President, E. J. Wanner; vice-president, Eugene Dam-
bly ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 23, 1913, Allentown — President, W. S. Schlichter; vice-president, Wm. J. Ellis;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 31, 1914, Sellersville — President, C. S. Hunsicker; vice-president, R. B. Goet-
tler; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 22, 1915, Ambler — President, Wm. J. Ellis; vice-president, R. B. Goettler;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 29, 1916, Norristown — President, R. B. Goettler; vice-president, F. Bliss Car-
penter ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 25, 1917, Pottstown — President, F. B. Carpenter; vice-president, L. R. Saylor;
secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 26, 1918, Atlantic City — President, W. B. Kirkpatrick; vice-president, C. W.
Baum ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 26, 1919, Atlantic City — President, Charles W. Baum; vice-president, Wm. G.
Hower ; secretary, C. D. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 24, 1920, Philadelphia — President, Wm. G. Hower; vice-president. Earl Roth;
secretary, Geo. S. Hotchkiss ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Jan. 24, 1921, Allentown — President, Earl Roth; vice-president, Jos. J. McGinley;
secretary, Marco G. Bean ; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

March 18, 1922, Philadelphia — President, Jos. J. McGinley; vice-president. Wm.
Watson; secretary, Marco G. Bean; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

April 7, 1923, Allentown — President, Wm. Watson; vice-president, P. Quinn Roth;
secretary, Marco G. Bean; treasurer, B. W. Dambly.

Summer Outings of Press League.
July 17, 1897 — Reading, Pa., and Ringing Rocks Park.
Aug. 5, 6, 7, 1898— Gettysburg and the Historic Battlefield.
Aug. 4, 5, 1899 — Atlantic City — Hotel Albion.
July 14, 1900 — Williamsport and Eagles Mere.
June 14, 15, 16, 1901 — Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
June 20, 21, 1902 — Wilkes-Barre, Harvey's Lake and Mauch Chunk.
July 9, 10, II, 12, 1903 — Seneca Lake, Geneva, N. Y.
July 16, 17, 1904 — Gettysburg.


June IS, i6, 17, 18, 1905 — Delaware Water Gap, Kittatinny Hotel.
July 14, 15, 1906 — Atlantic City — Hotel Elberon.
July 28, 29, 30, 1907— Jamestown, Va., Jamestown Exposition.
July 18, 19, 1908 — Wildwood and Cape May, N. J.
1909 — New York trip called off.
1910 — Atlantic City.
191 1 — Ambler.
Aug. 12, 1912 — Willow Grove Park.

1913 — Spring City and Valley Forge.

1914 — AUentown, Rittersville, Central Park — Col. Trexler.
Aug. 16, 1915 — Bryn Mawr and Lower Merion.

191 6 — Baltimore trip called off.

1917 — Lebanon and Hershey.
July 20, 1918 — Gwynedd Valley Fellowship Club.
July 20, 1919 — Harriman and Bristol.
July 9, 10, II, 1920 — Asbury Park, N. J.
Sept. 10, II, 12, 1921 — Cape May, Wildwood, Atlantic City.
Sept. 8, 9, 1922 — Galen Hall, Wernersville.

Present Active Members of Press League.

Althouse, E. E., Sellerville "Herald." Hunsicker, Clifton S., Norristown "Times."

Bardman, Irvin H., Schwenksville "Item." Kirkpatrick, W. Mercer, North Wales
Bardman, Stanley, Schwenksville "Item." "Record."

Baum, Chas. W., Perkasie "Central News." Knipe, Chester W., Lansdale "Republican
Baum, Walter E., Sellersville "Herald." & Review."

Bean, Marco G., Sellersville "Herald." Leidy, John S., Hatboro "Public Spirit."

Bean, Oscar C, Doylestown "Intelligen- Lutz, George W., Pennsburg "Town &

cer." Country."

Bechel, George, Schwenksville "Item." Meredith, Charles M., Quakertown "Free
Brunner, Harry E., Hatfield "Times." Press."

Carpenter, F. Bliss, Sellersville "Poultry Morrow, Joseph W., Sellersville "Poultry

Item." Item."

Dambly, B. W., Skippack "Transcript." Moser, E. S., Collegeville "Independent."

Dambly, H. W., Skippack "Transcript." McGinley, Joseph J., Norristown "Times."

Detlefson, Serril D., Bristol "Courier." Robinson, Penrose, Hatboro "Public Spirit."

Detweiler, C. Norman, Quakertown "Free Roth, Earl, Pottstown "Ledger."

Press." Roth, P. Q., Pottstown "Ledger."

Difenderfer, Paul E., Pottstovm "Ledger." Roth, Raymond, Pottstown "Ledger."

Goettler, R. B., Souderton "Independent." Sanborn, Walter T., Lansdale "Reporter."

Goettler, W. F., Souderton "Independent." Saylor, George H., Pottstown "Blade."

Hacker, Leighton F., Hatfield "Times." Schlichter, William S., Sellersville (for-
Heywood, H. B., Conshohocken "Recorder." merly with "Poultry Item").

Hillegas, C. Q., Pennsburg "Town & Coun- Spatz, Charles B. (Asso. Mem.), Boyer-

Online LibraryClifton Swenk HunsickerMontgomery County, Pennsylvania ; a history (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 47)