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Country: United States
City: Reynoldsville, Pa.
Issues of this title available in Elephind: 954
Items (articles and/or pages) from this title available in Elephind: 7,733
Earliest Date: 11 May 1892
Latest Date: 28 December 1910
Although it existed in an era of often rabidly political rural newspapers, in its first issue, on May 11, 1892, the Reynoldsville Star announced that it was “not published in the interest of any corporation, sect, or party.” Editor Clarence A. Stephenson promised that the Star would serve Reynoldsville and Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, and that he would “strive to present to our readers a clean, practical, moral, wide-awake newspaper” in eight pages every Wednesday. Stephenson launched his enterprise in direct competition with the only other newspaper in Reynoldsville (population 2,789) at the time: the Volunteer, founded in 1874.
Jefferson County had been established in 1804, one of five new counties formed from the vast Lycoming County wilderness. It was sparsely settled until Brookville, the county seat, was laid out in 1830. Reynoldsville was originally known as Winslow Township and assumed its current name in 1850 when the Post Office Department officially approved Thomas Reynolds as the postmaster and authorized the new post office named after him.
Though originally remote and under populated, the region around Reynoldsville was prosperous by the late 19th century, with a thriving lumber industry and related businesses such as a tannery, sawmills, and a pick works. Trees cut down near Reynoldsville would be floated down several creeks to the Allegheny River and end up in Pittsburgh. Located in the center of the county’s coal region, Reynoldsville and environs had several mines as early as 1847, and the Big Soldier Run Mine (opened in 1889) was at one time the most productive bituminous coal mine in the world. Two railroad companies served Reynoldsville, conveying coal to its markets.
Considering all the local industry, it was not surprising that in its inaugural issue the Star also promised to “treat all with fairness, and be especially friendly towards the laboring class.” Many rural newspapers at the time were supplying readers with an abundance of ready-to-print material supplied by syndicated news services, but the Star provided not only fiction, recipes, and reprinted news from other papers but also offered extensive coverage of local commercial and personal news and events.
Stephenson died unexpectedly after surgery in July 1910, at age 52, and Charles S. Lord, an employee of the Star for the preceding 13 years, assumed ownership the following month. Lord was only 28 when he took over the Star and remained in control for the next 36 years, during which time the newspaper became Republican in its political views. In 1946 Lord sold the Star to Bill G. Wescoat, who was owner-publisher until 1974, when the newspaper was acquired by the Indiana (Pa.) Printing and Publishing Co.
In his 1943 History of Northwestern Pennsylvania, Joseph Riesenman congratulated the Star on reaching its fiftieth birthday on May 11, 1942. He noted two things about the newspaper that were “worthy of thoughtful consideration”: namely, that Charles Lord was identified with it for more than four decades and “that [the Star] must have served the community well to have survived one of the most difficult half centuries in the affairs of our country and Reynoldsville.”
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