Since Clarion became a County in 1840 it has been served by a number of newspapers. More than 40 publications are on record. All of them have been weeklies with one exception. A daily paper was published for a short time during the oil excitement in the Knox-St. Petersburg vicinity. This was in the latter part of the last century.
Today only four papers remain in existence, all of them weeklies. They are the Clarion Republican and the Clarion Democrat, with William C. Hearst as the publisher. The other two are published by Tom T. Andrews, Jr., of New Bethlehem. The Leader-Vindicator serves New Bethlehem and its surrounding communities, and The Record, a combination of three older weeklies, the Rimersburg Record, the East Brady Review, and the Parker Phoenix.
The oldest publication in the county is the Clarion Democrat, which was founded in 1840. It was originally known as the Clarion Republican, but was founded before the Republicans were recognized as a political party. The other existing party at that time was the Whigs and the then Republican supported all Democratic policies and candidates. The Democrat was published for many years, from the early 1900’s by William L. Samson, whose son continued as publisher. His widow sold it to its present owner.
The present Republican stems from the Democrat Register, the first Whig organ, which was founded by D. W. Foster in April of 1843. When it was purchased by Col. Samuel Young in 1856 it was renamed the Independent Banner.
In 1869 C. W. Gilfillan, Congressional candidate of the new Republican party, bought the paper to silence its opposition, and renamed it the Clarion Republican.
In 1879 Editor W. R. Johns left the Republican to start the Foxburg Gazette, which later merged with the Republican, and Johns was again editor. Other Clarion newspapers were the Independent Democrat, which closed in about six months, and the Clarion Jacksonian, later merged with the Republican.
History of early papers in New Bethlehem is woefully inadequate. However, the following papers have appeared at various times, the New Bethlehem Press, the New Bethlehem Vindicator and the New Bethlehem Leader. The latter two were merged to form the present publication. Oscar Hepler was the last owner before the present owner, Tom T. Andrews, Jr.
Rimersburg has had a number of newspapers, most of them short-lived. The first on record was published by the Clarion Collegiate Institute and was mainly used for college information. Its name was the Courier. At an unknown date, late in the last century, a Rimersburg Gazette appeared briefly. In 1907 Charles E. Kratzer revived the paper and the name, selling nine years later to W. E. Downes of New York City. That paper died when a fire destroyed all the equipment.
Other papers appeared briefly, until in 1924 a group of merchants, desiring a paper, secured the services of I. E. Aucker, who founded the Rimersburg Record, which was purchased successively by Messrs. Robert Thomas and Doug Hardesty in 1927, and Ross B. Atchison in 1929. It was sold to publisher Andrews of New Bethlehem in 1956 and merged with the Review and Phoenix to become the present publication. Between 1945 and 1956 when the paper was sold, Mr. Atchison, after service in World War II, had purchased the East Brady Review and the Parker Phoenix. These were published as separate papers until they were acquired by Mr. Andrews.
East Brady’s first paper was the Independent, founded in 1869 by Col. Samuel Yount. It failed and the publisher tried again in 1875 with the Advertiser. This, too, was unsuccessful, and no paper appeared until 1879, when C. M. Riley began to publish a large size sheet which he called the Argus. This continued until 1884.
About that time the Rev. J. W. Martin had been publishing a church paper called the Church Index. This he later converted into a weekly paper, which only lasted a year. In 1885 H. L. Hastings and N. E. Graham began the publication of the East Brady Review, which is now merged with the Record.
Knox, whose postoffice was once called Edenburg, has had more than ten papers, dating back to 1876. Most of them were short lived, but the first one on record was published by J. M. Gifford and was called the Edenburg Daily Herald. It was the county’s first and only daily paper. Then there was in rapid succession the Edenburg Oil Times, the Edenburg Evening News, and the Edenburg Spirit. Probably the shortest life of any newspaper anywhere, was the next one, the Gatling Gun, with only one edition. As soon as it appeared the editors were summoned before a United States Court and accused of publishing an illegal newspaper.
In more recent years, an edition of the Clarion Republican was published for Knox as the Knox Herald, and afterwards the Knox Times appeared briefly. Since that time, Knox has been without a paper of its own.
St. Petersburg had two newspapers during the days of the oil boom, the Progress and the Daily Press. Callensburg was served for several years in the late 8o’s by the Callensburg Observer, a temperance organ, and the Callensburg Visitor, which survived until the [eighteen] nineties. Other newspapers that have been on the scene briefly were the Lawsonham Torchlight, the Cogley Sunday News and the Fern City Illuminator.
Source: Caldwell's 1877 Atlas of Clarion County, 1964 edition, supplement section.