Throwback Thursday: The (St. Joe) News

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

DeKalb County has published quite a number of newspapers over the years, from the Corunna Headlight to the Ashley-Hudson Times to the Butler Record-Herald. Today let’s take a quick look at one of our county’s newspapers in its early years: St. Joe’s News.

The News

According to John Martin Smith, the News became a subscription paper on March 2, 1877, “following ten years of intermittent publication.” A bit of trivia: this was also right around the same time Butler’s Record was first published.

The News was first managed by Mort E. Olds, who was both editor and publisher, and the paper was made available as a free handout every Friday at the Case and Olds General Store in St. Joe.

St. Joe News Excerpt

Excerpt from March 2, 1877 issue

Although it was free, patrons who wanted to read it still needed to “subscribe,” which they were encouraged to do by calling ahead of time and leaving their names—otherwise they might not get a paper come Friday!

The early issues of the News largely featured poems, jokes, “locals”/personal ads, and plenty of advertisements for items found at Case and Olds. In the late 1870s, at least, the store must have had its own press for printing
the weekly news—and for its heavily advertised card-printing services.

Mort E. Olds continued to run the paper until 1900, when Lloyd W. Yeiser took his place. The publication switched hands multiple times after this, eventually going to Ted E. Haberkorn Jr. in 1948. Haberkorn served as both owner and editor until the News was closed down in 1984. Having moved a long ways since the days of the Case and Olds printing press, the last several issues of the news were printed off using a Xerox copier.

If you would like to see the ways the News changed over time, we have issues from 1877-1888 and 1905-1984 available on microfilm here at the Willennar Genealogy Center.

Want to see more local history? Feel free to search our online photo database, or head on over to the Genealogy Center’s official Facebook page.


About Chelsea

I've been working at Willennar Genealogy Center for over two years now, and I've loved every minute of getting to learn more about the stories of DeKalb County and the surrounding area. I'm interested in all kinds of history, but I'm especially fond of the early film industry, old letters and journals, the DeKalb County Fair, and the Interurban line.
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