Part 1

Amsterdam, NY Saturday Evening, August 4, 1904

Recorder estab. 1833 Democrat estab. 1870
 Consolidated 1892 


Click on any Image to Enlarge

(Photo by Wheaton)


Twenty-Five Years Ago The Daily Democrat Was Born
Thirty-One Years Ago the Senior Member of the
Firm Bought the Weekly Democrat

        On August 20, 1873, the senior member of the firm of William J. KLINE & son succeeded John E. ASHER as publisher of The Amsterdam Democrat. On August 20, 1879, the first issue of The Daily Democrat and Evening Recorder, which dated under the name of The Daily Democrat and Evening Recorder, which, two years ago was transposed to The Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat.

        During all these year, it has been our aim to stand up for the best interests of the community, the state and the nation, to support the principles of the Republican party and to issue a live, clean and wholesome newspaper.

        Publishers, employees of the present and the past and a few newspaper friends are celebrating the double anniversary this afternoon by an outing at Sacandaga Park, to be followed this evening by a dinner at the Adirondack Inn. The only regret is that the thousands of patrons of the office could not have been included among the invited guests.

        A glance over the history of the establishment during these thirty-one years-almost a third of a century, and the average lifetime of mankind-suggests the following paragraphs, which are thrown together promiscuously, as the circumstances present themselves.

        So well was the secret kept, that the compositors knew nothing about the publication of "The Daily Democrat" until they were setting type for the first number on the day of publication, August 20, 1879. The cries of the newsboys on the street gave the public the first intimation it had of the birth of the journalistic youngster.


        As the Daily espoused the cause of Congressman John H. STARIN of Fultonville for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, a few persons jumped to the conclusion that it was only a campaign sheet and would expire in the course of a couple of months. They soon discovered their mistake.


        Naturally conservative in disposition, the late Leonard Y. GARDINER, Sen., was one of those who were skeptical about the success of the venture. Even when it was proven that over 500 dailies, printed in New York and elsewhere, came to Amsterdam subscribers, the field didn't seem to him to be large enough. The people took to the Daily from the very start, however, and its circulation steadily increased. It should be added that the paper never had a warmer friend nor a more faithful reader than Mr. Gardiner.


        Nobody was more enthusiastic over the appearance of the little sheet-four short pages of five columns each-than the late John F. MORRIS. "It's just what Amsterdam needs," said he, "and I'm sure it will be a go!"


        Another warm friend in time of stress, was former Congressman John SANFORD. During the labor troubles of 1886 and thereabouts, in consequence of a boycott the advertising patronage of The Democrat was hardly visible to the naked eye. Mr. Sanford, without suggestion from anybody, took the trouble to organization advertising bureau and the consequence was that the columns of the paper were soon bulging with displayed announcements of wholesale dealer in dye stuffs, cottons, noils, (sic) machinery, etc., which more than replaced those that had bee lost. Thanks to Mr. Sanford's enterprise, our foreign advertising patronage was larger then than it has ever been since.


        J. Melvin Thomas, now of Spokane, Wash., was at the time secretary of the Board of Trade, and he also did some fine work as a successful advertising solicitor.


        The business men of Amsterdam and vicinity have been and are staunch friends and liberal patrons of the paper and the residents of the Mohawk valley have loyally subscribed to its support. To each and all the publishers return their sincere thanks.


        In August, 1873, the following ads advertisements appeared in the Democrat: J. Close & Son, drugs; Mendel Bros., dry goods; W.T. Grimshaw, harness & trunk house; Coe & Tousley, jewelry; Mrs. P. Kyne, milliner; A.T. Van Heusen, crockery & furniture; J.J. Van Derveer, books; J.C. White, sewing machines; John F. Morris & Bro., groceries; Miss McCallum, teacher of piano; T. Romeyn Bunn & Co., dry goods; Moore & Selmser, clothing; Joseph S. Young, clothing; Frear & Vedder, clothing; N.J. DeGraff, shoes; J.T. Stewart, soap works; J.P. & S. Birch, lumber ; McCowatt, Nelson & Miller, coal & wood; John Kavanaugh, boots & shoes; Solomon Lake, dry goods; David Shelp, groceries; Huntley & Young, dry goods; Dean & Vissher, hardware; G.S. Young, fruit store


The following advertisements appeared in the first issue of The Daily Democrat: Conover & Kline, book store; Dowsland & Halleck, grocers; L.L. Dean & Co., home furnishings; Lefler Bros., grocers; C.S.Shattuck, Bee Hive Store; Bailey's cash store, gentlemen's furnishings; D.W. Sturtevant, sewing machines; Warnick & Reid, drugs.


        Herbert S. Underwood came to the Democrat fresh from Williams college in search of an all-round experience in newspaper work. He got it. And after adding to his store of knowledge by service on the Springfield, Mass., Republican, he became connected with the Boston Advertiser and Record, of which papers he is now managing editor. While here, Mr. Underwood was untiring in his efforts to make the paper newsy and lively. One thing that he learned was that the whole truth must not always be told. The knowledge came to him the day after had written up a graphic report of a school exhibition. He described how awkwardly a youthful ----- ---- made their bows and their gestures, how they mouthed their words and sing-songed their sentences, how some of them seemed to be scared out of their boots while others attempted selections far beyond their powers of comprehension, and so and so forth. The remark of the publisher, as soon as he saw the article in print, that there was trouble ahead and that the only to write up a school exhibition was to say what you could in favor of the participants and let the rest go, was emphasized when the parents and other relatives embraced the earliest opportunity to express their sentiments concerning the work of the over-conscientious reporter.


While the city editor's chair was filled by Harry E. Devendorf - now private secretary to Congressmen Sherman, Littauer, and Knapp, clerk of the House committee on Indian Affairs and president of the Utica Baseball association - the water commissioners concluded to hold executive sessions. They had important business on hand concerning the letting of contracts, and weren't quite ready to take the public fully into their confidence. Nothing daunted, Harry was in evidence at every meeting. Hints that his room was more desirable than his company, fell upon his ears unheeded. Finally, he was plainly told at one of the meetings to leave the room. His laughable article in the next issue of the Daily describing how he was driven "out in the cold world, out in the street" by men who didn't want the people to know in what way they were expending their money was the talk of the town for several days.


Counselor Edward P. White, who had not then been admitted to the bar, displayed his versatility while connected with paper, by receiving and editing the United Press report and writing excellent editorial paragraphs.


One of the most expert telegraphers who ever handled the report in Amsterdam is Miss Mary J. Macauley, now with the Lockport Union-Sun. Miss Macauley was here before the day of the type writer, and her copy, which looked like copper-plate, was a constant source of pleasure to the compositors.


Editor John E. Willoughby was noted for his ability to turn out good work under pressure. In order to keep the compositors in copy, he often worked on two or three articles at once. He was in demand as an after-dinner speaker and has since blossomed into an accomplished spellbinder, whose services the Republican state committee has not failed to appreciate.


A valuable man on a newspaper office at all time and especially during a campaign, was the late William P. Belden. Like Horace Greeley, he had a tenacious memory for dates, facts and figures, with a decided leaning toward those of a political nature. He is sadly missed by his former associates, as is also Seward Kline, the faithful, earnest worker, whose genial companionship they so thoroughly enjoyed.


In 1879, when the Daily was started, the office located on the second and third floors of No. 36 East Main street, just east of the First National bank. In 1880 it was moved to the third floor of the Miller block and in 1886 to its permanent home, the four story Democrat building on the Railroad Street. Two years ago a large two-story addition was erected, giving the employees light, well-ventilated, cheerful and spacious quarters for doing their work. At the same time new type and machines were added, bringing the plant fully up to the requirements in this line of a city like Amsterdam.

Just before this enlargement of building facilities took place, on March 1, 1902, Gardiner Kline because one the owners and managers of the business, which has since been conducted under the firm name of Wm. J. Kline & Son.

Lincoln C. Eldredge
Foreman Composing Room

Frank Van Dycke & Charles Soppa
Members of Recorder force not included in group picture.

Benjamin H. Simmons
City Editor

..Lincoln Eldredge, foreman of the composing room, has been with us 24 years; Wm. B. Greene, compositor and linotype operator, 22 years; Frank Van Dycke, compositor, and Alfred W. Merrick, pressmen, each 21 years. Edward H. Parkis, business manager, 20 years; Elmer D. Trull, foreman of job department, 19 years; Edward N. Bartlatt, bookkeeper, Jerome B. Carey, collector, and James Carlson, compositor and pressman, each 16 years; Benjamin H. Simmons, city editor, 13 years; Wm. J. Meenam, compositor, 8 years; Alpha Child, editor 7 years; Wm. B. Maroney, reporter, 6 years. It is largely due to the faithful and intelligent efforts of these men and others who preceded them that the business has been a success, while other newspaper enterprises in Amsterdam have ended in failure.

Alpha Child

Alfred W. Merrick

Elmer D. Trull
Foreman Job Dept.

Jerome b. Carey

Herbert B. Underwood
Former City Editor

Edward H. Parkis
Business Manager

From left to right, Charles E. Lytle, William B. Wilmot, Sidney F. Sharp,
William J. McLeod, Charles E. Russell, Edward H. Parkis.

Continue to part 2

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