As I mentioned in one of my previous articles, Upstairs at the Palmer Museum, the main reasons we went on our trip in April 2010 was to visit the Palmer Museum in Jewell Kansas. My Grandfather, Everett Palmer, along with his brother, Randy Palmer ran the Jewell County Republican newspaper once their father, W.C. Palmer had retired in July 1944. In this article I will show you what is on the ground floor of the museum.
When you walk in the door you see lots of memorabilia of times past, all relating to the town of Jewell, Kansas. The museum not only has all the artifacts from the newspaper printing business but also many items donated by the community. There are lots of pictures of Jewell's residents, cases of interesting glassware, old books, the Dr Plowman's (the town doctor) medicine bag, and even a what-nots board.
If you continue through the front room you pass through a hallway into a large room that house's all the printing equipment they used to publish the paper. The room is kind of dusty and doesn't have all of the original windows my great-grandfather had installed when he built the building but it does still have the vaulted ceiling that used to have a skylight (which is covered now), but it is filled with all sorts of paraphernalia associated with the printing business.
Here is a little history about the Newspaper:
First "Republican', Is Issued
"The Jewell County Republican" wrote Col. W.W. Brown in naming his new newspaper. It's policy, he said, "will be firmly, earnestly and enthusiastically Republican."
And under the title he placed this line:
"Let us see to it that a Government of the People, for the People, and by the People shall not Perish from the Earth." - A. Lincoln.
Fifty-two times a year for more than 53 years these lines have appeared just as the venerable colonel wrote them. They are a weekly memorial to a pioneer editor....
....The first issue of the Republican left the press on Nov.28, 1879. There were but five weeks remaining before the new year. The first Republicans were four pages home print and four pages ready-print. The page size was five columns wide and 19 1/2 inches deep. The subscription price was $1.50 a year.
The paper was printed on a Washington hand press1. When the Prouty2 with a crank also to be operated by hand was finally obtained it was felt that a long forward step had been taken. The labor of printing a newspaper by hand power was most fatiguing.
The above excerpt was from page 62 of the "Story of The Old Home Town Jewell City, Kansas by Everett Palmer.
1Washington hand press: The Washington hand press is the invention of Samuel Rust, an American who first produced his press in 1821. In 1834, R. Hoe & Company took over his firm and continued to make the Washington. Many firms manufactured the Washington, some well into the 1900's. It was the last style of hand press made in the United States.
2Prouty press: This Perfected Prouty Press was made by George W. Prouty & Company of Boston who manufactured this style press from 1878 until 1926.
Republican Under New Ownership
Benj.'Musser became the new Republican
editor in July I88l, when it fell into his hands on a mortgage.because it could not make expenses, but the week it got into Musser hands it began to look alive. It paid its own debts promptly. It required the same of its debtors. Subscriber began to pay up. Advertising came in....
...In his business life he was rigid and exacting. He paid ungrudgingly what he thought due other men. He demanded to the last penny what was due him. He put the newspaper on its feet and taught his helpers business principles....
...Will Palmer (my great-grandfather), just out of his teens came home from the Manhattan Agricultural College. He had worked around printing offices and had helped Col. W. W. Brown start the Republican (in 1879). Mr. Musser offered him a printing job which was accepted. When Mr. Musser was busy with other things he helped furnish copy and came to live in the Musser's home. He saved his money. Mr Musser invested it for him. Finally he was offered a partnership on July 27, 1883 and gradually the job of editing the paper was shifted to him. On Feb. 19, 1892, W.C. Palmer became sole owner of the Republican.
The above excerpt was from page 71 of the "Story of The Old Home Town Jewell City, Kansas by Everett Palmer.
My Grandfather, Everett Palmer took over the editors job in the first week of Feb. 1920 and he and his brother, Randy bought the paper from W.C. Palmer in 1944. Everett worked there with Randy until 1966 when he retired with the sale of the Republican to the Boyd Family Publishers.
I want to thank some lovely ladies that I met at the Palmer Museum for helping me with some of the descriptions of the machines I have attached to this article and for meeting us when we visited the museum. They had worked with my Grandfather at the newspaper and have a wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of the paper and were also friends of my Grandparents. So, to Twila Means, Sharon Tullar, and Roberta Holdren, thank you!
If you think you have missed any of my travel articles, you can check the tag, Travels with Rottlady to see them all.