Bureau CountyILGenWeb Site

Bureau County Genealogy and History

Life of Pearl P. Michael and Early History of The Ohio Herald


Ohio Herald

Life of Pearl P. Michael and Early History of The Ohio Herald

We are giving space this week to a short history of the Herald and interesting facts about its founder, Pearl P. Michael, whose foresight and influence were of great importance to the village of Ohio. Those who have contributed are Dr. Fred J. Walter of San Diego, Cal., C.D. Bowius of San Fernando, Cal., Mrs. Elmira Michael Ford, Lodi, Cal., W. P. Crannel of Chicago, and H. A. Jackson.

History of the Ohio Herald

The first issue of the Ohio Herald was printed and distributed to Ohio citizens on Saturday, November 14, 1891 - more than 46 years ago. Mr. Pearl P. Michael, who came to Ohio from Kansas City, a short time before the above date, was the owner, publisher and editor.

H. A. Jackson has the honor of being Ohio’s first printer’s devil, working before and after school hours and on Saturdays. They started work on the first issue on Monday, Nov. 8, 1891, in a frame two-story building, which stood where the present Michael building stands and which was later moved to the farm of H. E. Johnson, to clear the lot for other buildings.

Work on the first issue was made difficult by the fact that only a part of the equipment had arrived in Ohio. Four hundred copies were printed and distributed mostly as sample copies, and the subscription list was worked up later. Two pages containing local news were printed here and the balance was ready print, sent out by the Newspaper Union from Chicago. An old army hand press was used and as it printed one page at a time, it was necessary to run the entire issue through the press twice. This made considerable more work than is required by the press used a the present time, which is run by electric power.

In this first issue, the editor in stating the policy of the new paper said it would not engage in partisan politics; that would be left to the metropolitan dallies.

One of the first feature writers for the Herald was Addie Wilson Wand of Princeton, who was the author of a serial story which ran for several weeks. She also contributed a number of humorous articles under a non de plume.

Mr. Michael frequently wrote humorous comments on many well known residents of Ohio. At no time did he ever print an unkind word in the Herald.

Mr. Michael published the paper until March 1895, when he sold it to J. H. Showalter of LaMeille, who sold it to R. L. Russell, now of Princeton. Mr. Russell was publisher about a year when he sold it to Rev. Lewis, pastor of the Christian Church of this place, and he sold it to Mr. Luther, superintendent of schools of Henry County. He installed J. E. Taylor of Geneseo, as editor. Mr. Taylor was editor until his death in the spring of 1902, although in the meantime, E. J. Sheffield, had purchased the paper and sold it to Mr. Taylor, and remained such until August, 1907, when he sold it to Fred L. Tucker of Walnut, who continued as its owner and publisher until October, 1912, when Mr. Michael became owner and publisher for the third and continued until his passing, November 8, 1917.

Continuing the history, Conner & Conner purchased the Herald from the Estate of P. P. Michael, carrying on the work that Mr. Michael had so ably done in the past. In March, 1924, the Herald passed into the hands of the late J. T. Body, whose family now have charge of the paper.

THE LIFE OF PEARL P. MICHAEL,
FIRST EDITOR OF THE OHIO HERALD

Pearl P. Michael was born in New Washington, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, on November 18, 1852. He was educated in the public schools of Indiana, Pennsylvania. After leaving school, he apprenticed to the printing trade in the office of the Messenger, a weekly newspaper published in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Later he obtained employment on a newspaper in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

From Pittsburgh, he and a brother went to Kansas City, Missouri, where they both obtained work on a newspaper. Here he became acquainted with Miss Elmina Kirk through mutual friends with whom she was visiting.

Bernard Kirk, the father of Elmina (Kirk) Ford had a brother, Owen Kirk, and in an early day be owned the place on the north side of the railroad tracks in Ohio, which later became the property of Conrad Brothers. The tract reached from the road on the west side of the jack Haines farm, west to Main Street, Ohio. This Owen Kirk sold out long ago and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. This uncle of Elmina was the principal reason that she went there to visit. She visited with Lou Norton, formerly of Princeton, Illinois; also Charley Gray, son of Dr. Gray, of Limerick, Illinois. Dr. Gray not only acted as physician, but he preached in the Methodist Protestant Church at Ohio and Limerick. Charley Gray was salesman in a wholesale Shoe House when Elmina went there. At this time Mr. Michael was telegraph editor of the Kansas City Times. Eugene Fields, the noted poet, also was employed on this paper and was an acquaintance of Mr. Michael. Later Mr. Michael became president of the Typographical Union of the city. About this time, Miss Kirk married Mr. Michael and they took up their residence in Kansas City. To them two children were born, Everett Blair and Ethel Kirk. As his wife suffered constantly from poor health, Mr. Michael decided to move his family to Ohio, Illinois, where she would be near her parents.

Therefore, in the fall of 1891, the first edition of the Ohio Herald was run off a small hand press in a little building where the present Michael building stands. This little building was then known as the Spencer building, and had been owed by Harry Spencer, who had a shoe repair shop in front and living quarters in the rear. Later Hiram Kinney purchased the building where he conducted a restaurant.

As the first edition of the Ohio Herald rolled from the press, a large majority of the male population of the town was present to witness the procedure. One gentleman was conspicuous for his absence. This was the father-in-law, Bernard Kirk, who seemed to have urgent business out of town that day. It was thought by members of the family that the reason he was absent, was for fear his new son-in-law might fail in his new adventure.

The merchants gave their hearty support to this enterprise by advertising. The citizens also anxious to help a new business which would do much toward helping the town grow, sent in their subscriptions. During the years that followed, the Ohio Herald had a long subscription list for a weekly paper printed in a small town. The paper was sent to many states throughout the Union. The subscribers were so interested in their home town paper, that if one was lost in the mail, Mr. Michael soon received a letter stating the same and also expressing gratification at being able to support such an interesting paper and disappointed when one failed to arrive.

One champion of the newspaper was a progressive young priest who would often stop his parishioners on the street and ask them if they were subscribing for the paper. If they were not, he insisted that they support such a worthy undertaking. Through him many names were added to the constantly growing list.

L. T. Pomeroy, Mrs. William Young, and M. J. Keith also were greatly interested in the success of the adventure and did their bit to help by writing articles which they contributed from time to time. Most of the business men were willing advertisers. They realized the Ohio Herald was a medium through which they could tell the community what they had to sell.

One great sorrow which befell Mr. and Mrs. Michael was the passing of their only son, Everett, at the age of seven years. The world was never quite so bright after this loss and for a number of years Mr. Michael wrote poems, some of which expressed his grief, as "Death’s Bride," "The Dead," and "Don’t Want to Die."

How does it come when a little boy lies sick in bed,
And the doctor comes in and shakes his head
And the little boy’s Mamma sits by his side and cries,
How does it come, I say, he always dies?
Well, Mamma, that’s what all the little story books say,
And the angels come and take him away
To live with them among the bright stars up in the sky,
And won’t let him kiss his Mamma goodbye.
Now, Mamma, if ever I get sick and lie in bed,
Don’t let the doctor come in and shake his head,
And don’t let my Papa sit by my side and cry,
‘Cause, Mamma, dear, I don’t want to die

Pearl P. Michael

The Ohio Herald was sold to Jay Taylor, who published it until he passed away. At one time R. L. Russell was owner for a short period of time. It was rented to a man from Walnut for two years while Mr. Michael resided in Chicago.

Mr. Michael was never so happy as when editing the Ohio Herald. His family often told him he was wedded to his newspaper which he declared was "printed in the biggest little city in the world, for the best people in the world."

Mr. Michael was at his office in the new Herald building, which had housed the printing office little more than a year, when, while preparing the last edition which was ready for press, he was suddenly taken ill with heart trouble. He was removed to his home where he passed away with an hour.

He was greatly interested in promoting community affairs. For ten years he served his town as president of the school board. At the time of his passing he was president of the Board of Trustees of Ohio. Fraternally he was a Mason, belonging to Ohio Lodge, No. 814, A. F. and A. M. And to the Princeton Commandery.

PEARL P. MICHAEL
A FORCE IN EARLY OHIO

Along nearly fifty years ago, there came to Ohio from Kansas City, Missouri, a man whose influence upon the community is still evident. Evident in the things he did for the town and evident in establishing the first printing establishment of any consequence in the town. The arrival of a newspaper in any village is a real milestone. It gives a village transition into a town, and likewise, "The Biggest Little City in the State," as developed by a later editor.

Ohio needed an advertising medium of its own and it needed a paper with news entirely local, more than items in the County-seat paper could give. The Ohio Herald had its birth in the building formerly occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Spencer, as a home and shoe-making shop, north of the Parchen building on Main Street. The office was in the front and all the other parts of making a newspaper were in a room just back of that. I think the ink was kept under the stairs. I believe there was a cat (not a black one) and a desk with an old fashioned cupboard above it for files. Mr. Michael was editor, devil, pressman and reporter combined.

Later Henry Jackson came along and acted as devil, assistant pressman, and general helper. "Hen" showed much ability, devotion to the cause and kept on the job for several years. I don’t believe Mr. Michael got rich, neither did "Hen." but the people profited a lot. The community was bound together more closely and everybody read the herald. The circulation was good for the locality. Cleveland was elected, but though Mr. Michael was in sympathy with the administration, he did not try to pike politics down the throats of a town predominately Republican.

Pearl P. Michael was a kindly man, always had a lovely smile on his face. One knew by instinct when meeting him for the first time, that he had met a gentleman. His talks to the writer, who was then a boy, always seemed to leave him with something to think about and something to remember. If an education can not do this, it is not getting far. Mr. Michael had a good education - much more than Lincoln had from any school. Thoroughly qualified as a newspaper man, he gave some of the best years of his life to the Herald, which he named.

His first press was what was commonly used for proof sheets in most printing establishments. It took considerable time to run off 300 sheets - about the circulation then. I used to watch him at his work with interest. In fact, I rather enjoyed giving him any items of news I might pick up. He was always grateful for this. Gratitude was apart of his religion. He gave me instruction on how to write, copy, many valuable pointers I used later as assistant editor on a State medical journal (Florida.) This helped me in writing medical articles generally, of which I have written many - few ever returned as unusual. I think this advice give me by so well informed a man gave me the ability to sense what would be usable.

Of course, Mr. Michael was interested in politics. He once said to me, when I was 14: "Fred, why don’t you go into politics as a profession? He then told me how men kept themselves before the public and got into office, and made a good living doing it. He did not advise anything but clean methods, however. I do not think he approved of Tammany Hall. He had broad views in general and naturally, having been a man of the world, was charitable. His culture and knowledge of history was beyond average. His character was one to be emulated.

His religious views changed from that of a "Personal God," to the Universality of God, as taught by Christian Science, but he did not argue about it. He knew enough to let each individual find his way, which is always preferable. Of course if asked, he would explain a condition as he understood it. I think it (C. S.) Became a great comfort to him and his family. For years he was a constant attendant of the M. P. Church in Ohio, contributing in every way.

Always in support of progress and better things for Ohio, our editor never stinted. It was real progress in those day of the horse and buggy. I remember when it was reported, and as an item, that "Walnut had one automobile and Ohio had none!"

There came a great shock to Mr. and Mrs. Michael, in the loss of a promising son from diphtheria, when a child. A beautiful boy taken before his time by a disease which today we usually conquer under modern treatment. His daughter, Ethel, of whom he was very fond, had to take the place of the loss for him; an equally beautiful child and a comfort to her parents.

The period in which he lived amongst our people was one of peace throughout the nation and the world. As a man, he represented that sort of a personality. He stood for a better Ohio, a better body politic. And a better world. With the sudden passing of this fine man, Ohio lost one of her greatest constructive forces. We who remember him will always feel that it was indeed a privilege to have had the acquaintance of his influence and character. As I reflect upon contemporaries, I see where their lives have influenced mine at the growing period where mine at the growing period when my conduct and ideals were developing. Little, I think, do we older ones realize how much our thoughts and conduct affect the lives of the younger generation about us. It might be well if we would reflect upon such influences more.

–FRED J. WALTER, M. D.
San Diego, Ca.




Home  :   Contact   :   Message Boards & Lists   :   How to Volunteer  :   The ILGenWeb Project   :   USGW Archives  :   USGenWeb Project

© 2013 Laverne Tornow, all rights reserved. Report a Bad Link or E-mail address