Saturday, June 21, 2014

“Geauga Republican, Part One”

c. 2014 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Geauga County history, found in the oddest of places.
A recent tour through the cyberspace realm of eBay, the ‘world’s online marketplace’ revealed an unexpected listing. It was for two complete issues of the bygone Geauga Republican newspaper, dated in December, 1879.
A quick check at the esteemed Library of Congress website indicated that this newspaper had been published weekly, from 1872 to 1921.
Libraries from Illinois, Massachusetts and Ohio were listed as having copies on hand. Our local Geauga County Public Library was designated as a repository of many issues, available on microfilm.
I purchased the print pair for sixteen dollars. It seemed reasonable for such artifacts from the county, delivered in good condition.
They arrived in a cardboard mailing tube.
Opening this cylinder felt not unlike breaking the seal on a message in a bottle. I took care to unpack the treasure with a proper amount of decorum. I waited for an hour long after dark, when it would be easier to concentrate.
There was a gentle ‘pop’ of air as I tugged on the end cap. Then, my eyes went wide as I began to read the masthead of these faded manuscripts:

“Geauga Republican. Published every Wednesday at Chardon, Ohio by J.W. Converse. Terms $2.00 per year, in advance. Office No. 2 Randall Block.”

Immediately apparent was the slower pace of gathering information, in bygone days.
The paper seemed much like a modern ‘news aggregation website.’ Sort of a low-tech version of those provided by Yahoo! or AOL.
Much of the content was not truly local in nature, or even current as we would define that term in the modern era. Most stories were weeks old and sourced from a collection of other active journals around the nation. Yet in that distant era, these reports must have been welcome to readers who were eager for a glimpse of life beyond the county.
County-specific content came chiefly in the form of advertising:

“FIELD & QUIGGLE. Mr. O.P. Quiggle, having sold his store building and lot in Hambden, and wishing to dispose of his stock of goods as soon as possible, has concluded to offer his whole stock, in company with J.T. Field, of Chardon, Ohio. The above-named parties have entered into a co-partnership, to be dissolved at anytime, at the option of either party, and have agreed to offer both their stocks, in small or large quantities, to suit customers, under the old firm name of FIELD & QUIGGLE. The firm will offer many goods at 25, 50 and 75 cents. On the dollar cost, and any customer who wishes may find many bargains. The two stocks merged in one will doubtless be the largest, most varied and most complete in the county. Everybody call and see. It will now be a good time for all indebted to the individual parties to call and settle old accounts, and the said parties will expect it without delay or trouble to any party concerned. Our terms, both in buying and selling, will be READY PAY.”

In fact, ad rates were clearly stated on the GR’s front page, in a block at the upper, right-hand corner. A single-week promotion cost $1.00 for a one-inch square. $1.50 for two inch, $2.00 for three. An entire column ad fetched the considerable sum of $10.00.
In a sense, the journal seemed to provide a foundation that would make the ‘Weekly Mail’ possible, for future generations.
A business directory, included at the upper-left corner, provided names that have become the stuff of legend for Geauga residents:

“O.S. Farr, attorney at Law and Solicitor in Chancery, Office in Randall Block, over Store No.6.
N. H. Bostwick, Attorney at Law, Office over Bank of Geauga Savings and Loan Association, Chardon, Ohio.
D.W. Canfield, Attorney at Law. Office No. 1 Randall Block, over Post-Office, Chardon, Geauga County, Ohio.
H.F. Canfield, Attorney at Law. Office over Post-Office, Chardon, Ohio. Special attention given to collections.
Hathaway & Osbournes Attorneys at Law. Office No. 13 Union Block, Chardon, Geauga County, Ohio.
Durfee & Stephensons, Attorneys at Law. Office in Union Block, over Kelley Brothers’ Store, Chardon, Ohio.
L. L. Bennett & A. L. Bennett, Eclectic physicians & surgeons. Chardon, O – Chronic Diseases & Specialty. Also Proprietors of the Electro-Therapeutic Bath. Office at residence of Dr. A. L. Bennett on South St.
J. W. Atwood, M. D., Eclectic Physician, Chardon, O. Special attention paid to the treatment of acute and chronic diseases. Cancerous diseases a specialty. Office at his residence on South Hambden Street. He may be found at his office on Fridays and Saturdays, other days being devoted to general practice.
S. L. Wadsworth, Notary Public. General Collector, and Pension Agent. Residence Auburn, Ohio.
L. M. Moffett, Architect and Builder. Chardon, Ohio. Plans, Specifications and Estimates furnished at reasonable rates.
J. F. Bruce & Son. Dealers in Tin and Sheet from Ware and Stoves. Union Block, Chardon, Ohio. A good stock always on hand.
Branch & Searls. Dealers in Pine Lumber, Lath and Shingles. Dressed Lumber of all descriptions. Yard at Burton Station, Geauga Co., Ohio.”

My eBay discovery had opened a time portal of sorts. Through each line of faded print, I was able to peer into a lost world. A place literally here at home.
And the journey had only begun...

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Send postal mail to: P.O. Box 365, Chardon, OH 44024


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