HISTORY OF TUSCOLA COUNTY
THE PRESS OF CARO.
THE CARO ADVERTISER AND CITIZEN was founded in 1868, by Henry G. Chapin, who had recently came from Perry, N. Y. It was established as the Tuscola Advertiser, and the first number was issued Friday, August 21, 1868. December 10 following, the day of publication was changed to Thursday, for the purpose of securing a better distribution of the edition to the various parts of the county before the close of the week.
When the Advertiser was first started a building 20x30 feet was erected on Lincoln Street, for its accommodation, and so small was the outfit of the office then, consisting of a hand press, three type racks with cases, an imposing stone and small table, its quarters were larger than was needed, and there was room to rent. As business increased a jobbing outfit was purchased, and the building removed to a more central location, on the corner of State and Burnside Streets. Here still farther additions were made to the material of the office, two new presses purchased, imposing stones, paper cutter, etc., the paper enlarged to its present size and fitted out in a new dress. About this time a fire broke out in the office, and but for the active efforts of the citizens of Caro, all that had been accumulated in four years of hard labor would have gone in smoke and melted metal. A plan was immediately formed for the construction of a new building, large enough to accommodate the increased size and business of the office, and more secure from fire from without and within. The lot adjoining the one where the new office is located was purchased, the old building again moved, and in the spring of 1875 the work of building was begun. November following the new quarters were finished and occupied. That building is still occupied by the office.
The advertiser was started as a seven column folio (just one-half the size of the paper to-day), In looking over the early files of the paper one is struck with the large amount of patronage, proving that the business men of Caro have built up the town and its trade by enterprise and a true appreciation of the value of advertising. Many of the old pioneers of the county are fond of telling how they took hold and helped the editor in the first few years of the paper’s struggle for existence. On the 18th of January, 1872, in order to accommodate the rapidly increasing advertising patronage, the paper was changed from a seven column folio to an eight column folio which size it remained for over ten years, during the entire life-tie of it founder. On the 1st day of April, 1881, Mr. Chapin died very suddenly, while returning from a business trip to Detroit. Sometime before his death, however, in January, 1880, Mr. Chapin took into partnership, in the business of the office, E. G. Donaldson, Esq., a lawyer of the place, a man of excellent ability, but one to whom the duties of an editor and publisher were new and irksome, and he retired from the partnership, which lasted only from January 1, to August 12, 1880. Upon the death of Mr. Chapin his widow, Mrs. L. W. Chapin, assumed control of the paper. She employed as editor and business manager, Rev. O. Fletcher, a Baptist clergyman, and afterward Rev. Joseph F. Berry, a Methodist clergyman, but neither of these gentlemen could spare sufficient time from their pastoral duties to make the editorial and newspaper business successful, consequently, each one gave up the undertaking after a few weeks’ trial. Upon the retirement of Mr. Berry, Mr. E. B. Fiske, of Rochester, N. Y., temporarily supplied the vacant position until October 1, 1881, when Mrs. Chapin secured the services of Mr. George H. Pond, of Ann Arbor, who had been editor of the Ann Arbor Courier for about two years, whom she installed as editor and business manager, giving the entire control of the paper into his hands. Taking hold of the paper he infused new life into its veins, making a complete meta-
Morphosis in the style and make-up and general appearance of the sheet. County news was made a specialty, and a good line of county correspondents secured. On the 1st day of January following, the paper was enlarged and changed in form, from an eight column folio to a six column quarto. On the 15th day of April, 1882, occurred the first change of ownership the paper had ever known in the fourteen years it had existed, Mrs. Chapin disposing of the same to Mr. Pond for $2,700. That gentleman continued to remain proprietor until the 10th of October, 1882, when there occurred a change in the newspaper business of Caro, that was quite an eventful one. The Caro Citizen, which had been established as a Democratic paper, but by change in ownership had also changed its politics, and been run in direct opposition and competition with the Advertiser, though in the same party, was on that day purchased by a company consisting of George H. Pond, Frederick D. Aplin and Charles A. Pyne, under the firm name of George H. Pond & Co. The Citizen was then consolidated with the Advertiser, and the paper than took the name of The Caro Advertiser and Citizen. The merging of the two offices increased the advertising patronage to such an extent that another enlargement became necessary, so with the issue of October 19, 1882, the consolidated journal appeared as a seven column quarto, just twice the size of the original Advertiser. Another change in the proprietorship of the paper occurred in February, 1883, Messrs. Pond and Aplin purchasing the interest of Mr. Pyne, since which time the firm name has been Pond and Aplin. The Advertiser and Citizen is the largest paper in the county and among the largest in the State of county papers. It is thoroughly Republican in principle, has a large corps of correspondents throughout the county, is well edited, both editorially and locally, and is in a prosperous condition.
THE CARO JEFFERSONIAN.
The first Democratic newspaper in the county was started by A. Ten Eyck at Watrousville in the year 1860, and was named the Watrousville Democrat. The enterprise was not a success, and Mr. Ten Eyck, at the outbreak of the war, abandoned it and went into the army. He was killed at the front in 1862.
In 1867 a stock company was organized and a second Democratic paper started at Caro, and called the Tuscola County Democrat, with H. B. Cotter editor. This enterprise, like its predecessor, was not a financial success, and the company disposed of the stock and it was removed to another locality in 1869.
In 1878 H. S. Harcout started a Democratic paper in Caro called the Caro Democrat, which was purchased in 1879 by R. S. Toland and merged into the Caro Citizen, a Republican paper.
In 1880 Orton Williams started the Caro Jeffersonian, a four column quarto sheet, meeting with good success. The next year it was enlarged to a seven column folio. In the spring of 1882 the paper was sold to Frank H. Thomas, who enlarged the paper to a six column quarto. The same year he took J. Ashley Keith into partnership, and the firm has been Thomas & Keith. The Jeffersonian is ably conducted and under its present administration is in a flourishing financial condition.
Caro has three hotels, all of which are well kept and furnish accommodations for the traveling public. The early hotels were, as already stated, the Gibbs House and the “Centerville House.” The name of the latter was changed by S. R. Cross, its proprietor, to the Caro House.
Suring the summer of 1867 John Kelsey built the “Exchange Hotel,” and after keeping it a short time rented it. In 1869 Solomon Utter, who had been keeping the Gibbs House, purchased the property and kept it about two years. He then rented it, and subsequently sold it to John Palmiter, who in 1875 sold the property to B. F. Nettleton, the present proprietor.
The frame portion of the present Caro House was built by F. H. Thomas in 1877 and kept by him. In 1880 he built the brick part, and continued to keep the house until the spring of 1882, when he leased it to the present proprietor, L. D. Hoard.
The Medler House was built by E. J. Medler in 1879 and 1880, and kept by him until his death in 1882. The present proprietor is Jacob Hobson.