THE TUSCOLA COUNTY PIONEER
The Pioneer is the oldest newspaper in the Saginaw Valley, and is justly deserving of the name it has so faithfully and honorably borne for a quarter of a century. Its history, should it be given in all the fullness of incident and struggle, would fill a volume of interesting contents. Its career has noteworthy features which are highly creditable to the men who have stood at its helm. Its beginning was a stoke of journalistic enterprise which attests the nerve of its founder and the strength of his faith in the prosperous future of Tuscola County. It is further noticeable that during this entire period of twenty-five years it has changed owners but three times, and its career as a business institution has been one of growth and increasing permanency.
On Tuesday, November 24, 1857, the first number of the Tuscola County Pioneer was issued by W. R. Bartlett. The population of the entire county was less than 4,000. Vassar Township contained less than 200 permanent residents, and the village was but a ragged speck on Cass River. Caro was a tangled slashing, and even Tuscola, though past its majority, numbered but seven or eight hundred souls. There were four postoffices in the county, and the mail for all, when bunched, would scarcely have made sufficient ballast for a toy balloon. Mr. Bartlett, however, possessed the two requisite qualities necessary to carry forward his undertaking; they were energy and faith. He settled in Watrousville in the spring of 1854, and two years later was elected by the Republican party to the legislature, and served two years. In the spring of 1857 he removed to Vassar and following November began a journalistic career.
In 1859 he was again nominated for representative by the Republicans, but was defeated at the polls by a majority of five. He held several local offices and was appointed postmaster at Vassar by President Lincoln, which position he held three years, and then resigned in favor of Isaac Jameson, a wounded soldier. In 1863 he sold the Pioneer office to William Lake, Jr., and engaged in other business. In 1866 he removed from the county, and is now a resident of Minneapolis Minn.
Mr. Lake published the paper about sic years, during which time he increased the size of the paper from six to eight columns. A portion of the time J. D. Lewis was associated with Mr. Lake in the business and editorial management of the paper.
In August, 1869, Mr. Lake sold the establishment to Rev. Alexander Trotter, who still remains at its head.
In 1875 Mr. Trotter took his two sons into partnership and from that time the firm has been A Trotter & Sons. In 1878 steam power was added, and if February, 1881, the form of the paper was changed to a six column quarto. The present season the firm is erecting a substantial brick building on Pine Street, to be fitted with all the necessary modern conveniences for the printing business. The Pioneer has always been Republican in politics, and has maintained an elevated standard of journalism. A fine view of their new building is given in this work.
Alexander Trotter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the year 1810. When he was about five years of age his father came to America, and settled in Delaware County, N. Y. His mother had died in his infancy. At the proper age he attended the academy at Fairfield, Herkimer County. His collegiate education was obtained at Oberlin, Ohio, and his theological education at the Union Theological Seminary, in the City of New York Emerging from college, Mr. Trotter entered the ministry, but was prevented from continuing it as a life-work on account of the uncertain condition of his health. In the spring of 1863 he came to Vassar and being pleased with the appearance of the place invested his means, and became identified with the place. Soon after coming here he became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church and continued that relation about three years. He was afterward postmaster of the village for some time, and in 1869 purchased the Pioneer Printing establishment as already stated. Mr. Totter was married at Morristown, N. J., May 28, 1843, to Phoebe Day, of that place. They have five children: three daughters and two sons, all married. Mr. Totter has crossed the line of three score years and ten, but is still vigorous and active, with a seeming promise that his thus far useful life will be prolonged for years to come. His sons have come up to honored positions as business men, and the sons have came up to honored positions as business men, and the hitherto successful career of the Pioneer has a warrant of long continuance.
THE VASSAR “TIMES”
The Times is a six-column quarto newspaper cut and pasted in book form, and printed entirely at home. It is issued weekly and Horace A Miller is editor and proprietor. The career of the Times has been of short duration, but of more consequence that longevity is the fact that it has been thus far characterized by prosperity and growing importance.
For some time previous to the winter of 1880-81 it had appeared manifest to some of the business men of Vassar that another newspaper could render valuable aid in stimulating the progress of material interests, and its establishment as a businesses venture be warranted by the advanced stage of development to which the village and county had already attained.
In February, 1881, the Vassar Times Printing Company was incorporated under the laws of the State, and Robert S. Toland, a well known journalist, was engaged as editor and manager of the new journal. The initial number of the Vassar Times was issued
March 17th following. The success of the enterprise from the start was gratifying beyond expectation, and it immediately occupied a prominent place among the local newspapers of the State. September 8 1881, the Times was purchased from the stock company by Robert S. Toland and Horace A. Miller. A few months later the failure of Mr. Toland’s health obliged him to retire from the business, and in April, 1882, his interest was purchased by Mr. Miller, who continues the editor and proprietor of the paper. The Times is independent but not neutral in politics, and is mainly devoted to the local interest of Vassar village and Tuscola County. Its space is filled principally with news from various local points. One page is devoted to the village and town of Millington, another to Mayville, and a third to Clifford. Its market reports are also a feature receiving careful attention. The appearance of the Times denotes a liberal patronage and a prosperous business. The proprietor, Mr. Miller, is a native of Geauga County, Ohio, and is a young man of energy and enterprise. He came to Vassar in the spring of 1881, having previously attended Hillsdale College, and subsequently had spent some time in a law office at Bay City.