website  watertownhistory.org

    ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin

 

Watertown Republican

Watertown Leader

1860

02 xx        Justus Moak was editor of the Watertown Republican for three or four years after its establishment in 1860 and had been a frequent contributor to it columns in later years.  Mr. Moak was a great friend of the newspaper men and in his official capacity as postmaster always strived to give the newspapers any and all information which would be of value to the public.  He was a frequent contributor to the local newspapers on other subjects as well, and was known as a vigorous writer and one who kept well within the facts in the matter under discussion.  He was at home in a newspaper office and was always welcome.  Being of a genial nature and radiating cheerfulness, he was a man who possessed friends among all classes.  WD, 02 1913

 

06 21       Watertown Republican

This is the name of a new paper just established in this city by J. W. Lawton, late of the Delevan Northron.  The first number was issued on Friday of last week and makes a very creditable appearance.  As it names indicates, it is Republican in politics.  It is edited with ability, and Mr. Lawton has the capacity and experience requisite for making it a valuable auxiliary in the Republican cause.  If his party friends do not give him a hearty, living support, they are undeserving of any organ for all time to come and ought forever to be without one.  Watertown should, with what aid is obtained from other portions of the county, be not only able but willing to support two English papers and support them well.  Our only wonder is that the Republicans have allowed themselves to be without a press in their interest as long as they have.  Watertown Democrat

 

People, as a general thing, make a great mistake in withholding their support from newspapers, or at least from those published in their own neighborhoods.  We have never yet heard of an instance where too many newspapers killed a town, though it often happens that a town kills too many newspapers.  There is nothing that does so much to build up a place—nothing that reflects greater credit upon it—and nothing that does more to promote its prosperity than a well conducted local sheet.  It is always alive to the interests of the town—chronicles every event of any general moment thereabouts—keeps the name of the locality whence it is issued and its inhabitants before the public—and in innumerable ways, week after week and year after year, through its columns, builds up a name and reputation for the town that it otherwise would never have acquired.  And yet there are hundreds of property holders and others in this city, as in every other of its size, who think their home paper unworthy of their support and who never patronize it to the extent of a single dime.  They will spend their five cents regularly every week for a copy of the New York Ledger, or some other flash paper whose columns are full of blood and thunder tales, and which one may read eternally and never be any the wiser or better for it.  But they cannot or will not afford the paltry sum of a dollar and a half per annum towards the support of their home organ.  It is to be hoped that sensible men will look at this thing in a different light.  Support your local papers first, and then if you have any inclination to do so, subscribe for any and as many other publications as you choose.   WD

 

08 09          Letter from Portland   WD

 

1861

02 15       Correspondents Wanted.  With a view to making this an interesting local paper and adding to its usefulness as such, we [Watertown Republican] desire to obtain in each town in the county, one or more correspondents, who will communicate facts of interest to the people of their town, or of the county, or indeed to the public in general.  Write us of marriages, births, deaths, improvements, progress of settlement, in short, anything of interest.  Make your communication short and to the point.  No matter if you are unaccustomed to “writing for the papers,” you can give us the facts, and if the communication is not in shape for publication, we can remodel it and put it in form.  Many items of interest are undoubtedly transpiring every day in various parts of the county that are never heard of out of the little circle in which they occur.  It is these that we desire to obtain, and we ask as a particular favor that some friend in each town will hereafter keep us posted in all such matters.  WR

 

02 28       J. T. MOAK, CANDIDATE FOR POSTMASTER

The Republican millennium draws near [Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln] —the paradise of office seekers is in sight.  The 4th of March is the Rubicon all the lamp carriers wish to get over.  Then comes the scramble for the places in the gift of the President.  They are many, but numerous as they are, there will be ten applicants for every office.  Thousands of anxious pilgrims are already on their way to Washington.  To the disappointed, Republicanism, with the disruption of the Union and the defeat of fond hopes, will not seem so fine a thing as it did before election.  But the victory has been won and something must be done with it, and if it is not good to give offices to the conquerors, what is it worth?  Quite an active canvass is going on here for Postmaster.  The most prominent candidates for the appointment are J. T. Moak, one of the editors of the Republican, E. W. Cole, one of the first settlers of the city, and Jacob Jussen, who represents the German element.  Either of these gentlemen would make an efficient and accommodating Postmaster.   WD

 

09 14       PAPER FOR NEWSPAPER

The paper on which the present number of the Republican is printed was manufactured at the Whitewater Paper Mill, by T. B. Grantly & Co.  It is a first rate article of paper—white, fine, has a good surface, and the sheets appear to be even as regards thickness.  Grantly & Co. also manufacture the best articles of book and wrapping paper.   WR

 

1863

03 19       WATERTOWN REPUBLICAN CONCERNED ABOUT HIS FATE

The senior Editor of the Watertown Republican is fearful that he is fated to live his life and depart “without making any sign” – that he be the first and last of his house.  A tinge of despair comes over his dreams as he meditates on the lessening prospect of leaving any one after him . . . he sadly murmurs to himself and tearfully asks himself what is more worthy of the noblest and purest affections than one’s own children – if you have any – and he has not, and that is the aching void he wants filled . . . .

 

On the West side of the river resides a poor but respectable family consisting of nine small children, with a fair probability that the group will shortly number an even ten.  This fatherless and childless Editor should speak with all possible hast for the one that will soon be the youngest.  How his heart’s desire would be fulfilled!  Watertown Democrat.

 

04 21       A TRIP TO THE MISSISSIPPI

Last Tuesday, in company with Mr. J. T. Moak of the Watertown Republican, we started on an excursion to La Crosse to attend the Seventh Annual Session of the Wisconsin Editorial Association.  The weather was warm and sunny, the widespread and waving fields and forests were arrayed in their brightest June dress of foliage and flowers.  We had a pleasant journey both going and returning, an agreeable visit to the principal city in the northwestern portion of our state, and a delightful excursion up the Mississippi as far as Minneiska, on the splendid steamer Itaska and back again on board the equally fine boat Key City.  We passed through a country rich, fertile, thickly settled and well cultivated for the most part and the crops of every kind appeared fine and promising.  As we approached Portage City the soil gradually changed from a clayer to a sandy character and is not so valuable and productive.  When we reached Sparta we again found ourselves in the midst of a fine and prolific section . . .

 

La Crosse is an active, enterprising and flourishing city with many beautiful and tasteful residences, surrounded by graceful shrubbery and blooming gardens . . . So far as Wisconsin is concerned, La Crosse is evidently destined to be the chief and largest city on this side of the mighty and far wandering stream which flows so majestically onward along its borders . . . Vivid and graphic descriptions had made us familiar with the magnificent and glorious scenery we were for the first time to see for ourselves – as written or spoken words could convey to the mind – but the reality surpassed all our preconceived impressions and quickly dissolved all the airy visions of fancy . . . .  – Editor, Watertown Democrat. 

 

1864

04 21       GRINDING AWAY

Most people easily get over a defeat, but the editor of the Republican finds it hard to get over a victory.  He has already made more noise and fuss over his election as Alderman of the First ward than Lincoln did when chosen President of the United States . . .    WD

 

04 28       NEWSPAPER CHANGE

The Watertown Republican has passed from the proprietorship of the Messrs. Lindley to the hands of Messrs. Tompkins & Howland.  Mr. D. T. Lindley has joined the army and “gone to the war.”  He is one of those accomplished and gentlemanly practical persons whose prosperity we shall ever be glad to see.  His paper has always had the best appearance, and as well printed as any in the state.  The principal editorial duties have devolved on Mr. J. T. Moak.  It is no more than just to say that he has made the Republican a spirited, interesting and able journal . . . placing it among the prominent and influential organs of his party.    WD

 

1865

01 12       LETTER FROM MR. COLBURN TO MR. BALLOU of Watertown Democrat

Jefferson, Jan. 7th 1865

D. W. Ballou – Will you allow me room in your column to say a few words in reply to the Republican of the 4th in which it personally assails the supervisor of the 3rd district?  The article in question does not even make a point of grievance, or set forth any claim that it has in any manner been wronged by the party it assails, but is made up of scurrility and personalities entirely.  The contemptible “pup” or “pups” who will write and publish an article of that character will rob you of your clothes line, pilfer your poultry, steal the pennys from the eyes of the dead, unless closely watched; and stealing from the County is only a pastime to such debased and infamous characters, provided they are permitted to do it.  To all right thinking minds the article carries the weight of argument for its own refutation.  The scum that presents itself upon the surface points unerringly to the slough beneath.

 

The imaginary reason for the article is supposed to be the action of the Board which can be found in its published proceedings.  The “pup” that conducts the Republican wrote to me in November last, asking the Union members to give him the printing of the Journal at $100.  He informed D. Ostrander that he would do it for $60, rather than to have it go into other hands.  He finally concluded it would be a capital idea to set a trap, catch the Board and make a steal from the County $75.  He procured his accomplice “pup” to bid $175 and himself $150.  Last Tuesday “pup” came down to get the “spoils” and learned to his great sorrow that instead of catching the Board he had caught himself in his own trap, and he may now be seen behind the bars and bolts howling and railing at the Supervisor of the 3rd district because the Board won’t use a hundred and fifty dollar lever to help him out . . .

 

With the above brief remarks I propose to leave “pup” where the mistress left the drunken man who came home, wallowed about the floor, said he paid rent for the house and he would lie where he pleased.  At last he fell into the fire and the maid ran to her mistress and told her he was in the fire.  “Well,” said she, “let him alone, he pays rent for the house and he will lie where he pleases.”

 

Yours, etc.

A. C. Colburn        WD

 

08 10       NEWSPAPER CHANGE

Jefferson, Jan. 7th 1865

Mr. Robert Tompkins has withdrawn from the proprietorship of the Watertown Republican and Mr. William J. Martin has become its editor and publisher.  Mr. Martin has long been connected with the press of this state, and is a gentleman of experience and ability.  We have no doubt that he will conduct his journal in a way that will be acceptable to his party and readers.  We wish him ample success in his new enterprise in this city and hope he will find his labors here both profitable and successful.    WD

 

1867      Justus Moak was appointed postmaster in 1867 by President Andrew Johnson and held the office during the succeeding administrations of Presidents Grant, Hayes, Garfield and Arthur.  He was relieved by President Cleveland and reappointed by President Harrison, retiring about one year after the commencement of President Cleveland’s second term, making his service as postmaster cover a period of 23 years. 

 

While postmaster Mr. Moak made the postal service a careful, practical study, bringing it up to the dignity of a profession in Watertown, making that office a model for neatness and accuracy.  He was an excellent authority upon all subjects pertaining to postal laws, rules and regulations.  Quite a number of young men have graduated under his tutorship and are now holding important and responsible positions in various branches of the service, and he had a host of friends throughout the state and nation who sincerely regret his death.

 

When J. T. Moak received the appointment of postmaster, William Voss became his deputy.

 

1876

08 24       We can only admire with pardonable pride the tender solicitude constantly manifested by the Republican concerning our welfare.  Ever since we came into possession of the Democrat, it has conferred upon this paper a gratuitous amount of puffing which we fear can never be requited, unless, perhaps, it accepts our grateful acknowledgments which are here cheerfully extended.   WD

 

1881      116 E. Main

   1881 snow storm street scene

 

c.1890   106 E Main

   Watertown Republican, Job Printing

 

1898

  

 

1899

03 22       "FELIX" ALSO RETURNS, like a dog to his vomit

The dull, monotonous condition of the city, as is usual at this season of the year, is being enlivened to a slight extent by a highly interesting story on "Bolting Republicans."  "Inconsistencies" and "Vagaries" have had their turn at the wheel, and now the "sub-editor" is receiving the compliments of the wily and astute individual who is sailing under the sobriquet of "Felix."  "Felix" also returns, like a dog to his vomit, to an attack on this paper.  He incidentally calls attention to what he is pleased to term the "obtuseness,*of the sub- editor.  The sub-editor will not undertake to deny the soft impeachment, but is sharp enough, at least, to see through "Felix," and well knows the reason for his impotent attack on The Republican.

 

His assertions are about as tangible as the morning mist, and no one knows it better than he does himself; but as he has always been an adept and innuendo mud slinger, the old habit creeps o'er him occasionally and he must have mental relief.  To interfere with the schemes of "Felix" is like-flaunting a red rag in front of a wild bull.  A number of years ago "Felix" undertook to prostitute the columns of this paper with vile and malicious abuse of much better and more loyal Republicans than he is.  The editor of this paper refused to give publicity to his nasty communications, and thereby incurred his displeasure.  There was a time when the Republicans of this city were obliged to bend the knee to “Felix,” as the ancients did to Balaam’s ass, but that day has gone forever.  “Felix” was autocratic in those days, and his commands were meekly obeyed.  But like the serfs of Russia, they have been emancipated and no longer stand in fear and tremblings at his august presence . . .    WR

 

06 13       A LONG FACE

We sometimes put on a long face and look as though we hadn't a friend in the world, because some person has found with something they saw in our paper.  But why feel so badly "over spilled milk?"  The merchant doesn't please all his customers; the postmaster, too, is kicked and cussed because he made mistakes; the station agent is frequently backed up in the corner by some old woman and given to understand this and that and numerous other things; the barber is censured for his dull razor; the baker is accused of fraud; some people declare he puts too much wind in his bread; the butcher is forever reminded of his tough meat; the grocer charges poor accounts to his rich customers so as to "even up;" and even the preacher finds it hard work to please all his congregation with his best sermon.  The only good person is the one doing the kicking.  WR

 

1900

03 20       FRED SCHMIEDEMANN, FOREMAN

Fred Schmiedemann, who was foreman of The Republican office during the early ‘80’s, and who since has seen a very large part of North America, surprised his many Watertown friends by dropping in on them Friday last.  He recently returned from Alaska, where he has been engaged in prospecting since the gold fever broke out.  At first he was located in the Klondike country, but gave up his claims there in preference to becoming a British subject.  Later he struck the Cape Nome district and expects to again be there when spring opens.  Fred is enthusiastic over the prospects of that country and considers it a fine place to make money.  He has with him a liberal supply of Alaskan gold dust, just as an evidence of the truth of his convictions.

 

06 26       A “TRAMP” PRINTER

Yesterday morning a “tramp” printer, perhaps 30 years of age, came into our office looking for work.  We offered him a job, but he didn’t consider the remuneration connected therewith commensurate with his great abilities, so departed on his wanderings.  A few hours later Deputy Sheriff Hildebrand, of Oconomowoc, made inquiry of the fellow’s whereabouts, as he is wanted at that place on suspicion of having been implicated in a burglaries last week.  He could not be found here, and no doubt got out of town before the officer’s arrival.  WR

 

1901

06 07       FRED SCHMIEDEMANN, FOREMAN

Last Friday The Watertown Republican was sold by Mrs. W. L. Norris to Chas. A. Pettibone, of Oconomowoc.  The Republican is one of the oldest papers in the southern part of the state and since the death of the late William L. Norris has been edited and managed by his son, G. L. Norris, in an able and praiseworthy manner.  We regret Mr. Norris' retirement from the newspaper field of Watertown, where his ideas of the duties of a newspaper man were the most honorable, and he put them into practice in a manner that served the best interests of the people.  For several weeks he will remain with the new proprietor until the duties of the office become familiar to him, and then he will go to Milwaukee to take the active management of his job printing office there.  The Gazette wishes him the greatest of success wherever he may be engaged in business in the future.  Mr. Pettibone, the new editor and proprietor of The Republican, is an old newspaper man, having recently sold his newspaper in Oconomowoc.   WG

 

1905

07 07       CORRESPONDENT FOR RURAL ROUTES

The Republican desires a correspondent in every rural route leading out of this city.  It is the intention of the publishers of the weekly Republican to make it of value to the farming community and a welcomed visitor to every farm home adjacent to the city of Watertown.  Application for postage and stationery can be made at the office either in person or by mail and arrangements made with correspondents to act as upon a liberal basis.

 

10 05       WATERTOWN AND THE RAILROAD TIME TABLE

Brother P. H. Swift of the Watertown Republican in his last issue wonders why Watertown is not given the prominence in the railroad time tables to which it is entitled, and takes a shot at the railroad companies. We should like to join with him in a campaign for an improvement in the service at the Junction. There is no such thing as “service” rendered here, and if there is any reason for the exasperating situation we have never had its explained. The Fond du Lac and Janesville trains which do not make connections at either end of the line are so timed as to prevent any connection with the St. Paul passenger trains. One wishing to go north in the morning finds that the train to Fond du Lac has left forty minutes before the St. Paul train gets in. Coming south in the evening he reaches the Junction twenty minutes after the Madison train has departed, making it necessary to spend fourteen hours before he can get a train west. That the cause is nothing but pure deviltry may be seen at Burnett Junction in the evening, when the Northwestern train leaves one minute before the St. Paul passenger pulls in, and gets out in a special hurry if the St. Paul train is near at hand. A study of the time tables shows that neither road has any reason for trying to dodge the other, for neither train makes important connections at either end of the run that could not be made an hour later or earlier as the case may be.    Watertown Democrat  /   WR

 

1906     Watertown Leader formed from Watertown Republican

04 06       With the current issue of this paper, which heretofore has been known as The Watertown Republican, the name is changed to that of the Watertown Leader, under which heading it will be published in the future. For nearly forty-six years it was known by the name discarded and it is with considerable regret on the part of the publishers that the change was made. It is simply and solely a business proposition to meet conditions that made the change necessary for the financial success of the paper. Its policy and political sentiments will continue in the future to be the same as they have been in the past, an earnest advocate for good government and high moral ideals in civic and social life. The paper has been greatly improved under the present management and nothing will be left undone to make it a mirror of the best thought in the city and surrounding country.

 

Yours Respectfully,

Watertown Pub. Co.     WR

 

1907

02 23       STAND ON PURE FOOD LAWS

The Leader was the first paper in the state to take a stand against the manner in which the pure food laws are enforced.  The paper has been accused of being opposed to the laws, but we defy any person to show a statement where a word derogatory to the pure food law has been uttered.  The Leader was also the first paper to condemn the manner of enforcing the law governing the sale of oleomargarine, which we believe is unconstitutional and will be so declared in time.  In the stand The Leader took, it was criticized by many, some of whom, however, have changed their views and now heartily second its course.  Papers around the state are beginning to express the same views, as the following clipping will show:

 

“If our dairy butter may be colored, to be made attractive with that rare goldness, why [can] the pure food law restrict the coloring of other things?” — Racine Daily Journal.

 

1908     DAILY LEADER SUSPENDS PUBLICATION

07 17       The Watertown Daily Leader, established two years ago last April, suspended publication last Friday.  WG   Subscriptions taken over by The Times

               The publication of The Weekly Leader continued

11 20        Willis Keyes, death of former employee   WG

 

1910

09 02       51 YEARS OLD

On Friday last The Watertown Leader entered upon the 52nd year of its existence.  The Leader is a bright newsy paper, is well edited, and deserves to be well patronized.  The Gazette wishes its neighbor continued success.   WG

 

1914

12 31       THE LEADER CHANGES OWNERSHIP

Erwin Feldschneider, who has conducted The Watertown Leader for about 18 months past, has disposed of it to Col. P. H. Swift, its former owner.  We heartily welcome Brother Swift again to the ranks of Watertown journalism.  Mr. Feldschneider and wife will remove to Milwaukee, where Mr. F. will be employed as advertising solicitor for the Evening Wisconsin.  The Gazette regrets their departure from the city and wish Mr. and Mrs. Feldschneider success and happiness in their new place of residence.   WG

 

1915

01 07       NEW NEWSPAPER FIRM

Emil Doerr has associated himself with P. H. Swift in the publication of the Watertown Weekly Leader.  Mr. Doerr has been connected with the printing offices of this city for many years and is one of the very best printers in the city.  Col. Swift is no stranger to our people, having formerly edited The Leader, and is considered one of the best newspaper men in the state.  The Gazette wishes the new firm abundant success.    WG

 

02 18       HAVE CHARGE OF LEADER

Ward L. Swift reached here last evening and he and Emil Doerr are now in full charge of the Leader and the printing outfit.  P. H. Swift, who has been associated with Mr. Doerr, temporarily retiring. -Watertown Leader.  The Gazette heartily welcomes Brother Swift back again into the ranks of Watertown journalism.    WG

 

07 30       MODEL K LINOTYPE MACHINE

The Watertown Weekly Leader has ordered and will soon install a Model K Linotype machine, which handled in the ordinary was will do the work of five compositors, in the matter of type-setting.

 

10 28       SELLS INTEREST IN LEADER

Ward L. Swift has disposed of his interest in the Watertown Leader and he and his family will remove to Eau Claire, where he has been offered his old position on the Daily Leader and a larger salary than he received when he last came to Watertown to reside.  Our people part with Ward and his family with a great deal of regret and all our citizens wish them long life and happiness in their new home. Mr. Swift’s successor on The Leader is H. A. Rogers of Milwaukee, and the firm name as publishers of The Leader will now be Rogers & Doerr, Mr. Doerr retaining his interest in that paper.  Mr. Rogers was formerly engaged in the newspaper business in Indiana, and for the past nine years he was superintendent of the printing department of the T.M.E.R.&L. Co. in Milwaukee.  We wish The Leader success under its new management.   WG

 

1916      THE WATERTOWN DAILY LEADER           Another daily for Watertown

 

02 25       In its weekly issue of Feb. 22, the Watertown Leader announces that the proprietors will issue a daily paper, the first number to appear on Monday, March 6th.  The paper will be called “The Watertown Daily Leader.”

 

1917      The Watertown Daily Leader          

Bruegger, Zeno

1917, Watertown Leader organizer

Doerr, Emil

1917, Watertown Leader organizer

Holland, J P

1917, Watertown Leader organizer

Killian, Eugene

1917, Watertown Leader organizer, linotype operator

Kuenzi, Jack

1917, Watertown Leader organizer

Oleomargarine, sale of

1907, Position on sale of, Watertown Leader

Watertown Leader

1906, Chapter on, formed from Watertown Republican

Watertown Leader

1917, organization of

Watertown Republican

1906, Chapter on, name changed to Watertown Leader

 

 

Cross References:

Emil Kehl returned to Watertown [date uncertain], first job was with the Republican, edited by the late Granton Norris.

Col. P H Swift, former editor, Watertown Leader, obit of

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin

Index