(Editor’s note: Portions of this article originally appeared in a 1990 and 2017 edition of the Sunday Times-Sentinel.)
GALLIPOLIS — We at Ohio Valley Publishing went back through our archive to see where the Sunday Times-Sentinel started in celebration of local journalism history and to look back at something familiar in these presently unfamiliar and uncertain times.
This copy originally ran in the Oct. 15, 1990 bicentennial collector’s edition of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.
Since 1818, Gallipolis and Gallia County have had 18 newspapers. Only two have survived.
One is the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, founded in 1893. The other is the weekly Sunday Times-Sentinel which began as The Gallia Times on June 1, 1898.
Although the Sunday Times-Sentinel turned 25 on Feb. 6 this year, Gallipolis and Gallia County have had a weekly “Times” publication for 92 consecutive years. The Sunday Times-Sentinel was born Feb. 6, 1966, a combination of the Saturday Gallia Times, Gallipolis and Saturday Daily Sentinel, Pomeroy.
As of Oct. 14, a “Times” has been published 4,799 consecutive weeks for Gallia Countians since that first issue in 1898. The Times was co-founded by J.W. Booton (1833-1917) and Arthur Harding (1871-1930) and was first published on the corner of Locust St., and Second Ave., current office of the Wood Insurance Agency, Inc.
The weekly has survived many changes of base (six) four major wars, six different ownerships and 10 editors.
The late Harry R. Hurn, third editor, said “The Gallia Times was unquestionably called ‘Child of Destiny.’” Continued Hern, who died on April 30, 1961, “It made its debut into an already overcrowded and highly competitive field and has survived them all.”
The Tribune, Journal and Bulletin were firmly established, ably edited, supplemented by Vinton Leader and Gallia County News. The infant newcomer was received with no great acclaim by either the public or press.
Most prosperous years (before World War II) were in 1920-21, when it was housed in the Universalist Church, now the site of Elliott’s Union 76, 447 Second Ave. The Journal had absorbed the Vinton Leader, and the Bulletin took over both, these merged with the Gallia Times. That increased circulation to 3,500. (Note — During World War II, circulation jumped over the 6,000 mark. Today, approximately 13,000 subscribe to the weekliy which now serves the Tri-County area.)
During the paste nine decades, the Times had never ventured far from its origination point — 32 Locust St. It has been located in the Park Building twice, now the law office of Atty. David T Evans. 456 Second Avenue; The Ecker Block, now part of Saunders Insurance Co., 439 Second Avenue and law offices of Atty. Douglas M. Cowles; Gallipolis Daily Tribune office, 425 Second Avenue, from 1942-67, now home of The French City Press and its current Gallipolis location, 825 Third Avenue.
Only six editors served during the first 55 years of publication, Harding and Booton, the co-founders, were the first. Harding became a sole editor in 1899. In 1904, Harry Royal Hurn began what has roved to be the longest tenure of editorship in the paper’s history — 34 years. He relinquished that post in 1938. Charles Barnet held the job four years, until Jim Porter became editor in 1942. Coell Wetherholt became the publisher.
Porter remained editor until Aug. 1, 1953. Within the next six years, the Times had four different editors, and one acting editor. They were: Vic Sherow, Brian MacNamara, Fred Read, Dwight C. Wetherholt and John Glancy (acting editor in 1958-59). Present editor is Hobart Wilson Jr.
The Times was published on Thursday for a number of years before switching to Saturday on Jan. 12, 1946.
The Weekly received statewide ratings under Jim Porter’s leadership in 1949, 1950, and 1951 by the Ohio Newspaper Association’s weekly newspaper show.
Information for this article compiled by Dean Wright.