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Berwick, N.S., Wednesday Evening, June 12, 1940


Present Issue Marks Significant Event In History Of This
Newspaper – Much Local and World History Has
Appeared In Its Pages Since Establishment.

WITH this issue The Register enters upon its fiftieth year of uninterrupted service in the interests of Berwick and Western Kings. It is no easy task to establish and maintain a newspaper in a rural community such as this, and to continue to merit the confidence and goodwill of friends and supporters for half a century.

That The Register fills an important niche in the community is truly evident from the generous support which it receives from its many satisfied subscribers and patrons in general. The eagerness of its readers to obtain their copy at the earliest possible moment is the cause of repeated queries at the postoffice wicket early in the afternoon of publication, "Is The Register out yet?" Incidentally this tells the story of the interest taken in each issue published.

No less eagerly are its weekly visits looked forward to by those who have journeyed far from home. Frequently The Register is in receipt of letters expressing the enjoyment its visit brings. It is equivalent to a letter from home for it chronicles the events of the home town and records the marks of progress and development of the community.

Two of its weekly features, "The Man About Town" and "Thirty Years Ago" are especially appealing to a large number of readers and the former is widely quoted in the provincial press.

We are proud to quote what many of our contemporaries have said of us that The Register is one of the best printed weeklies in Nova Scotia. It is our sole ambition to get out the best possible, cleanest, most reliable and progressive weekly paper. The editorial policy is absolutely independent, seeking the best for its constituency. The needs of the community are anticipated and publicized, and its columns are open for the boosting of any worthwhile project which will result in progress.

We are mindful of the service which is being rendered by our rural correspondents. It may be that correspondents are not altogether aware of the value of the service they are rendering, not only to their weekly newspaper but also to the community in which they live. Week in and week out they contribute their budget of news which is the mirror of the daily happenings in their circle of activity. All are of vital interest and are important factors in the life of the community. Truly country correspondents are invaluable and we acknowledge the loyal and efficient service they are rendering this journal throughout the entire year.

Since its establishment by the late John E. Woodworth 49 years ago, The Register has experienced its share of the vicissitudes which are encountered by the average rural weekly newspaper – times have been good, bad and indifferent. Yet The Register has made progress. With the addition of a linotype machine a few years ago and the recent installation of a large and modern newspaper press, we now have a mechanical plant of which we may feel justifiably proud. With up-to-date equipment and the continued support of friends and patrons, we feel confident that the next fifty years are going to be a whole lot easier; we hope so at any rate.

And now for something relating to the earlier history of The Register. The following sketch is written by Mrs. Aimee H. Woodworth, widow of the late John E. Woodworth, founder and former editor and publisher of this newspaper. Mrs. Woodworth who is now residing in Yarmouth, is and has long been a valuable contributor to The Register and naturally still follows its career with a great deal of interest.

The Early History Of The Register

The Register was not the first newspaper to be printed and published in Berwick. That honor belongs to the Star, which was established in 1866, under the joint management of Mr. James A. Halliday and Mr. Henry E. Jefferson. After two years, Mr. Jefferson retired from the management, and Mr. Halliday, hoping for a larger field for his enterprise, removed from Berwick to Kentville, where he published the Star for some five years. In 1873 he returned to Berwick and continued the publication of the Star until 1879, when it was sold to Wolfville parties and ceased to shine in Berwick. Mr. Halliday soon afterwards left Nova Scotia and established a newspaper in Cliftondale, Mass. From that period until the establishment of The Register, more than ten years later, Berwick had no local paper worthy of the name. In 1888, Mr. A. J. Pineo began the publication of a small sheet called the Farm Journal. It was dated at, and ostensibly published in, Berwick, but was printed in Pictou. Having little to justify its continuance, it ceased to appear after a few months, and was succeeded by the Berwick News, also printed in Pictou, its only connection with Berwick being a small job printing office on Mill Street, where subscriptions were supposed to be paid. This office

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was in charge of the late W. H. Nowlin, an employee of Mr. Pineo. It was in this small building, afterwards destroyed by fire, that The Register began its existence in 1891.

Mr. John E. Woodworth, who had returned to Nova Scotia from the United States a short time before, had been editing the Western Chronicle in Kentville, under a yearly lease from its proprietor, the late George W. Woodworth, the understanding being that if an opportunity should offer for the sale of the paper, the lease should at once terminate. Somewhat to the surprise of both parties, this condition was brought into exercise one month before the close of MR. Woodworth’s first year as editor. A company, composed of some forty of the leading supporters of the Liberal party, concluded a bargain with the proprietor of the Western Chronicle by which the ownership of the paper passed into their hands.

Declining to consider an offer to continue on the editorial staff of the Western Chronicle, Mr. Woodworth looked about him for an opportunity to establish a newspaper business of his own. It was an ambition cherished since the days of his boyhood on the farm in Grafton. Berwick was the location which naturally suggested itself, and in a short time he had concluded arrangements with Mr. A. J. Pineo for the purchase of the goodwill of the Berwick News and of the contents of the little job printing office on Mill Street. The services of Mr. W. H. Nowlin were secured for the mechanical end of the business, and a newspaper press and type were purchased. The press -–a Hoe Railway – was obtained in Halifax, from the office of the Acadian Recorder. It had been in use for some years, but continued to give excellent service for a long time. The newspaper type was secured from the office of "L’Acadie Liberale," a defunct French paper which had been published in Meteghan. A few fonts of job type were added, and with this modest equipment, installed in the little rented building, The Register made its first bow to the public on June 13, 1891. The name of the new paper was chosen after careful deliberation, the intention being to select a title at once attractive and unusual. Heralds, Tribunes, Standards, Advertisers and Chronicles abounded in other parts of the province and Dominion, but the pages of the newspaper directories of that day revealed no Registers in Canada and but one or two in the United States. It was therefore decided that the paper should be called The Register, and in order that other towns and villages in the Valley, and especially in Western Cornwallis, should feel an interest and pride in the paper, the name Berwick did not appear in the heading. Mr. Woodworth, to the end of his life, contended that The Register was not the special mouthpiece of Berwick alone, but was a champion of the rights and interests of Waterville, Aylesford, Somerset, Cambridge and other surrounding villages, and that it belonged to those villages quite as much as to the place of its publication.

Slowly and steadily The Register made its way. The subscription list made a healthy growth, and passed the thousand mark by the end of the fifty year; and although the business men of that period were not as keen advertisers as those of today, the paper gained the reputation, which it has never lost, of being the best advertising medium in the district which it served.

Until the autumn of 1896, The Register continued to be issued from the little building on Mill Street. Then came disaster. In the small hours of a night in September, the residents of Berwick were awakened by an alarm of fire. The blaze originated in the establishment of Messrs. Pineo and Clark on Mill Street, from whence it spread until several buildings, including The Register office, were levelled to the ground. Berwick fire fighters, as alert then as now, though by no means as well equipped, worked valiantly to rescue as much as possible, and the newspaper and job presses, and much of the type and other essentials of the business, were saved. There was no insurance.

Offers of assistance came from brother publishers in Kentville and Middleton, and for a few weeks The Register was printed outside of Berwick, at first on the press of the Middleton Outlook, and later on that of the Kentville Advertiser.

Meanwhile, Mr. Woodworth was making arrangements for the erection of a new building. A site on Mill Street was purchased from the late Mr. John G. Clark, a short distance west of the former location of the office. On this site, upon which it still stands, The Register building was rapidly rushed to completion, and in nine weeks from the date of the fire, the paper was installed in its new premises, from whence it has since been issued with unfailing regularity.

In October 1897, occurred the great Windsor fire, which raged for nearly twenty-four hours, reducing to ashes almost the whole of that beautiful and historic town. Both the Windsor papers suffered the loss of their entire equipment, and remembering his own experience of the previous year, Mr. Woodworth hastened to offer all the assistance in his power. His offer was accepted by the publisher of the Windsor Tribune, who was an old friend and distant relative, and for several months the Tribune was printed in the office of The Register, several members of the Tribune’s staff taking up temporary residence in Berwick.

In February, 1914, just six months before the outbreak of the Great War, an arrangement was entered into with the United Fruit Companies of Nova Scotia, which proved advantageous to both parties concerned. The headquarters of the United Fruit Companies were in Berwick at that time, and the late Mr. A. E. Adams was the capable and energetic Secretary. Under this arrangement, a certain amount of space in The Register, usually one whole page, was purchased by the United Fruit Companies and was to be conducted as a special department of the paper, under the heading of "The Co-operative News," Mr. Adams acting as Editor of this department. The plan was supposed to add one thousand names to the subscription list of The Register, but this condition did not actually work out in practice, for the simple reason that practically all the members of the United Fruit Companies in Kings County were already subscribers to the paper. The arrangement continued for one year, when war conditions forced the Companies to alter their plans.

Hereafter, The Register continued its mission of quiet usefulness, until at the close of 1918, Mr. Woodworth beginning to feel the weight of advancing years, relinquished the editorial chair to the successor who has so worthily carried on the work begun 49 years ago.