Newspapers changing through the decades
Shortly after the Pike County News Watchman, and its affiliate publications, were purchased by the Brown Publishing Company in the late 90's, a new slogan was adopted: "Commitment to Community."
We at the News Watchman are striving daily to live up to our motto and it is a matter of changing with the times.
Papers on record from the 1800's through the early 1900's recount items of local, and sometimes national interest. Accidents (farm and auto), court proceedings, birthdays, marriages, and meetings make up the gray columns in the early news of Waverly.
The hometown newspaper of Pike County, Ohio has always been a vital part of the community. It has served many purposes since its conception in Piketon around 1832. It told the story of the county's people; chronicles the events of the day locally, as well as on a statewide, nationwide and sometimes, worldwide level; preached the politics of its publisher, a common use for newspaper of that day; served as a community bulletin board, social calendar and recorder of births and deaths and it was also a forum/advertisement outlet for the business person wishing to the hawk his wares.
Ads in these old publications reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of men such as James Emmitt, Waverly's foremost politician and businessman of the past who once ran a full page ad in the Waverly Paper claiming that gold had been discovered in a small county creek. Of course, it to proved to be a plot to lure the people to a new community.
The seed that yielded the News Watchman was planted in the early 1800's, perhaps as early as the founding of Jefferson (present day Piketon, which severed as the first Pike County government seat) in 1814, though this very early portion of Pike County history is not altogether clear. The earliest publication known to have existed is the Waverly Democrat, which was first printed in 1832 and served as its name implies, as a staple for the early Democratic settlers in the county.
With the rise of James Emmitt's industrial and political power came changes, the transfer of the county seat from Piketon to Waverly (1861) and the change of the name of the Waverly Democrat to the somewhat conventional Waverly News. The name would remain until the early 1900's when yet another change, this time reflecting the opinion of another political party, took place. The Republican Herald served as the county's new source. In this incarnation, the paper would keep people abreast of news concerning births, deaths, and perhaps most importantly, the happening of soldiers fighting overseas in two world wars.
In 1954, the publication adopted the name of the Waverly Watchman, though Republican Herald was still printed on the header of the front page. Finally around the year 1960, a variation of the present name was set in place, the Waverly Watchman. This paper, like the current Pike County News Watchman, was published twice weekly and focused on the local news and personal interest stories of citizens of that time.
The 1990's brought about a new header that focuses on Waverly's rich history in the canal era and a partnership with the Pike-Ross Paper, a TMC product that focuses on local businesses and county events. This free publication reaches each of 10,500 homes in pike County and many in Ross County. The traditions of the first Waverly newspapers are still alive and well in today's editions of the News Watchman, along with some more amenities.
Our publication will continue to grow and, with at growth, bring the readers of Pike County the news that matters to them.
Pike County Progress Report
Waverly News Watchman
Copyright © 2007
Pike Co. Genealogy & Historical Society
P. O. Box 224, Waverly, Ohio 45690