Friday, November 14, 2008

Schoharie County's Paper

We all know the Times Journal. Local paper, news source, and so on. Most, however, don’t know even a brief history of it.

The first issue of the Times Journal appeared April 14, 1877, but it was named the “Cobleskill Herald”. The Herald was first owned by two men named Johnson and Roberts. Johnson and Roberts lived and worked in Oneonta, but they saw an opportunity to establish a new newspaper in a, then, rapidly growing county. Originally, the Herald triumphed the Republican cause, but the paper was successful, even though Cobleskill and Schoharie County were heavily Democrat.

At first, the Herald was four pages and was eight columns in width. After a few years, a man by the name of Miles G. Graham bought the paper. Although the paper was pro-Republican when it started, it was only mild. When Mr. Graham bought it, though, he made it vigorously Republican. In 1883, Charles T. Conover bought the paper. Mr. Conover was a native of Esperance.

Mr. Conover was a fluent and articulate writer, so therefore he was able to place the paper on firmer grounds. Also, Mr. Conover put the paper on firm grounds because he placed large amounts of money into it. Only a year later, though, Conover left the paper and moved to Seattle to invest in real estate. R. S. Keyser was the next owner of the paper. Keyser said that he had always wanted to write, but after just a few months he became the principle of the Middleburgh High School. Keyser placed his brother, Lynn, in charge. Lynn had little experience with management and things went terribly. In 1885, Erwin B. Hard bought the paper.

Mr. Hard was an ideal newspaperman. He was well trained, energetic, and a hard worker. Soon after he bought the paper he changed it’s name to the “Cobleskill Times”. Hard led the paper through prosperous times. The next publisher of the paper was Frank A. Linster, who became such in 1905. In 1908 Linster bought the first “linotype” machine for the paper, making it easier to print and set type, as compared to old machines that were set by hand.

Soon after 1908, a group of fifteen people bought the paper, hoping to voice a strong pro-prohibition statement. They soon realized, though, that the paper couldn’t run on sentiments alone, which led to the sale of the paper to George W. Jones in 1915. Jones found the paper to be to much trouble and sold it to Joseph R. Browne. Under Mr. Browne’s leadership, the paper did well, even during the hard days of World War 1.

On August 4, 1919, Charles L. Ryder purchased the paper. Mr. Ryder, who had also published the Cherry Valley Gazette and the Sharon Springs Record, merged these papers with the Cobleskill Times. In 1946, a paper called the “Schoharie County Journal” also merged with the Times, which formed the Times Journal.

The Journal was in the Ryder family until 1979, when Richard Sanford purchased it. In July of 1992, Jim Poole became owner and publisher of the paper. Currently, the paper has a circulation of 7200, with a readership of over 21000.

Although it has passed through many hands and many names, the Times Journal still stands today. If I were you, I’d go to a local store, right now, and buy a copy.


June 30, 1976 edition of the Times Journal.

David Avitabile

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