A Century of Franklin Newspapers

Franklin enjoyed almost a century of its own weekly newspaper.

Beginning in 1855, George W. Reynolds published the Visitor and continued for over eight years, except for a two year hiatus while owner and editor of the Binghamton Standard. For the first year or so, it was the Weekly Visitor before being renamed the Franklin Visitor and finally The Franklin Visitor.

From the start it was a Republican paper. During the travails of the Civil War, the paper was sold to Sturtevant and McIntosh, who merged it with their recently begun Delaware Republican of Delhi. (Mr. Sturtevant had previously worked at the Visitor.) Eventually that paper became the current Delaware County Times. Mr. Reynolds blamed the excess of competition for sparse advertising with the three other Republican papers in the county.

Once the war was over and county life returned to normal, The Franklin Register began publication in 1868 as an independent paper by Hitchcock and Smith. Both Visitor and Register were folios (four pages), first of seven columns and then of six columns. Over the first eleven years, the Register went through several editors, returning to being a Republican paper under Nathan L. Lyon in 1877. (Mr. Hitchcock went on to start the Walton Chronicle, which competed with the Walton Reporter.) Always the motto of the Register was “Independent, Fearless, and Free”.

By 1879 there were thirteen newspapers in Delaware County. In that year, Joseph Eveland, who had apprenticed at the Visitor under Reynolds, bought paper from Lyon and edited it for the next 47 years; for most of those years with his son. wFour years into his editorship of The Franklin Register, he transformed it into the Delaware County Dairyman and Register, a quatro (eight pages) of five columns. In 1891, Eveland shortened the title to Delaware County Dairyman, but news from our Town continued to appear under the heading The Franklin Register until earliest 1936. In 1926, after his son died the year before, he sold the paper to S.B.D. Belden. Due to shortages during WW II, the paper had to be shortened in 1943 and ceased publication for 7½ months in 1944. Franklin’s paper resumed publication in November of 1944 under Jesse Palmater, soon returning to a full eight pages. In the last years, the paper was weakened by a shortage of advertising. The fatal blow was the loss of their printer. The final issue was 7 March 1952, and the final editorial is reprinted in our Town’s history “Through the years in the town of Franklin.”

Each paper began with a logo, centered in the masthead, which was appropriate for the times. The Visitor had a fighting eagle with shield, the Register had the seal of our Empire State, and the Dairyman had long-horned cows and a dairymaid. Through the years, the paper shrank from a 19 X 24 inch broadsheet Visitor, through a 16 X 22 inch tabloid Register, to a 12½ X 19½ tabloid Dairyman. Contents of the papers changed with the times. Visitor and Register had columns of dense 10 point text. The Dairyman continued in this manner until illustrations were introduced in the early 1900’s. Political cartoons were introduced in 1930, but a comic section was not introduced until the start of WW II. In contrast, advertising contained illustrations for the early years of the Visitor. Always a good buy, annual subscriptions of the Visitor and Register were variously $1.00 or $1.50, and those for the Dairyman were $1.50 until 1946 when they rose to $2.00.

Microfilms of most issues are at the Franklin Free Library, and some paper editions are preserved at the Delaware County Historical Society outside of Delhi, New York State Historical Society of Cooperstown, and Ouleout Valley Historical Society of Franklin.

The New Franklin Register continues this tradition. What you hold in your hand is a tabloid like the Dairyman, but at 11½ by 17 inches it is slightly smaller still – the same as the current Walton Reporter. The New Franklin Register has five columns, same as the Dairyman, but with 11 point type (slightly larger than the 10 point type in the Dairyman), making it easier to read. From our first issue, there has been humor, both written and cartoon. For a Franklin newspaper, there has never been a better bargain: Free! Your opinions and submissions can now be sent by mail.

The New Franklin Register is one of the topic of discussion at the monthly meetings of the Franklin Citizen’s Commission on Peak Oil, on the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Look for the location of each meeting posted in the Village and in the “What’s Going On” feature of The Daily Star.