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Since becoming the country’s first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory in April 1787, the citizens of Marietta and Washington County had been starving for a solid, long-lasting newspaper to deliver the news of the community in a timely fashion.
To fill that void, The Marietta Times was founded in 1864, ending a long line of smaller newspapers in the Marietta area.
One of the those early papers was the Marietta Minerva which survived about 13 months. The Marietta and Washington County Pilot was first published April 7, 1826, the 39th anniversary of the town’s settlement at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers. The Pilot supposedly was neutral in tone but did endorse Andrew Jackson for President in 1827. The Pilot ceased publication in 1830.
It wasn’t until the next year that the ancestor to the present-day Marietta Times was born.
On Jan. 8, 1831, John Brough, a native Mariettan bought the defunct Pilot and began the Western Republic and Marietta Advertiser. The paper was published in Marietta for about two years before transferring to Parkersburg, W.Va., and then to Lancaster. It wasn’t until the paper moved its operation to Lancaster that Brough first gained notoriety. He ran a successful campaign for the Ohio General Assembly, as representative from Fairfield and Hocking counties.
Another early Marietta newspaper, The Intelligencer, began to be published in the summer of 1839. Beman Gates, the editor, produced the paper along with George W. and Charles D. Tyler as publishers. The paper was larger than any previously issued. Three hundred copies of the first issue were printed. Gates also had bureaus in Cincinnati, Columbus and Pittsburgh.
In 1853, the New Orleans and Ohio telegraph line was established from Wheeling, W.Va, to the Gulf of Mexico. The paper received word of the inauguration of President Taylor by telegraph.
Perhaps it was The Intelligencer that laid the groundwork for what would become the role of a local newspaper. With the arrival of papers from Cincinnati by railroad, the Intelligencer’s news focus became purely local. The large telegraphic budget for national and world news was suspended.
During the 1840s, Brough moved to Cincinnati to study law. The journalism bug bit him once again. He bought the Phenix from Moses Dawson and started the Enquirer along with his brother, Charles H. Brough. Brough was directly or indirectly responsible for what would later become two well-known newspapers in Ohio, The Marietta Times and The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Meanwhile, back in Marietta, the city was still starving for a Democratic newspaper it could depend on. There were several more attempts to start such a newspaper. John S. McCracken started one in 1834. However, things apparently became too much to handle. After eight weeks, the paper folded with a note left by McCracken stating, “I’m off, as the fly said when it lit on the mustard pot.”
Charles B. Flood then started the Marietta Democrat in August 1835. He soon sold it to Daniel Radebaugh Jr. who issued another short-lived newspaper, the Washington County Democrat. That newspaper was revived in 1844 by J.C.C. Carroll who ran it through the presidential election, when it closed.
Amos Layman, a graduate of Marietta College, finally was able to get a more profitable Democratic newspaper off the ground when he established the ironically named The Marietta Republican.
E. Winchester began publishing The Home News in May 1859. Three years later, it was sold to R.M. Stimson, who merged it with another area paper, The Register.
The Marietta Republican suspended publication, leaving Marietta without a Democratic newspaper for nearly a year.
On Sept. 24, 1864, Walter C. Hood brought his printing equipment from Ironton to begin publishing The Marietta Times. The Marietta Times has operated continuously in Marietta longer than any other business.
Hood sold the company to S.M. McMillen, who expanded the newspaper to eight columns. McMillen was owner-publisher until Aug. 1, 1890, when he sold the newspaper to B.J. McKinney and his two sons, Frank and Will. The McKinney sons bought out their father on Sept. 10, 1908.
For more than 50 years, the McKinney sons operated the company. Between 1908 and 1927, they purchased two other local daily newspapers, The Journal and the Register. Several weekly newspapers still operating during these years ceased publication.
In 1962, Frank McKinney sold his interest in the paper to his brother’s children. In 1969, the Times moved from downtown Marietta to a new building with offset printing equipment at 700 Channel Lane. The first paper to roll off the presses at the new Channel Lane location was dated Oct. 6, 1969.
The McKinney family operated the newspaper until May 9, 1974, when the property was acquired by Gannett Co. Inc. Gannett was founded in 1906 by Frank E. Gannett when he held joint ownership in the Elmira (N.Y.) Gazette. Today, Gannett owns more daily newspapers than any other publisher in the United States. W.E. McKinney continued as publisher of The Marietta Times until August 1979.
Today, The Marietta Times serves southeastern Ohio and north central West Virginia. The Times also produces a weekly publication, River Times. River Times serves readers in St. Marys, W.Va.
Ogden Newspapers, which purchased The Times in 2001, has a long-standing presence in the region. The company also publishes The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and Marietta AM as well as several other Ohio Valley newspapers.
“We want our newspapers to be strong, active, community-minded, locally-edited newspapers,” Robert Nutting, chief executive officer of Ogden Newspapers Inc., said at the time of the Marietta newspaper’s acquisition. “We encourage our editors and publishers to participate and take leading roles in civic and community projects. We intend to present balanced and complete news coverage of our entire circulation area, which we hope will be of interest and service to our readers and our communities.”
The Ogden Newspapers Inc. is a fourth-generation newspaper company founded by H.C. Ogden in 1890 in Wheeling, W.Va., and is owned by his descendants, the Nutting family. The company operates 40 daily newspapers in 12 states, mainly in the Midwest and eastern United States. The company publishes several weekly newspapers as well as magazines.
The Marietta Times’ website — MariettatTimes.com — give readers easy access to the paper and gives them news they can use. The website often draws more than 300,000 visitors per month and contains more than 35,000 pages of content.
The local commitment is reflected on the Opinion Page with a strong and clear editorial stand.
The past is a prologue to the future as The Marietta Times continues to provide a solid community news report in a timely fashion.
Important dates in the history of The Times
Sept. 24, 1864 — Walter C. Hood brings his printing equipment from Ironton to begin publishing the weekly Marietta Times. The Marietta Times has operated continuously in Marietta, longer than any other business.
Aug. 3, 1871 — Hood sells the company to S.M. McMillen, who expands the newspaper to eight columns.
Aug. 1, 1890 — McMillen is owner-publisher until Aug. 1, 1890, when he sells the newspaper to B.J. McKinney and his two sons, Frank and Will.
1898 — The Marietta Times begins daily publication.
Sept. 10, 1908 — The McKinney sons buy out their father.
1908 to 1927 — The McKinney sons purchased two other local daily newspapers, The Journal and the Register. Several weekly newspapers still operating during these years ceased publication.
1962 — Frank McKinney sells his interest in the paper to his brother’s children.
1969 — The Times moves from next to the Washington County Courthouse Annex in downtown Marietta to a new building with offset printing equipment at 700 Channel Lane.
Oct. 6, 1969 — The first paper rolls off the presses at the new Channel Lane location.
May 9, 1974 — Gannett Co. Inc. acquires The Marietta Times from the McKinney family.
August 1979 — W.E. McKinney retires as publisher of The Marietta Times.
1993 — The Marietta Times is named Most-Improved Runner-up in Gannett’s Best of Gannett contest.
1997 — The Marietta Times wins a record number (nine) Well Done awards.
June 2001 — Gannett donates The Times to the Gannett foundation, a week later the paper is sold to Ogden Newspapers.