Today, a special clock was unveiled on the southeast corner of Sixth and Main streets in front of the Pavilion at Partners Park. It is being donated by the Marysville Journal-Tribune to honor the long and proud history of newspapers in Marysville and Union County as well to commemorate Marysville’s Bicentennial. We will try to tell the story here, in a simplified version, of the history of the oldest entity in Marysville … the newspaper business.
The first local newspaper was published 180 years ago in 1839. It was called “Our Freedom and Union County Advertiser.” During the next 20 years, that paper went out of business as did several others that appeared and then disappeared. Some of them were tied to a political party including the Whig and Democrat parties, and changed hands when the other party won. With others, the owners just ran out of money.
Finally, to bring order out of the confusion, John H. Shearer bought the Marysville Tribune, that had been in existence since 1849. He and his sons eventually expanded it to a daily paper and built the first newspaper building in 1879 on the same corner where the Pavilion and now the clock stand. They continued to publish it until 1924 when the Huber family purchased it.
Another newspaper founded in Marysville in 1874 was destined to make a name for itself. It was the Union County Journal, a weekly Democrat paper founded by Charles M. Kenton. It was purchased in 1904 by Bruce B. Gaumer, great-grandfather of current Journal-Tribune publisher Kevin Behrens.
The two papers – the Tribune and the Journal – co-existed for a number of years until 1951 when Gaumer bought the Tribune. He merged the two publications into the daily Journal-Tribune that continues under the same name today.
The Journal-Tribune is one of the few remaining single, family-owned daily newspapers in the United States having been passed down through four generations. Although time marches on, dedication of the clock also signifies that the mission statement of the J-T has been and always will be, “If it’s for the good of Marysville and Union County … we’re for it!”
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