Old Newspaper Clippings

Hamilton Co., IL

by Charles E. Hatton

          The Dahlgren Echo was established in 1899 by Theodore P. Stelle, a school teacher.  Mr. Stelle published The Echo for two years.  Selling in 1901 to G. T. Rhodes who had taught school in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois for thirty-three years, and had learned the printing trade working in newspaper offices in Ohio.  Mr. Rhodes published The Echo until 1927 when failing health and eyesight forced him to retire.

          In 1927 Mr. Rhodes leased the plant of James Hamilton who continued publication until his death.

          Euel Morgan, a school teacher with a journalism major leased the plant after the death of Mr. Hamilton and continued publication until1933 when he sold The Echo to A. D. Haines.

          Mr. Haines published The Echo until 1950 when he sold to Fred Underwood.  Mr. Underwood never published the paper from the Dahlgren office but moved the equipment into the plant of the March of Progress at McLeansboro.  The March of Progress had been established by Warner F. Hamilton in 1934 and published by him until 1950.

          On July 1, 1950 the Times-Leader of McLeansboro bought both The Dahlgren Echo and The March of Progress and suspended publication of both papers soon thereafter.  My notes say publication of The Echo was suspended late in 1951.

          After the sale of The Echo in 1901, Theodore P. Stelle returned to the teaching profession in Illinois and Indiana.

          G. T. Rhodes, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Rhodes, was born in Pleasant City, Ohio, September 8, 1851, died at Mt. Vernon, Ill., March 21, 1928.  He began teaching school in Ohio at the age of 17, and continued his education so that when he came to Illinois he held a first grade teacher's certificate  August 7, 1882 he married Alice Hatton, and to them were born four children: Myra, Theron, Raymond and Clarence H.

          In the picture, taken in front of The Echo office about 1908-10, are: Mr. Rhodes, owner and editor; Paul Sharp, printer; and in the doorway, Clarence H. Rhodes, printer.

          In the beginning he employed two printers, but when the printers moved to other fields the boys took their turn at the type case and assisted in the operation of the shop.  Then as the boys matured and went on to other pursuits it left only Mr. Rhodes, his son Clarence and his wife to conduct the business.  And this is where I started my career in the printing trade hand-setting type in The Echo office.  From there I went to McLeansboro to work for J. C. Hooker in The Leader office.  In The Leader office I learned to operate a linotype machine, and then went to Covington, Ind., DuQuoin, West Frankfort, Lacon, and Danville, Ill.  In Danville I spent 18 months on the Morning Press and when it was merged with The Commercial-News went to The Commercial-News and was there a little more than 40 years, most of the time setting type for display advertising, some classified advertising and monitoring tele-typesetters.  I retired December 31, 1967.

           A. D. Haines published The Echo for 17 years, and after the sale of The Echo he operated a commercial print shop in Dahlgren, putting in ;more than 30 years in the printing business in Dahlgren.

         Type for The Echo and all commercial work done in the shop was set by hand.  There never was a linotype or other mechanical type casting machine in the shop.

          When The Dahlgren Echo was established, Dahlgren was a thriving village in an agricultural community.  But with the advent of better modes of travel and better roads, business to sustain a newspaper moved to the larger towns around.

          I have a copy of The Echo for Thursday, November 5, 1925, and in it are advertised: A Ford Runabout (new) for $260; sugar, 16 lbs. for %1.00; potatoes 50˘ a peck; oats and corn flakes 10˘ a pkg.; Snow Boy Washing Powder, reg. size, 3 for 10˘.  Why do I have this copy? It contains the announcement of my wedding.

          Mrs. Alice Rhodes was my father's sister and well I remember the times they came to visit when I was a child.  They came on the train from Dahlgren to McLeansboro, then hired a livery rig to drive the four miles out in the country where we lived.  Always there were gifts of fruits and some sweets.

          Names and people I remember from my short employment in Dahlgren more than forty-five years ago ago: Dr. Whited, the wonderful country doctor who lived next door to the Rhodes' and took care of them during all their illness, but never sent a bill.  Of course there was always a professional card for him in The Echo, and he never had a bill for printing either.  Bill Acks, the genial cashier of the State Bank, and Mr. Rhodes good friend.  On a recent visit I met his daughter, Italene, who working in the bank.  She now operates a grocery store.  Then there were the Winkler boys, Hugh and Clyde.  Their father was a mail carrier and the boys have gone on to make their mark in the teaching profession.

          The evening the paper came out the first week I worked at The Echo office the post office was filled with the towns people and I went down too, to get acquainted and see if I could pick up a news item or two.  While we were waiting for the distribution of the mail a group of young people gathered and began to talk in loud whispers that I could hear about some one breaking into the blacksmith shop and getting away with the anvil.  This was a joke for my ears, to get me to make inquiries about the robbery.  When I reported to Mr. Rhodes, he got a good laugh out of it!

Pub. Goshen Trails, January 1969, p. 5
Printed by permission.

©copyrighted 2000 by Carol Lee Yarbrough

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