Stewart family begins their 89th year of association
with the community's second oldest business
institution - second only to the Farmers &
Merchants Bank which celebrates its 103rd Anniversary
this year. Hats off to this leader of the
Community - in service and longevity.
The Orfordville Journal printed its first issue, Vol.
1, No. 1, December 17, 1908, The paper had a hard time
making a go of it -lasting only for a few months when
the owner, S. H. Graves left the village to return to
his native Illinois.
Mr. Graves came to Orfordville from Bogard, MO, where
he was editor of the Bogard Dispatch for two years. The
equipment for the newspaper came from Forreston, IL,
where Graves brother had combined two papers into one
and the extra printing equipment and type was shipped to
Orfordville. The first newspaper office was in the
building now occupied by Villa Pizza Inn.
The paper struggled for some time, and became
indebted to the Farmers & Merchants Bank, which
became owner of the equipment and name. Stock was sold
under the name of the Orfordville Printing Company for
$5.00 a share. Mr. Norval Hendrickson was employed to
operate the business as he had been an employee of the
printing company since it started. Shares in excess of
$1,000 were sold to local business people and residents
and the bank loan were paid off.
Mr. Hendrickson managed the paper for a year,
purchasing it for $1,000, thereby paying back the
stockholders. He was editor and publisher until 1916
when he sold to Ward A. Stewart, a young man of 22
years, from Chicago, IL - hometown Winslow, IL.
Here Ward A. Stewart, with the help of many local
women, weekly set the type and published a newspaper. On
Tuesdays, young ladies would come to the office to begin
setting the type for the weekly paper. Each letter had
to be picked our of a case (drawer) and placed in a
"stick" where words, lines, sentences, paragraphs, and
finally stories took shape. The type was transferred to
long metal trays called "galleys" where the type would
be inked, paper place on top, and a roller pulled across
to form an image.
The galley proofs were read and errors marked and
then were sent back to the typesetters who in turn
corrected the mistakes.
Later, these galleys of type along with
advertisements, also set from handset type, were place
together in a metal frame, called a "form". Each form
held one page and was "locked into position" with
triangular shaped metal pieces called "coins". The pages
would be carried to the press where they were placed on
the "bed" and made ready for printing.
Two pages could be run at one time. As the first two
pages were being run off on the Taylor One Revolution
Cylinder Press, the final two pages were being readied
by the typesetters. As the first pages were taken off
the press at the completion of the run, the second pair
replaced them and the sheets of paper were then moved
back to the feed board of the press and sent thru the
printing process for a second time, completing the four
"broadsheet" pages of the newspaper.
While the second set of pages were being printed, the
lady typesetters washed down the inked type with lye,
took it from the forms and replaced in into the type
trays from where they had recently taken it and the type
was ready for the next weeks newspaper to begin all over
When completed pages came off the press, some of the
ladies took the papers and folded them three times,
slitting the heads so the paper was ready for mailing
while others replaced the final type in the cases.
One of a number of galleys of typeset names was
placed in a "Wing Mailer" after being inked with a small
brayer (roller). An individual paper was placed into the
mailer and a handle lowered, forcing the paper onto the
inked type, receiving the name of one subscriber. As the
handle was raised, the galley moved forward one name,
ready for the next paper to be placed in position to
receive it's address. As each galley of names was
completed, another replaced it in the "Wing" mailer.
Papers were mailed via the U.S. Postal Service in
those days as it continues to be done today. Flat copies
of the papers were taken to the local post office where
they were sorted into the various boxes. Papers destined
for other communities were bundled and placed in mailing
bags at the Post Office. They were sent by train to
surrounding villages and cities, where they were carried
to the addresses on each paper by a postman. Today, all
papers are bagged for destination, marked with UPC
labels and delivered to the Post Office
Late in July of that first year, a young 19 year old
girl by the name of Rose Mani came to Orfordville and
became part of the newspaper she would call home for
more than 75 years. On Aug. 2nd of 1916, the couple ù
Ward and Rose ù were married on a Wednesday night in the
parsonage of the Orfordville Lutheran Church ... after
the Orfordville Journal had been printed and put to bed.
Elmer and Iva Burtness were their witnesses. Only a
small two paragraph notice on the following week's front
page alluded to the wedding. (Elmer was the original
owner of the Cozy Corner Restaurant, later to become
owner of Burtness Chevrolet Sales.)
In 1920, the building housing the newspaper was
needed by its owner and the paper went looking for new
headquarters. The only empty building in the community
was at the far end of the business area and had been a
bakery, restaurant, and Tailor shop for a number of
years, but was vacant at the time.
The owner of the building thought he had Mr. Stewart
over a barrel and asked tremendous sum, more than it was
worth. The man who owned the lot the building was on,
gave the buildin owner 24 hours to sell it to Mr.
Stewart at a proper price or "get it the "hell off" his
land the next day". The deal went thru and the paper
moved to its present quarters.
For the next 45 years, the newspaper grew and
expanded its territory. With the addition of the
Footville News section in 1925, the purchase of a new
Model 8 Linotype became necessary, the typesetting
monstrosity was purchased for $6,000 and brought the
newspaper current with other local papers. Corrections
were made easier by the insertion of a complete line of
metal rather than just one letter, which had to be
justified by hand to keep the right and left margins
equal. The mechanical marvel allowed one person to do
the typesetting of three or four, setting the type into
neat lines called "slugs", each holding a complete line
of words that made up the sentences and paragraphs of
In 1926, an addition was built to the building to
house a new press and an office. A second story gave
additional room to the apartment above, where Ward and
Rose Stewart made their home.
Rose Stewart, ran the Linotype much of the time, but
at this time the family was about to be joined by a
"printer's devil" in 1927. During this time Gertrude
Hanson, a local housewife became a typesetter for the
Orfordville Journal and Footville News. The second
section of the paper ù The Footville News ù added to the
paper with advertisements and news of the neighboring
When Rose returned to her Linotype, she brought with
her a crib in which son, George, spent his first year,
learning the printing trade at the knee of his mother
A new two-revolution Whitlock press was added at this
time, to replace the older Taylor press, so more pages
could be printed at one time and the paper finished with
less effort and in quicker time.
Ward and Rose Stewart printed the Orfordville Journal
and Footville News every week, until World War II when
they took six weeks off to help farmers in the fields
during harvest when help was scarce. This was the only
time the Orfordville Journal and Footville News missed
publication on Wednesday for more than one week.
The first generation - Ward and Rose
Stewart - have since passed on - the
paper is now published by their son George and his wife,
Betty Lou Dansin Stewart. For a number of years, the
third generation of Stewart offspring were involved in
the publication of the Journal/News - but finally
leaving to pursue highter education and other forms of
employment - one within the printing industry and others
in various occupations.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the
Journal/News suffered along will all other businesses
and times were tough.
On a poster found in the Footville State Bank when it
moved into its new quarters on Century Lane in that
village, a subscription drive was described.
Premiums were offered as an incentive for pre-payment
of the subscription ù price $1.50. Some of the premiums
offered were a jack knife, 13-piece glass & pitcher
set, paper toweling with holder (a new item at this
time), a hammer, and a broom. Any of these items could
be gotten from Satrang Hardware with proof of the paid
The drive which ended on April 1, 1937 had the
following paragraph at the bottom of the poster:
"We will accept fresh eggs and poultry at market
price on your subscription."
We didn't go hungry in those days, but we ate a lot
of eggs and chicken.
Today the Orfordville Journal and Footville News is
put together with the help of computers, laser printers,
the internet, scanners, and digital cameras. The paper
is prepared in paste up form, and taken to the
Independent-Register in Brodhead, where third generation
Publisher Kim Markham, with the help of Brian Snell,
prepare the negatives and plates for the printing press.
In less than one hour from leaving Orfordville, the
paper is pre-pressed, printed, folded, bundled and
returned to the Journal/News office on East Spring
Street in Orfordville. Here with the help of Lori (Mrs.
Lyle) Stall, the papers are addressed, bundled and
sacked, ready to be taken to the Orfordville Post
Office. There, the Postmaster completes the paper
work and the papers travel to Madison via a "Star Route"
carrier to be redistributed all across the Nation and
sometimes across the seas.
Pages One, Four, Five, and Eight of
"Orfordville Journal", dated December 17, 1908
were composed in the newspaper office, the
other four pages were pre-printed and
purchased from Western Newspaper Union of