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The Courier

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The Peninsular Courier and Family Visitant continued under the management of Dr. Chase until August 30, 1869, when Rice A. Beal purchased it for the sum of $65,000, of which $35,000 was in cash and $30,000 in real estate and personal property. Chase had offered Beal the business in 1867 for $37,000, but Beal refused the offer. The property finally purchased in 1869 included the Courier's printing business as well as the newspaper and the publishing rights in three books, the most important of which was Dr. Chase's famous Receipt Book. Chase agreed not to engage in the publishing business in the state of Michigan as long as Beal should do so. He also agreed that Beal was to receive all the mail coming in to Dr. Chase except those letters marked "personal."

Beal's first issue of the Courier was that of September 3, 1869. Charles G. Clarke was engaged as editor. 1 In December Lorenzo Davis became editor and remained so until the issue of May 6, 1870, when his name disappeared from the editorial head. In June, Clarke was again made editor. The paper was Republican in politics and supported Grant for re-election. Beal, in fact, was a delegate from the second Michigan district to the convention that renominated Grant in 1872. During the latter part of 1872, the Courier began to extend its influence and to increase its business by carrying more local items, and in December of that year it advertised for paid correspondents for every town and village in the county. Soon Chelsea items began to appear, and then items from other places. Articles relating to local history became very frequent.

But the expanding newspaper encountered some small difficulty through the beginning of unionization. The oldest labor union in Ann Arbor is without doubt Typographical Union No. 154, organized January 23, 1872. Its officers for the first year were Frank Byrkit, president; Robert G. McCracken, vice-president; John Harris, Jr., recording and corresponding secretary; Frank Campbell, financial secretary; Robert Shannon, treasurer; Duane B. Dunn, sergeant-at-arms; Frank Byrkit, John Harris, Jr., and Robert Shannon, business committee. 2 The organization is brought in here because there was an immediate clash with the Courier. Beal was out of the city when the organization was formed, and after his return, he discharged the foreman of the press "for reasons of my own" on February 13. The foreman happened to be the president of the Typographical Union, so all the men struck, except one who was apparently forced to stop working. 3 On February 16, the Courier advertised for help:
Wanted, at this office, fifteen sober, industrious book compositors to whom I will pay as high wages as are paid in the state. None but FIRST CLASS WORKMEN NEED APPLY. I also want a good competant man for FOREMAN of the Job department.
I have no time to answer letters. All good workmen who come within one week will be employed, or their expenses in coming will be paid.

Within a few days the strike was broken.
The Strike. - Last Friday evening the members of the newly formed printers' union of this city disbanded their organization and nearly all the men that had left came back and commenced work. I have had from two to four applications a day this week, so that now I have all the help I need.
All the work I have on hand will be finished according to agreement, and I am ready to do all the work that comes. 4

The Courier was wrong, however, in stating that the union had disbanded. It not only celebrated its first anniversary with a banquet in January 1873 5 but also lived on to trouble the Courier at least twice more with better success. It is still in existence at the present time (1959).

On August 30, 1872, the Ann Arbor Printing and Publishing Company filed articles of association with the county clerk of Washtenaw County. There were to be 500 shares of stock at $100 each which were subscribed as follows: Dr. Alvin W. Chase, 250; James
C. Watson, 200; Henry S. Dean, 15; Sedgwick Dean, 15; Zina P. King, 10; and Henry Krause, 10. This company began to get out a new edition of Dr. Chase's Receipt Book and a newspaper called the Ann Arbor Register, the latter making its appearance on December 6, 1872. Chase began to advertise his new Receipt Book as better than the old one; he also directed the postmaster to put in his box all letters addressed to him, whether personal or not. He had decided that his agreement with Beal was a violation of the common law in restraint of trade and hence void.

On October 17, Beal applied for an injunction against the new company. This was denied on October 25, and there the situation rested until July 14, 1873, when Beal's injunction was granted. This suspended all the work of the Ann Arbor Printing and Publishing Company except the Register, which was permitted to continue until the expiration of its advertising contracts. The case came up for hearing in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court in the spring of 1874. The circuit court gave its final decree on June 1 enjoining the defendant permanently from publication of the Receipt Book and the Register as long as Chase should be connected with the concern. The court reserved until a later date the question of the legality of Chase's attempt to take all the letters addressed to him.

In the meantime, Chase had transferred his interest to Prof. James C. Watson and had gone to Toledo to organize a company under the laws of Ohio to which the Ann Arbor Printing and Publishing Company assigned all its rights. This was an obvious subterfuge to circumvent the contract with Beal in case the courts should find it legal. Chase also appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Michigan where it was argued on October 16, 21, and 22, 1874. In the meantime, in September 1874, Judge Crane, the circuit judge of Washtenaw County, decided in favor of Beal in regard to the letters, and granted him damages of $10,316.36. Chase appealed this decision also which was argued before the Supreme Court on January 19 and 20, 1875. The final decision of the higher court, given on April 27, 1875, was entirely in favor of Beal. 6 This decision consists of two parts: the brief final decision written by Judge Campbell and concurred in by Judges Graves and Cooley, and a separate opinion of great length, headed "The following opinion was prepared by Judge Christiancy prior to his resignation, and on his retirement was left with the court to be filed in said cause on its final determination." In it he concurred entirely with the other judges, but went into greater detail and told the whole story of the transaction between Beal and Chase.

In December 1875 the first news of a bitter and long drawnout case was published. This is the famous Rose-Douglas case. Douglas was professor of Chemistry in the University of Michigan and had an assistant named Rose to whom was delegated the task of handling the students' laboratory fees. Both men were careless about the detailed accuracy necessary in such transactions, and it was discovered that considerably more money had been taken in than had been turned over to the regents. A quiet investigation by the university authorities followed, in which the regents placed most of the blame on the assistant. The system was tightened up, Rose was suspended, and the whole case thought to be closed. But there were others involved and interested in the matter. Beal had come into conflict with Professor Douglas in business matters and apparently had acquired a distrust and dislike for him, so he took up the defence of Rose and carried the affair to the legislature. Beal's power there was very great owing to his position as chairman of the executive committee of the Republican State Central Committee. A legislative committee of investigation was set up. It studied the case and decided in favor of Rose. The situation was thus deadlocked until the case got into the courts for adjudication, where the decision was for Douglas. Beal made the whole state ring with his charges and caused considerable embarrassment to the university. Even when the courts decided in favor of Douglas, Beal was not satisfied and kept fanning the embers until his death.

In the meantime, with the issue of April 14, 1876, the Peninsular Courier and Family Visitant had become the Ann Arbor Courier. In December 1877, the Courier printed a letter signed by a law student, Clarence Darrow, later the noted criminal lawyer, denying that he had left his rooming place without paying his rent, as he was accused of having done. In November 1876, the Courier was giving Robert Ingersoll an unfriendly welcome on the occasion of his appearance in Ann Arbor to deliver the lecture that shocked his contemporaries so much, «Some Mistakes of Moses." The appearance of Die Washtenaw Post, a German newspaper, was noted with the remark that «our German education having been neglected, we are unable to judge as to its merits." In April 1880, there was a note about the first telephone in Ann Arbor. It was strung from the engine house in the Fifth Ward to Fireman's Hall in the Fourth in order to communicate rapidly in case of fire. In May of the same year the Ann Arbor Railroad had bridged the Huron River with a wooden span 1000 feet long and 18-1/2 feet over the Michigan Central tracks, which ran along beside the river. In October, Ann Arbor was trying out its new steam pumper, named the W. B. Smith. This was a great advance in fire fighting, but it necessitated one or more firemen on constant duty, and it needed a better supply of water. Hitherto the supply came from a number of large cisterns placed at strategic locations in the city. This was not an adequate system even before the arrival of the pumper, and afterwards it was worse. A survey of the cisterns the same month showed that the one near the Catholic church, for example, contained only sixteen inches of water!

4. Rice A. Beal, proprietor of the Ann Arbor Courier after the Civil War, a former Democrat turned Radical Republican.

In addition to his strenuous newspaper activities, Beal was interested in politics. He had almost captured the Republican gubernatorial nomination in the convention at Jackson in August 1880. He was indeed a very unusual man. In spite of the tenacity with which he stuck to his cause even when he was completely beaten, and in spite of his quarrels with his colleagues in the columns of the newspaper, 7 he was nevertheless a kind man. Although he had quarreled violently with Dr. Chase in the lawsuit over the establishment of the Register, he nonetheless felt sorry for him and later gave him employment when Chase was in needy circumstances. 8

The Ann Arbor Courier continued to be owned and edited by Beal until July 14, 1882, when he turned the editorship over to his adopted son, Junius E. Beal. Rice A. Beal died suddenly on October 3, 1883. The new editor soon took notice of a rival:
A new paper called the Prohibitionist made its appearance Monday October 30. It is nearly as large as the Daily News and is devoted to the purpose of booming the Prohibition Reform party ticket. 1,000 copies are claimed as the number of the issue and as it was distributed free it is probable the edition was exhausted. Its editorial on the county tickets was written in a fairer strain than we had expected but in several of its other articles it showed the inconsistencies which one naturally might look for in a sheet advocating such advanced prinCiples. It will issue a second edition Saturday evening November 4, which will contain a political sermon of Rev. Dr. Talmadge, in full, and other interesting matter. 9

The Courier under its new editorship was more restrained in tone although just as active as before in promoting civic projects. In the issue of August 26, 1885, there was an article suggesting that the abandoned roadbed of the old state-constructed Central Railroad be made into a natural park. This idea has since been partly carried out in the building of the Huron River Drive to Dexter, which runs to some extent over this old roadbed. The editor of the Courier was also interested in local transportation, having been a promoter of one of the first interurban lines in Michigan, the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti line, built in the fall of 1890. It consolidated with the city street car line in 1895 and was sold in 1898 to a company that wanted to run a long interurban line out from Detroit westward. 10

The Courier's second labor strike was apparently more successful than the first had been. News about it comes only from the columns of the Register which paper took great delight in any embarrassment that the Courier might have. On Monday, April 12, 1886, the compositors of the Courier and the Register struck for thirty cents per em instead of the prevailing rate of twentyfive. Both presses were idle during the day, and in the evening a compromise was effected by which the rate was to be thirty cents for four months. 11 What permanent settlement resulted from this strike is not known.

In 1890 Beal had a verbal battle with editor Sukey of the Hausfreund, a German newspaper. Some of Sukey's opinions did not please the editor of the Courier, so Beal referred to Sukey as an "anarchist," the contemporary equivalent of "communist." Sukey asked Beal to retract the accusation, but the latter replied in an editorial in which he defined the word "anarchist," stated why he thought the word specifically applied to Sukey, and refused to take the name back. 12 Nothing further apparently came of this.

The time of the daily newspaper was at hand, and the Courier made an attempt in this direction. On October 16, 1894, there appeared a daily paper called the Courier and Detroit Daily Journal. It cost ten cents a week and was delivered daily except Sunday. This was really a combination by which the Detroit Daily Journal furnished the Courier with its plates every day, the Courier adding a few local items. This venture lasted a little less than a year, for on September 28, 1895, it was given up.

The Courier's third strike occurred in October 1896. Typographical Union No. 154 at a regular meeting voted to close the Courier office to union printers because the office would pay only $8.00 a week, and the union scale was $12.00. The first news of it is the union's statement about the dispute in the Washtenaw Evening Times on October 12. The Courier published its side of the difficulty on October 14, and the union replied in an equally long statement in the Evening Times on October 17. In summary, the dispute was over an open or closed shop and originated in the Courier's attempt to economize on labor costs in view of the prolonged financial depression of the period. The traditional arguments were used on both sides. No information is available about the settlement of this strike.

The weekly Courier was continuing side by side with the daily Courier. It remained without change under the editorship of Beal until the Courier purchased the Ann Arbor Register on December 21, 1899, and became the Courier-Register. 13 Sometime within the next two years the newspaper was leased to the Ann Arbor Printing Company, although Beal continued to be listed on the editorial page as editor and proprietor.

The Ann Arbor Printing Company was organized on January 2, 1901. There were to be 9,500 shares of stock at $10 a share, and the articles of incorporation stated that over 50 per cent had already been paid in. The stockholders were listed as follows in the articles of incorporation, with the amount of stock held by each: Junius E. Beal, 2,350; Louis A. Pratt, 703; M. M. Hawxhurst, 700; D. A. Hammond, 363; Samuel W. Beakes, 362; John E. Travis, 150; and Hugh Brown, 58l. 14

When the Ann Arbor Printing Company fell into financial difficulties in the first months of 1902, the Courier-Register was offered for sale, but the company went into receivership in April 1902 before any sale was effected. Charles J. Johnson as receiver and James H. Junkin as editor took it over. With the issue of October 1, 1902, the newspaper had this lineup on its editorial head: Detroit Trust Company, publisher; Charles J. Johnson, manager; Otto H. Hans, editor. This continued for three weeks, or until October 22, when George F. Kenny of the Kenny Paper Company purchased the newspaper. Otto H. Hans continued as editor and proprietor until July 22, 1903, when the Times Printing Company purchased it, and Robert L. Warren, the principal stockholder of the Times Printing Company, became editor. This arrangement continued until the newspaper was discontinued on May 23, 1906.


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