Commissioner Buck was “printer’s devil” on Gaylord’s first newspaper, The Register

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Originally published in the February 20, 1931 issue of The Gaylord Hub.

Announcement of the beginning of the 45th year of The Hub last week, brought back memories to Commissioner A. C. Buck of Arlington, who officiated as “devil” on the first paper in Gaylord, The Register, published for six months by James S. Mills. Mr. Buck writes of the early day of Gaylord, when he was with The Register, in the following article:

Announcement of The Hub’s 45th Birthday vividly brings to my mind fond recollections of Gaylord’s first newspaper, the old Gaylord Register. As many of your present readers perhaps do not know that Gaylord ever had any other newspaper than the Hub, I think it might prove interesting to know something of its history.

The Register was established in 1883 and was the first newspaper to be started in the county outside of Henderson. It was founded by Liberty Hall of Glencoe, a well known publisher and editor of those days, and the outfit consisted of an old hand press, a few cases of type and an imposing stone, some galleys, a planer, mallet and shooting stick, etc.

James S. Mills was the editor and publisher and I had the honor of serving under him as apprentice or “printer’s devil” for six months from Oct. 1, ’83 to April 1, ’84. The office was upstairs in a frame building where the Busch block now stands, but it was afterwards moved to the ground floor of a building near the Timm Tailor shop, where the post office was also located, Mr. Mills having been appointed postmaster, and I received the appointment of mail carrier to and from the depot. In those days It was the rule that where a post office was located more than a half mile from the depot the government relieved the agent of the onerous duty of carrying the mail.

Real news of a local nature was rather scarce in the early days, but Editor Mills proved a very versatile writer and his editorial column was a feature of the paper, and county. State and county politics were played up more by the local papers than they do now. The Register failed to prove a paying venture, however, and in the summer of 1884 it suspended publication and the outfit was purchased by E. H. McLeod and moved to Arlington, where it became the Enterprise.

Gaylord was a “boom” town in those days and business was brisk, but as wheat was practically the only cash crop raised it was seasonable, and the stores could easily take care of their trade with a clerk or two. Among the business places here then were a store down in what was known as “Frogtown” established by the Poehlers of Henderson, a store operated by Henry Boettcher on the corner where the Standard Oil Station is now located, and another store conducted by C. F. Thoele & Son, a tinshop conducted by William Dretschko, a blacksmith shop by Mr. Strebel, a wagonshop by Chas. Maurer, who by the way is still doing business at the old stand, an elevator and a drug store; two hotels, one conducted by John Clasen, where the movie house now stands, and another conducted by Aug. Ohrmundt on Main street, in the building now occupied by the tailor shop. The First State Bank was doing a flourishing business with W. G. Comnick as cashier and was the head office of the Pacific Elevator Co. L. Rothmund had a harness shop at the old stand, Deterlings a furniture store, a man named Meyer had a butcher shop and there were several saloons, one conducted by C. H. Spellmann, and the hotels of course had their bars. Sternke had a lumber yard and O. H. Steinke had a hardware store and tin shop; Dr. D. N. Jones was the physician and surgeon, and I think Atty. MacKenzie came in about that time, or was there, but I am not sure.

– A .C. Buck.

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