In August, 1934, The Grafton News succeeded the Grafton Press. The first issue came from the press on Friday, August 17,1934, and published weekly in the interests of the Democratic party of Taylor County by the West Virginia Newspaper Publishing Company who brought C. Fredrick Schroder from Morgantown as editor of the newest Democratic journal in Grafton to assume charge.
The Grafton News, a six page eight column paper, was nicely printed and illustrated and contained many items of interest both locally and foreign. The display advertisements were attractive, and on a whole the new paper was a most attractive addition to the newspaper readers of Grafton.
Fredrick Schroder continued as editor and manager of the Grafton Weekly News until October 24, 1937, and on that day resigned to accept a position as editor and publisher of the Roane County Reporter at Spencer, West Virginia. Thomas Cummings who served as circulation manager of the Grafton News was appointed editor to fill the vacancy and still is at the head of the newspaper as editor and manager.
And what a differed appearance the newspapers of today has from the newspapers of 60 years ago and under what different surroundings they are printed today with the machines and automatic devices that do almost everything that the printer of six decade did by hand. The editor and compositor of sixty years ago was a master of English and orthography, he had to be as he had none of the aids that all modern newspapers are equipped with in this day and a perusal of the Pruntytown Gazette published in 1854 is evidence that his sensitive fingers and alert mind made no errors in composition. One can almost visualize those old print shops in whose littered dusty depths so much of the history of events and happenings that were put on paper in the days when Taylor County was yet in its infantile age.
We who recall those old print shops of days long gone, with their hand presses worked by a husky man and ink slabs over which a rubber roller operated by a lad was run to ink the type for each imprint of the paper can almost look back to those years and still see:
“Here week by week the busy aged man,
His nimble fingers put together;
The living story of the countyside,
In rows of blunt leaded type-a cunning plan,
For this and that, crops, changing weather.
In stoic rows; the dead man and the bride,
Week after week, the mill pond is dry,
The hay is cut, the doctor’s daughter wed,
The shifting pageant forms and passes by
Week after week the living and dead.
Those blunt historic type that tell so much,
That make a fading record of the days,
Are idle now, and cold to the touch
Yet, here, as generations go their ways,
All that their lives can find to say is said.
The print is made-the type distributed.
Long gone is the print shop if bygone years,
The aged man, his ancient old hand press,
The forms that told the story of hopes and fears;
Of love, life, ambitions, wealth and stress,
New birth, new modes, new things, pomp and shows,
Machines now click out the news from near and wide,
His nimble fingers once set in measured rows,
To tell the living story of the countryside.”
Now, the Grafton Sentinel that for 69 years chronicled the events and happenings of the past is still under the control of the descendant of him who printed the first issue of the journal on that memorable Friday, April 8, 1870, but is now equipped with all the modern aids the founder never dreamed of in the beginning. If all of the old files of this newspaper had been preserved what a wonderful lot of history could be gleaned from those old issues concerning the people, the many changes, the shift in population, the improvements, the passing of the first pioneer settlers one by one who were laid to rest far from the place of their nativity, the many political changes, the erection of new temples of worship, building of new school houses to instruct the coming generations, the men and women who labored faithfully for the betterment and uplift of the less fortunate; the strides made in transportation, the coming of more comfortable a d luxurious travel, the near disappearance of the horse, the telephone, radio that permits one to become aware of all that happens in the world the moment of its occurrence, the elimination of the many scourges that in the past frequently ravaged the town; the complete disappearance of many disease breeding menaces with the installation of sanitary measures, the many safety devices adopted to prevent injury and loss of life to those engaged in hazardous occupations and so many other things brought about for the welfare of the people and the community, would indeed be illuminating to the people of this day and age.
Only the mere few that still live since the Grafton Sentinel was established and saw the many changes that came with the passing of the years really appreciate the difference in living conditions that have come about since 1870.