Highland News Leader

Looking back at the history of Highland’s newspapers and its No. 1 outdoors writer

The Highland Union newspaper and printing office with the bakery of Burh & Arriden’s Baucherri (bakery). See the bakery sign above second floor windows of the Die Union building at 1010 Broadway, just three lots east of the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co.
The Highland Union newspaper and printing office with the bakery of Burh & Arriden’s Baucherri (bakery). See the bakery sign above second floor windows of the Die Union building at 1010 Broadway, just three lots east of the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co.

During the troublesome days of the Civil War, what was known as the Republican Literary Society, was formed here in Highland. The members of the society were at variance with the political principles expressed by Timothy Gruaz in his “Der Highland Bote” newspaper. As a result, on Oct. 24, 1863, a second German newspaper was started in Highland, known as “Die Union” or “For the Union.”

The Highland Die Union newspaper was a stock company. Charles H. Seybt was the first editor, a job he held for more than a year.

Two rival newspapers in Highland, with radically different views on national subjects, made plenty of trouble for Highland. Nearly every inhabitant was deeply partisan, being on one side or the other of the slavery issue.

Dr. Gallas Rutz of the Army Medical Corps in the Civil War had been wounded and returned home in 1863. Dr. Rutz returned to his practice and then purchased the Die Union newspaper and became the editor, hiring John S. Hoerner, formerly of Edwardsville, as foreman and printer.

Bitter feelings existed between the Die Union and the Bote until the end of the Civil War.

Dr. Rutz liked to edit a newspaper, as long as he had a fight on his hands. But after the Bote was discontinued in 1870 and he had everything his own way, he tired of it. In 1874, eh sold his interest to Hoerner, who became sole owner.

Hoerner was very progressive and built his new building at 1010 Broadway in the 1890s.

Hoerner’s Die Union also launched the Highland Leader, printed in English, and Hoerner remained the owner from 1874 to 1898, when he sold both newspapers and building to Charles T. Kurz.

Kurz built his new office and printing plant in 1910. By 1913, Kurz discontinued the Highland Union, and on July 1, 1913, sold the Highland Leader to Amos P. “Pat” Spencer.

In 1920, Edgar Hoffman, Frank Winter and Stuart Drum started the “Highland News.” It merged with the Highland Leader in 1921, to become the “Highland News Leader,” with only Hoffman staying.

Spencer and Hoffman were the owners, until Edgar’s brother, Oscar Hoffman, the linotype operator, purchased an interest. Edgar’s son, Russell, returned from the Navy in 1946 and purchased Spencer’s interest. Edgar retired in 1958, Oscar in 1962, with Russell becoming sole owner and publisher.

The Highland News Leader was sold in 1973 by Russell Hoffman to Delphos Daily Herald of Ohio, and would change corporate hands many times after that — in 1981 to Capital Cities Communications, 1998 to Knight Ridder, and it is now owned by McClatchy Newspapers Inc. The Highland News Leader’s present office is at #1 Woodcrest Professional Park in Highland, with its entrance on the south side of the building, which is also home to Equity 55 Real Estate.

Larry Mueller

Larry Mueller (pronounced Miller) is the author of many books on the outdoors and was also the outdoors writer for the Highland News Leader and many other publications for many years.

Mueller, who has written more than 20 books about the outdoors, is now retired and living in rural St. Jacob. He has donated three of his books, which he also signed, to the Highland Home Museum. Muellerand has given three of his books, along with his photo, to the Highland Home Museum. (Look for his photo and information in the original office of the Highland Home and now the No. 1 room, or as we call it, the museum office. The framed photo, photocopies of his three book covers and other information about Mueller is located just above the doorway to the second room, which we call the “G & H” room.)

Mueller’s first book for the museum was written in 1975, with the assistance of Clyde Weder and data research by Steve Dickman. The book was called, “The Calculating Fisherman.” With this book, you also received Weder and Dickman’s “Fish Calculator” for the main eight fish species of our area, barometric pressure and temperature, plus ratings from poor to excellent times for fishing. Fishermen, it is “must reading” and available at the museum.

The second book, “Bear Attacks of the Century,” was copyrighted in 2005. It was written by Mueller with assistance from Marguerite Reiss. It was dedicated to Mueller’s wife of 55 years, Micky, who had suffered a bear attack.

The third book given to the museum, “Extreme Outdoor Adventures, Who Survives & Why,” was copyrighted in 2008. Mueller wrote it, too, with assistance from Reiss. The 203 pages will keep you glued to your chair.

Thanks to my good friend, Larry Mueller.