Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: The Highland Union was sold to Charles T. Kurz in 1898

This lithograph from 1894 was published by John S. Hoerner and shows Highland from the Giesler Hill, looking south at Sixth Street, turning into Walnut Street, and the left foreground is the new railroad depot and Giesler’s Railroad Hotel and Inn, now the Rail Shake Brewery & Pub.
This lithograph from 1894 was published by John S. Hoerner and shows Highland from the Giesler Hill, looking south at Sixth Street, turning into Walnut Street, and the left foreground is the new railroad depot and Giesler’s Railroad Hotel and Inn, now the Rail Shake Brewery & Pub. From the Roland Harris Collection

“The Highland Union was sold by John S. Hoerner to Charles T. Kurz in November 1898. (The history of the Highland Union was in my column No. 643 of 2007.)

“At the start of the Civil War, many people of Highland thought the Highland Der Bote newspaper was pro South. So, in October 1863, the Republican Literary & Publishing Society of Highland was founded by Dr. Gallus Rutz, who had returned from service in the Union Army, and Charles H. Seybt, Joseph Suppiger’s son-in-law. They started the Highland Die Union.

“Seybt was editor of the Die Union for only eight months, when he resigned to run for sheriff of Madison County. (He was defeated by Democrat George Ruegger, also of Highland.)

“Then, Dr. Gallus Rutz became the editor, and after the Civil War was over, the newspaper was called the Highland Union. Rutz later was also the postmaster of Highland, while he remained the editor of the Union. Rutz remained the editor until 1874, when he sold the Highland Union newspaper and printing to John S. Hoerner.

“The Highland Union was sold by John S. Hoerner in 1898 to Charles T. Kurz, who had previously been a German Lutheran church minister in Marine.

“Charles T. Kurz was born in 1861 in Germany, and in 1885, left for America and New York. He was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1886, and his first pastorate was in Butler County, Pa. In 1887, he went to St. Louis, where he was a public school teacher, and April 1, 1888, he assumed charge of the German Lutheran church in Marine. He remain there until November 1898, when he purchased the Highland Union.

“After two years of publishing the Union, Kurz realized that the prestige of a German-language newspaper was gradually declining and decided to start an English-language newspaper in conjunction with the Union and the Schweizer-freund, a semi-monthly German newspaper, that they were publishing.

“Kurz on Sept. 4, 1900, started the Highland Leader, an English-language newspaper, in new offices at the southwest corner of Broadway and Laurel. (In this new building, the Union was on the east side, and the Fred Gyger’s fruit market on the west side. Two large apartments were on the second floor.)

Kurz discontinued the Highland Union in April 1913. On July 1, 1913, Kurz sold the Highland Leader to Amos “Pat” Spencer.

The following information is taken from Spencer’s obituary in 1956: “Amos Patrick Spencer (1876-1956) was born in Ohio, and as a boy, the family moved to Bridgeport, in Lawrence County, Ill. In 1907, Speccer founded a weekly newspaper in St. Francisville, Ill., then a boom town.”

Spencer sold his St. Francisville newspaper, and on July 1, 1913, purchased the Highland Leader from Kurz.

“Early in 1920, Stuart M. Drum Sr., Frank A. Winter and Edgar Hoffman formed a company and started the publication of the Highland News, the first copy of which appeared on Feb. 25, 1920. The Highland Leader and Highland Journal were both being published at that time, so Highland could boast of three newspapers.

“Edgar Hoffman’s brother, Oscar Hoffman, was working at the Lund-Mauldin Shoe Factory in Highland, and Edgar needed a linotype operator. He convinced his brother Oscar to come work for the Highland News, and Oscar did in late 1920.

“Mr. Winter remained in the company for only a few months, while Drum and Edgar Hoffman continued to publish the newspaper until Aug. 1, 1921.

“Stuart Drum was in failing health. He sold his interest in the Highland News to Edgar Hoffman and Amos “Pat” Spencer. Hoffman and Spencer then moved the Highland News, as it was absorbed by the Highland Leader and the name changed to the Highland News Leader, with Amos P. Spencer, the editor, and Edgar Hoffman, the publisher.

(Thanks Doris Hoffman Luber for the above three paragraphs used in No. 649, November 2007. Quotes also from the 1912 Centennial History of Madison County, 1937 Centennial History of Highland, Highland News Leader, Spencer’s obituary, Doris Luber and my columns.)

Work day planned at Anderson Cemetery

A work day is planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Anderson Cemetery near St. Jacob. Lunch will be served. See more information on Page ??. Call Roland Harris at 654-5005 if you are able to come.

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