Jesse A. Winger was the founder of the Press. He bought the entire plant, new from shooting-stick to newspaper press, in Chicago, and issued Number one of Volume one in Aledo, the seat of Mercer County, on October 19, 1894. In that city it was published for more than a year as a red hot Democratic weekly. But the income wasn’t quite large enough to pay the expenses, and so Mr. Winger sought a new field. He found it at Reynolds, the metropolis of the lower end of Rock Island County, and one of the finest little villages in the State, located, by the way, about half way between Aledo and Rock Island, and surrounded in every direction by a particularly rich agricultural region. The Aledo Press thus became the Reynolds Press, without missing an issue, in January, 1896, at the same time changing its politics to independent. In February, 1897, the plant and subscription list were sold to Guy V. Pettit, who at that time was principal of the Brimfield, Peoria County, schools. Mr. Pettit had been in public school work for twelve years, five of them having been spent at the head of the Hampton and Reynolds schools, respectively. Without a single day’s experience in a print shop, the new owner assumed personal charge of his venture July 1, 1897, and has been with the paper ever since. In common with most country weeklies, the Press was a “patent inside” paper up to May 1, 1904. Since that time it has been an “all home print,” published in six-column quarto style, with occasionally two to four additional pages to accommodate special spurts of advertising. The old hand press, on which the paper was printed for six years, disappeared in 1900 to make room for a big drum cylinder, that runs at the rate of 1,200 an hour. The Press, which, by the way, has never missed an issue since its birth twelve years ago, attempts to make a specialty of local news, neighboring correspondence and live advertisements. Its principal claim for distinction lies in the fact that, considering the size of the village, it probably has a larger circulation than any other paper in the State.
Source: Historic Rock Island County, pub. Kramer & Company, Rock Island, Illinois, 1908
1 thought on “The Reynolds Press”
It was later run by Mr. Pettit’s son, Royce E. Pettit, Sr., until his retirement, at which point the Press closed. I am his granddaughter, and spent many happy days visiting the Press office. Mr. Guy Pettit’s other son, (Clyde) Earl Pettit, was the typesetter, which was most facinating to me. The other employee, the pressman was Hans Grau, who was a veteran of the Spanish-American War.