Manitowoc's Press History
"In accordance with public anticipation, we this day issue the first number of the first newspaper ever published in this county. ... When we agreed to hazard the undertaking, we had never set foot on the soil of Manitowoc, or even seen an inhabitant of the county. We did so from reliable representations of its past history, present position, business advantages and prospective advancement." Those words were written by C.W. Fitch, the first editor and printer of the Weekly Herald, considered the first newspaper of the growing Manitowoc community.
As completion began with other newspapers, it was in 1855 that the Herald announced "... in establishing a newspaper five years ago in a town scarcely known on the map, when the whole township could boast a population but little exceeding six hundred, we exhibited more courage then has even been traced to the most chivalrous ventures in the history of newspaper enterprise." The last edition of the Herald was printed on March 26, 1863 with the demise being contributed to a "superabundance of newspapers."
Manitowoc’s early days had a wealth of local newspapers. While the Herald is considered the first newspaper it was soon sold to its competitor, the Tribune, which began in 1854. The Manitowoc Weekly Tribune was organized by Sewall W. Smith and was considered Republican in its content. Smith continued its operation until July, 1865 when he sold it to his brother, O. B. Smith, before he sold it to Frederick Borcherdt, a leader with German immigrants. In 1878, the Tribune merged with the Pilot. The Manitowoc Pilot began on July 11, 1859 and was considered a Democratic news source. Readers often paired it with the German newspaper, the Nordwesten.
In 1897 the merged Tribune and Pilot changed the name of the paper to the Citizen. The Citizens Publishing Company operated the newspaper, along with the St. Nazianz Weekly. The last weekly newspaper to be published in the city of Manitowoc was the Times Press, which began in 1893.
As the population of Manitowoc grew, the first daily newspaper, the Daily Herald, began in 1898. The Daily Herald's editor, William F. Brandt, also owned the weekly Times-Press. The City of Two Rivers was rapidly growing and H.S. Pierpont established the Two Rivers Chronicle in 1872. In 1905 Fred M. Althen began the Two Rivers Reporter, which was published weekly.
As populations grew in the community, the newspaper continued to cover the people, places, and events that made up the area. Layout, type, and news room practices changed with the growing technology. The Manitowoc Herald News merged with the Manitowoc Times in 1932 with George “Packy” MacFarlane as the editor. When he died in 1956, he had been in the newspaper profession for 55 years. The Manitowoc Herald Times would merge again, forty years later (in 1973), with the Two Rivers reporter to create the newspaper legacy we have today.
In 1982, Marge Miley became the first woman managing editor of the Herald Times Reporter. She began working at the newspaper in 1943 as a proofreader and began her well-known “Milestone’s” local history column in 1979. She retired from the newspaper in 1986 but continued to write her column until November, 2009.
Manitowoc County’s press history also includes the founding of 6 German language newspapers. The first German language newspaper, the Wisconsin democrat, began in 1854 by Carl Roeser, a prominent German editor. The newspaper discontinued around 1864. Another German newspaper was the Wahrheit, founded in 1896 by Rev. Heinrich. Kiel also had the Kiel National Zeitung, founded in 1893.