Then & Now: The First Article in Dexter’s New Newspaper in 1869
By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter
Here is the first article from the first copy of the new Dexter Leader, published Thursday, January 28, 1869.
In the spirit of kindness, so well warranted, and in the custom of good manners, so fitly required, we salute you, our readers with an obeisance. We desire to be on terms of confidence with you from the first, so that we may gossip freely with you about home interests and institutions. If concerning these, in such a spirit, we can canvass opinions in freedom, we may arrive at convictions which shall lead to betterment, to growth, progress and a richer developement (sic).
Here are matters of mutual interest and common welfare, daily fashioning our lives, the right guidance of which involves united convictions and harmonious action. In the ample columns of our village paper discussions can be had of these matters. And surely there must be some right way of getting at what needs to be done. Our columns are offered for the utterance of your wisdom.
We would speak to you freely of what is going on in the many worlds in which we live—worlds political, religious, social, literary and scientific,—so far as these goings-on are to us a matter either of concern or curiosity. In this, having other ways of uttering our personal convictions, we can afford to be unsectarian in religion and neutral in politics. Aware of the power of habit we announce this unsectarianism and neutrality as a purpose—not as a promise.
We are aware that wiser editors speak to you from Chicago, Detroit, New York and elsewhere, and rejoice that it is so. Some of these make politics, religion, education, science or literature a specialty, and so speak wisely on their several themes. We rejoice that you accept their abundant wisdom; only thus can you keep up with these times, earnest in thought and swift in action.
But men, weighed down with cares of state and concerns of church, or tugging to exhaustion with any interest of humanity, will find refreshment, in gossiping over home affairs and in managing their own domestic concerns. So there is room in your life and place, in your reading for what may be offered you in our village paper. We ask the privilege of ‘keeping company with you’ for one year, and then see what will come of it. Sic vos salutamus—thus we salute you.
Our mission at the Sun Times News remains the same as it was 153 years ago when this article was written. We keep community members informed about their community. We cover local news the big news services overlook.
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Photo: Mainstreet Dexter in the summer of 1869. Courtesy of the Dexter Area Historical Society.