Union City Newspaper Memories
Both Erie County histories and the genealogy section of the Union City Public Library credit Squire William Corner Jackson with founding the first newspaper in Union
City. Born in Rochester, Kent, England on November 4, 1817, William Jackson
immigrated to the United States and then to Union City. Around the year 1865,
Squire Jackson started publishing the Union Mills Bulletin, and later he sold his paper to Horace Pratt who changed the name to The Union Star. Finally, the Star merged with the
Republican in Corry. Squire Jackson is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Union City.
The Union City Times Enterprise, established in November 1870, endured some chaotic growing pains, including merging with Corry newspapers and Erie Dispatch office printings, but by August 1875, Mr. Persons had firmly established the Times in Union City. In November 1877, Dr. D.P. Robbins bought the Union City Times and in 1879 he sold the paper to F.E. McLean and W.A. Moore.
An enterprising Union City businessman, Arthur Fred Young, owner of Young Hardware, didn’t believe that the Union City Times represented much advertising potential, so he
decided to produce his own newspaper. He joined with some partners and they
called their creation The Union City Advertiser. Hildreth, Young and Company
printed the Union City Advertiser and circulated it to publicize their new photo chromatic process and their other merchandise.
Arthur F. Young printed his newspaper on one side of his hardware store and conducted his hardware business on the other. By 1878, Arthur Young and his partners had decided to disband the Union City Advertiser because the Union City Times Enterprise had
finally taken firm root in Union City. A half century later, Allyn S. Brown would operate Brown Thompson Newspapers from the building next to Young Hardware before he moved his operations to the new quarters on West High Street extension.
The first page of the Union City Times of January 5, 1882, contains some interesting insights into Union City Times history and Union City history. According to its masthead, The Union City Times was published every Thursday morning from its offices in The
Times Block on Main Street, opposite Market in Union City. D.P. Robbins, M.D.
is listed as Proprietor and Frank E. McLean as editor.
Practicing physicians and dentists and attorneys at law are listed classified advertisement style on the front page of the Union City Times. One of the lawyers listed is Wm. C.
Jackson, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, and Conveyanveer. Union City, Pa.
“Special attention given to the execution of deeds, leases, mortgagees, etc.
Titles examined and collections made.”
Squire Jackson had started the first paper in Union Mills in 1865. Now in Union City, 1882, he was advertising in its successor.
The Union City Times continued to be published under individual publishers and editors until the 1920s when Will Rose bought the newspaper and included it in his other publications. In 1943, Rose bought the Waterford Leader from Adam Boyd and in
1946, he added the Cosmopolite Herald of Girard to his publication holdings.
In 1926, Rex L. Williams went to work in the advertising department of the Union City Times when Randall Green was the editor. Shortly after Rex came to the Times, Mr. Green bought a paper in Thomasville, N.C. and left Union City. William P. Rose, the publisher of the Union City Times, named Rex as editor manager and Rex filled that position until he died on the job in 1965.
Rex and his wife Katherine Burns Williams, were both born and raised in Union City. The son of Eric and Rena Williams, Rex was a lifelong athlete and sportsman and he took
an active part in Union City community affairs. He was an organizer and charter member of the Union City Lions Club and one of the leaders who founded the Union City Hospital. He joined the Union City Volunteer Fire Department as soon as he was old enough and remained a member until his death. A great deal of the photographic history of
the Union City Volunteer Fire Department and many local area pictures from 1926
through 1965 were included in his work.
When Katherine Burns married Rex Williams in 1929, she worked at the telephone office as an operator. In September of 1930, she came to the Union City Times to handle the office work and she worked there for the next four decades. Besides managing the office, Katherine served as the voice of Dial-a-News, a telephone news arm of the Union City Times that reported the hospital admissions, deaths and major news stories to Union City
and area citizens who dialed 438-2000.
Katherine also wrote a popular front page column called “Here and There” from the time Rex died in 1965 .The front page of the Union City Times of September 19, 1968, noted that The Union City Times-Enterprise was published at 23-25 South Main Street, by Brown-Thompson Newspapers, Inc. Mrs. Katherine Williams was the News Editor, Allyn Brown, President, and Barney Shilling, General Manager.
A paragraph from Katherine’s Here and There column informed Union City citizens of the bargains they could find in local businesses.
“Have you visited the local stores within the past few days? If not, you should do so. You’ll be amazed at the new fall merchandise which is arriving daily. At Chapin’s we were fascinated with the new Dilly Winks sleepwear by Miss Elaine..At Morse Drug Store they were busy arranging a new display of Hallmark Cards and a new line of contemporary cards…they have greatly expanded their fine line of cards for all occasions…At the Ben Franklin Store many new items have been added to the toyland, gift, and clothing departments…Mandel’s are adding new items to their stock of men’s and ladies’ shoes, boots, and winter footwear…Local merchants are surely making efforts this season to stock items you will be needing within the next few months and now is the time to visit the
stores and make your selections while there is a complete line of styles and sizes.”
In 1956, Allyn Stephens Brown, his wife Ellen K. Brown, and his sister and brother-in-law Mr. and Mrs. J. Kenneth Thompson purchased a group of newspapers from Mr. and Mrs. William P. Rose. They named their publications the Brown Thompson newspapers in several Erie County communities, including the Times Leader in Union City, the Millcreek Sun, The Cosmopolite Herald in Fairview and Girard, the Independent Enterprise in Edinboro and Cambridge Springs and the North East Breeze. They moved their headquarters to Union City in 1962.
Allyn S. Brown was born on February 7, 1916. He graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in Ohio and from Amherst College in Massachusetts with a bachelor of arts degree in 1937. He served in the United States Army Air Force from 1943-1945 and earned the rank of master sergeant. He headed the Air Force Message Center at the Pentagon for the last three years of the war.
In 1946, Allyn Brown took a job on the Sayre Evening Times in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. After working for daily newspapers including the New York Post, and the Goldsboro News Argus in North Carolina and the St. Petersburg Florida Times to forge a newspaper career, Allyn Brown transferred to private industry for a time. In 1956, he and his family purchased the Will Rose Newspapers and renamed them the Brown Thompson Newspapers.
As well as publishing newspapers, Allyn Brown contributed much to the Union City community. He was a member of the Union City Presbyterian Church and after fire destroyed it, he encouraged the congregation to rebuild, to expand its property, and to purchase the house next to the church as a parsonage. He led the fight to save the Union City Memorial Hospital when officials wanted to shut it down because of an excess of hospital beds in Erie County. He credited the hospital with saving his life when he had a heart attack. Allyn Brown also served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania
Newspaper Publishers Association and the Union City Memorial Hospital as well
as boards of other corporations.
After they retired from Brown Thompson Newspapers in 1981, Allyn and Ellen Brown moved to Athens, Bradford County and in 1987, they moved to North Carolina.
The January 12, 1993 issue of The Times Leader- (Allyn Brown combined the Waterford Leader and the Union City Times in 1970) held a front page tribute to Allyn S. Brown who died Friday, January 1, 1993, while visiting his daughter Diane in Hinsdale, Illinois. Laura Breon, one of his employees, wrote that he was a family man and that he really cared about his family and his employees. She recalled in her tribute that the maxims Mr. Brown lived by included “Dare to be Different, “ “Don’t Get Into a Duel with a Skunk,” and
“Don’t Ever Have the Papers Look Like a Daily Coming Out Once a Week.”
Allyn S. Brown took Union City to the pinnacle of newspaper publishing and transformed Squire Jackson’s original one sheet newspaper and dream of what it could be into the reality of an excellent small town newspaper- The Union City Times, The Union City-Times Leader.