In the early 90's, H.H. Ragon and his son, Elmer E. Ragon, formed a partnership, bought an outfit, establishing an office in Lowell, being located in a frame building that stood where the Cash Market now stands. This partnership continued for about a year, when H.H. Ragon sold his interest in the paper to his son, Elmer E., who continued to publish it for several years finally disposing of his interest to H.H. and L.W. Ragon in November, 1897. This partnership continued until January 1, 1912, when, on account of failing health, the senior member of the firm disposed of his interest to his son, C.U. Ragon, who, with L.W. Ragon, still continue as publishers of The Tribune.
The Lowell Tribune was therefore 48 years old last week, and this week starts out with Volume 49, Number 1. Like all newspapers The Tribune has had its ups and downs, and many times it was more downs than ups, but in later years we have no complaint to make on the loyal support . . . [illegible] . . . communities to be found anywhere.
In 1903 the building in which the shop was located was sold and we had to move. There was no suitable building to move into, and it was necessary for the publishers to either buy a place or go out of business. The publishers chose the latter course and purchased the building that stood on the lot that the Tribune plant now occupies. The building was remodeled and in the fall of that year the shop was moved into it. More improvements were made and new equipment purchased, including a linotype, until at the present time we have, while not the best, we think, a shop that will compare favorably with newspaper plants in towns the size of Lowell.
Like all newspapers, the subscription list grew slowly, but the subscription list has been slowly increasing until at the present time The Tribune is read by practically 95 per cent of the families in the south end of Lake County. Among the subscribers are two who have been on the mailing list since the Tribune was started in 1885; they are Mrs. J.E. Davis and Mrs. John A. Kimmet, who have read the paper continuously since it was started in November 1885. Among the other old time readers, of whom we have any record, that subscribed for The Tribune, and still take it, prior to 1900 are the following:
We have scores of readers who have taken The Tribune continuously for from 30 to 40 years.
We thank our readers, one and all, for their continuance as supporters of The Tribune, for we know that by your faithfulness it has been possible to publish the paper for these many years. To the businessmen we also wish to extend our thanks for their long continued patronage, for without that also, we would not have been able to exist these 48 years. Again, we thank you all.
The Lowell Tribune, a family enterprise for almost 77 years, has been sold by the Charles L. Surprise family, who would mark 20 years of ownership on Jan. 1.
Lyle Pilcher New Publisher
Management of The Tribune will be assumed on Oct. 1, 1961, by Lyle Pilcher, 42, who comes to Lowell as a highly successful publisher. Pilcher, a graduate of Bradley university, has been publisher of the Woodstock Daily Sentinel, Woodstock, Ill., for 14 years.
The Tribune will continue to be a family enterprise, for working with Lyle and his wife, Mary Jeanette, will be their 21 year old son, Gary, who has been employed in the advertising department at the Sentinel, and their 18 year old daughter, Janice, who also is well acquainted with newspaper work. The Pilchers have another son, Craig, who is 11. The family will reside in the Nord property on Circle Drive in the Hilltop Court subdivision. The Pilchers are active members of the Methodist church, and all have been affiliated with civic organizations in Woodstock. Bowling, golfing and music are the family's recreational interests.
Tribune Renders Services
For more than 70 years, The Lowell Tribune has loyally rendered countless services to its community. Its publishers and staffs through the years have been proud of its achievements. The Tribune's file is filled with "bouquets."
Founder, A Civic Leader, Set Policy of Progress
The Lowell Tribune, founded by H.H. Ragon in 1885, has been published continuously throughout the years by members of his family -- his sons, Elmer, Len and Cordie, the latter associated with the paper for 50 years, and now his grandson, Charles L. Surprise and family.
After the Civil War, in which he served as an officer, Mr. Ragon taught in the Lowell community schools for 30 years and is credited in the Ball histories of southern Lake county as the one man outstanding in the development of the Lowell schools. He also held public offices and served this district as State Representative, being an ardent Republican.
Upon semi-retirement, he established The Lowell Tribune and pledged it to community betterment. Since 1885 The Tribune has served Lowell and Southern Lake county, never deviating from the policy set by its founder, and with united efforts his family has carried forward his pledge for progress.
Surprises To Continue Residence and Interests Here
While the Surprises retire to a less strenuous way of life, The Tribune and the community will always be their foremost interest, and they will continue to live in this community where Charles' great grandfather, Peter Surprise and family, settled in 1836.
The Tribune is a charter member of the Hoosier State Press Association, also a member of the State C of C, and State and National Republican Editorial Associations.
Go to Businesses--Newspapers--Lowell Tribune, "Pioneer History Index," for further information.
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