The small village of Plymouth, Ohio, located in both Huron and Richland Counties, was treated to its first newspaper in 1851 with the creation of the Plymouth Journal. This early newspaper changed its name just two years later in 1853 to the Plymouth Advertiser where it would go on to be the community’s paper of record for the next 135 years.
Published and edited by James S. Robinson and David R. Locke from 1853 to 1855, the Advertiser went from its small beginnings to become the most widely circulated newspaper in Richland County. On a weekly basis, it informed and educated its readers on various topics, including agriculture, education, and science. While providing local news of note, it also made sure to inform the public about important national and global matters. Robinson and Locke relinquished control of the Advertiser in 1855, leaving it in the hands of Alfred H. Balsley. Robinson went on to become colonel of the 82nd Ohio Infantry during the Civil War and later a Congressman and the Secretary of State in Ohio. Locke, meanwhile, won national fame and recognition under the pseudonym Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby, a character created to draw support for the Union during the Civil War. His “Nasby Letters” were published in newspapers across the country.
Balsley, who had begun his career as a “devil” in the printing business, owned the Advertiser for several years, growing the subscription base by buying the Shelby News and incorporating it with the Advertiser. Having another large newspaper in his care, Balsley, relocated to Fremont, Ohio, and sold the Advertiser to Frank Beelman, a successful book store owner in 1872. The Advertiser changed hands many times in the following years but continued to serve the people of Richland and Huron Counties until 1988.
Researched and written by Kevin Latta