Most residents and visitors to Newcomerstown have at least heard of or maybe have enjoyed a meal at Dick’s Place on the corner of Bridge and Canal Street. Well, this article isn’t really about Dick’s Place, but rather more about the site where Dick’s Place is located.
Many years ago, in fact 150 years ago, there was a two-story, wooden frame building that stood exactly where the current brick structure is now located. The current brick structure was constructed around 1878-79.
In 1870, a newspaper, The Saturday Visitor started publication at Coshocton, Ohio, by several Newcomerstown residents, A.W. Johns, H.B. Beech, and Dr. A.M. Beers. Though the paper had a successful run in Coshocton during its first year, it had competition from another news publication, and the owners decided to move The Saturday Visitor to Newcomerstown where there was no competition. Prior to this time, Newcomerstown had no newspaper.
On May 22, 1871 The Saturday Visitor moved to its new home at the north-west corner of Bridge and Canal streets, taking up residence on the first floor of the two-story frame building. The newspaper’s name was changed to The Newcomerstown Visitor, and the first edition was printed June 7, 1871. It was reported that the newspaper would be printed and issued each Wednesday morning. Incidentally, the very first copy of the first edition of The Newcomerstown Visitor was sold to V.H. Brown for one dollar.
On August 1, 1871, the Visitor moved to the second floor of the same building when a new meat market owned by Williams & Vickers needed a first floor location for that business. H.B. Beech later retired from the partnership, leaving A.W. Johns and Dr. A.M. Beers as the owners. The December 27, 1871 edition introduced a new name for the paper, The Newcomerstown Visitor became known as The Ohio Independent.
The March 8, 1872 edition of The Ohio Independent announced a new owner, N.H. Barber. It now had a circulation of over 800 subscribers, and was well supported with local businesses patronizing the advertising portion of the paper. Barber managed the Ohio Independent for more than several months before it reverted back to the ownership of A.W. Johns, and Dr. A.M. Beers following a sudden foreclosure of Barber’s property in early 1873. The Ohio Independent ceased publication while Barber’s case was in litigation. A.W. Johns & Dr. A.M. Beers eventually were able to resume publication of the Ohio Independent in May, 1873.
In September, 1873, Dr. W.H. Durham and J.A. Buchanan, both of Barnesville, Ohio purchased the Ohio Independent, and changed the publication’s name to The Newcomerstown Argus. While the name of the newspaper remained unchanged, several changes in ownership took place between 1873 and 1877.
On November 20, 1877 a devastating fire wiped out the north-west corner of Bridge and Canal Street, leaving Newcomerstown without a newspaper. At that time the Newcomerstown Argus was owned by J.A. Buchanan and A.W. Search.
On January 1, 1878 W.V. Kent and W. Ferguson, both of Cadiz, moved to Newcomerstown bringing a new newspaper, The Eye, to town, changing the name to The Newcomerstown Eye. Kent and Ferguson continued the newspaper until that fall. A.W. Johns became the new owner beginning with the October 18, 1879 edition. Johns continued his operation of The Newcomerstown Eye for nearly two years. Following the release of the August 20, 1881 edition, the newspaper ceased publication for seven months. In March, 1882 A.C. Hursey resumed publication of The Newcomerstown Eye, but changed the name to The Index. The following year, the March 1, 1883 edition announced a new owner of The Index, Wick R. Wood, and the newspaper was moved to a new building on River Street that same year, where it remained in operation until the early 1940’s when the paper was purchased and incorporated with its’ competitor, the Newcomerstown News. The building, no longer in existence, was formerly located across the street from the current American Family Dental, had later became the office of the late Dr. R.L. McCulley.