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Newspaper has been in business since 1800s

September 28, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

The Morning Herald is the modern incarnation of The Hagerstown Daily News, which became the city's first daily newspaper in 1873.

Volume II of J. Thomas Scharf's "History of Western Maryland" describes M. Emmert Fechtig's new enterprise:

"The paper appeared on the 1st of February, 1873, its adventurous proprietor spending his last nickels to buy candles to assist his first night's work."

After about a month, "owing to some disagreement with Mr. Boyd, of the Free Press, (Fechtig) was compelled to suspend for want of a press and material," the book says.

Fechtig made other arrangements and took in a business partner.

"(A) hand-press with barely sufficient type to print the paper was put in the Hoffman building on the public square," the book says. "A large box was used as an editorial desk, and with two chairs comprised the entire furniture of the room.

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"The paper came out again on February 25th .... It was a twenty-column paper, and has never failed to make its appearance since that time.

"Its early days were full of trouble, and often the little venture was in danger of being summarily evolved, but it survived all adverse circumstances, and is now firmly established as one of the institutions of the town."

The Morning Herald is part of The Herald-Mail Co., which is the third-oldest business in Washington County, according to the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

The Daily Mail started as The Hagerstown Mail, a weekly, in 1828.

Harding's Orchards in Smithsburg, established in 1796, and Hagers-Town Town & Country Almanack, dating to 1797, are older.

If separated from The Herald-Mail Co., The Morning Herald would be tied for fifth-oldest business in the county.

The current version of The Morning Herald began publishing in 1896.

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