Yesterday's News

A link in ink - Henderson has long had connection to E.W. Scripps newspaper chain

By FRANK BOYETT, Gleaner staff
May 29, 2005

Ralph H. Quinn climbed pretty high in the newspaper game after a humble -- and early -- start in Corydon, where he was a publisher at age 15.

Quinn climbed the journalistic heights at the Cincinnati Post -- the flagship paper of the E.W. Scripps chain that now owns The Gleaner. Here is the 1930 Gleaner headline that appeared 75 years ago in The Gleaner: "Ralph Quinn Holds High Place Among Newspaper People."

The occasion was his 37th birthday, which the Cincinnati Post marked with "a special article in his paper." The following year, however, Quinn was given greater honors, during the 1931 celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the paper's founding.

It was a pretty big deal. Such luminaries as poet Edgar Guest and New York City drama critic Heywood Broun -- both former staff members at the paper -- attended the party at the Gibson Hotel in Cincinnati. Cowboy humorist Will Rogers even sent a telegram which said, in part, "Well, the next 50 years is going to be tough going. We got more people can read, but none of 'em do."

The centerpiece of the party was a 10-foot-tall floral arrangement depicting the Scripps lighthouse logo, which Quinn presented to Robert P. Scripps, the president of the company. An article in the company newsletter characterized it as Quinn's "proudest moment."

Here is how his career began, according to the same article:

"It was back in Corydon, Henderson County, Ky., his birthplace, that Quinn first answered the newspaper dare. He and another ambitious young man started a little sheet referred to then as The Try Weekly because, as he says, they tried to get it out every week.

"Back in 1908 it was a venture dear to his heart. When the 'firm' went out of business, Ralph took particular pride in accepting as his slice of the cake the chance to collect the bills outstanding...."

A year later found Quinn selling advertising for the Henderson Evening Journal, where he was quickly made advertising manager. About that time he made the acquaintance of a girl named Mary Storm, who was employed by The Gleaner. By 1911 they were married.

Quinn was ambitious. "History has it that Ralph Quinn wasn't satisfied with serving as advertising and circulation manager. He wrote for the editorial department, too, and won his reportorial spurs on his coverage of Kentucky's famous 'Night Rider' trials" -- the culmination of disturbances in the tobacco industry commonly called the Black Patch War.

At the same time, Quinn was a correspondent for both the Louisville Courier-Journal and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In February 1914 he said good-bye to Henderson and went to Cincinnati to try his luck. He initially sold advertising for the Cincinnati Enquirer, but was made advertising manager in his early 20s.

After five years he switched to the Cincinnati Post, "where he became a pioneer salesman of automobile advertising space. Soon he was placed in charge of national accounts. His next job was that of advertising manager."

He did so well that in 1924 the company moved him to Washington, D.C., where he was business manager of the Washington Times. In April 1929 he returned to Cincinnati, where he was made business manager of the Scripps flagship newspaper.

Quinn apparently went back to work for the Cincinnati Enquirer during the Great Depression, where he also served as business manager, and he died at a relatively young age on May 2, 1940.

Just prior to his death, he and his wife bought a historic house just east of Carrollton, which had been built in 1795. Mary Quinn meticulously restored the house, renamed it Quinn Acres, and it still stands as one of Carrollton's historic show places.

140 years ago

John E. McAllister and William P. Beverly both reported attacks on their houses at night by federal soldiers, according to an 1865 article in the Henderson Reporter.

"People do not feel safe after night, either in life, liberty or property," the paper said. "Unless the proper parties check the manifestations of dire mischief, similar, if not worse, outrages will become common."

50 years ago

An airplane crashed on the Slack farm near Uniontown in 1955, according to The Gleaner, but the occupants abandoned the plane and disappeared without identifying themselves.

The occupants were black; they included three men, a woman and a baby. They went to Morganfield where they bought bus tickets to Paducah and were not heard from again. Authorities were unable to determine ownership of the plane.

25 years ago

A long-standing dispute between Sarah Brown and the city Water and Sewer Department resulted in Brown filing a lawsuit in 1980, according to a story in The Gleaner.

The basement of Brown's house at Meadow and Center streets had begun flooding three years earlier, and Brown maintained it was the city's fault.

The lawsuit went to trial a year later. Circuit Judge Carl Melton directed the jury to return a verdict for the city, but also ordered the city to check for any sewer leaks and fix them within 30 days if found.


Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2005 HCH&GS