Friday, April 11, 2008

Life of Enos, Part 14

The Christman Publishing Co. was formed in 1891, with Enos as president and son William as manager. It was under William's direction that The Reporter five years later purchased a Cox Duplex press able to print 4,000 copies an hour. In 1897, two Mergenthaler Linotype machines were put into operation. Each machine cost $8,000 and could set type at more than four times the speed of a human printer. Later that year, Enos turned over ownership of company to his children, William, Elizabeth and Harry.

On May 6, 1899, after a lingering illness, Ellen died. She had born Enos nine children, eight of whom survived. She had been the light of Enos' life for 50 years. Her death was the end of a great love story, but not the end of Enos' love. He would marry and bury another woman, Catherine Stofer, and marry a third time, to Emma Winebrenner, before Enos himself died at age 83 on Jan. 12, 1912.

William Christman would sell The Reporter to the Observer Publishing Co. in 1903 and quit the business 30 years to the day after he quit school to work for his father at the newspaper. But Christmans would continue to work at The Reporter and the Observer-Reporter for generations to come. The lastof the family to work at the paper was photographer Ron Christman, who died in a helicopter crash in 1973 while taking aerial photos for the annual Progress Edition.

Enos Christman, the old prospector, spent the last days of his life in the home he built on the aptly named Prospect Avenue. The old love story came to light many years after his death when his letters and journal were examined. In the introduction to "One Man's Gold: The Letters and Journal of a Forty Niner," niece Florence Morrow Christman in 1930 wrote:

"The tin box had no air of mystery although it had stood for three—quarters of a century in a dark closet under the stairs of an old Pennsylvania house. It was just a tin box - square-topped and high, double-padlocked and rusted. Everyone knew that all it contained were old letters and papers. It had been designed by one who had gone adventuring, to guard the records of his journeyings. But when his voice had become a memory, the old box was drawn from its corner, and again the dreams and the experiences of Enos Christman lived."

So much has happened in the century since Enos Christman died, yet so much of what he made remains: the house on West Prospect Avenue, the gas company, and most of all the newspaper. Many newspapers have come and gone from Washington; only one remains. It has published continuously for 200 years - daily since 1876 - and never missed a publication date.

It's likely that this newspaper would not exist today if it were not for Enos and for Ellen, who convinced him of the broader definition of gold.



Monique Ringling said...

Thanks G.O.E.

Brant said...

This was your master work as far as serialized stories go. Bravo!