Clergyman Founded Town’s Newspaper, The P.G. Record

The initial appearance of the Penns Grove Record came on November 23, 1878 when the Rev. James W. Laughlin, pastor of the Mariner’s Bethel
Church saw a need for a paper and founded the Record. His early issues were printed in Bridgeton and were distributed by mail to the Penns Grove
residents. The circulation was only a mere 400 people with a $1.00 subscription price.

William A. Summerill became the co-owner and editor on September 20, 1884. By October 15, 1887, he became the sole owner, editor and publisher
until October 2, 1937 when his son, Thomas C. became owner and publisher with Mr. Summerill as editor.

In February 1879, a small printing plant was set up on the second floor of the Layton Building on West Main and Penn Streets.  In the same office
was  the barber shop of William F. Yeager. When not busy cutting hair, he set in type by hand the week’s news. Harry Dalbow became the first local
“printer’s devil.”

Several months later the plant moved to 135 West Main and Oak Streets. After another move back to West Main, a Record office was constructed at
3 Oak St. where it grew for many years. Then in July 1965, the William O. Frey family, previous owners of the Boonville Herald, in Boonville, New
York,  purchased the Penns Grove Record from Thomas Summerill who retired from active participation in the newspaper business. With the buying
of the paper, Mr. Frey and his co-publisher, Howard Gleasman, took two giant steps. They first changed the location of the paper office to its present
location at 114 East Main Street. Secondly they changed the printing operation from hot-type to offset. Also new job-work offset presses were
installed as well as new photography equipment, printing styles, and headline machines. Today the Penns Grove Record still maintains its policies to
“view, digest, analyze, and criticize” the news of the day.


BOROUGH OF PENNS GROVE 75th Anniversary 1894-1969
SUPPLEMENT OF PENNS GROVE RECORD
AUGUST 14, 1969