Holley newspaper set standard in covering eastern Orleans
By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian
Illuminating Orleans – Vol. 2, No. 14
HOLLEY – This energetic photo of the Clarendon Championship Softball Team on the front page of the October 26,1961 edition of the Holley Standard caught our attention.
An accompanying article notes that the team was newly organized in the spring of 1961 and was sponsored by Duryea Motors. The league was composed of eight teams.
In the season playoffs, Clarendon defeated Bergen in two games, 17-3 and 6-3 in the semi-finals and won two out of the three in the final round against General Electric and Brockport. Clarendon won the first game of the series, GE won the second and the third game was a tie. Clarendon won the makeup game and thus the series and the championship.
The masthead notes that the Holley Standard had been established in September, 1870.
According to a history of paper written in 1964, it was started by Cyrus Marsh, publisher of the Brockport Democrat, and his son George F. Marsh. The first issue was dated September 17, 1870.
A fire on July 23, 1874 destroyed the entire south side of the Holley Square, including the Standard office and its contents. Remarkably, the paper just missed one issue as it was printed temporarily at the publisher’s Brockport location.
Charles C. Hayden bought the paper in 1882 and was publisher for more than thirty years, until his death in 1914. Another fire in January 1885 destroyed the office and equipment again. This time, the paper was temporarily printed at the Orleans American office in Albion until a Holley location was available, over the State Exchange Bank.
In 1903, Charles Hayden bought the Weller property on Thomas Street, sold part of it to the Village of Holley as a site for a new village building and constructed the one-story building which housed the Standard for many years.
The Bartlett-Turner Company owned the paper from 1914-1936 when it was purchased by long-time employees Gerald McVay and Jessie Cole. It was purchased on October 30, 1945 by W.K. Hovey, a former General Motors engineer who was interested in rural journalism. It was purchased by the Suburban Record in Spencerport in 1971, and in 1974 by Robert Nagel, publisher of the Batavia Daily News, at which point it was combined with the Brockport Republic-Democrat and the Hamlin Herald to form the Erie Canal News which ran until 1979.
The masthead of the 1961 Holley Standard announced that it served: Clarendon – Kendall – Murray – Fancher – Hulberton – Kendall Mills – Kent – W. Kendall – W. Sweden – Morton.
The October 26, 1961 issue included the following items of interest:
- A tragic accident in Kendall which claimed the life of one teen and resulted in the injury of four others.
- Duffy-Mott reported increased sales.
- The Kendall Fire Department acquired a new fire engine.
- Fred DePhillips was a candidate for Town Clerk.
- Mr. & Mrs. Robert Miller of Morton celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
The Orleans County History Dept. owns some early issues of the paper. From the July 5, 1878 issue we learn that:
- Dr. A.G. Henry and Miss Mary F. French were married in Sacramento.
- A tramp narrowly escaped lynching for assaulting a young girl.
- Mr. and Mrs. Odell of Kendall and their ten intelligent looking children had their photograph taken by Amos Belden.
- Mr. M. Hoffman of Kendall Mills was recovering from typhoid fever.
The eventual demise of the Holley Standard was part of a national trend. As readers gravitated to television news, rural newspapers faced increasing competition for advertising dollars, their main source of income.
Fortunately, access to this wealth of local information is still available. It is on microfilm at the Hoag Library in Albion, at SUNY Brockport, from the Town of Clarendon historian and at the Murray-Holley Museum.