From "Essex County, NJ, Illustrated 1897":
"Devoted to Religious Liberty and Purity in Politics." In that declaration the Newark Ledger states the purpose of its being, and its files and its records prove the sincerity of the announcement as fully as its great success demonstrates the appreciation of its objects by a liberty-loving and fair-minded public.
Under the name of The Catholic Ledger this paper was founded in April, 1893, by Winfred S. Woodruff, who was connected with Newark newspaperdom for many years, and who has since died. In the fall of that year it passed into the hands of M. J. O'Conner and T. J. Regan, well known Catholics and businessmen of Newark. The announced at the outset that their object was not to make money, but to utilize all the paper's gains for its further improvement in order that the Catholic people of Newark and its vicinity might have a paper devoted to their interests of which they might be proud. At the time that they took charge of it the prospects for its success did not seem bright. The former management had not sough to extend its influence beyond the limits of Essex County and did not dream of circulating it even in the distant future outside of the borders of the Newark diocese. It suffered through this enforced contraction and at the time of its transfer to the new owners it had a circulation of only a few hundred copies.
Patrick J. Tansey became editor of the paper in February, 1894. One of the first changes made in it was the establishment of a page of Irish news, a report of local happenings in the several counties of Ireland, which are on intense interest to the home-loving sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle, among whom, even then, the paper found the bulk of its supporters.
The Ledger, in 1895, added to its name for a time the caption Independent Democrat. It was the first to name James M. Seymour for the mayoralty in 1896, and it was the chief means of electing him. In the month of August, 1896, Messrs. O'Connor and Regan sold the paper to a stock company, who though it best to call it The Newark Ledger, as it would under this name be free from imputations that might be cast upon it should anything not entirely orthodox appear in its columns. Its capital stock was fixed at $25,000 and its shares at $50 each, none of which has been sold below par value. The president of the company, which is known as the Newark Ledger Publishing Company, is M. J. O'Connor; the secretary, John Regan, and the treasurer, John Jackson.
The Ledger went with its accustomed vigor into the Presidential campaign of 1896, and took the side of free coinage. It gained in circulation rapidly because it was then, as it always has been, found true in its devotion to religious liberty and purity in politics and that the public believe that it will be ever ready to take up the cudgels for whatever people may be persecuted for their faith and against whatsoever party that attempts to encroach upon popular rights. The Ledger has at present subscribers in every town and village in New Jersey and, indeed, in nearly every State in the Union, and has been complimented by some of its advertisers with the statement that they have found it the best medium for informing people about what they have to sell.
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