The History of Newspapers in Livingston Manor NY by Fred

The Livingston Manor Times


For ninety-three years, the events around the community of Livingston Manor, some newsworthy and some not so newsworthy, were recorded in a weekly newsprint, known for the better part of those years as the Livingston Manor Times. Its early beginnings were printed from a small second-floor printing shop located over the law office and shoe repair shop of Peter Akins at Jacktown in 1881. The editor and publisher was Moses Pride, and the masthead of his newspaper was the Willowemoc Valley Times. Three years later, the publisher of the Liberty Register, Clarence Sprague, took over the paper, renamed the weekly as The Times, and placed twenty-year-old Aldebert Scriber in charge of production. This early experience for the young journalist in the newspaper business would later lead Scriber to become the long-time publisher of the Monticello weekly, the Republican Watchman.


Civil War veteran and political firebrand Eli Starr took over as publisher from Scriber in 1885. Constantly stoking the political winds with his fiery views and blistering editorials, Starr succeeded to alienate fellow editors throughout the county, along with some of his readers. With declining profits due to the falling-off of readership, his Civil War pension helped offset the newspaper’s losses. Still, Editor Starr was always able to meet his bills until the Ensign Brothers from Hancock came up with a better offer in 1890. From that time on and for the next twenty years, the Manor’s weekly became known as The Ensign.


William Ensign modernized the printing shop, moving it into the more commodious quarters in the Masonic Building. Likewise, by the addition of news generated at the county level, he increased the number of subscribers. However, Ensign was attracted to the lure of gold mining in the Rocky Mountains and over time became less interested in the local paper. In 1910, the banner head was changed to the Livingston Manor Times and, with eventually spending more and more time out west, Ensign sold the paper to Westchester County newspaperman and wannabe actor, T Harold Forbes.


Under Forbes, the plant was moved into the A P DuBois Annex building, which, from then on, was to become known as the Times Building until its fiery demise in 1979. Forbes would soon retire from the newspaper business to pursue his passion for theatrical work and movie production, selling the plant to William White in 1919. The Livingston Manor Times flourished during the boom and bust years of the next two decades under the supervision of White’s editorial staff. Upon his death in 1940, the paper passed on to Orange County publisher, Capron Battey. The Battey family, Capron and later his son and daughter-in-law, Donald and Emily, continued the paper until August of 1973, when it was sold to Edward Townsend, Liberty newspaperman. Townsend combined the Battey’s newspaper with his publications, the Sullivan County Press and the Liberty Advisor, jointly becoming known as the Times-Press. The combined tabloid lasted only eleven months, folding in July of 1974. The final headline regarding the demise of Livingston Manor Times was front page news in the July 11 edition of the Liberty Evening News, an article written by Sullivan County newspaper columnist and Manor native, Leslie Wood; “Manor Weekly Bites Dust.”


From a historical perspective, Livingston Manor has been indeed fortunate to have had its affairs recorded down in print for such a long time. Other local newspapers would later follow, such as the Rockland Herald and Community Herald, continually adding a few more years into the volumes of our area’s history, but they too eventually succumbed to the whims of, and addiction to, technology. Will future generations and historians, when seeking information concerning today’s local news, find a long gap in the recording of local history? Only Times will tell.


C  Newspaper Images from the Livingston Manor Times provided by the Sullivan County Historical Society 

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LMCS Centralian News Letter  1962 & 1963
Newspapers from Livingston Manor NY
The Ensign Newspapers Published  1888 - 1908
Livingston Manor Times 1885-1919
Livingston Manor Times 1961-1962
Livingston Manor Times 1971-1972