Arthur A. Hargrave · 1975
By Sharon Griffey
Arthur A. Hargrave, renowned Indiana publisher was born to William H. and Susan (Bishop) Hargrave on August 15, 1856, near the historic town of Portland Mills. As a boy, Hargrave started his newspaper career at the age of 14. He began as a printer’s devil in his hometown of Rockville.
While attending Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Hargrave worked as a hand typesetter and reporter for the Crawfordsville newspapers. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1881.
After college he worked for more than a year for the Kansas City Journal, making $10 a week. He then accompanied Reverend James W. Hawks and other missionaries from the Rockville Presbyterian Church to Persia, where he took charge of the printing department of a Presbyterian mission. It was there that he met and married Marian Moore, originally from Joliet, Illinois. When they returned to the United States, they brought their first of five children who was then one-year-old.
Hargrave became assistant editor of the Terre Haute Express after his arrival in the States, however, he wanted to return to his hometown and soon was able to buy the Rockville Republican for $2500.
The Rockville Republican was a weekly newspaper and Hargrave, from the time he bought it until a few short weeks before his death, had an article published in every issue.
One time while going through the office, he found an old “cut” depicting a man with a mighty arm flexed and in his hand was a club. From this illustration, he started his column “Club Man’s Talk.” At first the column was one aimed at politics, but Hargrave did not feel he had enough material for a long-running column. He then made it into stories about his farm life in the 1860s and 70s, maple sugaring, butchering, or his travels.
In 1954 he received an honorary degree from Indiana University. Soon after he had an attack of illness and his sight was impaired by cataracts. Yet even this could not stop him from writing and he dictated to one of his daughters until his death.
After an air accident in 1956, Hargrave made a prediction that “flight’s next goal of conquest will be the moon.”
At a party celebrating his 100th birthday, he was asked to give his recipe for long life. He answered, “sitting in my old rocker by the fireplace, smoking a good cigar and taking life easy.”
At the time of his death on September 13, 1957, Hargrave had been the owner of the Rockville Republican for almost 80 years, and he was believed to be the oldest newspaper publisher in the United States.