Info. Taken from; History of Allegany Co. 1879,

Allegany and Its People 1896, and Andover Newspapers


Submitted by William A. Greene 2006


          To me one of the most important business’s that ever came to Andover was the newspaper business.  It didn’t employ a great many people but it reached many people and what it told them would become history. 

          The first newspaper published in Andover was the “Andover Advertiser”. The first issue was dated June 13, 1869 and its last issue was dated November 19, 1874.   A Mr. E. S. Barnard, of Angelica, purchased the plant of the “Allegany Radical” from a Rev. S. B. Dickson, of Belmont and moved it to Andover and established the “Advertiser”.   As a local journal and an exponent of the principles of the Republican party, it met with fair success, attaining a considerable circulation.  Then in the last months of 1874 it moved to Cuba. The Andover Free Library has copies of these issues.

          The “Citizen” and the “Express” were published respectively by a S. A. Clark and a S. H. Jennings, but were short-lived local papers.  (The Andover historian has a copy of the “Citizen”).

          In July of 1887 a Mr. Hamilton C. Norris and a Mr. George L. Tucker came to Andover from Belmont and established a book and job printing office, and on August 31, 1887 the first edition of the “Andover News” was published.  (This issue is missing).  Norris and Tucker put out their last issue together on May 16, 1888.  From then ‘til September 26, 1888 the “Belmont News” printed the “Andover News” and on October 3, 1888 the “Andover News” came out with one editor and he was Mr. Hamilton C. Norris.

          Mr. Norris ran a very successful newspaper for nine years and on July 14, 1896 Mr. Norris passed away.  His wife Ella I. Russell Norris ran the paper until August 26, 1896, when a John M. Mosher and a H. Sidney Green purchased the newspaper and plant.  This firm ran the News for three years, and then in February 14, 1899 a Mr. J. Harvey Backus purchased Mr. Green’s interest in the plant and newspaper. 

          Mosher and Backus ran the business together for five years until January 20, 1904, when J. Harvey purchased Mr. Mosher’s interest in the business due to Mr. Mosher’s bad health.

          The Andover News had a few different homes over the years, these building either burnt or were torn down, and finally in 1904, the paper found a permanent home.  They purchased the John M. Goodwin Harness Shop on Main Street by the old library, which was next to the Andover State Bank. After extensive remodeling they moved into there new home.  Now with a new home and a new owner they were ready to settle into business for the next 80 years.


          J. Harvey Backus operated the business alone until January 1, 1916, when his son, Claire C. Backus, joined the firm and the business.  The paper wasn’t published as J. Harvey Backus and Son until March 2, 1917.  It stayed that way until J. Harvey was forced to retire in 1930.  Claire purchased the business from his father on December 11, 1934.

          Claire C. Backus continued to conduct the business until he retired on January 1, 1961, after having been with the firm for 45 years. Upon his retirement, Claire sold the business to his daughter Evelyn Jeanne and her husband, Ralph A. Allen on February 15, 1961.

          Ralph (Red) and Jeanne continued to publish and print the Andover News as a family venture since they purchased it and only missed publication on two issues.

          The first time was in 1965 when Red had gall-bladder surgery in Veterans Hospital in Syracuse and Jeanne was visiting him and we had a 54-inch snowstorm.  She was stranded there for nearly a week.   The second time was in January of 1974 when they took a long needed vacation.  On both occasions, however, they were able to publish their 52 issues for that current year.

          The Andover News put out its last edition on December 1, 1984 and closed its doors.  It had come time to say good-bye to a friend that had been here since August 31, 1887.  One hundred and three years of uninterrupted service and 80 of those years were associated with the Backus family.

          In July of 1985, June Sekoll and her son Ferb purchased the old news office and started printing the “Ridgerunner”.  Like its predecessor it was a weekly newspaper. I don’t know what happened, but the paper only lasted a couple of years and it closed its doors.

          I believe the building was sold once more but nothing happened as to putting a business in it. And finally in 1999 David and Melanie Thorp purchased the building and have had a couple of business ventures there.

          From the date of its first issue to the date of its last issue, the “Andover News” had been closely identified with the interests of the town and village of Andover and even county, state and national interests. The newspaper had no clue as to how long it was going to stay here when it started or the influence it was going to leave. 

          The Andover News stood up for everything that was good for the town and village and its people.  It advocated the incorporation of the village back in early 1892, stood behind our school system throughout the years, was instrumental on building of the 1893 water system, which we still have today.  Helped organize our first fire department back in 1893.  Helped in the promotion of mercantile and manufacturing industries throughout all of these years, that helped in building a healthy and progressive growth to the Andover town and village.

          All of this history is still at your fingertips at the Andover Free Library and on their web site.  There isn’t just Andover news, but news from all over the county and adjoining counties.  It would be well worth your time to take a look.    (Website address for Library: and select “Newspaper Archives”.)

          As for all of the past editors and staff that did their jobs so well, to take a few words from Bob Hope’s ending song, “Thanks for the memories”.