MISSEMER, J. R., editor and publisher of the Steelton Advocate, was born on the banks of the Little Chickies creek, in Mount Joy township, Lancaster county, Pa., March 24, 1851. His father died when he was only three years old. He spent the first twenty-five years of his life on the farm on which he was born. He received the education which the country schools afforded and the important practical training which industrious employment in farming gave him. At the age of seventeen a teacherís certificate was granted him by County Superintendent Evans. He taught school three terms in his native township. When he was twenty-one years of age he was elected justice of the peace for five years, and at the expiration of this term he was re-elected to the same office, but soon removed from the district. During that time he also carried on surveying and conveyancing, besides doing an extensive business as a scrivener. He first embarked n the newspaper business in 1875, when he became the local editor of the Milton Grove News, which at that time was published by the Lancaster County Newspaper Alliance. The following year he established the paper as an independent journal and became its sole editor and publisher. At the same time he established and conducted a job printing office.
In 1878 he purchased the Mount Joy Star and consolidated the two papers as the Mount Joy Star and News. He published this paper for nine years and enlarged and improved it. For a number of years it was the largest of the eighteen papers published in the county outside of Lancaster city. For several years he conducted a newspaper syndicate, during which time he edited and published the Florin Independent, Milton Grove Progress, Bainbridge Banner, Sporting Hill Messenger, Salunga Siftings and Landisville Vigil.
In 1888 he purchased the Steelton Advocate, which he has published since that time. At present he issues only a weekly edition of the paper, but for some time before the depression of business two years ago he published the Daily Advocate. In 1892 he associated his son George W. with himself in the publishing of the Advocate. The junior member of the firm was only fifteen years of age at the time he assumed the responsible position of proprietor, and was then the youngest editor and newspaper publisher in the United States. In 1893 Mr. Missemer again purchased the Mt. Joy Star and News, which he had sold six years before. Since that time he publishes both papers, but both offices and papers are kept as distinct and separate as if they belonged to different proprietors. He continues to reside with his family at Steelton and gives the Advocate his personal attention for several days of each week. The rest of his time he devotes to his Mt. Joy office. In his absence the Steelton office is in charge of his on and is in safe and able hands. By this feature of his business Mr. Missemer is demonstrating by practical operation the advantages of having more than one newspaper and printing office under one management. This plan has been successfully carried out in many branches of business, but has not before been attempted in the publishing business. The result is so eminently satisfactory that he contemplates starting a third paper and printing office.
While Mr. Missemer has had his hands so full at home he has not failed to look abroad. He has made a notable record as a traveler, having visited the Pacific Coast and Canada as well as the Southern States. He recently made a trip to the Cotton States Exposition, at Atlanta, Ga., and at the same time went to Florida, visiting Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Tampa. Mr. Missemer has been serving as administrator, executor and assignee for a number of estates. His family consists of his wife, four sons and two daughters.
Commemorative Biographical Encyclopedia of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania
Transcribed by Leslie Silvernail (firstname.lastname@example.org) for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -http://maley.net/transcription
Date of Transcription: 11 August 2001
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