October 15, 1889: The first edition of The Elkhart Truth
The very first edition of The Elkhart Truth hit the streets on the morning of October 15, 1889, proclaiming its mission: “Truth must manifest itself in every word published.” The paper’s founder, Colonel C.G. Conn, had previously released a handful of leaflets titled “Truth” in response to an argument between two local veteran organizations over how to pay for the base of the Civil War soldier’s monument (then located downtown, now at the entrance of Rice Cemetery). A daily newspaper, it seems, was the natural next step in making his voice heard.
Conn was a prominent figure in Elkhart, having grown very wealthy after the war through his business manufacturing musical instruments. He also served a term as the mayor from 1880-1882, and was known as an incredibly outspoken and opinionated individual. A lengthy editorial on the front page of this edition refutes claims against Conn’s sanity, supported by testimony from a doctor who had spent four days with him to establish that he was sound of mind.
A few months into its publication, The Truth acquired the Daily Sentinel and switched to an afternoon release. In the years that followed, a lively competition sprung up between The Truth and Elkhart’s other afternoon daily, The Elkhart Review. When The Review went bankrupt in 1920, the owners of The Truth at the time, Carl D. Greenleaf and A.H. Beardsley, purchased its assets and ended the longstanding feud.
A history of The Truth published in old employee manuals says: “From an historic perspective, it can be said that the city of Elkhart and The Elkhart Truth met when very young and grew up together, and for many years to come, The Elkhart Truth will continue to be what it has always been for the people of Elkhart, a strong, reliable independent newspaper working always for a better community, state and nation.”