The Rural Valley Advance
The Advance was a weekly newspaper that was published from 1901 until sometime during World War II. Its first owners were Thomas Grant Hosick, Oscar Sloan Marshall, E. E. Keeler and Howard O. Peters. By 1911, Mr. Peters was the sole proprietor of the paper.
This page contains a history of the Advance, some pictures from the early days, and scans of a few copies of the Advance that have survived.
History of the Rural Valley Advance
(From Beers' "Armstrong County Pennsylvania: Her History, Past and Present", pp. 518-519)
"Howard O. Peters began his education in the local school and grew up in healthy rural surroundings. In July, 1900, he left the farm, moving with his mother and brother F. E. to Rural Valley, making their home on School street. One year later he took up the painters' trade with his brother J.M., following same during the summer and in the winter months attending the public school at Rural Valley. He was engaged at painting until Nov. 1, 1907, when he purchased a half interest in a grocery store with Prof. E. E. Keeler, the business being conducted under the firm name of Keeler & Peters for one year and two weeks. Then they traded their store to O. S. Marshall for the plant and business of the Rural Valley Advance, a four-column weekly newspaper, published each Wednesday. It is distinctly a "home product" all the work being done at the local office. The deal with Mr. Marshall was closed Nov. 12, 1908, from which time until March 8, 1910 the Advance office was run under the ownership of Keeler & Peters. Then the latter bought his partner's interest and has since been the sole proprietor. He conducts his establishment with the help of three lady typesetters. The circulation of the paper has been increasing steadily, and the general business has also shown a gratifying growth. In the summer of 1911, Mr. Peters purchased from W. H. Crouch a half lot adjoining his restaurant on the west, and thereon erected a two-story and basement building, 26 by 50 feet in dimensions, moving his printing office into the first floor. He and his family reside in the second story. The basement is used for the storing of automobiles, for which Mr. Peters has the agency, and he does a good business in that line as well as in the auto livery business during the summer months.
"The Rural Valley Advance was started by T. G. Hosick Jan. 1, 1901, with a business, news and editorial office in Rural Valley, the mechanical work being done in the [Armstrong County] Record office in Kittanning. This state of affairs continued until Aug. 1, 1901, when O.S. Marshall bought the Record and he and Mr. Hosick consolidated the two papers, moving the printing plant of the latter to Rural Valley. The publication of the Record was then discontinued, the interests of all being represented by the Advance, which was issued by the firm of Marshall & Hosick. The paper was published in the old town hall located at the rear end of R. M. Trolilnger's lot. In March, 1902, O.S. Marshall purchased the interest of his partner, and continued to operate the business alone for about a month, when he sold a third interest to E.E. Keeler, the new firm becoming Marshall & Keeler. They published the Advance and conducted a successful job printing business until October, 1907, when Mr. Marshall purchased the interest of Mr. Keeler. During all these years, the plant had been located in the old city hall, but in the spring of 1908 the lease for the ground on which the hall stood expired, and Mr. Marshall moved the printing plant to the J. A. Dixon building on the south side of Main street. In November of the same year, Mr. Marshall traded the plant and business to E. E. Keeler and H. O. Peters, and they took charge under the firm name of Keeler & Peters.
"The policy of the paper is firmly maintained, and its patrons secure clean, bright, snappy news, with forceful editorials, Its position is fully established, and merchants recognize its power as an advertising medium. Much of the present prosperity of the paper is due to the good business management of Mr. Peters, who is not only a strong writer, but a practical man in every respect. He is a young man of strong convictions, believing in the freedom of the press and recognizing the responsibility resting upon those who enter the field of newspaper work to use their influence for the encouragement and support of all that is the best for the general welfare. His paper has always been considered a fearless organ, advocating high moral standards and the utmost integerity in civic life."