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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Lou D. MacWethy

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 531-532 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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The function of a newspaper man in a small community is that of a non-salaried secretary of commerce, coupled with that of general community servant, historian, authority on social functions — past, present and future — and a general life of public usefulness. Incidentally he is supposed to earn his livelihood in the newspaper business. Lou D. MacWethy seems to be especially well fitted for this difficult role on the community stage, for at this time he has served as editor of the St. Johnsville Enterprise and News for a longer period than any other newspaper man in the history of the village and is apparently prospering in his work. He was born in Livingston county, New York, on May 3, 1871, and comes from a long line of Scotch and English ancestors, dating well back into the Colonial era. He often humorously remarks that he traces his origin back to both Revolutionary and Tory ancestors, which probably accounts for his many conflicting emotions. Early in life he learned the printing business and followed this line of work in its various branches, from writer to journeyman and traveling salesman, until 1907, when he purchased the St. Johnsville Enterprise and set about making a place for himself in the community. In 1918 the Enterprise and the News, a contemporary paper, were merged under Mr. MacWethy's ownership and from then on but one paper represented the village. The general policy of the paper under the present management has been one of service to the people of the community. Local news always receives first consideration and all matters favorable to progress are certain of immediate and careful attention. Several notable campaigns have had their origin in the paper, especially the movements for street paving, public parks, the library, better schools and all projects for increased industrial development. The Enterprise has a well equipped office, including a new Intertype type-setting machine, job presses and all the devices necessary in producing a modern weekly newspaper.

Outside of his weekly task of putting out the home paper, Mr. MacWethy has found time to achieve some success as a writer. In 1914 he formed a syndicate of some four hundred country papers, which he has furnished with series of feature articles of considerable merit. He visited the Panama canal on the occasion of its formal opening and wrote a group of articles based on his experiences during his trip, which was well received by the syndicate. Later, in 1917, he went to the Virgin Islands, arriving there in time to witness the historic transfer of these islands from Denmark to the United States. This story he also syndicated with much success. During the World war this busy editor devoted all of his spare time to war welfare work and the promotion of the sale of Liberty bonds, working as one of the Four-Minute men and appearing on the platform in all parts of the county. His ready command of English, wit and genial personality have made him much in demand as a toastmaster and after-dinner speaker. Mr. MacWethy's talents and energy are always at the command of his fellows in "putting across" civic enterprises and they have not been slow to call on him for his assistance in projects of many kinds. He was the first president of the Exchange Club of St. Johnsville, a civic organization of which he is justly proud.

Mr. MacWethy married Miss Minnie Van Allen, and they have three children: Ralph, Albert and Elizabeth. Mrs. MacWethy and the children are much interested in the newspaper, and on paper day, Wednesday of each week, they join forces with Mr. MacWethy and the regular staff to help produce the weekly budget of news for the St. Johnsville readers.

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